Suppliers turn to visual appeal and customization capability to boost car speaker sales.
External design enhancements are driving R&D in China’s car speaker line. Makers in this mature industry are not keen on upping the ante in technique, preferring instead to boost aesthetics and customization capability, which are seen to spur sales. Suppliers such as Dongguan Authentic Audio Co. Ltd have developed models with die-cast aluminum baskets.
|The PY-CH694T7 model from Peiying Electro-Acoustic uses a Mylar dome and piezo tweeter.|
To provide a good balance between price and performance, entry-level and midrange speakers in different configurations and materials are available. Enterprises can vary the components used from the cone or dome to the voice coil and basket depending on buyers’ requirements.
Surface treatment options are offered as well, including alloy, plastic and electroplating.
Further, makers accept electroacoustic performance specifications, with most companies working with engineers to deliver the required audio attributes.
A growing number of suppliers are looking to enter the high end to buoy margins. Among them is Dongguan Authentic, which seeks to develop a premium line specifically for clients in Europe. Jiaxing Jinlida Electron Co. Ltd, meanwhile, is targeting the EU, the US and Australia for subwoofers with a power output of 200 to 2,000W rms or even higher.
Most local makers bolster their product catalog with subwoofers.
Jiaxing Jinlida has bandpass car speakers in plexiglass with blue or white LED light. The majority of enterprises accept OEM projects.
Resurging demand in the EU and the US boosted China companies’ export sales last year. Orders from emerging markets such as Russia, the Middle East, South America and parts of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Thailand, are expected to keep trade on the upswing.
The major challenges for local manufacturers are the rising cost of materials and the appreciation of the yuan. The line is particularly vulnerable to these factors because most players cater to the low end where profits are thin. As a countermeasure, many companies are implementing markups of 3 to 10 percent for car speakers and $2 to $3 for subwoofers. Others are considering launching new products in a higher price range.
China manufacturers provide entry-level and midrange car speakers. Coaxial or 2-way component sets dominate output for their good price-to-performance ratio. Most makers supply a separate woofer, midrange driver and tweeter, or even 3-way component sets. Each category is available in a variety of configurations, materials, sizes and designs.
Coaxial speakers typically combine the woofer or midrange driver and tweeter into one unit. Enterprises provide 2, 3 or 4-way types in 4, 4x6, 5, 6, 6.5 or 6x9in dimensions. The mainstream power output is between 30 and 100W rms, while the average frequency response and sensitivity are 60Hz to 20kHz and 89 to 92dB/mW, respectively.
Makers also maintain stand-alone car speakers with smaller than 1in dome tweeters, 4 to 5in midrange drivers and 6 to 8in woofers in their catalogs. Many carry models in different sizes, which they also sell in sets. Suppliers can provide the majority of the components to build a full-audio set depending on buyers’ requests.
The voice coil diameter and material affect the speakers’ overall performance. The mainstream coil sizes range from 13 to 25mm, and are made of ASV, TSV or KSV. Businesses typically source the voice coil locally. Dome or piezo tweeters are common. Low-end models use Mylar diaphragms, while silk and metal are targeted at enhanced units.
Manufacturers likewise offer material and component options to suit various requirements. Mainstream woofer or midrange drivers employ injection PP or compound cone with a rubber edge. This resists moisture and aging better than paper cones with foam edging. Fiberglass or carbon fiber cone, typically seen in enhanced drivers, provide better audio quality.
Entry-level speakers use plastic baskets, which cost less but deform easily under high temperatures and persistent vibrations. Iron is increasingly regarded as an alternative to aluminum or stainless steel because it is less expensive and allows for a good shape.
Guangdong Steelmate Security Co. Ltd’s H1 model employs a yellow fiberglass cone. Dongguan Authentic goes for PP cones in its entry-level releases, and fiberglass or carbon for pricier variants. Peiying’s standard car speakers have an injection cone, while Nomex or fiberglass is for premium versions.
Subwoofer manufacture contributes to China’s car speaker systems industry. Most local automotive audio suppliers offer all product types from the driver to the box.
The typical driver is 8 to 12in and delivers a power output of 200 to 1,000W rms. Some enterprises, including Jiaxing Jinlida, provide large 15in variants with a handling power greater than 2,000W rms.
Mainstream subwoofers use rubber-edged PP cones with an iron basket and a power output of 300 to 500W rms. High-end models adopt woven carbon, fiberglass or nonpressed paper cone with an aluminum basket for 500 to 800W or above audio.
A growing number of suppliers are turning to aluminum for their subwoofer drivers. Although the input is more expensive, it is lightweight, enhances the product’s visual appeal, and can withstand elevated temperatures and strong vibrations.
Besides raw subwoofer drivers, China businesses offer a range of active subwoofer boxes. Bandpass, subwoofer enclosures and tunnel type subwoofers are available.
Price of car speakers and subwoofers are largely dictated by the size of the unit, the materials and components used, and the MOQ.
Taiwan’s car speaker selection constitutes full-range, component and coaxial types, with the last two accounting for the bulk of shipments. In fact, models of the second category, particularly 4 and 6.5in varieties, are breaching the mainstream. The segment is dominated by 2 and 3-way units, although 1 and 4-way and 5.25 and 6x9in versions are also available.
Improving the audio quality without raising prices tops companies’ agenda. Most are adopting tweeters and bass or woofer drivers. A number of suppliers offer midrange or midbass drivers as add-ons. Silk and metal tweeters are mainstream.
PP and paper cones are widely used in standard releases. Fiberglass and carbon fiberglass are the materials of choice for upscale varieties.
The rising number of cars with built-in speakers is slowing down the line in Taiwan. Makers also face competition from Bluetooth car kits and personal navigation devices that serve as an audio source for MP3 players.
There are currently fewer than 15 players in the island, most of which also supply home theater systems and car in-vehicle subwoofers.
Manufacturers work with OEM and aftermarket clients.
Beluga Audio Co. Ltd
Dongguan Authentic Audio Co. Ltd
Model: Platium 6.5 series
Grand Dagu Co. Ltd
Guangdong Steelmate Security Co. Ltd
Jiaxing Jinlida Electron Co. Ltd
Jumboaudio Electronics Co. Ltd
Note: This article "Aesthetics, customization key to car speaker line viability" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.