How to Wire a Tweeter to a Speaker

by David Lipscomb Google

    The tweeter is the speaker in any car stereo component system that aids air and life to playback. Filtered by a crossover, these small drivers reproduce the high frequencies produced by cymbals, guitar and the most audible portion of vocals. Tweeters are commonly added to systems already featuring a pair, raising the sound stage on the dash to create a more lifelike presentation. Whatever your system goals, wiring a tweeter is a necessary step in finishing your audio system.

    Crossovers

    The crossover is a component of any speaker system, separating portions of the audible frequency range to the right drivers. Low frequencies go to larger woofers with high frequencies covered by tweeters. The "crossing over" function entails overlap between the upper range of the woofer and the lower range of the tweeter, creating a seamless blend. Crossovers also protect delicate tweeter diaphragms, quickly destroyed by harmful midrange and low frequencies. Tweeter add-on kits come with small crossovers, dedicating to protecting the driver while ensuring it stays within its intended operating range.

    Coaxial Mounting

    Point sourcing is a term used by speaker manufacturers, describing the goal of making the sound from midrange speakers and tweeters arrive at your ears at the same time. Some cars don't offer a separate factory tweeter position, but you may want to still enjoy the superior sound of a quality component set without modifying the vehicle. Coaxial mounting is an option offered by many speaker brands, allowing you to mount the tweeter on a bridge over the middle of the woofer. Many tweeters come mounted in the center of a midrange coaxial speaker, protected by a small crossover mounted to the side of the basket or via a small external crossover module.

    Flush and Surface Mounting

    Flush mounting a tweeter in a door or midrange grille lends a finished look to any installation. Creative installers source color-matched dyes and paints to blend the tweeter into the door panel, maintaining a stealthily factorylike appearance. Flush mounting a tweeter, however, places the mounting angle at the mercy of the angle of surface in which it's installed, which may not be optimal. Surface mounting solves this issue by allowing you to rotate the tweeters to the ideal angle, with output converging a few inches in front of the driver. This option is less visually discrete than flush mounting, but still can be color matched.

    Installation Tips

    Experiment with tweeter mounting locations on the dash and door panels using hook-and-loop tape. You can find the ideal spot for imaging and midrange integration, prior to committing to drilling holes. In general, keeping wiring distances short is a good idea for component sets. Passive crossovers tend to be parasitic, meaning they absorb a little amplifier power. The best way to remedy this is to mount the crossover securely as close to the individual drivers in the speaker set as possible. Using a 14- or 12-gauge wire from the amplifier to the crossover is preferable, although tweeters only need an 18- or 16-gauge wire to pass high frequencies. Mounting the crossover under the door panel over the protective plastic weather skin is a good place, using a piece of perforated metal strapping or outdoor double-sided tape. This keeps the crossover close to the speakers while insulating it from moisture.

    About the Author

    David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

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