Can I Use Car Speakers For Home Audio?
Can I Use Car Speakers For Home Audio?
Here’s an interesting question that came to me just a few months back…can I use car speakers for home audio? I had been thinking about it for a while by that time, so I decided finally, I wanted to get to the bottom of it.
Besides personal curiosity, I felt like the answer to that would be something that others might also find helpful.
I want to preface this by saying I come from a town that isn’t known for being the quietest, (that’s putting it lightly..) so I tend to hear loud music quite a bit.
That’s actually how I got the idea in the first place.
I was walking down the sidewalk one day in the summer, and someone came whizzing by blasting really loud music.
I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the same thing, but it was the kind of startling loud that rattles everything within a 5 block vicinity.
My first thought was how that was comfortable to listen to at that volume.
But I then began to wonder something else; it got loud sure, but how would a decent car system sound at home at moderate volume?
So being the inquisitive person that I am, I did some research and didn’t really find too much.
It seemed like there were mixed opinions on the subject. Seeing that, only way I would actually get an answer would be to see for myself.
That’s exactly what I did.
How I Got The Test Car Speakers
Obviously, I didn’t just have a spare set of car speakers lying around since that’s not really my thing.
Luckily, I knew someone who did; one of my good friends who’s interested in car audio. I told him about the idea, and besides initial confusion, he agreed.
“I don’t exactly think that’s going to be a good idea bro, but let me know…” I told him it probably wasn’t, but it was something I wanted to find out.
By that point, I was all set, and ready to hook them up.
How I Set Them Up
So a real quick and interesting tidbit about car audio, the speakers themselves function the same as any other normal home theater speaker would.
The big difference present though, is the enclosure that they’re placed in is specifically tuned for the driver inside.
That means that the enclosure can usually compensate for any inadequacies a speaker might normally have.
There’s also the difference in impedance (electrical resistance) between the 2 types of speakers with car speakers being able to play louder with less voltage.
But car manufactures also know that yet another big influencer to the sound is going to be gain.
Car gain is really similar to room gain, like we talked about before. If you can’t recall the definition, I’ll give you a quick idea.
Simply put, it’s when sound waves bounce off their surroundings and reinforce the overall output.
Basically, it “gains” in intensity; hence the name.
While usually good, this can also be a bad thing when not done right…IE not using them for their intended purpose. I think with being a car guy, that’s what my friend was alluding to.
Without a car frame to reinforce its output, it was going to likely sound a lot different since it wasn’t designed, or even tested for home use.
Still, that didn’t hamper my curiosity.
Connecting it was really easy though. Obviously there were no 5 way binding posts or anything like that. But all I had to use was some standard copper wire to the receiver, and I was ready to roll.
So how do you think it sounded? Go ahead I’ll give you a few seconds to guess………
If you guessed not great, you would be correct. Whether it was movies, music, or whatever, the sound just wasn’t good. It truthfully sounded muddy but tinny at the same time if that makes any sense.
There was no dynamism, no articulation, or depth to the bass truthfully.
It did get plenty loud though, but that’s pretty much it.
The weirdest thing though, was that a few months prior to even that test, my friend had this same speaker in his car before replacing it.
I could vividly remember that it wasn’t anything like that at all. It was actually pretty decent. I think that result further drove home the fact though, that tuning to a specific vehicle really does make all the difference.
Still I wasn’t done and I wanted to see if the subwoofer I had gotten as well would do any good.
So I hooked that up the same way, and I found something interesting. The subwoofer surprisingly wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be.
Now granted it wasn’t anywhere near amazing, but it got loud at least. Even then, there in lied the problem. While It got loud, there really wasn’t any substance to it.
What I mean by that is it definitely had some punch, but it also had no chill, so to speak.
It was boomy, and didn’t offer a level of detail I’ve come to appreciate from other subwoofers.
The sub just wasn’t a good fit.
I called my friend after and he just laughed and said he wasn’t surprised.
To be quite frank, neither was I, but at least I had a definitive answer finally.
So to put it bluntly, if you’re still wondering “can I use car speakers for home audio?”
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it since using speakers with the wrong receiver/amplifier could damage them and from an audio standpoint, it might not be the most optimal.
I mean it’s technically possible I suppose with the right configuration, but there’s a good chance it won’t sound like it should in my opinion — which I also noticed when using a car subwoofer for home audio specifically.
I mean it was an interesting experiment though to see if it would even work to begin with, and it did; however the audio was something I wasn’t a fan of.
There was just no sense of detail in the frequencies, and just felt that home theater speakers tended to be better suited in this instance (which makes sense)
Yeah it’s common sense of course, but sometimes it takes unusual little tests like these to find out something new. Hopefully that helps.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments though, I’d love to know what you all think.
Until next time, make it easy, keep it simple.
Hey everyone it’s nice to meet you. I’m Jay & I’ve been with this hobby for many years now. I decided to create this site to share everything that I’ve learned from personal experience with you. I also happen to be a huge gamer, lover of all things tech related, and a major fitness buff (love weightlifting)