Car Audio System

Music System for Car

Music System for Car
Music System for Car

When it comes to installing a car stereo system, people specifically need to understand its parts. This is required in order to garnish the system by adding more features of customization. The major part of concern in a car stereo is its head unit which can be in the form of a radio, CD player or audio player. In old times, the head unit in car stereo systems was tape deck which has become obsolete due to latest advancements in the acoustic technology. There are supplementary additions to the CD players in the form of AAC, MP3 and WMA. There are other specially built Car stereo systems, with space for CD changer which is required to insert multiple discs at a time.

Nowadays, people are becoming more concerned about the improvements in their car stereo systems output and they tend to install more than 1 speaker at a time in their vehicle. This is always recommended to take the assistance of an expert to install a correctly matched system in the vehicle. It can be a great way to kill time when a person is driving on the highway or stagnant at a parking lot. There should be additional sound adjustments inside the CD player for acoustic enhancements. Moreover, amplifier unit is supposed to be installed under the seat with precise connections to the CD player. There is another need to maintain premium quality gold-plated terminals along with good quality cabling and wiring for having better output from car stereo systems.

How To Design a Car Audio System

Car Stereo Systems Varieties

Human beings have moved forward from times when they used to install car stereo systems in the form of their home theaters and used to drive away. Nowadays, world understands the language of high definition car stereo systems in the form of CD players, MP3 players, LCD player etc. Each and every car is provided with audio systems but there are hindrances in the quality in case of less costly cars. Therefore, in such cases; people actually need to recreate their car stereo systems in order to get their desired output. There are various good companies providing high-end quality in terms of car stereo systems outputs. Quite few to name but people can readily go for Blaupunkt stereos, Sony car stereos, Pioneer stereos, etc. If one is having profound understanding about the subject of sound, then people can definitely make a choice depending upon their preferences and requirements.

Things to Watch Before Buying a Music System for Car

Recent surveys show that car stereo systems are second preference of a car buyer after buying the car insurance. Most of the car manufacturers have already started taking these survey details into consideration and they include the price of the car stereo systems in the basic sale price of the cars. This unit is important due to the fact that it is the major source of killing time when people get bored over the long time journeys. People can not only listen to top quality music but can also get latest radio updates due to in-built radio system. For a matter of fact, weather forecasting is an important aspect of consideration during long time journeys and car stereo systems are equipped with this feature.

Car Stereo Wiring Explained In Detail

Cheap Car Speakers

Many types of car audio speakers are available in the market. Generally you have to choose from twelve different types. You can’t only find them in the markets easily but can also get the details about them online. You can easily find cheap car speakers on the sites that offer a wide range of automobile products. It’s better to visit those sites before making a decision about buying cheap car speakers as there you can find the deals, sales and reviews of the users that will aid you in making a choice.

You can easily find the speakers by Kenwood, Alpine and Infinity at these sites. Before you plan to buy, you should be clear about the price range, your budget limits and the functions that you want in your car speakers as it is not a must that the one you choose has all the functions that you require.

Before choosing cheap car speakers, you should know whether you want aluminum woofer cone or a rubber surround for the speakers. There are other details too that should be kept in mind while choosing the cheap car speakers.

These details include the size of the speakers, the frequency response, peak power of the speakers, their handling capacity etc. Be clear about the mode of payment too if you are getting the cheap car speakers shipped from some other place. It’s better to get the speakers from a well-known and registered brand.

So before making a choice, read the online reviews about the speakers offered by different brands, get the price comparison details and the list of the features that are offered in that model too.

If you are getting the car speakers from any shop, be sure that the shop is well renowned for its sales and the workers as it is important to get your stuff from a place where the workers are professional and loaded with product details.

Music System for Car

Guidelines for Installation of Car Stereo System

Before installing car stereo systems in their cars, people should insure that there is MP3/CD playback in the system. It automatically makes sure that this attachment supports WAV format in addition to other audio formats required during the journeys. There are other add-ons like Disc Repeat, Band Equalizer, Switchable Rear Output, Tuners and Shuffle. Out of these five add-ons; people should readily consider Shuffle, Disc Repeat and Switchable Rear Output for special installations in their car stereo systems. For further knowledge, Shuffle and Disc Repeat allows user to set and play the favorite tracks as per user’s preference. Moreover, Switchable Rear Output makes sure that user is able to alter the audio level of the music files as per the requirement. This system is quite user-friendly as well as serviceable as per the user preference which can be installed in the car stereo systems.

