Stereo and speaker: Best stereo speakers 2023: stereo systems for all budgets

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How we help you shop for car A/V

When you select your vehicle on our site, you’ll be able
to shop from filtered lists of the products, such as receivers and speakers, that
we know fit or work with your vehicle. You’ll also be able to find more ”universal“
products, like amplifiers and subwoofers, that can be installed in just about any

Look for these symbols when you’re shopping

A green check means that the product will fit into your vehicle’s factory openings without the need for any modifications.

A yellow warning triangle indicates that the product will fit if you make a minor modification, such as trimming plastic in the dash or drilling new holes for speakers in your door panels.

A red caution sign means that a product is larger than one or more dimensions of the factory mounting location and will not fit. For speakers, the key dimensions include more than just cone size.

Pretty much every car on the road these days has a factory stereo. And pretty much every audiophile wants better sound than the factory stereo system can produce. At Crutchfield, we want to help you get the best sound possible in your ride and we’ve spent over four decades doing the research you need to get the stereo equipment that’s right for your ride.

We’ve disassembled the dashes and door panels of tens of thousands of vehicles, measured the spaces where the factory stereos and speakers fit, and loaded our findings into our massive fit database. Our system then compares these measurements to the dimensions of a given receiver or speaker to determine which aftermarket products will fit in the factory location.

No one else in the consumer electronics industry does the kind of stuff we do. That’s why no one else knows what we know.

Compatible products

You’ll often see us note that a product “works with” your vehicle. This means that while it doesn’t necessarily fit in a factory location, it’s still designed to be compatible with your vehicle’s electronics or interior design. Compatible products include adapters (for Bluetooth® or smartphone control, for example) that plug into your vehicle’s stereo wiring harness and device holders that mount in a specific spot on the dash.

We also carry a wide range of products that actually are designed to work exclusively with specific vehicles. See below to learn more.

The Crutchfield KitFinder

When you’re choosing new car audio gear, the first step is to choose the gear that fits your car. The second step is to get it installed correctly. That’s why we developed the Crutchfield KitFinder. With KitFinder, you’ll be able to use our massive database to find and compare gear that will fit your specific vehicle. We’ll also make sure you have the installation parts and instructions that make the job easier. Whether you’re a first-time DIY-er or an experienced car audio pro, KitFinder takes the hassle and guesswork out of choosing and installing your new stereo and/or speakers.

When you shop with us, you’ll see:

  • Filtered lists of stereos that we know fit in your dash
  • The installation parts required to install the stereo gear you’re interested in, plus the parts that let you retain certain advanced factory features. And they’re all bundled into easy-to-add packages

With most orders, you’ll also get a set of Crutchfield’s legendary vehicle-specific disassembly instructions. Created using info gathered by our Vehicle Research Team, these guides give you step-by-step guidance and detailed illustrations or photos. They’re available for thousands of vehicles.

Shopping for car speakers

To see which speakers fit your vehicle, we’ve disassembled the door panels of tens of thousands of vehicles, measured the spaces where the factory speakers fit, and loaded our findings into Crutchfield’s massive fit database. Our system then compares these measurements to the dimensions of a given speaker to see if it will fit in the factory cavity.

Here’s how all that info helps you get and install your new speakers:

  • You’ll see a filtered lists of speakers that satisfy the depth, diameter, and height requirements of your vehicle’s factory speaker openings
  • We’ll show you the speakers that are available for specific locations in your car. That list can include locations that don’t have factory speakers, but can be adapted using certain mounting adapters. We won’t list a given location if there are no speakers that fit there.
  • When brackets and wiring harnesses (if available) are required for your installation, we’ll prompt you to add them to your cart. They’re free with almost all speaker purchases, along with our free vehicle-specific installation instructions.
Custom fit products

Many manufacturers have designed products that work directly with specific vehicles. These include:

  • “Direct” replacements for certain products, such as speakers.
  • Products that take advantage of unused space in the car, such as subwoofer enclosures
    custom-designed to fit in places that don’t sacrifice trunk or cargo spaces.
  • Products that plug directly into your car’s wiring and work with your factory stereo,
    such as Bluetooth hands-free adapters or sound processors.
Universal fit products

