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Getting the Most out of Component Speakers


JL Audio components

A question we are asked from time to time is "How do I improve the sound and/or balance of component speakers in my vehicle."

Below are some common issues and methods to correct them:

Tweeters sound harsh or bright

  • Check passive crossovers for level adjustment (attenuation) of tweeters. Try lowering the level of the tweeters in relation to the midrange speakers.

JL Audio passive crossover

  • Avoid large distance separation between the tweeter and midrange speaker. This can often make the tweeters sound overwhelming in relation to the midrange.  It's ideal to keep the tweeter and midrange as close as possible.
  • Avoid pointing tweeters at close reflective surfaces such as glass windshields.
  • Consider soft dome tweeters (often silk) rather than a hard dome tweeter (typically metal such as aluminum or titanium).  Soft dome tweeters tend to be smoother out of the box (not that metal domes cannot sound smooth with tuning).

Midrange/Mid Bass is weak or undefined

  • Make sure midrange is mounted to flat surface.
  • If a gasket is not provided with the speakers apply foam tape to the bottom of the mounting flange for a better seal when mounted.
  • Treat the midrange mounting locations with sound damping material. Take care to seal all holes near the mounting surface of the speaker to decrease the likelihood of cancellation (read more about Improving Mid Bass).
  • Check the crossover point on amplifier to ensure that the High Pass setting is not too high, limiting the midrange speaker’s lower range. 80 Hz is a good starting point for most midrange speakers.
  • Flip the polarity of the midrange speakers. Sometimes reversing the polarity on one side increases midbass.
  • Inspect the passive crossovers for a midrange adjustment (presence) capability. Try different jumper positions in the passive crossover networks (if available) to see if the system's midrange presence improves to your liking.

JL Audio passive crossover

  • If the midrange speakers are designed for free-air (infinite-baffle) application, make sure they are not installed into small volume sealed enclosures. This could limit their low frequency capability.
  • If using a subwoofer, ensure that the subwoofer's low-pass filter frequency is matched up to the midrange speaker’s high-pass filter frequency. 80 Hz is typically a good starting point for both.
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