Music lovers will almost always prefer an aftermarket speaker in their vehicle. Factory speakers are typically adequate but not impressive. If you’re spending a lot of time in the car, high end speakers are one of the best ways to not only enjoy your drive time more, but also increase the resale value of the vehicle. Luckily there are a lot of great choices out there depending on your needs. We’ll let you know all about one of the most popular sizes of aftermarket car speaker – 6x8 inches.
Speakers sized at 6x8 are popular because they fit into most vehicles with a simple installation. The leading models have a higher power handling capacity than smaller speakers, ranging from 130 to 360W. This output should produce enjoyable sound for almost any user.
Unlike OEM (original equipment manufacturer) speakers, which are made with low quality materials in exchange for a low cost, 6x8 aftermarket car speakers are better constructed with higher end materials, for which you get enhanced clarity and depth of sound. They are an excellent blend of value and function.
- Benefits of installing 6x8 Speakers
- Factors to Consider When Buying 6×8 Speakers
- Products Comparison
- Top 6x8 Car Speaker Models Recommendations:
- How to Install Your New Speakers
- Basic steps if all your factory speakers openings are adequate
- How to Maintain Your Stereo
Benefits of installing 6x8 Speakers
The experience of surround sound and crystal clear audio quality cannot truly be achieved with a standard car stereo. Aftermarket stereos make all the difference for several reasons.
Better sound quality
Typical factory stereos simply can’tmatch the superior built-in power and better circuit design of manyaftermarket models. But they aren’t just louder, they also producecleaner, richer, more-detailed sound.
Perhaps you like a lot of bass, or want to precisely control the mix of tones throughout the vehicle. With a high quality aftermarket 6x8 speaker, you’ll have enhanced tone controls in the preamp section with which to fine-tune the music.
Longer lasting components
Most factory speakers use surrounds constructed with foam and paper, insubstantial materials which deteriorate over time. You will know when your speaker surrounds are wearing out, because the sound quality drops noticeably.
High-quality aftermarket speakers are usually constructed with rubber surrounds for a longer life and higher quality bass. The cones found in aftermarket 6x8 speaker units are usually higher quality, too, to further improve the bass you can get over a standard factory speaker.
Factors to Consider When Buying 6×8 Speakers
The number one thing to think about when choosing a speaker is whether it will fit in your car! Luckily, this information is easily researched online. Following are more factors to think about before making your purchase.
There are two main types to examine,coaxial (or full range) and component.
Full-range coaxial speakers contain all the speaker elements in one unit. A woofer is there for the lows and a tweeter is mounted onto the woofer for the highs. Upper end models will also have additional drivers, such as a mid-range or supertweeter. Choose a full range model if you want better sound than your factory speakers with the least amount of hassle. They are easily installed and can sometimes mount directly into factory speaker locations.
Component models come in a set that include different speakers such as woofers, tweeters, and midrange drivers. Each speaker has its own driver with an individual frequency range, so that you can achieve a fuller sound environment and flawless clarity. Component systems can be a bit trickier to install as you need multiple locations. In some cases you may need to make new openings for the components.
Because you are looking specifically for a 6x8 speaker, all of the models reviewed here will be coaxial models. Component sets include speakers of varying size. However, each of the brands reviewed is a leader in the audio industry, and makes both component and coaxial type speakers.
The frequency range, expressed in Hertz (Hz), shows the range of low and high frequencies able to be emitted by a speaker. The range is always shown as low to high, for example, 40 – 40,000 (40k) Hz. The more range available in a speaker, the more precise its clarity. We recommend going for the highest range speaker you can afford.
Power handling has to do with how well your speaker components are powered. More complex systems require more power to work well; if you have a great system but are lacking in power, the speakers won’t sound nearly as good as they could, and will likely burn out more quickly.
There are three ratings to consider: peak (or max), program, and continuous (or RPM).
Sensitivity has to do with how much sound is put out per the power taken from the amplifier. The higher the sensitivity of the speaker, the more efficient is its operation. Average sensitivity measurements are about 88 dB, but we don’t recommend you choose a speaker below 84 dB. If you can swing it, a sensitivity rating of 92 dB or higher provides optimal results.
A crossover is a device that modifies a single input signal into two or three output signals made up of separated bands of high-, mid-, and low-range frequencies. The varied frequency bands then feed into the different speakers, or drivers, within your overall sound system. Crossovers minimize distortion and make for cleaner sound quality.
Wooefer and tweeter
The woofer is the part of aspeaker designed to produce low frequency sounds, from 40 Hz up to500 Hz. The name comes from the low rumbling sound of a dog’s bark,in contrast a tweeter, which produces the high frequency sounds likea bird’s tweet.
A tweeter or treble speaker isdesigned to produce high audio frequencies from around 2,000 Hz to20,000 Hz (which is basically the upper limit of human hearing).Specialty tweeters can deliver high frequencies up to 100 kHz, butthat level isn’t necessary in a car audio system – you may noteven be able to hear it.
