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Road testing a very cheap pair of tweeters.

By Julian Edgar, Pix by Georgina Cobbin and Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images


Jaycar Electronics currently has on special a scoop purchase of OEM tweeters. Said to be originally designed for a Hyundai model, the tweeters use a 25mm Mylar dome, are rated for 40WRMS power handling on program material, and come with on-board high-pass crossover capacitors. At the time of writing, Jaycar had in stock 9000 units, available for the extraordinarily low price of $7.95 each. These tweeters normally sell for around $25 each, so they look to be a good bargain buy. But how do they look and sound?

We bought a pair to find out.

Buy here:
http://www.autospeed.com/store/sku/14420

The Tweeters

The tweeters look pretty much as the pics suggest - small and chunky, with a heavy magnet and a surprisingly thick pre-wired harness. The included crossover capacitor is a 5.6uF beasty, which means that in a 4 ohm system (and the tweeters are of 4 ohms impedance) the crossover frequency is a bit under 8000Hz. The tweeter is designed to mount behind a grille, and has a removable foam gasket on its front surface. No mounting brackets or housings are supplied.

Mounting Them

We decided to install the tweeters in place of the factory Pioneer tweeters fitted to the sail panels of a '91 Lexus LS400. This would serve two functions - it would allow for a good comparison, and it would show one example of an installation process.

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The Lexus tweeter grille is held in place by spring clips, so removing the grille is just a case of very carefully pulling it off.

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Once this has been done, the factory tweeter is revealed.

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It is held in place with two screws...

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...and with the screws removed, the tweeter falls out.

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With no connector in sight (it must be buried in the door), it was decided to cut the wires at the tweeter.

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The wires were then bared at their ends and tinned with solder.

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The Lexus tweeters had no crossover capacitors affixed - the system must use a crossover inside the door, or even back at the head unit. Normally, you'd leave this capacitor in place on the tweeter, paralleling its feed wires with the mid-bass main door speaker.

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However, because of the presence already of a crossover, in this case we removed the capacitor - replacing it with a length of wire soldered to each terminal.

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The original wires were then soldered to the new tweeter. Because the Lexus tweeter had no marked polarity (ie there was no obvious positive terminal) I simply connected the tweeter both ways around and did a listening comparison. I liked the sound best when the Lexus black-striped wire went to the new tweeter's positive terminal.

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The tweeter wiring connected.

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To prevent any short circuits, I used electrical tape to shield off the otherwise exposed terminals. If you want to be neater, use heatshrink.

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The new tweeter went straight back into the recess without any problems, nestling in the original foam rubber backing like it was meant to be there. Further, the front tweeter gasket lined up perfectly with the gasket on the back of the grille, so that when the grille was snapped back into place, the tweeter was firmly held in place.

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Grille back on, nothing different is visible.

Sound

With just one new tweeter installed, we did lots of side-to-side listening comparisons. Against the Pioneer Lexus original, the treble was j-u-s-t better. That's no terrible condemnation: Lexus LS400s used to do quite well in early sound-offs, even with their standard system!

Specifically, the new tweeters are better in their depth and rise times, and seemed just a little smoother in their response. Certainly, they don't sound like cheap and nasty units at all.

Conclusion

If you're running a mid-level system where you'd like a treble lift, buy a pair before they're all gone.

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