Having the best car audio system is probably one of the most important things for a true audiophile. However, not all speakers are designed to fit your car. This demands choosing the right size speaker to get the right fit. The speakers you choose will have a big impact on the sound output and overall sound quality.
The most commonly used speakers are the 5.25 and 6.5 speakers. Both options reproduce melodic sound but which one is worth your money?
Can you install any of the two speakers to replace your current audio system?
These are the exact questions that any audiophile would ask before choosing a speaker that matches their audio system.
This post will provide the difference between 5.25 and 6.5 speakers to help you establish which is best for your car.
5.25 vs. 6.5 speakers: Features compared
Sound frequency range
When it comes to the frequency range, the 5.25 speakers can play a wide range of sounds, but they are mostly designed to reproduce mid-range frequencies. Most 5.25 speakers have an average frequency response of 50-22000 Hz, which helps ensure crisp mids and highs, especially when paired with a subwoofer or bigger speakers. However, you may want to choose larger speakers if you want more of the lower-end sounds in your car.
On the other hand, the 6.5 speaker is very versatile when it comes to sound frequency range. This speaker size is ideal for a range of music, but generally, it is designed to handle mid-bass as well as mid-range sounds. Their up-to-date design help ensures that they can reach the low end without distortion or interruption for deeper bass, and a premium music experience.
Power handling capability
When choosing a speaker, it is essential to consider the power handling capability of the speaker. You’d also want to ensure that the speakers can accommodate your car stereo for a safe operation.
Basically, the 6.5 speakers have a higher RMS rating since they are designed to reproduce the deepest bass and great sound signals. Higher power handling capability also allows them to drive more power, which ensures you get louder volume than other sizes.
5.25 speakers have a lower RMS rating, but they sound much better than similar factory speakers. Most speakers require that you connect your system to an amplifier with a higher output if you need more loudness and musical detail. But, you may want to ensure the amplifier isn’t turned up too loud to allow the speakers to play loud but more accurately.
NOTE: Whether you’re using 5.25 or 6.5 speakers, it is important to ensure that the speakers can handle the output of the amp to avoid sound distortion.
Ideally, 5.25 speakers are small and compact which makes them ideal for vehicles with limited space. Their small size also makes it easy to mount them on doors, particularly as rear door speakers. They are also designed to fit in factory ports and holes with ease, making them ideal for even novice users.
The 5.25 speakers are generally used alongside other speakers to make a complete car stereo, but you can use them as full-range speakers if the bass is not a priority or have a small car.
On the other hand, the 6.5 speakers are designed to fit in most classic cars. You can fit them in any 6.5 openings, or 6.75 openings in some cases. This speaker sizes offer you multiple installation options including either side of the front doors or the rear deck for great surround sound.
6.5 vs. 5.25: Which car speaker should I go for?
Your choice will be guided by several factors including your budget to your preferred speaker system. Ideally, 5.25 speakers are a perfect choice for those who are not too selective about the sound output or whose goal is just to get an OEM replacement.
They are by far more affordable than their 6.5 counterparts, and they offer a great way to get pure sound quality. However, they may not be the best choice if you’re after high-frequency sounds, but a good subwoofer will allow you to enjoy the rich melody.
On the other hand, 6.5 speakers give you a wider range of frequencies, which let’s customize your music. The sound output is excellent, and they are often self-sufficient so you don’t need a subwoofer.
If you’re unsure about which speaker size to go for, consider your sound expectations and how long you plan to keep your car. If you’re just planning to step from the factory system or plan to trade your car in a few years, mid-level speakers such as 5.25 are a good option.
If you’re intending to build a sound system over time, then it is will be a good idea to invest in 6.5 sets of speakers, especially if are planning to keep the car for a while.
Over to you!
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.