Skip Navigation

12 tips for getting the best sound quality in your car

I've been with Crutchfield since 1999, where I began as one our advisors, helping our customers choose new gear. After a couple of years, I moved to the writing team where I spent a decade researching new products and getting hands on with car stereos, amplifiers, speakers, and subs. Yeah, I've been doing this for a while.

For the past few years, I've been the managing editor of Crutchfield's Car A/V web article content. I couldn't ask for a better job — we get to play with car audio gear every day! I'm a Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outside of work, I love listening to music, playing board games, and installing new audio systems for my friends.

More from Robert Ferency-Viars

Happy driver

A car can be a great place to enjoy music, but many commuters still put up with marginal sound quality that they'd never tolerate at home. Others assemble sophisticated sound systems for their cars, then make common installation mistakes that keep the system from reaching its full potential.

I've put together some suggestions on how to improve the sound in your vehicle, with tips for both simple factory systems and more sophisticated setups. You don't have to live with bad sound in your car. Even the simplest improvements to your system can yield noticeable results.

Kicker KS series car audio speakers

Kicker KS Series speakers

Tip #1: Replace your car's speakers

In most cases, the speakers are just about the last thing a manufacturer thinks about when designing and building your car. Factory systems have gotten better over the last few years, but many so-called "premium" systems still use relatively inexpensive amps and speakers that don't deliver top-notch sound.

You can make a big difference in your system's sound quality by installing a nice set of aftermarket speakers. You'll hear tighter bass and more overall clarity, and you'll most likely notice details you've never heard before in songs you've known for years.

Replacement speakers give you maximum bang for your buck, so they're a terrific first step on the road to better sound.

Shop car speakers

Learn more about car speakers

Astell & Kern AK70

Astell & Kern AK70 high-res portable music player

Tip #2: Select higher quality for your music files

Yes, you can store more music files in your music player if you use greater compression, and they'll sound okay when you're listening through earbuds. But you lose some high- and low-frequency information when you compress your music, along with some of the details that make your music interesting. And, on a good car audio system, you can really tell that something's missing.

Don't settle for the default setting when creating your files. If you want to use your iPod, smartphone, or MP3 player in your car, try using as little compression as possible. The higher the bit rate, the better your music will sound through your car's system. And if you stream music, explore the settings in your favorite music app to step up your audio quality.

Shop hi-res music players

Learn more about MP3 and other formats

Alpine CDE-HD148BT

The Alpine CDE-HD148BT uses a high-quality DAC to bring out the details in your music

Tip #3: Bypass your music player's built-in digital-to-analog converter

A digital-to-analog converter, or DAC, has the job of converting digital information — 0's and 1's — into analog music signals. Your music player's built-in DAC usually does a good enough job for casual listening with earbuds, but it doesn't deliver the same level of performance you can get from the more advanced DACs found in many of today's better car stereos. Fortunately, if you can connect your iPod or phone to your aftermarket stereo via a USB cable, you might be able to bypass your device's DAC. It depends on the individual stereo, so be sure to check the stereo's "Hands-on Research" info on the Crutchfield website for confirmation.

Shop car stereos

Learn more about getting the best sound from your portable music player

Dynamat door kit

This Dynamat door kit will treat all four doors in your vehicle.

Tip #4: Use Dynamat or another sound deadening material

By reducing vibration and road noise, Dynamat does two things to make your system sound better.

First off, a door panel isn't the best place for a speaker — the thin metal vibrates as your music plays, which affects the accuracy of the sound. When you attach Dynamat to your door panel, it deadens those vibrations and creates a more stable platform for your speaker, more like the wooden baffle on a home speaker.

Second, have you ever noticed how your system sounds really good at 25 mph, but gets a little harsh when you hit 60? Road noise tends to mask the lower frequencies first, so your system sounds overly bright when you turn it up at highway speeds. Dynamat lowers interior noise levels in your car, so you don't have to turn your music up as loud when you're driving. You'll hear more musical detail, and your amps won't have to work as hard. And that's all good.

Shop sound deadening

Watch our video on installing Dynamat

Rockford Fosgate Prime R600-4D

Rockford Fosgate Prime amplifier

Tip #5: Add a car amplifier

You may be saying "My factory stereo puts out 200 watts, and that's plenty of power." But there's a huge difference between 50 watts peak power per channel produced by your car stereo and 50 watts RMS from an outboard amplifier. A separate amplifier will provide more clean power than any car stereo, and that'll make a night-and-day difference in sound quality. Your system will sound better, whether you listen to Mahler at a conversational level or Megadeth turned up to 11. An amplifier is essential to getting great sound in your car.

