Installing a good car audio system in the convertible can sometimes be challenging because of wind and road noise. Before the summer, I did some research about convertible sound systems, so let me share with you what I have found out.
How to choose the best car audio for a convertible? The most important in the convertible are powerful speakers with high sensitivity that can play loud because when driving without a roof, the majority of sounds made by typical car speakers will disappear.
To get a good bass in a convertible, we should install a subwoofer that will create clear and precise bass.
And finally, all the drivers should be powered by an efficient car amplifier, because no factory head unit will be able to produce enough power for all speakers and the subwoofer.
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Tip: Replacing factory speakers in the convertible with quality aftermarket requires a different approach than in a car with the hardtop. Speakers have to be strong with high sensitivity, and also should be made from materials able to handle sunlight, high humidity, and extreme temperatures. If you want to have the best speakers for your convertible, check out these quality speakers on Amazon.com now.
The article below will explain what to focus on when completing car audio for the open roof car.
How to Make Clear Sounds in the Convertible?
For the excellent music quality in the convertible, you need speakers with high sensitivity to make them really loud and a powerful subwoofer for strong bass.
Ideally, if speakers have low impedance, that will drive a lot of power from the amplifier. This, however, may be an expensive option. Nevertheless, it is worth spending the extra money to make a better sound in the convertible.
The same for the subwoofer, because as long as you have the roof closed, the music will be crystal clear, but with the roof down, all sound waves will dissipate.
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 that you have to install two 2000W 15” drivers, especially when open roof cars have small trunks and you do not want to use that space completely.
With lack of space, the right solution will be installing two separate 8”, or 10” woofers on both sides of the trunk.
If the room in the trunk is a real problem, there are available flat under-seat subwoofers, like Alpine PWE-S8 (link to Amazon opens in the new window).
Although under-seat subwoofers are 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 a few times strong bass, and this is true. In the convertible car, we do not have a problem with high tones, and when you have installed a component system in front with tweeters directed toward your ears, your highs are good.
The missing part are the low tones because in the open air, and this is where we should focus on when choosing proper speakers.
To power speakers and subwoofer in the convertible, a powerful amplifier is a MUST. Although your factory stereo 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 think about 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, amazing 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 just noise in the car, but listen to the high music quality. 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 sound processor to the car audio system like AudioControl DQDX (link to Amazon opens in the new window) and make precise adjustments on the pass filters for each speaker or channel individually.
Although it may sound complicated, this is a fantastic solution to make selected 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 Are the Best Speakers for Convertible?
When searching for the right speakers, remember about the conditions they will be working in, and although the wind and road noise is the main problem, this is not the only challenge they will face.
All speakers, and especially convertible speakers, 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:
- To keep the moisture and humid 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 any speakers with paper cones in the convertible, and it does not matter how good 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, paper cones, although cheap, they are heavy, not too stiff, and easy to be deformed.
- 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 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 really needed, but having them made from water-resistant materials will pay in the long term.
- 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. Surrounding should be made from thin, light butyl rubber. Do not use speakers with foam surroundings. They will be damaged faster during the rough conditions that you have in the convertible.
- Speakers installed in the convertible must have high sensitivity to allow them 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 during relaxing driving 60 – 70 mph, you should hear clear music. The majority of factory-installed speakers are 86 – 88 dB, and they produce 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. For example, great speakers for the convertible are Focal Access, or cheaper but still amazingly playing JBL from Stadium series (links to Amazon open in the new window).
Both will require a strong amplifier but, in return, will make driving with an open roof a pure pleasure.
Even when looking only at these two brands, 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 and component design.
The best car speakers you can think of for any convertible car, are Focal. For many years they have been known for their absolute top performance.
- Focal speakers are made with the highest possible quality and accuracy, and yes, they are expensive, but quality and perfection have the price. When you are looking for ideal sounds, you will find them in any Focal series, but the absolute top is Utopia and K2 with their 2-ohm low impedance speakers, that play with over 93 dB. Tweeters which you can adjust from -3 dB to +3 dB independently from woofers, support frequencies up to 40.000 Hz.
From coaxial speakers, the top is a PC line that will be great for the convertible, and although these are 4-ohm speakers, you will not be disappointed. Not with Focal.
- Another quality speakers that can be recommended to any convertible car are JBL. They are reliable and robust, with strong glass fiber woofer cones that have an extended size in comparison to the other speakers with this size, and thin butyl rubber suspension. The outstanding feature you will find in JBL Stadium coaxial speakers GTO930, GTO860, and GTO620 is a small button on the cover of the tweeter. After pressing it, you will make all high tones louder by 3 dB what comes handy with speakers placed in the lower part of the door. All Stadium speakers are designed in 2 ohms and offer sensitivity over 93 dB.
The loudest speakers from the Stadium series, GTO930, which handle 110W RMS, work with a fantastic frequency range, starting from 35Hz to 30.000Hz. This is more than anyone of us will ever need, yet they can play loud with sensitivity up to 96 dB.
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 of this noise in the air?
Although the sound deadening convertible will not focus on the noise reduction inside of the cabin, it will significantly stabilize metal door panels. It will reduce vibrations coming from high-performance 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 use 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.
Installing proper car audio 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 do will pay from the first run, and you will receive a grand prize in outstanding music experience, but only if you do it properly investing in a high-quality system and will not cut corners.