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How to Choose Car Audio for a Convertible?

Are you looking for a way to set up the perfect car audio system for your convertible? Whether you are an audiophile or want the best sound experience when driving, choosing the right equipment can be daunting.

Fortunately, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. With some basic knowledge and guidance, finding the ideal audio system for your convertible vehicle is easy.

When choosing a car sound system for the convertible, focus on speakers with high sensitivity and power handling. Also, the speakers should be designed to resist moisture and UV radiation because convertibles are exposed to the elements. Finally, for good bass, using a subwoofer in the convertible is mandatory because the lower frequencies made by speakers can quickly disappear in free air.

As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.

Tip: Replacing factory speakers in the convertible with quality aftermarket requires a different approach than in a car with a hardtop.

Speakers must be strong with high sensitivity and should be made from materials able to handle sunlight, high humidity, and extreme temperatures.

If you want the best speakers for your convertible, check out these quality speakers on Amazon.com.

In the article below, I will detail the key factors to consider when choosing a car audio system for convertibles.

How to Make Clear Sounds in the Convertible?

For excellent music quality in the convertible, you need speakers with high sensitivity to make them loud and a powerful subwoofer for solid bass, but this is not all, and there are a few areas you need to focus on:

best speakers for convertible

#1. Sound Quality

Audio systems should have enough power to produce great sound quality and handle the extra vibration that comes with an open car.

Look for a car audio system with sound clarity and high-resolution output.

#2. Installation

Installing car audio systems in a car with an open roof requires extra care and attention to detail.

Depending on the car model, you may need to purchase additional parts or mounting brackets.

#3. Durability

When choosing a car audio system for convertibles, it is important to find equipment that can withstand exposure to sunlight, humidity, and extreme temperatures.

#4. Cost

Remember to determine your budget before investing in a car audio system for an open car. Consider the installation cost and the price of replacing parts over time.

When it comes to speakers, ideally if they have low impedance, that will drive a higher power amount from the amplifier, but this may be an option marked with a high price tag.

Nevertheless, it is worth spending the extra money to make a better sound in the convertible.

The same is true for the subwoofer because as long as the roof is closed, the music will be crystal clear, but all sound waves will dissipate with the top down.

Depending on the car, you may not have much room for the proper size speakers like 6″ x 9″ or 6.5″.

Although smaller speakers can be great for high tones, they will not create enough depth in the mid-bass range, and if you want to improve bass in the convertible, a good subwoofer will be mandatory.

It does not mean you have to install two 2000W 15″ drivers, especially when open roof cars have small trunks and do not want to use that space completely.

What Is the Best Subwoofer for a Convertible?

With a lack of space, the right solution will be to install two separate 8″ or 10″ woofers on both sides of the trunk.

You must remember that each separate woofer will need its designated amp channel, so you need to use either a stereo amplifier or two monoblocks.

subwoofer in convertible

If the room in the trunk is a real problem, there are available flat under-seat subwoofers, like the excellent Alpine PWE-S8 (link to Amazon opens in the new window).

Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle Compact Powered 8-Inch Subwoofer , black

Although under-seat subwoofers are the least powerful of all available, they provide a good experience, especially when we sit a few inches above them.

You have probably noticed that I mention strong bass a few times, which is true.

In the convertible car, we do not have a problem with high tones, and when you have installed component woofers in front with tweeters directed toward your ears, your highs are good.

The missing part in the convertible are always low tones because in the open air, and this is where we should focus on when choosing proper new speakers.

To power speakers and subwoofer in the convertible, a powerful amplifier is a MUST.

Although your factory stereo or aftermarket head unit can make good sounds, it will never be able to power speakers begging for more and more power.

Because of a lack of space, especially in the smaller roadsters, you may need to consider a 5-channel amplifier rather than two separate ones.

Well, the number of channels will depend on how many speakers you have, but the minimum in any convertible should be a 4-channel amplifier, for example, excellent A/B class Skar Audio SKv2-100.4AB (Amazon link opens in the new window), that will produce enough quality power for strong front speakers and bridged woofer wiring.

Although in the amplifier installed in the convertible, the signal-to-noise ratio is not as important as in the closed cars, it still should be over 90dB.

A much more critical parameter, though, is the amplifier class, which should be A/B when you do not want to make noise in the car, but listen to high-quality music.

More and more amplifiers are being made in the A/B class, so finding a good one is not a problem, but they are more expensive than typical D-class models.

For further sound adjustments, especially in the convertible, it is worth adding a digital signal processor to the car audio system like AudioControl DQDX (link to Amazon) and making precise adjustments on the pass filters for each speaker or channel individually.

