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Beginners Guide To Upgrading Your Car Audio System

Posted on 06 August 2018

So how can you tell if your factory audio needs a little tender loving care? Here’s a test that just about anyone can do:

  1. Go sit in your car, close the doors, and crank up the windows.
  2. Put on your favorite CD and turn up the volume. Don't be afraid to go higher than you normally would, but we aren't talking “blow out your eardrums” high.
  3. Listen to the music.

You’re listening for a couple different things, and you don’t have to be an expert audiophile to pick up on them.

If you find yourself turning up the treble due to a lack of clarity, that’s something that an upgrade can fix.

On the other hand, if you find yourself turning up the bass only to have the bass sound hollow or empty, that’s also something an upgrade can fix.

If the music sounds distorted when the volume is up really high, that’s another thing you can take care of with a little tinkering.

So where do you get started? There are a lot of different ways for a newbie to tear into a factory sound system upgrade, so there are a handful of questions that can help set you on the right path:

  • How important is your budget? Do you have much money to spend on upgrades?
  • Do you want to improve your sound while keeping your factory stereo?
  • Would you rather ditch the factory stereo and start fresh?
  • How important is bass?
  • Do you like listening to your music loud?

You might be surprised at how the simple act of pondering those five questions will set you on the road to building a great car audio system.

The great thing about car audio is that there’s no right or wrong way to go about it, and the best thing about factory audio systems is that just about any component you replace will represent at least a marginal improvement.

If you’re working on a tight budget, then there are still some things you can do to improve your sound. You can even replace components one at a time, as your budget permits, and eventually, you'll have a completely custom car sound system.

If you are going the piecemeal, budget-conscious route, then it’s a good idea to plan out a roadmap for what you want your finished system to look like. If you do that, then you’ll end up with components that all work really well together.

One good place for budget-conscious newbies to start is the speakers. Factory speakers are typically pretty anemic, so you may notice a pretty big improvement in your sound by simply replacing your front speakers.

If the only thing you’re really missing is bass, then you’ll want to add a subwooferinto your factory system. That can be accomplished in one of two ways:

  1. Adding an amplifier and a subwoofer
  2. Adding a powered subwoofer

Powered subwoofers are simpler, but adding an amplifier and a subwoofer gives you more flexibility. Either way, a subwoofer is the best way to get that bass pounding.

If you're after the absolute easiest way to add more bass to your car audio system, then a powered amplifier with speaker-level inputs is the way to go. These units combine an amp and a sub-woofer into one unit, so there isn't any guesswork, and they can be hooked up to any factory or aftermarket head unit.

There are many ways to upgrade the sound in your car and here at Freeman's we can get you going on the way to better audio! Contact one of our experts today! 

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