Sometimes, knowing how good a product is isn’t enough. We need to know how good they are when compared to other products. When it comes to the world of car audio speakers, two brands that always come into the conversation are JBL and Kicker. Mainly because they make some of the best car speakers in the sub-$100 price range.
Kicker vs JBL is a neck in neck battle. Critics and users alike consider both brands synonymous with high-quality sound, and built-to-last quality. While both – Kicker and JBL – exhibit all the qualities needed to win the blue ribbon, one brand probably suits your interests more than the other.
In today’s post, we’re going to see who comes out on top. The Kicker vs JBL – both good car speaker brands, but only one can win. We pit Kicker vs. JBL, comparing a few car speakers from each, to see how the two car audio brands stack up.
JBL Vs Kicker Speakers
The Witness: JBL
JBL is an American audio electronics company currently owned by Harman International. They were founded in 1946 and they’ve been making quality loudspeakers ever since.
There are a million pair of car speakers on the market but JBL has always stood near the top. JBL has always been one of the most recognizable names when it comes to blasting out big sounds in wide-open spaces, from stacked living room speakers to the portable Bluetooth speakers to the underlying system of a car stereo.
Speaking of car audio systems, JBL offers a wide range of car speakers of different types and sizes. Their car speakers – GTO series particularly – are very well-engineered. They just seem to hit the sweet spot for a lot of guys.
|JBL GTO509C |
|JBL GTO939 |
|JBL Stage 9603 |
|JBL GX963 |
|JBL GTO8629 |
|JBL GTO429 |
JBL GTO series of speakers are designed from the ground up with quality in mind. They’re built to be a high-grade replacement to factory-installed speakers, making them an ideal upgrade for serious audio enthusiasts who are looking for speakers that can make a night and day difference in terms of sound quality without breaking the bank.
These speakers are designed to sounds good and play loud enough to fill even a large SUV and create theater-quality sound. They’re featured with carbon-injected Plus One™ woofer cone supported by butyl rubber surround for consistent and long lasting performance. JBL’s unique Plus One woofer cone design expands the diaphragm area of the cone to give you better low-frequency response.
Additionally, JBL GTO car speakers are equipped with edge-driven silk balanced dome tweeters which are designed to ensure a rich experience in the upper frequencies. These tweeters use JBL’s UniPivot™ design that allows you to swivel the tweeters and aim the sound more directly at your ears, giving you a more detailed soundstage. Furthermore, you can also use the adjustable level control to tweak your tweeters to your liking, so the speaker’s sound is customized to match your musical taste.
JBL GTO speakers boast high sensitivity ratings and can handle a ton of power on continuous basis. They offer slightly lower impedance than standard car speakers.
These speakers will sound great running off your your car stereo. However, they’ll truly come into their own when paired up to an outboard amplifier.
JBL CLUB series speakers offer powerful JBL sound at a price that fits any car audio budget. These speakers come in a variety of sizes to fit in just about any vehicle on the road today.
They’re incorporated with advanced design technologies, such as woofers with UV-resistant polypropylene cones, designed to produce clean, non-resonant sound quality under the demanding heat and humidity conditions of the car or truck environment.
Additionally, these speakers feature HARMAN’s proprietary Plus One™ woofer cone technology, PEI balanced dome tweeters and high-sensitivity motor designs. The result is a well-balanced sound throughout the audio spectrum even when powered by a factory-installed stereo.
The Witness: Kicker
Kicker is another established car audio brand that’s been in business for a long time, and have mastered the art of providing quality product for a reasonable price.
Kicker offers a wide selection of car stereos of different types to choose from including our QS, KS, CS, and DS Series that deliver remarkable performance. So, whether you are looking for deep, punchy bass or clear and rich vocals, Kicker has you covered.
Kicker DS Series speakers are Kicker’s entry level speakers designed to give you a complementing sound without breaking the bank. They’re available in coaxial and component configurations allowing for very flexible application and functionality.