Many car A/V products we describe as “universal,” in that there aren’t dedicated factory locations for them. With many of these products, you’ll have to check your vehicle for available space, and carefully plan your installation in advance. The most common include:

  • Amplifiers Amps require three things: a mounting location, power wiring directly to your car’s battery, and wiring for musical signal. You’ll need to check the dimensions of the amps you’re interested in, which we provide, then measure the available space you have in your vehicle. Mounting locations can include underneath seats or in the trunk or cargo area. We’ll show you the size of wires you’ll need when you make your purchase, and we can offer tips online and by phone for wiring strategies.
  • Subwoofers Just about all subwoofers need to be mounted in an enclosure, which then fits in an available spot in your car. As with an amplifier, you’ll need to measure space in your vehicle to see if the subwoofer you’re interested in will fit, while leaving you enough cargo space for your needs. If you choose a powered subwoofer, we’ll make sure you get the right power wiring; if you choose a sub and box, we’ll recommend the right size of speaker wire, which you’ll connect to the external amp that’ll send power to the sub.
  • Portable products such as GPS navigators, radar detectors, and dash cams. You’ll just want to make sure that you have a dash or windshield large enough to accommodate the mounting systems of these sorts of products without interfering with your sight or operation of the vehicle.

Dash kit Wiring harness Antenna adapter Integration module Steering wheel control Speaker harness Speaker bracket

Dash kit: A dash kit includes any trim pieces and brackets needed to mount a new radio in your dash opening and keep a clean factory look.

Wiring harness: A wiring harness makes connections between your new radio and your vehicle’s wiring. Splice the harness’s wires to your new radio’s wires, then plug the other end of the harness into the connector you unplugged from the factory radio.

Antenna adapter: An antenna adapter connects the plug on your vehicle’s antenna cable to the standard Motorola antenna input on your new radio.

Integration module: An integration module plus a wiring harness connect and enable communication between your new radio and your vehicle’s factory electronics. Splice the module’s wires to your new radio’s wires, then plug the other end of the wiring harness into the connector you unplugged from the factory radio.

Steering wheel control (SWC) adapter: A steering wheel control (SWC) adapter makes the connection between your new radio and your vehicle’s factory steering wheel audio controls. In most cases, you’ll have to connect wires, and set the adapter to work with your new radio.

Speaker Wiring Harness: Speaker wiring harnesses make connections between your new speakers and your vehicle’s factory speaker plugs.

Speaker Bracket: Speaker brackets bolt into your vehicle’s factory mounting locations, and allow you to install aftermarket speakers.

Have questions about do-it-yourself projects?

We have a library of articles and videos that cover a range of DIY topics.

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What is stereo? | SOUND

We’ve all heard the term stereo, but what is it? This allows you to listen to music in stereo by combining two channels together and creating a sound stage. However, when you only have one speaker, you will be listening in mono.

Levchuk Alexander Nikolaevich ©


Stereophonic sound, also known as “stereo sound”, is a term for creating sound. In the case of stereo, this refers to the two directions commonly referred to as “right” and “left”.

Stereo means that instead of all sound from all tracks in a recording played simultaneously from one source, the source is divided into two signals. During recording, tracks can be adjusted so that certain tracks are played from only one or two sources, or both, or any combination of sources, including playing the same track at different volume levels through each channel (“source”). The main purpose of stereo recording is to create a high fidelity, realistic soundstage that needs to be heard with high quality technology.


The difference lies in the number of channels (signals) used. Mono uses one, stereo uses more than one.

Mono sound uses one single channel. It can be played through multiple speakers, but all speakers still play the same copy of the signal.

Stereo sound uses more channels (usually two). You can use two different channels and make one channel one speaker (speaker) and the second channel a second speaker (which is the most common stereo setup). This is used to create direction, perspective, space, scene.

Below is an example using two columns.





