Dash Speaker Buyer's Guide for Classic Cars
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Dash Speakers: Stereo Sound in Your Classic

Dash Speaker Buyer's Guide for Classic Cars


Dash Speakers

Classic car dash speakers allow you to play in stereo from a single speaker location. We always recommend replacing and upgrading your dash speaker if/when you replace your radio to deliver the best sound quality possible. The best speaker is not always the most expensive speaker. The best speaker is the one that is going to make you the happiest.

Identifying the Problem:

Your vehicle most likely came from the factory with a single speaker in the dash. Your original radio played in mono and was an 8 or 10 Ohm radio, thus requiring an 8 or 10 Ohm speaker. Our new radios play in stereo and work best with 4 Ohm speakers. So how do we get our new radio to play in 4 Ohm stereo, from a single speaker location?

The Solution:

Dual Dash Mount Speaker
How it Works
An ABS plastic plate has two 3.5" or 4" speakers mounted to it. The plate then mounts either directly to your factory location or with a supplied bracket. You wire the left speaker to Front Left, and the right speaker to Front Right.
Dual Voice Coil Dash Speaker
How it Works
A single speaker has two tweeters on it, one for the left channel and one for the right channel. The speaker will accept two pairs on inputs, wiring the Front Left speaker outs to the left side of the speaker, and the Front Right inputs to the right side of the speaker.

Dual Dash Mount Speakers

We offer several upgrade options for the dual dash mount speakers, as well as the standard Custom Autosound option. For the dual dash mount speakers, we offer them with Kicker CS Series, Kicker KS series, Hertz Dieci, and JL Audio C2 upgrade options for every model. For select speaker applications that allow for 4" speakers, we offer Rockford Fosgate, Hertz Energy, and Audison Prima upgrades. The correct speaker for you will depend on several factors including your personal brand preference, whether or not your vehicle can accept 4" speakers, and whether or not you have an amplifier. Let's break down the different options:

Custom Autosound - A low cost option that is going to get the job done. If you listen to talk radio mostly, or you just want something that will sound better than your original and play in stereo.
Kenwood - An upgrade over the Custom Autosound speaker that says "Kenwood" on it. We do not feel that these dash speakers are worth the upgrade cost. But, if you really like Kenwood products, then you should probably get them because you will have Kenwood speakers.
Hertz Dieci - Super sensitive speakers that are designed to be factory replacement/upgrades for new vehicles. These speakers are nice and bright. Your highs are going to sound good and these speakers will play louder than most, when comparing apples to apples in terms of power.
Kicker CS Series - Our most affordable upgrade speaker. If you want something better than Custom Autosound, but you don't want to pay for Hertz, and you are just powering your speaker off of your dash, this is the speaker we recommend. A great middle ground option.
Kicker KS Series - Fantastic sounding speakers with silk dome tweeters. Kicker is known for their quality. These speakers are an upgrade over the CS series, but we recommend using an amplifier to power them in order to really hear what you are paying for. The silk dome tweeter is going to be smooth, warm, rich, and balanced in terms of the sonic profile.
JL Audio C2 - Silk dome tweeters like the Kicker KS and with JL Audio quality. These speakers are pretty efficient and can be run off just the radio, but sound even better with an amplifier.
Rockford Fosgate- Point source, silk dome tweeters. The price point on these speakers is unbeatable. Silk dome tweeters, but with a lightweight cone so that they can play with an amplifier or directly off of the radio. Only available for applications that accept 4" speakers.
Hertz Cento - Upgraded Hertz sound quality. These speakers have tweeters that swivel so that you can aim the tweeter toward the driver and passenger respectively for the best possible separation. Extremely sensitive speakers that will sound great and play clean, loud, and clear. The Hertz Energy are the second best sounding speakers we offer, behind the Audison Prima. However, the Prima does not offer the swivel tweeters for improved separation. It is a little bit of a "pick your poison" situation between which sound best in a classic car application.
Audison Prima - These are the best sounding speakers we offer. These are the most sensitive speakers that we offer. You will need an amplifier to really hear what you are paying for though. The real difference is the triple wave surround allow for maximum linear excursion and the point source tweeter design keeps your music in phase or the sound quality of component speakers, but from a coaxial. These can be installed sideways for improved separation. The 3-way 6x9 speakers that match up to these for the rear feature a horn tweeter and are unreal. If you don't mind spending the money for the amp and you want the best, go with these.