Shop car amplifiers

Learn more about car amplifiers

Tip #6: Add a signal processor or an equalizer

The interior of a car presents some serious problems when it comes to sound quality. Glass and plastic surfaces reflect sound like crazy, while carpet, seat covers, and other absorbent materials soak it up. Add poorly-placed speakers to the mix, and you wind up with significant frequency response peaks in most car interiors. These peaks make your music boomy in the bass or shrill in the upper frequencies, causing "ear fatigue."

AudioControl's EQL trunk-mount 2-channel equalizer

AudioControl's EQL equalizer features 13 bands of equalization, and its level matching controls get maximum voltage to your amps.

Most car receivers give you treble, midrange, and bass controls — useful for global fixes but not for zeroing in on problem areas. You'll need an equalizer to kill these peaks, whether it's built into your receiver or in a processor mounted in your dash or near your amplifiers.

An outboard equalizer gives you multiple points for adjusting frequency response, so you can iron out those peaks in your system. A parametric equalizer allows you to vary the centerpoint and width of each EQ band, so you can really zero in on a problem area. Sound processors help you eliminate frequency response peaks and increase bass response, and some even include a microphone for analyzing your car's acoustics.

Shop car equalizers and signal processors

Learn about equalizers

Sound Ordnance sealed 12

Tip #7: Build a better sub box. Or buy one.

If you're building a sealed subwoofer box, make sure it's sealed properly. Air leaks can really hurt your sub's performance. If you're using a ported box, make sure you've got the right sub in there. You can destroy a sub that's designed for sealed box use by driving it hard in a ported enclosure. Also, it's important to build a box with the correct interior volume for the sub you've picked out. A mismatch can result in poor performance or a sub fatality.

You can also avoid all of these issues by buying a premade enclosure that'll work with your subwoofer.

Shop subwoofer boxes

Learn all about box building

Tip #8: Your crossover can really improve the sound of your system

Many in-dash receivers now include frequency filters that'll work with your preamp and speaker outputs. If you have a sub, use the high-pass filter to remove the low bass from your car's full-range speakers. You'll get more clean volume out of them, particularly if you're driving them with the receiver's built-in power. Or maybe your sub sounds really strong, but the bass sounds like it's coming from behind you. Experiment with raising or lowering the crossover point on your low-pass filter, and you'll be able to bring the bass up forward with the rest of the music.

 
JL Audio's Slash v2 Series 300/4v2 amplifier

This amplifier features front and rear frequency filters.

Many amplifiers feature subsonic filters that remove super-low bass below the range of human hearing. Go ahead and turn it on — your amp and sub will run cleaner without that subsonic sludge. Also, the compression you use to create your music files can cause a low-frequency sputtering sound in your subs. Your subsonic filter can remove or minimize this noise.

Shop car audio crossovers

Common questions about crossovers

Tip #9: Set your amp gains properly

Our Tech Support people field calls every day from customers who can't understand why their new car audio system sounds so bad. The #1 problem? Most people think the gain control on their new amplifier controls the volume level. Naturally, they turn it all the way up, which causes bad things to happen. The gain control actually adjusts the amount of input signal coming into the amplifier. When you crank it up too high, you'll hear some seriously nasty distortion.

Sound OrdnanceT M-2100 amplifier

Setting the gains properly on this Sound Ordnance amp will keep your system distortion-free.

The general idea is to turn your receiver's volume control roughly 3/4 of the way up to maximum volume, then turn up your amp gain until you hear distortion. Back it off a little, and you're all set. Every amp manufacturer will have specific suggestions, so you'll want to check out your manual for the best way to set the gain on your new amplifier.

Shop car amplifiers

Learn more about setting up your new amp

JVC's KW-NT310 navigation/DVD receiver

This Kenwood Excelon navigation receiver offers a 13-band equalizer and plenty of user presets.

Tip #10: Don't max out your tone controls

Boosting your factory radio's tone controls up to 11 might make your system sound better in your driveway, but it just creates distortion when you turn it up on the highway. A heavy low-frequency boost, in particular, will put a big strain on your factory system. If you want to fatten up your sound, try using a smaller boost in the bass, lower the highs and mids a touch, and then turn up your overall level a little more.

But maybe you've replaced your factory radio with an aftermarket stereo that features a multi-band equalizer. The same rule still holds true — avoid excessive tone boosts or cuts if possible. A bad EQ setting can make a good system sound terrible, while an intelligent tone curve can make a good system sound great.

