Whichever car speakers you might own, there are many adjustments and fine-tuning options to ensure you are getting the most out of their performance. One such option is to check that your speakers are “in phase.” If you hang around with car audio enthusiasts there is a good chance you have heard this term before.
In order to better understand what in-phase speakers means, let’s start with the opposite. Out of phase speakers means that your speaker wiring is not correct which causes multiple speakers to move in different directions. This may seem like a small issue but it can lead to speaker damage.
When your speakers are in phase, they move at the same time in the same direction, providing you with the best sound possible. So, how can you tell if your speakers are in phase or out of phase? Here are a few tips:
1. Check Your Speaker Wires
The most common issue and simple solution is to retrace your speaker wires from the speakers back to the amplifier. You will want to check that the positive wire is connected to the positive input (typically red-colored) and that the negative (or black colored wire) is connected to the negative input. If they are not, your speakers are out of phase and you should correct that by connecting them properly.
2. Carefully Listen to Your Bass
Have you noticed the bass from your speaker(s) not sounding correct? Any loss of bass can be a symptom of out of phase wiring. To help determine if that is the issue, crank up your bass setting to the highest level and play around with your balance and fade so that just one speaker is playing. For example, set your fade to the front so you only hear your front speakers. Adjust your balance to the left or right so that you only hear the front left or front right speaker.
Switch from the one speaker to the next and see if you notice a difference in that bass. If you do hear a difference, you will likely need to fix the issue so that your speakers are in phase.
3. Check Your Polarity with a Polarity Tester or a 9V Battery
A polarity tester like the PAC TL-PTG2 is an easy way to test your speaker’s polarity. Once you have it hooked up similar to the video above, you just have to make sure your speaker is moving outward and not inward. The speaker cone will move inward if it is wired improperly. To save money, you could also try using a simple 9V battery to get the same effect.
4. Have an Audio Professional Check Your Speaker Phase
If you still are uncertain about your speaker phase or prefer to have a professional check your wires and set up, bring your vehicle to a local audio business for review. Although this will likely cost you a little bit of money, you can have the peace of mind that your speakers will be in phase once all is said and done.
Now that you have a better understanding of what in-phase speakers means and how to tell if your speakers are in phase, you are well on your way to a better car stereo system. Many people are surprised at how switching a wire can improve the overall quality of their car audio so we would recommend that you check this. If you still have questions about phasing or your car audio, be sure to view our other blog posts for more educational information!