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How to Make Car Speakers Louder? (Tips Without an Amplifier)

Recently I made a few sound improvements in a friend’s car without adding amplifiers or subwoofers. There were some exciting tricks, so I wrote an article about making car speakers louder without installing an external amplifier.

To make speakers louder without an amplifier, correctly place them in the car and seal them to the door panels. Additional volume boost you will achieve with a proper sound-deadening door. Speakers will also play louder with better quality audio files and correct sound balance adjustments on the head unit.

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

Tip: We often hear that the only way to make speakers play louder is to add an amplifier or subwoofer. Although these options can boost music quality, they are often expensive solutions requiring additional wiring or other types of effort.

In most cases, we just want simple adjustments that will change the sound quality without spending hundreds of dollars.

I have found excellent effects in increasing the dynamic from the door speakers by sound deading the door panels using Xtreme Dynamat panels and mounting the speakers on the foam baffles (links to Amazon).

In the article below, I share more detailed information about making car speakers louder without using the amplifier.

Why Are My Car Speakers So Quiet?

One of the common reasons why car speakers can be quiet, and I have seen it many times, is their incorrect polarity when connected to the car stereo.

Every speaker has two leads, positive and negative, and in the same way, you should pair them with terminals in the head unit.

If something went wrong during the wiring of the speakers, and the wire from the negative radio terminal was connected to the positive speaker’s lead and vice versa, you can have speakers playing against each other.

When speakers play against each other, you will have sound distortions and cancellations, and the overall music experience will be mediocre at most.

Even if you hear some sounds, the speakers will play quietly and flat. The most significant loss is often on the mid-bass, which are the sounds we hear the most.

how to make car speakers louder without amplifier

It does not matter how good or how expensive speakers we have. If they are connected wrong, they will not play well.

The simple way to double-check if the polarity is correct is to disconnect the speaker wire from the head unit and use an AA battery.

Next, touch the positive wire with the positive battery side and the negative cable with the negative side, and watch the speaker.

The cone should move; if you have a speaker connected correctly, you will see the cone moving slightly towards a dust cap.

However, when polarity is flipped, the cone will move towards the speaker’s inside.

You can do the same polarity check before connecting the speaker wires to the head unit or when unsure which is the positive and negative wire coming out of the speakers.

It is worth a minute to ensure speakers are correctly wired and will play their best.

high quality audio files for car audio

Another reason speakers can play quietly is incorrectly setting sound levels on the head unit.

Every head unit has adjustable bass and treble, and when they are on the low end of the scale, speakers will be quiet, so when your speakers play quietly, check these settings and also balance and fader.

While talking about the head unit, the quality of the music tracks we listen to is worth mentioning.

Today we have an option to choose from dozens of different formats that are more or less compressed, DC, Bluetooth, and whatever else you can think of.

The important is to remember not to listen to heavily compressed files because these smallest files have poor quality, and even with the best car audio system, they will sound bad.

The best sound quality and acoustic offer the original CD tracks, although they are not so popular anymore.

Much more popular files that we use on our phones these days are tracks downloaded from streaming services, but we have to remember to download them only on the highest quality.

Higher quality audio files will be larger, but when we aim for loud sounds, we should not compromise their quality and reduce size.

How to Make Door Speakers Sound Better?

There are a few ways to make car speakers sound louder without investing much money in the amplifier or additional wiring.

#1. Replace Factory Speakers With High-Sensitivity Aftermarket Speakers.

The easiest way to make speakers sound louder is to replace them with high sensitivity speakers.

Typical factory mounted speakers have a sensitivity of around 86 to 88 dBA, which is not the best for loudness.

dBA is the factor that tells us how loud the speaker will be at a distance of 1 meter when powered by 1 Watt of energy.

For the speakers powered from the head units, sensitivity is the most critical factor you should consider when purchasing new speakers. To enjoy clear and loud music quality, we should aim for speakers with sensitivity over 92 dBA.

A great example of the high-sensitivity speakers that I installed not long ago without an amplifier is the 2-way coaxial JBL Stadium GTO620. GTO620 is the newer model of the JBL GTO629, which was one of the best speakers on the market.

JBL Stadium GTO620 High-Performance Multi-Element Speakers and Component Systems

The new GTO620 have 75W RMS, which means that the head unit can easily power them, but more importantly, their sensitivity is 95 dBA, which is a lot.

95 dBA means GTO620s will play over twice as loud with the same power as typical factory speakers because the energy needed to deliver the same volume decreases by half with each 3dB sensitivity increase.

In other words, when powered by a 50W amplifier, they will be as loud as 92 dBA speakers supplied by 100W.

