To this day I haven’t come across a pair of factory 4×6 car speakers that I’ve been blown away by. There is a myriad of issues that I’ve come across with factory sets, whether it’s being unable to get loud without the sound distorting or durability issues. That’s why whenever I get a brand new car, I’m always on the hunt for the best aftermarket car speaker replacements I can find.
In this article, I’ve reviewed what I consider to be the best 4×6 speakers for 2020.
Finding the Ideal Pair of Speakers
Being a reviewer has its perks: I always get to try out different pairs of car speakers before I pick out my favourite. However, if you have neither the time nor the money to do that, there’s a much easier way. For instance, you can get a very accurate idea of what a speaker is going to sound like by finding out what materials it’s made out of. You can also gauge the quality of its construction the exact same way.
You could also determine whether a certain speaker is compatible with your car’s stereo system by looking at a few technical details. This includes power-handling, impedance, and sensitivity. Don’t worry if you’re confused by these terms because I’ll be breaking down each one as simple as possible.
Polypropylene, Polyethirimide…you may see these terms thrown around a lot in speaker product info sections. But what are they and why are they used to make speaker components? Let’s find out:
Woofer Cone Materials
A woofer cone vibrates inside the speaker and pushes out the low frequencies (i.e. the bass). Ideally, it needs to be light enough so that it can vibrate as much as it needs to and still be stiff enough to retain its shape and prevent excessive rattling when you crank up the stereo volume. Rattling can lead to the bass gaining more distortion that it should, which can lead to a very annoying listening experience.
Polypropylene is a polymer material that checks off both of these requirements and plus it’s very durable and not that expensive to make. That’s why it’s such a common woofer cone material. Other common materials include paper, metal, graphite, Kevlar…etc. In my experience, I’ve found paper cones (especially untreated ones) to be adequately stiff but unable to withstand harsh temperatures and humidity. So if you’re in the market for paper cones, always look for the treated kind.
Woofer Surround Materials
The surround is the thin material that covers the edge of a woofer cone, keeping it from vibrating so hard that it shifts to a different position inside the speaker basket. At the same time, it shouldn’t be so stiff that it hinders the amount of vibration that needs to happen or the bass will end up sounding muted at higher volumes, becoming overpowered by higher frequencies.
For these reasons, rubber is commonly used to make surrounds. In addition to being both stiff and flexible, rubber is also quite durable against heat, cold, high and low humidity levels. You may also find surrounds that are made of foam and cloth, which are also stuff but may not be as durable as rubber surrounds.
The tweeter is the speaker component that handles all the upper frequencies in your music. This includes things like falsetto vocals and treble instruments the likes of guitars, ukuleles, violin, flute…etc. Tweeters come in two different forms: soft tweeters and hard tweeters.
Soft tweeters are commonly made of textiles like silk or polymers such as Polyetherimide (PEI), which give the highs a very mellow, warm and clear sound. You can hear all the details with soft tweeters. The downside is that soft tweeters tend to rattle excessively when you push the volume too hard. This causes the upper frequencies to become overly distorted.
Hard tweeters, made from material like metal, graphite or ceramics, don’t have this problem. The upper frequencies they output sound very clean (even at loud volumes) and are quite sharp. They’re able to cut through road noise that you may have to tolerate on your daily commute. Most of the time, they also add a little brightness to the sound, which you may or may not enjoy.
Power-Handling, Speaker Impedance And Sensitivity
There’s a limit to the amount of power that you can safely supply to a speaker before it overheats and suffers damage. This is known as its power-handling rating and it’s measured in two different ways: peak-power handling and RMS. The former tells you the absolute maximum amount of power (in watts) that you can supply to a speaker. In other words, the instant you go beyond it, the speaker may blow. In contrast, the latter indicates what it can safely receive on a consistent basis. Hence, I find the RMS to be a more useful specification.
If the RMS is between 2-50 watts, I make sure to only pair the speaker up with a low-powered car stereo. If it’s rated at 60 watts or more, then I’d feel more assured about connecting it to a high-powered stereo.
Most 4×6 speakers have relatively low power-handling ratings which means that you shouldn’t pair them up with high-powered audio systems.
The impedance (measured in ohms) tells you how strongly a speaker resists the current that is supplied to it. If the impedance is too low, the speaker will draw lots of power, placing a huge workload on the amplifier. Eventually, the amplifier may overheat and start to malfunction.
