Pros / The model we evaluated received the highest grades in our audio performance tests.
Cons / The continuous power handling rating is below average.
Verdict / The Alpine Type-S series car speakers produce great-sounding audio and require less power to project at high volumes than most of their competitors. For these reasons, the Type-S series is our pick for best car speakers.
The Alpine Type-S series car speakers are midrange models defined by their sleek designs and swiveling silk dome tweeters. In our tests, the 6 x 9-inch speaker from the series, the SPS-619, emerged as the best overall because it had the best audio performance, as well as high-end power handling. In addition, the series features all the common installation sizes and even some less common ones.
A speaker's audio performance depends entirely on its ability to accurately reproduce the signal sent to it. I tested SPS-619’s accuracy by playing a 20Hz to 20kHz sine tone through it repeatedly while using a frequency analyzer to create the average frequency signature. This car speaker received an A+ for overall audio quality because the sound it produced was the most balanced, top to bottom.
The most impressive part of the SPS-619’s audio performance was its high-range accuracy, for which it received an A+. The two tweeters work effectively to minimize high-frequency distortion from the woofer. This creates a high range that isn’t shrill, even at louder volumes. You can tell a speaker’s high range is inaccurate if it irritates your ears, and the SPS-619 doesn’t do that at all.
Its midrange wasn't nearly as accurate as its highs and lows, receiving an A-. Still, it was one of the most accurate midranges I tested. The detail in the music is excellent. In fact, you likely couldn’t tell the difference between the SPS-619’s midrange quality and that of speakers like the Polk MM1, which received the best grade. However, the difference in quality is clear when you compare the Alpine and Polk speakers to those with less accurate midranges, like the Kenwood KFC-69995PS.
The SPS-619 received an A for low-end accuracy, with only the Pioneer PRO producing more accurate bass tones. In fact, it was very close to the Pioneer PRO, but the first audible frequency, which was around 100Hz, wasn't as low when played through the Alpine Type-S series speaker.
The SPS-619 has a sensitivity rating of 90 dB, which is slightly below average. This rating reflects how efficient the speaker is at converting power to volume and is usually touted as the most important specification to consider.
However, in our comparative loudness tests, which put this specification to the test, the SPS-619 received an A- because it was among the most efficient speakers. I measured the volume each speaker produced with the stereo set at 10, 20, 30 and 40. The speakers were tested with the same car stereo and a decibel meter. While this Alpine Type-S speaker wasn't the loudest in this comparison, it was more efficient than its sensitivity specification suggests.
The SPS-619’s continuous power handling rating is just 85 RMS watts – 25 watts below average. The peak power handling is 260 watts, which is 87 watts below the average. Considering how well it performed in the volume test, these below-average power handling ratings aren't as big of an issue as they would be with other car speakers because the SPS-619 doesn't require as much power from your amp to produce loud volumes.
Every car is different, and the Alpine Type-S series addresses this by including the most common speaker sizes: 6 x 9, 6.5 and 5.25 inches. It also features 5 x 7-inch speakers. In addition, you can get Type-S series component speakers, which are speakers with the tweeters separated from the woofer. These component speakers cost more than the coaxial speakers, but they create a better, more customizable audio experience.
The Alpine Type-S series is our pick for the best after-market car speaker because of its performance in audio frequency tests and its excellent efficiency, which makes up for the subpar power handling specifications. If you're upgrading your factory-installed speakers, this is your best bet.