How to build your perfect car audio system?
Do you have a love-hate relationship with your Car Audio where you are trying to love but it always disappoints you? Is it playing Ewwusic instead of good music?
Or is it your audiophile friend’s car that sounds much better than yours? And it’s not just you, probably your family or any other passenger isn’t enjoying it either. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
Time to get things right and to build your “Perfect” Car Audio System which is not necessarily going to be the same for everyone. It depends on your taste, your existing system and most important of all your budget.
Building a perfect car audio system can be a little tricky, don’t close the tab just yet, I said a little tricky. I’m going to walk you through it. Think of it as a symphony orchestra you need all the right instruments and a skilled conductor to create good music. Just because you spent 50k on your stereo doesn’t mean your system is going to sound great. It all depends on each and every part involved in producing the sound.
THE SOUND, we’ve often heard audiophiles refer to it as THE OOMPH FACTOR, but you don’t have to be an audiophile to make your car stereo system sound great, that’s what I’m here for. I’ll be pointing out multiple factors in each and every segment that will help you choose the right parts.
First of all,
Figuring out what you need from your system and where it is missing out?
Let’s start with Stereo/Headunit the soul of the system, how do you feel about your existing stereo?
What do you need from it? You may want features like touchscreen, video playback, high audio output, navigation & other entertainment services?
An aftermarket stereo improves the quality of the sound while giving you more control over it.
Installing an aftermarket stereo does NOT void the warranty but only IF it is installed from a good technician and make sure no wires are altered while installing use only car specific harness to connect the stereo.
Installing an aftermarket stereo may also need changing the dashboard fascia frame and MAY require additional steering wheel interface to make the steering mount control work.
*Not all vehicles need steering wheel interface
If you don’t want the hassle of changing the stereo but want more power and control over your music you can install a Digital Signal Processor(DSP) to your stock stereo and give a boost to the sound and customize it as required.
So, once you’ve figured if you want to change the stereo or not it’s time to go to the next component which is the speakers
How do your existing speakers sound?
Most of the car manufacturers give very basic speaker setup i.e. dual paper cone speakers with 15-25 W RMS output which is suited for the crappy stock stereo they provide. If your speakers lack bass, treble and give vocals which makes Axle Rose sound like Justin Bieber you should replace them immediately.
There are 2 most common types of speakers
- Component speakers come in either 2-way components or 3-way components. 2-way components are the most commonly used setup as it comes with 2 x speakers/woofers, 2 x tweeters & 2 x crossovers. The speakers give out the mid-low (vocals & bass) frequencies, the tweeters give the sharp high frequencies and the crossovers distribute the signals to the respective components. 3-way components have an added speaker for mid frequencies.
- Co-axial speakers are also known as full range speakers come with built-in tweeters and some come with built-in crossovers too.
If you want more loudness from these speakers, you may want to add an amplifier.
An amplifier comes with different configurations and different power outputs.
Types of Amplifier:
- 4/3/2 channel – 4 channel amplifiers are used to power 4 speakers or 2 speakers & 1 subwoofer or just 1 subwoofer.
- 2/1 channel – 2 channel amplifiers are used to connect either 2 speakers or 1 subwoofer.
- Mono channel – Mono amplifiers are used to power only a subwoofer.
- 6/5 channel – These amplifiers can power all 4 speakers and 1 subwoofer.
If you are a person who wants heart thumping bass or even good sub bass to enjoy the music, you will need a component subwoofer
There are a variety of subwoofers available, it can be active subwoofer which comes with an inbuilt amplifier or passive subwoofer which will need an amplifier to power them.
Types of subwoofer:
- Component Subwoofer – The subwoofers are most common and can be customised as per your requirements installing them with ported or sealed enclosures will give the best results. You have the most options with this type in power ratings and sizes which suits your requirements. You will have to make a custom enclosure for this type of subwoofer.
If you don’t want the hassle to make custom enclosures, you can choose any from below
- Basstube – These subwoofers come preinstalled in tubetype enclosures and can be used as plug n play depending upon if it's passive or active.
- Bassbox – These subwoofers come preinstalled in bassbox type enclosure and can be used as plug n play depending upon if it's passive or active.
- Underseat Subwoofer – The most famous for its usability now as you don’t have to sacrifice on the boot space and these subwoofers can be installed under the seat as the name suggest and they do come with an inbuilt amplifier. However, they won’t be able to produce thundering bass but if you are someone who enjoys music with good bass but not very hard hitting this is perfect for you.
Sound Deadening Materials
Sound deadening or damping sheets can be used to reduce the road noise and stop the rattling noise inside the doors in high volumes. Damping sheets can be applied on doors, boot door, boot space and cabin floor.