What are the Best Car Speakers?
When you are on the hunt for the best car speakers for your car audio system, there are a number of things to consider including:
- the speaker size
- your budget restrictions
- whether you are looking for a component speaker system or coaxial speakers
- peak power and RMS power capabilities
- speaker sensitivity, impedance, and frequency range
- placement locations, whether you need car door speakers or something else.
- how much sound improvement will you gain with aftermarket speakers as compared with your current stock speakers or factory speakers?
Regardless of your needs, Rockford Fosgate has a car speaker to match
In this article, we are going to cover the different families of full-range speakers that Rockford Fosgate manufactures and examine some of the unique elements that go into them to help you select the best car speaker for your vehicle.
Prime Car Speaker Series
Let’s jump right in and discuss the PRIME family of full-range speakers. The Prime family is our entry-level line of speakers for car audio systems.
Coaxial Speakers in the Prime Series
First, let’s talk about full-range coaxial speakers. In the PRIME series, we have a total of seven models. We have four round speakers from 4-inch to 6.75-inch size, and three oval models from a 4×6 to a 6×9. The features that we’ve put into these coaxial speakers are vacuum polypropylene, injection-molded cones, and rubber surrounds. The stamp-sealed basket design is designed to fit the majority of OEM mounting locations, which is a great installation help, because other manufacturers sometimes say their coax speakers fit, but they don’t really. The Prime speakers also have integrated crossovers built into the tweeters.
We’ve also designed them with a higher sensitivity rating. This allows them to work well even when they’re powered directly from radio power. A speaker with a higher sensitivity rating doesn’t need as much power to produce more output.
A unique feature of our 2-way coax PRIME speakers is the mounting of the tweeter. Traditional coaxial speakers have a tweeter mounted on a post that comes up through the middle of the mid-range cone. A difference in the PRIME family coax speakers is that we actually use a point source mounting, with the tweeter moved down toward the voice coil. It nearly sits flat with the base of the mid-range cone. The advantage of this method is that the frequencies coming off the tweeter are in-phase with the frequencies coming off the mid-range cone.
If you look at a traditional post-mounted tweeter that’s mounted above the mid-range, those tweeter’s frequencies being set above are coming off earlier. So, they can be slightly out of phase. Rockford Fosgate’s method improves the overall sound performance of the speaker.
The PRIME series delivers higher sensitivity for better output at lower power, and better overall sound quality. All PRIME series use a half-inch dome tweeter.
The Two-Way Components in the PRIME series.
With Prime 2-way component speakers, we offer four models — 5.25, 6.0, 6.5, and 6.75-inch. They all utilize a half-inch Mylar balanced dome tweeter with an integrated crossover, foam surrounds, a Mica injected polypropylene cone, which gives it more strength, better stiffness, lighter weight, and a stamped steel basket designed to fit 90% of OEM (factory) installations.
PUNCH Series Car Speaker
The Punch series of full-range speakers is our mid-level series.
There are 11 different models. We have six round models, ranging in size from 3.5-inch to 6.75-inch, and five oval models from 4×6 to 6×9.
The Punch series use a “Flex Fit” basket design. The slotted grooves allow you to adjust or align the speaker with the mounting holes in the factory door. We’ve incorporated those into our round speakers. Also, the majority of our round speakers also include an OEM adapter plate in the package. This allows you to fit a circular speaker into an oval 4×6 or 6×9 hole. Our 3.5, 4, and 5.25-inch speakers include an OEM adapter plate.
We use polyethylene injection-molded dome tweeters with butyl rubber surrounds, a mineral-filled polypropylene injection molded cone — again, high durability, stiff but lightweight — and stamped steel baskets. We designed our very own VAST technology — vertical attached surround technique — where we’ve taken the edge of the surround, and instead of mounting it on a flat surface, we’ve mounted it in a vertical channel. This increases the overall cone area of the speaker by up to 25%. The advantage, of course, is a bigger cone equals more output. We’ve also incorporated an integrated concealed crossover inside the mid-range driver, making it easier to install the speaker without having to connect an extra component.
