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Favored by many audiophiles, component speakers are the norm if you want optimal sound quality in your car, especially when compared to traditional coaxial devices. But what exactly sets this type of speaker apart?
Component speakers bring several benefits to your listening experience. These units offer high-quality audio and better customization options.
In this article, we will explain in detail what a component speaker is, plus explore the features of this type of unit to help you decide if it is the best option for your audio system.
Whether you’re an experienced or beginner car audio enthusiast, understanding the advantages behind component speakers will take your listening experience to the next level. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- What is a Component Speaker?
- What Are the Parts of a Component Speaker?
- How Do Component Speakers Work?
- Benefits of a Component Speaker
- Disadvantages of a Component Speaker
What is a Component Speaker?
A component speaker is a device designed to reproduce high-fidelity audio. Unlike full-range speakers, component speakers separate the audio signal into different frequency ranges to provide a higher-quality sound.
Component speakers have a lot of benefits when compared to full-range ones. Audiophiles prefer this type of speaker due to the amount of customization they provide.
You can mix and match component speakers in endless ways. For example, if you want more bass in your sound, you can use two subwoofers instead of one. Similarly, you can use multiple tweeters in your system if you want more high-end.
The drawback is that these speakers are more expensive and have a more complex installation process than coaxial ones. However, if it’s optimal sound performance you’re after, component speakers are the best choice.
What Are the Parts of a Component Speaker?
Tweeters are a type of speaker designed to reproduce mid and high frequencies. Everything from guitars to vocals and hi-hats. These drivers are smaller than the others since size isn’t a priority when reproducing this frequency range.
High-quality tweeters in your audio system are necessary if you want clear and transparent audio.
Tweeters come in various sizes and designs, and you will find models such as dome, cone, and horn. Dome tweeters are the most common, but cone and horn ones can provide even better sound amplitude, depending on your system. We recommend researching extensively before buying to find the best option for your particular use case.
In the market, you will also find super tweeters. Super tweeters are designed to exclusively reproduce high frequencies above and around 10kHz. Including one in your system will give you an even crispier sound.
When shopping for component speakers, you will also find mid-range drivers. As the name implies, these units reproduce the frequencies found in the middle of the spectrum, usually between 300Hz and 5kHz, and are typically larger than tweeters but smaller than subwoofers.
Just like tweeters, these can come in a variety of sizes and designs, and the best option will vary depending on your particular use case.
Mid-range drivers can be considered optional units since a lot of component speaker systems don’t feature this device, but employing one in your car can give you even better audio quality and tone clarity than just using a subwoofer and a tweeter alone.
Subwoofers are designed to reproduce low and low-mid frequencies. This is where instruments such as the bass and the kick drum fall into. These are a very important part of any component speaker system since thumping bass is a popular requirement nowadays.
Often larger, subwoofers are usually installed in the trunk of a car. Most systems will employ only one subwoofer, but two or more can be installed for even better performance in the low end.
When shopping for subwoofers, you will most likely find two distinct types: single and dual voice coil. Dual voice coil subwoofers offer more wiring versatility and can level up the bass performance in your system, but are more expensive than their standard counterparts.
Subwoofers are usually the most expensive part of an audio system, usually running from a few hundred dollars up to thousands, but with enough research, you can get a quality unit for a reasonable price.
The crossover isn’t a speaker, but a little device present in many audio systems. This device will divide the audio signal into different frequency ranges and send them to each corresponding driver: the low frequencies to the subwoofer and the mids and highs to the mid-range driver and tweeter.
A crossover can be either active or passive. As the name implies, the former is designed to be used with active speakers while the latter should be used with passive units.
Most crossovers will allow you to configure each frequency range freely, so you can tailor your sound as you like. For example, you can change the crossover frequency of the subwoofer’s low-pass frequency to find the best sweet spot for it compared to the rest of your audio system.
When shopping for a crossover, make sure it has enough channels (inputs and outputs) to accommodate each speaker in your system. We also recommend you choose a unit that allows frequency range customization for more versatility.
The amplifier is a device designed to raise the gain of the audio signal to line level and send it to each component speaker. An amp is an important part of any audio system since it guarantees the best listening experience.
Just like with the crossover, ensure the number of channels on the amp you’re eyeing is compatible with the number of component speakers in your audio systems.
Before you buy an amplifier, though, it is important to check if it’s powerful enough to drive each component speaker in your system as well. This is done by checking the wattage and RMS power of each device.
How Do Component Speakers Work?
In a component speaker system, everything starts with the crossover and the amplifier. Before your speakers can play your songs, the audio signal must be brought to line level by the amp and divided into different ranges by the crossover.