For a number of very good reasons, it's never a good idea to fool with your EQ on the road. If you can, program a few different EQ presets into your receiver, so you can see what works best in your car without having to adjust settings while you're driving. Or cycle through your receiver's preset curves to see if one of them sounds particularly good at highway speed, then customize that setting in your driveway.

Shop car stereos

What to look for in a car stereo

Rockford Fosgate Prime R1-1X10

Rockford Fosgate Prime R1-1X10 enclosure with 10" subwoofer

Tip #11: Add a subwoofer and hear what you've been missing

I've installed a lot of car audio systems, and I still love to see that "Wow" moment when somebody hears a sub in their car for the first time. A good subwoofer will bring the bottom octave of your music back into proper balance, so you'll hear familiar tunes in a whole new light. A subwoofer will take a load off your full-range speakers too, since you'll be playing your tunes with the bass control set at "0" instead of "+5".

Some people develop a negative opinion of subwoofers when they sit next to a thumping, vibrating car at a traffic light. But subs aren't just about the boom — you can adjust any subwoofer to fit your musical tastes and your vehicle. And once you drive with a subwoofer, you can never go back to living without one. Or two.

Shop car subwoofers

Watch our video on adding a powered sub

T-Spec 1.5-farad capacitor

T-Spec 1.5-farad capacitor

Tip #12: Use a capacitor if you're going to push your subs hard

The people who designed your car probably didn't have subwoofers in mind when they built your vehicle. Big bass sucks up a lot of power, and most car electrical systems aren't equipped to deal with it.

A capacitor acts as a buffer between your amplifier and your car's battery. You connect the cap inline on the power cable from your battery, as close to the amp as possible. It stores up power from your alternator, then releases it instantly to satisfy your amp's demand for the power needed to reproduce a big bass hit.

Have you ever noticed a big drop-off in performance after running your subs loud and hard for a minute or two? Or watched your headlights dim in time to the music while you're driving at night? A capacitor cures these problems by taking the brunt of those demand peaks away from your amp, so your amp sees a more consistent supply of power.

Shop capacitors

Frequently asked questions about installing a car amplifier

EFX patch cables

EFX patch cables offer excellent signal transfer with minimal noise.

Bonus Tip: Use high-quality cables for your amplifiers

Electricity is like running water. You wouldn't run a garden hose from your well to your house, because not enough water would get through to keep up with demand. That's why you don't want to use cheap, undersized power cable to get power to your amplifiers — the amp will be starved for power when you start pushing up the volume control. A good power cable allows current to flow freely so your amp gets the juice it needs during peak demand.

High-quality patch cables promote better signal flow from your receiver to your amps, so you hear a more focused, detailed sound. And good patch cables will also reject noise caused by your car's electrical system. Don't believe it? Ask any guitar player about the importance of good cables.

Shop audio cables

Watch our amplifier installation video

Looking for more advice?

Give us a call, and an advisor will work with you to find the right audio solution for your vehicle.

Last updated 4/20/2017
  • Sanjeev Berry from New Zealand

    Posted on 5/21/2015

    Thanks for sharing such a informative article. A good subwoofer will bring the bottom octave of music back into proper balance, so you'll hear familiar tunes in a whole new light.

  • Moses from Malaysia

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    Hi My head unit does have "Loudness" function. should i turn it on when using amplifier?

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    Moses, yes you can safely use your loudness feature with your amplifier. But often, if you have your amp tuned nicely, turning on the loudness can make the music sound muddy or a little distorted. So try it with and without the loudness, and adjust your amp so that you're happy with what you hear.

  • Alex from Texas

    Posted on 7/6/2015

    I am going to install Rockford Fosgate R600X5 amp, what cables should I use?

  • Alex from Texas

    Posted on 7/6/2015

    How good are the Nakamichi car stereos?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/6/2015

    Alex, check out this Crutchfield staff review of one of the most recent Nakamichi CD receivers.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/6/2015

    Alex, depending on your application, Rockford Fosgate has a number of cable packages that will work with this receiver. Check out the "Accessories" tab on the Rockford Fosgate R600X5 page. You may also find our car amplifiers FAQ useful.

