When shopping for car speakers, we usually come across a situation where you are not sure of whether to buy a set of coaxial or a set of components. Components tend to be on the expensive side but they seem to be a popular choice among audiophiles.
Before I begin, it is useful to have a little understanding about how a speaker is designed according to our hearing ability. The commonly stated range of human hearing is about 20 Hz to 20 kHz so that spectrum is broken up into a handful of different categories when it comes to building a speaker.
Let me give a brief knowledge of how the basic parts (drivers) that make up a speaker.
Tweeter: Tweeter is small speakers dedicated to high-frequency response (about 2,000 to 20,000 Hz.). This is named after the high-pitched tweeting of birds.
Mid-Range: Mid-range are those parts of speakers which responsible for handling middle frequency (300 to 5,000 Hz) and are used in conjunction with tweeters and woofer.
Woofer: A woofer is a speaker used for reproduce the bass (40 to 1,000 Hz) which is lower than the midrange frequency .
Crossover: Their main purpose is to direct specific frequency ranges to the appropriate speaker components – low frequencies to the woofers, mid frequencies to the mid-ranges, and high frequencies to the tweeters. Full-range speakers also have built-in crossovers. External crossover used in components speakers and built-in crossover used in coaxial speakers.
There are also a few specialty component speakers that can provide extra fidelity at the extremes of the audio spectrum.
Super Tweeter: Super tweeter is the product which gives ultra high-frequency reproduction. Typically, these found in 4 or 5-way full range speakers.
Subwoofers: As we know, Subwoofers are specialized speaker dedicated to the lowest frequencies in an audio track and are usually mounted in a trunk space or other rear compartment.
So, what is the difference ?
Regular speakers also known as Coaxial Speakers are made up of multiple separate speaker components in a particular system. In other words, the tweeters and the woofers are mounted very close together (coincident, hence the name coaxial) which makes all of the sounds come from one point. This design minimizes the space needed for installation and the overall manufacturing cost.
Coaxial speakers are more commonly found in the car audio systems than the component speakers. Generally, a 2-way coaxial speaker is made up of a 4″-6.5″ woofer with a 1″ tweeter and a built-in passive crossover which is typically a simple capacitor in-line with the tweeter though higher grade coaxials will have outboard crossovers.
A “full range” speaker are designed with extra drivers ( mid range, super tweeters) to reproduce a larger range of audio frequencies.
Component speakers have the same drivers as a coaxial speaker but unlike a full-range speaker, Components physically separate the woofers and tweeters to improve their sound quality and clarify each unit. They use a external passive crossover network to dedicate audio frequencies to their drivers.
The Most common component system is in a 2- way configuration which comes with a pair of woofers, tweeters, and external crossovers — all of which are designed to work smoothly with one another.
Some high-end component speakers include an extra driver (3-way) called the “mid-range”, which relieves the woofers from handling mid frequencies. This translates to an overall better sound quality.
Component or Coaxial Speakers – Which is better?
Coaxial speakers are capable of handling the entire range of the frequency spectrum. But because their sound drivers are too close to each other, some frequency interference might be experienced. However their compact nature and ease of installation makes them a popular choice among buyers.
Component speakers without a doubt provides a better sound quality as each speaker can be individually positioned which also helps in creating the ideal soundscape for a particular vehicle. Their separate, mountable tweeters also gives them the advantage when it comes to Stereo Imaging in a car, hence providing a much greater opportunity for customization.
High-quality full range speakers may not be able to match or beat their equivalent component speakers, but they can still provide a really good listening experience. On the other hand, components have a distinct stereo-imaging advantage—mounting the tweeters nearer your ear level makes it seem like the music is coming from on your dash, rather than from down in your doors. But on the contrary this make them a bit complicated to install.
Deciding between component and coaxial speakers can be confusing, as there are so many factors to take into consideration. Component speakers are undeniably better in terms of sound quality, but full range speakers are less expensive and much easier to install.
If budget or ease of installation is primary concerns, then full range speakers will be the best choice. However, If sound quality is more important than budget or time, then component speakers are the way to go.
You can’t really compare a ₹3,000 coaxial speaker with a ₹10,000 component set. However you can compare a ₹8,000 coaxial with a ₹12,000 component set.
So the important things to keep in mind when shopping for aftermarket speakers are:
Does it fit your vehicle?
Do they sound good to you?
And most importantly, Do they fit your Budget?