Both the woofer and tweeter should bemade of high quality materials, as they contribute to theresponsiveness and overall quality of the speaker.
Impedance is a tricky concept to understand fully, but in general it has to do with how much power is flowing, and how easily, into the speaker unit. When it comes to impedance, the lower the number, the more easily electricity (the signal/music) flows through the speaker. However, you don’t necessarily need the lowest impedance available, as a bigger “pipeline” doesn’t help if the overall power level doesn’t match it.
Let’s examine some of the top rated 6x8 speakers on the market today.
350 watts max
28 - 39,000 Hz
350 watts max
55 - 20,000 Hz
360 watts max
49 - 21,000 Hz
360 watts max
63 - 20,000 Hz
130 watts max
65 - 24,000 Hz
Top 6x8 Car Speaker Models Recommendations:
1 Pioneer TS-A6886R 6" x 8" 4-Way Speaker, Set of 1
If you are looking for a coaxial(full-range) speaker that’s easy to install yet has incrediblesound capacity, check out these Pioneer 6x8 speakers. This4-way model has 350 watts max power and features an innovativemultilayer mica matrix cone for optimum sound reproduction andresponsiveness, plus a lightweight elastic polymer surround.
Expect a wide dispersion of sound fromthis speaker. It also features a tweeter that is specially designedto deliver an improved range of mid to high frequencies and optimizedsound at higher volumes.
Heat-resistant voice coil wire is usedfor heat dissipation and durability so that it can easily withstandhigh input power. The spider design uses a high end material forstiffer suspension and more accurate response. The cooling basketwith air vent provides increased cooling for better power handling.
This speaker is 1.86 lbs and comes witha one year warranty.
2 CERWIN VEGA V468 6-Inch x 8-Inch 400 Watts Max/75Watts RMS Power Handling 2-Way Coaxial Speaker Set
Cerwin-Vega is a recognized name in the vehicle audio industry, having been hard and work since 1954, and now the world’s largest audio component manufacturer. This 6x8 coaxial set offers two-way sound with 400 watts of peak and 75 watts of RMS (continuous) power handling. The mica-filled poly cone and 1” titanium dome tweeter are robust components that will last a long time.
With a frequency response of 55-20,000 Hz, you won’t miss any highs or lows. And with a superior sensitivity of 94 dB, they are the loudest 6x8 speakers on our list, so feel free to turn it up. Plus, the Vega signature red surround makes this a very nice-looking unit, too.
Cerwin-Vega offers speakers in many shapes and sizes, from 4” to 6x9” rear deck speakers. Many models are available in both coaxial and component design.
The speakers weigh 10.1 ounces and come with a one year warranty.
3 JBL GTO8629 Premium 5 x 7/6 x 8 Inch Co-Axial Speakers - Set of 2
JBL prides itself on innovation, asevidenced in this model, which can fit both 5x7 and 6x8 spaces. JBL'sunique Plus One woofer cone works to expand the diaphragm area forbetter low-frequency response. Edge-driven soft dome tweeters providerich upper frequency sound with an open quality.
If you are looking for fine tuningability, these JBL speakers are just the ticket. Their trademarkedUniPivot™ design allows users to aim the tweeter's sound moredirectly at the listener for a more detailed soundstage. There isalso an adjustable level control to tweak the tweeters to yourliking, making them fully customized to your particular car.
You will also get slightly lowerimpedance than most aftermarket car speakers at 3 ohms, so they cansafely draw a more power from your car stereo and give you highvolume even if your factory radio is relatively low-powered.
The power handling comes in at 360watts/pair peak, and 120 watts/pair continuous. The frequencyresponse is 49-21,000 Hz. These speakers also feature a vented magnetwith a high thermal-capable voice coil to effectively dissipate heatand ensure longevity.
The product weighs in at 4.89 poundsand comes with a one year warranty.
4 Kenwood KFC-C6895PS 6x8" Oval Custom Fit 3-Way Speaker
This Kenwood model may be one of thebest 6x8 speakers for the money, featuring a nice combination of sound quality and value. You may sacrifice a bit on the construction, as they feature a woofer constructed of paper like many factory speakers. However, the woofer is designed with a new radial rib pattern to increase speaker strength and deliver more responsive bass.
A rubber surround helps to ensure the overall durability, so you should be able to enjoy impeccable sound for many years. And speaking of the sound, this Kenwood speaker also uses a multi-driver design that offers detailed lows, clean vocals, and soaring highs. The Acoustic Sound Harmonizer feature uses slots on the mount that houses the tweeter and supertweeter to improve progression into the higher frequencies.
With 360 watts of peak (max) power and 85 watts of continuous (RMS) power, Kenwood speakers can go all day. A low impedance of 4 ohms supports this. You can expect a frequency of 63-20,000 Hz and sensitivity of 88 dB. The speakers can also be custom fit for easy mounting.
This speaker weighs 4.2 pounds and has a one year warranty.