On the other hand, if the impedance is too high, the speaker may not draw enough current, causing the sound quality to drop significantly.
Most speakers have an impedance of 4 ohms, which appears to allow the speaker to have enough power while keeping the amplifier from becoming too stressed-out. Some speakers may have their impedance set at 3 ohms to compensate for the high-resistance under-sized wires that you might find in some modern vehicles.
Sensitivity (measured in decibels) will tell you how loud a speaker will get when driven by just one watt of power. For instance, if a speaker’s sensitivity is 85dB that means it’ll reach moderately loud volumes when you supply one watt to it. For each additional 3dB, you typically need to double the amount of power. So in this case, if you supply two watts, the speaker will output sound at 88dB.
If you’ve got a low-powered stereo then you’re better off with a highly-sensitive speaker. This will allow you to listen to music really loudly without having to drive too much power behind the speaker.
The Type Of Speaker
There are two types of speakers to choose from: Full-range and Component. Here’s a brief overview of each:
In their simplest forms, full-range speakers contain a tweeter and woofer only- the bare minimum required to handle the lower and upper frequencies in music. More complicated models will include an additional sound driver, typically either a midrange driver or supertweeter. The former handles the ‘middle frequencies’ which dictate how ‘present’ the sound will be while the latter processes extended upper frequencies- the really high-pitched sounds.
Full-range speakers are generally easy to install and are available at a variety of price points.
Component speakers contain crossovers which separate a signal into bass, middle and treble frequencies and direct them to the appropriate sound driver. This leads to better imaging, which is to say that the speaker will more accurately replicate where the instruments were placed in the original mix. Hence, high-quality component speakers can give more of a ‘live’ feel to the music; as if you’re seated center row inside a concert hall, watching a performance.
Component speakers are typically made of better quality material than full-range ones. This means that they’re often more expensive.
Best 4×6 Car Speakers
Now that you understand what factors to consider when looking for a pair of aftermarket car speakers, let’s take a look at my top five 4×6 picks for 2020:
- 4"X6" Polypropylene woofer
- 1/2" Pei domed tweeter
- Frequency range: 50-20, 000 Hz
- Impedance: 4 ohms
Ribbed Polyester Foam Surround
Unlike most speakers, the Kicker 43DSC4604 comes with a polyester foam surround instead of a rubber one. While regular foam is much less durable than rubber, modern variants like polyester foam fare much better against extremes of temperature and humidity.
Furthermore, regular foam can often be so stiff that it prevents the cone from vibrating to its fullest extent. In contrast, the43DSC4604’s polyester form surround contains ‘ribs’, allowing more freedom to travel. The result is that no details in the bass are inhibited and it feels more powerful as the speaker pumps it out with greater impact.
Polypropylene Woofer Cone
This classic woofer cone material made sure that the low-end coming from the Kicker 43DSC4604 didn’t distort whenever I pushed the volume.
The Kicker 43DSC4604 contains a Polyetherimide (PEI) tweeter which doesn’t protrude out of the door panel and get in your way while you’re trying to drive. The ‘zero-protrusion’ design also makes installation easier as it eliminates any need for modification.
The Tech Specs
The Kicker 43DSC4604 has a maximum RMS of 30 watts, which means its best suited for low-powered stereos. It has a sensitivity of 88dB, which means that this speaker doesn’t really need that much power in the first place in order to get loud.
Finally, the 43DSC4604’s impedance is rated at 4 ohms, which means that it won’t put too much of a load on the amplifier.
- Excellent sound reproduction with no extra low-end distortion at loud volumes
- Low-profile tweeter design makes it compatible with a wider variety of car interiors
- Highs tended to distort a bit whenever I got close to max volume
- Only compatible with low-powered stereos
- The Punch P1462 is an impressive 2-way full-range speaker designed for...
- The P1462 4"x6" 4-Ohm black speakers come as a pair, have a power...
- Featuring a PEI dome tweeter with built-in crossover and injection...
- FlexFit basket design utilizes slots instead of single screw sized...
- Famous Rockford Fosgate build quality with a full 1-year warranty when...
Reinforced Woofer Cone
The P1462’s polypropylene woofer cone is injected with minerals for additional stiffness. This meant that I never had to worry about the low-end becoming overly distorted whenever I cranked up the volume.
