We all like to have our own little ‘Carpool karaoke segment with James Corden’, don’t we? Everybody deserves to enjoy their ride with firing bass and catchy treble, and it shouldn’t be any other way around. Sadly, sometimes the system or setup can’t meet up that expectation. There are various reasons for that, it can be your poor factory stereo/speaker, it can be a faulty compartment or perhaps, inexact setup.
However, this is not really a big deal and you can easily have the best sound quality in your car, it’s just a few essential tips away!
#1: Start with a Change
Car companies don’t think much about the stereo system because it’s the least of their concerns. And that’s why most factory speakers fail to meet your audio demand. Well, many modern cars do feature a good system, but we can’t judge the whole situation with ‘many’, can we?
Moreover, this ‘modern’ thingy ain’t applicable for you, if you happen to drive a 90’s model with aftermarket speakers. Aftermarket speakers are a way old school for that.
Overall, what I’m trying to say is, there can be a number of reasons for the lack of quality sound in your car. It can be an aftermarket system, a poorly engineered factory stereo, a worn out speaker or a faulty component. Either way, if you wanna improve the performance, you have to improve the system, and that’s why a change is compulsory.
Yes, in order to bring the best, start with your current system. Replace components for good. Independent systems will eventually sound hundred times better, since they’re manufactured with actual focus on the audio performance.
#2: Eliminate Annoying Sound
A car is a car. It’s not your home, it’s not a concealed area. You can’t expect to get home theater-like performance from the car stereo since the environment is completely different.
When a car is moving, the stereo system’s sound can’t be heard properly due to the annoying external noise. Not saying that these noises hide the stereo output, but the sound created from driving, fraction and other movements, definitely affects those frequencies and interrupts the smooth motion.
To prevent this annoyance, use sound-deadening materials. Dynamat is the most popular choice for this purpose. Attach it onto a door panel and block external noise from affecting the system’s sound quality.
#3: Perhaps You Need a DAC
In this era of smartphone and tablets, this should be done by everybody who has a modern system installed in his car: Use a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC). DAC utilizes the weak signal of an audio device and makes it powerful. So, it’s a must to bring the best out of your iPad or Android in a long drive journey.
However, USB connection is required to use DAC. So, make sure your new stereo system has a USB port.
#4: A Subwoofer is a Must
Yes, it’s true that our cars don’t ‘dance’ like those in the hip-hop music videos, but that shouldn’t stop us from shaking our shoulders on a long drive. And for this, firing bass is a must. And why am I even giving an explanation for this? This is the reason why we play music ‘loudly’ in the first place: to enjoy the booming bass!
You HAVE TO HAVE a subwoofer in your car for the strongest bass experience. The car speaker’s woofer may sound good, but it’ll never be as ‘Good’ as a subwoofer.
#5: The Subwoofer Box Mustn’t be Forgotten
Now, when you’re gonna install a subwoofer, it’s obvious that you’re gonna use a sub-box as well. Remember, the sub-box’s quality is pretty important for high quality sound.
Whether you’re building it or ordering a pre-built one, be careful about the construction. If you’re planning to use a sealed box, the enclosures should be sealed properly and there shouldn’t be any place for air leak.
You should be more vigilant while using a ported box, because the installation of wrong subwoofer inside will destroy the whole setup.
The box must be constructed with accurate interior volume in order to avoid poor quality sound.
#6: Amplifier is Mandatory
I bet you already had this planned in your mind, didn’t you? We all know, amplifier is essential for powerful sound. The continuous or peak power handling rate often can’t be utilized properly with a single component. An amplifier has to be installed for the accurate use of speaker power handling.
#7: Utilize AMP Gain Control Properly
Proper utilization? Yes, you read it right. People often mistake AMP gain control for volume control and they think, raising the level to the highest will bring the best result.
However, this is a misconception and gain control has nothing to do with the volume. AMP actually works to make the proper use of transmitted power. When you raise the control level to the highest, it creates distortion and ruins the output.
So, never raise the gain control level to the highest. Adjust the level observing whether you can feel a little distortion or not, the level must be lowered when the sound feels a little distorted.
#8: Don’t Compromise on the Cable’s Quality
This thing often gets ignored among other stuffs. However, cable’s quality does affect the sound. Short wires or poorly constructed wires can’t handle much power, thus deliver a horrible performance when they’re linked to an amplifier.
#9: Time for an Equalizer
Sure, the environment inside the car is not so friendly for satisfying music response. Different materials reflect the frequencies differently. Moreover, the default setup is not enough for accurate tuning either.
Equalizer is always there to save the day. The bass, treble and mid-range controls that come with the receiver are good, but equalizer is always better. You can tune the sound more accurately with it, which is not possible with default controls.
#10: Get the Best Out of Your System with Frequency Filters
Filter is always required for spontaneous sound. A bunch of components are equipped in a car stereo, so one type of frequency often gets suppressed or fails to be projected if another type of frequency gets particularly dominant.
Use frequency filters (for instance, an integrated crossover network) to eliminate unnecessary frequencies. Sometimes it gets difficult to hear the audio file over really low bass, which can be avoided by using high-pass filter. Or you can employ a low-pass filter for more detailed surround bass.
Some crossovers include a subsonic filter to get rid of distortion caused by higher equalization or subsonic destruction for clean audio.
#11: Capacitor is Essential
A basic stereo isn’t capable of providing a power-craving subwoofer or amplifier with a necessary amount of wattage. This often becomes the sole reason of an amplifier malfunction. To get the best performance with high power handling, you must link the amplifier and car battery with a capacitor. It stores the battery power for strong amp response.
#12: Use Audio Files with Higher Bit Rate
Last but not the least, don’t compromise on audio files. Bit rate determines the audio file’s performance quality. The frequency response range gets wider with the growth of kbps.
When you’re using a compressed file, bit rate gets lower and thus, lots of frequencies get lost and the file doesn’t sound good. All frequencies can’t reflect in the compressed version, so the audio loses its originality and sounds weak.
Don’t use compressed files with low bit rate if you really want high-quality sound. 320 kbps bit rate is the most preferable bit rate for accurately detailed, loud audio.