These speakers use Kicker’s trademark EVC technology which allows these speakers to hit lower frequencies by increasing the length and diameter of the voice coil. This results in a wide spectrum of musical frequencies at your disposal.
Their ribbed UV-treated surround provides very linear cone movement, which results in a well-balanced sound that can handle any types of music. The treated surround also increases the lifetime of the speaker for long lasting performance.
The polyproylene cone helps to produce a balanced and flat response making these speakers quite versatile to complement any car audio system. The crossover systems also features inline crossover network with tweeter attenuation that adjusts from 0 to +6dB.
Kicker DS series speakers are available in three different component sets and 8 different coaxial sets. The component sets are available in 6″, 6-1/2″ and 6X8″, while the coaxials are available in the smaller 3.5 inches all the way up to the larger 6X9.
Kicker CS speakers are redefining the bar of quality products that don’t break the bank. These speakers provide a good value for the buck. They’re designed to be a huge step up from factory-installed speakers. They can handle a wide range of power from a factory headunit to an external amplifier.
Kicker CS speakers come in all common speaker sizes and in coaxial and component configurations. The coaxial versions feature half-inch PEI balanced dome tweeters for crisp and detailed highs that will really bring your music to life, while the components come with 3/4″ titanium dome tweeters for even more accurate and detailed sound reproduction.
To complement the tweeters, the mid woofers are made from Polypropylene to give you punchy mid bass that doesn’t overpower the high notes. Kicker also kept the mounting depth on these speakers as shallow as possible for those installations that are limited on space.
With all the coaxial and component configurations and shallow mounting depth, these speakers are perfect for just about any installation. So, if you’re looking for a pair of quality speakers to run off your stereo or off an an external amplifier, look no further than Kicker CS line.
These are Kicker’s flagship car speakers. They’re built from the ground up with quality in mind. Kicker QS series speakers have reached a new level of clarity by using superior materials giving you the next best thing to live sound.
These technical marvels use Kicker’s signature Tri-Tech™ cone on the components and Kevlar-impregnated Polypropylene on the coaxials, Tetoron® dome tweeters and metallized polypropylene capacitors, which allow these speakers to deliver sparkling highs and hyper-accurate midrange you need to feel like you’re front row center!
Kicker Vs. JBL : So which one is best?
When comparing Kicker vs. JBL car speakers side-by-side, there are a lot of similarities, like configurations, sizes, and specifications, but there’s a lot of differences too — some subtle, others, not so much.
Both brands are comparable in terms of their offerings and built quality. The pricing on their car speakers are also within a few bucks. So, then, which manufacturer is best? Which car speaker brand should you choose?
We are not going to try to convince you that one is better than the other, as both companies make excellent car speakers, and that is simply too broad a statement to make. Rather, you should consider what kind of sound quality you are looking for, what your musical taste is, and what’s most important to you : bass or sound quality.
We think JBL speakers offer better audio quality than the Kicker car speakers. The sound with the JBL speakers is very crisp and clear. The bass is above average and the highs are solid. Overall, the audio quality is pretty darn good. It’s exactly what we’d expect from JBL.
Although Kicker car speakers have a wider frequency band and seem to have the crisper sound over a broader range of music, JBL car speakers seem to beat the bass from Kicker car speakers by having a larger surface area on their cones.
That said, and after heavy testing with different types of music at different EQ levels, we’ve come to the conclusion that JBL car speakers handle bass much better than the Kickers.
In terms of design and build quality, both brands are equally good and both offer entry level and high-end car speakers. However, JBL seems to have the better build quality of the two.
Kicker Vs. JBL : What’s The Final Answer?
All in all, If you want crystal clear high, Kicker speakers are the way. However, if you’re looking for car speakers that can handle lows, then JBL GTO car speakers are for you. Whichever car speakers you decided to opt for, you won’ be unhappy upgrading your stock speakers to any of these middle class speakers.