If you’re an audiophile like me, then having factory speakers in your car just isn’t going to cut it. Typically, factory speakers are made from low-quality materials, so you’re not going to get the most accurate sound reproduction through them. That’s why I always start looking for their replacement whenever I switch vehicles.
This year, I began hunting for the best 6.5 component speakers for my brand new Honda Civic. I’ve reviewed my top five picks below.
Best 6.5 Component Car Speakers
- Best 6.5 Component Car Speakers
- Buying Guide for 6.5 Component Speakers
- My Top Picks For Best 6.5 Component Speakers
- Best Overall 6.5 Component Car Speakers
Buying Guide for 6.5 Component Speakers
Before we actually get into the reviews, I want to talk about what factors you should consider when choosing a 6.5 component speaker for your own car stereo.
First of all, you need to make sure that the particular speaker is compatible with your stereo, by looking at its power-handling, impedance and sensitivity ratings. Secondly, you need to be able to anticipate how the speaker is going to sound. The materials present inside the speaker will give you a good idea about this.
If you’re new to the world of speakers and what I just said sounded like Greek to you, don’t worry. In this article, I’ve broken down everything you need to know into very simple explanations, starting with:
What Are Component Speakers?
Component speakers differ from full-range speakers in a couple of different ways. The most important distinction is that they come with crossovers. Crossovers are components that take incoming sound, split it into bass, middle and treble frequencies and then pass each into the appropriate sound driver. So the bass will go to the woofer, the middle frequencies to the mid-range driver and the treble to the tweeter.
This separation of frequencies gives you clarity that you simply can’t get without a crossover. This is because all the drivers receive the exact frequency range that they are designed to handle.
The Tech Specs
Power handling refers to the maximum amount of power (in watts) that a speaker can handle without suffering any damage. This is a very important spec to look at when you’re deciding which speaker to buy. If your car stereo system outputs more power than the speaker can handle, it’s going to overheat and eventually blow.
The actual spec you need to pay attention to is the ‘Maximum RMS’, which tells you how much power a speaker can withstand on a continuous basis. If the RMS is anywhere between 2-50 watts then it’s best paired with a low-powered system. If the rating is above 50 watts, then it can be paired up with a high-powered system.
If you’ve swapped out speakers before, then you may have noticed that different speakers often tend to respond differently to the volume control. Some are actually louder than others even at the same volume. This has to do with the speaker’s sensitivity.
Sensitivity (measured in decibels) refers to how loud a speaker gets when one watt of power is supplied. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to sensitivity ratings:
- A rating between 80 to 90 dB is considered good because you can achieve a moderately loud volume at very low power
- A rating above 90 dB is excellent because you don’t need to provide much power to get loud
- A rating below is 80 is typically considered poor because you need supply lots of power to get a decent volume out of the speaker.
A common misconception is that if the sensitivity is 85dB, for example, then each watt added should increase the volume by 85dB. If that was the case, we’d all blow our eardrums while listening to music in the car! The reality is that after the first watt, every additional 3dB of watts requires double the power. So in this case, two watts will give you 88dB.
The amplifier in your stereo supplies current to the speaker. The amount of resistance that the speaker shows to this current is called the impedance and it’s measured in ohms. What is necessary to pay attention to the impedance? Because it determines how much load will be placed on the amplifier.
If the speaker has very low impedance, that means a lot of current will be drawn from the amplifier, forcing the latter to do a lot of work. With heavy usage, the amplifier may begin to overheat and you may end up with damaged components. On the other hand, if the impedance is too high, the speaker may not receive enough power and the sound quality will be subpar.
The Speaker Materials
Just like how the wood of a guitar or a cello affects its timbre, the materials present inside the speaker affect its accuracy and overall sound quality.
Woofer cones need to be both stiff and lightweight. The stiffness is required because the bass frequencies need to be dampened at high volumes. Otherwise, it’s going to sound too distorted. At the same time, the cone needs to be made of lightweight material so that it can vibrate freely. The most popular woofer cone material is polypropylene because it satisfies both these requirements. Some manufacturers may even inject materials like minerals into the polypropylene to stiffen up the cone even further.
The edge of the woofer cone is covered by a thin material called the surround. The surround needs to be flexible enough so that the cone can vibrate as much as it needs to be but stiff enough to prevent over-travelling. Most surrounds are made of rubber for this reason but you might come across cheaper quality ones made of regular foam and cloth. However, some modern types of foam such as the ribbed polyester foam can be just as durable as rubber.
Tweeters handle high frequencies and so the material can determine whether the treble sounds harsh or soft, articulate or muddled. Tweeters can be divided into soft tweeters and hard tweeters, based on the material they were made from.
Most of the time, soft tweeters are made from textiles like silk. The result is that you get very detailed high frequencies but without any of the harshness. The drawback is that they’re not as durable as hard tweeters and they have poor dampening abilities. This means that the sound can get distorted when you crank up the volume.
