Buying the Right Car Audio System
If you like to listen to the radio or play CDs while you drive you are probably considering purchasing a car audio system. Most vehicles come with some sort of sound system.
Factory-installed, but if this system malfunctions or doesn’t measure up to your requirements you may want to purchase an after-market audio system or components.
When entering into the car audio system arena, first make yourself aware of the major aspects to consider:
- Functions – Radio, CD, CD stacker, MP3, cassette deck, navigation, Bluetooth.
- Compatibility – Speakers, amplifier, individual components. If you are buying your audio components (radio, CD player, cassette deck) separately, check that they will be compatible.
- Extra features – LCD or monitor for display, automatic volume control, auxiliary. connections.
- Cost – Varies widely based on quality, name, power and features.
Now turn your attention to your needs. Why do you want a car audio system? Asking yourself a series of questions can identify your requirements and help you to match product features to your actual needs. Start with these questions, and add any others that occur to you:
Q. How often will I use my new system?
A. You may want to listen to music on your way to work, or all day if you drive long distances frequently. Perhaps you only want to use it on the weekends when driving to relax.
Q. What sort of music do I listen to?
A. This might seem like a strange question, but someone who enjoys rap or hip-hop may want to have his or her music reach higher volumes. If, for example, you listen to symphony music, you might only want a system that will provide a clear and crisp sound without having strong bass and high volume.
Q. What type of media do I want to play in the car?
A. If most of your music is on CD, you will want a CD player. Alternately if your music is in audio file formats for your computer or MP3 player then you will either want a port to plug your MP3 into or be able to download it straight onto your audio system.
Q. How much do I want to spend on an audio system?
A. This might be one of the most important questions because it has to do with your budget. You might want to consider estimating what you are able to spend since quality audio systems and their components can be very expensive.
Q. Do I want to use my mobile phone through my car audio system?
A. Some new car audio options allow your mobile phone to work through your in car speaker system via Bluetooth.
By working through this process you can highlight the options you want to include in your sound system. You can dismiss those features that aren’t important to you.
If you want to maximize the sound experience, many stereo systems, both stock and after market, are making use of surround sound technology. This comes in useful not only for audio recordings, but for vehicles with video capabilities built in as well. Surround systems utilize either a five or seven speaker set up. Discrete sound systems mean that you truly have an experience akin to that which you would in a theatre.