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Hello all!

I have a 2017 Ford Escape SE with the 9 speaker Sync 3 non-Sony audio system (with the 8" screen). I am looking to upgrade the speakers and do it on a bit of a budget. Searching the forum here, I came across a post from 2014 from Centex where he recommended the Alpine SPS-610 speakers, saying that not only did they fit but could also be turned up loud without using a separate amplifier. It seems that these, along with others that he recommended, are no longer available at Best Buy (where I am looking to purchase because they can also install them). My question is this: does anyone have any speaker recommendations that
1. fit
2. work well without having to purchase an amplifier
3. sound better than the OEM speakers?

I am looking to purchase coaxial speakers because they are cheaper and I really don't want to buy a subwoofer right now either.

Thank you all for your assistance!
 

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You'll need to compare the "Sensitivity" rating of each speaker and go for models with higher numerical ratings. They'll work better without installing a more powerful amplifier.

Polk Audio and Focal usually make some decent speakers that work well with factory audio systems. I haven't personally looked into what is available as the factory Sony system (Euro spec 9 spkr, with no sub woofer) works well enough for me.

PS: "Split" speakers (separate woofer/ tweeter and crossover) generally provide better sound quality over coaxials. If you're on a budget just upgrade the front speakers and leave the rears stock.
 

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In the Alpine lineup the SPS-610C has been superseded by the S-S65C. Insofar as fitment they are interchangeable. Both offer a feature that makes them particularly suitable for Escape non-Sony installations: they use simple in-line filters which facilitates easy installation of the tweeters and woofers in the OE door and A-pillar locations in the front. That's the feature @murcod mentions in his last paragraph above.

I am looking to purchase coaxial speakers because they are cheaper and I really don't want to buy a subwoofer right now either.
Lots of misunderstanding revealed in that, IMO.

First, IMO, the OE speakers you have are much better than a lot of "cheaper" speakers you can find on the market.

Re: "coaxial"
Personally
I would not replace your current front speaker(s) with a coax - I'd go with separate tweeter/woofer components like your OE setup. IMO no 'coax' will sound better than the OE separates when it comes to imaging perception. IF you insist on a coax in the door I would certainly disable the OE tweeter in the pillar - having two tweeters with different characteristics in separated locations is an invitation for disaster in terms of overall sound quality IMO.

Re: "subwoofer"
Coax or not, none of these speakers have anything to do with a subwoofer or frequencies that a subwoofer reproduces. That's a totally separate issue, not addressed by anything you can do in your doors.

Insofar as perceived loudness and speaker sensitivity ratings (usually expressed as dB @ 1 watt @ 1 meter) .... IMO the variation available among speakers in that price range (on the order of ~88~91 dB +/-) is for all intents imperceptible at the power levels the Escape delivers. Technical discussion here. Personally I'd focus much less on that spec and much more on the 'sound' and finding a 'sound' you like, particularly with regard to the high frequencies.

Speakers and their 'sound' is probably the most subjective aspect of car audio, what some folks love others hate and vice-versa. I have not listened to the S-S65C myself. Even if I had, my opinion of 'em might very well differ from yours.

Though it wont' replicate or guarantee how speakers will sound in your car, test listening on a store demo display is about the best you can do unless lucky enough to hear a car exactly like yours with speakers you like.

Just for your consideration, one man's opinions. If your interest is LOUD / Big Noise rather than Sound Quality .... please ignore all of my comments. Good Luck with your shopping.
 

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Thank you both! I suppose you are right, I’ll buy the composite speakers for the just the front seats. I have one more question: if I go the composites, my understanding is that they lack the subwoofer component that coaxials have, with the understanding that you’ll get a separate sub. Is that true? Will I need an extra sub if I go composite?
 

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When buying speakers with separate woofer - tweeter (-subwoofer) that's known as "component" sets, not "composite".

.... they lack the subwoofer component that coaxials have ....
Post a link or provide the brand+model number of a coaxial that you are talking about that includes a "subwoofer component". That's not a common speaker bundle but maybe you've found one.
 

