Anatomy of a car speaker
What makes Focal's K2 Power speakers sound so good?
John Pollard spent the first six years of his time at Crutchfield on the phone helping people as an Advisor. He later joined the writing staff, focusing on car stereo gear. A native of Charlottesville, VA, he left our rolling hills for the idyllic wonderland of Seattle. Despite the distance, John still works for us, leading up a special project for our vehicle photos database.
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Like many things in life, a speaker is only as good as the sum of its parts the tweeter, woofer, and in the case of component speakers, the crossover assembly. Most speakers feature the same basic components: basket, motor assembly, etc. But the materials used, the quality of the construction, and the sophistication of the design can greatly impact how awesome a speaker sounds.
Perfect example — Focal car speakers
When it comes to sound quality, Focal is regarded as one of the best speaker companies in the industry. Their upper-end K2 Power line includes advanced design elements and exotic materials that add up to speakers that deliver amazing audio detail. Click on the yellow circles to get all the the details on what makes these speakers sound so good.
External CrossoverThe K2's crossovers are external because of the large, high-quality capacitors and coils used within them. Because they're so big, they can do a better job of getting the highs to the tweeter and the lows to the woofer. This equates to cleaner separation and a more distinct sound stage.
Aluminum wave guide
The Wave Guide helps direct the high frequency sounds emanating from the tweeter, which covers more area. This means the high end can be heard more accurately and from more listening positions. The structure is made of machined aluminum and incorporates a phase plug that optimizes linearity.
Inverted dome provides broad coverage
Focal employs an inverted dome in the tweeter rather than a traditional dome-style. The inverted dome keeps its shape throughout the frequency range, even at high power, for unwavering accuracy. It also provides a more focused soundstage and even high-note dispersion, so you can hear the tweeter clearly from every seat in the car. Aramid, used in bulletproof vests due to its strength and light weight, makes the inverted dome easier to move, which ensures smoothness and accuracy of sound.
Efficient voice coil
Thanks to the K2 Power tweeter's inverted dome design, Focal can take advantage of a voice coil that's 2/3 the diameter of the dome itself. This lets the voice coil provide more support and move the dome more efficiently, which makes the tweeter more accurate and easier to drive.
Small and powerful neodymium magnet
Neodymium, a rare-earth metal, provides exceptional magnetic force. This powerful magnet drives the tweeter while keeping the movement of the voice coil on track, which reduces distortion. Its compact size also allows the tweeter structure to be small enough to mount in many different locations.
Light-weight cone that's easier to drive
Focal builds the woofer cones for their K2 speakers by sandwiching layers of woven Aramid fiber, aerospace foam, and fiberglass. These light and rigid materials make the speaker less likely to distort, giving the sound more accuracy and detail. Focal craftsmen assemble these cones by hand because there isn't a machine available that can replicate the skills required to build them. It takes about half an hour to build just one of these cones.
Large voice coil capable of greater power handling
The K2 employs a voice coil much larger than most other speakers' voice coils. The large voice coil creates less distortion and allows for more power handling. The 2-ohm impedance pulls even more power from the amplifier driving the speaker, and gives it higher sensitivity. This makes the speaker more efficient, which lets it play louder with the power it's provided.
Heavy-duty ferrite magnet
You'll find ferrite magnets in lots of speakers — just not massive 3-pound magnets like Focal uses in their K2 speakers. This large magnet increases the efficiency of the speaker and allows Focal to install a longer voice coil. This in turn lets the cone move back and forth further and push more air, so that it plays louder, with better bass response.