And there is more; typical 89 dBA factory speakers would need 200W RMS per channel from the amplifier to play as loud as JBL GTO620 powered from the head unit, but there are no factory speakers that can achieve sound quality that would be even close to the JBL GTO speakers.

They play amazingly loud and clear. If you have speakers in the lower part of the door and you are missing high tones, you can add 3dB to the high tones by pressing a small silver button at the tweeter.

This solution used in JBL is unique and truly amazing. When considering replacing factory car speakers to make them play louder music, the JBL Stadium series is worth buying.

#2. Install Additional Tweeters in Door Panels or A-Pillars.

If your car is equipped originally with tweeters, you do not have to worry about modifying the car interior while replacing them with better ones.

If you do not have installed tweeters, you should consider adding them together with the new speakers because high tones are often missing.

installing additional tweeters in car

Tweeters will fill the entire cabin with high-frequency sounds, and listening to the music is much more enjoyable.

And the best part is that you do not need an amplifier to install tweeters because modern head units have enough power to make most speakers play well.

#3. Add Sound Deadening to the Car Door.

When installing car audio, the most ignored part of the car is door dampening, especially if we plan to place in the door quality speakers.

External noises in the car can be a natural killer of music quality. To feel the difference, play the music when the car does not move, and then try the same with the same volume while you drive it. Now you understand road noise impact, that has to be removed.

Increasing music volume is not the best solution to compensate for the external noise because, in line with the higher volume, you will hear more distortions and the whole interior playing, not just the speakers.

Speakers placed in the original door places are connected to the bare metal, transferring lots of vibrations to the door while playing music.

To reduce these vibrations and strange noises from the shaking door or crackling car interior, you have to dampen all door panels.

Although it may sound complicated is very easy. Adding a thin layer of sound-deadening material to both door panels can significantly improve acoustic in the car or reduce the noises coming from the outside via bare metal panels.

But this is not everything that a sound-deadening car has to offer. The most significant improvement we notice is to make speakers louder with stronger and deeper bass.

Sound deadening rubber or foam panels make the car audio system sound better by absorbing vibrations and noise, eliminating speaker resonance, so we do not have to continuously increase volume while driving a car.

Dampening car doors make a massive impact on the overall acoustic in the car. As a result, the quality of the sounds coming out of the speakers is better, and the speakers play louder without adding an amplifier.

#4. Make Proper Sealing of the Car Door Speakers.

Another way to improve the loudness of the car speakers is their proper sealing. Sealing car speakers to the door or enclosures is simple and one of the cheapest, if not the most inexpensive way to make speakers play clear and louder.

To seal speakers, we use gasket tape, which is nothing else than thin foam with an adhesive layer on one side.

To use it, stick the tape around the speaker’s mounting hole in the door panel or the adaptor ring, depending on which element your speakers are installed.

When the surrounding of the mounting hole is fully covered with the foam, you screw the speaker into its original place, and that is it. The foam will give a much better sealing of the speaker to the door panel.

The reason for sealing the speaker is to separate the front sound wave from the wave behind the speaker. Separating the waves will reduce sound distortions or cancellations, which is critical when you want speakers to perform well.

By sealing the speakers, we ensure that air from the back of the speaker cannot get to the front.

Of course, all speakers should have proper sealing when mounted, but this is especially important in the subwoofers that produce huge sound waves.

When placing a hand around playing subwoofer, you can feel blowing air from underneath the speaker or even hear the blow. If you ever experience that, it means that the subwoofer does not have proper sealing, and its performance with bass quality is limited.

It is a great way to check subwoofers’ quality before purchasing it. If you feel the air around the speaker, or hear the sounds that are not part of the music, check another box, or ask for a discount and add gasket tape at home.

Gasketing tape is straightforward to use and cheap, but simultaneously, it makes speakers perform much better.

How to Increase Volume of Speakers Without Amplifier?

Having car speakers playing louder is the goal for most of us, but in many cases, simply increasing volume to the maximum makes them sound distorted and make a mess of our music.

There are several ways to make car speakers play louder without using an amplifier:

#1. Make Sure Speakers Are Properly Installed.

Correct installation using the right speaker wires guarantees stable current flow, which means there should be no signal interruption.

#2. Check For Possible Sound Blockages.

Any blockage will make your car speaker system play quieter. Make sure there are no objects in front or near the speaker that could be blocking the sound.

#3. Use a Higher Quality Music Source.

Make sure to use the highest audio quality files for your music.

For example, MP3 music files that have been heavily compressed can sound terrible when played at high volumes. Instead, use lossless audio formats like FLAC or WAV for better sound quality.

#4. Check the Wiring.

