Considering most people in the modern, industrialized world spend hours a day in an automobile, it is definitely a “place” that deserves a decent investment in every arena. From comfort to entertainment, your ride should be as pleasant as possible.
However, since the driver is expected to watch the road at all times, this leaves few options for entertainment beyond what the driver can here. That is why every automobile should have a quality speaker system.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know which speaker system is the right one for you. With a laundry list of numbers to decipher, we have taken it upon ourselves to provide a list of the 10 best 6X9 car speaker systems for good bass and sound quality. Moreover, we have also put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide, so you can make an informed decision.
|6x9 Speakers||RMS |
|Kicker 43DSC69304||70||3-way||92||4||30 - 20k Hz|
|Infinity REF9620CX||125||Component||93||3||46 - 21k Hz|
|Hertz Audio HCX 690||130||3-way||94||4||32 - 23k Hz|
|Focal 690CA1SG||75||2-way||91||4||50 - 20k Hz|
|Alpine SPE-6090||75||2-way||91||4||65 - 18k Hz|
|Polk Audio DB692||150||3-way||93||4||30 - 22k Hz|
|JBL CLUB 9630||80||3-way||93||3||50 - 20k Hz|
|Pioneer TS-A6996R||100||5-way||93||4||28 - 38k Hz|
|Kenwood KFC-6965S||45||3-way||92||4||30 - 22k Hz|
|Rockford R169X2||65||2-way||90||4||48 - 20k Hz|
1. Kicker 43DSC69304 D-Series – Speakers for Deep Bass without an Amp
The first product on our list comes from Kicker who is not necessarily the most well-known manufacturer of car speaker systems but does have a distinctive niche. Specifically, kickers are known to produce good quality bass for their category.
Moreover, the Kicker is able to provide this high-quality level of bass without an amplifier for that 6X9 speakers. Of course, if you choose, you can hook this speaker system up to even a moderately powerful amplifier and get another solid boost to your bass.
2. Infinity REF9620CX – Best Component Speakers
When it comes to quality, Infinity is quickly taking the automotive sound market by storm. While it may not have the same storied past as a Kenwood, Alpine, or Pioneer, Infinity more than makes up for it by producing one of the best 6X9 component speakers on the market today. Of course, all of that quality has to hit you somewhere.
One thing that is a bit odd is that these speakers are amazing along the soundstage spectrum until you hit the extremes. A frequency range of 46Hz-21kHz is actually pretty pedestrian at this price tag. Though most music will not see a difference, so this is still an excellent speaker system for most people’s needs.
3. Hertz Audio HCX 690 – Most Powerful and Sound Quality Speakers
As the most expensive product on our list, you expect Herta to perform better than any other competitor. In this regard, your expectations will be met and likely exceeded. At 130 RMS watts, this speaker system is the most powerful and best sound quality 6X9 speakers on our list.
Unfortunately, part of the reason the soundscape will stay so clear is that the bass is nothing to brag about. However, it is not a weakness either and generally performs much better than the other speaker systems on our list do. Combined with a tweeter and super tweeter, and you have everything you should reasonable desire from a 6X9 speaker system.
4. Focal 690CA1SG – 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
If all you care about is the clarity of the soundscape and are willing to pay a relatively high price to get it, then the Focal is the 6X9 speaker system for you. Sporting a coaxial design, the aluminum dome tweeter, and woven glass-fiber woofer combines to reproduce almost any sound with crystal clarity.
The Focal does at least offer adjustable tweeter for further customization with the soundscape.
5. Alpine SPE-6090 – Budget Speaker System Soundscape
Alpine is one of the legacy brands on our list and has been producing high-quality automotive speaker systems for decades, so it should come as no surprise that it makes an appearance on our top 10 list. What might be more surprising is its claim to fame: this is the best budget speaker system.
Unfortunately, at this price point, you cannot expect the absolute best soundscape. The Alpine’s bass is definitely a bit disappointing–especially for the brand–while the frequency range is a bit truncated compared to some of its competitors at a narrow 65Hz-18000kHz.
6. Polk Audio DB692 – Motorcycle and Marine Speakers
Polk has been a competitor in the higher-end automotive speaker system market for some time now, but they generally do not crack the top 3. In this regard, that trend continues as the Polk is a solid if unspectacular, 3-Way system. However, its extremely reasonable price and water- and dirt-resistant does make it our best 6X9 motorcycles speakers, boats, and cars also.
