By Lana Kumar. Car Audio. Published at Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 - 18:32:34 PM.
Sensitivity. Sensitivity measures how much sound a speaker yields from the power applied to it. If you have a low-powered car stereo (15 watts RMS per channel or less), like most that are factory-installed, speakers with high sensitivity ratings (over 90 dB) will make the best match. If you have a high-power system (16 watts RMS or more), like that provided by an aftermarket stereo or external amplifier, then consider speakers with lower sensitivity ratings. Properly powered, they'll provide excellent sound quality.
Take your tunes on the road. Fortunately, a healthy little industry has developed whose sole object is to help you connect your smartphone or music player to your factory stereo. Want to hook up your iPod? You'll find iPod adapters that'll connect you to factory radios from nearly every major car manufacturer. These adapters allow you to: play your iPod through your factory sound system; choose between using your factory radio's controls or the iPod's controls to run your iPod; access all your iPod playlists; charge your iPod's battery while you drive.
External crossovers. Component systems typically use passive external crossovers to achieve clean separation between the frequencies sent to the woofer and tweeter. The woofer and tweeter don't waste energy by trying to reproduce frequencies they're not intended to reproduce. As a result, you'll enjoy cleaner, more efficient sound reproduction.
If you drive a compact coupe or hatchback, a sports car, or a small-cab pickup, for instance, a 50 watts RMS per channel, or smaller, amp will probably do fine, overcoming road noises and adding clarity to your music. Look for speakers with a top RMS rating of at least 35 watts RMS (using the 75%150% rule) to go along with the amp. For larger vehicles and for those who just want more volume, you should step up to at least a 75 watts RMS per channel setup. A difference of 5 or 10 watts either way won't make any difference and probably can't even be heard. Matching speakers will need to each have a top RMS rating of 50 watts RMS or more.
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