From a technical point of view, true stereo means sound recording and sound reproduction, which uses stereographic projection to encode the relative positions of objects and recorded events – the sound stage.

In a common left and right two-channel stereo setup, one channel is sent to the left speaker and the other channel is sent to the right speaker. Now, by controlling which channel you send the signal to, you can control the position of the sound. You will hear sounds coming from different directions, depending on which speaker you are sending the signal to, or in what proportion (you can send a little more to the right speaker and the sound will be slightly to the right). Sounds with equal proportions on both speakers will come from the center.

In other words, stereo opens up the unique possibility of sound localization playback.

Although we use the term stereo to refer to many things (such as a stereo picture), stereo really refers to the way music is created and listened to. Stereo signals require 2 speakers or 2 pcs. acoustics or headphones to play them correctly, while mono signals need only one speaker.

When was stereo invented?

Stereo was invented in the 1930s but did not become widespread until the 1960s.

Phono Stage No. 6

Before that everyone listened in mono (one). Stereo is a really simple term, but it actually hides quite a bit of technical stuff for it to work well.

How to make stereo sound?

In essence, stereo recording allows you to create a 3D virtual soundstage in your room with two speakers. By 3D I mean good speakers + good cheap stuff where you can hear the singers or sound instruments placed around the speakers horizontally and vertically and even front or back.

However, most of today’s cheap speakers just present a flat soundstage (instruments and vocals are placed horizontally between the speakers), and this is considered normal, but if you have good acoustics + a good source (external DAC) + a good amplifier you get superior quality soundstage, you will begin to hear the full 3D scene.

If there is only one speaker, stereo signals can be easily converted to mono, to reproduce them perfectly, but without any special positioning aspects. Conversely, if you put a mono signal into 2 speakers, then you will not get a stereo signal, but only a mono signal, but twice as loud!

This 3D sound stage is performed during the recording process when recording music with level and phase information, and recording or adding reverb to give a sense of depth. The results are very different, but the orchestral work is regularly recorded in stereo, with great realism.

headphone amplifier

Everything in stereo?

People mostly listen to mono. This is due to the fact that it is difficult for us to listen to a set of stereo speakers, acoustics on the go – stereo only works if you are sitting and listening to acoustics or speakers on each side. Thus, most of the music played in hotels, supermarkets, phones, docking stations, TVs, radios, etc. is converted to/or actually played in mono.

Can you get stereo sound from one speaker?

Actually, no. There are quite a few speakers in one speaker that you think you’re listening to in stereo and may actually have 2, 3, 4 speakers in them, but that doesn’t make it a stereo system! As a general rule, good mono sounds better than bad stereo.

Acoustics Amfiton 25AC – 207

To create a stereo soundstage, you need to hear different signals in each of the two ears. To do this, you need a mixture of direct sound from the speaker, and an amplitude, coherent reflected sound from the walls of the room, floors, ceiling, etc. This can only happen if the distance between the speakers is the same distance as the speakers, acoustics.

Therefore, if you are at some distance, then the speakers (acoustics) should be approximately at some distance from each other. Computer speakers, for example, should be about 50-60 cm apart and so on.

Bluetooth stereo

Bluetooth chips have recently allowed manufacturers to offer Bluetooth stereo (CSR True Stereo) APTX. Now they are installed not only on headphones.

Bluetooth stereo works well for casual listening or for beginners, and does not meet Hi-Fi sound quality standards. This is because Bluetooth cannot send data to two speakers at the same time, so it sends data to one speaker, which then retransmits it to the other. The network effect is that there is a delay between the sound coming from the left and the right. Even though there is a slight delay, this delay can damage the soundstage, so you won’t get the best visualization.

Because we have two ears, on opposite sides of our head, we hear sound from two directions. To record this stereo sound, two microphones (at least) are used. F In fact, the best theoretical position for these two microphones is 180 degrees apart – just like our ears.

Plantronics 505 headphones

In a situation where, say, a band is playing, the sound will come from different directions, so multiple microphones can be used, and the position in the mix – pan can be moved using the recording table. When you listen to something in stereo with headphones, you can imagine where the pianist is playing inside your head.

