Tweeters are an integral part of most speaker system setups. They either sit separately in multi-speaker arrangements or as part of single-unit systems. But what is a tweeter?
A tweeter speaker is a type of speaker designed to produce sound in the higher frequency range. They’re important accompaniments for woofers and other speakers unable to reproduce higher-pitched sound frequencies. The best sound setups include tweeters to ensure the perfect listening experience.
In the rest of the article, I’ll explain more about tweeter speakers, what they do, and the different types available. I’ll also provide you with some of the best options available today that you can get for your setup.
Tweeter Speaker Design
Tweeters have a compact design because they produce smaller sound waves. The small cone also means they’re designed to point directly to the listener. Their sound range is mostly within 3-20 kilohertz, but some manufacturers can implement different limitations.
The standard design of a tweeter consists of the following:
- A small magnet with a circular gap on the inside.
- A copper wire voice coil connected to the speaker dome.
The speaker assembly is affixed into the gap within the magnet. The dome is held together on its side by some tough but flexible material.
Amplified music signal reaches the tweeter via the standard positive(+)/negative(-) wiring connections. Once this happens, the voice coil triggers a magnetic field within the magnetic gap region.
The reaction causes the tweeter coil and dome to move back and forth, cycling air quickly to trail the signal. A combination of these intricate movements leads to sounds you hear.
The Role of Tweeter Speakers
As mentioned earlier, tweeter speakers produce trebles and other high-frequency sounds such as synthetic keyboard sounds, cymbals, drum hi-hats, etc.
They complement other speakers that aren’t designed to replicate such sound. Combined with a subwoofer and standard 2-way speakers, tweeters can help ensure near-perfect sound reproduction.
Tweeters are important in music because they ensure listeners hear the full range of sounds in any piece of music or movie. Sound setups, including tweeters, sound more pleasing and more natural compared to those without them.
Tweeter Impedance and Power Ratings Explained
Impedance describes a speaker’s total electrical resistance to current. The unit is in Ohms. The voice coil in any tweeter speaker features a long amount of wire wound into a coil. The wire has electrical resistance.
Impedance rating is important because you need to know what it is to choose the right matching components for your tweeter (or the other way round).
Mismatched speaker impedance causes one to play at volumes far higher than the other.
Generally, home tweeters are rated at 8 ohms, while car options are rated at 4 ohms. However, those numbers are generally an estimate. A tweeter speaker with an 8 ohms rating is most likely a 6-7 ohms speaker. Keep this in mind when it’s time to choose your tweeter speaker.
Your tweeters have to match the rated impedance expected from an amplifier. Amplifiers can overheat if used with speakers too low for the design. So, for example, you can’t use a 4 ohms tweeter if the amplifier has an 8 ohms rating.
On power ratings, the first thing you should know is that tweeter speakers aren’t designed to handle the same level of power as other large speakers. Woofers and subwoofers can deal with larger amounts of heat because they all feature a larger voice coil wiring gauge.
You should expect around 15W RMS for most home tweeter speakers. However, it’s not uncommon to find models with up to 50W of power rating at the higher end of the price scale.
Different Types of Tweeters and Dome Materials
Tweeter speakers come with domes made of a wide range of materials. Some of the common options you can expect to find include:
- Ceramics or ceramic-coated domes
- Metal (alloys, titanium, and aluminum)
- Metal-coated plastics
- Textile (silk and other materials)
You may occasionally come across some less common materials, but always be sure to get clarity on the type of material used in making the tweeter. Some obscure brands aren’t always clear in this regard.
Related article: Are Bigger Tweeters Better?
Textile or silk are the most common tweeter speaker materials you can find. For models in the middle or upper range bracket, you may occasionally find aluminum or titanium as the material.
Let’s look at tweeters made of these materials in a bit more detail.
Mylar or PEI Tweeters
The dome in Mylar and PEI tweeters is made of plastics. You’ll find these in budget or coaxial sound setups. They’re the affordable option to go with, but they’re not the best if you’re looking for the most accurate sound replication. You can easily notice the difference when comparing the sound to what you’ll hear on a silk dome tweeter.
