It’d be fair to say that you are unlikely to exactly need super-crisp and clear sound pounding into your ears while you’re on the road, so it’s understandable why many automakers give their cars’ audio tech relatively short shrift.
On the plus side, though, this means that there’s plenty of room for improvement if you fancy tinkering with your vehicle’s sound system. Here are some simple but clever ways of doing it.
Upgrade the head unit
This is a somewhat basic upgrade that isn’t always specifically aimed at improving the sound. You might opt for it if you simply want to add phone, Bluetooth and CD connections to your motor.
In an interview with beverage brand Red Bull, Carl Shakespeare of leading UK audio firm Studio InCar says that an entry-level head unit can be priced from about £200. However, he adds that even just an iPad placed into the car can function as “the best head unit you could have.”
Add an external amplifier
One of the easiest ways to boost the in-car audio quality is to add new speakers. Firstly, though, you should probably think about having a new amplifier fitted, as those speakers could otherwise be ill-served. Your car stereo will have an OEM amplifier, but you shouldn’t just settle for that.
Speaker Champion insists that an OEM amplifier will under-power aftermarket speakers and, over time, can damage them. An external amplifier, however, can scale up sound without distorting it.
Replace the car’s factory speakers
As the vehicle’s in-built speakers are likely to be the type that, erm, just “do the job”, it’s worth replacing them. As long as you find some aftermarket speakers that match the factory ones in dimensions and can accommodate your head unit, too, the installation will be mercifully easy.
Unfortunately, though, speakers – like amplifiers – can directly affect your car insurance costs. That could be your cue to research what modified car insurance is available from specialist insurers.
Switch to higher-quality music files
An oft-overlooked factor behind car audio quality is where exactly the sound is coming from. If you listen to digital music you originally bought at least a decade ago, back during the iPod age, those digital music files could be compressed more heavily than modern formats.
Lifewire suggests using larger files that haven’t so much been through the accordion treatment, so to speak. High-resolution audio is another option if you can stomach the especially large file sizes there.
Fit sound-deadening materials into your car
Now, this change isn’t directly to the car audio system itself, but instead to parts of the vehicle enclosure through which road noise can too easily leak otherwise.
You can help to deaden that sound by inserting such damping materials as Dynamat inside your door panels. A similar material can be placed on your hood’s inner side to muffle engine noise – however cool that might admittedly sound in the background of certain rap tracks…