Like many component speaker systems, the Polk does put forth some solid power with a near-best 150 RMS watts. The high sensitivity of 93 dB let you use them with a factory radio.
7. JBL CLUB 9630 – Speakers for Bass with an Amp under $100
If you already have an amplifier or are intending to purchase one, then the JBL will provide a decent bass response for a 6X9 car speakers under $100. However, if you do utilize an amplifier with this speaker system, you will be further surprised as the tweeter and super tweeter provides an excellent quality soundscape.
Still, with only a 3 ohm impedance and slightly above average RMS wattage of 80, you will be able to crank this speaker system up to 11 and still get great quality sound. Unfortunately, because they are made to be played at high volumes–and the consumers generally oblige–these speakers find themselves blowing out quicker and more often than some of their competitors.
8. Pioneer TS-A6996R – Coaxial 5-Way Speakers
Another legacy manufacturer of automotive speaker systems, Pioneer has been leading the way for decades when it comes to refining the soundscape of audio equipment. With this 6X9 speaker system, they look to continue that trend. As the only 5-way speaker system on our list, the Pioneer easily outperforms any other product in its price range when it comes to mids and highs and even gives the premium priced systems a run for their money.
9. Kenwood KFC-6965S – Speakers under $50
Our final legacy brand follows a similar suit as Alpine and focused on appealing to the largest demographic to cash in on its stellar reputation and brand name recognition. However, they were able to do so while still putting out a decent speaker system which is why they earned our best budget 6X9 coaxial speaker system designation.
However, this is still the least expensive speaker system on our list. Moreover, in an effort to appeal to most consumers, the adequate sensitivity of 92 dB prevents the need of having to purchase an external amplifier.
10. Rockford R169X2 – Best Speakers for the Money
Our final product comes from Rockford Fosgate, a respected brand in automotive speaker systems if not quite as storied as Alpine or Kenwood. Still, at the lower end of the price point, the Rockford does manage to provide a decent 6X9 speaker system that is especially designed for sensitivity. Though, the Rockford has the lowest sensitivity range of only 90 dB.
How does a component and a coaxial speaker differ?
These are the two primary types of 6X9 speaker. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, so you must weigh carefully what you want and what you are capable of accommodating ahead of time. At their most basic the difference between a coaxial, or full-range, and a component speakers system has more to do with where the different parts of the speaker are located.
With component stereo systems, the speakers which handle the lows, mids, and highs are all separate from one another. This can technically allow for the best listening experience because you are given the option to adjust the speakers–both externally and internally–individually, which allows far more variation and customization than with a coaxial setup.
However, component speakers cost more of everything. First, with 3 separate components, this speaker system will occupy far more physical space. Moreover, the arrangement of those components in that space will heavily influence the ultimate quality of the listening experience.
Also, component stereo systems have a tendency to consume more power. With 3 separate lines to feed–per speaker system–component speakers often require far more powerful and advanced amps.
Finally, component stereo systems are simply more expensive in general. Aside from the fact that you often need a more powerful–and expensive–amp and monitoring system, you will also often need to purchase the components separates–though you can often find bundle deals.
Coaxial speaker systems, by comparison, are far easier and cheaper to deal with. All of the different speakers–lows, mids, and highs–are stacked on top of one another. This is not only more cost effective and space saving, it generally requires lower power outputs which means you do not need as good of an amp to effectively run it.
However, while coaxial speakers generally produce a smoother soundscape, they do have a limit, and the different frequency ranges can muddy one another if the speakers are not of a high enough quality.
Do these speakers require an amplifier?
Depending on the power consumption of your speaker system you may need to purchase a separate amplifier. This is especially relevant for high-quality speaker systems which generally require far more power than a basic car’s power control system can manage. Even for luxury vehicles, a top of the line stereo system will often be better served by an external amplifier.
Even if the vehicle’s amplifier is well-rated, an external amplifier can often handle the energy transfer to the various speakers more efficiently and prevent the energy from becoming dirty with interference.
However, for mid-tier or lesser quality 6X9s, there is usually no need to spend the extra expense on a high-end external amplifier. Those class of speakers are unlikely to be able to make full use of the amp’s specs–though there will still be an improvement in the soundscape, and the durability of the system is definitively improved.
Can 6X9 speaker provide powerful bass?
Since the bass produced by in speaker is directly correlated to the size of the speaker’s membrane, the question of whether or not a 6X9 can produce powerful bass will hinge heavily on how you define the term “powerful.”