In contrast, hard tweeters are more durable, as they’re commonly made from metals, ceramics or graphite. The commonest tweeter metals are aluminium and titanium and they produce highs that are a bit brighter than what you would get from silk tweeters. The brighter highs can easily cut through ambiance, which is handy if your commute route is particularly noisy like mine is.
My Top Picks For Best 6.5 Component Speakers
Now that you’re aware of what factors to consider, let’s take a look at my favourite 6.5 inch speakers for 2020.
There are a number of things that I loved about the JBL GTO609C. I simply have to start off this review by talking about the bass. If I had to describe it in one word, it would be ‘gargantuan’. The low end comes through with such a great force that I was almost certain that it would distort at high volumes. But to my surprise that just wasn’t the case. Even when I cranked it up I could still hear every nuance in the bass lines.
All of this is thanks to the Plus One Woofer cone design, which increases the surface area of the cones by 30% when compared to typical sizes. This means that more air is pushed at once and therefore, the bass comes through with more force. In addition, the woofer cones are injected with carbon, which improves the stiffness and thereby the dampening capabilities. This explains why the bass never seemed to distort.
The JBL GTO609C sports two edge-driven soft tweeters which gave me really mellow and nuanced highs. ‘Edge-driven’ simply means that the tweeters are optimized for heat dissipation. This means that I could play music through the JBL GTO609C without worrying about the tweeter’s potentially overheating. In addition, these tweeters come with level control, which allowed me to tweak how pronounced the highs would be.
Moving on to the technical specs, the JBL GTO609C has a sensitivity of 93dB. So it doesn’t require that much power for louder volumes. Its power handling is rated at 5-90 watts RMS. This means that it can be hooked up to a high-powered stereo system without any issues.
- High-quality, durable construction
- Accurate sound reproduction even at really high volumes
- Does not overheat with prolonged use
- Compatible with both high-powered and low-powered stereos
- Woofers cover only mid-bass frequency range which means that you’d need a subwoofer to handle the sub-bass
- Peak Power: 330W
- RMS Power: 110W
- Mounting Depth: 2-5/16"
- Hybrid Layered-Pulp Cone
- 4 Ohms Impedance
The Alpine SPR-60C is a 2-way speaker that comes packed with a lot of features. For starters, its two woofers are made up of many layers of different fibers in order to really stiffen it up. This allows it to prevent excessive rattling at really high volumes and thereby keep the bass from distorting. At the same, the cone appears to be lightweight too, allowing as much freedom to vibrate as possible.
For the SPR-60C, Apline uses the same ridged rubber surround that you can find in their Type-R subwoofer line. These ridges allow the cone to travel a little more than usual, allowing it to push out more air. The result? A deep and detailed low-end that I could ‘feel’ as much as hear. This quickly become one of my favourite speakers to listen to EDM through.
With the SPR-60C, we get a pair of silk tweeters that produce nuanced highs without any harshness whatsoever. During installation of the speaker, I noticed that the tweeters had an EQ ring mounted in front of them. This helped the tweeters really disperse the high frequencies evenly throughout the car, making for better off-axis frequency response. What I mean by that is that the quality of the sound remained consistent even if my ears weren’t perfectly lined up with the front of the speaker.
That being said, you can actually adjust the tweeters so that they’re aimed directly at where your ears are most of the time. Thanks to the swivel design, I was able to easily tilt it upwards towards me by hand.
The PR-60C’s crossover is quite small, especially compared to what you get with older Alpine models. This made it much easier for me to mount the speaker on the door panel of my car. The crossover includes a tweeter level control with four different settings, which allowed me to tweak high pronounced the upper frequencies were.
Moving on to the technical specs, the SPR-60C has a power-handling rating of 8-110 watts RMS, meaning that it can be paired up with a high-powered stereo with no issues whatsoever. It’s got a decent sensitivity of 88dB, meaning that it can work fine with a low-powered audio system as well.
- Powerful, responsive bass that won’t distort even at max volume
- Tweeters provide great off-axis response
- Four-level tweeter control
- Easy Installation
- Compatible with low-powered and high-powered stereo systems
- Highs tended to distort a bit at very loud volumes
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 8 x 8 inches, Domestic Shipping: item can be...
- Item weight: 9.7 pounds, international Shipping: This item can be...
- Shipping weight: 10 pounds, item model number: 45790
Rated at 45 watts RMS, the Rockford Fosgate R165X3 can’t handle as much power as the JBL GTO609C. This means that it’s best paired up with a low-powered stereo. However, it does have an excellent sensitivity rating of 91dB which means that it doesn’t require much power to achieve loud volumes.