After choosing an appropriate system, people need to concentrate genuine over the subjects of car stereo systems installation. First of all, people need to confirm it from the car seller if one is providing the technical expertise for carrying out the car stereo systems installation. There are various car sellers providing this facility and people should opt for sellers providing it. There is another to check if this facility is provided for free or not. People can also install the car stereo systems by themselves only if it is not a difficult task for them. For further implications, people can follow the guidebook or manual provided along with the vehicle by the car manufacturing company. All the aforementioned guidelines can be beneficial in terms of cost minimization and better output when it comes to install car stereo systems.

How to Install Your Own Car Stereo System

Technical aspects associated for Car Stereo System

First of all, people need to insure the format of audio supported by car stereo systems. Basic format can be simplified in terms of a CD player with a readable data. People can burn more MP3 files into the CD and listen to their favorite songs. Secondly, people need to consider the sound settings into the car stereo systems. Users should have the specific authority to control the sound variables like balance, treble, bass and many more. There should be a system follow-up over the multiple presets in the form of rock, pop, dance, classical, house and so on. Next step of follow-up in the car stereo systems is the output of the speakers.

Car stereo systems can make it a great experience after another installation of sub-woofers in the car. It can be a blissful tool for the aficionados of bass music and this feature makes it complete for a music lover. Tweeter is final technological aspect which can play songs at high frequencies. All these features are supposed to be included while installing car stereo systems.

Wire a Car Stereo System

You can wire a car stereo system by your own without wasting any money that can be wasted otherwise if you hire some technician. There are few instructions, which you should follow so that your wiring and installation can be installed properly.

You should know how to remove speakers and dashboard of the car. You should have some basics instruments like wire cutters, screwdrivers, sand paper, wiring kit and tape that is specially used for this purpose.

First you should understand carefully the over all system of a car stereo. You should be well aware about all important components that include head unit, amplifier, speakers and woofers. These four components are considered essential items of a good and quality system.

First of all, you should place all essential items beside you so that no mismanagement can rise in the middle of installation and wiring. In this regard, you should have a car stereo and an amplifier kit that have all essential wires to produce signals and speaker’s wire to connect subwoofers.

You can also get important guidelines online. It is important to note here that you should not forget to have screw drivers, wire strippers, cutters, knife to cut wires, sand paper, electric tape, battery and any other equipment that is required.

Sometimes, you become unable to understand the positive and negative terminal. In such case, all you need to do is to use a battery to touch a speaker wire. At this stage, you should remember that battery should be not more than 9 volt. Otherwise, you may receive a powerful jerk.

However, if the speaker wire moves then it means that this is positive terminal of the battery. You should not forget that never put your signal or speaker wires near amplifier cables. It can cause great danger with your wires as well as you can also get severely injured.

Car Video Systems

Car Video SystemsIt is good to get your car equipped with latest things and systems.They can be anything. They include branded tiers, nice and high quality rubber mats, stylish and durable seat covers, a power steering, a hi-fi audio and video system etc.

These systems will keep you entertained even on the road. If you are stuck in traffic or waiting for somebody, car video systems can keep you busy and entertained.

You just have to put the CD in the CD rom, press the play button and there you go. You can watch movies, music videos etc easily. You can get the car video systems attached to the ceiling or get them mounted on the dash board, whatever is convenient for you.

You can also get wireless headphones too, with the car video systems.

When you get these systems, be sure about the right place to install them. They should ideally be installed at a place from where the screen is visible to everybody easily and comfortably.

While getting the car video systems installed it is important to be sure that they are installed properly so that they don’t come out leaving their place if you apply the break.

Before you buy car video systems, you should know whether you are able to charge them easily or not. If you can’t charge them again and again get the one that is low power video system.

