If we think about speakers, the first image that probably comes into our minds is the traditional round shape driver. Round speakers have been the standard for many years due to a few different reasons, but nowadays it is also becoming more common to find speakers with an oval design.
Round speakers are built that way because this shape creates an even signal dispersion across the cone area, therefore giving you a better response across the frequency range. Oval speakers’ biggest benefit is their reduced size and ability to fit into smaller spaces.
There are a lot of other factors involved in finding out which one is the best for your particular use-case though, and it isn’t as simple as it seems. We will go through them all in our round vs oval speakers article.
Related: In doubt about whether you should get a 2-way or 3-way speaker? Find more about the subject here.
Table of Content
- Round Speakers
- Best Round Speakers
- Oval Speakers
- Best Oval Speakers
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Round vs Oval Speakers – Conclusion
Round speakers are the most common design there is. That is because a driver with a symmetrical round shape will more evenly disperse the waves, therefore, in theory, creating better sound quality.
Many round speakers come in a component design, that is, each of the drivers is dedicated to a certain part of the frequency spectrum. This allows for more custom options but comes with a price. We will explain more about coaxial vs component speakers further down the article.
- The round shape allows the waves to disperse more evenly through the surface area of the speaker.
- Minimum distortion of the sound signals.
- Round speakers can provide better sound quality overall.
- Round speakers usually require more space than their oval shape counterparts to be properly mounted.
- More expensive, especially if the round speakers are of the component type.
- Installing round speakers is a more complex process if they have a component design.
Best Round Speakers
Pioneer is pretty much the industry standard. These round speakers come in a pair and are extremely affordable (priced $25, by the time this article was written). They’re best recommended for car audio setups.
- 2-way car speakers.
- Features 2 drivers: a 4 inches subwoofer, for the low end, and a tweeter, for the mid and high frequencies.
- Round speakers design.
- Wide frequency range: 45Hz to 14kHz.
- Sold as a pair.
The Polk Audio RC80i round speaker can be employed in both indoor and outdoor settings. Although on the more expensive side, these come as a pair and are perfect for home theater builds and/or ambient audio. They can be mounted in the ceiling.
- 2-way speakers.
- Features 2 round speakers: an 8-inch subwoofer and a 1-inch tweeter.
- Can be mounted in the ceiling.
- Can be placed indoors or outdoors, as it is humidity-resistant.
Speakers with an oval shape are built that way for a few reasons. One of the biggest benefits of this type of design is that it can be fitted in narrower and smaller spaces. Oval speakers are also frequently made in 2-way, 3-way, and 4-way designs, therefore making the installation process easier and less expensive, if compared to component-style speakers.
Another benefit is the improved response in the low frequencies, especially with small oval speakers. If you’re a bass enthusiast, that means you can get more thump from your sound without necessarily needing to go over the top with your setup size.
- Oval speakers can fit in confined, smaller spaces better.
- Less expensive to build a complete setup.
- Easier installation, if compared to round speakers.
- More bass response and solid low-end, even in smaller sizes.
- Better frequency range and true-to-the-source frequency response.
- Often don’t allow for full customization as round speakers do.
- May need adapters to fit standard mountings.
Best Oval Speakers
Offering a great value for the price, these 2-way oval speakers from Kicker have a reduced cone size and can easily be installed on car audio setups. These have a coaxial design so the installation process will be easier.
- 2-way car speakers.
- 2 drivers: a 4×6 woofer and a ½ tweeter.
- Wide frequency range: 50Hz to 20kHz.
- Coaxial design, easier installation process.
- Small design, will fit tight spaces.
- Great value for the price.
- Shipped as a pair.
As you may already know, JBL is one of the most reputable brands in the consumer-grande audio market, due to the unmatched sound quality of their sound products. This oval speaker has a 2-way design and is the best choice for those looking for the best sound for their car audio setup.
- 2-way car speakers.
- 4X6 inches speakers.
- Frequency response: 75Hz to 21kHz.
- Capable of handling high power values.
- Excellent for narrow spaces, as they have a smaller size than their round speakers cousins.
Tip: After you’re done reading our Round vs Oval Speakers article, make sure to take a look at our Best Speaker for Karaoke guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between 2-Way and 3-Way Speakers? Which One is Better?
2-way speakers have a large woofer for the low and mid-range part of the spectrum and a smaller tweeter voice coil for the high frequencies. 3-way speakers, on the other hand, have an extra subwoofer for the low frequencies. You can find both oval and round speakers in all those different designs.
The best option will depend on your particular use-case, but as a matter of fact, 3-way speakers usually have a better bass response. Make sure to check our already mentioned 2-Way vs 3-Way Speakers article to learn more about the subject.
What is the Difference Between Coaxial and Component Speakers?
Coaxial speakers have all of the drivers built-in on the same piece and usually feature a built-in crossover too. The benefit of this kind of setup is that you need fewer components and they are less expensive too.
Component speakers have multiple drivers: usually, you will need at least a woofer and a tweeter, as well as a trustable crossover to get the best sound quality possible.
What is a Crossover? Do I Need One for my Setup and Does it Impact Sound Quality?
A crossover is a device that will divide the signal into different parts of the frequency spectrum: low range, mid-range, and high range; And send them to corresponding drivers. You only need one for your setup if you’re installing component speakers, that is, a setup consisting of separate pieces.
From the sound quality point of view, a crossover can actually impact how good your setup sounds, so make sure to choose one from a reputable brand.
Round vs Oval Speakers – Which One Has the Best Bass Response?
Both round and oval speakers can give you a pretty good bass response. If you opt for a round speaker and include a subwoofer in your sound system, for example, the bass output will be excellent.
However, the oval shape speakers have the benefit of being able to better disperse the low-end sound elements through the cone, even if it is small in size. Therefore, you can get a better bass response if you’re on a budget and limited to a minimal space.
Round vs Oval Speakers – Conclusion
As we discussed in the article, round speakers are the standard shape for a reason: the sound dispersion across the cone is even, therefore, creating minimum distortion across the full range sound spectrum, especially on the mid-range and on higher frequencies. They offer the best possible sound quality.
However, oval speakers can fit into tighter spaces and usually require less separate components (such as a crossover), while still offering great performance. Installing oval speakers is generally easier if compared to their round-shaped counterparts, and the overall price for building your audio system will be lower.
For that reason, we recommend choosing round-shaped speakers if you’re ok with spending extra on a component-designed setup. If you’re on a budget and/or installing your sound system in a limited space, our advice is to stick to oval-shaped ones.We hope our round vs oval speakers article was helpful. Take your use-case and needs into account and remember to research extensively about the subject and plan your audio system before making a decision. Feel free to get in touch if you have any suggestions or questions!
Ian Sniesko is an experienced music producer and musician who loves to share his knowledge about the best audio equipment for making and enjoying great music. For the past 6 years, Ian has written extensively about the audio equipment industry and has contributed to many of the top music magazines.