With mono, it’s no big deal. The sound in each ear is identical. It can be recorded with just one microphone.

The idea came about when someone listened to recordings that were made with a microphone in different locations and realized that two microphones would “hear” two different mixes.

The best way to check if a recording is in stereo is to hear applause. It’s very obvious, mono or stereo.

Surround sound in cinema continues this idea. It mainly uses a delay to make the sound come from afar, but it is achieved using 7 different positions for microphones and more, which are amplified with 7 different amplifiers and speakers placed around the room.

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speaker structure (part 2) •

In the first part, we talked about the essence, nature of sound, features of its distribution and perception. It’s time to move on to devices that are capable of reproducing this sound. The most common option to this day is the speaker. This device at one time caused a real revolution in the field of musical engineering. Its fundamental simplicity and, at the same time, the complexity of details are definitely worthy of close attention.

Emergence of speaker

With the beginning of the active use of electricity, it became possible to transmit a sound signal, converting it into an electrical one and vice versa. At different times, many ways of this transformation were invented. Among them are electrodynamic, electrostatic, isodynamic, tape, Hale emitter, piezo and even plasma emitter.

They operate on different physical principles and differ in specific applications. But the very first was still a device that implements the electrodynamic principle. It remains the most common. Speaker, electrodynamic head, dynamic driver – all these terms are synonymous with the same invention.

Left – Hans Oersted. On the right is the first commercial version of the electrodynamic radiator (6-inch speaker, cost about $3000 in modern equivalent)

The physical principles on which the speaker works are based on electromagnetism, discovered by Hans Oersted and subsequently described by a whole galaxy of physicists of the 19th century. The fact that a conductor with current is pushed out by a magnetic field, and in a conductor moving in this field, on the contrary, a current arises, in fact, led to the invention of the speaker.

The first device, which applied all the basic design principles of the modern speaker, was patented in 1898 by Oliver Lodge after some thirty years of various attempts to find an effective way to implement. And the speaker itself, in the form to which we are all accustomed, appeared after about another thirty years.

Since then, the principles of its operation and the main structural elements have remained unchanged. At the same time, – this is what is especially surprising – not a year goes by without information about the next revolutionary improvement in the dynamics, which allows it to work even better.

Speaker device

Any modern speaker includes a frame [1] , which is also called a basket or even a spider. All other parts of the structure rest on it.

A magnetic system is attached to the back of the basket, which consists of a ring magnet [2] and a magnetic core [3] – together they form an annular gap. This magnetic gap, the annular gap between the two magnets, must be kept as small as possible to create the strongest possible magnetic field.

In the gap is the so-called voice (voice) coil [4] , which can reciprocate under the influence of a magnetic field, since an alternating current flows through it, corresponding in shape to the reproducible sound vibrations. It usually consists of wire coated with an insulating varnish and wound around a thin-walled cylinder, which is called the voice coil frame [5] .

It is attached to diffuser [6] – a thin-walled structural element, which, by vibrating, actually reproduces the sound. For this purpose, the diffuser must be able to move. For this, the so-called suspensions [7, 8] are installed: upper (outer) and lower. These are washers made of a thin and flexible material with concentric bulges. Thanks to this shape, the suspensions allow the diffuser to move along the axis of symmetry of the entire structure back and forth.

He does this because he is pushed by the voice coil, which is affected by an electromagnetic force proportional to the strength of the alternating current, which is fed to the coil through flexible momentless conductors [9] . On the other hand, these wires end with terminals [10] , to which the speaker cable coming from the amplifier is connected.

The dust cap [11] completes the picture, which is attached to the front of the diffuser and, as the name implies, protects the magnetic gap from dust particles entering it.

The variety of speakers is enormous. They differ in power, operating frequency range, scope and many other parameters. Naturally, the technologies and materials used in the production of each part depend on this. We will consider them separately.


