As a car music enthusiast, you have probably come across the Kicker brand, especially when shopping for aftermarket speakers. Kicker manufactures some of the best speakers today. They have a wide range of speaker models, with the Kicker DC, CS, and KS being their most popular speaker series. Although all these speaker series are great, you can get confused about the best one for you. In this article, we compare Kicker DS vs CS vs KS to help you make a more informed decision.
|Specifications||Kicker DS||Kicker CS||Kicker KS|
|Speaker type||Coaxial||Coaxial, component||Coaxial, component|
|Component tweeters||None||¾ inch||¾ inch, 1 inch|
|Speaker surround material||UV-treated foam||UV-treated foam||Butyl rubber|
|Durability||Above average||Above average||Extreme|
Kicker DS Speakers- Brief Introduction
The Kicker DS speaker series comprises coaxial speakers that fit into almost any car door. Regardless of the size of your car, you can find a DS series that will fit. These speakers are easy to install and deliver great sound quality with loud volume.
The kind of tweeters used in the Kicker DS speakers allows you to enjoy the crisp sound quality. Also, the polypropylene speaker cone and UV-treated foam surround allow for more natural sound output across all music genres.
Kicker CS Speakers- Brief Introduction
The Kicker CS series comprises affordable coaxial and component speakers. Despite their price range, they deliver decent sound quality. They are notable for their clean bass output, thanks to their heavy-duty magnet. Also, the extended voice coil design enhances the reproduction of low frequencies.
Kicker KS Speakers- Brief Introduction
On the other hand, speakers under the Kicker KS speaker series are designed to deliver clean and crisp sound quality. They deliver concert-like sound output in the car and are available as coaxial and component speakers. Their damped poly cone allows for deeper lows, whereas the rubber surrounds allow for boosted mid-range and bass. Also, the shallow mounting depth allows for easy installation.
Kicker DS Vs CS Vs KS Comparison
When comparing these Kicker speakers, you need to consider factors such as build quality, performance, available sizes, and pricing. Let’s compare them in detail.
1. Build Quality
When comparing Kicker DS Vs CS, the two have coaxial speakers featuring UV-treated surround. On the other hand, KS series speakers feature a butyl rubber surround. Essentially, UV-treated surrounds allow the speaker to withstand tear and wear that may occur due to changing weather conditions. Thus, if you reside in an area that experiences frequent shifts between cold and hot water, the Kicker DS and CS series are better for you than the Kicker KS.
Most notably, the DS series have more affordable speakers with UV-treated foam surrounds than the CS series. They handle changes from hot to cold or dry to wet weather effortlessly without sounding muffled.
When comparing Kicker KS Vs DS and CS, the Kicker KS has more durable surrounds. Rubber is more durable than foam material for making speaker surrounds. Despite the DS and CS featuring UV-treated surrounds, they are not as durable as rubber surrounds in Kicker KS.
If you need Kicker speakers that you can keep for quite a long, the KS series is more ideal than the DS and CS series. The reason is that butyl rubber surrounds are proven to last longer than UV-treated foam, even though they may sound muffled in areas where weather shifts constantly.
2. Overall Performance
With all factors considered, the Kicker KS series offers the best overall performance in terms of sound output. For instance, when comparing Kicker KS Vs CS 6.5-inch coaxial speakers, the Kicker KS speaker handles more power than the Kicker CS. Although the CS sounds a little louder than KS, the KS speaker produces a more detailed and crispier sound.
Although the CS series makes a huge difference when replacing factory speakers, the Kicker DS series performs better when upgrading your car speakers without adding an aftermarket amplifier. Kicker DS performs better when connected to a factory radio.
If you want to add an amplifier to your car music system, the Kicker KS series speakers are your best bet. They handle more power, making them ideal for use with an amplifier than DS and CS series. Overall, Kicker KS speakers produce richer sound than CS and DS when hooked to an amplifier or a very powerful aftermarket head unit. If you want decent sound output, the Kicker CS series is good enough. However, if you are a more serious audiophile, Kicker KS is your best pick.
3. Available Sizes
The Kicker DS, CS, and KS speakers include sizes that can fit most cars effortlessly. There are several sizes available for different mounting locations. All three Kicker series speakers have coaxial speakers available in sizes 3.5, 4, 4×6, 5.25, 6.5, 6.75, 6×8, and 6×9 inches. They are all available as 3-way coaxial speakers. It is also worth noting that the Kicker KS series has less common sizes such as 2.75 & 4×10 inches.
With all these available sizes, you are highly likely to find a size that will fit your car without having to drill new mounting holes. Since these speakers are available as coaxial speakers, there is a built-in tweeter, woofer driver, and midrange driver such that you will not need to buy separate drivers for highs, lows, and midrange frequencies. If you need a custom sound setup, the Kicker CS and KS series have component speakers that feature separate woofer and tweeter drivers.
The Kicker CS component speakers are available in 6.5, 6.75, 6×8, and 6×9 inches. The Kicker KS components are available in similar sizes as CS. Also, Kicker KS has 2-way speakers available in 5.25, 6.5, 6×9, and 6.75 inches.
As for component tweeters when comparing Kicker KS vs CS, Kicker KS offers ¾-inch and 1-inch tweeters. On the other hand, Kicker CS only has ¾-inch tweeters. Kicker DS does not have tweeters in its line.
In terms of pricing, Kicker DS offers the most affordable speakers. Kicker CS speakers are averagely priced while Kicker KS speakers are the most expensive series. Although Kicker KS are more expensive than CS and DS, they offer you the best sound quality. On the other hand, Kicker CS and DS are more affordable, although their performance does not match that of Kicker KS.
Kicker DS Vs CS vs KS – Similarities
The main similarity between these three speaker series is that they are all available as coaxial speakers. Also, some sizes are similar across the three series. Another similarity between the three is their excellent sound quality. Also, they are built to last long.
Overall, kicker produces high-quality car speakers in a wide range of sizes to pick from. When choosing between Kicker KS Vs DS vs CS, it will help to note that all of them offer coaxial speakers. Also, KC and CS offer component speakers. However, Kicker DS does not have component speakers.
If your budget is tight and you want decent sound quality, Kicker DS is your best bet, followed by Kicker CS. If you want the best sound quality and you do not mind paying more, Kicker KS will be your perfect pick.
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.