purchase equipment on an impulse !"
It might sound
silly but it would surely save you alot of money
if taken seriously. Purchasing a sound system for
your car may be more tedious than you think. There
are many things that you need to consider. For example
if you are going to buy the whole system all at
once or piece by piece, how much you want to spend
and what quality and quantity of sound you want.
Are you doing a flashy or stealth installation?
Are you keeping your stock panels or are willing
to cut your car to achieve better sound? Are you
doing the installation yourself, or leave it to
a professional? These are the questions that we
would try to answer...
Brain - head unit
This is the most important part of the system. If
you skimp here, your whole system will suffer. For
people that are on a budget: Get good quality head
unit without all the frills and pretty lights. A
flip down face with a colorful display looks great,
but it won't necessarily sound better that a regular
plain head unit. Look for the basics. Easy, simple
to use display. Quick single button access to basic
features. If you are planning to get amplifiers
in the future, get a head unit with RCA outputs.
You would also not need to get a head unit with
extensive bass/mids/heights controls if you plan
to use and amp/ pre-amp configuration in the future.
Running almost neck and neck with the first part
we have the speakers. If you are on a budget, just
get a nice set of speakers up front and don't even
worry about the rear speakers, amplifiers, etc until
you have some more money later on. Preferred choice
would be a pair of three way 6" speakers. If
your pocket allows some more slack, a pair of 6*9's
on the back dash would add a nice 'completed' sound
to the system. Speaker installation is definitely
the most important.phpect that determines how your
whole system sounds. No equalizer or processor can
compensate for poorly installed speakers. Factory
locations are usually not acceptable for audiophile
quality sound. Speakers should ideally be pointing
straight at you. Speakers on each side should be
as close to each other as possible with no obstructions.
Speakers should be mounted on a good baffle (preferably
an enclosure). Difference between left and right
speaker distances to your ears should be as small
as possible. The front speakers should also play
as low as possible in frequency (ideally 60Hz or
less), being able to handle full power. This is
where crossovers with high slopes come in to protect
Heart - amplifers
Amplifiers do not only make a system sound louder,
they make it sound BETTER. The more power you get,
the cleaner the signal going into the speakers.
A common misconception is that if a 100 watt amplifier
is used on 50 watt speakers, the speakers will burn.
This is not true, as long as there is no distortion
and the speakers are properly protected with crossovers.
More power is always better.For systems with a lot
of power, you might also have to upgrade the car's
electrical system, by getting a high output alternator,
Voice Box - subwoofers
Subwoofers cover low frequencies in the audio spectrum.
Subwoofers need to be installed in a box designed
specifically for them. Put a subwoofer in the wrong
type or size box and it will not perform as it should
and could be destroyed. Subwoofers need a lot of
power to play at acceptable levels without distortion.
Matching subs (and speakers) to amplifiers This
is a very important.phpect of system planning that
is often overlooked. Amplifiers are designed to
provide maximum power at a certain impedance. An
amplifier at this maximum level will be under more
stress and produce more heat, so mounting location
also becomes important. Professional installers
wire subs (and speakers) in parallel and/or series
combinations to obtain a load that will make the
amplifier perform at full power.
Many people believe that they need to have an equalizer,
center channels, rear speakers, etc for better sound
and compromise by buying cheaper components. A properly
designed system will sound great without the need
for all this other components. If you have the money
and are an audiophile or into competition, then
this "extra" components can become important.
Always keep in mind future upgrades when buying
audio gear. For example, let's say you are low on
funds and want to add two subwoofers and an amplifier.
Since powerful amplifiers are expensive, you can
get a 2-channel amplifier to drive the subwoofers
at acceptable levels. Later on, when you have more
money, you can buy an identical amplifier and power
each sub with an amplifier in bridged mode for more
bass. If you planned carefully, the impedance's
of your subwoofers will match the amplifiers for
maximum output in the bridged configuration.
Buying better quality components will definitely
increase system performance. Although name brands
are more expensive, they are more reliable i.e.
will last longer. For people on tight budgets, it
is better to save for a better component and take
longer building a better system one component at
Even though you will save money and learn something
new by doing the installation yourself, sometimes
it is better to pay a professional to do things
that might be a bit over your head. An experienced
installer has many years of experience that will
definitely make a difference in your system's performance
and reliability. If something goes wrong, you can
always go back and have them fix the problem. Many
manufacturers offer and extended warranty period
if the equipment is installed by an authorized professional.
sourced and compiled by Daren Dhoray.