Published on January 6th, 2021 | by Sunit Nandi0
How to Select the Best Car Audio Options for You
Finding a Car Audio System That’s Perfect for You
Of all the aftermarket accessories you can add to a vehicle, perhaps the most popular is a new car stereo system. There are hundreds of car audio manufacturers making stereo systems that vary by quality, features, and cost. Aside from the steering wheel and control systems on your vehicle, you probably interact with your vehicle’s audio system more than anything else. The best car audio system for you and your vehicle depends on the features and options that are most important to you.
The most basic thing to consider in a system is your choice of audio source. Do you need a CD player built into your system or have you moved onto using all digital sources for your listening pleasure? Is video or DVD playback important to you? These are factors that will play into the type of infotainment units you should consider.
Most users of audio systems now look for an app-based system that can readily connect to their smartphone, whether it be via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, bluetooth, or some combination of each. All the leading audio system manufacturers have app-based units that can easily access your digital media, satellite service, or streaming apps like Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRadio. If you’re an audiophile that still listens to local radio stations, consider choosing an audio system that has a built-in HD satellite receiver, which provides much better sound quality.
Most top-of-the-line car audio systems have GPS navigation features that can provide you with turn-by-turn directions that keep you from getting lost and help you avoid traffic jams.
Another method of getting in-dash GPS is to choose an audio system that has app mirroring, allowing you to use any of your smartphone apps on the larger in-dash video screen.
Bluetooth functionality is another important feature that should be considered in the choice of audio system, as it allows you to make and receive calls hands-free through the system.
Once you get beyond all the features and flash that many of the audio systems have, it’s down to the basic power that your in-dash receiver has available to output to your car’s speakers. The power of the amplifier in your stereo system is measured in peak power (watts representing the maximum amount of volume that the amplifier can produce) and RMS (root mean square, the continuous power that the amplifier can produce).
Of course, all of this depends on how much power the speakers and subwoofer can handle. Matching the proper audio receiver with the appropriate speaker system is paramount in providing the highest quality audio that the system is capable of.
Most speaker systems will comfortably handle 25 watts of RMS and 50 watts of maximum watts per channel. For higher wattage systems, you’ll need to have higher quality speakers that can handle the increased power produced by the system.
An additional consideration if you are adding powered subwoofers to the system is the ability to upgrade the receiver, which is usually governed by the number of A/V inputs and pre-amp outputs on the rear panel of the receiver.
Purchasing the system
With all of these considerations at hand, you may find yourself wondering where to find the best car audio systems. Be sure to look for a store that specializes in car audio sales and installation. Not only do you want knowledgeable sales staff to interact with, but you also want a shop with experienced techs that can expertly provide you with a car stereo installation that’ll give you a system that meets your quality standards, as well as your vehicle’s compatibility.
Also look for stores that carry all of the top manufacturers of receivers, speakers, and accessories from names such as Jensen, Pioneer, Dual, Planet Audio, Alpine, JVC, Kenwood, Sony, Memphis Car Audio, AudioControl, BOSS, Cerwin Vega, Clarion, Crunch, Hertz, Hifonics, Infinity, JBL, JL, Kicker, Lightning Audio, MTX Audio, Orion, Polk Audio, RE Audio, Rockford Fosgate, and Scosche.
Again, even the best brand of head unit is nothing without proper car audio installation. Be sure to search “car audio near me,” and then take all of these considerations into mind when choosing the right car stereo store for your needs.