Bluetooth and IPod integrations are also available with the video systems. Get them if you can afford as they will surely be entertaining. It is better to get the systems that are provided with security systems like cooling fans, thermal protection for the amplifiers and protection against short circuiting.

You can remove the face-plate of the video system before leaving the car as it will not let anybody steal it because without a face-plate, a video system is useless.

Why You Should Be Buying Infinity Car Speakers?

Infinity Car Speakers is well known for producing quality audio surround sound systems. The Infinity Beta 50 are living room speakers and the only bad thing one reviewer had to say was that you might have a job persuading your wife to have them in the house. They are quite large infinity loudspeakers, but then they aren’t called infinity tower speakers for no reason. If you are into your home movie theaters and have yet to check those infinity home speakers out.

But I digress. What have the Infinity Beta 50 got to do with Infinity car speakers? The answer is simply the fact that Infinity are a recognized authority on producing quality products. If you want the best car stereo system in town then you need to buy infinity car speakers and that is final.

Car manufacturers are not really interested in the performance of the built-in stereo system. They are judged on the safety and performance of the engine and that tends to be what preoccupies them. But unless you have purchased a top of the range car costing over $80,000 you are unlikely to be 100% happy with the sound system.infinity car speakers

So it is time to change it. You have four different components that you will need to look at. The DVD or CD player, the car speakers, the sub-woofer if there is one, and the amplifier which may not come as standard. Each of these has a part to play in providing you with the best sound experience.

The DVD or CD player as we know it may soon become extinct. More people are purchasing digital audio downloads now and CDs are becoming a bit old fashioned. This means that Infinity car audio speakers must be developed to be compatible with these new systems i.e. those with an increasingly wide range of portable digital players. iPod connections and USB inputs are becoming more common. So for now you may be as well not upgrade the DVD player. Buy some Infinity car speakers and they will enhance the sound effect to a large extent.

Despite the improvement good speakers will achieve, you will still need to fit an infinity car subwoofer in order to get the maximum benefit from your infinity surround speakers. Just as your car needs fuel, the sub won’t work properly without its power source, an Infinity car amplifier.

Having taken the time to decide on exactly what type of car speakers, sub-woofer and amplifier you are going to fit in your new motor, you shouldn’t now skimp on quality. There are too many horror stories about people getting ripped off by using dealers and second hand merchants when outfitting their car. Infinity car speakers are reasonably priced and if you have any problems the company offers outstanding customer service provided you buy from an authorized dealer.

There is a massive range of audio products on offer with different designs, colors and functionality, there are infinity marine speakers, infinity bookshelf speakers, vintage infinity speakers, infinity 6.5 speakers, infinity 6×9 speakers, infinity floor speakers, infinity primus speakers, infinity kappa speakers, infinity one speaker, infinity door speakers, infinity component speakers, and infinity reference speakers. The interior of your car will have an impact on your decision as to which Infinity car speakers you will purchase, so take your time.

Infinity Car Speakers are the best car audio surround sound speakers available in the market. Before you install Infinity car speakers, you should remove the existing speakers so that you can measure more accurately. You can gain access to your speakers from inside the car if they are top mounted. Otherwise you will have to reach them via your trunk. The usual measurements are 4, 5 or 6 inches in the front with the rear deck speakers usually being 6 by 9 inches. Don’t forget that you will need room for the back of the speakers too.

Of course every automobile is different as are car speaker sizes so if in doubt get someone else to check it. Alternatively you could bring the old speakers with you to the store but I think the best option is to double check the sizing. There is no guarantee that the last owner of the car didn’t change the audio system incorrectly!

The last thing you want is for the Infinity car stereo speakers not to fit. It makes life easier if you tag your wires accurately when you remove the sound system so that when you are fixing your new purchases, it should be a little bit easier to see what goes where.

Playing CDs or the radio should reproduce a clean well defined tone. This is achieved by having a well rounded system so you will need hi-mid-low and mid-low speaker set. When deciding between the Infinity Kappa 8 speakers or the p362 Infinity car speaker, you want to make sure they are compatible with your car stereo. If it is too high powered it can blow your new kit.

