When upgrading car audio, we usually do not pay attention to the rear speakers. That made me think if we really need rear speakers in our cars? Let’s find out.
The primary role of the rear speakers is to create a perfect soundstage effect in the car. Speakers that are placed in the back of the car should produce strong bass. However, their high tones should not disturb the stereo effect in front of the vehicle.
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Tip: When installing rear speakers, you can choose from either a coaxial or component system. I recommend coaxial speakers because they are easier to install, and also strong high tones made by separate tweeters are not needed in the back of the car.
My favorite coaxials that are perfect for the rear door on the rear deck are 6.5″ JBL Stadium GTO620, or oval 6×9″ GTO930. If you want to install something with really strong mid-bass, click the link and check their latest price on Amazon.
But, how to choose good speakers for the rear door, and how to match them with front speakers? The article below will answer these and other questions about rear car speakers.
What Rear Speakers Do in Car Audio?
The rear car speakers make a massive difference in the car audio sound because they create depth of the soundstage effect produced by the front speakers. These days, the majority, if not all cars, have speakers in the rear door.
An important fact to consider when deciding about rear speakers are the passengers traveling with you. If you have kids or friends sitting behind you, install the speakers, and let passengers enjoy the music. Without the rear speakers, their audio experience when music comes only from the dash will be mediocre.
However, if you drive in your car alone, the approach may be different, and the need for the rear speakers is quite individual. As we mentioned earlier, the rear speakers fill the gap in the sounds, but in the small cars, they are not needed.
A few years ago, I was driving small BMW Z4, where I had the only center speaker in the dash and a pair of coaxial 6.5” in kick panels. It was more than enough, and I was not even thinking about placing other speakers behind me, especially that it was back window right behind my head.
My car was fulfilled with quality sounds, and I was happy. There are, however, many coupe cars you can see that have speakers in the front, rear, and also in the rear decks, but again this is individual.
The approach for the rear car speakers is different when we think about large cars, where will be a real gap in the sounds behind front seats without rear speakers installed. In anything bigger than sedans, rear speakers are a must if you want to experience beautiful surround or life stage effects.
What Are the Differences Between Front and Rear Speakers?
The first thing you notice when looking at both types of speakers is their different sizes and often also shape. Although many adaptor rings are available and we can place any speaker we want in any place in the car, these changes require additional interior modification and more effort.
The easiest is a direct replacement of the factory speakers, which means that we cannot always buy two pairs of the same speakers and screw them to all doors.
Also, many cars have installed component systems in front doors, that have external tweeters in the upper door panels or the A-pillars. These tweeters are capable of creating strong high-frequency tones and are responsible for the stereo effect, which should come from the front of the vehicle.
Because of the larger size, front speakers are often more powerful than rear speakers what is understandable when we try to create sounds coming mainly from the front of the vehicle.
The front speakers create the sound stage, and from this side, we hear vocals or instruments. Front speakers are the priority when developing the sound quality in the car.
The rear speakers’ role is to create more low sounds that will be transferred to the front. That is why they do not have to produce as strong high tones as front speakers. Sounds coming from the rear also do not have to be as clear and precise.
How to match front and rear car speakers?
Rear car speakers should not be accidentally picked and just placed in the back doors. If you focus on the music quality, such approach will not add any value to the car audio.
Rear speakers are as important as any other part of the car audio system, and their careful selection will bring benefits we are looking for.
Although for years, the main sound drivers in the cars were installed in the rear decks, today, we focus more on the sound quality and its perfect allocation within the cabin. Rear decks are no longer the principal place for the main speakers because the stereo effect should come from the front. Nevertheless, rear speakers have to match the rest of the system.
Ideally, when the front and rear car speakers are the same to prevent any sound differences. If you can use the same speakers in all doors, the tone balance will be perfect, and you will not have any “missing” parts in your favorite music in the back of the car.
This scenario is perfect, but unfortunately not always possible, because of different size speakers that are factory mounted in front and rear doors. If you cannot install the same speakers in front and the back of the car, those in the back doors should have stronger lows with deeper mid-bass, while front speakers should have better high tones.
When matching speakers for the car audio, there is not the only size we should look at. The important is also sensitivity, power, and frequency handling.
- Sensitivity for the rear speakers should match or be as close as possible to the front speakers. When they are too quiet will sound dull and will not make correct surround effects, so if your front speakers have sensitivity 92 dB, rear speakers should have no less than 91 dB.
- Power handling of the rear speakers is another crucial parameter. The wattage of both pairs should be similar, regardless whether you have an external amplifier or source of power is the head unit. It does not make sense to have 200W RMS front speakers and 45W in the rear door. They will not play evenly, and with such difference, you will barely hear the sounds coming from behind.
- The frequency produced by rear speakers should not be too high, and definitely not higher than front speakers. It is good when rear speakers work better with lower frequencies. Otherwise, the stereo effect that should be in front of the cabin will be moved to the back. In other words, when you have front speakers that handle up to 22.000Hz, there is no need for the rear speakers to exceed this value.
Should I choose components or coaxial speakers for the rear door?
When you are wondering if you should use coaxial or component rear speakers, the answer depends on the music quality you want to achieve. Component speakers offer better sound experience thanks to separate woofers and tweeters. In 3-way component speakers, there are also mid-range speakers able to produce perfect vocals.
On the other side, we have coaxial speakers with tweeters installed on the top of the woofer cone. Coaxial speakers are easier to be installed and do not require wiring of additional crossovers.
The type of speakers you will install in the rear doors will depend mainly on the installation possibility. In many cases, the rear speakers are smaller than the front ones, and there is no room for tweeters, so choosing coaxial speakers will be the best option.
Installing coaxial speakers in the rear door does not mean they will play worse, many coaxial speakers are able to produce outstanding sound, but which one to choose, depends on the rest of the system you have.
Can you put components speakers in the back of the car? Yes, you can, but the strong high tones should come from the front, so in many cases, there is no actual benefit from the rear component system.
Also, if you do not have an installed amplifier, coaxial speakers will be better, because they usually do not require as much power as components speakers.
Depending on what car you drive and what type of music you enjoy, the installation of rear speakers will make sense or not, and this is an individual preference.
If you do not pay much attention to the life stage effect, you will be happy with the stereo coming from the front speakers. The same when you drive a small car, inside which it may be difficult to place additional rear speakers. In both situations, speakers in the back will not be required, and investing money in hi-end front speakers will be a better choice.
On the other hand, when your car is large, and you do not drive alone or just love the music coming from all around, installing quality rear speakers is a way to improve the car audio system. Speakers installed in the rear of the car will fill the gap in surrounding effect and allow your passengers to enjoy music the same way as you do in the driving seat.