Vertical Attach Surround Technique (VAST™)
Rockford Fosgate uses a special technique called VAST when attaching a rubber surround to the P1462’s woofer cone. This increases the cone area by 25%, allowing it to push out more ‘air’ and soundwaves. As a result, the bass coming out of the P1462 sounds particularly ‘massive’ while still retaining every last detail.
Being a polymer material, PEI produces highs that are smooth and nuanced as long as you keep the music playing at moderately loud volumes. Push beyond that, however, and you’ll notice the upper frequencies progressively breakup more and more.
The benefit of having a built-in crossover as opposed to an external one is that you don’t have to spend extra effort installing it separately inside the speaker basket.
The Tech Specs
The Rockford Fosgate P1462 has a maximum RMS of 35 watts, so I would suggest that you avoid hooking this up to a high-powered stereo at all costs. Besides, with a sensitivity of 87.5dB, you don’t really need all that much power to get really loud with this speaker.
- Rich-sounding bass which refuses to distort at high volumes
- Excellent imaging thanks to the built-in crossover
- Easy installation
- Not compatible with high-powered car stereos
- Upper frequencies tended to distort at high volumes
- 135W 4x6" Reference Series Coaxial Car Speakers with Edge-driven,...
- 135 Watts Max Each, 45 Watts RMS Each Edge-driven, textile tweeters...
- 3.0 Ohms Impedance Sensitivity: 92 dB
Plus One Woofer Cone Design
There are many things that I loved about the Infinity REF-6422cfx but the bass response makes the top of that list. The low-end is immensely powerful, coming at you with such a force that you can actually ‘feel’ it as much as hear it.
This is all thanks to the Plus One design which increases the surface area of the woofer cone by 30%. As a result, the cone is able to get more frequencies out, allowing as much detail to come out as possible. At the same time, more ‘air’ is pushed out, which is what makes the bass sound so ‘thick’ and ‘punchy’.
Despite the lower dampening abilities of textile tweeters, I absolutely love how they make the highs sound. I listen to a lot of rock and metal, where treble instruments pretty much dominate the music. With silk tweeters, the harshness of the upper frequencies is taken out, allowing all the nuances in those heavy guitar riffs to really come out.
The Tech Specs
With a maximum RMS of 45 watts, the Infinity REF-6422cfx can handle a little bit more power than most 4×6 speakers in the market. However, I still wouldn’t pair it up with a high-powered speaker just because I might mistakenly drive up the volume a little too much, possibly blowing it out for good.
The REF-6422cfx doesn’t really need that much anyway, considering that it’s got the highest sensitivity out of all the speakers on this list (92dB). This means that you can still reach louder volumes by hooking it up to a low-powered speaker.
Finally, this speaker uses True Four Ohm Impedance technology. This means that the actual impedance of the speaker is 3 ohms but the speaker wire adds 1 ohm, bringing the total resistance showed to the amplifier to 4 ohms.
- Powerful bass with high clarity in details
- Warm, refined highs
- High Sensitivity
- High frequencies tend to turn harsh at loud volumes
- Not compatible with high-powered audio systems
- Pair of marine certified speakers perfect for use in boats of all...
- Equipped with a 0.75 inch liquid cooled silk polymer composite dome...
- Maximum input power: 150 watts
- Equipped with a dynamic balance polymer/mica composite mineral filled...
- Durable butyl rubber surround stands up to the stress of extreme...
Mica-Reinforced Woofer Cone
Mineral-filled polypropylene woofer cones are much stiffer than regular ones, and that means you can crank up the volume without having to deal with annoying rattling and distortion in the low-end.
Just like the Rockford Fosgate P1462, the Polk Audio DB461P features a built-in crossover, which took any extra hassle out of the installation process.
Silk/Polymer composite Tweeter
The Polk Audio DB461P’s tweeter gives you the best of both worlds: the mellow, refined sound of silk combined with the added stiffness of polymer. This meant that I could crank up the volume without causing the higher frequencies to sound harsh.
This silk in this tweeter is actually liquid-cooled, which improves its ability to dissipate heat. This meant that I could listen to music for extended periods of time without worrying about the tweeter overheating.
The Tech Specs
The Polk Audio DB461P has the highest power-handling rating (50 watts maximum RMS) of all the speakers on this list. However, it’s still not fit to be paired up with a high-powered stereo system in my opinion. If the maximum RMS was above 60 watts, I’d be more comfortable doing that.
