When you are cruising along listening to your favorite songs it can sound pretty flat in comparison to playing it in your home or in a club. You can upgrade your existing car audio system yourself so that you can have your music come to life and listen to it as it was meant to be hard. Even as a novice you should be able to do this as there are many different components within your car’s stereo that can be replaced and tweaked to suit your needs and tastes. You could consider a professional installation if you find it all a bit too technical. A factory upgrade is another option.
Where to start
You should start with the car audio systems head unit. There are many different terms this is known by including the receiver, the deck and the receiver. Most of the units do come with a tuner to change to AM or FM, but others have options to switch between your CD player, MP3’s and even iPod. More recent models of cars have a Stereo System Design that can also be used to connect your Bluetooth devices.
Everyone needs a place to start and this is the most popular one. Most of the head units have minimal features, unless you have the money to spend outright on a brand new top of the range vehicle. Altering the existing unit can make a huge difference to the functions and quality.
How to find the right head unit
To find the right car audio head unit for you, you should first make a list of the features you want both now and will more than likely need over the next couple of years. Think about whether you plan to purchase a smartphone. If that is the case, you might want a head unit that incorporated Bluetooth technology. At the moment you may have in your head a certain level of power, but it is highly advisable you choose one that is a little more powerful than you were originally contemplating because you will be able to make any upgrades in the future that you may not think about now without having to replace your head unit. DIY is not for everyone but you could choose a professional installation instead.
Amplifiers and speakers
Having the unit you want is a good start, but to get the sound quality you desire you will also want to get an amplifier. You could find that a new sound system will not include an amp separately, but you will find that all of them come equipped with a minimum of 4 speakers. You can make upgrades to them without replacing the head unit, but you will be less likely to get the sound experience you will hope for. It will be unlikely you will be able to use upgraded speakers if your vehicle did not already come with a good head unit. A professional installation can improve the quality and longevity of the equipment if you are not sure what you are doing.
Although this is disappointing purchasing and installing a set of better speakers will give you the opportunity to make upgrades to other components as you wish later on. If do choose to make changes to your head unit as technology advances that will be the time your new speakers will come into play.
Look at both ends
To get the most from your factory head unit, you will need to focus on each end of your audio spectrum. Although this is not applicable in all cases, you will find that you can get separate tweeters shipped for certain vehicles, or you could look into a factory upgrade. You can usually find them inside the driver and passenger doors; they are usually of a lower grade though. To improve the sound of your music you can replace the tweeters.
By upgrading an existing subwoofer or replacing it for a better one you can gain a lot. The majority of vehicles do not come with one, and those that do are not all that great for sound quality. If you don’t already have one installed you should find a unit that already has one build in.
Extra options available to you will depend on your Stereo System Design, vehicle make and its model. Take a look to see if your vehicle already has great sound options, as if this is the case you might be able to find a factory deck that can be plugged straight in and match the cars look. Some vehicles will have options of navigation that will replace the usual head unit. If this is the case you will more than likely have the connections in place to just plug the unit in.
If the Stereo System Design already has an advanced system, you could be limited in your option choices. You can find lots of solutions though that will include GPS, saving you having a separate unit but they are usually at the top end of the price range. Why not look into a factory upgrade if you are not confident in doing the job yourself. The work will be guaranteed too!