Thursday, June 20, 2024

How To Test Car Speakers

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What To Look For In Car Audio Speakers

Car Radio Speaker – Testing, Replacement and Hook Up Phasing.

The most important factor to keep in mind when you buy a car speaker is whether your amplifier is compatible with it in terms of power handling. It is also important to understand how the channels of your amplifier operate. Some amps will have impedance options that will restrict the power. So, you will need to check what impedance your amp is compatible with before choosing speakers. Once you know this, then you can focus on products that share the same impedance.

Once you’ve worked out what your amp’s specs are, so that you can pick products with the correct impedance, then you need to think about sizes. Unless you want to modify your car, then you’ll want to choose speakers that can be mounted into the same space that the stock speakers currently are. Check the size of your current speakers, then choose replacements that are of the same size. 6x 9 is one of the most common sizes.

Once these more pressing matters have been addressed, you should think about the sort of sound quality you desire. Many of us will find that a standard, two-way system with a woofer and a tweeter will suffice, as it should deliver full-range, balanced sound.

You will have noticed that we included a component speaker option in our reviews. This was to demonstrate another audio setup option. It places tweeters at a more preferable level for directional audio dispersion that is aimed at the driver and passengers’ ears.

When Should You Take Your Car Stereo Into The Shop

This is easy. If your speakers are damaged, bring your stereo into a car audio specialist to restore them to their former glory. Car audio experts can repair damaged speakers and even reinforce them so they can have an extended lifespan.

Unfortunately, speakers and car stereo systems experience wear and tear over time. But if you know what to look for, you can figure out the best route to repairing your stereo and having it sound like new again.

Testing For A Head Unit Or Rca Cable Problem

Pull out the head unit from the dash so you can access the RCA cables. Unplug both RCA cables from the head unit. Do not disconnect any other wiring. Plug the right RCA cable into the left channel of the head unit. Turn on the stereo system.

If the right speaker works then you know the problem is not the head unit. The problem lies in the RCA cables that run between the head unit and the intermediate component . Confirm this by shutting down the stereo system, unplugging the right RCA cable and plugging the left RCA cable into the right output of the stereo system. Turn on the stereo system. There should be no output because the left RCA cable between the head unit and the next component is faulty.

If the right channel no longer works then you know the problem is in the head unit. Confirm this by shutting down the stereo system, unplugging the right RCA and plugging the left RCA into the right output of the stereo system. Turn on the stereo system. There should be output from the left speaker. If there is no output in this configuration then you have both a bad head unit and a bad RCA cable between the head unit and intermediate component. This is rare but possible.

That’s the testing and troubleshooting procedure I use. If anything is unclear or if you think there is an error please let me know. Use the Contact link in the bottom right column of this page.

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Remove The Speaker Wires

Now, you are ready to remove the speaker wires. Before you do that, check the cables first before removing these from the box. Next, press the two clips holding the wire, or you can twist the connectors counterclockwise.

Next, remove the speaker wires from the receiver. Remember: Dont remove the wire while the speakers lock mechanism is engaged. Instead, you need to press the clips together by using an electric screwdriver or remove the wires by twisting the lock.

What Happens When A Speakers Polarity Is Inverted

How To Test Speaker Polarity

When the wires from the amplifier to the speaker are crossed, the speaker polarity will be inverted. This means that the speaker will move inward when it is supposed to move outward, and outward when it is supposed to move inward.

The sound wave created by the speakers will be the exact opposite of the signal recorded by the microphone. How will this change the sound?

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Norah Jones Come Away With Me

Its going to be Norah Jones in all rooms at all times or at least thats what it feels like after walking around for a few hours. And rightfully so, because the vocals on Norah Jones CDs are among the best for evaluating the clarity of female vocals. The classy acoustic jazz instrumentals backing up the vocals also add to your listening pleasure. She didnt receive all those Grammys by accident. So why not put on the Norah Jones album titled Come Away With Me and sink into the relaxing flow. Just dont let it put you to sleep while driving!

While Norah Jones is among the greatest female singers in her own niche/style and always sounds great through any audio equipment, we also have more incredible, iconic music options available to choose from.

At this point its time to listen to a full album, uninterrupted just like back in the vinyl days where you would only have to flip the disc, but you would not dare skip songs like you do these days.

How Do I Test A Car Speaker Wire Polarity With A Multimeter

I just installed a new sound system in my car and now my front passenger speaker has poor sound output. I think the speaker might be bad, but before I return it, my friend told me to test the polarity. How do I test a car speaker wire polarity with a multimeter?

grab a multimeterlook for positive voltage

  • Remove the car door paneling so you can access the speaker.
  • Remove the speaker from the carâs internal wiring and set it aside.
  • Grab your multimeter and turn it to the 200-millivolt setting.
  • Attach a lead to each wire inside the door.
  • If the numbers on the multimeter are positive, make a note as to which lead is on which wire. Connect the positive and negative wires from the speaker to these wires from the sound system.
  • If the numbers on the multimeter are negative, you have the leads on the wrong terminals. Simply switch the leads on the wires to get the correct positive and negative wires.

in minutes

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Testing The Speaker Wires

Before you can test the speakers, it is always advisable to test the wires for continuity so that you can clear the air and proceed to testing the speakers. Sometimes speaker wires get cut or become frayed when they have moved around.