  • Gregory Guza from Berwyn, IL

    Posted on 7/12/2015

    Hi, what options do I have for improved sound quality in my 2015 Dodge Journey SXT with the base stereo (4.3 screen unit)? It obviously sounds weak since this system doesn't have an amplifier at all and the music seems to lose power during the vocal parts of songs and then come back up during the non-vocal parts-which is extremely annoying. Replacing the head unit isn't an option anymore on today's new cars since they now incorporate the HVAC controls and other vehicle features and option controls in the head units. It's really stupid that they force you to deal with lousy sound by sticking other things in the stereo so you can't replace it.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/13/2015

    Greg, you're right -- dashes have become more complicated, but we have integration solutions for a growing number of new cars. I've passed your info along to a Crutchfield advisor who will contact you soon with solutions for your Dodge Journey.

  • tony moon from United States

    Posted on 7/19/2015

    I have a pioneer 700bt double din. Will the d1 00 amp hook up with RCA cables in back of receiver and to the amp? I have 61\2 inch speakers in the doors will it work ok? My main question is how it is hooked up to receiver and amp! Thanks Tony!

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/20/2015

    Tony, if you're referring to the Pioneer GM-D1004, you won't be able to power it through a connection with your receiver since your receiver uses a 10-amp fuse and the amp requires connection to a receiver with a 15-amp fuse. You'll have to power the amp directly from the battery. With that receiver/amp combo, you'll have your choice of RCA or speaker-level wiring. If your speakers are aftermarket, they should be able to handle that new dose of power just fine.

  • Garo from Montreal, Canada

    Posted on 7/28/2015

    Hi! I'm still using tube amplifier at home. I reasantly bought a Mercedes e320 2000 and I would like to improve the sound system...what do you think of Alpine system with navigation? I like to hear from you. thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/28/2015

    Garo, An Alpine receiver with navigation is a great choice, but we need some more information about your vehicle before we can make a recommendation. You can use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car or give us a call at 1.888.955.6000.

  • Lynn w. Blackman from San Leandro

    Posted on 7/30/2015

    i just want to see more door speaker installations for components. For maximum performance

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/31/2015

    Lynn, we have quite a few articles about component speakers and even more vehicle profiles that detail specific speaker installations. This list is a great place to start. You might also enjoy our Car Audio Proving Ground series.

  • Dale Robert Garcia from Fort Worth

    Posted on 8/8/2015

    Why does my sub stop working at a certain point when I crank the volume? If I lower the volume,the sub will play again.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/10/2015

    Dale, it sounds like your amp is going into protection mode. It may be that you have gain turned up too far. Turn it down, and see if the problem continues. If it does, it may be that your sub's impedance is too low for your amp. Take a look at this article on wiring a sub and amp to make sure your system is wired correctly. Good luck!

  • Charles Rananto

    Posted on 8/11/2015

    I have a what sounds obvious question but it's still not working out. My head unit is a pioneer FH-X80BS, wired to a S/O 4050 amp, wired back through speaker wires through harness Metra 70-1761 according to directions. Head unit is grounded to firewall at a good ground location. Metra ASWC-1 wired according to directions, RCA patch cables through kit from crutchfield with identical patch cables for other channel and sub-woofer amp. 4050 amp grounded to floor under front seat where it located to bare metal. Second amp grounded to sanded floor in back of van. All patch cables are from HU. Power cables (both 8 gauge) are on the left side of vehicle from battery and patch cables on right side of vehicle. Problem I'm having is this. When amps and three sets of speakers are hook up with car running there are no problems. When I start engine with no volume, I hear high pitch hum and when I turn volume up I hear ticking sound that does not increase with engine. When do the same but with only one patch cable to 4050 amp I have not issues. Grounding is good, second amps do the same. I don't install a lot of these but everything is the way it's supposed to be and somehow I'm getting feedback on second patch cable into 4050 S/O amp. This is in a 2009 Toyota Sienna. Should I ground amps together and possible to battery? Very frustrated and in need of help.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/11/2015

    Charles, it sounds like you bought your gear from Crutchfield, which means you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Give us a call at 1.888.955.6000.

  • Mike from Bay Area, CA

    Posted on 8/12/2015

    I'm really curious to hear or see the sound systems that the Crutchfield employees have :) I know you guys definitely have all the good stuff!

  • Kaelon from Cape Town

    Posted on 9/4/2015

    If I wanted to get a better sound in my car, would changing the factory fitted speakers with 4 x Kenwood 6" speakers work? Or would I need an amp? I think the speakers put out about 300watts RMS each

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/4/2015

    Kaelon, replacing your factory speakers is a great way to significantly improve the audio in your car. You don't need an amplifier to play aftermarket speakers but they'll certainly perform better if you feed them with amplified power. Be sure that the RMS output per channel of your amplifier is comparable to the power handling of your speakers. A good rule of thumb is that amp power should be within the range of 75-150% of speaker's max RMS power. So, if your speakers are rated 2-60w RMS, an amp should have minimum of 45w RMS per channel and a max of 90w RMS. You might want to check the Kenwood speakers you're interested in again for their power-handling. Max RMS tends to be no more than 150 watts RMS on the very high end.

