The 4-inch car speaker. With the expansion of car models and sizes and intricate stereo systems with 6×9’s and subwoofers, the little 4 is a speaker that could have been left out in the cold. Could have been relegated to garage shelves, yard sales, and old models of cars with out-of-date plates.
The beauty in any sound stereo system, though, is that it features the right tool for the right job from the ground up.
Insert the little speaker that could, the 4 inch.
If you’re looking for a small speaker for your car’s dash or door panels, looking for clean, clear highs and mids, looking to create that perfect soundstage, or just looking to get the best bang for your buck, look no further.
What are the benefits of 4-inch car speakers?
Although small in size, 4-inch car speakers come with a few features that stand large in the audio game.
One of the best benefits you’ll find in your 4 inch is, in fact, that size. 4 inch speakers are great in small cars where size is a commodity. There are even many aftermarket 4 inch speakers designed to stand alone in spaces you usually wouldn’t consider installing a speaker. And if you install a coaxial 4-inch speaker in a small car and you won’t only save space, but you’ll be delivered a rich, complex sound that fits the small space.
Another clear advantage of the small 4 is its price. A smaller-sized speaker means a less expensive development and production cycle. Your wallet will directly feel that. And with the extra cash you’ll be able to do something like soundproof your car, meaning you won’t need big expensive speakers anyways.
Finally, whether you’re running your speakers directly off of your head unit or pairing them with a much larger system on an amp, you can’t beat their power pull or lack there off. A 4-inch speaker pulls such low power that it won’t conflict with the rest of your setup.
What are the drawbacks?
Although you’ll find a ton of reasons to love your 4-inch speakers, they do come with a few drawbacks, the biggest being their small size.
See, the size of the speaker is the primary determiner of the amount of air it can move. A small speaker moves less air than a large speaker. Air, when it comes to speakers, means noise and bass.
The largest speakers in your system, the subwoofers, deliver whomping bass and sound because of their size and the amount of air they can move.
Comparatively, 4-inch speakers deliver very little bass and have much lower sound output. Because of this, you’ll find that if you turn a 4-inch speaker up too loud, you’ll encounter distortion.
What to Look for in a 4-inch car speaker
You’re going to find two main types of speakers; the component and the coaxial.
Component 4 inch speakers contain a single driver that is capable of delivering a single frequency range. That means component 4 inch speakers are best when paired with a host of other car speakers to provide a full range of sound.
Coaxial speakers, conversely, house multiple drivers in one basket. You’ll find coaxial speakers in 2, 3, and 4-way designs. A 2-way coaxial speaker comes with the main woofer driver and also a tweeter. A 3-way speaker adds a midrange driver, and a 4-way coaxial speaker adds an even smaller tweeter to the tweeter, midrange driver, woofer setup.
To sum it all up, If your 4-inch speakers will be your main listening speakers or you’d like to get the best speakers money can buy, go with the highest coaxial range in your price range. On the other hand, if you’re filling out an already bumping stereo system, you should be looking for component speakers.
A solidly built speaker will stand up to the test of time and deliver high-quality sound day in and day out. If you want a speaker to last, you should look for one that incorporates premium durable materials in the right spots. That means you’ll want a high-end driver, rubber surround if it’s in your budget, and a high-grade magnet, or even a speaker with multiple magnets.
You’ll also want to consider how the materials affect the sound of the speaker.
If you prefer soft highs from your 4 inch, you’ll want your speaker material to be made of soft materials like poly or cloth. On the other hand, if you prefer bright highs, you’ll want your speaker material to be made of something like ceramic or Kevlar.
When purchasing 4-inch speakers as replacements, look for a set with multiple mounting holes and patterns, as the speaker holes won’t always line up with your car’s old speakers exactly.
A replacement speaker with a shallow depth will also increase the ease of installment.
Speakers are transducers that convert electrical energy into sound waves. When considering your speaker’s power handling, you’ll be looking at RMS and Peak Power. In both instances, basically, more is generally better.
This is because, really, unless your speaker is low impedance and drawing too much power from the amp, even a speaker with a high power handling ability can be paired with a low output amp. In the reverse, though, a low-power handling speaker with a high-powered amp may mean a blown speaker.
In all cases, the goal is to keep a reasonable flow of electrical power between the amplifier or head unit and speaker.
A speaker’s sensitivity, measured in dB, denotes the amount of sound the speaker can produce per the power or electrical energy delivered to it. If you’re running your speaker off of your low-powered head unit, you’ll want the highest sensitivity rating possible (shoot for over 90 dB). If you’ll be running your speaker off of an amp, you should be okay with a low sensitivity (under 90 dB) setup.