From there, each driver in a component speaker system will receive a different frequency range provided by the crossover. The subwoofer will reproduce the low-end while the mid-range and the tweeter will be responsible for the mid and high frequencies of the frequency spectrum.
Benefits of a Component Speaker
Component speakers provide better stereo imaging and even multi-dimensional sound since you can position each driver in the most optimal way possible. We recommend that you position all of the tweeters at ear level, but it is always a great idea to experiment with positioning to find your sweet spot.
Audio Quality and Tone Clarity
Component speakers have higher audio quality when compared to full-range devices since each driver is dedicated to a single frequency range, resulting in much more tone clarity in your sound.
As these speakers are more expensive, the components inside them are of higher quality as well. Plus, you can opt to buy professional-grade wires, amplifiers, and crossovers, which contribute to the audio quality of the whole system.
Better Frequency Range
The frequency response of a speaker will determine how low and how high it can reproduce in the spectrum. Simply put, the wider the number, the better, as you will have much more clarity in your sound.
Full-range speakers tend to have a limited frequency range, especially in the extremes of the spectrum such as the bass and the highs. With component speakers, that isn’t as much of a problem.
More Customization and Placement Options
As we mentioned before, component speakers allow you to customize your audio system as you wish. You can research and mix and match brands and models, for example, as well as place the speakers however makes more sense to you.
Component speakers can be easily upgraded if you ever decide to. It will be simpler and more affordable in the long run since you can easily swap or add new drivers in the future.
Component speakers are more durable due to the fact that the materials employed in these devices are of higher quality when compared to coaxial ones. Plus, as we mentioned, if you ever have a faulty driver in your system you can replace it without much hassle.
Disadvantages of a Component Speaker
Component speakers tend to be more expensive since they tend to be made with better materials and you will need several drivers in your system.
In a component audio system, you will also need two very important external devices: an amplifier and a crossover. As explained before, the amplifier will raise the gain of the audio signal to line level and the crossover will divide the sound into different frequency ranges.
Complex Installation Process
The installation process for component speakers is more complex when compared to coaxial ones, therefore more expensive. If you’re planning on doing it yourself, keep in mind that it takes considerably more work than full-range speakers.
Component speakers might also require a few modifications on your car to be installed, such as OEM adapters, but that will depend on the stock mountings of your vehicle.
A component speaker audio system will take up more space than a coaxial one, so it might not be the best idea if you have a smaller car. Still, it can be worked out thanks to the customization possibilities that these speakers offer.
Before you shop for your component speakers, we recommend that you carefully plan the layout of your audio system to minimize the amount of work necessary for the installation process and avoid extra costs.
As mentioned, you will need an amplifier and a crossover in your component speaker system. This can quickly add to the price, as these devices can run up to several hundred dollars.
When shopping for these devices, it is very important to make sure they are compatible with your speakers. Make sure to check if your head unit is compatible with component speakers as well.
Coaxial speakers are full-range, meaning each unit is able to reproduce all of the frequencies on the frequency spectrum. This is the standard type of speaker found in most cars and that comes as stock in the majority of vehicles.
With component speakers, you have one device for each frequency range: the subwoofer for the bass and the mid-range drivers and tweeters for the mids and highs, providing a number of advantages.
Component speakers tend to sound better than their coaxial counterparts since they are more expensive and have better components inside them. Another thing that can provide an even better listening experience is properly positioning each driver.
As you can see, component speakers are an excellent choice for audiophiles and those who demand the best listening experience possible from their audio system. With so many options in the market, there is a choice for everyone.
Component speakers offer several benefits compared to coaxial devices, including better sound quality, customization and placement options, and durability.
Keep in mind, though, that this type of speaker is more expensive when compared to coaxial units and has a more complex installation process. Nonetheless, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
We hope this article helped you learn what a component speaker is. Don’t forget to check our related guides about car audio, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
Hello, I’m Ian.
I’m a music producer, musician, and writer for the AudioReputation website. I’ve been involved with making music and the processes revolving around audio technology for longer than I can recall, so I find it amusing to share my knowledge with fellow enthusiasts worldwide when I’m not working with artists or creating new songs.
Along my path as a music maker, I discovered the ability to write informative content, and I decided to embrace it. I’ve written for a few websites about audio and music, including a digital magazine.
I’m particularly passionate about any sort of audio gear: guitar pedals, amplifiers, headphones, and even home speakers. That makes it really joyful for me to review any product related to the subject and give my honest opinion about them. I also frequently write tips and guides for consumer and professional-grade audio.