Looking for the best coaxial car speakers? Then look no further. Here are a selection of our favorites that you can buy today.
Car speakers and microphones do the same thing, just in different directions. Essentially, the microphone takes a pressure wave of sound and uses a diaphragm to catch the air. The movement of that diaphragm makes a coil of wire fixed to its back, move within a magnet gap, which then makes a signal go up the wire. Meanwhile, speakers take a wire with watts in it – way bigger than the microphone’s one, and turn it back into sound.
What you need to know is that if you’re tired of your car’s mediocre standard audio, speakers are the immediate and best way to upgrade your setup. However, you need to take a few things into account. The budget is the first one of course, followed by if the speakers will fit in your car. There are standard sizes of all speakers for cars, measured in centimeters. Thing is, the high power handling ones have beefy magnets on their behinds, so some will only fit in bigger cars. Ultimately, it’s always safest to get an expert to check mounting depths for you.
Coaxial Speakers: What Are We Looking For?
These speakers that we’re looking at in this article are the coaxial type. That means there is a tweeter assembled with a mid-bass driver in the same chassis, which creates a single source – or ‘point source’ for your sound. This is inherently cool and is used by fancy HiFi brand Cabasse for their home stereo stuff, for instance. So as you can see, coaxial does not mean low quality, it just means compact. Your car will have it’s own relevant mounting locations and size requirements, but for comparison purposes, we’ve used the 6.5inch size of each speaker to fairly assess technical and musical ability. The bullet points that you’ll find below list the sizes that each line of speakers are available to purchase in.
Our shortlist ranges from entry-level, to upper-midway, to sheer awesome. After each one, we’ll name our favorite model from each line, if we were to pick one. You, however, will have to make your choice based upon size & compatibility with your own project car.
MTX Terminator TR65C
RRP: from $39.95 / £34.95. Buy it here.
The most major issue with new coaxial speakers for your car is any eventual upgrade. Loudspeakers have various specifications and how many watts they take without dying is one. That’s the famous one. The ‘secret one’ is sensitivity or efficiency. Put just one watt (called 2.83V as signal level in the specifications) into a speaker, then at one meter away, measure how loud it is in watts – you need an anechoic chamber or an outdoors lab to do this right. Anyway, some speakers can be MUCH louder on less watts than others. Sadly, super efficiency comes with lower power handling. It is a very rare and posh speaker that can do big power and yet be sensitive. It is all about the soft parts that move.
Speaker makers brag about their cone material being light and stiff and the suspensions being extra wibbly-wobbly. They brag about the material their tweeters are made of and their voice coils’ technology. In this case, these are an affordable speaker that MTX expect you not to use the grille with. Ideal as a drop-in replacement, the 92.5dB sensitivity means they will rock on stock power. The suspension is real rubber and the cone is a pretty electroplated polypropylene injection molding. They’re fabulous value and those 22kHz tweeters will make the details sing.
- Power Handling/Impedance: 65W RMS/4ohms
- Sensitivity: 92.5dB @ 2.83V (1W)/1m
- Frequency Range: 48Hz to 22kHz
- Made as: 4in, 5.25in, 6.5in, 6x9in
- Best coaxial car speakers in the range? The 5.25in XTR50C is fabulous value. View price comparisons for it below.
RRP: $80.00 / £75.00. Buy it here.
Features like square voice coil wire on heat-proof Kapton bobbins is the sort of tech you expect from posh subwoofers. The square wire means more metal in the magnet gap and therefore more shove from Fleming’s left hand rule! Here, despite a lowish 60W RMS power rating, Alpine are saying that this is a high power design and can handle peaks of 240W, which is believable in the face of its way lower 88.5dB efficiency. That is 4dB less than the MTX. Essentially, it means that while the MTX is great on stock power, these may not be as loud. But if you’re using even a small amplifier, rather than OEM power, or a head unit, these will be awesome.
The tweeters are a soft silk dome type, the absolute best thing you want to see. Only a 20mm one though at the price. Their magnets are Neodymium and so despite looking quite small, have the thrust of a much bigger normal Ferrite. Neodymium is surprising to see at this price point – it makes the tweeters’ sound very high end and detailed. The main drivers have normal ferrite magnets as it is still just a 60W RMS speaker. Overall, these are lovely coaxials, from a well-renowned brand.
- Power Handling/Impedance: 60W RMS/4ohms
- Sensitivity: 88.5.5dB @ 2.83V (1W)/1m
- Frequency Range: 68Hz to 20kHz
- Made as: 4in, 5.25in, 6.5in, 6x9in two-way and three-way versions
- Best coaxial car speakers in the range? The 6×9 SPG-69C2 is worthy
Focal Auditor ACX165S
RRP: $100.00 / £99.99. Buy it here.
This brand’s product range goes all the way up to a home speaker called GRAND UTOPIA, which tower over most at seven feet tall each. However, Focal know a lot about loudspeakers and are known for making really good affordable stuff as well, like these, their entry level offerings. The 6.5in size of Auditor ACX comes in two kinds, one regular, one shallow-mount, while the other models are the regular basket and magnet. On top of that, Focal offer the rare 5×7 oval in this line, too.
The truly bonkers thing is that the ACX165S is not merely shallower of basket, it has higher power handling, too. The 70W RMS is also married to a 93dB sensitivity, somehow 1.5dB better than the chunkier one. The fatter ACX165 is a bit less in price, handles 10W less and has that 1.5dB lesser sensitivity. How the ACX165S has these specs is bonkers, and took checking via data sheets as it seemed hard to believe.
