Being an audiophile, I’ve always been very picky about what pair of 6 ¾ speakers I install in my car. To this day, I’ve never come across a factory set that I’ve truly enjoyed. They’re either missing details in the sound, constantly distorting at high volumes or generally don’t last very long.
Having bought a new car this year, I set out to find the best 6 ¾ speakers. This consisted of testing out around 15 or so different pairs of speakers and I managed to shortlist my favourites down to top five picks. You can read my review of them in this article.
How Do You Decide On The Best 6.75 Car Speaker?
Before we dive into my top five picks for 2019, I want to delve into how you can find the 6.75 car speaker that will suit you best. Ideally, you want something that’s perfectly compatible with your existing car stereo system and has tonal characteristics that match your own preferences. But how can you know these things about a speaker without actually trying it out?
Speaker-stereo compatibility is easily determined by looking at three main technical specifications: power-handling, sensitivity, and speaker impedance. If you’ve never come across these terms before, don’t worry. I’ll be explaining what they are and why they matter.
How do you figure out how a speaker is going to sound? The materials that make up the speaker components have a huge impact on the sound. So by looking at the different kinds of materials included, you can figure out what sort of tone you’ll get from the bass, middle and treble frequencies.
Power-Handling, Sensitivity And Speaker Impedance
With each speaker, there’s a limit to how much power they can safely receive or ‘handle’. This is known as its power-handling rating and it’s measured in watts. This is a particularly important factor when determining a good fit for your existing stereo. For example, if you’ve got a high-powered stereo and a speaker that can’t handle all that much power, you may risk overheating the speaker and causing damage if you drive up the volume constantly and thereby push more power into it.
There are two main power-handling specifications that you’ll often find listed in the speaker’s product info. That’s ‘peak-power handling’ and ‘RMS’. The former indicates the absolute maximum amount of power you can supply to the speaker before you risk blowing it. On the other hand, RMS specifies how much power you can supply to the speaker on a continuous basis.
Personally, I always pay more attention to a speaker’s RMS. If it’s between 2-50 watts, then I only pair it up with a low-powered speaker. If the upper range is 60 or more, then I’d be more comfortable connecting it to a high-powered one.
Sensitivity measures how loud a speaker will get (in decibels) when you transfer a single watt of power to it. For instance, if a speaker’s sensitivity is 85dB that means it’ll get decently loud when you power it up with one watt. Typically, in order to get an additional 3dB, you need to keep doubling the amount of power supplied. So in this case, with two watts the speaker will reach 88db.
I usually look at sensitivity to figure out how well a speaker might work with a low-powered stereo. This is because, the higher the sensitivity, the lower the amount of power I need to supply in order to reach loud volumes. Hence, unless a speaker has a sensitivity of 88dB or more, I’m usually pairing it up with a high-powered speaker.
Speakers don’t just accept all the current that is supplied to them; they actually show a little resistance to it. This is known as speaker impedance and it’s measured in ohms. Speaker impedance is important because it lets you know how much of a load will be placed on the amplifier. Let me explain:
If a speaker’s impedance is too low that means it’s going to be drawing lots of current. In turn, this forces the amplifier to work hard constantly, perhaps to the point that its internal components overheat and get fried. On the other hand, if the impedance is too high, the speaker may not draw enough current. Speaking from experience, this generally causes the sound output to be quite weak and muddled. Hence, the impedance needs to be just right.
Most speakers have an impedance of 4 ohms. This appears to be ideal for receiving enough current while not placing a big load on the amplifier at the same time.
The Speaker Materials
Speaker materials affect both the sound and durability. Let’s look at the most important materials to take note of:
The Woofer Materials
Woofer cones vibrate to emit bass frequencies, which means that they need to be made out of lightweight material. At the same time, the material needs to be stiff enough to prevent the cone from ‘rattling’ when you push up the volume and it starts vibrating more intensely. This is known as dampening.
Because of these reasons, most woofer cones are made out of a polymer material called polypropylene. For additional stiffness, some speaker manufacturers may actually mix polypropylene with minerals like mica and carbon.
