Looking for Car Stereos?

Car StereosStart shopping

Crutchfield's Car Audio Proving Ground Series

A four-part look at what new gear can do for a Ford F-150

We wanted to answer the most basic question about car audio: is it really worth it to upgrade? With the help of the Crutchfield Labs, we set out to prove just how much better music sounds when it’s played through a high-quality aftermarket system. Our plan was to test the sound of an after­market system one component at a time, based on sound quality and loudness.

Using a 2004 Ford F-150 as our test vehicle, we installed some great gear, then documented the system performance and improvements along the way:


Part one: Receivers and speakers
Starting with a factory system, we added an Alpine receiver, then upgraded the speakers. We tested each configuration separately for loudness, quality of sound, and soundstaging.

For all the details:

Read the full article,

Or watch the video.

Part two: Amplifiers and subwoofers
The second step was to see how much improvement we got by adding power and bass. We also upgraded the speakers and dove into the Alpine head unit's 7-band parametric EQ. 

Read the full article,

or watch the video.

Part three: Processors and other upgrades
Jeff upgraded to component speakers, installed high-quality speaker wire, and added a processor for fine-tuning ability. He also bi-amped the speakers to get more headroom.

Read the full article,

or watch the video.

Part four: Battling road noise with Dynamat
With all the gear in place, it was time to seal in the sound.  By installing Dynamat, Jeff hoped to quiet vibrations and block out road noise in his F-150.

Read the full article

or watch the video.

Gift Card The Great Gear Giveaway

Sign up for our email newsletter and then enter to win a $350 Rewards Card.