Some of these models use a type of metal coating to create a hybrid solution that may or may not improve the overall sound quality.
Silk tweeters are popular for their extra stiffness and a specific tinge of sound. Some silk tweeters combine materials like diamond or ceramic to increase sound quality even further.
However, it’s important to note that the material used in making your tweeter dome isn’t the sole factor that determines quality. Look at the relevant frequency charts for a more reliable take on the quality of the product.
Where the frequency chart is not available, you should request more information or go with a model that supplies the chart. Failing to do so, you may end up with a tweeter that will deliver extremely harsh sounds or one that emphasizes specific sound ranges too much or too little.
Bullet and Super Tweeters
Bullet and super tweeters are similar to others we’ve mentioned here, but they may have a bullet shape in the dome to accentuate the sounds produced. These designs are good options because they deliver some of the highest volumes and ensure excellent power handling.
They’re great for scenarios where high power handling and loud volumes are necessary. So, you should probably look elsewhere if you’re in the market for a tweeter speaker to use indoors.
Compression Horn and Horn Tweeters
These are a special class of speakers. Entry-level models in this range are also affordable, but they’re not the greatest in producing good musical tones. They also have slightly higher volumes compared to tweeters of a similar size.
The important distinguishing factor between these tweeters and others is that they feature piezoelectric crystals instead of a magnet, as with other models. The piezoelectric crystal is connected to a mechanical diaphragm such as a digital or electronic clock. These designs often have high impedance.
Concentric/Ring Radiator Tweeters
Concentric radiators are a rare group. They feature a combination of moving surfaces made of a center plug and several rings. These tweeters are more sonically accurate, delivering more musical detail overall.
A major downside of these tweeters is that they don’t sound great in arrangements where they aren’t directly facing the listener.
Ribbon tweeters are slightly different from the rest. Their design features a thin ribbon diaphragm that produces sound by moving back and forth in a linear model. They’re some of the most common in the market today, and they deliver some of the best sounds.
However, the level of quality will vary across price ranges. The $600 models will sound better than the $50 models.
One of the main reasons for their quality is that their impedance is flatter on the frequency response range compared to tweeters featuring a magnet and a voice coil.
Top Tweeter Speakers To Buy for Your Home
Are you in the market for Tweeter speakers? Below are some of the best options you can consider right now that are available on Amazon.com.
The tweeter pair from Aperion provides highly detailed audio that will enhance the sound production of your existing audio equipment.
The speakers offer five channels to switch across and a “Treble Adjust” point that allows you to reduce the treble volume by up to 5 decibels.
The product features gold-plated binding posts, making it easy for you to connect the Aperion to your existing speaker terminals.
The compact design of the speakers means you don’t have to stress about where to position them. With the soft, rubber seating, you don’t have to worry about the speaker scratches on your bookshelf or TV stand, either. The seating also ensures the speakers can shift while in use.
The Aperion Super Tweeter pair is designed to crossover at frequency rates higher than what you’ll find with standard tweeters. You’re sure to notice improvements in the sound texture, density, and detail. The set comes in four colors to choose from: stealth black, glossy oak, gloss black, and pure white.
The models have a solid build guaranteed to hold up well for years, and they’re no slouches on the aesthetic appeal front either. You can confidently add them to your home’s interior décor.
Pairing these tweeters with other high-quality speakers is an excellent way to ensure top-end sound delivery.
- It’s designed for easy placement on top of main speakers.
- It has a 6 ohms impedance and 96db sensitivity making it a good fit for most home systems.
- It offers 20 Watts of direct power handling.
- The frequency range is between 8-40 kHz.
- There’s a high-pass filter with five preset crossover channels.
- It’s available in a range of colors
- It delivers highly detailed high-frequency sounds.
- The volume isn’t loud enough for very large rooms.
- The design may be too simple for some users.
The Pyle Pro PAHT6 4 Driver Tweeter System is an excellent product from one of the leading names in the budget home audio space. It’s an affordable upgrade for any underperforming stereo system. You can run the product next to any compatible speaker set without the need for a dedicated amp.