The Rockford Fosgate R165X3 is a 3-way car speaker which means that it’s fitted with three sound drivers. In this case, we’re dealing with a polypropylene woofer, a silk tweeter, and a piezo supertweeter. If you’re not familiar with supertweeters, they basically handle the extended high-frequency range (over 20kHz). This meant that you can hear tiny details in the high-end that you wouldn’t normally hear in speakers that don’t have a dedicated supertweeter.
I had no complaints whatsoever about the bass coming through this speaker. Thanks to the stiffness of the polypropylene and the flexibility of the rubber surround, the low-end sounded quite impactful while not losing any nuance.
The Rockford Fosgate R165X3’s crossover is actually integrated into the tweeter. The advantage here is that I didn’t have to manually attach it to the interior of the speaker basket during the installation like you have to do with external crossovers.
- Easy Installation
- Excellent sound quality
- High sensitivity
- Not compatible with high-powered audio systems
- Piezo isn’t the best tweeter material out there. However, with a few small modifications, the sound quality can be improved
The Infinity PR6500CS speaker system contains two woofers, two tweeters, and even two crossovers. Similar to the JBL GTO609C, the Infinity PR6500CS uses a Plus One polypropylene woofer cone design. This, of course, means more air is pushed out, resulting in a more impactful and detailed bass. Another similarity the PR6500CS has with the JBL GTO609C is that its tweeters are also the edge-driven textile kind. This means softer, well-rounded highs and the ability to blast music for prolonged periods of time without having to worry about overheating.
The benefit of having two crossovers is that one is solely dedicated to handling upper frequencies and the other to lower frequencies. This leads to a more accurate separation of frequencies and thereby greater clarity.
Taking a look at the technical specs, the PR6500CS has a power handling rating of 5-80 watts RMS. This means that the speaker can be safely hooked up to a high-powered system. However, with an excellent sensitivity of 93 dB it can work very well with low-powered stereos too.
- Excellent sound quality with no distortion at higher volumes
- Two crossovers for greater separation of frequencies
- Compatible with both high-powered and low-powered car stereo systems
- The PR6500CS do not have the standard bolt pattern which means you’ll have to drill new screw holes to install them
- If you want to mount the tweeters in the factory locations, you’ll need to get a pair of universal backstraps
- High-sensitivity design
- High quality product
- Manufactured in Mexico
- Includes: 1 pair of woofers, 1 pair of tweeters, 1 pair of crossovers,...
The JBL CLUB6500C has a lot in common with the JBL GTO609C. First of all, it’s a 2-way speaker system with polypropylene Plus One woofers (with rubber surrounds) and edge-driven soft tweeters. As a result, I found the sound quality between the two units to be quite comparable. However, I did find that the bass in the CLUB6500C did tend to distort slightly at high volumes when compared to the JBL GTO609C. I believe this could be due to the fact that the latter lacked the carbon-injected woofer cones that no doubt provide some extra stiffness and therefore better dampening of sound.
The JBL CLUB6500C has a maximum RMS of 60 watts. This means it could be hooked up to a high-powered car audio system. However, I still recommend a bit of caution when doing so because it’s the low speaker impedance (3 ohms) which will tend to draw more power from the amplifier. If the amp in your stereo is particularly powerful, then it may not be a good idea to pair it up with this speaker.
Its sensitivity is rated 88dB, which is actually the lowest you’ll find on this list. That’s not to say that it’s bad; this speaker just won’t get as loud as the others on the list.
- Excellent sound quality with well-rounded low end and clear highs
- Edge-driven tweeters prevent overheating during prolonged listening sessions
- The bass tended to distort slightly at really high volumes
- Be careful when hooking this up to a high-powered audio system
- Adaptor Rings make it easy to fit the db6501 in 6 1/2 inch and 6 3/4...
- Two way Butterworth outboard crossover with vented housing, electronic...
- Woofers feature polymer/mica composite cone with butyl rubber...
- 25mm liquid cooled silk/polymer composite dome tweeters with neodymium...
- Special Shipping Information: This item cannot be returned to...
The Polk Audio DB6501 sports a polypropene woofer cone that has been injected with a mica – a mineral that improves the stiffness of the material. This ‘reinforcement’ basically allowed me to crank up the volume without losing any of the nuances in the bass lines. I could hardly note any distortion creeping through in the low-end, even at max volume.
I love the sound of silk tweeters but hate the fact they break up when I push the volume. However, the DB6501 addresses this problem quite effectively by combining a polymer with the silk, adding more stiffness and thereby improving the tweeter’s dampening ability. In addition to this, the silk is actually treated to a liquid-cooling process which improves its ability to dissipate heat. Thanks to that, I was able to listen to music for long periods of time without tolerating any performance issues from the tweeter.
