View Full Version : Image Dynamics CTX65CS Component Speakers

08-01-2010, 12:13 PM

I was looking for a pair of passive component speakers that had rich bass and a bit of a laid back high end (I have sensitive ears). These speakers were highly regarded for the price, so I took a chance on them.

They are being fed by a clean 20-20k RCA signal from the stock head unit into an MB Quart Discus 480 amplifier. They are getting roughly 80W RMS per channel, although I'm sure I never crank it that high. High-passed at about 45 Hz.

Speaker Construction and Appearance:

These speakers look pretty unremarkable...except for possibly the giant magnet on the woofers. There is a really heavy duty stamped frame, rubber surround, poly cone with no phase plug, and standard black dome tweeters. I like a stealthy install, so looks don't concern me. They feel incredibly well built, which is what I've come to expect from ID. The drivers have good heft to them and again, the magnets show they are ready to handle a lot of power.


The crossovers are again unremarkable, with an inductor, capacitor, and two resistors. The only adjustment is tweeter level (-3, 0, +3). I was told there is a 2nd order high-pass on the tweeter (probably about 3.5k) and no low-pass on the woofer. The tweeter attenuation either runs the resistors in series, parallel, or out of the loop. But the construction is very clean and solid, components are high quality, and they do the job without being too big.


I installed the woofers into the stock door locations using an MDF baffle. I also deadened and sealed the doors with plenty of Dynamat Extreme. Previously I had a pair of 7" drivers in the doors, so fitting the 6.5's with large magnets was no problem. I did cut new MDF baffles to secure them to the door because of the slightly smaller size.

The tweeters were a whole different story...I started out putting them in the stock locations (on the dash firing up at the windshield), but they were much, much too bright and the imaging was smeared all over the place. I experimented with placing them down in the kicks aimed all over the place, but the best sound I found was just simply mounting them near the woofer (low in the door) on-axis, which was roughly firing straight across (even though there is a center console blocking the way).

I will note I noticed absolutely no change in time of the sound of these speakers. There was no discernible break-in, no mellowing of the high end, no increase in mid-bass. Basically what I got on day one is what I got on day thirty.


I listened for about a month to these speakers with a variety of music. Mostly I listen to rock music of all kinds, but I did feed a couple pop and jazz tunes through. For the most part, there is a full and clean sound in the low end, laid back upper midrange, and plenty of tweeter detail and volume.

Despite some reviews, the speakers didn't put out overwhelming amounts of mid-bass, but that might be skewed because I was running 7" speakers before. Still, there's no bump in the low end, so I usually bumped the bass a bit at the head unit for a touch more impact (personal preference). The bass was never flubby though, and I'd say it's usable to about 70-80 Hz depending on the install, after which it drops off a fair amount.

The midrange, as I said before, doesn't have the greatest detail. For some people, like me, that's a good thing. As much as I love to hear every last bit of clarity, it can be grating on the ears (I have some hearing damage from being a drummer), and when you're driving on the highway with road noise and distractions, sometimes you just want to feel some bass and listen to the music, not concentrate on the soundstage. Still, if you're looking for that detail, I don't think these speakers will make you happy.

I was most impressed by the high end. These tweeters had the most detail and clarity of anything I've heard. I was literally hearing things in songs I knew by heart that I did not know existed...like tambourines in choruses and other things low in the mix. On-axis or in the dash, the tweeters were completely overbearing and bright to the point of being harsh. But off-axis, the tweeters disappeared, giving me nice imaging and depth. I know I'm limited a bit by my vehicle and installation knowledge, but I feel comfortable saying these tweeters would work for easily 95% of listeners and car audio enthusiasts.

The best part of these speakers was that I was often able to stop tweaking and enjoy the music, which is hard for me to do. Unfortunately, the detail of the speakers revealed that quite a bit of my favorite songs were recorded so hot that there is crackling or distortion due to the mastering limiter/compressor. It's frustrating that engineers have unprecedented digital cleanliness and the highest fidelity equipment ever, but they squash the entire recording down to about 4 bits of depth.


After spending a month with these speakers, I'm very satisfied. For my tastes and goals, they are a great fit, and the price was very reasonable. I hope to adjust to the speakers enough that they disappear to my ears, and I can go on enjoying the music rather than tweaking the sound.

I recommend these speakers to anyone looking for a good passive component set who wants something very listenable...good bass, good high end, and a bit laid back in the upper mids. They seem very forgiving on the install, except the tweeters which sound best off-axis to my ears. For those who want the most detail possible, you will likely be unhappy with the woofer and would probably want to find something else, which will probably be more expensive.



Crossover on top:


CarAudio.com Admin
11-05-2010, 12:16 PM
Congrats! You won the Novemeber Review Contest and will be rewarded with $25 PayPal credit! Your review is also now featured on the CarAudio.com homepage. I will PM with more details.

11-05-2010, 12:19 PM
Its a very good review but he hasn't posted here since Aug 1st when he made this review....Hopefully he will get the message....

CarAudio.com Admin
11-05-2010, 01:05 PM
Yes, might need to send email also.