Music lovers agree: there’s nothing more offensive to your beloved bands and songs than hearing them on a bad stereo system. But not everyone is a certified audiophile with the knowledge and experience to select the best equipment for the highest quality sound. So how do you tell a good car audio system from a bad one? Here are a few things to look—and listen—for:
1. Sound accuracy makes a car stereo system great
The best speakers don’t enhance or change sounds in any way—they recreate sounds accurately. You might not be able to tell if a guitar riff sounds like what the guitarist or sound engineer intended, so the best way to determine if your stereo is putting out accurate sound is to listen for other, more common sounds, such as speaking voices or sound effects like gunshots. If voices or standard effects come off as unnatural or otherwise “not right,” chances are your speakers could use an upgrade.
2. Sound distortion is the difference between a great sound system and a bad one
Not everyone is into cranking the stereo up and dancing in their car seat, but volume is a decent indicator of a good sound system. If you can turn the volume on your stereo all the way up (standing outside your car, of course, so you don’t bust your eardrums) without distorting the sound, good news: you have a good quality amplifier. But if your music distorts at higher volumes, it means your amplifier’s voltage is low, or it could mean your overall system requires more than one amplifier (two is usually best).
3. Tone temperature is key for a high quality car speaker system
You don’t have to be an audio expert to understand what constitutes “warm” and “cold” music tones. Live acoustic guitar is soft, mellow and “warm,” while trumpets produce sound that is crisp, hard, and “cold.” If your speakers aren’t producing the right temperatures for the instruments being played, you probably need better speakers.
4. Bass quality vs. bass quantity is a component of a great car stereo system
For some types of music and some types of music lovers, only earth-shaking bass will do. But there’s more to bass than feeling it in your bones—subtlety and nuance count too. A killer bass riff will always sound best when you hear every note in a precise pitch instead of a muddled, roaring mess. So if you feel your bass more than you hear it, a subwoofer upgrade might be a good idea.
5. Inadequate speaker set can mean a bad car stereo system
Many people think all a car stereo needs is one speaker in the driver door and one in the passenger door, but no. Good car audio systems involve a family of speakers, including tweeters, mid-range drivers and subwoofers, which deal with high, medium, and low frequency sounds, respectively. If even one of the components is missing from the system, you’ll be doomed to low quality sound.
Car Stereo City has the right car stereo equipment for your needs
Don’t assume that a high-quality stereo system means high prices. Thankfully, the progression of technology means progressively affordable price tags. In fact, the main difference between high-quality expensive stereo systems and high-quality affordable systems is the amount of extra features available—not actual sound quality. Not sure which features you want or need in a car stereo system? The experts at Car Stereo City are here to help. We can assist you in choosing the best car audio system for your needs and budget, so come visit our Kearny Mesa location today. Contact Car Stereo City by giving us a call at (858) 277-1823.