In addition to polypropylene, woofer cones may also be constructed out materials like paper, metals, ceramics, Kevlar and more, each having their own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, if you’re ever in the market for a paper cone, I’d always recommend making sure that it’s treated paper. While untreated paper is adequately stiff, it isn’t able to withstand extremes of temperature and humidity for long periods of time.
In addition to the woofer cone, it’s also worthwhile to know what the surround is made out of. The surround is the thin material that you’ll find wrapped around the edge of a woofer cone. It allows the cone to vibrate as much as it needs to but at the same time dampens out excessive movement so that it doesn’t end up shifting positions inside of the speaker.
Most often, surrounds are made of rubber because they’re both stiff and flexible, which makes them perfect for the task. In addition, you may find surrounds made out of foam and cloth as well.
Tweeters are components that handle the high frequencies and they can be split into two categories: ‘soft tweeters’ and ‘hard tweeters’. If your speaker produces highs that sound quite smooth, well-rounded and detailed, then it’s most likely got a soft tweeter.
Soft tweeters are most often made of textiles like silk, which sound just like what I’ve described above. However, they’re not the stiffest material, meaning that the tweeter will start to rattle if you crank up the volume too high.
Hard tweeters, on the other hand, don’t have this issue. They’re commonly made of graphite, ceramics, and metal, and they produce highs that cut through the mix quite well. This means that you won’t have to worry about traffic noise drowning out your music.
Deciding On The Type Of Speaker
You may have come across the terms ‘full-range speaker’ and ‘component speaker’. These are the two main types of car speakers, and they each have their own pros and cons.
You may find simpler and more complex versions of full-range speakers. The simple ones will contain just a tweeter and woofer while more advanced speakers will typically have one additional driver. Most often, this is either a supertweeter or a midrange-driver. A supertweeter processes the really high-pitched frequencies that a regular tweeter isn’t capable of handling while midrange-drivers handle frequencies between 250Hz 2000Hz, which determine how ‘in your face’ the music is.
You can find full-range speakers in a variety of price points and plus they’re quite easy to install. One drawback is that they’re usually made from lower quality material than component speakers.
Component speakers contain crossovers, which you won’t find in full-range speakers. These split sounds into bass, treble, and frequencies and send them to the appropriate driver. Not only does this lead to a more detailed sound output but also better imaging as well, which means that the speaker will more accurately reproduce the positions of the instruments in the original recording.
Component speakers are typically more expensive than full-range speakers.
Best 6.75 Car Speaker Reviews
The Rockford Fosgate P1675-S’s low-end gives a very lively feel to EDM music, delivering that ‘thump’ with a lot of impact. This has a lot to do with the Vertical Attach Surround Technique that Rockford Fosgate uses to attach the rubber surround to P1675-S’s polypropylene woofer cone. This technique increases the surface area of the cone by around 25%, which results in more ‘air’ and sound waves being pumped out.
P1675-S’s woofer cone is much stiffer than your average polypropylene one because of the addition of minerals. This means better dampening, which in turn allowed me to really crank up the bass and not have it lose any of its details to distortion.
Polyetherimide (PEI) Tweeters
PEI is a stiffer material than silk which meant that it could handle more volume without the upper frequencies becoming distorted. The highs coming from the Rockford Fosgate P1675-S have a lot of clarity and warmth to them, especially when you keep the volume at moderately loud levels. Things start to break up a little bit when you get closer to max volume but it was never as bad as what you might experience with silk tweeters.
The crossover was actually built into the woofer basket, meaning that I didn’t have to spend time installing it separately.
The Rockford Fosgate P1675-S has a power-handling rating of 6-60 watts RMS which means that I would be quite comfortable hooking it up to a high-powered stereo. That being said, it’ll work really well with low-powered stereo, considering that it has a high sensitivity of 92dB.
- Powerful bass with no added distortion at high volumes
- Warm, extremely-detailed highs
- No need to install crossover separately inside the speaker box
- Compatible with both high-powered and low-powered car stereos.
- Highs tend to distort a bit close to max volume
- 120 Watts Max Each, 60 Watts RMS Each
- Rigid polypropylene cone material
- UV-treated foam speaker surround
- 4 Ohms Impedance
- Sensitivity: 90dB
Ribbed Polyester Foam Surround
The Kicker 43DSC6704 sports a polyester foam surround instead of a traditional rubber one. Unlike regular foam, these modern variants come much closer to rubber in terms of being able to withstand tough temperature and humidity conditions. In addition, while regular foam can be too stiff, this type of polyester form contains ‘ribs’, which allow better travel for the woofer cones. This way the vibrations aren’t inhibited and the bass retains all of its details and ‘oomph’.
