Driving responsibly on the road requires that you avoid distractions as much as possible. For example, it’s a good idea to turn off your mobile phone, or put it in silent mode, so that you don’t get distracted by text messages (in fact, it’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving on roads in the UK).
Many of us, however, listen to music while we drive. The full effect that this has on driving performance is unclear, but a 2007 study, by scientists at Newfoundland’s Memorial University, found that listening to loud music and rock music, in particular, can reduce a driver’s response time and vigilance.
Unfortunately, automakers often install low-quality speakers in their cars (in order to save costs) that don’t sound great at low volumes. One solution is to invest in a quality component speaker system that increases the audio quality.
What are component car speakers?
Normal coaxial speakers, whether factory-installed or aftermarket, combine the woofer and tweeter into one speaker. It’s a convenient way to get decent sound from a single speaker opening, but the design of the woofer and tweeter are both compromised in this arrangement.
Component speakers, on the other hand, separate the two drivers and introduce a crossover to define the frequency range that each driver should operate at. Tweeters handle the subtle high range and, since higher frequencies are more directional than lower, they are mounted close to ear level. Woofers are usually mounted in your vehicle’s factory locations, most likely in the doors. Free from any physical interference from the tweeters, the more resonant low frequencies will create a solid foundation for the detailed highs.
Benefits of component speakers
1. Tonal clarity
The tweeters and woofers, in a component speaker system, are free to work at an enhanced level. More specifically, they will perform at a higher level for the frequencies assigned to them. An external crossover ensures that frequencies above a fixed point go to the tweeters, and those below go to the woofers. This prevents the different drivers from stretching to play frequencies that they can’t handle, increasing the definition of individual sounds and boosting the overall clarity.
Soundstage is the perceived wideness and depth that the speakers project. Instead of the music sounding like it’s coming from inside or close to your head, a well-set-up component speaker system will sound more ‘spacious’. A perfect example to illustrate this is the difference between a standalone speaker and a complete home theatre setup. When you compare the sound quality in a room, excellent Dolby Atmos soundbars will absolutely outshine a lone loudspeaker in terms of soundstage.
3. Sound imaging
Sound imaging refers to the perceived spatial locations of the sound sources in a sound recording, both laterally and in depth. It’s most readily appreciated in classical recordings, where various instruments are seated in different locations. By positioning the various parts of a component speaker system (tweeters, woofers and crossover) strategically, within your car, you can improve the sound imaging and create a three-dimensional reproduction of the music.
Another advantage of component speaker systems over their coaxial counterparts is their higher level of customisability. For example, component speakers have split drivers, which means that you can configure them differently through an equalizer.
5. Modular system
A complete component speaker system includes tweeters and woofers among other components. The modular nature of this setup means that you can add additional, or upgrade specific, components incrementally and cost-effectively.
For most car models, a 6.5 component speaker system will work well. For more information on this, check out this guide on the best 6.5 component speakers.
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