The tweeter is an exotic Mylar inverted dome, a classic bit of Focal smarts, under a really cool ‘F’ grille. The polypropylene main woofer cone has a rubber surround suspension, for durability and a good clean sound. The whole mounting depth issue is a big thing and Focal have really addressed this with the ACX165S: get the regular ones if money is tighter and space allows, but generally we’d steer you in the way of the shallower ones if you can afford the extra cost, even if space is not snug. These coaxial speakers are great for using on OEM power, but are even better on a Focal amplifier.
- Power Handling/Impedance: 70W RMS/4ohms
- Sensitivity: 93B @ 2.83V (1W)/1m
- Frequency Range: 60Hz to 21kHz
- Made as: 4in, 5.25in, 6.5in, 5x7in, 6x9in
- Best coaxial car speakers in the range? This ACX165S is amazing
JBL Stadium GTO620
RRP: $210.00 / £209.99. Buy it here.
JBL will never stop letting you know that they are the fathers of live sound. Their ranges of car speakers are called after venues: Stage, then Club, and then this Stadium range. Not cheap, Stadium are only available in the big ol’ 6.5in coax and mighty 6×9 oval – no messing about with smaller ones. These have a totally huge set of features. They are not a standard 4ohm speaker but rather show just 2ohms to an amp, which is important as most amps are able to drop more watts into a 2ohm load than a 4ohm. Normally you get special 2ohm subwoofers, or more than one, and wire them up right to show low impedance.
Unheard-of levels of rare amongst coaxials, this 2ohm impedance thing makes them bonkers loud on normal amps. The glass fiber woofer is light and stiff and is a Plus One design. With 25% more surface area crammed into any given chassis size. It works and makes bigger bass.
Part of what you are paying for is the absurd high efficiency along with high power. These offer 95dB for one watt, so if you shove 75W RMS up them, it makes mayhem. The bass is stupefying, just look at their frequency passband in the spec sheet below. This speaker runs happily down to 45Hz, the very frequency cited on most amps as the ‘Bass Boost’ central, and lower than any referenced in this article. That translates to richer, fatter tones. A set of these, the 6x9s and a 4ch amp, and you’ll be an audio hooligan with that classic rich, rocking JBL sound.
- Power Handling/Impedance: 75W RMS/2ohms
- Sensitivity: 95dB @ 2.83V (1W)/1m
- Frequency Range: 45Hz to 25kHz
- Made as: 6.5in, 6x9in
- Best coaxial car speakers in the range? The mad GTO693 6×9 is crazy
Morel Maximo Ultra 602
RRP: $200.00 / £189.00. Buy it here.
Morel make some mind-bendingly expensive car speakers and are more hardcore in automotive than HiFi than many think. Morel’s idea of entry-level is over four times the price of the MTX Terminator we mentioned at the beginning – evidence of a high-end approach, I guess you could say. The Maximo Ultra 602 is absolutely meant as a very high quality (but in Morel terms) affordable speaker set to replace your stock ones. It’s got proper high power handling at 90W RMS yet a serious 91dB sensitivity, which means really sophisticated engineering. Now in its MKII guise, the Maximo Ultra’s tweeter features Morel’s EVC External Voice Coil tech for absurd high frequency control.
They say it sets new standards for high power handling and low distortion for the price. Morel used computer modelling to make the suspension of the mid woofer more linear under low midrange frequencies. That makes for better bass dynamics with less distortion.
It adds up to a ridiculous slice of performance with a rich bass that is faster than most. A particularly Morel thing, the leading edges of bass notes are carried in a tighter way that makes the whole sound just a level up from normal. Also, this speaker system was designed to sound good off-axis, deliberately – Morel knows that stock speaker locations will be used for these and they are often in bad locations, sound-wise. This is not a cheap option, but it really is very good.
- Power Handling/Impedance: 90W RMS/4ohms
- Sensitivity: 91dB @ 2.83V (1W)/1m
- Frequency Range: 55Hz to 20kHz
- Made as: 4in, 5.25in, 6.5in, 6x9in
- Best coaxial car speakers in the range? This very Ultra 602
JL Audio C2-650x
RRP: $250.00. Buy it here.
JL Audio started as the brand of pressed steel chassis woofer that simply won every sound off about sound quality. Suddenly, across all the car audio SQ contests, unless you had JL subs, you didn’t have the best sounding lows. That was along time ago. To this day my overall ‘best woofer ever’ remains the JL W7. Just a hairsbreadth less snug than the Morel one I was so impressed with, theirs can do incredible rich bass. It has both control and awesome goose-bumpiness! In the years since, their full range speakers have also evolved massively. JL make some lovely entry level stuff and they make some that are up there with the finest that exist.
These ones are from their C2 range, with technology filtered-down from the fancier C5 range. High quality 19mm silk dome tweeters are married to mineral filled polypropylene bass cones. You can get C2 speakers as coaxials as well as components with fancier off-board passive crossovers.
Like so many of these, the coaxials’ frames have multiple sets of mounting holes. Although it looks like Swiss cheese along the edge as so many different ‘standard’ sets of mounting screw position exist, it works well and means easy installation in stock locations.
- Power Handling/Impedance: 60W RMS/4ohms
- Sensitivity: 91dB @ 2.83V (1W)/1m
- Frequency Range: 59Hz to 22kHz
- Made as: 3.5in, 4in, 5.25in, 6in, 6.5in, 6x9in
- Best coaxial car speakers in the range? C2-350X cute THREE inch!