You don’t have to be a certified audiophile or tech expert to judge a car stereo system. As long as you love music, your ears will know the difference between a high quality system and one that could use a few upgrades.
But if you’re looking into upgrading your lackluster stock system or outdated aftermarket equipment, there are so many choices out there that it’s often difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, there are only a few basic components of a high quality car audio system. Once you’re familiar with them, all you need to do is research brands or talk to a professional car stereo installer who can guide you to the best components for your needs and budget. Here’s where to start:
A high quality head unit for your car stereo
Also known as the receiver, the head unit is the in-dash equipment you use to provide an audio signal to the stereo system and control it as a whole. Advanced head units will have the standard AM/FM radio, CD, and USB/Auxiliary sources, plus satellite radio, GPS navigation, and Bluetooth compatibility. Many newer models also offer large touchscreens for easy control on the go.
But the real difference in quality head units can be found in the sound adjustment capabilities like balance, fade, and equalization. Another must-have for a quality head unit is the power capability. A higher RMS rating will mean more power available (and higher volume, if that’s your thing) before maxing out the equipment.
A top-notch amplifier is part of a high quality car stereo
Amplifiers are primarily responsible for powering the whole system, and more power doesn’t only mean the ability to crank the volume up to 11—it also means better sound quality, at high and low volumes. In addition to high RMS ratings, high-quality amps also have multiple channels available. Each channel powers a speaker, and the more speakers you have for various sound ranges, the better overall sound you’ll experience. Standard amps have about 4 channels, but if you’re looking for a quality upgrade, go for units that have 6 or 8 channels.
The last component of a quality amplifier to consider is the class, which is the designation of the amp’s power stage output. Class D amps are the best—they’re efficient, light, compact, and they produce great quality sound.
Killer speakers for your car from Stereo Depot
A high-quality speaker set-up requires much more than just a speaker inside each car door. Also known as “full-range” speakers, these stock door-enclosed speakers don’t come close to matching the sound quality of a set-up involving tweeters (to handle high-pitched tones), subwoofers (to cover the low end of the sound spectrum), and midrange speakers (for everything in between).
Some things to consider when choosing speakers include: the power capabilities, which should match your amplifier to provide clear, consistent sound; and size—if the speakers you choose don’t fit into the factory enclosures in your car doors, you might need custom enclosures instead.
Get a high quality car stereo system for the best possible sound experience today!
Sure, you could start by upgrading one component and then another, but if you want to achieve the sound experience of your dreams, you may need to upgrade the whole system. Think of the head unit, amplifier, and speakers as the Three Musketeers of high-quality car audio—you need all of them working together to get the best possible sound. A powerful amplifier is useless when paired with stock full-range speakers, just like an expensive, capable head unit will produce mediocre sound without a competent amp.
If you’re looking to upgrade your car audio system, Stereo Depot can help. We know how important music and car audio is to our customers. That’s why we offer premium brands plus free installation on all stereos purchased at our San Diego and El Cajon locations. In addition, we offer a lifetime warranty on labor. Give Stereo Depot a call at our San Diego location at (619) 736-9964 or our El Cajon location at (619) 873-4641 and let us equip your car with the latest state-of-the-art car audio equipment on the market.