Under such conditions, the speaker wires become hard to spot where they are cut with a naked eye. So how can you accurately test the speaker wires? Here is a quick way

1- Find the tools

Tools used when testing speaker wires are mainly a digital multimeter or an analog voltmeter.

2- Switch off all the components

This is always the first step in any diagnosis process. Turn off all the components of your stereo system. This will ensure that you do not by any chance create a short which may in return damage the whole system.

3- Disconnect the speaker wires

The third step will be to disconnect the speaker wires from the speaker box. There are two ways to that you can do this depending on the speaker or car model. One is pressing the positive and negative clips to disconnect the wires and secondly twisting two connectors counterclockwise to release the wires.

4- Disconnect from the stereo

5- Create a closed circuit using the wires

6- Set the voltmeter

With the circuit ready, you will need to prepare the voltmeter too. Switch it on and then select the ohms setting for measuring the wire resistance by setting the selector to the ohms position. If you are using a digital multimeter, this stage wont be necessary.

7- Calibrate the Voltmeter

How To Test A Car Radio

How to Test Car Speakers – quick and easy

To test a car radio, there are 3 main things youll need to do:

  • Connect the power and ground wiring
  • Use a test speaker on the speaker outputs to verify they work
  • Try out any other audio functions youll need to use
  • 1. Connecting power to the radio

    As I mentioned earlier, you can use a +12V to 13.8V DC power supply for your car radio. Optionally, if you dont have a 12V supply you can temporarily connect it to a 12V car battery long enough to check out the radio.

    In either case, youll need to do the following:

  • Connect the +12V BATT and ACC wires together then to the +12V source. Youll need both wires to be connected for the radio to turn on. Connect both of these to the +12V output of your supply or the battery.
  • Connect the ground wire to the negative supply or battery terminal.
  • Be sure to insulate any unused exposed wires including the speaker wires . You dont want any wires shorting together during testing. For insulating them, electrical tape works great or you can use duct tape or even masking tape carefully if you must. Id avoid transparent Scotch tape as it tends to come off too easily.

    The idea for testing is to temporarily do what you need to for checking that it works. For a real vehicle installation, better connections like crimp connectors should be used.

    CAUTION:If using a vehicle battery to power you radio under test, never allow the metal case of the radio near the battery.

    2. Testing the speaker outputs

    To test the speaker outputs:


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    Connection With 9 Volts Battery Testing Car Speakers With A Battery

    Its step 2 explains that you can join the terminals of the battery with that of the speaker. The sequence is like you have to connect the positive terminal of the battery with the positive terminal and the negative terminal with the negative terminal of the battery.

    If this connection has generated a pulse then the speakers are working fine. You can also test the tweeters speakers with this method too.

    How To Set Your Test Meter For Measuring Car Speakers

    Shown are some example test meter resistance range settings to use for typical test meters.

    As I mentioned earlier, its important to use the correct resistance range on your meter when measuring speaker impedance. thats because the wrong setting may display nothing or give you the wrong idea that perhaps the speaker is blown when it isnt.

    If youre not sure, check the test meters manual. Many modern digital meters often have an auto setting that will automatically adjust for the Ohm measurement it detects and will display the reading & decimal places accordingly. Other meters require you to select the correct range manually.

    As a general rule, use the lowest range that includes 0-10 ohms .

    Once youve got your measurement, use my speaker impedance chart to find the next closest speaker impedance value listed.

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    Test The New Speakers

    Before putting the cover back on your speakers you need to test that they are working. To do this, reconnect the battery and play a song of your choosing at different volumes. Once you are satisfied, replace the cover on each speaker and test again. Once you are satisfied with the result, you are finished.

    Congratulations! You have successfully installed new speakers in your car saving yourself a costly mechanics bill!

    The 5 Best Speaker Testing Apps For Android And Ios

    How To Test Subwoofer Phase w/ 9V Battery

    Want to get the most out of your new speaker system? Use some of these speaker testing apps to determine the best audio settings for your room.

    Getting a new speaker system set up for your home opens up a world of auditory possibilities, but how are you supposed to know you’re getting the most out of it? Using speaker testing apps, you can learn which frequencies your system performs the best at so that you can get your money’s worth.

    Here, we’ll list the best speaker testing apps you can use and tell you exactly how they test your speakers.

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    Reversed Polarity With Multiple Speakers

    Reversing polarity with multiple speakers can cause more noticeable effects. If both speakers are wired the same, whether in the correct polarity or reversed polarity, there will be virtually no effect. However, what if one speaker is wired in the correct polarity and the other is reversed? This will cause a significant effect.

