When shopping for new car speakers, some may have noticed that most car audio brands offer both component and coaxial versions of the same models. But what are their similarities and differences? Pros and cons? More importantly, which one should you buy?
Component vs coaxial speakers is – and always has been – a regular debate in the car audio industry and it’s only natural that you’d be in such a dilemma as well, and be confused on whether to choose component or coaxial speakers.
To help you come to a decision in this matter, here’s a lowdown on what makes each type shine.
Before we dive into explaining the difference between component and coaxial speakers, It’s mandatory that you understand the different parts that make up a speaker.
|Tweeter||Tweeters are small speakers dedicated to high-frequency reproduction.|
|Super-Tweeter||Super-tweeters are small drivers dedicated to ultra-high-frequency reproduction. They are usually found alognside regular tweeters in 4- or 5-way full-range speakers.|
|Mid-Range||Mid-range speakers are responsible for handling middle frequencies and are used in conjunction with tweeters and woofers for better detail.|
|Woofer||A woofer is a speaker used to reproduce bass and lower midrange notes.|
|Subwoofer||Subwoofers are a specialized speaker dedicated to the lowest frequencies in an audio track. These speakers are quite large and are usually mounted in a trunk space or other rear compartment.|
|Crossover||External crossovers are used in component systems. 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.|
Why buy coaxial Speakers?
Coaxial speakers (also known as full-range) are the most common type of speakers. Most vehicles come equipped with these speakers. If your car has only one speaker in each door, then it’s likely a full-range system.
A typical full-range speaker is characterized by having a tweeter mounted onto the woofer cone. This design minimizes the space needed for installation. Coaxial speakers are capable of handling the entire range of the frequency spectrum. However, because their sound drivers are too close to each other, some frequency interference might be experienced.
Full-range speakers come in various configurations. They are referred to by the number of drivers (2-way, 3-way, etc.). The most common configuration is 2-way, in which the speaker comprises of a woofer with a tweeter mounted on top of it. There’s also 3-way configuration speakers that comprise of a woofer, a tweeter, and a mid-range. Some brands went a step further and came up with 4-way speakers which feature an additional sound driver called “super-tweeter” to better reproduce higher parts of the frequency spectrum.
2-way VS 3-way VS 4-way speakers
- 2-way car speakers. Two-way car speakers are the most common type speakers . They comprise of a woofer which is the driver that handles low frequencies, and a tweeter which is a small speakers dedicated to the high frequencies.
- 3-way car speakers. they are also referred to as tri-axial speakers. They comprise of a woofer, a tweeters and an extra driver called the “mid-range”, which is responsible for handling middle frequencies. The mid-range allows for better detail, and boosts the overall sound clarity by balancing the frequency slope and outputting the frequencies most natural to the human ear.
- 4-way car speakers. Four-way speakers comprise of an extra driver (besides the woofer, the mid-range,and the tweeter) called “super-tweeter”, which is small driver dedicated to ultra-high-frequency reproduction.
The biggest reason many people opt for coaxial speakers is the price. It’s true : Coaxial speakers are far more cheaper than component speakers. They’re also quite easy to install.
There are, however, some drawbacks to full-range speakers. One of the biggest issue with these speakers is their relatively low sound quality and lack of strong, boomy bass. Don’t get me wrong, full-range speakers are a great choice if you’re simply looking for a decent replacement for your factory-installed speakers. In some cases, these speakers may even be preferable to component systems as they are much easier to mount and can sound great without any modification to your car’s interior.
While high-end coaxial speakers are sufficient for most listeners, seasoned hardcore audiophiles may wish to consider a more advanced setup that uses component speakers.
The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. You can’t really compare a pair of coaxial speakers priced at $50 with a $200 component set. However you can compare a $250 coaxial with a $300 component set.
Why buy component speakers?
Unlike full-range speakers, component speakers (also known as separates) use an advanced design to give you the optimal sound quality. A typical component system includes 2 woofers, 2 tweeters, and 2 external crossovers — all of which are mounted separately from each other, but they’re designed to work smoothly with one another.
The number of drivers in a component system can vary. Many component speakers we’ve come across only comprise of two tweeters and two woofers. However, some high-end component speakers include an extra drivers called the “mid-range”, which relieves the woofers from handling mid frequencies. This translates to an overall better sound quality.
The commonly stated range of human hearing is about 20 Hz to 20 kHz, and that spectrum is generally divided into a handful of different categories. In loudspeakers, the tweeters handle high frequencies, the woofers cover low frequencies (bass), and the mid-ranges reproduce mid frequencies.
A car stereo system with component speakers can be further enhanced by using super tweeters and subwoofers. Super tweeters handle the ultra-high frequencies that can cut neatly through the booming bass of the subs. Powerful subwoofers can give you that bass sensation of the “thump in the chest”.
Coaxial vs Component Speakers – Which is better? : Settling the debate
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.
|Speaker Type||Pros And Cons|
|Coaxial or Full-Range Speakers||Less expensive; direct fit; built-in crossovers|
|Component Speakers||Superb sound quality; greater customisation opportunity|