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Speaker Quality

Discussion in 'Audio' started by BlazerCol, Mar 19, 2001.

  1. BlazerCol

    BlazerCol Registered Member

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    Hey, how do u tell which speakers are good and which ones are a waste of money without hearing them? how many watts and oms and stuff are good if you want a good sound?
    Thanks!

    BlazerCol
    '88 K5
    Ford Sucks
     
  2. 91K5

    91K5 1/2 ton status

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    Well, the best way to tell is to go to a radio shop like I did, and listen to them. If you can't do this, just shop around for name brands, like Sony, Pioneer, Cerwin Vega, or another good name. Be forwarned, all speakers sound different, as I noticed when I tested mine at the local radion shop. I finally decided on a pair of 6"x9" 3-way Alpines, which to me sounded better than the offerings from all the other companies, it's just a matter of personal taste. As for wattage, they just need to be able to handle what your receiver or amp puts out, both in RMS and Peak specs. My Alpines handle something like 150 watts peak if I remember, and my Pioneer receiver puts out 45 watts/channel peak, so it works just fine. Make sure you don't get speakers that can't handle much power, your amp will be the death of them. Also avoid cheap off-brand speakers, they usually rate their speakers with exagerated specs. Hope this has helped you at least a little.
     
  3. Greg72

    Greg72 "Might As Well..." Staff Member Super Moderator

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    That's a sticky question but I bet a little common sense will help you weed out some of the "junk"....subwoofers especially will have some tell-tale signs of quality (or lack thereof)

    <font color=red>Speaker frame</font color=red> - is it a cast metal housing or a flimsy stamped metal frame?

    <font color=red>Magnet Structure</font color=red> - Is it unusually small for the size speaker it is supposed to drive? The magnet and coil need to be big enough to effectively control the motion of the speaker, and if the driver is large, it will take a strong magnetic field to move it...(big magnet and coil)

    <font color=red>RMS Power rating</font color=red> - probably more important than a "peak" power rating to describe the speakers sustainable power handling capability. To be honest, I am usually less concerned with a speakers power handling rating, and VERY concerned about the quality of the amplifier driving it. Even a high power-rated speaker can be blown by a small amount of watts from a poorly constructed amp. Once an amp reaches it's maximum output and "clips"...the waveform is not very analog-looking anymore, it is much more like a square-wave, and NO speaker is happy trying to replicate squarewave "DC-style" voltages.

    <font color=red>Speaker surround</font color=red> - Is it foam or rubber? A foam surround can decompose over time, especially if exposed to direct sunlight. A rubber surround is more durable, and I would guess it is also capable of longer excursion (more bass).

    There are no absolutes, but I would be willing to say that if a speaker appears to have been made with a flimsy frame, small magnet and coil structure and a cheap foam surround.....it's probably going to sound just as 'cheap'.

    There are plenty of people on this list who can offer you first hand experience on what they've tried so I'll leave the "brand name" recommendations to them.

    Good Luck!

    -Greg72
    '72 CST
    w/Big Bad 427
     
  4. Emmettology 101

    Emmettology 101 3/4 ton status

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    I usually always look for a Butyl Rubber surround. That give you a stronger speaker and a tighter low...

    Mike [​IMG]
    See <font color=green>EMMETT</font color=green> -&gt; <A target="_blank" HREF=http://emmett.coloradok5.com>http://emmett.coloradok5.com</A>

    "He who uses a winch...... Is tired of yankin!"
     
  5. KingSmoth

    KingSmoth Registered Member

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    Personally, I never go by specs on a speaker. If you bought by specs, you would end up with the biggest pieces of trash available. Overpowering/Underpowering speakers is really a myth. Give a speaker clean power, don't clip it, it should do just fine. I overpower everything, more is better.
    An amps peak rating is an "If Lightning Strikes" number - you will never see it. Go by RMS for everything.
    Structure of a sub doesn't mean everything. An example is the Image Dynamics IDQ - it has a very small magnet, yet people in dB Drag are hitting some good numbers running them.
    Now that I'm done with that...
    My recommendation is to seriously try and listen to different sets. Sound is subjective to the listener.
     
  6. Hathaway

    Hathaway 1/2 ton status

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    Rubber surround a better sub does not make. Pretty much any mid/high you buy these days has a rubber surround, which is a good thing, as being mounted in car doors does expose them too moisture. But subs are NOT mounted in car doors. So really the only benefit I've seen in rubber surrounds is if you've got them in direct sunlight. Now, in my K5 all the back windows are tinted, so that isn't a problem for me. If you've got nontinted windows however that may be a feature you want.

    Rubber surrounds don't make for better excursion. The new JL Audio W7 is a HUGE excursion driver and if I remember correctly its a foam surround on it. Foam is actually alot more flexible than rubber. So it could actually be that foam allows better excursion. I don't really think it makes a big difference though.

    Magnet size doesn't really make that huge of a difference either. As one guy said, Image Dynamics subs have pretty small magnets but work nicely. And some Audiobahn and other lower level brands have gigantic magnets and sound like arse. So don't go buy magnet weight as a judge of build quality. Magnet material also has alot to do with how good the magnetic field is.

    What I look at is a few things. One, does the sub sound good (if I can't listen to it I talk to people who have). Two, the connects, are they flimsy little leads or are they good solid connection? Those are the two big ones for me.

    As for brands, Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, Image Dynamics, Eclipse, JL Audio, Pioneer, Digital Designs, Adire Audio, there is pretty much an endless list to choose from. Find a driver in your price range comes with a good recomendation from some people you trust.

    Dan, '86 K5, 5.0L v8, NP208, TH700R4, open 10bolts front and rear, 3.43gearing, K&N filter, 31x10.50R15 Trailhandlers
     

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