If you are looking for bass that will rattle the fluid inside of your ears and make your vision blur, then no, 6X9 speakers do not provide powerful bass–regardless the quality.
However, if you are simply looking for bass that is loud enough to either provide a good punch or a rich, deep, dulcet tone, then there are plenty of 6X9 speakers that are capable of handling this job. Of course, the higher end speakers will also often require an external amplifier to produce the best bass.
In fact, unless the speakers are extremely modest in the amount of powerful they consume and can use to push the sound, most 6x9s, regardless the quality, will produce better bass when hooked up to an external amplifier. Just be sure that you do not set up your speaker system to push too much power at once or else you risk blowing out your speakers sooner.
This is arguably the most important quality to consider when selecting any speaker, not just 6x9s. The quality of the materials will directly determine the quality of the soundscape produced as well as the longevity of the speakers in question. However, each part of the speaker will require different materials to produce the best sound.
The woofer materials should be both lightweight and stiff. This generally takes one of 2 forms:
- either woven fabrics coated with light metals;
- synthetic films mixed with crystalline coatings.
The latter of the 2 generally produces more accurate bass, but the former will often be more durable.
Tweeters, the speakers that produce the highs in a 6X9, can utilize similar materials as the woofer, specifically the synthetic poly blends. However, these speakers generally perform best when the membrane is made out of silk. However, if you prefer brighter highs, you might want to look for tweeter membranes made out of metals, graphite, ceramics, or other high-quality, hard materials.
|Tweeter||Silk, polyurethane for mellow sound. Metal, ceramics and graphite for brighter highs.|
|Woofer||Polypropylene best for bass. Woven fabrics or metal coated synthetics also be used.|
|Surround Materials||The best material is rubber. Foam and cloth surrounds are less expensive.|
Power Consumption (RMS)
This quality is generally measured in watts with the higher the watts, the more power the speakers can handle. This has a direct correlation to the volume at which the speaker can produce as well as the quality–though the speaker’s materials will also play an important role in this equation.
However, when looking at a speaker system’s wattage, it is important to focus more on RMS, or “root mean square,’ wattage than peak wattage. RMS is a more accurate representation of the power consumption as it applies to the speaker’s ability to produce a quality soundscape.
Keep in mind, if your speaker system has low RMS wattage, you likely do not need an external amplifier nor will you truly be well-served in having one. However, a speaker system with high RMS values will almost certainly require an external amplifier, and it is important to make sure those specs match both parts of the system.
Essentially, the sensitivity of a speaker is how much sound it can produce based on the amount of power it consumes. Technically, this is a measurement of efficiency, though it does have implications at the extreme end of the volume spectrum.
If there is a number that tells you the speaker’s sensitivity, it would be the decibels or dBs. Keep in mind, the higher sensitivity (over 90 dB) the louder sound in general, requires less power. If you have low sensitivity speakers they may require amplifier but provides good quality sound.
This quality alone may be the determining factor in whether you need an external amplifier or not. The higher the impedance, or ohms, the more power the speakers require to produce the same level of volume.
However, higher impedance speakers are often easier on amplifiers, requiring less baseline power to function in the first place. Moreover, speakers with lower impedance will be more demanding on the amplifier over a continuous duration of time.
One thing to keep in mind is that the ohms of the speaker and the ohms of the amplifier need to match. Many high-end amplifiers are able to push various ohms, though the watts will differ depending on the impedance itself. However, some lower quality amplifiers may only be suited for a single impedance rating. If you use an amplifier and speaker at misaligned impedance ratings, the sound quality will suffer as a result.
We know what some of you are thinking right now:
wait, size? I thought 6X9 speakers were 6” x 9”.
Technically, this is 100 percent accurate. However, that size relates specifically to the surface area of the speaker’s membrane–not necessarily the entire speaker itself. As such it is entirely possible to purchase 2 different 6X9 speakers that actually have a functionally different profile.
The most common, if not only, cause for this discrepancy has to do with the speaker’s housing. If the housing is fairly large, that 6X9 could end up being a foot or bigger long and over 8” wide–not to mention whatever depth measurement it would clock in at.
Ultimately, the best thing to do is to look at your user manual or some other set of specs which will tell you the space measurements where your current speakers reside. If that information is not available, you can always measure it yourself. However, those measurements can often be imprecise, so you should estimate less than you actually perceive just to be on the safe side.