Recommend Car Stereo Speakers

Just as a quick recap (I’m sure everyone on the board is fascinated with my car and remembers every little thing about it, but just in case):

It’s a 1995 Subaru Impreza wagon, meaning it needs 6.5" speakers all around
It has a Nakamichi head unit (the CD-35Z, I believe)
It has an apparently fairly nice amplifier (I was told this when I was getting my XM installed. I asked them if they could look and see why I wasn’t getting any sound out of the rear speakers–turns out someone didn’t connect the amp to the speakers.) I think it is an Xtant 404m amplifier, but it is somewhat hard to read the writing as the amp is under the driver’s seat.

I’m pretty sure it has stock speakers. I haven’t taken the grill off (it’s all one piece with the door trim, so I’d have to take all that off, which I’m not about to do) to be sure, but when I shined a flashlight in there I didn’t see any names or logos or anything.

Now, I’ll be honest and say that I know absolutely nothing about car audio. The only reason I know it needs 6.5" speakers is because I looked it up at Best Buy. The guy at Best Buy was trying to sell me some Pioneer speakers (I think they were Pioneer), at about $90 (a pair, I hope) for the front. All I remember is that they were called 4-way speakers. Then, for the rear speakers either those or a cheaper 2-way or 3-way speaker.

So, I have three questions. 1: What is a good brand and model for the cost? I’m not about to drop $300 on speakers. 2: Do I have to replace all 4 speakers, or can I replace just the front two? 3: Does a subwoofer actually do anything at all, or will the bass capability of a good pair of speakers be enough? Related: what’s most important–the highs, the mids, or the lows?

Well, I’m going to pass along the advice my wife gave to me when I first got into enhancing my car’s audio – buy what sounds good to you. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. You really don’t have to do much of anything as long as what you have makes you happy.

I spent about $1300 total upgrading my system from stock when I bought my car. In a nutshell, that was a MP3 head unit, four new speakers for the inside, two 12" subwoofers, and two amps (one for the subs, one for the front speakers). That’s what made me happy. My wife was happy upgrading her car at the time with just a nice head unit and new speakers, with emphasis on upgraded tweeters, and she spent closer to $400 total.

Subwoofers? Sure you can live without them. I’d spend some time thinking about what music you listen to most, if you’re budget conscious. Personally, I listen mostly to a lot of rap and a lot of jazz, both of which require a lot of quality bass. I’m not talking about going out to get giant subwoofers to thump down the street and irritate everyone in a five-block vicinity. But a good quality sub can get the lows that regular speakers just can’t, and that matters in some music.

Comparitively speaking, our newest car, a VW Golf with Monsoon sound, has no subwoofer, but the internal speakers (with separate tweeters) sound fantastic nonetheless. It’s very rare that we hear a song with bass low enough that the speakers can’t handle it.

If you can find an audio dealer that you trust (do you have Al & Ed’s Autosound in your area?), I’d recommend talking to them about what you listen to and what’s important to you. In the years I’ve been dealing with Al & Ed’s, I haven’t had anyone try to up-sell me on speakers I didn’t need. The first pair of speakers I bought was about $60 (Boston Acoustics) that I put up front, and that alone was a REMARKABLE improvement over the stock speakers. I don’t remember the rear speaker change being quite as dramatic, but I’d still recommend doing that down the line.

Good luck to you, and happy listening!

Well, I’m going to go to Audio Express to at least look around. They’re still a chain, but not like Best Buy or Circuit City. Plus, if they do their “$1 install” on speakers, that means I can spend the money I would spend on install fees (probably $30-50 per set) on a little more expensive pair.

I think that listening to them and buying what you like is sound advice. One thing I can say is to pay attention to what the tweeter is made of. For instance, Infinity Reference speakers have silk tweeters, while the Infinity Kappa speakers have metal composite tweeters. There is a big difference in how they sound. And since this is IMHO, I prefer the silk tweeters. The metal ones sounds brighter but it gets tiring after a while, especially at higher volume.

Subs are nice, but not required. Depends on how loud you like to go. I have a single 8" in a sealed box, and it’s just right for me - solid bass, but not boomy.

Well, I went to Audio Express. I got a very nice pair of [url= SPS-170A speakers. I tested them in-store by putting in the best test CD I could think of–one of my Afro Celt Sound System CDs. They sound nicer than my old speakers (they had a tendency to shriek in the highs) and can actually take all the watts my amp can put out. The sale part was great. The install sucked.