    To hear this, its best to you use two speakers in stereo or to use headphones. In the video at the top of this page, there are audio demonstrations of this scenario.

    If you are using an array of speakers, inverted polarity in one of them will cause significant changes in how the array behaves. Line arrays of full-range speakers, such as those used in live sound reinforcement should all be wired the same way.

    Even the speakers in subwoofer arrays, which sometimes contain speakers with inverted polarity to achieve better directionality, are usually wired with correct polarity. Any changes in polarity are almost always made in an audio console or amplifier DSP, rather than in the wiring of speaker terminals. If your audio mixer or amplifier DSP does not allow for polarity inversion, you can use a polarity reversal adapter.

    How Can You Tell If Car Speakers Are Blown Out

    It’s pretty easy to tell when car speakers blow out if you’re there when it happens because you’ll immediately notice that they stop working or no longer sound normal. If it happens when you’re not around, and the guilty party isn’t willing to fess up, verifying blown speakers takes a little work.

    The surest way to test whether car speakers are blown out is to disconnect the speaker and check for continuity. If there isn’t any continuity between the speaker terminals, that usually means it’s blown.

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    How To Measure The Impedance Of A Car Speaker

    Its easy to measure car speaker impedance using a test meter set to read resistance . Once you get a reading you can tell what Ohms rating your speaker is.

    To measure the impedance of a car speaker youll need a multimeter or a dedicated Ohm meter. Digital multimeters are inexpensive and easy to find these days so I recommend using one of those.

  • Turn on the meter and set it to measure resistance on the lowest range. This is usually the x1 range, 0-10, 0-20, or auto range setting.
  • Disconnect one or both speaker wires from the speaker to avoid a false reading due to other resistance that may be connected to it.
  • Hold the probes tightly against the speaker terminals on a clean, bare metal spot. The meter should quickly settle to a reading. The meter will show the resistance of the voice coil inside the speaker.
  • Use the meter reading to determine the closest approximate speaker impedance .
  • For speakers inside a box or enclosure there may be a crossover connected elsewhere which can interfere with your reading, so be sure to disconnect at least one speaker wire if possible. Subwoofers are usually fine to measure while installed in a subwoofer box.
  • As I mentioned above, the goal here isnt to try and measure the perfect impedance rating.

    Remember that you wont measure exactly 4 ohms, 8 ohms, etc. Youll measure an Ohms value thats close to that and will help you tell the actual Ohms/impedance range of your speaker.


    See my notes below on how to deal with that.

    Speakers Testing Option :

    How To Test Speaker Polarity | Tips & Demo | Car Audio 101
  • Check the label for a nominal impedance rating. Most speaker manufacturers list an impedance rating on the speaker label or the packaging. This nominal impedance rating estimates the minimum impedance for typical audio ranges, and this usually occurs at a frequency between 250 and 400 Hz. The impedance is pretty close to this value within this range, and it rises as you increase the frequency. Below this range, the impedance changes rapidly, peaking at the resonant frequency of the speaker and its enclosure.
  • Some speaker labels display an actual, measured impedance for a specifically listed impedance.

    These frequencies mean most bass tracks fall between 90 and 200 Hz, while chest-thumping sub-bass can be as low as 20 Hz. The midrange, including the majority of non-percussion instruments and voices, covers 250 Hz to 2kHz.

    • Set a multimeter to measure resistance. A multimeter sends out a small D/C current to measure resistance. Since impedance is a quality of A/C circuits, this will not measure impedance directly. However, this approach will get you close enough for most home audio setups. Use the lowest range resistance setting, this is 200 for many multimeters, but a multimeter with a lower setting may give more accurate results.

    If there is only one setting for a resistance, your multimeter is auto-ranging and will find the correct range automatically.

    Do not remove any wires connected directly to the speaker cone.

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    Diagnosing The Problem: What To Check And Listen For

    If your car stereo doesnt sound as good as it used to, your first step should be to listen to whats coming out of the speakers.

    Sit in your parked car and turn on your stereo without starting the engine. You want to avoid any excessive noise, so keeping the engine off is a must.

    Play a song youre familiar with over your stereo. Ideally, youll want something with a fairly broad range of sound to help determine how your speakers are responding.

    Give it a listenhows it sound? Give it another listen with a neutral bass and treble setting, and turn up the volume.

    Keep your ears open for some of these issues:

    Distortion at Medium Volumes

    The hissing or fuzzy sound of distortion is a common sign of partially blown speakers. Listen for this fuzzy sound when turning up the volume on your speakers and take note if it gets increasingly worse as you turn up the volume.

    Fuzzy, muffled, and crackling sounds are typically caused by a damaged voice coil.

    No Vibration

    Speakers create sound through vibration. Thus, if you cant feel any vibrations when you touch your speakers, the cone of the speaker might not be receiving power. Power issues could be a result of a wiring issue or a component that is malfunctioning in the car stereo system.

    Lack of Range

    Rattling and Popping Sounds

    Car Radio Isnt Working

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