Component vs. Coaxial Speakers – What’s The Difference?

Coaxial speakers are full-range speakers, typically with a woofer, tweeter, and external crossover, all in a single unit. Component speakers are speaker systems with separate speakers for different ranges and advanced crossover systems, enhancing sound quality and clarity.

Coaxial speakers are more affordable and easier to install, while component speakers have better sound quality and clarity. So, coaxial speakers are more common, accessible, and affordable. In contrast, component speakers are preferred by music enthusiasts and audiophiles, who are up to taking the effort of installation and paying a little extra.

You can check out the best speaker brands to get some help choosing the best speaker system and brand for your vehicle or house.

What are Components Speakers?

A component speaker is a speaker system with an advanced crossover system for enhanced sound quality. These speakers separate the frequencies into their own speakers, increasing the sound clarity. Component speakers are technically more sophisticated than coaxial speakers.

Component speakers typically feature mid-range woofers, tweeters, and crossover boxes as individual parts. When you buy a component speaker, you will have to install all these parts yourself, which is the reason these types of speakers are less preferred than coaxial speakers, which have more straightforward installation processes.

With component speaker systems, specific speakers are responsible for delivering specific frequencies, which enhances the sound quality significantly. The woofer is not responsible for high frequencies but to enhance the low-end punch. When they are free from producing low-end frequencies, however, they can be designed in a way to make the trebles shine.

Speaking of which, if you are looking to have that amazing low-end punch in your car, check out the 7 best car speakers for bass.

You can also place component speakers higher in your vehicle or room. Having the option to place different speakers in different places gives you the opportunity to design which frequencies you want to have in different angles and positions. For example, having the woofer at knee level while the tweeters are in higher positions creates a great soundscape.

The final advantage of component speakers is that they can handle a higher RMS power rating than coaxial speakers. They typically handle 75 Watts to 100 Watts of RMS. Hence, component speakers have higher power ratings than coaxial speakers.

But on the other hand, component speakers are harder to install compared to coaxial speakers. For example, most cars don’t have mounts for tweeters and crossovers, so you might have to remove the interior parts of your car to install them.

Another point to consider is the pricing, as component speakers have higher prices in general compared to coaxial speakers. You get better sound, but it comes with a price.

Also, you have to design and balance the system well to have a good sound experience with component speakers. You have to place them wisely, tune the speakers well and take many things into account, which may be challenging if you are not familiar with speakers systems.

Pros and Cons of Component Speakers

Pros

  • Enhanced sound quality and much better frequency response
  • Advanced crossover component quality
  • The components can be placed as you wish for better imaging and stage separation
  • Better overall build and material quality
  • More control and flexibility on your sound
  • Higher RMS power rating

Cons

  • Higher pricing than coaxial speakers
  • Harder to install

What are Coaxial Speakers?

Unlike component speakers, a coaxial speaker is a speaker system with a tweeter, a crossover, and a crossover built into the same unit. They are easier to install and more affordable than component speakers, but their sound quality and versatility are not anywhere near component speakers.

Coaxial speakers have a standard size, which makes their installation process much easier since most vehicles already have standard mounting locations. 

The most common coaxial speaker types are 2-way speakers, which feature a mid-woofer that takes most of the circumference along with a tweeter located in the middle. They typically have a single input terminal that is used to connect the power source to the speaker, as well as a built-in woofer and tweeter system in a single unit to cover all the frequency ranges.

Coaxial speakers have a basic crossover with a single capacitor for the tweeter. The lack of a capacitor for the woofer decreases sound clarity and performance significantly. Also, different frequencies often interfere in coaxial speakers, which again limits the sound experience for the listener.

These speakers typically change between 35 Watts to 65 Watts RMS power which is lower than the RMS power ratings of component speakers.

Also, the lack of the option to place the different components in different positions is another disadvantage. All the frequency ranges will be provided by the same units, which means all of the frequency ranges will be coming from the same angle and location. 

While coaxial speakers are a great upgrade to single-cone default car speakers, they fall short in terms of performance when compared to component speakers. In short, they are more practical, accessible, affordable, and easier to install and use, but the result is not as good as the component speakers.

Pros and Cons of Coaxial Speakers

Pros

  • A good upgrade from single-cone default car speakers
  • More affordable compared to component speakers
  • Easier to install compared to component speakers

Cons

  • Does not produce the high sound quality and clarity of component speakers
  • Does not cover the frequency range as good as component speakers
  • Different components can not be placed in different positions
  • Lower RMS power ratings

Do you need an Amp for Components or Coaxial Speakers?

You don’t need an amp for component speakers, or coaxial speakers in your car, as your car radio will be enough to power them. However, with an amp, you can get a much clearer sound without distortion, louder volume, and power for a subwoofer, which means you can get the most out of your speakers.

Should the Amp be more powerful than the Speaker?

The golden rule is to get an amp that can provide a power rating twice as high as the speaker’s continuous power rating. So, if your speaker’s power rating is 350 watts, you should have an amp that can produce 700 watts. Also, be careful to have the nominal impedances equal.

This can get somewhat confusing for most people, so, if you’re still in the dark, you can learn more about the difference between RMS and Peak Watts.

Conclusion

Component and coaxial speakers are the most common car speaker types on the market today. As discussed in the previous sections, they both have advantages and disadvantages for different needs.

In short, component speakers provide optimal sound quality and clarity but have higher prices and more challenging installation processes. On the other hand, coaxial speakers are more affordable, accessible, and easier to install. But, the sound quality and clarity are not as high as it is with the component speakers.

Berk Öztuna is a handpan player, percussionist, and guitarist. He has been playing multiple instruments over the last 10 years. He started his music career as a guitarist, playing with several bands before putting his main focus into playing the handpan.

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