The Polk Audio DB6501 comes with a crossover that splits the bass and treble frequencies at the 4000Hz mark. This means that more upper-bass are included, resulting in a more detailed sound overall. The DB6501’s power-handling rating is quite high at 100 watts RMS. Combined with a sensitivity of 92dB, this means that the speaker is compatible with both low-powered and high-powered speakers.
- Excellent sound reproduction with no distortion at higher volumes
- Compatible with both low-powered and high-powered stereos
- Easy to install thanks to the inclusion of surface and flush mount cups
- I honestly don’t have any complaints about this speaker
- 6-1/2" Evolution C5 Series 3-Way Car Component System
- Mineral-filled polypropylene cone body for the woofer and mid-range...
- Rubber surround enhances the suspension and speaker's linearity
- 6-1/2" Woofer with cast alloy frame
- Top-mount depth: 2-13/16"
Rounding up my list of top five picks is the JL Audio C5-653. The C5-653 is a 3-way speaker system consisting of two woofers, two mid-range drivers, two tweeters and two external crossovers.
The C5-653 is the only speaker on this list to feature dedicated mid-range drivers and so unsurprisingly, the quality of its mids beats all other units. Every time I put on a piece of music, I felt as if I was seated center row in a concert hall, enjoying a really ‘tight’ and articulate live performance.
Both the mid-range drivers and woofers were made of mineral-filled polypropylene cones, edged with butyl rubber surrounds. The extra stiffness from the mineral injection meant that I could crank up the volume without having to deal with any muddiness. As a result, the bass never failed to pack a clean punch.
The tweeters were made of silk, which made for soft and warm highs with no harshness whatsoever. The crossovers actually gave it a 4-position tweeter level and 3-position midrange control which made for some fun experimentation. Whenever I felt like it, I could change how pronounced or dimmed out the upper and middle frequencies were.
With a maximum RMS of 75 watts and 4-ohm impedance, the JL Audio C5-653 can safely be connected to a high-powered car stereo without any worries of overheating. In addition, its sensitivity is rated at 89.5 dB which means that you can still get a decent volume with low-power. However, this meant that I could never get it as loud as the JBL GTO609C or the FOSGATE R165X3 which honestly isn’t that big of a deal.
- Dedicated mid-range drivers give the sound a very present feel
- Compatible with both high-powered and low-powered speakers
- Tweeter and mid-range levels can be tweaked
- Not as loud as some of the other speakers on this list
Best Overall 6.5 Component Car Speakers
Before I get to my favourite from the five, I want to stress that what works for me may not work for you. Audio preferences could vary vastly between people, which in turn will cause you to like totally different speakers. For instance, I like highs to be more refined and mellow, which means I’m more drawn to the sound of silk tweeters. However, if you like sharper highs, then you’d ideally need to look into a metal tweeter (aluminium might be your thing if you really care for significantly bright treble tones).
Similarly, your car’s stereo system will dictate what you can buy. While all these speakers are compatible with low-powered speakers, a couple shouldn’t be paired with high-powered ones.
So what’s my overall pick? That would be the JBL GTO609C. First of all, I can’t praise the bass sound enough. I’m not so much into EDM or synth wave but thanks to these speakers, I’ve definitely found a newfound appreciation for low, thumping bass lines. Especially when paired with a subwoofer, the low end sounds nothing short of massive.
Most of the time, I love cranking up the music on my way to work. With the JBL GTO609C, I never had to worry about distorting and losing important details. Last but not least, I was particularly stoked about the level control on the tweeter. With a little tweaking, I was able to set it up so that the highs sounded quite mellow while still retaining their presence.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Component Speakers?
The defining characteristic of component speakers is that they have crossovers, which splits a sound into the different frequency groups.
What Are The Best 6.5 Component Speakers?
Speakers like the JBL GTO609C, Infinity PR6500CS, and JL Audio C5-653 are highly recommended for high-powered car audio systems. If you’ve got a low-powered system then I suggest looking into speakers like the Rockford Fosgate R165X3 and the JBL CLUB6500C.
What Is The Difference Between A Component Speaker And A Regular One?
Regular speakers or full-range speakers, unlike component speakers don’t have crossovers. This means that the former is less capable of separating bass, middle and treble frequencies. As a result the audio quality isn’t as great as what you would get with a full-range speaker.
Do 3 Way Speakers Sound Better Than 2 Way?
Typically, yes. 3 way speakers either contain a super tweeter or a mid-range driver. Either way, this means that more frequencies are handled, resulting in a more accurate reproduction of sound. With 2 way speakers, the tweeter and woofer may have to do some heavy-lifting, handling frequencies that are out of their comfort zone. As a result, these particular frequencies may not sound as great.
Who Makes The Best Component Car Speakers?
You really can’t go wrong with brands like JBL, Infinity and Rockford Fosgate.
The products featured on this page were last updated on 2021-01-12 at 00:05 /. Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.