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How to make your speakers sound their best

A few extra steps can make a big difference

I've written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. I'm an avid music listener, with a real love of classical and film music. I love having a great system in my car, and I'll still match the system in my 98 Ford Ranger (may it rest in piece) up against anything else I've heard for great SQ. I attended West Virginia University, where I received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History. Let's Go Mountaineers!

More from Ken Nail

Adding new brand-name speakers to your system will make a big difference in your vehicle's sound quality. But there are several easy and inexpensive ways to make them sound even better.

Dynamat application

During installation, why not take a little extra time to ensure optimum performance from your new speakers for years to come?

Install Bass Blockers

Yes, those full-range 6-1/2" speakers you've installed in your doors can handle some low-frequency tones. But why make them? That's just like laying out the welcome mat for distortion. You really should have a subwoofer in the trunk for that end of the frequency spectrum, and let your other speakers and components handle the mid-bass on up. Bass Blockers installed in-line on your speaker wires do just what their name suggests: block the bass frequencies that your speakers can't handle. They are available with several different filter settings, so you can pick the ones that are best suited for getting more performance out of your 3-1/2", 4", 5-1/4", and other small speakers.

Use noise-deadening products

Vibration-damping products like Dynamat are designed to deaden the natural resonance of your car's body by absorbing the vibrations caused by your speakers and road noise. These materials reduce general road noise (like tire hum, engine noise, wind, etc.) that can interfere with your music, and improve speaker performance by providing a more stable mounting platform. Creating an acoustically neutral space (or as neutral as a mobile system can get) will make your music sound better. Vibration damping is also a great way to tame a trunk-rattling subwoofer for tighter bass and less distortion.

Dynamat

Dynamat will make your speakers (and the rest of your system) sound better.

Install foam baffles behind your speakers

Fitted foam speaker baffles serve a dual role when installed around your full-range and component speakers. First, they help keep dirt and grime away from your delicate driver components to help maximize speaker life. Second, by forming a tight mounting seal around the speaker, the baffle can actually help reduce panel-to-frame resonance for better sound. This extra material in the speaker cavity can even help reduce road noise by dulling the external vibrations that can sneak into your sound system via the back of the speaker cone.

Just click Accessories

For more sound-enhancing and speaker-specific products, check out the Accessories tab linked to the car speakers of your choice, or just give us call for recommendations.

  • Everett from Columbus

    Posted on 12/3/2016

    i put in an aftermarket deck and have subwoofers in the trunk. I am putting front door speakers with seperate tweeters. if i put a crossover on them would putting bass blockers on the 6 1/2 front door speaker be necessary and should i put them on weeters also?

  • Dominic

    Posted on 12/5/2016

    Bass blocker only the tweeter the other speaker should play roughly 80 to 100 hertz n up

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/6/2016

    Everett, with those subs, you can easily let those component speakers run full-range and the crossovers will navigate the proper frequencies to the tweeters. So no need for bass blockers. You didn't mention an amp in your system description, but you'll need one (or two) to drive those subs (if not the components too). Be sure to read this article on tuning your subs to complement those components.

  • Matt from Pennsylvania

    Posted on 1/11/2017

    I have plastic speaker covers built into my door trim that can't be removed without cutting/retrofitting the new cover on the woofer. Do these plastic covers affect sound quality measurably?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/11/2017

    Matt, if you used an SPL meter, there probably would be a measurable difference, most notably with the tweeters. However, the real issue in the car is road noise and speaker locations. Dynamat will be a big help with the former.

  • Kyle updike from Winston salem

    Posted on 10/5/2017

    Putting new speakers in the doors of my Chevrolet Silverado 2012 should I use bass blockers on them and aftermarket radio to thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/9/2017

    Kyle, that will depend on your setup, if you have a subwoofer in play, and preference. I've passed your question along to an Advisor, and someone will contact you soon to help.

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