5 Rockford Fosgate Punch P1683 6 x 8-Inches Full Range 3-Way Speakers, Pair
One of the cooler features of thisRockford Fosgate model is the FlexFit basket design, which allows forvariable adjustments to the mounting position. You’ll be able toangle the speakers depending on how many people are in the car; whenit’s just you, point them both at the driver’s seat.
In fact, everything about the design ofthis Rockford Fosgate speaker is intended to make installation easyand the end result look totally seamless. The ICC (IntegratedConcealed Crossover) improves the final look by concealing thepassive crossover (capacitor). The included Multi-OEM Adapter plateallows round components or full-range speakers can fit in certainexisting OEM openings, so that this speaker can fit in a huge rangeof vehicles.
This model delivers 130 watts of peak(max) power handling and 65 watts of continuous (RMS) power, so itdoes fall a bit short of other models on the list in this area.However, the 65Hz - 24kHz frequency response and 90 dB sensitivityrating are more than adequate. The Vertical Attach Surround Techniqueis used here to increase the effective radiating cone area by about25% without making installation more complicated.
The construction is solid with a Butylrubber surround, mineral-filled and polypropylene injection moldedcone, and PEI dome tweeter.
The relatively heavy speaker is 5.48pounds and has a one year warranty for both parts and labor.
How to Install Your New Speakers
New speakers are an easy and costeffective way to increase your vehicle’s value. You can also savemoney on installation if you have a little bit of electrical know-howas they are usually not too complicated to mount. You can likely usetools you already have for the job.
However, a lot depends on the size ofyour new speakers compared to the existing holes occupied by yourfactory speakers. In many cases new holes for screws and the unititself will need to be created. Remember that the wiring will need tobe accurate and precise for the unit to work – and operate safely!
Following is a general set ofinstructions for installation of an aftermarket car speaker. If youare not sure that you understand them in their entirety, it’s bestto engage a professional installer for the job. That route costs abit more, but also provides peace of mind and often a guarantee onthe work.
Typically required tools
These are the most common tools needed for the job, but other implements may be needed for your particular model.
General tips for installation
Here are some things to note beforegetting started.
Basic steps if all your factory speakers openings are adequate
Honestly, it is unlikely that your factory speakers will be occupying just the right slots for your new speakers, especially if you have chosen a component set. Following are the basic steps to install new speakers if you are lucky enough to be able to use existing holes. If not, the process gets a bit trickier and is best not performed by someone with no experience.
Step 1: Remove the grille and factory speaker.
Be gentle as the speaker will be attached internally to a wiring harness. You may want to reinstall the factory speaker later, for example, before selling the vehicle, so treat it carefully and store safely. Note that some vehicle manufacturers will use some kind of sealant or foam in mounting the speaker, which will need to be cut through with a utility knife.
Step 2: Attach the wiring.
Carefully unplug the factory wiring harness and then attach the wiring harness that came with your new speaker to its terminals, making sure that the polarity is correct. Then, simply plug the other end of the new harness into the factory wiring harness inside the vehicle. If you do not have a new wiring harness, a set of Posi-Products can alternatively make the connections.
Step 3: Test and finish.
Always test the speaker before you put it back into place. Check the connections again to be certain that they are seated properly and then double-check that the speaker works well and delivers crystal clear sound. Reseat the new speaker into the old slot, secure it with existing screws or clips, and re-attach the factory grille.
How to Maintain Your Stereo
1. Don’t overdrive it. Distortion will fry your amp and kill your speaker faster than anything else. If you had your speakers professionally installed, the tech will have set your amplifier gains at a level that matches the head unit’s output level. Generally, you shouldn’t need to touch the speaker’s gain knobs after installation. If the sound starts to crackle or distort at high volume, turn it down to a level that delivers clean sound or you’ll burn out the speaker. If you can’t get the volume as loud as you want with clear sound, you actually need more power, and messing with the amp’s gain knob doesn’t deliver that.
2. Regularly check the power connections. Your vehicle experiences a lot of vibration from being on the road and from the music itself. A clean power current is vital for great sound, so take the time every so often to check the grounds and make sure they are still tight and not corroded. Also take a peek at the battery terminals and any power distribution blocks you might have. Sound that cuts in and out can result from faulty connections.
3. Protect the speakers from impact. Your speakers are precisely constructed of multiple elements that work in harmony. Repeated impacts can mess up the alignment of these elements and negatively impact sound. Enough hits can cause the speaker to cut out all together. Be careful when loading items into the vehicle, don’t let loose items roll around in a way that could hit the speakers, and be extremely careful with liquids. If your speakers are in a particularly vulnerable spot, like the trunk, put some grilles around them for protection.
With all of this information about the best 6x8 speakers for your car, you should be ready to make an excellent choice that fits your desires and budget. Great sound makes for a great time in the car, so this is the kind of purchase that just makes you happy and puts your vehicle a cut above. Whether you install yourself or hire a professional, you’ve done your research and will be rewarded with an uplifting auditory experience. Drive on!