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My bad on the terminology. This is all new to me.

My understanding was that the coaxials had all three sound elements in one unit and that components forced the user to purchase each element (tweeter, woofer, subwoofer) separately (in exchange for superior sound quality). That may be completely wrong. If I get the component speakers (tweeter and woofer) without a subwoofer, will the sound be worse than the OEM speakers?

And yes, my goal is sound quality over loudness.

Thank you!
 

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Whether components or coax, I'm not aware of any speaker that will fit in a ~6" ~6-1/2" door mounting that covers the very low frequency subwoofer spectrum. The physics of sound reproduction simply don't support that. IOW if you want to cover the very low frequency subwoofer spectrum (below ~50 Hz) you need a separate subwoofer with an appropriate enclosure.

So again, covering the very low frequency subwoofer spectrum is totally independent of what you do to improve the sound spectrum your system now covers. Yes, IMO, with careful choice of components you can improve the sound quality compared to OE without a subwoofer.

Your current system isn't covering the very low frequencies in the subwoofer range, depending on the type of music you listen to and your expectations, many many folks are perfectly content with a system that does not have a subwoofer. Depending on what music you listen to, sounds below ~50 Hz may be a very small fraction of the listening experience.

You can do a lot to improve the above-subwoofer-frequency-range of your system, enjoy that, and then later add a sub if you want to see what you gain with those very lowest frequencies.
 

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My bad on the terminology. This is all new to me.

My understanding was that the coaxials had all three sound elements in one unit and that components forced the user to purchase each element (tweeter, woofer, subwoofer) separately (in exchange for superior sound quality). That may be completely wrong. If I get the component speakers (tweeter and woofer) without a subwoofer, will the sound be worse than the OEM speakers?

And yes, my goal is sound quality over loudness.

Thank you!

What you are referring to is the number of drivers a Coaxial speaker has.

In actuality, Coaxial is a bit of a misnomer.

Co = two
Tri = three
Quad = four and so on.

A Coaxial means that a particular speaker frame has two speakers on it. Woofer/Tweeter

Triaxial means three like woofer, midrange, tweeter, and so on.

The woofer vs subwoofer. Centex is correct but, the small door speakers (woofers) do often produce frequencies that crossover into the Subwoofer domain. They just don't do so very well and they are more likely to distort at lower volumes when they are not properly crossed over to filter out the lower frequencies that they are not ideally suited for.

In my opinion, just replacing the speakers without any other upgrades will be disappointing and somewhat pointless. You see, the OEM speakers are designed to be driven by the OEM amplifier that is built into the head unit. They are matched. Aftermarket speakers usually beg to be driven with more power than what your OEM headunit can put out. But, turning the volume up past where you may be doing so now with the OEM speakers will just mean more noise/distortion because OEM head units are often very weak and have a lot of distortion once you start cranking them up.

You should upgrade the stock speakers if your ultimate goal is sound quality but, you should also consider adding an amp between the head unit and the new speakers. That combination will make the most significant improvement to your sound quality.

You can always add a subwoofer later but I think once you upgrade those two items you'll find you will want to round out the sound ;)
 

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But, turning the volume up past where you may be doing so now with the OEM speakers will just mean more noise/distortion because OEM head units are often very weak and have a lot of distortion once you start cranking them up.
FWIW when I did oscilloscope testing of the speaker/high-level ACM outputs on my '14 Escape I found it to be remarkably clean, free of IMO significant distortion and with no clipping, from 20Hz to 20kHz at all volume levels from 0/25 to 25/25. Those tests run with sweep tones and a random sample of discrete sine wave test tones ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz. It's really a pretty impressive little unit for an OE item, IMO much better than average 'headroom' to build on.

("ACM" being the "Audio Control Module" containing AM/FM/satellite tuner, most source routing, CD mechanism, and amp functions; IOW the module most analogous to a traditional "Head Unit".)