For your front doors, I would recommend that you chose coaxial speakers. These are an amalgamation of two speakers one playing the highs while the other plays the mid-range or mid–bass frequencies. You could chose from the Infinity 9623i or the Infinity 8023i. The result is better all round sound. If you want specific speaker parts, then you can also get separate infinity speaker parts or infinity replacement speakers if required.

Finally don’t do any work on fitting your Infinity car speakers if the ground wires are connected to your car batteries or you could find yourself listing to heavenly angels rather than your new sound system.

Get Infinity Car Speakers For a Car Audio Upgrade

You really need to upgrade your listening equipment to include Infinity car speakers, a sub-woofer and an amplifier to get the most out of your automobile.

Infinity car amplifierModern cars now come with virtually every conceivable luxury i.e. electric windows, GPS, SatNav ..etc, but the manufacturers all seem to be deaf. If they actually listened to music, they would never release their standard car stereo systems. But then I guess they do not score on these items. They are far more concerned with how the vehicle looks and performs in safety tests and how fast it can reach high speeds than how good a CD sounds.

But if you spend a lot of your time driving you will know just how irritating it is trying to listen to good music on a poor machine. The noise and distortion is enough to drive anyone demented. So what can you do? It is actually very simple. Pull out the existing speakers and put in some new Infinity car speakers. You can buy some new from as little as $20 but I would encourage you to have a look at the full range before you part with your cash.

While the REF9633GR will still be miles better than the speakers your car came with, you might decide to upgrade to the Kappa 32.9CF. Better yet, you may chose to go with one that will sound as good at high levels as at low so the Kappa Perfect 5.1 component system may be a better choice.

Whichever Infinity car speaker you chose, you know you are buying not only a quality product but fantastic customer service and after care support should anything go wrong. With audio equipment, even the best products can develop faults and it is nice to know the help is there if you need it.

But be warned. You won’t be satisfied just upgrading to Infinity car speakers. After looking at their product range, I am tempted to buy a bigger set of wheels. I love my music and have been known to play it rather loudly. So now you have upgraded the speakers you are going to need more equipment. Your speakers could blow if you do not have the correct amplifier. Trying to run decent speakers without a good quality amp is a bit like putting dirty petrol in your motor. Disaster may strike.

Get the professionals to install the Infinity amplifier and Infinity subwoofer for you. I highly recommend that you stick to one brand name when upgrading your auto stereo system. The engineers all know the products and so their designs work better together than trying to put a Sony amp with an Infinity subwoofer. Plus if your system doesn’t work at its best, you only have to take it back to one garage to be checked out.

Infinity car speakers are top quality and you do not want to waste your hard earned cash by trying to cut corners on the components that make them sound even better.

Decide What You Want From Your Car Stereo System

So, you’ve decided that you want to upgrade your car stereo. Great! I was in this boat a few years ago when I was delivering pizza. I was in my car all the time, and all I had was a piece of crap AM/FM radio that came with the car. I decided to take the plunge and get a full-on stereo system. My mistake was that I didn’t really plan or think about the system; I just went to the stereo shop and bought the stuff.

I know you’re smarter than that, that’s why you’re here!

So, anyway, let’s talk about what you should think about when you decide to upgrade.


Volume – Quite simply, how loud do you want your system to be?

I am honestly not that big of a fan of people who want to go all crazy in the cabezey with SPL (sound pressure level, or VOLUME). However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t just go for it if you really want it. If you plan to compete in car audio competitions, why the hell not invest a few extra bucks to get the bigger, badder amps in your system? But anyway, how loud do you want your stereo to be?

If you want it loud enough to be heard over road noise, you’ll probably need about 30 watts per channel.

If you want it loud enough to be heard over road noise, and be super clean, you’ll need about 50 watts per channel.

If you want to be able to wake people up, and cause permanent ear damage, you’ll need about 100 watts per channel.

If you want to compete in SPL competitions, you’ll need more than 100 watts per channel.

By answering this question honestly, you have basically already laid out how much money you will spend on your stereo system, how much wattage you’ll need to buy, and what components you’ll need to handle all of that juice.

