Can You Use Car Speakers For Home Theater?

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What Is Meant By Impedance?

Speakers are designed to work the best when connected to a speaker system (home audio or car audio) with the correct impedance. Impedance is represented either in Ohms or in Decibels (in one practice and one practice only!).

Ohm is a unit of electrical resistance. Decibel is a unit of signal strength (volume). When the impedance matches, you get the best balance between signal strength and power. If you have low impedance, then you'll get a lot of power, but your signal strength will suffer. If you have high impedance, you'll get plenty of signal strength, but this might be wasted on a weak receiver or amplifier.

Most car stereos have an impedance of 4 Ohms, so 4 Ohm car speakers are designed to be the best match. If you connect 4 Ohm car speakers with a home audio speaker system (sometimes called home theater), which has a recommended impedance range from 4 to 16 Ohms, then it will result in lower power, but greater signal strength.

In such a scenario, you get a good sound, but you can’t produce the volume that you might be used to in your car. To experience the high volumes and optimal power at home, you need 8 Ohm or higher home theater speakers.

Why Use Car Speakers In A Home Theater?

If you’re looking for an inexpensive sound system for a home theater then you might want to consider using your car speakers.

It’s a great idea, because they may work fine even though they’re not top of the line speakers. It’s not likely the same speakers would sound as good in your car, because they won’t be as big or powerful and you’ll be sitting much closer to the car speakers. Also if you use car speakers in a home theater you may want to consider changing the angle or direction of the speakers.

To have the best sound system in a home theater it’s best to invest in high quality home theater speakers.

Are Car Speakers And Home Speakers The Same?

Yes, they’re the same! But you should keep in mind that…

  • Home speakers are designed with premium construction and the best materials.
  • The form factor and performance of car and home speakers vary significantly depending on the environment they’re for.
  • Speaker characteristics, like audio response, sensitivity and impedance, are complex and depend on many factors like size, design and performance.

Car speakers are optimized for a unique set of applications, which are not present in the home theater. Home speakers are designed for a wide range of applications and environments. They are also optimized for premium audio output and extended durability. It is a misconception that car speakers are of sub-standard quality. But they are designed to deliver a high level of sound for a short period of time in a mobile environment.

The reality is, the audio output of car speakers are of excellent quality for their intended purpose. If you are looking for dedicated car speakers, you may want to have a read of my previous articles: What Are The Best Car Speakers? and How to Install Car Speakers.

Matching Your Speakers And Amps

While some of you may be looking to power a couple of home theater speakers by your car's stock audio system, most of you are probably looking for a better sound option. While a car stereo may be a great match for the spare bedroom at your parent's house, it probably won't cut it in a grown up living room.

To start with, we’re going to cover a few basics that will help you get started.

First, think about the placement of your home theater speakers. The ideal outcome is evenly spaced sound throughout the room. The best way to accomplish this is by placing your front (L/R) speakers, as close to your TV as possible, or along the top centerline of the screen's center.

The next thing to note is that your individual speakers may be a better match for different amplifiers. For example, a set of 5-inch coaxial speakers will do fine with a low to mid-range amp, while a set of high-end 6.5-inch component speakers may require a higher-end amp.

And finally, remember to check with your amplifier/receiver manufacturer if you are going to use factory speakers with a factory or aftermarket amp. This will ensure that each portion of your audio system gets the electricity it needs to power its performance.

Speakers for home theater need to have higher specifications than regular speakers. These higher requirements are to ensure that the sound produced by the home theater speakers is at par, and in some instances incomparable to those of the local movie theaters.

In this article, we’re going to compare and contrast regular speakers and home theater speakers for home use. We’re going to look at the pros and cons of both, and we’re going to discuss how home theater speakers have evolved to match the corresponding improvements in home theater technology.

Can car speakers be used in surround sound setups?

Car speaker technology has used the same basic design for decades but recently, due to the availability of digital signal processing in car systems, the quality of the sound has improved significantly. Better quality car speakers make up a better quality surround sound system. So it makes sense to ask the question, are car speakers good enough to be used in a home theater system?

I asked our Head of Product Testing, who also happens to be my brother-in-law, this very question. Here’s what he had to say: ”Settings like the size of the speakers, room acoustics, use of a subwoofer, and how many channels are being used can make a big difference in how they sound. In the best case scenario, it could work but there are usually better options. Purchase some high-end home theater speakers and you usually get better sound quality, longer lasting drivers, and a better designed system.”

All this being said, if you're just looking for some decent speakers for your computer or to boot up your MP3 player, standard car speakers usually suffice. But for most people, standard car speakers shouldn't be considered a good replacement for home theater speakers.

Can home speakers be used in car?

Car speaker sizes are a lot smaller than home theater speakers due to limited space and the location of the speakers relative to the driver. Car speakers are also typically 2-way speakers with smaller woofers and tweeters. These design features and the limited frequency range result in a very different sound, making it difficult to find the exact same replacements when upgrading from car speakers to home theater speakers.

Car system specifications are also not comparable to home speaker specifications. It is difficult to determine the correct replacement speaker size and type for your car’s OEM system.

For example, your car’s premium sound system may have been designed to handle a certain power range. This suggests that you would need to replace the speakers with higher powered speakers. But this can be dangerous. The increased wattage output directs more sound through your car’s speakers. This can create damage to your, car’s, and your passengers’, hearing.

The best solution is to get an aftermarket stereo system. An aftermarket radio offers a more diverse music selection and more advanced features. With the aftermarket system, you can upgrade your car’s speaker system to a more appropriate size, power, and sound quality.

Do you need a subwoofer with car speakers?

This used to be an unanswerable question because the majority of speaker manufacturers recommend that people use only one brand and model for their whole home theater system. Often, that one brand and model was (and often still is) very pricey. The logic is that each component (i.e. subwoofer, front speakers, center channel) is tuned to fit with other components. This meant that using a cheaper brand or model meant that you had to settle for less (less power, less fidelity, less frequency range, etc).

Of course, we now live in an age when almost any one can find car speakers for sale as stand-alone components. More importantly, advancements in car speaker technology mean that you can now use them for home theater. The improved fidelity and frequency range have made this possible.

Do you have to use your car speakers for home theater? The answer is a resounding NO! Since all car speakers are not equal, you still have to consider the car speaker's power rating and whether it's the right size and style for your home theater. However, if you have a home theater receiver, you can choose to mix and match speaker brands and models, which allows you to choose which components to purchase based on price and quality. It all boils down to whether you want to use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or aftermarket car speakers.

Conclusion

Bass is a very important component in music. It’s responsible for creating the rumbling effects that you are able to feel in addition to hearing, because of its low-frequency sounds. It’s what adds the bottom edge to sounds, and allows you to connect to the music more fully.

Many people are disappointed by their sound systems because they don’t have enough bass. If you’re living in a city apartment and you have neighbors, you may think that having a powerful sound system is an impossibility.

The solution to this dilemma is to use a subwoofer to enhance your music at home. A subwoofer is a powerful speaker that reproduces low-frequency sounds at a high volume.

Based on your lifestyle and living situation, there are various different types of subwoofers on the market. They include bookshelf, floorstanding, and powered subwoofers. They can either be wireless, or a wired connection can be established. Subwoofers can be found in different materials and sizes, so it’s important to pick a subwoofer that’s right for you.

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