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So, you are looking to upgrade your car’s sound system but don’t know if you should go for coaxial or component speakers as you don’t want to waste your money and time on the wrong choice. So what exactly is the difference between the two? And which one should you go for to get that fantastic sound quality and powerful, clear bass in your ride?
There are two types of speakers to choose from if you’re not satisfied with the audio quality of your car’s factory speakers or if you want to switch things up a little and improve your driving experience. The two types are coaxial speakers (often known as full-range speakers) and component speakers.
Coaxial speakers are the most common type of speakers found in vehicles. And the most affordable.
Component speakers are less popular and more expensive due to their superior sound quality and imaging. They are designed to perform better and with higher quality materials but are more challenging to install. We’ll explain why in a bit.
Coaxial vs. Component speaker – Comparison Table
|Speaker||Coaxial Speaker||Component Speaker|
|Parts||Woofer, tweeter, and external crossover all in one housing.||Woofer, tweeter, and external crossover are separate components.|
|Installation||Easy Installation||Complex Installation|
|Sound Quality||Average sound quality. Can get distorted or muddy at high volumes.||Better sound clarity and quality.|
|Power Handling||Average of 50–150 watts||Average of 200–600 watts|
|Materials||Polypropylene cones, glass fiber, silk tweeters.||Silk, aluminum crossover and tweeter, metal cones.|
|Price||Around $25- $200||Around $100- $2000|
Coaxial Vs. Component Speakers
What Are Coaxial Speakers?
Coaxial speakers, or as we like to call them, “All-in-one” speakers, are a 2-way speaker system that combines the woofer, tweeter, and crossover all in one housing.
The woofer is designed to produce low frequency and mid-range sounds, typically from 20 Hz to 2000 Hz. The tweeter is responsible for high-frequency sounds such as vocals, hi-hats, cymbals, sirens, etc., typically ranging from 5000 Hz to 20000Hz. And the crossover acts as a filter, preventing unwanted frequencies from reaching a speaker or group of speakers.
In a 2-way coaxial speaker, the audio comes from the two different drivers (woofer and tweeter) and emerges from one single source while trying to cover as much of the frequency spectrum as possible.
There are also 3-way coaxial speakers that usually contain an extra mid-range speaker to the housing. While the woofer handles the low to mid frequencies and the tweeter handles the high-end, the added mid-range speaker solely handles the middle frequencies. And since all 3 speakers are optimized to run in a certain range, you will hear much clearer, fuller, and more accurate sound coming from the 3-way speaker system.
As 2-way and 3-way speaker systems are “all-in-one,” they are easy to install, easy to find, and will leave you satisfied if you’re looking to boost your car’s audio system. They are, however, considered an entry-level system. These types of speakers are more common than component speakers mostly due to their built quality, affordable price, and easy installation method that makes it possible for anyone to replace their car’s factory speakers within a matter of minutes.
Read More: Complete Guide To Coaxial Speaker Cable
Pros & Cons
- Easy to install as all woofer, tweeter, and crossover are built into one housing.
- Affordable. The average price for a coaxial speaker system is around $30 to $50.
- Quick and a good alternative to car factory speakers.
- Offer good, full-range sound quality.
- As they are the most popular type of speakers, they are very popular and easy to find.
- Offer lower sound quality than component speakers.
- Cheaper built quality.
- Weaker than component speakers. (Lower output power.)
- Average sound clarity and frequency response.
What Are Component Speakers?
Component speaker systems are made of separate speakers where the woofers, the tweeter, and the crossover are installed in their own separate spaces, which gives you better sound quality and stereo imaging.
The tweeter is responsible for the high ends on the frequency spectrum. (5000Hz to 20 000Hz.)
The mid-range woofer produces frequencies from 300Hz and 5,000Hz. (Or “mids”)
The woofer handles the lower frequencies or the bass. (20 Hz up to 2,000 Hz.)
And the crossover is responsible for splitting up these frequencies and sending them to the specialized driver so the loudspeaker would produce the full range of human audible frequencies.
Once you properly install these speakers into their separate spaces, you will immediately hear and feel the difference between using a component speaker system and coaxial speakers as you hear the music coming from all different directions.
The speakers are also made of high-quality materials such as aluminum, titanium, silk, ceramic, and more. And the crossover is more advanced, so it does an excellent job of sending the high frequencies to the tweeter, and the low frequencies to the woofer, which gives the speaker system the clarity it promises.
Pros & Cons
- Great sound quality and frequency response.
- Great tweeter and crossover component quality. (ceramic, silk, aluminum, titanium, or other unique dome material.)
- Great stereo imaging and sound clarity.
- A crossover slope of -12dB per octave (or higher) rather than the normal -6dB per octave used on coaxial tweeters.
- You can separately position the speakers in a way that gives you a more detailed stereo image.
- High power output and RMS power handling.
- Hard to install as you have to install all 3 (sometimes 4) speakers in their own dedicated spot.
- As the crossover is a separate component, you have to find somewhere to mount it.
- A bit expensive.
What Are The Differences Between Coaxial And Component Speakers?
- Coaxial speakers consist of a woofer, tweeter, and crossover, all built into one housing. Component speakers consist of these components (sometimes more), all installed separately in your vehicle.
