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What Is a Coaxial Car Speaker?

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  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2016
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A coaxial car speaker is a component that can be found in the audio systems of many automobiles. These are typically the least expensive speaker options available for car audio systems, though they also tend to offer lower audio fidelity than component speakers. A typical coaxial car speaker consists of both a woofer and a tweeter and is connected to the car stereo by positive and negative wires, though a common ground is sometimes used as well. It is also possible to find 3-way and 4-way coaxial car speakers that include additional drivers and are capable of producing a wider range of tones.

Each coaxial car speaker consists of two or more drivers, and a common configuration is a woofer paired with a high range tweeter. Other configurations also exist, and a coaxial speaker can have more than two drivers. Each coaxial speaker has one large driver, and one or more smaller drivers are suspended within that cone by either a bridge or pole so that they are able to vibrate independently. Since the speaker drivers are all in the same location they can be referred to as a point source, which is when each different frequency appears to originate from a single source.

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Many cars and trucks come from the factory with coaxial type speakers, and it is typically possible to obtain aftermarket units that are designed to fit into the same spaces. Aftermarket coaxial car speakers often provide higher sound fidelity than factory units and are usually the easiest to install due to a similarity of size and shape. Mounting depth and tweeter protrusion are two factors that must be considered when installing an aftermarket coaxial car speaker, though an old speaker can often be removed and a new one dropped into its place. The relatively low cost of the speakers and of installation are the main advantages of these units. In order to obtain substantially better sound, alternative configurations are usually explored.

The alternative to coaxial car speakers is component speakers. Unlike a coaxial car speaker that contains two or more drivers, each component speaker is exclusively a subwoofer, woofer, midrange, or tweeter. The main disadvantage of coaxial speakers is a relatively low level of sound fidelity in comparison to component speakers. Since component speakers each house only a single driver, they are typically capable of producing higher fidelity sound. Coaxial speakers are usually limited to about 80Hz at the low range, so component subwoofers are typically used to achieve lower tones.

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