If you’re in the market for new or upgraded car audio equipment, then you may have considered a name brand product like Alpine car speakers. One of many recognized brands available in the competitive car audio marketplace, Alpine Electronics Inc., is often regarded for its history of creating innovative high-end car speakers and stereo products. The Japanese company was founded in 1967, and its North American branch, Alpine Electronics of America, Inc., has operated in the U.S. marketplace since 1978. If you’re considering Alpine against other brands of car speakers, the following comparisons may help make your selection process a little easier.
Alpine car speakers have a general reputation for producing exceptionally clear high-quality sound. Many commercial reviews on sites like Crutchfield.com note that Alpine’s use of premium materials is an important factor in the performance of its products. For example, Alpine uses silk in many of its dome-style tweeters. These are the components responsible for producing a speaker’s high frequencies. Many believe Alpine’s dome design and use of silk help its tweeters create its renowned crisp high sounds. By comparison, brands like Kenwood and Pioneer may make more use of thermoplastics like polyetherimide (PEI) for their dome-shaped tweeters. PEI is often well-regarded for its ability to generate accurate sound imaging, a form of sound reproduction often coveted by car audio enthusiasts. Other materials commonly used for speaker tweeters by brands like JL, Pioneer, Kenwood and Infinity include textiles, ceramics and a specialized low-cost rubber known as piezo.
With their frequent use of first-rate materials and innovative and often space-efficient designs, Alpine speakers have often been seen as a somewhat costly investment. While still regarded by many car audio experts as a more high-end brand, Alpine, like many of its competitors, has expanded its product line to include a range of products offered at various prices. Two-way speakers from its “G” and “S” series may be found on sites like Amazon.com Marketplace starting at around $50, while 2-way products from its Crutchfiled Signature line may start at $150. In comparison, Eclipse, Kenwood and Pioneer all offer introductory 2-way speakers starting at around $50, while Infinity offers 2-ways in the popular 6-1/2 inch size starting at around $59. Each of these brands also offer high-performance speakers priced from about $100 and up.
Alpine is also generally known for making products that last. Many of the brand’s speaker woofers, the part responsible for creating low sounds, are made from pearl mica that is injected into polypropylene cones. The pearl mica mineral helps strengthen the polypropylene, a material regarded for its ability to withstand heat and humidity. The injection of the pearl mica helps this thermoplastic improve its sound reliability and clarity. Kenwood injects a standard mica into many of its polypropylene woofers. In comparison, Pioneer uses a stiffer injection-molded polypropylene material in the creation of many of its woofers. This may result in an overall sound that is less resonant than those produced by Alpine or Kenwood’s mica injected woofers.
Although selecting the right car speaker may seem overwhelming, comparing the performance, durability and price of established brands such as Alpine, Kenwood and Pioneer may help you find a product that matches your needs and budget.