Differences between cheap speakers and expensive ones

Thread Starter

Lectraplayer

Joined Jan 2, 2015
121
I have been wondering as I'm getting ready to upgrade my radio as to what exactly the differences between high end speakers and cheaper ones are. Is it mostly performance at longer excursions near the top end of the power rating and more durable materials? ...or is there something else I should be looking for?

As examples, in one instance, I'm looking to build a subwoofer system. I have my plans for a box that gives me 5 cubic feet for use with a pair of 12 inch subs. If I choose two types of subs, say, a pair of $70 a hit Gothic subs vs the cheaper Pyle subs, what exactly will be the difference between the two brands at normal listening levels? (Say, about 200 watts going to them when both are rated at 1000 watts)

Likewise, if I chose a set of 6.5 inch speakers, maybe Sony Xplods vs the cheaper Scosche (both 50W RMS) in the same doors, what exactly kinds of differences should I look for?

I have wondered this one for a long time. Though I have seen the displays, I'm not exactly sure what kind of enclosures they have to showcase them, which would make a HUGE difference.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
22,872
Like everything else, you get what you pay for.

200W in an automobile?

What did you say? Can you repeat that?

Wait a minute while I replace my hearing aids with ear plugs!
 

Thread Starter

Lectraplayer

Joined Jan 2, 2015
121
200 watts does sound like a LOT, but for bass, it's not much. I was using that a s an example.

I'm not even sure what my actual listening power would be at the moment. I'm getting around 70dB.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
22,872
200 watts does sound like a LOT, but for bass, it's not much. I was using that a s an example.

I'm not even sure what my actual listening power would be at the moment. I'm getting around 70dB.
I am a bass player. My Fender R.A.D. bass practice amp is rated for 30W and I never have to play it at full power.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,981
Once you get past a certain price point extra money gains you very little. I replaced the stock fronts with a nice set of Infinity Reference 6022i speakers years ago.


The rear sub was replaced with a MTX in the damped and padded (poly fill and EDM rubber) original car sub enclosure.



Response before and after. (relative power levels on graphs)

ugly booming bass.


After: Much nicer response and decay times.


 
A comment I'd like to make concerns "upgrades" that I made some 40+ years ago as I was "collecting" and upgrading stereo pieces for both home and car.

Upgrading speakers on a nice sounding poor quality system made horrible sounding systems. The OEM speakers for both the car and a home stereo acted as filter for hiss. When full-range speakers were added, the inherent hiss in the system was apparent and pronounced.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
7,981
That was an ugly curve you started with. I'm going for a fairly complete spectrum, which it looked like you did improve.
The high end was tamed with EQ and DTA (Digital Time Alignment) so you need a fairly high-end head-unit for that but the low end even with a fairly good no EQ curve still has too much 'boom' due to high decay times in a car at low frequencies. To improve that would required adding interior damping.





For the best sound you really need DTA in a car.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudspeaker_time_alignment

 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,969
In my younger years (before real responsibility) I was a bit of an audiophile
and spent too much money and time on car audio. The short answer is yes there is a difference in speakers and the better ones tend to be more expensive, but more expensive does not necessarily mean better. Also installation and component selection are just as important as speaker selection. The options are endless. My advice is decide first what sound you want (clear and tight, loud and boomy, etc..). Then do some homework to seek out components and designs that suit your needs and budget.
 
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