Polypropylene Woofer Cone
This one might not be filled with minerals, but it’s still stiff enough to let you pump up that low-end until your ears start to ring.
The Kicker 43DSC6704 contains a PEI tweeter that does not protrude, making installation possible with few to no modifications at all. This is quite useful for door mounts because it’ll stay out of your way while you’re driving.
The Tech Specs
The Kicker 43DSC6704 has a maximum RMS of 60 watts and a peak power handling of 240 watts, which means that it can be paired up with a high-powered audio system without any worries. Plus its sensitivity is 90dB, which means that this speaker can get really loud even without cranking the volume control all the way up. The latter also means that it’ll work just fine with a low-powered stereo.
Finally, the 43DSC6704’s impedance is rated at 4 ohms, which is both typical and safe.
- 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
- Compatible with both high-powered and low-powered stereos
- Highs tended to distort a bit whenever I got close to max volume
Rockford Fosgate R1675x2
- Vacuum Polypropylene cone
- Rubber surround
- Silk dome flush mounted tweeter. Frequency Response (Hz) - 52Hz -...
- Integrated tweeter crossover. Nominal Impedance (Ohms) - 4-Ohm....
- Grilles and mounting hardware included
Classic Woofer Cone and Surround Combination
The combination of a polypropylene woofer cone and a rubber surround just works in my opinion. The bass it produces has a very rich and nuanced sound and it hardly ever breaks up, even at really loud volumes. Most of the time, with this combination, you don’t really require a separate midrange-driver because the polypropylene woofer does such a great job of handling the middle frequencies. As a result, I never had to push the volume in order to hear the details in the music better.
Even if they aren’t as good at dampening, I still really love how silk tweeters shape the sound of upper frequencies. As long as you don’t push it to the point of breaking up, this tweeter will make all the treble instruments and high-pitched vocal lines sound as smooth and clear as possible.
The R1675X2’s silk tweeter is actually mounted onto the woofer cone, which shaves off a lot of space from the speaker. As a result, it’ll be able to fit into a greater variety of vehicles.
Just like with the P1675-S, I didn’t have to install the crossover separately thanks to it being built-in.
The Tech Specs
With a power-handling of 2-45 watts RMS, I’d only pair this up with a low-powered speaker just to be safe. However, this doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t be able to get really loud with this speaker. In fact the sensitivity rating of 91dB indicates otherwise.
Finally, its impedance is a very safe 4 ohms, which meant I could listen to music for hours at a time without stressing out the amplifier.
- Powerful, nuanced bass response and singing highs
- Built-in crossover makes installation easier and provides more accurate imaging
- Doesn’t take up a lot of space and so will fit in more vehicles
- Upper frequencies will distort past moderately loud volumes
Jl Audio C3-650
- 6-1/2" Evolution Series 2-Way Convertible Component Speaker System
- Peak: 300 watts per set / 150 watts each side
- Frequency Response: 48-25,000 Hz ± 3 dB
- Sensitivity: 93 dB
- Impedance: 4 ohm
Mica-Filled Polypropylene Cone
The JL Audio C3-650’s woofer cone is reinforced by mica, which meant that the low-end would never distort no matter how hard I pushed the volume. I listened to the likes of Guns ‘n Roses, Metallica, and Black Sabbath through the speakers and the bass guitars and drums sounded both impactful and clear each time. I could even hear all the details in the heavily distorted bass guitar lines in Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ album.
Glass-Filled Polymer Frame
I’m normally not concerned about the speaker frame as most don’t have anything special going on. However, the JL Audio C3-650 sports a glass-filled polymer frame that’s specifically designed to cut out any resonance, which is caused when two sound waves of the exact same frequency meet each other, causing the signal to be more amplified than it needs to. This, in turn, can lead to distortion in the sound.
Not only that, the frame actually uses a ferrofluid cooling mechanism to prevent the speaker from overheating. This meant that I could have my stereo on for hours without any problem.
