I'm thinking of installing some aftermarket speakers in my Wrangler. I was looking at Memphis Brand, Thoughts on this brand? Will the sound be good enough with just the Factory Radio or am I wasting my money.. Thanks for the help..
Speakers are more important to good sound than the head unit is. The issue is you have to make sure the speakers you install will not require more power (wattage) than the head unit can put out. Many don't pay attention to that and then wonder why their speakers rated at 250-500 watts sound so crappy and don't put out much volume.
The secret you need to keep in mind is to insure the speakers you select have the right "Sensitivity" rating so they will operate in their sweet spot with the amount of power available to them. Head units typically only put out 18-22 RMS watts which isn't much so you need speakers with a little higher than average Sensitivity rating.
For your factory radio, make sure the speakers you buy have no less than a 90 dB (decibel) Sensitivity rating. Polk's DB series of speakers have over a 90 dB Sensitivity rating and sound good in a Wrangler. Not all speaker manufacturers make it easy to find their Sensitivity ratings, you may have to dig into their more detailed specifications to find it.
Just a 3 dB drop in the Sensitivity rating, say from 90 to 87 dB Sensitivity, will make a dramatic difference in sound levels. It would take doubling the amplifier wattage level to make up for that 3 dB difference if you dropped from a speaker with a 90 dB Sensitivity rating to one with an 87 dB Sensitivity rating.
The bottom line is this... let's say your head unit puts out the typical 20 RMS watts. A speaker rated at 250 watts with an 84 dB Sensitivity rating will not play as loudly or as clearly as a speaker with only a 100 watt rating but with a 90 dB Sensitivity rating. Speaker wattage ratings are only how much power they can handle without distortion or blowing out, not how loudly they'll play at a given wattage level.
I agree with Jerry. Not to try and confuse but with car stereo the ratings and measurements can often be manipulated to look good for marketing reasons. So you have that variable to deal with. But I think Polk is usually pretty honest, and their prices are reasonable.
But I differ a little when it comes to the importance of a head unit. Mostly because the factory Jeep head unit just doesn't have much for balls. I would upgrade the speakers and if you are thrilled with the improvement then stop. But personally I would consider that a decent high power aftermarket head unit may be needed. I added a Pioneer within a month of owning my Jeep and it definitely had more ooomph than the stock deck.
If our Jeeps had half way good H/U then I might agree with Jerry that speakers are more important than the H/U. Everything he says is accurate but if the H/U does not reproduce sound correctly speakers don't make a difference and the stock H/U attenuates both highs and lows. You can throw any speaker you want at it and you still have muddy sound.
Just swapping my H/U was a big improvement over stock and that was with stock speakers. Once I upgraded the speakers it got even better. But many people like the stock H/U for whatever reason and that is fine but you have to fix the sound. That is what a DSP is designed for so it is possible to restore the signal and then shape if for the enclosure you are dealing with.
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