A car can be a great place to enjoy music, but many commuters still use marginal sound quality that they would never tolerate at home. Others assemble sophisticated sound systems for their cars and then make some common installation mistakes that keep the system from reaching its full potential. The best car audio setup for sound quality will rely on decent gear and little know-how. This article will give you tips and suggestions on improving your car systems’ overall sound quality. Also, there are tips for both simple and factory systems and the more complicated setups.
Table of Contents
- Car Audio Setup Guide
- Car Audio Setup Examples
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Verdict on Choosing The Best Car Audio Setup for Sound Quality
Car Audio Setup Guide
For best results, you should be able to set up the car speakers for sound quality correctly. There are many configurations and possibilities to choose from. This guide will help you learn how to set up your car audio sound system.
1. The Stereo Receiver Unit
This is an essential part of the system- it is the part you interact with most often. Ensure that you get a receiver with RCA pre-amp outputs, as they will make it easier for you to run the wires through your car to the amplifier. Moreover, a receiver with Bluetooth connectivity is useful. They allow you to use your phone as a stereo. Also, ensure that the unit has a USB plug so you can charge your devices as you drive.
2. The Amplifier
This unit is the next in line in terms of importance. It works to drive the power to the speakers. The amplifier is the interface between the stereo unit and the speakers and is therefore responsible for managing each speaker’s amount of power. When it comes to amplifiers, you are particularly looking for the RMS rating. And when it comes to channels, five channels allow you to power two front speakers, two back speakers, and a subwoofer. There are also four channels, 3-channel and 2-channel amps. It would be best if you consider that as you purchase an amp, go for one with RCA inputs and outputs.
3. The Speakers
This is where the rubber meets the road in building a car stereo system. You need to have an idea of the kind of system you want to install and then pick the speakers to maximize the sound produced. There are different types of speakers to choose from; component and full-range speakers.
4. Car Stereo Equalizer Settings
The equalizer is one of the hidden gems in many car stereos. You may notice that your music sounds different when blaring through the speakers rather than through headphones or home speakers. This usually means that the EQ settings are not completely optimized and may need fine-tuning. You may be required to tweak your equalizer so you can modify the volume of a particular frequency range. You have to set your equalizer up first so that you can adequately utilize the feature.
5. Car Stereo Brand Sound Quality
There are a variety of car sound system brands in the market. The common names include JVC, Blaupunkt, and Clarion. These top brands offer excellent sound and great quality. The choice may be a personal thing, but there are some outstanding brands that you are advised to consider when you set out to upgrade your car audio system. Others include Delco car stereos, Pioneer, Sony, Metra, JBL, Sirius, and Becker.
6. Car Subwoofer
Car subwoofers play a significant role when it comes to the sound quality of your car audio systems. These units work to bring the bottom octave of your music back into the proper balance. You can now hear the familiar tunes in a whole new light. Moreover, subwoofers take the load off the full-range speakers as you will be playing with the bass control at 0 and not +5.
7. Car Audio Setup Diagram
The car audio setup diagrams are designed for those who are new to car audio. The audible sound covers the frequencies that range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The collection of the car stereo wiring diagrams, radio wiring diagrams, and layouts are meant for automobile owners to give them an easy way to identify the right wire colors and proper setup. The diagrams are such that they show the layout of a standard car audio system and signal flow.
Car Audio Setup Examples
If you drive regularly, you know how important it is to have a reliable and quality car stereo system. It is always a great way to pass the time, especially if you are sitting in heavy traffic, heading to work, on a road trip, or listening to a podcast or music. Having that in mind, here are some examples of the best car audio setups.
1. Kenwood Car Receiver with 4 Speakers and a speaker wire - The Best Car Audio Setup
This setup is the best overall. It comes as an entire package that is an excellent replacement for any factory-installed system. This bundle package is also well designed to provide deep and rich sounds throughout your car’s cabin. Some of the features that make this bundle the top pick include Bluetooth connectivity, it can play MP3s and CDs, and it has Android and iPhone connectivity. The Bluetooth comes in handy when you want to make hands-free calls, access phone features, and apps. There are also AUX and USB inputs at the face of the receiver, as well as a three-band equalizer that you can use to fine-tune your music.
The three-way 6×9-inch speakers are well designed to handle a peak power load of up to 400 watts each and a Root Mean Square power load of 45 watts. The two-way 6.5-inch speakers, on the other hand, are well designed to each handle 30 watts RMS and 300 watts peak power. This entire sound system produces ample volume, deep bass, and crisp treble to complement whichever music you have on when connected via the provided 16-gauge speaker wire.
- The speakers are not always boosted hard enough by the internal amp to get the best sound performance.
- There may also be some wiring issues that have been reported to cause some features, such as the tuner to stop working.
2. Pioneer Digital Media Pandora & Car Stereo Receiver with 4 speakers
This is one of the best car audio setups for sound quality. The bundle comes inclusive of the MVH-295BT single-DIN receiver as well as a built-in four-channel, 50-watt amplifier and twin sets of three-way 6.5-inch and three-way 6×9-inch speakers. The speaker is supplied with power, which adds a nice punch to the speakers. They are designed to deliver clear, crisp treble, mid-range, and bass sounds.