AudioControl DQDX Black 6 Channel Performance Digital Signal Processor

Although it may sound complicated, this is the best solution to make a full range of frequencies stronger for a particular area in the car and listen to precisely what you want.

Remember, there is a lot of noise around, so do not let it destroy your music experience.

What Is the Best Subwoofer for a Convertible?

When searching for the proper speakers, remember about the conditions they will be working in, and although the wind and road noise is the main problem, there are other challenges they will face.

All speakers, especially those used in open roof cars, must be designed to work with extreme temperatures, high or low humidity, and direct sunlight.

To meet these conditions and allow you to enjoy your favorite music for a long time, speakers must have a robust design from top-quality materials. Well, unless you want to replace them with another “awesome” after a year.

What to Look for When Searching for Quality Speakers:

#1. To keep the moisture and humidity out of the components, both door and dash speakers must have light and stiff cones, ideally from Kevlar, Carbon, or glass fiber.

Do not use speakers with paper cones in the convertible; it does not matter how good the coating they have.

This is still paper that will be weakened by the sun or moisture, which you will find a lot in the convertible.

Also, although cheap, paper cones are heavy, not too stiff, and easily deformed.

#2. For speakers mounted in the door, pay attention to the back of the speaker.

There may be a lot of moisture dropping on the back of the speakers inside the doors, so they should be covered appropriately. Especially magnets and suspension areas have to be protected.

You can cover speakers by surrounding the magnets with foam baffles if needed, but having them made from water-resistant materials will pay for the long term.

#3. Another crucial part of the speakers that work in the open air is the surrounding. Cones vibrate fast, especially when you listen to loud music, to compensate for airflow around the car.

Therefore, surroundings should also be robust, so they will not tear quickly from vibrations or the atmosphere. The surrounding should be made from thin, light butyl rubber.

Do not use speakers with foam surroundings. They will be damaged faster in the convertible, especially when the cones on the rear deck are facing the direct sun.

#4. Speakers installed in the convertible must have high sensitivity to play aloud without turning the volume too high.

Of course, when you drive 160 mph at the racetrack with the roof down, there are no speakers in the World that will compensate for such noise and play well at the same time, even if you have them in the headrest.

But even during relaxing driving at 60 – 70 mph on the open road, you should hear clear music.

Most factory-installed speakers are 86 – 88 dB, producing mediocre sound quality at most. For the convertible, you should look for speakers with a minimum of 92 dB.

Are there any speakers that meet these standards?

Of course, and you do not have to spend a fortune on them. There are many affordable options, especially in coaxial format.

For example, great speakers for the convertible are Focal Access, or cheaper but still amazingly playing JBL from Stadium series, but my favorite ones for convertible or off-road are Polk Audio from MM1 Serie (links to Amazon).

Polk Audio MM1 Series 6.5 Inch 375W Component Marine Boat ATV Speakers System, Renewed

Polk Audio are built in marine grade specification, which makes them perfect for playing in the open air even within high humidity or rain.

All three of my top picks require a strong amplifier but, in return, will make driving with an open roof a pure pleasure, and if I had a convertible, I would install either of these speakers today.

They offer many options with different sizes in both main groups, coaxial speakers and component speakers.

Do I Need to Dampen the Door in the Convertible?

We sound deaden the cars to make them quiet, but does it make sense in the convertible with all this noise in the air?

Although the sound deadening convertible will not focus on noise reduction inside the cabin, it will significantly stabilize metal door panels.

As a result, it will reduce vibrations coming from high-performance types of speakers.

Vibrating door panels cause the whole door to shake, and in effect, the entire interior will start making strange noises, especially when powerful subwoofers will start doing the job.

Also, open-door areas that will be sealed by the dampening rubbers or foam will strengthen and make all sounds more accurate.

In addition to the sound-dampening materials, it is worth screwing speakers not directly to the door panels but using either thin gaskets or MDF distance rings.

Sealing will make additional cushions between the speaker basket and the metal door panel, which will further reduce transferring any vibrations to the car elements.

Summary

Installing a proper sound system in the convertible can be challenging, especially when you are an audiophile that wants high-end music quality with the roof down.

The critical part of the system are high-performing strong speakers.

To make speakers play at a reasonable level, you also need a strong amplifier, ideally AB class, that can work with stable 2 ohms.

Anything less may not be sufficient for the convertible car unless you listen to music only in the garage.

All changes you make will pay from the first run, and you will receive a grand prize in outstanding music experience, but only if you do it properly, invest in a high-quality system, and do not cut corners.

Another way is to purchase one of the modern cars fully prepared by experienced car audio acoustic engineers, like Lexus LC with Mark Levinson audio, but this is an expensive solution.

In my other article, you can find more about great serial cars with outstanding audio power systems