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Oldsmobile Forum: Car Speakers and YOU
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Old June 28th, 2005
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The least expensive and most common type of car speaker is the coaxial. The coaxial consists of a midrange/woofer with a tweeter placed over the cone, either on a bridge or on a pole that extends from the middle of the cone. These speakers are made in sizes that will exactly fit most brands of vehicles. Advantages of this design are as follows:

*Low Cost- Nobody wants to spend $1,000 on a pair of speakers
*Ease of Installation- who wants to spend 5 days on installing speakers?
*Ease of Imaging- also called a point source, were all frequencies appear to originate from the same location.

The only disadvantage is as follows:

*Lower Sound Quality (or SQ)- it has rather lower SQ than your average Component (scroll down) system.

Things that should be looked at while purchasing coaxials:

*Frequency Response- This is the audible spectrum a loudspeaker can reproduce. The value should be given with a rating of +/- some number of decibals (also know as DB's or Sensitivity), usually 3db's. The greater the freq. range, the better up to 20kHz down to 20Hz (average human hearing FREQ.). Realistically a coaxial speaker will not play much below 80Hz (thats why we have subwoofers).

*Mounting Depth- distand that a speaker needs behind the mounting surface to fit the magnet structure and its basket. Very important when installing in a rear deck. the torsion bar usually creates a block for most "long neck" (big depth) speakers. Check distance before purchasing a rear deck speaker.

*Power Handling- The ammount of power (or wattage) a speaker can withstand before failing after a given ammount of time. NEVER look at PEAK POWER, always look at RMS (or CONTINUOUS)! Peak Power is nothing to be looked at, always match them with RMS rating.

*Tweeter Protrusion- The height a tweer sticks out above the mounting surface. Look at this number for mounting in a stock location under a grill.

Component Speakers

A component loudspeaker is a single driver designed to reproduce FREQ. in a given range. These are used in tandem with other component speakers to reproduce the entire audio spectrum. As few as 2 and as many as 4 or more different size drivers can be used to create a component set. The drivers are kept operating within their designed audio band by a series of FREQ. filters known as a crossover. By using a crossover to keep speakers operating within a certain range the speakers do not become distorted by trying to reproduce FREQs. that they are physically unable to reproduce.

In order to keep the point source attribute with a set of component speakers, these speakers must be placed very near each other. However this is not always done. Sometimes the midrange/woofer will be placed in the door panel while the tweeter will be placed in the front corner of the the front window (sail panel) or on the pillar that seperates the windshield from the door frame (A pillar). This is done to raise the apparent position of the musicians on a imaginary stage in the front of the vehicle.

It is generall considered desirable to have a sound system that gives the impression that the musicians exist on a stage across the top of the dash, extending beyond the edges of the dash. Raising the tweeter level can help in this goal, but other problems occur such as time alignment, the difference in time it takes the low and high FREQ's. to reach your ears. Ideally all FREQ's. should arrive at you ears at the same time. Advantages are as follows:

*Better Sound- who really wants the music to sound like crap on long road trips? do you not want to hear the good things about the music you listen to?
*More options- for installation. You can seperate these unlike the coaxials.

Disadvantages are as follows:

*Added Cost- maybe you DO want to spend a couple hundred on a speaker?
*More Complex- installations, takes more time to install, more peices to install
*Problems with Imaging- Not too big if you dont want to sound like your in a concert.

Things to look for are same as Coaxials.
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