Certainly showing bass-boost in the OE EQ curve at low volume (which tapered to almost null at high volume) and treble roll-off at higher frequencies as volume increased, but 'clean sine waves' across the board. Those OE EQ curves can be defeated with simple FORScan reprogramming for 'flat' output; the speaker/high-level output can also be reprogrammed to line/low-level output for input to an amp or DSP (avoiding the need for a Line Out Converter), though that apparently does not 'bypass' the amp chips in the ACM.

Even the basic Escape ACM employs a programmable AD/DA ('DSP') chip, an approach long used by Ford, apparently to allow the use of the same basic ACM for a wide range of applications, with and without external amp/DSP modules. That chip even supports different time-alignments and EQ curves used for different occupancy settings on the touchscreen (set occupancy to "all seats" to defeat TA). PNs for Ford ACMs quite often simply indicate different firmware programming, not actually different firmware or hardware.

IMO though I agree that they are 'matched' to some extent by Ford, the price-point-based OE speakers do present a weak-link in the Escape's OE audio chain, more so than the ACM / 'head unit' itself.
 

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Some background info - kept basic to try and not confuse your decision further.....

With coaxials vs 2 way component speakers one big difference is the components will include a separate crossover. That's a box of electronic components that divides the audio frequencies into the bands each speaker is designed to reproduce.

All crossovers aren't the same- they can be simple (using cheap components- a basic inductor and capacitor) or more expensive e.g. use higher grade capacitors (which have a noticeable effect on the sound quality), plus other components to change the power to each speaker and cut off slope of the frequency band. Coaxial speakers generally only incorporate a simple single capacitor on the speaker- that blocks the low frequencies from destroying the tweeter and passes through the higher frequencies. The woofer gets fed the full frequency range.

Some brands sell coaxials with a separate (but still basic) crossover - I know Focal used to do it. That's probably your "in between" step up between the "cheap" coaxials and proper 2 way components.
 

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FWIW when I did oscilloscope testing of the speaker/high-level ACM outputs on my '14 Escape I found it to be remarkably clean, free of IMO significant distortion and with no clipping, from 20Hz to 20kHz at all volume levels from 0/25 to 25/25. Those tests run with sweep tones and a random sample of discrete sine wave test tones ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz. It's really a pretty impressive little unit for an OE item, IMO much better than average 'headroom' to build on.

("ACM" being the "Audio Control Module" containing AM/FM/satellite tuner, most source routing, CD mechanism, and amp functions; IOW the module most analogous to a traditional "Head Unit".)

Certainly showing bass-boost in the OE EQ curve at low volume (which tapered to almost null at high volume) and treble roll-off at higher frequencies as volume increased, but 'clean sine waves' across the board. Those OE EQ curves can be defeated with simple FORScan reprogramming for 'flat' output; the speaker/high-level output can also be reprogrammed to line/low-level output for input to an amp or DSP (avoiding the need for a Line Out Converter), though that apparently does not 'bypass' the amp chips in the ACM.

Even the basic Escape ACM employs a programmable AD/DA ('DSP') chip, an approach long used by Ford, apparently to allow the use of the same basic ACM for a wide range of applications, with and without external amp/DSP modules. That chip even supports different time-alignments and EQ curves used for different occupancy settings on the touchscreen (set occupancy to "all seats" to defeat TA). PNs for Ford ACMs quite often simply indicate different firmware programming, not actually different firmware or hardware.

IMO though I agree that they are 'matched' to some extent by Ford, the price-point-based OE speakers do present a weak-link in the Escape's OE audio chain, more so than the ACM / 'head unit' itself.
I'm getting off topic here:

You bring up something that I had completely overlooked on modern OEM systems. Attenuation. I did overlook/forget the fact that most modern OEM system have basic DSP capability which includes signal timing and signal manipulation for certain EQ effects including attenuation and amplification of certain frequencies..

Fixed sine wave signals and/or tones/pink noise are what I use for initial tuning of a system when using aftermarket amps to set the amp gain. Those are a great for getting into the ballpark of the correct adjustment. IMO only in conjunction with with a real-time analyzer (RTA) can you fully see what's going on and make the best adjustments.