Next, we go on to the Punch Component Speakers. With the Punch component speakers, much of the same technology applies. We have Flex Fit basket design, OEM adapter plates in our 5.25-inch component speakers, and integrated concealed crossovers. We take the tweeter crossover and actually built it into the mid-range speakers. So, unlike traditional components where you have a crossover box that you have to mount on the door panel somewhere, all you have to do is simply wire the mid-range speaker and then run a wire between the mid-range speaker to the tweeter. We use 1-inch PEI dome tweeters with mounting bezels that utilize a standard 1.75-inch hole saw. For the mid-range, we utilize rubber surrounds, and a mineral-filled polypropylene injection molded cone, just like we use on our coax speakers.
PUNCH PRO Series Car Speaker
Let’s talk about the Punch Pro speakers. This is a special line of speakers that we developed to meet the demands of a growing culture. The primary design of these speakers was to create a very lightweight, high sensitivity speaker strictly for SPL (sound pressure loudness.) In the past, sound competitions with IASCA focused on sound quality, and dB Drag Racing focused on SPL, but a growing culture out there has really started to show itself. This is a culture developed in Central and South American countries. It’s not so much how loud your vehicle is using subwoofers, but how loud it can be with all speakers, fitting as many as possible in your vehicle. You may have seen some of these vehicles with up to 30 and 40 speakers. In some cases, if it’s a van or an SUV, the rear doors open up with a wall of speakers. The door panels are usually filled with as many speakers as can fit. The Punch Pro speakers were designed to address this demand.
Punch Pro Tweeters
First in the line up is the Punch Pro Tweeter. The Pro tweeter come in either a 1-inch or 1.5-inch diaphragm. Again, engineered specifically for high SPL conditions, they feature a very high sensitivity of over 100 dB! Both models handle up to 50-watts RMS power. They also have an integrated 6dB crossover to protect them from low frequencies. When you purchase these speakers, they are sold as individual drivers, not in pairs like the traditional Punch coax and component speakers.
Punch Pro Mid-Range
These are typically used in conjunction with the Punch Pro Tweeters. Now, of course, the midrange is traditionally a 5.25-inch or 6.5-inch cone. For the Punch Pro, we start at a 6.5-inch, then we move through an 8-inch, and even a 10-inch model available. These are not woofers as they are designed for midrange frequencies. It’s important to note, you can’t take the 10-inch Punch Pro and load it into a subwoofer box to get good because it’s not designed for that. Power handling on the midrange speakers, anywhere from 100 to 350 watts and are available in a 4 or 8-ohm version.
The Punch Pro has all-metal input spring terminals, a stamp-cast aluminum frame basket, a periodic-stitched lead wire for the tensile leads, and high-temperature copper wire on aluminum voice coil formers. These speakers are high sensitivity with high power handling, so they can get very loud. They come with a reinforced grille mounting hardware. The cone is a fiber-reinforced, high-strength paper design that’s lightweight and has a treated “W” style surround. Anyone that have ever dealt with pro audio, or looked at pro-audio cabinets, you’ll recognize corrugated-looking surround. We utilize the same type of surround in these speakers. They use a poly-cotton spider, for maximum flexibility, and lightweight design. Coolest of all is the billet stock machined aluminum phase plugs. These features combined deliver high output, along with long-lasting durability and fantastic sound.
Punch Pro Crossover
Since we have separate component tweeters and midrange speakers, we need a crossover to match them. Our Punch Pro crossover is available in both an 8-ohm and 4-ohm versions. It is designed to be used in combination with the Punch Pro midrange drivers and the Punch Pro Tweeters. With the Punch Pro Crossover assembly, you can basically develop your own component set.
The crossover is designed to accept dual woofer inputs, meaning you can take two 4-ohm drivers on the 4-ohm crossover and connect them to run off the same amp channel. It provides a 6dB per octave crossover at 4 kilohertz, allowing the midrange to blend perfectly with the tweeters. On the crossover, there’s also a selectable tweeter impedance of 4 or 8-ohm. If you’re using a 4-ohm tweeter or an 8-ohm tweeter, you simply flip the switch to the appropriate position. Also, there’s a tweeter attenuation circuit of 0dB, -3dB, +3dB as well. This helps match the loudness of the tweeter to the midrange. This is especially helpful if you have the tweeters up high in the door panel, and the midrange reside below or even in the kick panels.
