Car Audio

The first thing that many of us do after getting in our automobile is to switch on the radio. It is a simple way in which many people seek a few moments of relaxation while on move. People at times like to play loud music and feel the energy, play soothing music to soothe frayed … Continue reading “Car Audio”

The first thing that many of us do after getting in our automobile is to switch on the radio. It is a simple way in which many people seek a few moments of relaxation while on move. People at times like to play loud music and feel the energy, play soothing music to soothe frayed nerves, or listen to news, updates or interesting programs to stay connected. Whatever the reason, a car audio system is the most popular car accessory nowadays. Automobiles come with an audio system from manufacturers, or get custom ones later to suit individual preferences.

The history of car audio dates back to the 1930s, when the Galvin brothers introduced the first car radio, named Motorola (‘motor’ meaning motion and ‘ola’ meaning sound). Innovations kept happening in many parts of the world. It took another forty years to develop audio amplifiers, in a quest to develop something just more than a radio. Since then, there have been more and more sophisticated devices which can stand the temperatures and vibration of automobiles. Modern speakers are not even visible, but produce good acoustics and sound quality.

Car audio systems come in a wide range of brands, setups and prices. After deciding on a budget, you can look at the possible options. Car audio systems are available in at both regular and discounted prices. Basic things which are difficult to change later should be selected with thought and care. For instance, whether a unit is able to play CDs, cassettes, radio or all of these should be looked at first. Some parts, like speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, crossovers, equalizers, and mobile video (VCRs, television, DVD and navigation) can be upgraded later. Component compatibility between different brands and options for add-ons should also be looked at.

High-end installations have more functions and are relatively expensive. However, even with a lower budget you can get a decent system. In short, the decision should be based on a system’s ability to play tapes, CDs and the radio. Some people feel satisfied with a radio, plus a tape player and are not tempted by CD players. It should have a decent sound quality. We can imagine the irritation felt when a favorite track or program does not sound clear and sharp.

The Main Car Audio Installation Options

There was once a time when automobiles did not come with their own pre-installed audio machines. However, auto manufacturers have since included the latest in stereo technology in their new models. Nevertheless, some auto companies cut costs by installing low-quality stereos in their latest models. People who like listening to quality music while driving their automobiles find quality stereos to be a worthwhile investment. Many radios come with installation manuals making them relatively easy to install.


Car audio installation varies depending on the type of radio that you want to install and the vehicle model. Once you have determined the type of stereo you want, find out if it can be installed in your automobile.

Materials Needed

Some of the materials you need to install a stereo include a socket wrench, a screwdriver, voltage meter, a solder or crimper, and a small battery. You may need some wire ties and electrical tape to keep the wires of the system tied in one place.

Removing the Original Radio or Stereo

You need to remove your old radio before you can install the new one. This is where the screwdriver comes in handy. Start by removing the screws that hold the front panel of the system. Be sure to keep the screws in one easy-to-reach place where you cannot lose them. Take the front panel of the system out. Inside the CD player housing, you will find another panel that you need to gently pull out until it unsnaps. Unscrew all the screws and bolts holding in the system. Pull out the CD player and unplug the cable that connects it to the automobile.

Wiring the New Radio

Take the cable of the new stereo and plug it into the car. Put the stereo where it needs to be and screw it into place. Make sure the screws are screwed in tight. Do the same for the front panel.

Hiring Someone Else

Many automotive companies provide radio installation services. In addition, electronic stores can install entertainment systems purchased from their stores. A car entertainment system installation is quite simple and there are slim chances that you will encounter any problems when you hire a professional to do the installation.

Car Audio Tips

Many modern vehicle CD players come with a wide range of features and are relatively sensitive pieces of equipment. It is important to take caution when operating your car CD player in different temperatures. If the motorcar has been exposed to the sun for a prolonged period and its interior temperature has increased, consider waiting until the automobile has cooled down before turning on the vehicle entertainment system. The same rule applies during winter; let the vehicle warm up a bit before turning on its entertainment player to reduce the risk of a malfunction.

Like any other vehicle part, a car audio system requires care and maintenance. Keep your vehicle mp3 player clean so that it can effectively operate for a long time. Avoid putting dirty CDs and DVDs into your vehicle music player to prevent malfunctions. Finally, clean your car music player regularly to rid it of dirt and dust.

Finding a Car Audio Head Unit That Rocks

If you’re considering upgrading your automobile’s sound system, chances are your first step will be to replace the factory head unit with an aftermarket product. Provided you already have working speakers, this move can instantly improve the sound. There are several names for this component of the system, and one is “head unit,” which applies to any dash-mounted interface that controls car audio.

Varieties of Head Units

Tuner – A unit that lacks built-in power amplification. Tuners require an additional amplifier to power the speakers.

Receiver – One that contains an onboard amp. A receiver can be used to power an existing set of speakers without other equipment.

Controller – An interface that has no radio function, although it may include any combination of CD, DVD, cassette, auxiliary and/or USB inputs.

Mechless – A receiver or tuner without CD, DVD, or cassette capabilities. “Mechless” refers to the absence of mechanical (moving) components, as these devices instead feature solid state construction. These pieces of gear can have auxiliary, USB, and Bluetooth® compatibility as well.

Some of these categories overlap. For example, controllers and mechless heads can exist with or without built-in amps. You’ll have to read the specs of any equipment that interests you to make sure it meets your requirements.

What Do You Need?

Now that you know the basic distinctions, you’ve got to consider the factors that may influence your decision on what car audio equipment to install. If you just want to replace what’s in the dash first, you’ll need something with its own power to get sound out of your factory speakers. However, if you plan on upgrading your speakers and adding subwoofers and tweeters for an all-out overhaul of your car audio system, you will likely need an external amplifier to supply sufficient juice. In this situation, you may want to buy a receiver with preamp outputs. These outs will bypass the onboard power, causing less distortion so you can bump louder music without sacrificing sound quality. If sound quality is your focus and loudness is not important, you can save money by foregoing the amp and subs, using a unit with sufficient power and buying better quality door speakers.

Now think about getting into your car and being in the mood to blast your favorite songs. What would you reach for? Do you have a vast collection of CDs you’d like to slip in and listen to all the way through? If so, you definitely need a model with a disc player. Maybe you’ve ditched the hard copies, and your music is stored digitally on your smartphone or dedicated audio player. In this case, you may elect to go fully mechless and play your library through a USB connection for the best audio. If streaming services on your phone are your preferred method of music retrieval, an interface with dedicated Bluetooth is handy, or, at the very least, an auxiliary jack should be present.