Car Audio System Design Challenges: Optimizing Speaker Locations

Investing in a car audio system makes good sense for anyone who enjoys listening to music (or podcasts, audiobooks, etc.) on the road. But, if you’re going to install a good system, you naturally want to get the best quality sound you can.

With today’s advanced technology, you can enjoy high-fidelity sound even in your car, truck or SUV. However, placement is critical to the quality of your system’s sound. Not surprisingly, the speaker locations the vehicle’s manufacturer chose for the factory-installed system are not always optimal.

car audio speaker locations

Placement of Car Audio System Speaker

When you listen to music (in your car or anywhere else), the music should feel as though it’s coming from in front of you – as though you were an audience member at a concert. In most car audio system installations, however, spatial considerations may require the speakers to be located in ways that makes this goal challenging to achieve.

In most vehicles, factory speakers are installed in the doors, typically low on the door surface. In some vehicles, manufacturers may place speakers in the dash or in the side space below the dash, known as the kickpanel. In non-hatchback models, they may place rear speakers on the deck above the back seat.

Installing aftermarket car audio speakers in the same location as the factory speakers may be acceptable but, in many cases, it poses a challenge – as we’ll see below. The tweeter (f you choose to include one in your system) should be mounted as close to ear height as possible. Subwoofers typically go in the truck if you drive a car. If you drive a truck or SUV, the subwoofer will likely also be located toward the rear of the vehicle.

Challenges of Car Audio System Speaker Locations

In most cases, vehicle manufacturers locate stereo speakers for convenience rather than fidelity. And, although your vehicle’s doors may be convenient for speaker placement, this location poses some serious sound quality challenges.

Vehicles today are designed and manufactured to provide the necessary level of safety and to muffle as much road noise as possible. Consequently, the materials and designs used can restrict speaker operation and that means you can lose much of your music’s fidelity.

We also have to consider the issue of seat placement. As the driver, you’ll be sitting much closer to the left speakers than the ones on the right side of the vehicle. This means the sound coming from the left will reach you before the sound waves coming from the right speakers. This phenomenon, known as side-biased listening, isn’t perceptible to you consciously. However, it will affect the quality of your music.

Likewise, if you have a subwoofer located in the rear of the vehicle, it can make it seem as though all the bass is coming from behind you.

Refitting & Rewiring Car Speakers

Laketown Speed and Sound understands the importance of giving your car audio optimal sound. To overcome the challenges associated with speaker locations, we approach each system installation based on the customer’s goals.

We have the option of doing a true custom installation, which allows us to take all the steps necessary to create balance and maximize fidelity. Depending on your vehicle, we may be able to adapt or modify the existing locations to provide better sound. Or we can work with you to find the best options to replace your factory speakers in their current location.

Laketown Speed and Sound is based Draper, Utah. We proudly provide a full range of services for our customers, including window tinting, automotive performance upgrades and motorcycle and RV audio. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve exceptional-quality sound in your aftermarket car audio system.