POWER Series Car Speakers
The Power Series speakers are top-end speakers available in 10 different models. The Power series are designed for those demanding the best car speakers available. We have five round speakers that are available between 4-inch to 6.75-inch, and five oval models, from a 4×6-inch to 6×9-inch, with relative power handlings between 40 to 100 watts RMS. Some of the features that are included are:
- Pole-mounted, shallow-mounting depth tweeters
- Integrated concealed crossovers
- FlexFit basket design
- VAST Surround technique
- OEM adapter plates
- One-inch aluminum dome tweeter with a polyurethane suspension
- Carbon fiber and polypropylene injection molded cones, which are very strong, lightweight, and extremely durable.
- Butyl rubber surrounds.
We also have some models that feature a suspended mount tweeter instead of the traditional pole mount. Traditional pole-mounted tweeters require a post to come up right through the middle of the cone of the midrange. This means you lose some of the cone area. By suspending tweeter on a bridge over the cone assembly, this allows the entire midrange cone to create sound. This increases output and allows for full frequency response from the cone. Using this method, we get full coupled sound from the midrange speakers.
Power Series T1 and T2 Components
In the T1 series, we have four different models. We have a 5.25-inch, 6-inch, 6.5-inch, and 6.75-inch, which hande between 75 and 100 watts RMS. In the T2 series, we have two models, a 5.25-inch and 6.5-inch, again power handling between 75 watts and 100 watts RMS. Some of the features that are common between both the T1 and T2 component sets are FlexFit basket design and OEM adaptor plates. We utilize an external audiophile-grade component crossover in the T2 series, with 5% or better high-quality poly-capacitors and air-core inductors. The crossover also features three levels of tweeter attenuation.
These speakers feature an on-axis/off-axis tweeter configuration. On-axis versus off-axis, so what’s the difference? On-axis is when the tweeter, when it’s mounted in the vehicle, points directly at your face. Now, the majority of installation situations, the tweeter is actually going to be in an off-axis, meaning it’s usually pointing sideways, or it may be in an A-pillar pointing toward the windshield. Again, we allow you to choose which axis will be used because the switch changes the characteristics of the tweeter to give you the best overall results.
Also, just like in the Punch family, we have a recessed tweeter mount, using a standard 1-3/4-inch hole saw, as well as our DDC or Dual Discrete Clamp assembly. The cool thing about the DDC assembly is it actually is designed to sandwich the door panel. So you have a cup that goes behind the door panel, a cup that goes from the front, and then you screw the two together, giving you a nice wide mounting flange. This wide mounting flange, again, sandwiches the door material, and you don’t have to worry about the spring clips that seep in from behind the door coming out, tearing up the backside of the door. The tweeter is simply snapped into the cup with a trim ring that’s installed over it to retain it. They also feature the standard butyl rubber surround.
When it comes to tweeters, the T1 series tweeter is a treated fabric dome tweeter with a neo magnet. The T2 is an aluminum dome neodymium-tweeter with integral suspension. Also, the T2 crossovers feature a bi-amp configuration ability. So if you’re doing a high-end system where you want to do either a separate amp channel for the tweeters – where you’re actually giving power to the tweeters separate from the midrange – you can switch it into a bi-amp configuration mode. This allows you to tune the system through a processor and be able to dedicate channels just for the tweeter as well as dedicate channels just for the midrange. The T2 midrange cone also features a carbon fiber, polypropylene injection molded design, as well as a billet machined aluminum phase plug in the center of the cone, for better phase characteristics.
Find the Best Speakers with The Best Sound For Your Car
With diverse speaker lines, multiple sizes, and broad power capabilities, Rockford Fosgate has the car speakers to match your exact needs and budget. Whether you have a coupe, sports car, sedan, truck, or SUV, your car audio system can have loud yet clear sounding music that will have you joining an ever-growing number of Rockford Fosgate Fanatics. Get the best car audio possible. Get Rockford Fosgate for your vehicle.