However, this speaker will work well with low-powered stereo systems, considering its got sensitivity of 91dB. It certainly doesn’t need a whole lot of power to get loud!
- Excellent sound reproduction with no added distortion at higher volumes
- Easy to install
- High-quality imaging
- High Sensitivity
- Can’t be safely hooked up to a high-powered car stereo
- TRIAXIAL SPEAKER SYSTEMS: The woofer feature an eye-catching blue poly...
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- MIDRANGE TWEETER: Pyle Pro three way sound speaker system has one-inch...
- DEFINITE STRUCTURE: The 20 oz magnet structure, 1” neodymium film...
- POWERFUL FEATURES: The non-fatiguing butyl rubber surround keeps your...
Poly Injection Cone
Aesthetic wise, the Pyle 4” x 6” is probably my favourite. The blue finish on the woofer cone contrasts nicely with the matt black surround and exterior. It could definitely add a pinch of colour to an otherwise dull interior.
The woofer cone is injected with a polymer material that supposedly adds more stiffness without increasing the weight. Sound-wise, I can tell you that the speaker delivers when it comes to the low-end. The bass thumps with tons of power behind it and you can crank up the volume without it suffering from muddiness.
There’s a reason why the bass sounds so good with this speaker and it’s because of the included midrange driver making the overall sound feel more ‘forward-placed’. Hearing music through a speaker with a dedicated midrange driver is like coming out of a case of glass and hearing the music louder out in the open, with way more clarity.
The Tech Specs
The Pyle 4” x 6” tops the list when it comes to power-handling, with a maximum RMS of 60 watts. Finally, a 4×6 speaker that I’m comfortable hooking up to a high-powered car stereo! However, this speaker doesn’t actually need a lot of power to get loud, considering its sensitivity rating of 89dB. Lastly, its impedance is rated at 4 ohms, which means it won’t stress out the amplifier.
- ‘Huge’ bass sound that doesn’t distort when driven
- The blue finish on the cone is quite nice to look at
- Compatible with both high-powered and low-powered speakers
- Midrange tweeter makes the overall sound feel more ‘present’
- Upper frequencies tend to distort when the volume is pushed past moderately loud levels.
The Best Overall…
While I’d have been quite happy with any one of these five speakers, there was only space for one pair in my car. So, I ended up choosing the Polk Audio DB461P. My main reason for it is the sound. I’ve always preferred the more mellow sound of soft tweeter but hated the fact that I couldn’t push them too hard. With the silk/polymer combination in the DB461P’s this problem is taken care of. Furthermore, the extra stiff polypropylene woofer cone and the built-in crossover really help to keep everything sounding ‘huge’ and detailed.
Since it’s a highly sensitive speaker, I could still reach really loud volumes with the Polk Audio DB461P while having it connected to a low-powered stereo. Needlessly to say, my morning commute karaoke sessions were never a dull thing with this 4×6 speaker.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Best Speakers For A Truck?
I find that 6.5 speakers are the perfect size for trucks. So here are my recommendations for 2019:
- JBL GTO629
- JVC CS-J620
- Infinity REF-6522EX
- Pioneer TS-A1680F
- Polk Audio DB6501
What Are The Best 5.25 Speakers?
Brands like Rockford Fosgate, Kicker and Pioneer consistently produce excellent 5.25 speakers. Here are the five models I’d personally recommend:
- Rockford Fosgate R1525X2
- Kicker CSC5
- Rockford Fosgate P152
- Pioneer TS-G1320S
- Polk Audio DB522
What Are The Best 6×9 Speakers For Sound Quality?
I’d suggest looking into these models which I’ve personally tested and liked:
- Rockford Fosgate Punch Series P1692
- JBL GTO939
- CT Sounds Meso
- Infinity REF-9623ix
- Pyle Pl6984BL
Are Pyle Speakers Good?
Yes. All the Pyle speakers I’ve tried so far, including the 4×6 3-way speaker, have been excellent. The sound output is crisp and detailed and the construction seems durable although I’d need to spend a few months with one to truly attest to the latter.
What Is The Best 6×9 Speaker For Bass?
Both the Infinity REF-9623ix and JBL GTO939 are highly recommended.
The products featured on this page were last updated on 2020-08-25 at 20:12 /. Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.