Are you a fan of your car’s default stereo? If you’re like many people, then you’re not. The car audio market is worth over $43 million, and is expected to reach $52 million by 2027.
However, with so many car audio types to choose from, deciding on the right one can seem like a challenge. So which factors should you consider to make the right choice?
Keep reading to learn about how you can determine what the right car audio system is for you.
Understand the Different Sections of Your Car Stereo
Before you can go about finding the best car stereo, you should first have an understanding of the different sections of your car’s audio system. You can think of it as having three distinct parts.
The source is the part that lets you decide where the music you hear comes from. Depending on the make and model of your car, the default stereo may have many different sources to choose from. These can include AM/FM, satellite radio, and USB input, among others.
The preamp is where you adjust anything relating to sound. On the simpler side, this includes things such as volume, source selection, and balance. On more elaborate stereos, it can include equalizers, crossovers, and time correction.
The amplifier is the last major section of the radio. Its job is to boost the low-voltage audio that comes from the preamp. It changes it into a high-voltage signal that it then sends out to your car’s speakers.
Decide Which Sources You Need
Although many default car stereos may offer adequate audio quality, many of them lack the sources needed to play music from different outputs. This causes many people to upgrade their car’s stereo to expand its playback capabilities.
If you have an older car, then it may only have options for you to play CDs, cassette tapes, and listen to the AM/FM radio. However, many modern cars offer everything from Bluetooth support to satellite radio and GPS navigation.
Most modern audio systems also come with smartphone connectivity. This means that aside from playing your music, you can also have your car read your messages, play audiobooks, and do many other things.
Figure Out the Tech Features You Want
Are you someone who enjoys using the latest tech gadgets? Or do you only care about superior sound quality?
If you don’t mind spending a bit more, you can take advantage of some of the newest features. Many modern audio systems come with touch screens, making it easier to navigate around. Bigger screens will also display more information about the audio that’s playing.
On the other hand, some older sound systems play crisp and clear audio but lack the high-tech features that newer systems offer. If you’re a traditionalist or are on a tight budget, an older stereo could be more than enough.
What Sound Controls Do You Need?
On these higher-end stereos, you’ll also often have access to more advanced controls. You can use these to help finetune your audio experience.
For example, a newer, state-of-the-art audio system might give you control over digital time correction. This delays the audio as it comes out of certain speakers, to compensate for the uneven distance of the speakers. The sound reaches your ears at the same time, providing a more realistic audio experience.
However, most lower-end speakers you buy that lack these features can also provide you with great audio. In most cases, they’ll also give you more control over your audio than what your default stereo offers.
Do You Care About Cosmetics?
In addition to quality, cool cosmetics are another thing that some audio junkies want to have. These can change, and in many cases enhance, how the interior of your car looks.
You can choose from animated displays that offer full-color capabilities, touchscreen monitors with different colors and backgrounds to choose from, and customizable color schemes, among other features.
Some stereos also flash colors and lights while you’re driving. This can be a great way to create a mobile concert, one that goes wherever you go. Before buying this type of setup, just make sure that you won’t find it all distracting. Check out some of the cosmetic options that Rockford Fosgate speakers offer.
Look Into Expandability Options
Similar to how certain audio systems can expand the number of sources you can connect to, some stereos can also customize and control other things.
For example, some audio systems come with USB connections, auxiliary inputs, and different audio and video outputs. You can then use these to connect to back seat video screens, amplifiers and subwoofers, and portable music players.
If none of that interests you, make sure that you get an audio system that offers Bluetooth or USB connectivity. This adds a convenient way to listen to your music on your preferred audio source.
As with anything you spend money on, you want to make sure that your car stereo stays safe. If someone breaks into your car, they can steal your car radio. Certain audio systems come with security features to help you lock it down.
For example, some audio systems come with detachable faceplates. Others have you input a security passcode each time you get in the car, which can help prevent someone from breaking in and taking it.
Security features may seem expensive and unnecessary, but a little extra money is worth some peace of mind.
Get the Car Audio System That’s Right for You
When you’re cruising around, you want to make sure that you have the required car audio system to blast your beats without an issue. By following this guide and the tips mentioned, you’ll be able to find or create the best car audio system to match your needs.
Do you now have a better understanding of some of the different car audio types? If you do, make sure to take a look at some of our other articles for more guides and tips.