Individual Replacement Component Speaker Drivers
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Component speakers will generally come with a crossover setup. They me be sold by the driver size or be boxed as a set like a pair of 6.5″ woofers with separate 1″ tweeters. Component drivers are generally better sounding than their coaxial partners, are generally able to handle more power and allow the opportunity to mount the tweeter in a higher position in the vehicle that will provide it's weaker high end frequencies an obstacle free path to the listening position.
Some component speaker systems are convertible drivers, allowing the tweeter to be mounted to the woofer. Replacing your current car stereo coaxial speakers with a pair of convertible components is an audible step up in improvement from a standard coaxial design.
Tweeters, are the smallest driver sizes found in your car stereo and they generally reproduce the highs and the high-mids of the audible frequency range. They are generally found as 1″ drivers and sometimes 2″ drivers and other various sizes. Factory systems like to use 2″ – 3″ paper type tweeters in the dash of vehicles. In this case it might be necessary to fabricate mounting plates for your new high frequency drivers to fit in the factory location of your vehicle.
The frequency range of these tiny speakers will generally cover the cymbals in a drum kit, the crispness of smaller horns and the after touch of your string instruments. Upgrading your factory tweeters with a pair of aftermarket drivers, like a silk dome, can have dramatic improvements in the sound quality of your vehicle.
Woofers: Also known as door speakers, are not to be confused with subwoofers, and generally cover the midrange frequencies of the sound spectrum. These speakers tend to vary in size from 4″ drivers to the most common 6.5″ drivers. Smaller door speakers are generally limited to the mid and mid-high frequencies while larger 6.5″ drivers will reproduce frequencies accurately down to the low-mid part of the sound spectrum.
The frequency range of the common door speaker will brighten up an electric guitar, punch the slap of the snare drum, warm up the acoustics of steel toms, bring out the drama of a violin and make you feel the brashness of a saxophone. The mid frequency range is also where you will find the vocals in your music and upgrading your door speakers from a factory system is always beneficial to the sound quality of your vehicle and your music.
Subwoofers: Also know as subs, are specific only to the lowest frequencies of the sound spectrum, and are the largest drivers in any car stereo. They are generally found in sizes ranging from 8″ – 12″ diameters. Subs move massive amounts of air creating large pressure waves. These large pressure waves give that bottom end punch you expect from your kick drum, the undeniable funk of a bass guitar and the earthshaking bump of a house beat.
The frequency range of a sub driver generally covers the first 2 octaves of the sound spectrum, also known as the lows. Subwoofers require their own mounting structure called a sub box or enclosure. Sub boxes are built to create negative pressure on the driver to help move their large diameter cones back and forth for accurate reproduction of low end frequencies. Custom enclosures are built to meet certain cubic air space specifications of subwoofers and are sometimes custom built to fit under seats or other hidden areas to maximize the use of space in the vehicle. JL Audio, Kicker and Alpine have subwoofer enclosures that are custom designed to fit may vehicles while minimizing the footprint needed to be installed in your car, truck or SUV.
Crossovers, are in-line devices that separate the frequencies between your car stereo speaker drivers. They allow all the frequencies to pass down one speaker line from the amplifier or directly from the head unit, then the crossover distributes certain groups of frequencies to dedicated drivers within the component speaker system. They protect drivers like the tweeter from receiving powerful low end frequencies that would ultimately lead to the instant death of a tweeter. Crossovers can filter out and keep unwanted frequencies from muddling up your subwoofer’s performance and damaging more delicate drivers.
Crossovers are typically found on component speaker systems and are sometimes just simple resistors and capacitors that are physically attached to many factory speakers. Many head units will have crossovers built into them as well as most amplifiers. Most aftermarket component speakers will have a separate crossover.