The angular and carpeted MDF design means that the product will fit in right next to almost any kind of audio system. The tweeter system is capable of producing very clear highs without any distortion. It works best when paired with a 100-watt operating system.
The tweeter comes with a quick-connect spring lever terminal to ensure a very easy setup.
The Pro PAHT6 is designed to deliver frequency response ranges between 4 and 27 kHz and a 97db sensitivity rating. It also has 150 watts of RMS and 150-watt of peak power handling.
The product can fit nicely next to any home theater or AV system, delivering more sparkle and depth to your sound. The product is backed by a one-year warranty—which is a surprise at this price range. The rugged nature of the exterior component and the high-level piezo drivers means that you’re unlikely to need the warranty.
- The carpeted MDF enclosure reduces distortion.
- It has a speaker sensitivity of 97db.
- It’s easy to set up due to the quick-connect spring-lever terminals.
- The frequency response ranges between 4-27 kHz.
- It delivers 150-300 watts of peak power handling.
- The maximum power output is 200 watts.
- Users get a 1-year warranty.
- The compact design makes it easy to move around.
- The six tweeters in one compact body may be a negative for some users.
- The design is compact but heavy.
The 300-Watt 3.75-inch (9.53-centimeter) set from Pyramid is a design primarily made for boats and other such vehicles, but they can fit into a home speaker setup.
They have a frequency response ranging from 2 to 25 kHz and impedance set at 4-ohms. They can deliver 300 watts of power due to their 20-ounce (0.57-kilo) magnetic design.
The speakers are enclosed in an attractive aluminum casing which can sit nicely on any bookshelf or TV stand. Mounting them is easy as they all come with the important accessories you need.
The set is a durable combination of aluminum bullet horns, high-temperature voice coils, and a titanium dome. Installing a set guarantees some of the most crystal-clear sounds on tweeters within this range. The set’s power delivers excellent volumes without unwanted distortion. The colorful casings can add to your home’s overall appeal.
- The product comes in pairs.
- It works well both in marine vehicles and in-home sound setups.
- The 20-ounce (0.57-kilo) magnetic structure delivers 300 watts of peak power.
- The swiveling aluminum casings are heavy-duty and durable.
- It features titanium domes.
- The impedance rating is set at 4 ohms.
- There’s no manufacturer warranty.
- The set might look out of place in some home theater setups.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Tweeter Speaker
To help you choose the perfect tweeter speaker, here are some factors you should keep in mind:
Build Quality and Construction
You need to pay attention to the build, shape, and design of your tweeter speakers. As we’ve seen above, tweeters can be made of a wide range of materials, including ceramic, Mylar, alloy, aluminum, textile, and more.
Choose the option that best fits the use case. You’ll get the most durability from the speakers with the metallic build, but the Mylar or plastic products can also work well.
You need to choose a tweeter speaker with the right impedance and RMS power rating to fit your wider sound system. It’s important to avoid mismatching your amplifier impedances and your speaker. Such a setup will leave you with uneven or tainted audio delivery.
It’s also a good idea to confirm the efficiency rating of the tweeter—a measure of the level of sound your speakers can produce with a specific amount of power. You should watch for an efficiency rating of 91 decibels per watt.
The sensitivity of your tweeter should be at least 90 decibels. Higher sensitivity ratings ensure louder top-end sounds overall.
However, the sensitivity should match the rest of your speaker system if you’re to enjoy the best results. Most of our recommended tweeters have a sensitivity rating of 95+ decibels.
How high are you willing to go? You should compare the cost of speakers you’re considering to your budget.
Affordable tweeter speakers can still improve your sound system, but the key is to find a tweeter speaker within the price category of the sound setup you intend to use it with. Using a $100 tweeter with a $2000 speaker system won’t change the sound results.
Tweeter speakers are important fixtures in any audiovisual setup. They work to enhance the sound clarity and ensure you can pick up more distinct treble sounds. When combined with the right woofers and subwoofers, tweeters can instantly improve your overall listening experience.
Just be sure to always go for tweeters that match your existing sound setup in impedance and power rating. It’s a guaranteed way to avoid corrupted sound and potential damage to all or some of your sound equipment.