I have a 2022 Ford Maverick on order, and while browsing through one of the Maverick forums, I ran into a post about a slammed Ford Maverick with tribal graphics featured on TheDrive.Com. I was interested in figuring out what brand of lowering springs they use, but I couldn’t avoid seeing the amateurish car stereo installation. Believe it or not, they actually drilled the door panels of a brand new truck to mount tweeter. Car stereo stores like this are the ones that give car audio a bad rap!
One of the biggest myths in the car audio world is the assumption that component speakers are better than coaxial! Sure they are more expensive and demand a higher labor cost due to the extra complexity of the installation. One of the main reasons local car stereo stores push them so much, but saying that component speakers are better than coaxial is not a 100% accurate statement! As a matter of fact, more often than not, when you install component speakers with the tweeter at the top of the door and the woofer at the lower part of the door or more than ten to twelve inches apart, the result is an instant collapse of the front stage! That happens because of two things. The first is the acoustic center is too far apart. The acoustic center is the distance between the center of the voice coil of each drive. The formula to determine that is wavelength = speed/freq – where “FREQ” is the crossover frequency. This distance should be kept to a minimum or at least less than the wavelength of crossover frequency. In other words, if you have a set of components with a crossover frequency of 3500 Hz. The distance between the center of each drive should not be more than 3.875 inches. If it is greater, the drivers will start to get out of phase with each other, and an acoustic NULL or deep in the frequency response at the crossover frequency will occur. The second issue you have to contend with is time alignment. By flush mounting the tweeter on the door panel and the woofer behind the door panel, you are creating an exaggerated misalignment between the vertical axis of the two coils that is much worse than most budget coaxials! Not to mention that having the left tweeter a foot and half from your ear and the right one anywhere from 36 to 60 inches, depending on the vehicle’s width, will destroy your sound stage. Ne of the holy grails of an audiophile sound system. Having the left tweeter so close to you will make your brain attenuate what the right ear is hearing and pay attention to what is happening on the left.
In general, car audio coaxial and coaxial speakers, in general, are not necessarily better than component speakers. As a matter of fact, I favor component speakers any day of the week. However, unless you are willing to go to great length with the installation as in kick panels speaker pods, component speakers in a vehicle that did not come with components from the factory may take away from the fundamental goals of an audiophile system. That being one with a wide and high sound stage. This is often wider and higher than the vehicle itself in an audiophile sound system!
Given a choice, I prefer a Dual Concentric Coaxial Design, like the ones offered by Phoenix Gold in the MX Series or Rockford’s Prime Series. Dual Concentric Coaxial speakers are coaxial speakers with the tweeter embedded in the woofer’s voice coil. This gives you perfect vertical alignment of the coils. When properly placed, this is the scenario you could have. With that said, and given how affordable DSP units have become, coaxial speakers with an external crossover like the ones Kaption Audio offers opens a whole new world of possibilities and installation options. So before you get pushed into a set of more expensive components speakers, take a look at your option and consider if you are seeking looks or sound!