If you are leaning towards more power, remember that you’ll need to spend more money throughout the install. This includes buying thicker (and more expensive) power wire, extra accessories such as capacitors, more expensive speakers and sub woofers, as well as bigger and more expensive amps.

Also, more powerful stereo systems are heavier. If you’re rolling a ’91 Civic DX with a high-end stereo system, don’t expect your car to perform as it would without the stereo installed.

My recommendation? For most people, having a system with 50-100 watts per channel is perfect.

What do you want your stereo system to be capable of?

Most people don’t need anything too fancy outside of the head unit. As such, it is very worthwhile to spend some time figuring out what head unit to buy. If you want a lot of extra functionality, be sure to invest a few extra dollars in a good head unit.

Many people also want to be able to interface their iPods or MP3 devices to their stereo system. If you want this functionality, be sure your head unit has an AUX input, or an iPod interfacing feature.

If you want a CD changer or satellite radio, be sure your head unit either has that function built in, or has a separate device available that interfaces with the head unit. Many head unit manufacturers have a proprietary linking system so you can add different features to your head unit, and still be able to control the new features through the head unit. In other words, it’s better to be able to control the CD changer with the head unit’s controls than having to use a separate controller for the CD changer. Get it?

Other things to consider for your head unit are EQ, Crossover, DSP, and time correction features. If you get all of these functions built into your head unit, you won’t need to install other pieces of gear, or spend big bucks to buy them in the first place. Outboard EQs, crossovers, and DSPs are only recommended for people with deep pockets or competition vehicles.

In addition to the head unit, you’ll want to be sure that your system’s other components do what you need them to do. When shopping for speakers, be sure they reproduce the appropriate frequency band to work well with your subwoofers. Also, if you have a component speaker set in your vehicle, be sure you upgrade to another component set. Don’t waste your time with a coax system if your vehicle already has the means to easily add a component system.

When it comes to subwoofers, just be sure they can handle the amount of power that you’ll be sending to them. Also, be sure they reproduce the right frequency band. Lastly, be sure they are mounted in the right kind of box.

How Much Do You Want To Spend On Your Car Audio System?

Stereo systems are expensive. Let’s face it now before we get too excited. How expensive your stereo system will be is dependent on how much stuff you want to put in it, and the price of that equipment. (DUH) Let’s look at the price ranges for the basic components now.

Head unit: 80-2500+
Speakers (pair): 30-3500+
Amp: 100-4000+
Subwoofers: 50-1500+

In short, you can spend very little, or you can spend a lot.

With that said, let’s look at the different classes of stereo systems, and what you’re likely to spend.


The most basic system isn’t much of a system. I usually refer to it as an upgrade because it only consists of a new head unit and speakers. Based on the above info, you can have a basic upgrade for $140 (with two sets of speakers). With install supplies included, be prepared to pay AT LEAST $180. Bear in mind that this is for a BASIC upgrade, and includes BASIC stereo gear.

Realistically, be prepared to spend about $300 for a BASIC stereo upgrade.


If you’re going for a more complex system, be prepared to spend AT LEAST $500. This system will include a head unit, new speakers (2 pairs), a sub-woofer amp, and a sub-woofer. I know that by doing the math above, we come to $290 (2 pairs of speakers), but the above doesn’t take into consideration install supplies and a sub woofer box.

Realistically? You’ll probably spend close to $1000, and up to $1500 for a basic system.


Next up on the rung is the intermediate system. This should be the goal for people who want a great system, but don’t plan on competing. This system will at the minimum include a head unit, four speakers, two amplifiers, and two subwoofers. However, since you’re moving up the system scale, you won’t buy the cheapest components anymore. Instead, you’ll probably pay at least $250 for a head unit, $75 for each speaker set, $250 for each amp, and $100 for each subwoofer. This brings your total to $1100 at minimum. You’ll also need to factor in install supplies and a subwoofer box. This system might also include other items like a CD changer, satellite radio, eq, crossovers, etc.

