TRANSFORM the tinny sound of your mobile phone to play with fuller, higher fidelity while you’re on the road.
Unless you’re an audiophile, you’ll have probably resigned yourself to accepting the average sound of factory-fitted audio equipment in your car.
But if you’ve been gifted a swanky pair of headphones or earbuds, you’ll have noticed you’ve been missing out on some of life’s very impressive lows and highs.
Time to upgrade your car’s speakers.
Technology’s changed the way we listen and how much we can hear.
You wouldn’t watch a 4K film on an analogue telly, so why do we insist on playing Tidal tracks through tinny speakers?
If there is a delicate set of strings layered within a track, captured beautifully in production, it might be lost in compression.
That happens when we listen to MP3 and MP4. The files need to be smaller, as they need to be stored in large amounts.
They also need to stream quickly and the unreliable 4G connections don’t like large files.
The listening quality then takes another kick when we use rubbish speakers.
Speaker quality, after file quality, is what determines whether those strings are even there.
There are no dogs and birds used in the making of these products.
To explain, the woofers produce the lower notes from lightweight, but stiff materials, like polypropylene.
Tweeters produce the high notes and depending on whether you like refined highs or sharper highs, determines the material you should pick.
You can choose from component speaker systems – where woofers and tweeters are sold separately (you most likely have one of these in your lounge) or coaxial, AKA full-range speakers, the plug’n’play option.
We’ve concentrated on the latter since these are less fussy.
We’ll avoid the science lesson, since you’re trying to shop, but trust us, when we say you need to match your speakers to your stereo – for example, if your stereo’s audio channels are 50W of power each, a speaker with 40W peak power will give a better sound than one with 80W peak power. Sometimes less really is more.
If you want to get the same enhanced sound in your car, as you do from your Beats and take a look at our guide to the best speakers to buy for your car.
From a mix of our expert knowledge, user reviews and industry tests, we’ve put together a guide to the best car speakers.
1.Pioneer TS-R1750S Coaxial Speakers
- Pioneer TS-R1750S Coaxial Speakers, £36 from Halfords- buy here
One of the top three best-sellers from Halfords, these Pioneer TS-R1750 coaxial speakers are excellent value for money.
With mica-layered woofers, the bass and mids are impressive.
Though best when partnered with a decent subwoofer, the TS-R1750Ss are sure to evoke comments from friends.
A 40W RMS – telling you how much power the speaker can handle—means these Pioneer speakers can enhance factory-fitted stereo sounds, if you’re upgrading bit-by-bit.
The build quality means there’s no issue with fitting them yourself, although if you’ve got £30 to spare, Halfords do offer a fitting service.
2. Pioneer TS-G520 Coaxial Speakers
- Pioneer TS-G520 Coaxial Speakers, £20 from Halfords- buy here
If your budget can’t make allowances for the additional subwoofer to make the R1750s really sing, then these G520s, also from Pioneer, are a well-balanced alternative and more suited to factory-fitted stereos, with a lower 35W RMS.
Respectably bassy, Pioneer’s polypropylene woofers not only give you effective low notes, but are also really durable. Suitable for fitting at both the front and the rear of your car, the housing quality is a bit flimsy, so you might want to take advantage of a fitting service if you’ve not fitted car speakers before and you’re a bit heavy-handed.
3. Kenwood KFC-PS1795 Coaxial Speaker
- Kenwood KFC-PS1795 Coaxial Speaker, £46.40 from Amazon- buy here
Though pricier than other items on our list, Kenwood has created a well-loved design.
There’s a rubber-diffused rich bass quality from a 170mm paper cone woofer, complemented by 40mm tweeter and a 25mm riffle.
By splitting the job of the tweeter in this co-axial speaker, Kenwood has enabled the mids and higher notes more power themselves and so this three-way combination of the KFC-PS1795 offers better quality of a speaker with a single 50mm or 30mm tweeter.
With 80-watt RMS, these speakers are best suited to a head unit with higher powered channels.
4. Alpine 4″ Coaxial 2-Way Custom Fit Speakers
- Alpine 4″ Coaxial 2-Way Custom Fit Speakers, £27.99 from Halfords- buy here
Halfords recently price-matched this pair of Alpine 4” 2-way coaxial speakers, to our delight.
Trumping factory-fitted speakers, these Alpines don’t offer the same level of bass as, let’s say, the Kenwood PS1795s, but then they don’t carry the price either.
A smart combination of a paper-cone woofer and metal tweeter, the RMS power is only 25W, clearly well-suited to low-powered factory-fitted head units.
Reflecting the price tag, the high polymer foam edge won’t be as effective as the Kenwood’s rubber diffuser but there’s no distortion when you crank the volume.
5. JBL Car GTO 609C
- JBL Car GTO 609C 6.5 Inch 2-Way Component Speaker System, £79 from Amazon- buy here
Fitted to over 70% of the world’s music arena and stadiums, JBL’s parent company Harman (now owned by Samsung) works closely with car makers like BMW and Mercedes Benz.
The GTO609C is pricey, but makes good work of using Harman’s market-leading technology.
Bought as a component system or coaxial set, the GTO609C has 75W RMS power.
The carbon-injected cones enable lower notes, expected of larger speakers—rocking decent bass.
Fancy fibreglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) frames also improve performance.
It’ll take a couple of weeks of use to break these speakers in, but it’s worth waiting for.
More from Sun Selects motoring
Kitting our your car? If you’ve found our best car speaker roundup useful, keep our best car stereos piece in mind too.
Looking for more motoring recommendations? Check out our dedicated Sun Selects motoring section.
To browse our full range of Sun Selects recommendations, be sure to head back to the Sun Selects page.