- Because coaxial speakers are technically just one big speaker, they are much easier to install than component speakers. They could quickly and easily replace your car speakers, whereas, with component speakers, you will need to spend more time and effort mounting each speaker in its proper location.
- The built quality of component speakers is much higher and more rigid than in coaxial speakers.
- Because coaxial speakers are fairly a quick solution to improving your car’s sound system, they are more affordable than component speakers.
- Coaxial speakers are also more common and easier to find than component speakers.
- Coaxial speakers have a lower output power than component speakers meaning they are less clear and powerful than component speakers and could cause distortion at higher volumes.
- The sound quality is much higher on component speakers because every speaker or component is doing its job more efficiently than on a pair of coaxial speakers. The frequency range is more “respected”, on component speakers.
- Because component speakers have each component mounted separately, the listener will have better stereo imaging and a clearer sound.
- Component speakers are more flexible and louder than coaxial speakers.
Read More: Does Audio Interface Affect Sound Quality?
Which one is better? Coaxial or Component Speakers?
Hands down, component speakers are the obvious choice here. They will give you better sound quality, clarity, and stereo imaging that helps create a sense of space and has a significant impact on how wide, deep, and immersive a song sounds/feels. But it all depends on your budget, time, and goal when purchasing a new pair of car speakers. If you have a limited budget but still want an upgrade to your car speaker system, you should get the coaxial speakers. If you’re an audiophile with a decent budget who wants excellent sound quality and stereo imaging while taking long drives, then component speakers are the perfect option for you.
When should you get component or coaxial speakers?
You should get coaxial speakers if:
- You want a quick fix or upgrade for your car’s sound system. (But they might not offer that mind-blowing sound you might expect from a new pair of speakers)
- You want something that offers excellent full-range sound. (but a bit distorted and muddy at high volumes.)
- You want something cheaper and easier to install than component speakers since all you have to do is unscrew your car’s factory speakers and screw the new ones in.
- You have no interest in that booming bass or crystal clear highs that component speakers seem to offer.
You should get component speakers if:
- You’re fussier about having the ultimate car sound experience where you want that excellent stereo imaging and would like to hear music coming at you from every direction.
- You’re willing to spend more time and effort installing component speakers as you will have to run cables between components, drill holes for your tweeters, or even remove panels from doors to install your pair of woofers, tweeters, and crossovers in their dedicated places. (In most cases, a subwoofer and a mid-range driver are also added.)
- You’re willing to spend more money on a new pair of component speakers since they tend to be a bit (or a lot) more expensive than coaxial speakers.
- If you want better sound quality, clarity, and no distortion at high volumes that you would normally find with coaxial speakers when you give them an extra kick.
However, all that extra oomph doesn’t come for free. So prepare to break the bank and go that extra mile if you want customized and better sound quality in your car.
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Do I need an amp for component or coaxial speakers?
Even though an amplifier is not needed for your sound system, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one. The factory speakers in your car usually come with a built-in amplifier, but it isn’t powerful enough. So once you decide to upgrade your car’s sound system with component or coaxial speakers, it’s best to equip them with a new amp to get the best sound possible from your speakers.
As the name suggests, an amp amplifies the sound. This means you will get better sound, no distortion at high volumes, better bass, and clarity in your audio. So whether you’re splurging on a new component or coaxial speakers, consider taking that extra step and buying an amplifier while you’re at it. It is definitely worth it.
What’s the difference between coaxial and 2-way speakers?
The main difference between coaxial and 2-way speakers is that coaxial speakers (or full-range speakers) use a single driver, or one source, to produce the sound we hear, whereas 2-way speakers use two separate drivers to respond to different frequencies on all the frequency spectrum. The tweeter is responsible for the high frequencies, and a woofer is exclusive to the lower frequencies. So even though coaxial speakers do their best to reproduce the broadest frequency range for us, they’re unable to reproduce very low and very high frequencies, meaning that both bass and the treble will be underwhelming and slightly distorted coming from coaxial speakers.
2-way speakers will produce superior sound quality because two separate drivers are each responsible for their own frequency range and will cover most frequencies on both sides of the spectrum. Therefore, 2-way speakers are unquestionably more effective and sonically superior to coaxial speakers and will provide a more pleasurable listening experience.
Do coaxial speakers have good bass?
Yes. You can always find coaxial speakers with great and loud bass response. Just prepare to spend a little extra if you want that booming bass in your car, as you will be looking for speakers with higher power output and a wider frequency range (mostly on the low end). For best results, you also might want to go for an amp alongside your coaxial speakers for distortion-free, crystal clear sound and better bass response.
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Both speaker types have their advantages and disadvantages. So it all depends on the listener’s wants and needs. Do you want a quick upgrade for your car’s factory speakers? Can you afford the more complex option, which is the component speakers? Do you care if you can hear crystal clear frequencies from all the frequency ranges? Or maybe you just want a simple upgrade to your car’s sound system without getting into all the technicalities and complexity of component speakers. Both options are good and will deliver good quality sound. This doesn’t mean that indulging in a new pair of component speakers doesn’t have its perks, especially as far as quality, but coaxial speakers will get the job done just fine.