Dual Voice Coil Dash Speakers

We offer several upgrade options for the dual dash mount speakers, as well as the standard Custom Autosound option. For the dual dash mount speakers, we offer them with Kicker CS Series, Kicker KS series, Hertz Dieci, and JL Audio C2 upgrade options for every model. For select speaker applications that allow for 4" speakers, we offer Rockford Fosgate, Hertz Energy, and Audison Prima upgrades. The right speaker for you will depend on several factors including your personal brand preference, whether or not your vehicle can accept 4" speakers, and whether or not you have an amplifier. Let's break down the different options:

Custom Autosound
Lowdown
  • Lower Cost than AAR
  • Deeper Than Antique Automobile Radio Models
  • Direct Fit Brackets Where Applicable
  • Antique Automobile Radio
    Lowdown
  • More Expensive than Custom Autosound
  • Low Profile
  • Metal Strap Included & You Have to Fabricate Your Own Bracket
  • Which One is Best?

    Originally, we would have definitely told you to go with a dual voice coil speaker. We have been able to find higher quality, 3.5" and 4" speakers since then and we now think that the dual dash mount speakers sound better. You are able to get higher quality tweeters and thus better quality sound. In most applications, your 6x9's, Undercover II, or kick panel speakers will be providing the mid-bass response, so relying on the dash speaker to re-produce those frequencies just isn't necessary.

    So Which Dual Dash Mount Speaker?

    The dual dash mount speaker will depend on some other factors as well. The two factors we start with depend on whether or not you have an amplifier and whether you will be top mounting, or bottom mounting the 6x9's in the rear package tray. If you are bottom mounting, and installing your speakers below your package tray for an OE or stealth application, your rear 6x9 choices are limited. We recommend matching your dash speaker and your rear speakers and this will have an impact.


    My 6x9's will be Visible or You Don't Have Rear 6x9's
    Keep reading below to the amplifier section.
    I am going to bottom mount my 6x9's
    You Have 3 different options:
  • Kicker CS Series
  • Kicker KS Series
  • JL Audio C2
  • Will You be Using an Amplifier?

    Yes, I have an Amplifier

    Hertz Dieci
    Starting at $164.95
    Very sensitive. Outstanding all around speakers. Will play brighter than the Kicker KS
    Kicker KS
    Starting at $114.95
    Silk dome tweeters. Great value for the money if you like smooth, warm, balanced sound
    Hertz Energy
    Starting at $204.95
    Best Separation. Very Sensitive. Great Sounding Speakers
    Audison Prima
    Starting at $244.99
    Top overall performer. If you want the best sound possible, these are the speakers to get.

    No, I am powering my speakers off of my radio

    Do you care about sound quality?

    No
    Custom Autosound
    Perfect if you listen to talk radio. Low cost option that gets the job done
    Yes
    Hertz Dieci
    The Hertz Dieci dash speakers are super sensitive speakers designed to be factory upgrades for new cars. These speakers deliver the best sound quality for low power applications
    Kicker CS
    Kicker sound quality with a lightweight cone and PEI dome tweeters for efficient, good sound with deck power
    Rockford Fosgate
    Point source, silk dome tweeters. Designed to be factory upgrades for new cars

    In Conclusion

    There are many different options when it comes to upgrading your dash speaker. It will likely come down to your budget, brand preference, the 6x9 speakers you want in the rear, whether or not you are using an amplifier, or most likely, some combination of all four. I personally like the Hertz Dieci if you are not running an amplifier and it is very close between the Hertz Energy and the Audison Prima if I am running an amplifier. Unfortunately, both of those are 4" applications. If your application is a 3.5" speaker and you have an amplifier, my next favorite choice is the Kicker KS. Hopefully, this information helps you make a better-informed decision so that you can get the most out of the speakers in your classic car.

    Which speaker do you think will best fit your needs?  

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