Realistically? You’ll spend anywhere from $1500-$2500 for this system.

intermediate car stereo diagram

Finally, the holy grail. The ADVANCED CAR STEREO SYSTEM:

The advanced system will include everything from above, and MORE! A lot of your expenses in this system will be the installation supplies. The advanced system is for the perfectionist, and if you are planning an advanced system, you probably don’t need this guide. BUT! For the sake of completeness, I will include some info. With the advanced system, the sky really is the limit. It is quite possible to spend $20,000+ on an advanced system. These systems include all of the basic components many times over, plus other gadgets. It’s not uncommon to see systems with 4 or 5 amplifiers, driving 15 speakers! In addition, these systems usually have extensive custom work done to accommodate all of the gear. If the system includes video, the cost goes up even higher.

This really shouldn’t be the goal for most people. These systems are pretty impractical, and are usually reserved for people who are serious SPL auto sound competitors, or for people who appear on MTV Cribs.


When you choose to add video to your stereo system, you will increase your budget even more. You can have a basic head unit with a screen for about $800, but it is certainly possible to spend $10,000 plus to add video to your vehicle. What it boils down to is how many screens you want to have, how high quality your components are, and other gadgets that you want to add such as dual zones, video games, navigation, etc. Again, this is not cheap, and I think is pretty impractical. I don’t spend too much time on this because I DON’T WATCH TV WHILE I DRIVE!!!

A Word about Install Supplies…
One more consideration to include when buying a car stereo system: Install supplies. No one ever budgets for this, but they should! Install supplies will usually cost you about 20%(!!) of the price of your components. If you spend $1000 on components, be ready to fork over another $200 for install supplies. These include, but aren’t limited to power wire, speaker wire, RCA cables, terminals, distribution blocks, capacitors, install kits, antenna adapters, and wiring harnesses.

OK, OK. I know most people don’t have money to build even the most basic system. However, who said you need to buy everything at once? Start with the head unit you want, and go from there.

Here is the run-down on how the awesome Dream Car Stereo System should have:

Head Unit: The CD player would have to be a high-quality unit. It would need to have an iPod connection feature. In addition, it would need to have some sort of digital out. This would help create a completely noise-free listening environment. In fact, I think head unit manufacturers should start making digital outs on their head units. If this was done, there would only be one cable from the head unit to the amps, and since it would be digital, there wouldn’t be problems with alternator noise enterring the RCA cable on the way back to the amps. Of course, this creates another problem: There needs to be some sort of DAC before the music is amplified. I’d be willing the spend some cash on an external DAC, but only as long as the price wasn’t ridiculously expensive. From the DAC, the music goes to amps…

Amps: I would want only two amps, and three channels. The first amp would be a class-A stereo amp for the front speakers. For those of you wondering why I don’t want rear speakers, here’s why: Rear speakers throw off the front soundstage, and I’d rather just do without that. I rarely have passengers in the rear of my car, and if I do, they’ll be able to hear the front speakers just fine. In addition, it’s tough to find truly high-end 6×9 speakers, you know what I’m saying?

The other amp would be a mono class-D amp. Some of you are probably wondering why I would want a class D amp instead of a class A amp; and my main reason is the fact that class D amps are so much more efficient. When it comes to bass, I have not been able to distinguish the sound from a class A and a class D amp. In short, I want volume, but I don’t want to draw too much juice.

Speakers: From the amps, the music goes to the speakers. Now, since I am into SQ, I would pick SQ speakers. I would make sure that they can handle all of the power I would send to them. In addition, they would need to be installed in some sort of sealed enclosure that aims the tweeters towards the center of the vehicle.

Subswoofers: As for subwoofers, I would need a “tight” and musical sound. While it’s always nice to hear really deep and boomy bass, it is not what I am looking for in my dream system!

…And now, a brief word about installation!

So, there is a pervasive myth amongst car audio enthusiasts, and that myth is…

Better components produce better sound.

True. However, do you want to know what produces better sound than better components?

The installation of those components.

As such, my dream stereo system would have to be installed in a very professional way.