  • roy from hilo

    Posted on 9/6/2015

    What's the best way to hook up 2 amps both 2 channel Kenwood 1000 watts n a Kenwood 400 watt I wanna hook up 2 door speAkers 2 rears n 2 tweeters with a 10in Boston acoustic sub I have a 2000 honda accord

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/8/2015

    Roy, this article is a good place to start, but if you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help setting up your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Lewis from Ashton

    Posted on 9/16/2015

    Hey. I have a JL Audio 360x4 amp with a Vibe subwoofer. My uncle has recommended getting some 6x9's on my rear shelf to fill it out and have a fuller sound rather than using the stock speakers for the high end. Is this a good idea or should I just replace the speakers in the door?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/17/2015

    Lewis, go for it. Your uncle has the right idea. Aftermarket speakers are always going to send better than factory speakers. You can use our vehicle selector to confirm which speakers will fit your car.

  • Sterling from Midlothian

    Posted on 9/22/2015

    What is the average cost for a pretty good sounding speaker system in a qx4?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/23/2015

    Sterling, you can use our vehicle selector to confirm which speakers fit your car and get an idea for prices.

  • Deepak from Jaipur

    Posted on 10/28/2015

    Hi I have following audio in my car: 1 JVC console 2 JVC 400 W peak o/p power in front 2 JVC 150 W peak o/p power in rear and i'm going to buy JBL bass tube 1200 w.please suggest me amplifier... 2/4 channel Thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/28/2015

    Deepak, take a look at this article as well as this article to plan your system. Peak power isn't going to be helpful in finding the right amp, you'll need to know the RMS power rating of all speakers involved.

  • robert schwanitz from detroit

    Posted on 11/3/2015

    i have a 1976 chevy suburban with an amfm 8 track which i would like to keep i have replaced the speaker wire and still cant get much volume without poor sound quality. the rear speakers are mounted on the wheel wells. my question is what are the speaker specs for me to try and get more volume

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/3/2015

    Robert, I've passed your information along to our sales team for the best answer. An advisor will contact you shortly with recommendations.

  • cigano from Southport

    Posted on 11/15/2015

    Great article thank you! Ive just installed a bluetooth touchscreen headunit in my mazda hatchback. If i were to install 4 new speakers in the doors and the splits would i require an amp? Im not planning on installing a sub as i need the boot space. Thanks

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/16/2015

    Cigano, it's not a requirement, but you'll certainly get even more performance out of your new speakers if they're powered by an aftermarket amp. Check out this car amplifier buying guide, and if you have any questions, just give us a call!

  • Sanjay Joshi from Kolkata

    Posted on 11/24/2015

    Hi I just bought a Honda City VX-O 2015 model. Don't have much knowledge about the technical aspects of the music systems, don't even know the make of the audio system! I also have a 2010 Honda Jazz and am pretty happy with the output of the same but not so happy with the City one :-( what should I do to improve the same?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/24/2015

    Sanjay, we can't help you with the specifics of those particular cars since our database only covers North American vehicles, but if you're looking for the basics of car audio, this video series is a great place to start.

  • Paolo from Bologna

    Posted on 11/28/2015

    It's much more better to replace your stock battery with an agm one or add another one in the trunk instead of buying a supercap. Yeah, it's more expensive too, but a cap is only a passive component able to store and relase energy previously leaked from the battery. You will provide your amplifiers the Amps they need, plus the car will be more reliable. You can add a charge separator between the batteries too.

  • Larry Woolard from Washington

    Posted on 11/29/2015

    I have a 2000 Suburban. I replaced the rear subwoofer which was a big improvement. However I still have alot of treble in the front and very little bass. Was wondering if I replace factory door speakers with four way speakers, will I need to unhook the tweeters in each door. Now it seems all you hear is the tweeters.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/30/2015

    Larry, yes, you'll want to disconnect the tweeters before installing your new 4-way speakers. Good luck!

