Where Do My Tweeters Go?
Optimizing the sound in your car can be a truly satisfying experience for the casual listener and the audiophile alike. This will usually lead you to getting your car hooked up with a set of component speakers. These speakers are going to come with crossovers, woofers, maybe some mid-range drivers, and lastly the tweeters. These little wonders are great at working out the higher frequency sound and give you a better soundscape by adding diversity to placement.
Lots of cars run coaxial speakers as the factory default. The key difference between coaxial speakers and component sets is in the separation. Coaxial speakers have all of the drivers combined into one piece, while component speakers are made up of two or more drivers (components) that are outfitted with crossovers to separate the frequencies and send them to their best destinations. The low frequencies go to the woofers and the tweeters take care of the intricate high stuff. The obvious issue is that there doesn’t seem to be a place to put your extra speakers. Admittedly, it can take a bit of creativity to decide where these guys go, but there are some places that typically do better than others.
Things To Keep In Mind
First, find out where your woofers or your mid-range drivers are going to go. The very best place for the tweeters is not right on top of the woofers, but you definitely want to be as close as reason will permit. This will keep the two frequencies hitting your ear at nearly the same time. There is a possibility that you will not notice a big difference if this rule is not adhered to, but there also is the possibility of ear fatigue. This will not cause damage to the ears, but may result in a headache over long periods of listening time. Your brain does a pretty great job of piecing together audio that is only slightly off, but doing so for a long time is going to tire out your ears. Therefore, when considering where to place your tweeters, consider placement as near to the midrange/midwoofer as possible.
Another thing to consider is the function of a tweeter. They bring new soundscape possibilities to your car. This means that you can better recreate an authentic experience. To do this, you will get best results if you place the tweeters in front of you. This makes the sound seem like it is coming at you instead of being like a fog. You get better balance and it won’t sound like you are walking out of a concert. You’ll be right in the action if you make sure the tweeters are placed more towards the front of the car, and are pointing directly at you. Note, it is also recommended that the tweeters are far away from each other. Ideally, the tweeters would be the same distance from each other as they are from the listener- but that is near impossible in a car.
Looking At the Car
A great place to start looking is the car’s kick panel. Between the brake pedal and the door there is often a panel on the car that conveniently has a little room for a speaker or two. This makes for a good tweeter location especially if the woofer is installed in the door or a mid-range is going in the panel as well. Basically, you can’t get the drivers any closer to each other. This location is not without some problems- you will probably want to opt for flush mounting so that you don’t accidentally bump into the driver. This means that you’ll have to cut into the panel with a saw and mount the tweeter as flush as possible. Alternately, there are aftermarket “pods” available for many vehicles. This option is great if you want things out of the way. The only downside is that they are still under you pointed up. This won’t be as good for the imaging as other places. Also, some cars could have a panel that simply does not fit a speaker. The tweeters don’t need much space, but it’s good to make sure they fit before cutting.
The next place that you can look is the “A” pillar. The “A” pillar is the column between the windshield and the front door window. This location is much better for imaging and getting the most out of your tweeters. It gives the same distance apart from each other, but isn’t too far away from the lower range speakers. This pillar is structural so there isn’t going to be any room for much modification. In that case, you can mount your speaker directly to the pillar with the appropriate screws. The downside to this placement is that it is out in the open for everyone to behold. Not exactly the factory finished look you had when you bought the car, but it could be worth it for the better high range sound. For some vehicles, there are aftermarket pillar panels with tweeter locations built in, also, there are tweeter “pods” meant to be mounted on the A pillar. some of these include spaces for a midrange and a tweeter.
The last of the common tweeter placings is in the dashboard itself. This will give you possibly the most options. You are still quite far away from the other tweeter, but again, close enough to your low or mid range speakers in the door. You have the opportunity to take the direct mounting approach and get great sound from a place that hopefully won’t be as obvious as the “A” pillar approach, or you can cut into the dash, preferably as close to the “A” pillar as possible to avoid cutting into anything important. Use a jigsaw to cut an opening big enough for the speaker and the shade to go in flush with the dashboard and mount with the screws. Make sure to be able to run your wires to the crossovers as this will be the most tricky position to get your wiring out of.
Watch Where You’re Pointing That Thing!
Once you’ve decided on an installation location, you’ll want to aim the tweeters for the best sound- this will vary based on the vehicle and the tweeter. Three of the most popular arrangements are: point tweeters at the headliner, point tweeters at the back window, or point directly at your ears- but you want to aim the left tweeter to the left ear of the passenger, and aim the right tweeter at the right ear of the driver.
These are a few options for where you can sneak your tweeters into a pretty small space and get that sound you dream of. There are pros and cons to each placement. Usually, it will come down to factors like; if you want to do a lot of cutting into your car, or if you want the speakers visible in the interior. As long as you adhere to the tweeter rules for these locations, you are going to enjoy a much better quality out of your car listening experience than you ever did with your factory speakers.