This means that wires are tied down securely, and they aren’t stretched, pinched or kinked. Speakers are in enclosures, and those enclosures are bolted down securely. The tweeters are aimed at the center of the soundstage. Vibrations are all damped with sound deadening. Road noise is at a minimum. Amps are securely bolted down, and secured by an amp rack. Any device that needs to be accessed is easily accessible. Subwoofers are secure and tuned propely. All of the crossovers are set up correctly. Etc etc

In addition to being secure, my dream installation is stealth where it needs to be, and nice to look at where it doesn’t. Beyond that, it does not severely limit the function of the vehicle. I still like to use my trunk when I need to.

Honestly, however, this install is easier said than done. Of course, many things that are worth doing aren’t easy!

Get to know your Car before installing a Stereo System:

So, we’ve been through most of the basics that you’ll need to consider when putting together a QUALITY stereo system. However, the one part of the equation that’s missing is the vehicle you plan on installing it in.

Let’s talk about a few important issues to consider BEFORE installing a stereo in your vehicle…

First, is your car in a bad shape? I mean, like falling apart and stuff? If so, you might want to skip the stereo for this vehicle. The main reason is that installing a stereo is a long process, and removing a stereo is a long process. You don’t really want to have to install then remove your system if your car dies. In addition, your stereo can easily add 100lb. of weight to your vehicle. Big stereo systems are also hard on your vehicle’s electrical system. If your vehicle is in good enough condition that you’re not worried about it breaking down all the time, then you’re probably OK.

How long do you plan to keep your vehicle? If you don’t plan on keeping it for very long, I might also skip the stereo. Again, because it takes awhile to install and remove a system. If you plan on selling your vehicle, do you want to sell the stereo with the vehicle, or remove it, and put the stock system back in? If you keep the stereo in the vehicle, it is unlikely that you’ll get your money back. If you spent $2500 on the stereo, you won’t be able to sell the car for $2500 more. Also, if you modified the vehicle to install the stereo, you will have to fix the modifications if you plan on re-installing the stock stereo. Just a heads up for you.

Is your car new or old? By old, I mean built before the 80’s. If so, then installing your head unit might be a big project. You might have to run some additional wires. This is easy if your car is disassembled, but if not, you might have to take some parts of your car apart before you can run the wires to the battery, speakers, etc.

As for new, and by new, I mean built after about 2000, you might also have some tricky things to worry about. Many of these newer vehicles (especially luxury vehicles) have head units that are well-integrated into the dash. This means that you might have to build a custom mount for your head unit, or you might have to install it elsewhere, or you’ll have to spend a lot of money on an install kit. One other option is to keep the factory head unit, and build a system around that. There are a variety of options available if this is what you wish to do.

Do you have a factory “premium sound” stereo? Usually, these systems have names like Infinity car speakers, Bose, Aktiv and Mach. Usually they consist of an amplifier and upgraded speakers. Some even include a subwoofer. Now, this is a nice option for people who don’t want to build a REAL stereo system, but want better sound. They do provide that; “premium” systems do sound better than stock, but don’t sound as good as the REAL system we’re gonna build. Anyway, enough of that. There are some issues you’ll need to take into consideration. Sometimes these systems have different wiring harnesses than the same vehicle without premium sound. This can be an issue if you plan to replace the head unit. Also, if you only plan on replacing the head unit (instead of building an entire system), you might have to deal with noise. This can be at the least annoying, and at the most unbearable. There are ways to fix this, and we’ll go into it later.

Car Speakers: Find out what size speakers your vehicle takes. While you’re at it, find out how much room you have in the stock speaker location. Sometimes aftermarket speakers won’t fit into the factory speaker location because they are deeper than the location will permit. Also, if your factory speakers are mounted in the doors, be sure there is enough room to allow the window to roll down. What I do is roll down the window, then remove the speaker. This will give me a good idea of how much speaker I can fit into the location. If the speaker locations are lame, you might want to build custom speaker boxes. This is not easy for beginners, but definitely possible. This is usually what the pros do, so if you want to go all out, consider it! As for the rear speakers, don’t worry so much about them. If you’re building an SQ system, you might want to skip the rear speakers completely (they throw off your sound stage).