Smooth, well-rounded highs with extreme clarity at moderate volumes – that’s what you get with this speaker thanks to a well-constructed silk tweeter.
The two crossovers present inside the JL Audio C3-650 were not only great at improving the imaging of the sound, but they also allowed me to tweak the midrange and tweeter level to my liking. The tweeter level control had four positions, which let you determine how pronounced the upper frequencies should be. It’s basically like being able to adjust the EQ curve of the music.
The JL Audio C3-650 is able to handle up to 75 Watts on a daily basis, which means that it can be safely connected to a high-powered speaker. If you’ve got a low-powered speaker you can still get loud with this speaker, thanks to its sensitivity of 90dB.
- Excellent low-end which makes drums and bass guitar sound especially powerful
- Speaker frame which eliminates any signal interference and doesn’t overheat
- Clear, detailed highs
- The ability to tweak tweeter and midrange levels
- Compatible with high-powered and low-powered speakers
- Upper frequencies tended to turn harsh when pushed
- The CS-Series delivers remarkable performance and ultra-clean bass,...
- By drastically reducing the mounting depth, CS-Series Coaxial and...
- The perfect upgrade from your factory sound, a stamped-steel framework...
- UV-treated poly-foam surround resists heat or direct sunlight
- Neodymium tweeter magnets allow for increased volume in high...
As Excellent as the Kicker 43DSC6704
There are a lot of features that this speaker shares with the 43DSC6704. First off, it also sports the same combination of a polypropylene woofer cone and ribbed polyester foam surround.
Likewise, the 46CSC674 also sports PEI tweeter, meaning that the quality of the bass and treble sounds are comparable between the two.
UV-treated Polyester Foam
While UV treatment doesn’t really make the 46CSC674’s low-end sound any different from the 43DSC6704, it does make the latter much more durable to extremes of temperature and humidity. We all know how hostile a door panel can get, especially during the winter and so I believe this is a really great feature to have.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two speakers is that the 46CSC674 has a much higher power-handling rating. In fact, at 100 watts, it has the largest RMS out of all the speakers on this list.
- Just as excellent a speaker as the Kicker 43DSC6704 with excellent sound reproduction and solid construction.
- UV-treated polyester foam surround makes the speaker more durable to harsh conditions
- Compatible with both high-powered and low-powered stereos
- High frequencies will turn harsh when you crank up the volume past moderate levels
The Best Overall 6.75 Speaker For Car Is ..
If I had to choose my favourite 6 ¾ speaker out of these top five, I’d have to go with the JL Audio C3-650. My choice was mainly based on the quality of its sound, which was truly excellent.
First of all, the extra-stiff polypropylene providing a low-end that’s nothing short of ‘massive’. Having two crossovers to separate the frequencies really made sure that all the instruments and vocal lines were panned as accurately as possible. It often made me feel like I was listening to a live performance rather than a recording. While the highs did distort at louder volumes, I just had to settle for not cranking up the volume as much. This is something I’m willing to endure considering all the other pros.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best 6.5 Speaker?
Here are the top five 6.5 speakers I’d recommend to anyone:
- JBL GTO629
- JVC CS-J620
- Infinity REF-6522EX
- Pioneer TS-A1680F
- Polk Audio DB6501
What Are The Best Car Speakers For Sound Quality?
If you’re in the market for a 6 ¾ speaker, then I’d recommend any of the five reviewed in this article. For any other size, you really can’t go wrong with brands such as Infinity, Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, JL Audio, Pioneeer…etc.
What Are The Best 6.5 Speakers For Bass?
If you want the very best for bass, look for speakers with extra-large woofer cones like the JBL GTO629 and Infinity REF-6522EX. The additional surface area helps the bass sound ‘bigger’.
Are 2 Or 3-Way Speakers Better?
Generally speaking 3-way speakers will better because of the additional driver, whether it’s a midrange-driver or a supertweeter. This leads to better clarity in sound and more accurate imaging.
Do You Need An Amp For Door Speakers?
An amp can certainly help push more power to your speakers and help improve the quality of sound. So it’s nice to have an amp but it’s not an essential component.
The products featured on this page were last updated on 2020-01-23 at 16:23 /. Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.