If using an aftermarket head unit, ensure the wiring is done correctly. Incorrect wiring can make the speakers sound quiet or make them sound distorted.

#6. Use an Equalizer.

An equalizer or sound processor can significantly affect how your car stereo system sounds.

After you have increased the volume of your car speakers, you may notice that the sound is not as good as it could be. This is because the increase in volume can make the sound less clear.

You can use an equalizer to fine tune the sound of your car stereo system and make it sound better at higher volumes.

#7. Check if the Speakers Are Getting Enough Power.

If your car speakers are not getting enough power, they will not be able to play as loud as you want.

Make sure that the head unit provides enough power for the speakers. If not, you may need to upgrade the head unit, but even the strongest aftermarket stereo will not make more than 18W RMS per channel.

#8. Add Sound Deadening Material to Doors.

Sound deadening material will help to absorb some of the sounds that would otherwise be lost through your car doors.

This will make the sound from your speakers clearer. Although the sound deadening will not directly increase the overall volume, it will make sounds more dynamic, exposing missing frequencies and increasing the loudness.

Adding sound deadening material is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to improve the sound quality of your car stereo system.

Various types of sound deadening materials are available on the market, but I recommend using butyl rubber or foam mats to fill interior door panels.

#9. Seal the Speakers to the Door Panels.

If your car speakers are not mounted flush with the door panel, there will be a gap between the door panel and the speaker. This gap will allow sound to escape, making your music sound quieter.

You can use Dynamat or similar products to seal the speakers to the door panels. This will help reduce the vibrations and make the sound clearer.

#10. Upgrade the Car Stereo.

If you have followed all of the tips above and are still unhappy with the volume of your car speakers, you may need to upgrade the stereo.

Aftermarket stereos usually have more power and features than factory stereos. As a result, they can make a big difference in the sound quality of your car stereo system.

When shopping for a new car stereo, look for one with at least 16 watts RMS per channel.

You should also look for a car stereo that has built-in EQ controls. This will allow you to fine tune the sound of your car stereo system and make it sound better at higher volumes.

Will a New Head Unit Make My Speakers Louder?

While a new head unit may make your speakers sound better, it will not always make them play louder.

Most aftermarket head units have better sound processing and amplification components than factory stereos, so replacing the stock radio with such an aftermarket model will make the speakers sound louder.

However, the increase in volume will be limited by the power of the new head unit. If you want your speakers to play significantly louder, you will need to install an amplifier or replace speakers with those of higher sensitivity.

Which Are the Loudest Car Speakers Without Amplifier?

Car speakers to be loudest, need to have high sensitivity, which measures how much sound they produce from the power they receive.

The higher the sensitivity rating, the louder the speaker will be. Most stock car speakers have a sensitivity rating of around 80-90 dB.

As I mentioned earlier, an increase of just 3dB makes speakers twice as loud, meaning speakers with 93dB will be twice as loud as those with 90dB, and so on.

HERTZ DCX 170.3 (DCX170.3) 6.7" 2-Way Dieci Series Coaxial Speakers

When looking at the loudest car speakers, in addition to mentioned earlier JBL Stadium GTO620 that plays with a lower impedance and should run only with an aftermarket stereo, I recommend checking the 6.7″ Hertz DCX170.3. They create unique sounds for the price, and with 40W RMS, they are excellent to run with any aftermarket stereo.

If you want something slightly more dynamic, the best speakers without an amp are the Kicker 42PSC654. They start with a slightly lower bass than above Hertz but do not have as loud highs, so it is a matter of preference, either more bass or higher top notes.

Kicker PSC654 (42PSC654) PSC65 6.5-Inch (160mm) PowerSports Weather-Proof Coaxial Speakers, 4-Ohm

Both are excellent for a car stereo, but Kicker, thanks to the marine grade, will be a better option for open vehicles.

Summary

The above ways to make speakers play slightly louder will work in any car.

However, if you want to achieve the best audible improvements, you have to make all changes together, and you will not regret it.

For many people, listening to their favorite music is the best way of relaxation while driving a car. However, to make driving even more enjoyable, we should use high-quality speakers and install them properly to start listening to their full capability.

Of course, the amplifier will be mandatory when you need car speakers with hundreds of Watts RMS each.

However, an amplifier is not needed for simple sound improvements that can still significantly change the audio experience.

The amount of power from the head units is sufficient for many speakers, and there is no need to add amplifiers.

You should avoid cutting corners when improving the sound system in a car without an amplifier. Speakers will play louder when you focus on their correct installation and will not forget about properly dampening the doors and sealing the speakers.

These are cheap and straightforward solutions for which time spent will pay itself in no time.