The original diffuser was made from cellulose paper or cardboard. The dust cap (if provided) was also made of the same material. Cellulose diffusers are still very commonly used today. Paper is good for its combination of lightness and rigidity. Moisture resistance, strength and durability are added to it by impregnation with synthetic materials.

Plastic is good in this sense, but a pure plastic non-composite diffuser has a number of disadvantages. To correct them, composite materials with a variety of components are used: from wood or glass fibers to Kevlar or even graphene. Metal diffusers have increased rigidity. Most often they are made of aluminum alloys.

Beryllium has one of the best parameters, but due to the increased cost of the material and its processing technologies, this option is quite expensive. In the so-called dome tweeters, impregnated fabric is most often used, sometimes reinforcing a layer of the most rigid composite, with a rigid filler, up to diamond powder.

The most important requirements for a diffuser are a minimum of natural resonances and maximum rigidity, at which the “piston” mode of movement of the diffuser over its entire area becomes possible. These parameters must be combined with the most important requirements for the weight of the moving speaker system – it must be minimal. Thus, a quality diffuser is always a compromise between conflicting conditions.

Speaker hanger

The inner (closest to the magnet) speaker hanger is also called a center washer. Most often, this part is molded on a press with heating from a light, tear-resistant fabric with elastic synthetic impregnation – durable and agile. Some powerful woofers use two centering washers, one after the other.

External suspension is a bit more complicated. Initially, it was made in the form of concentric waves (corrugations) along the outer edge of the paper diffuser. So in some cases they do now, adding synthetic impregnation of the corrugation zone. For large vibration amplitudes, the external suspension is made of rubber, most often it is artificial butadiene rubber. Rubber suspension in cross section, in most cases, is a convex arc. There are options for “multi-wave” rubber suspensions, or the use of other profiles, including variable angles.

Both suspensions must ensure a strictly plane-parallel reciprocating motion of the entire moving speaker system with minimal deviations away from its axis.

Voice (voice) coil

This coil, operating in the magnetic gap of the speaker, is wound on a frame – a cylinder, which is often made of thick paper. Heat-resistant plastic is also used for the frame: Kapton, textolite, or other composite materials. For greater density and temperature stability (with a serious load, i.e. volume, the coil heats up), aluminum-based alloys and even titanium are used.

The wire with which the voice coil is wound, most often copper. Aluminum wire is lighter, and this is a plus in this case, but it has its drawbacks (higher electrical resistance at lower temperature stability) and is used less frequently. There is an option with copper-plated bimetallic aluminum wire, which improves conductivity.

For a denser arrangement of turns, the wire is sometimes made rectangular or hexagonal in cross section. To obtain several options for the resistance of the coil when connecting its parts in parallel or in series or using separate amplifiers, the voice coil, most often in low-frequency speakers, can be divided into separate sections wound on a common frame.

For better cooling of the voice coil, the magnetic gap in some tweeters is filled with a special liquid filled with finely dispersed magnetic powder. This improves system efficiency and improves heat dissipation.

Magnet system

The efficiency of a speaker’s magnet system is determined primarily by the material of the magnet. The most common is ferrite. In the middle of the last century, AlNiCo (iron-aluminum-nickel-cobalt) alloy magnets were common, in some cases this option is still used. In the latest historical period, neodymium magnets are becoming more widespread, creating a much stronger magnetic field. The problem here was getting a neodymium billet of the right size: neodymium is a hard-to-cut material. In addition, the cost of neodymium magnets has been on the rise lately.

Speaker Basket

The most common and most technologically advanced version of the basket, or speaker frame, is a stamped mild steel part. Small frames can be made of plastic. A more perfect, durable and, most importantly, accurate in its geometry, the product is obtained by casting, most often from aluminum, followed by processing on metal-cutting machines.

It is important to understand that in order to achieve a minimum magnetic gap, the voice coil located in this gap must be forced to move without touching its edges. To do this, its movement must be ideally coaxial to the magnetic gap along the entire possible oscillation amplitude. The location of the coil in the magnetic gap must be perfectly symmetrical. This imposes high demands on the accuracy of manufacturing and assembly of all parts.