The receiver in this bundle comes with a detachable face for its security. This receiver is also capable of playing MP3 and CD formats. With the Bluetooth technology, you can connect your Android and Apple devices for hands-free calling and accessing your phone apps. AUX and USB inputs allow you to charge your devices or connect other devices for additional music sources.
The speakers in this bundle deliver stereo sound throughout your car. The 6×9-inch speakers have maximum power and can handle a capacity of 500 watts and RMS of 50 watts. The 6.5-inch speakers, on the other hand, can handle 350 watts and RMS of 35 watts.
- Some parts of the receiver not working when installed due to factory defects. There is also the issue of the receiver needing a firmware update, which is not easy to find.
3. JVC Car Stereo Receiver with two wireless 6.5-inch Speakers
This bundle has earned the honorable mention, and it features a KD-R370 single-DIN receiver that comes with an internal amplifier with an output of 50 watts of power per channel. There are also two wireless 6.5-inch and two-way speakers. It is the go-for option for cars that do not have a lot of room for aftermarket speakers.
The receiver also has a detachable face for security and has a 13-inch display with red illuminated buttons. The extra speakers have a pre-amp output and a three-band parametric equalizer that allows you to fine-tune your sound quality. Each of the wireless speakers can handle 300 watts of peak power and RMS power of 30 watts.
- The receiver tends to have problems with the AM/FM radio reception. Also, depending on the car, it may be challenging to find the right spot to place the speakers, so they are most effective.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make my sound system sound better?
The main reason why people tend to upgrade the audio system of their car is to improve sound quality. Here are some of the ways how.
Upgrade the Speakers
Many cars come with factory-installed speakers, but these do not compare with the quality of a third-party installation. Therefore, you can upgrade your car speakers by swapping them with higher quality speakers. These will give your car audio system the boost in clarity and volume that you are looking for. Invest particularly in a dedicated subwoofer and enjoy your bass thump.
Upgrade your Receiver
With the decent speakers, you have recently installed, you may now want to improve the signal they receive. The factory-installed receiver does not suffice on most occasions. Their power output, for one, is too low to show the true potential of your upgraded speakers. Another thing is the quality of its digital to analog converter. This feature works to take data signal from any device or CD and convert it to sound. For more details in the audio, you need a better DAC.
Play High Quality Music Files
A quality DAC will not help much if you are only playing low-quality digital files. Actual CDs send high fidelity signals to the speakers. However, streaming audio files or playing from a compressed MP3 file misses the audio’s fine details. Switching to lossless audio files will also help to improve sound quality.
Use your Best Connection
Connecting your phone to the car receiver is a crucial part when it comes to audio quality. The older technology allows you to use an eighth-inch auxiliary cable to plug your device. The newer technology utilizes Bluetooth so you can transfer your music to the car stereo system. However, both of these methods limit the quality of the audio.
Invest in an Amplifier
If you want to get the best out of your upgraded speaker and receiver, you should be thinking of the best car audio amplifier. The addition of an amp produces far more power than having an amp built-in a receiver. Two-channel amplifiers are much better. These allow you to power your speakers and leave a dedicated channel for powering your subwoofer.
Install Sound Dampening Materials
Road noise can cancel the excellent sound quality in your car. Adding sound dampening materials can play a significant role in quietening your car’s interior. Even without music playing, the relative silence as you drive will be much appreciated.
Go Easy on the Equalizer
When driving mainly on the freeway, you may prefer more bass. There is increased road noise on the freeway given the higher speeds, which is hardest on the lower frequencies. Your car’s stereo may offer basic treble, mid, and bass range controls or even a multi-band graphic equalizer. But boosting the bass levels will only expose the flaws in your speakers or analog signal. You are advised to leave the bass knob alone instead, marginally reduce the mid and treble levels, and turn up the volume level.
Do Car Stereos affect sound quality?
Most car audio sound systems and the radios will not produce ultra-high-fidelity sounds, thumping bass, and other extra features like the MP3 player inputs. And that explains why getting a new stereo system is a common way to improve sound quality. The head units do not impact your sound quality unless you utilize other physical mediums such as cassettes.
Does adding an Amp improve sound quality?
Investing in an amplifier should be the next step after you have installed a speaker and receiver. An amp will ensure that you get the best performance out of your speaker and receiver. Adding an amp produces much more power than using the amp built in the receiver. A two-channel amplifier works much better.
This allows you to power the standard speakers and leaves a dedicated channel for powering your subwoofer. Therefore, adding an amp does improve the sound quality of your car audio system. It is noteworthy that a better car amplifier will make the speakers play louder and sound better but will not make the bad speakers sound like good speakers.
Final Verdict on Choosing The Best Car Audio Setup for Sound Quality
Excellent sound and better quality are all most drivers need in their cars. With the best car audio setup for sound quality, this can be achieved. Subwoofers are one of the personal preference items in a car. You can get by without it, but some people appreciate the sound enhancement.