Head Units: For most vehicles, this is an easy install. All you’ll need is an install kit (and some vehicles don’t even need this), a wiring harness (unless your vehicle is OLD), and some vehicles need an antenna adapter. The REALLY GREAT NEWS is that I sell a wide variety of this stuff in my eBay store. CHECK IT OUT! Some vehicles might require a little creativity when it comes to installing a head unit, but most don’t.

Amps: Most of the time, in a basic install, you’ll mount amps to the back of your rear seats. If you don’t have rear seats, some other options are under seats, on top of subwoofer boxes, and in your trunk. There are many custom amp racks/subwoofer boxes avvailable specifically for trucks. The thing about amps is that most vehicle manufacturers never intended for amps to be installed, so you’ll often have to be creative in how you install them. When you do install an amp, think about how you’re going to get power to it, and how you’ll keep it cool.

Car Subwoofers: These usually go in your trunk or hatch (if you have one). They can also be installed under seats, or behind the front seats (in the case of trucks). When it comes to subwoofers, be sure you have a quality box. Better still, a custom box. Also, be sure your box is somehow secured to your vehicle to prevent it from sliding around while driving, and possibly damaging your woofers. Also, even though this is a morbid thought, consider what would happen in a car accident. A big ass 100 pound wooden box flying into the back of your head during an accident ain’t gonna make your life easier.

Other gear: If you decide to install additional gear such as EQs or special electronic gear like capacitors, you’ll probably want to make room for it wherever you mount your amps. If you plan on installing a lot of gear, it is best to build a custom amp rack, and lay everything out in a neat and organized fashion.

In short, decide what gear you want, and where you want it BEFORE you do anything! I know I sound like a nerd (and I am), but this advice will never hurt you, and in many cases will save you from miscellaneous troubles!

Some Car Audio Terms to be Familiar With:

You need to know these terms if you plan on doing anything car audio related. The good news is that there are only a few. So, listen up!

Watts: (Power) A watt is a measure of power. Power is the ability to do work. In the car stereo world, watts are generally used to describe the power of amplifiers, and the amount of power that speakers are capable of receiving.

Volts: (Electrical pressure) Think of voltage as electric pressure. Obviously, the more pressure that you have, the more current that can flow. If you turn on your faucet, you can observe flow. Turn it on very low, and the pressure will be low. Turn it on high, and the pressure is high. It is no surprise that V stands for volts, which is the standard measure for electric current. Most modern cars use a 12 volt electrical system. When your car is on, it usually bumps up to about 14.4V. Pretty much all stereo equipment available today works better when the Voltage is 14.4V. Remember, with more volts, you can allow more pressure. More pressure allows more current. More current allows for more power!

Ohms: (Electrical resistance) Ohms are a measure of resistance. The more ohms, the more resistance. When dealing with car stereo stuff, speakers are rated at a certain ohm load, and amps are rated to what amount of ohms they can power without causing damage.

Amps: (Electrical current) Another measure you’re going to run across in the car stereo world is Ampere, or simply, Amp. An Amp is a measure of current. The more amps, the more current that is flowing. Really powerful car stereo systems draw a lot of current. You will mostly run into issues regarding Amps when you use fuses. Fuses are an extremely important component in a stereo system as they keep you car safe to drive be preventing short circuits. A short circuit in a car can start a fire, and we don’t want that to happen, do we?

Farads: A farad is a measure of capacitance. Think of capacitance as a spare fuel tank. When your system is drawing too much power (for example, during a heavy bass track when your subs are LOUD), a capacitor is helpful to prevent your headlights from dimming when the bass hits. Capacitors are measured in farads. Most capacitors for automotive use are rated between .5 and 2 farads. There are, however, some extremely powerful capacitors that are rated at 15+ farads! These are the monster caps that are used in show winning SPL systems.

Ohm’s Law: Ohm’s law shows how these electrical terms all fit together.

Here it is: Current = Voltage / Resistance aka: A = V / Ω

In addition, it’s useful to know: Power = Voltage x Current aka: W = V x A

With these two equations, you can now understand how these four variables all work together.

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