(for complete transparency, I don't recall if an Oscilliscope has the capability to display not only the sine wave, but the amplitude of it? And if it can, does it give you a comparative view like a RTA would across a spectrum of frequencies?)

The following is supposition on my part as I have never run an RTA on an Escape audio system but I've seen it in my Mustang Shaker 500 and various GM vehicles: I believe, the reason you didn't get much distortion is that the OEM head unit, at higher volumes, attenuated certain frequencies or the entire audio spectrum to mitigate potential damage. A real time analyzer would let you see any attenuation. The attenuation's are most prevalent at the lower frequencies because those are the frequencies most likely to damage a speaker that is not crossed over (like the woofer).

The limited subjective information I have from the Escape was that after the speaker upgrade (no external amps) when I cranked up the volume, it sounded a tad better in the mid-range but the bass at higher volumes seemed to max out around mid-volume on the volume dial. Same as the OEM. This was really amplified (pardon the pun) once the aftermarket amp was installed. Louder crystal clear sound but the bass tapped out at around mid volume (like before) and still left the overall quality hollow sounding.

A great overview of what I'm talking about can be seen in this video.

IMO and my recent experience with the 2017 Escape, I agree with you. It's pretty good system for what it is and while the speakers are the weakest link, I personally was disappointed at what little difference it seemed to make in the overall quality of the sound until an amp for the door speakers and further to that, a 10" sub. Most people won't go over mid-volume so they may never hear that attenuation.

For me and my daughter, to overcome the attenuation of bass at higher volumes I did choose an Audio Control amp with Accubass control (model 1.300). I chose it because not only can you select the amount of bass (like any other amp), you can also select at what threshold (when) that extra boost is introduced so you're not sounding all muddy at lower volumes.
 

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I'm getting off topic here:
No worries, it's a fun topic, unless/until moderators shut us down we'll just advise @RTL0993 to ignore this discussion which is not important for his project ;)

........

(for complete transparency, I don't recall if an Oscilliscope has the capability to display not only the sine wave, but the amplitude of it? And if it can, does it give you a comparative view like a RTA would across a spectrum of frequencies?)
Yes, an O-scope can display the amplitude of sine waves, the PicoScope 2204A that I own allowing one to select among several units for that display (volts, dBu/a, etc).

One can use use the PicoScope in 'real time analysis' mode, displaying either dynamic 'lines' or 'bars' (which of course doesn't lend to capture/sharing as a fixed-plot on paper, but which can be 'saved' as a dynamic file for replay on the scope). All of these choices are a function of the particular scope's capabilities. The PicoScope, using a laptop / computer for it's data manipulation / display management, has a lot of flexibility in that regard (the 'scope measurement functions' themselves are managed by the instrument's box/circuitry totally independent of the laptop / computer, connected to the computer via USB).

For looking at performance across a spectrum of frequencies, often I find the most useful method is to play a sine-wave sweep tone (i.e. a tone which 'sweeps' from 20Hz to 20kHz over a defined period of time, usually a couple of seconds +/-), which can be displayed as a line on the display over the entire range of the sweep. The same can be done with 'noise'.

Attached FYI are some plots from my old Escape analyses, both sine-sweeps and pink then white noise. Those sweep plots reflect the presence / lack of "attenuation" (or "boost") across the spectrum at various volume levels. IMO that shows you are mistaken in the notion that "attenuation" is used to avoid distortion at higher volume levels (that would be reflected in the EQ curve; instead we see the curve more-or-less corresponding the the Fletcher-Munson Equal Loudness curve common to most OE HU's, designed to 'correct' for the way most folk's hearing perceives sounds at different frequencies/volumes).

All of this of course relating to characterization of the electrical signals of the audio component outputs. I use a 'traditional' acoustic measurement setup (calibrated mic and REW (Room EQ Wizard) 'RTA' software) for characterizing and tuning the sound in the vehicle-cabin environment.

Not sure if I'm answering your questions / interests?
 

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Thank you for the indication to ignore, I was getting quite confused with the technical jargon haha!
Can an amp be added later or should it be done with the speakers?
 

