Tweeters are needed for reproducing high-frequency sounds, like voices, instruments, and sound effects.
In most car audio systems, tweeters are mounted in the front of the vehicle to give you a more immersive listening experience but do we need separate tweeters in the car? Let’s find out.
Generally, tweeters are needed to produce loud high-frequency sounds known as trebles. If you want an immersive listening experience with crystal clear highs and crisp details, adding separate tweeters is a good option. Also, adding tweeters to any car audio system is the most effective way to improve the overall quality and clarity of the sounds.
Tip: When deciding whether or not to add separate tweeters to your car audio system, there are several factors to consider.
Some key considerations include budget and available space for additional speakers, the quality of the existing speakers in your car, and your personal preferences around sound quality and volume level.
In the article below, I will go into more detail about different types of tweeters and how to choose the right ones for your car.
What Do Tweeters Do?
In short, tweeters enhance sound quality. These smallest speakers with a diameter between one or a few inches are designed to produce the highest frequencies in sound, typically from around 2,000 Hz to over 40,000 Hz., which means tweeters create between 2.000 to 40.000 sound waves per second.
To give you an idea of how high that is, the highest note on a piano is around 4,186 Hz.
Because of this frequency range, tweeters cannot work alone, and they must be part of the whole sound system. In most cases, they are installed on top of the woofer in the coaxial speakers. In the components systems, tweeters are separated from midrange speakers.
Unlike woofers that produce low to mid-range frequencies, and their precise direction towards the listener is not as important, tweeters should be pointed towards your ears for a better audio experience from the front side. Sometimes, they are mounted in the back of the car to fill the cabin with high sounds even better.
Quality factory sound systems like, for example, Bang&Olfusen in Audi, uses adjustable tweeters that direct sound precisely towards passengers’ ears.
In most cars, however, even if tweeters are originally installed, they are not pointed in the listener’s direction. Because of this, the overall audio experience maybe not be as good as in professional car audio systems, where the spread of sound waves was designed individually based on the vehicle’s cabin size and shape.
That does not mean additional tweeters will not help. In 100%, they will. After listening to a few songs made by the system with tweeters, you will not want to come back to the speaker types without strong high tones.
For more information, check out my detailed guide about how tweeters work.
Where to install tweeters in car?
Tweeters are much smaller than other speakers’ sizes, and you can find them either in the center of the coaxial speakers or mounted independently in different places in the car. If your vehicle is originally equipped with tweeters, their replacement with a new system is straightforward. If your car does not have separated tweeters, you will need to install them in new places.
Although every car is different, there are typical areas where you can add these small speakers:
- In the upper part of the door. This is the best place for tweeters in the car to achieve a clear stereo effect.
- In the “A” pillar between a windshield and front door window. Most factory-installed tweeters are placed in the “A” pillars.
- Tweeters mounted in-dash are also often installed in factory systems. This position is the most difficult to direct music towards the passengers due to windshield reflection.
Regardless of the place in the car you will choose, the correct installation is critical for achieving a high sound quality.
What are the types of tweeters in the car audio systems?
When looking at the tweeters, you will see everyone looks different, but all belong to the few main groups. Some types are mounted in a fixed position, while others are adjustable so you can change the cone angle to direct sound into the exact place in your car.
Thanks to the adaptable design, tweeters face the center of the vehicle, which helps to hear the better stereo effect.
There are a few most commonly tweeter types you can see in the various systems:
- Dome tweeters have the most extensive sound dispersion from all tweeter types. Thanks to this, they are often used in the component systems, allowing flexibility in choosing the right location without losing sound quality.
- A semi-dome tweeter looks like a small woofer with matching size tweeter on top. This design allows using of soft materials like silk that produce less sharp high tones.
- Cone tweeter, are mostly used in the factory car audio due to low cost what directly affects sound quality. Aftermarket options of the cone tweeters also offer limited performance.
- Inverted dome design used in tweeters that looks like a tiny cone speaker guarantees perfect sound quality, but it is expensive. Inverted tweeters are made by Focal, for example, TN43 (Focal website, link opens in new window).
From the material side, there are two main groups, hard dome, and soft dome tweeters that offer different sharpness of the high tones:
- Metal tweeters, often made from aluminum, beryllium, or titanium, are suitable for loud and bright sounds, especially when you listen to music with windows down or in the convertible where the road noise is higher than in closed cabins. Metal tweeters also require more power from the amplifier, especially when you want to listen to really loud music.
- Silk dome tweeters produce softer sounds and sound more natural, so if your car is quiet inside or after sound deadening, silk tweeters can be the right choice, also for more gentle music types like Jazz or Classical.
- Polyimide or Mylar tweeters work well with less powered systems. Also, because of synthetic materials not being affected by humidity, they fit cars in rainy areas or places with long winters.
How to install tweeters in a car?
If you want to install tweeters for your car, you can do it no matter what type of speakers you have already installed. To add tweeters, you need a crossover that can be either external or built-in. You may buy a separated crossover, but in the majority of the tweeter sets, they are already included.
A crossover is needed to separate the bass from the treble, and to transfer only the high tones to tweeters. Otherwise, these sensitive small speakers can be easily damaged because high tones require less power from the amplifier than bass speakers.
- When adding tweeters with external crossovers, you have to connect crossovers’ inputs with speaker wires coming out of the amplifier. Tweeters will have to be connected with the high-frequency terminals at the crossover and woofer speaker to the low-frequency crossover’s terminals.
- Installation of the tweeters with built-in crossovers is the easiest. Connect tweeter wires with the main speaker’s terminals and job done. Another way is to run wires for this type of tweeters directly from the amplifier.
How to wire tweeters to coaxial speakers?
Additional tweeters added to the 2 way, or 3-way coaxial speakers are a great way to improve music quality, especially when the main speakers are installed in the lower part of the door, and their tweeters are not adjustable.
There are two ways to connect tweeters with coaxial speakers:
- Tweeters with built-in crossovers can be directly connected to the main speakers’ terminals. This is the simplest installation way without wiring them directly from the amplifier. However, for this connection type, you should not use tweeters with external crossovers. Crossovers will send only high tones to the tweeters and everything else to the main speakers, so in this case, you will lose high tones from the coaxial tweeters.
- Tweeters with the external crossovers should be connected to the amplifier, and not directly with the coaxial speakers. This way, coaxial speakers will not be affected by the signal cut. You can also connect additional tweeters in parallel to the same channels as main speakers, but this may affect impedance and change the power level that comes to the speakers.
If you do not want to use a parallel connection with an amplifier, you can use 4 channel amp and wire tweeters from front channels, with coaxial speakers, powered by rear channels.
A few years ago, I had installed speakers this way in a small BMW Z4 with one pair of coaxial speakers, and the sound effect total of four tweeters was better than expected.
How to install tweeters without crossover?
Tweeters cannot be installed without crossovers and are expected to produce quality sound, because they will be damaged in no time. Crossovers must be included in every system with tweeters. If there is no crossover between amplifier and tweeter, it must be installed before the amp to transfer to the tweeters only high frequencies.