A real-world speaker listening demo
Comparing different models of Infinity car speakers
“What’s the difference between different speakers from the same manufacturer?” That's a good question, and I used to get it often when I was an Advisor with Crutchfield. We try to cover these differences in our online presentations, but it’s often more impactful to let people hear the speakers and get their thoughts. We devised a real-world listening test and invited folks at our Charlottesville headquarters to have a listen.
rdinarily, if you want to listen to new car speakers before you buy them, you have to walk into a car audio store and listen to them mounted on a sound board in a big room. That doesn't give you the best idea of how they'll sound in your car.
Listening to speakers in their natural environment
For this comparison, we wanted to let our people hear these Infinity speakers in their natural environment. We temporarily installed Infinity Primus, Reference, and Kappa 6"x9" speakers in the front doors of three of our coworkers’ Toyota 4Runners. The 4Runner happens to be one of the most plentiful car models in our parking lot. This let us set up the speaker tests in similar, real-world environments. We also used a fourth 4Runner with a factory system as our “control” vehicle, just to compare the new speakers to the stock sound.
We used JVC's KW-V940BW DVD receiver connected to a power inverter for each of our three demo vehicles. The JVC had plenty of power for each of the speakers.
Keeping things fair — a level listening ground
We initially planned to use the stereo systems that were present in the vehicles, but we quickly realized that there were different audio configurations for each. It wouldn’t have been a fair comparison, since some had factory amplifiers and some didn't. Also, some of the speakers were "crossed over", so they only received certain frequencies. We wanted full-range signals going to the speakers in our test.
We decided to use the same car stereo, the JVC KW-V940BW DVD receiver, for the three test 4Runners. This let us keep the volume and power on a level playing field. We powered the JVC stereos with power inverters so that we didn’t drain the batteries in the 4Runners. We used the same song playlist for each, and we left the door panels off for a quicker installation. This way, the listeners could hear and see the speakers they were checking out.
On to the Infinity speaker comparison
We were having a holiday potluck nearby that day, so we had people checking out our listening demo throughout the day. Here are some to the things they had to say about the different speakers.
Infinity Primus — great factory replacement
Infinity’s Primus speakers perform like anything but entry level. They fit many vehicles and work well with factory or aftermarket power. After checking out the Infinity Primus PR9613IS 6"x9" 3-way speakers, our listeners came away impressed with how impactful the sound was from these modestly priced speakers.
When comparing the magnets, which is basically the "motor" of the speaker, you can see that the Infinity Reference speakers (left) are far more substantial than the factory speakers. Bigger motor, bigger sound.
Infinity Reference — super-efficient winners
Infinity’s Reference speakers have been fan favorites since long before I started at Crutchfield in 1997. Their high efficiency lets you get a lot of volume with even low power. Most listeners told me they preferred the Infinity Reference REF-9632IX 6"x9" 2-way speakers due to their versatility to work well with all kinds of music.
Infinity Kappa — built to perform (and last)
Kappa speakers represent the best of Infinity’s lineup, offering improved power handling and bigger sound. Infinity also backs up the Kappa series with a 3-year warranty. After listening to the Infinity Kappa 93ix 6"x9" 3-way speakers, we heard from various advisors that the speaker’s design technologies helped deliver a lot of bass extension, as well as a lot of detail, especially in the higher frequencies.
Product demos, the Crutchfield way
We try to do a lot of demos for our folks here at Crutchfield, and this listening test served as a new direction for us. Car audio demos can be more tricky and time-consuming to arrange than the home A/V setups that we often show off. But many of our Advisors have asked for this type of demo to better assist customers when talking about car audio. We wanted to provide that for them.
Challenges and rewards
Thankfully, we had the help of coworkers who owned the 4Runners and were willing to have them taken apart temporarily. We coordinated schedules to make sure we had time to install the speakers and show them off all within one day. It certainly wasn't easy to get all that gear running in three vehicles, but the listeners who took part in the comparison expressed that they now felt much more confident in talking about the Infinity speaker models. Hey, it's what we do here and we dig it.
Ready for new speakers?
If you're looking for a speaker recommendation for your vehicle, we invite you to talk, chat, or email with one of our knowledgeable advisors. They'll pick out some winners to make your journeys much more enjoyable.