You’d think that the Sony product development team would deserve a break after releasing no less than nine new Mobile ES speakers and subwoofers over the past few years. While they might deserve it, they kept up the momentum by redesigning their popular GS-Series speakers. This Product Spotlight will examine Sony’s new XS-162GS component and XS-160GS coaxial 6.5-inch (16-cm) speakers.
Sony XS-162GS 6.5-inch Component Speakers
The XS-162GS is a 6.5-inch (16-cm) component speaker set that includes a pair of 6.5-inch (16-cm) woofers, two 13/16-inch (21-mm) soft dome tweeters, an inline passive crossover for the tweeter for discreet installation, and mounting hardware for the tweeters. The woofers in the set feature a high-quality stamped-steel chassis with a four-spoke design. The rigidity of the design is improved over typical stamped baskets by adding a reinforcing rib down the center of each spoke.
The basket design includes two sets of mounting tabs, making it suitable for both three- and four-position mounting hardware when replacing a factory-installed speaker. The woofers have a total mounting depth of 1 7/8 inches and sit above the mounting surface by 7/16 inch. Your installer will need to leave extra room in front of the driver to ensure that the cone and surround don’t run into the speaker grille or a trim panel in your vehicle.
Each woofer is based around a composite polypropylene cone that delivers an excellent balance of bass and midrange frequencies. A foam rubber surround at the top edge of the cone features an air-filled matrix structure that’s low in mass while being durable. The result is a reliable and flexible connection that provides good damping characteristics.
The woofers in the XS-162GS set feature a phase plug design that’s a direct descendant of the Mobile ES XS-162ES speakers. The Dynamic Air Diffuser phase plug eliminates the need for a dust cap, which can add high-frequency distortion to the speaker. Further, the exposed ridges provide a significant amount of surface area to help extract heat from the voice coil and motor assembly. Sony uses a progressive-rate spider, another component brought over from the Mobile ES line, at the base of the cone to maximize physical power handling while providing precise compliance for accurate bass performance. A single ferrite magnet serves as the heart of each speaker.
The tweeters in the set feature a silk dome material with a diameter of 13/16 inch (21 millimeters). Each tweeter has a super-efficient neodymium magnet for excellent efficiency. The assembly is housed in a custom-tooled frame with a perforated mesh grille. Sony includes flush, angled and flat surface-mount accessories to optimize the installation. Filtering for the tweeter is handled by a passive crossover in line with the tweeter speaker wires.
The XS-162GS set has a continuous power rating of 45 watts that complies with the CTA-2031 measurement standard. Peak power is 250 watts. Efficiency is 89 dB at 1W/1M with a tolerance of 2 dB SPL. Finally, frequency response is specified as 45 Hz to 24 kHz using the IEC 60268-5 standard.
Sony XS-160GS 6.5-inch Coaxial Speakers
The sister speakers to the above are the XS-160GS 6.5-inch coaxial set. This speaker system includes a pair of two-way coaxial 6.5-inch (16-cm) speakers along with appropriate mounting fasteners. The basket design for the coaxial speakers is the same as those found on the component speaker woofers with seven mounting tabs. The woofer design is the same as the XS-162GS component speakers with a composite polypropylene woofer cone, foam rubber surround and progressive rate spider.
Where the speakers differ is in the tweeters. The top of the Dynamic Air Diffuser post in the driver’s center is home to the 13/16-inch (21-mm) tweeter, with its integrated phase plug built into the mounting assembly. In both instances, the integrated phase plug, another trickle-down technology from the Mobile ES speakers, helps improve tweeter output around the crossover point. This improved midrange output allows Sony to lower the crossover point and reduce directivity issues typical in two-way systems that use a relatively large woofer. These tweeters share the same neodymium magnet design for excellent efficiency and compact dimensions.
All the specifications for the XS-160GS coaxial speakers mimic those of the component speakers with power handling rated at 45 watts continuous and 250 watts peak. Efficiency and frequency response numbers are also the same at 89 dB 1W/1M and 45 hertz to 24 kHz.
Environmentally Friendly Packaging
Sony has committed to significantly reducing environmental impact by simplifying the packaging design for the GS speakers. Gone are the fancy full-color graphics, now replaced with single-color line art, reducing the amount of ink by about 90%. The internal packaging is now paper-based, further reducing environmental impact.
Great Sound with a Great Warranty
Sony backs the XS-162GS and XS-160GS speakers with a three-year warranty that covers defects in materials or workmanship during ordinary consumer use. As with all speakers, you’re on your own if you overpower them with a large amplifier or too much distortion and damage them.
We have each set on their way to our labs for a Test Drive Review, so we can share how they perform shortly. In the meantime, if you want a great set of speakers to connect to a factory-installed or aftermarket radio, drop by a local authorized Sony retailer and ask for a demonstration of the new 6.5-inch (16-cm) GS series speakers. You can find an authorized Sony car audio retailer using their dealer locator. For more information about Sony Car Audio products, follow them on Facebook.