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Can an amp be added later or should it be done with the speakers?
You can add an amp at any time but usually amps are more-or-less 'matched' to the recommended power handling rating of the speaker(s) they drive.

You can always use an amp that's rated above the speaker's rating, you'll just need to be careful with the volume knob to prevent speaker damage. To a certain extent 'over-driving' risk can be limited by trimming the amp input gain, but that has other, sometimes undesirable, implications (more than we want to get into here). A few amps (JBL MS-A#### series for example) provide controls to limit ('cap' if you will) amp output separate from input gain.

Some folks subscribe to the theory 'you can't have too much power available' and/or 'generous overhead is always good' (lots of power in excess of that you'll actually use). Sorta like folks who always buy the most powerful engine available for a vehicle even though they will never drive in a way that uses that power potential :D

Personally, I might agree that some 'overhead' (power in excess of the speaker recommendation) can be good, but IMO that's less important with high-quality amps that can deliver truly high-quality (un-distorted, 'clean') signals even when pushed to their maximum rated output levels.

Lower quality / less reputable amps may well suffer increasing distortion as they are pushed to their limits. The unfortunate fact is that less reputable manufacturers can, and often do, play 'fast-and-loose' with their output rating and distortion claims (references to various 'rating certifications' notwithstanding as those are self-determined by the manufacturer with little or no policing / enforcement by the rating bodies to ensure the veracity of the claims).

While you may not always 'get what you pay for' when it comes to audio amp sound quality, you almost assuredly 'will not get what you don't pay for'.

Again as always, one man's opinions ;)
 

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No worries, it's a fun topic, unless/until moderators shut us down we'll just advise @RTL0993 to ignore this discussion which is not important for his project ;)

........

Yes, an O-scope can display the amplitude of sine waves, the PicoScope 2204A that I own allowing one to select among several units for that display (volts, dBu/a, etc).

One can use use the PicoScope in 'real time analysis' mode, displaying either dynamic 'lines' or 'bars' (which of course doesn't lend to capture/sharing as a fixed-plot on paper, but which can be 'saved' as a dynamic file for replay on the scope). All of these choices are a function of the particular scope's capabilities. The PicoScope, using a laptop / computer for it's data manipulation / display management, has a lot of flexibility in that regard (the 'scope measurement functions' themselves are managed by the instrument's box/circuitry totally independent of the laptop / computer, connected to the computer via USB).

For looking at performance across a spectrum of frequencies, often I find the most useful method is to play a sine-wave sweep tone (i.e. a tone which 'sweeps' from 20Hz to 20kHz over a defined period of time, usually a couple of seconds +/-), which can be displayed as a line on the display over the entire range of the sweep. The same can be done with 'noise'.

Attached FYI are some plots from my old Escape analyses, both sine-sweeps and pink then white noise. Those sweep plots reflect the presence / lack of "attenuation" (or "boost") across the spectrum at various volume levels. IMO that shows you are mistaken in the notion that "attenuation" is used to avoid distortion at higher volume levels (that would be reflected in the EQ curve; instead we see the curve more-or-less corresponding the the Fletcher-Munson Equal Loudness curve common to most OE HU's, designed to 'correct' for the way most folk's hearing perceives sounds at different frequencies/volumes).

All of this of course relating to characterization of the electrical signals of the audio component outputs. I use a 'traditional' acoustic measurement setup (calibrated mic and REW (Room EQ Wizard) 'RTA' software) for characterizing and tuning the sound in the vehicle-cabin environment.

Not sure if I'm answering your questions / interests?
Yes, that answers my questions, thank you :)

I never got far enough into my electrical engineering curriculum at the university to really cement the the Oscilloscope info I was exposed to. In the mid-90's, the university I was attending had not yet begun to offer a Computer Science Engineering degree so the IEEE and CSE programs were both still under the IEEE program. What that caused was a number of IEEE interested people like myself to get stuck learning about computer programming (coding), of which I had ZERO interest in. I ended up dropping the program along with about 20% of the other first and second year students. The year AFTER I graduated, of course, they separated the programs and removed the programming requirements from the IEEE major.😝
 
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