  • Larry Woolard from Washington

    Posted on 11/30/2015

    Thanks Alexander. Any suggestions on the speakers I should get. I'm not looking for window shaking bass but I would like a good clear, rich sound with bass. Not trebly like it is now.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/1/2015

    Larry, I've passed your question along to our sales team. An advisor will contact you soon to help you find the right speakers for your car.

  • Daniel from Ridgefield

    Posted on 2/15/2016

    My alpine type r pulses a thudding sound repeatedly even when the volume to my stereo is at 0. What's causing this?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/15/2016

    Daniel, that could be a number of things. A loose ground may be the culprit, or your amp could be malfunctioning. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Detonate from Tacoma WA

    Posted on 2/17/2016

    The best way to get the sound you want out of your system is to install a 7 band or equivalent eq within reach of the driver, so you can adjust your system instantly for any song not properly mastered. A 13 band eq in the trunk is not going to do jack for you, when you go from a properly mastered cd to a mp3 you ripped off of vinyl, unless you plan on doing a lot of pulling over to adjust that eq in your trunk.

  • Mark Kelber from Tempe

    Posted on 6/3/2016

    Great comments from an Excellent Company that "knows" car audio and is not just out to move boxes regardless of situation or consequence. Crutchfield cares, and when a customer comes into my shop with their product for us to install I am confident that they were advised correctly with regards to proper fitment and installation kits and harness's, which can be a confusing task even for "seasoned" installers. Anyway the 12 tips were useful and easy to understand but I would also mention in some of the bigger vehicles I inquire if the driver is usually solo and if so I adjust the balance a notch or two to the right (passenger side) that will deliver a more centered front stage. I make sure they know how to change it to their liking like salt and pepper on your steak.

  • Ricardo Virgula from Colton CA

    Posted on 6/30/2016

    Can replace my oem stereo on my 1998 Acura rl with an aftermarket unit?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/1/2016

    Ricardo, if you have the non-navigation factory radio, you can use our vehicle selector to confirm which stereos fit your car and get some info on what else is needed for the installation. Unfortunately, we have not researched the navigation radio on the the '98 Acura RL

  • Ross from Vix

    Posted on 9/10/2016

    Could it be possible to have the best eq settings for my jvc kd-x32 car radio I have a Ford fiesta 2004 I have not changed the speakers but I have been told not to since that the factory ones are good but with a good eq setting thanks in advance

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/12/2016

    Ross, tuning your car stereo really comes down to preference. Check out this article for a guide to setting your levels to your liking.

  • Johnny from Philadelphia

    Posted on 10/1/2016

    How are you, I just got two IDMAX12 's put into around a 3.2 cf sealed enclosure. Now it sounds good at higher frequencys but when the bass guitar hits low (I listen to rock ) it's gets rough sounding,not smooth,like a fast sputtering or rough vibrating sound in the tone. Now my amp isn't the best ,it's a Kicker CX 1200.1 , could it be crappy patch cables or maybe I was thinking the metal under the rear deck plastic (no stock speaker holes) could be vibrating and causing the sound to break up . Does that kind of thing .happen? ....... Kicker CX 1200.1 / 0 gauge Knu Koncepts power & ground/ old Kicker blue patch cables/ dual idmax's 12's / 3.2 cf (give or take) sealed / Pioneer AVH X4800BS

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/6/2016

    Johnny, if you bought any of the gear you described from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting for the lifetime of the product. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Irek from NYC

    Posted on 10/24/2016

    Hi, I have 4 Kicker KS-60 (no amp) in my doors, SSL LOPRO 8" (w/ built-in amp) under seat and a oem head unit ('15 Forester). Since my subwoofer claims to produce 20-150Hz frequencies, would adding bass blockers 150Hz @ 4ohm to my Kickers help clear up the lows? or at least allow Kickers to perform better on the other frequencies since they will have a lower bass load? Thank you

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/25/2016

    Irek, yes, that's the purpose of Bass Blockers, so they'll make your system more efficient and you could hear an improvement in your sound.

  • Vatsal Gupta from Ghaziabad

    Posted on 11/29/2016

    How much should I set my filter knob to? And what does gain mean which is written alongside bass control knob?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/30/2016

    Vastal, use this article as a guide when tuning your sub. You should find the info you need there.

  • Archil from Georgia

    Posted on 12/1/2016

    I have ford escape 2005 . Got 4 jbl 6x9 speakers each 100 watt rms and 4 channel amp 70 watt rms each channel. Have as well factory bose 2 subs from slk 230 1998. Please suggest me for better sound :should I connect 2 speakers and subs to amp or its better to connect 4 speakers to amp without sub???? Or its possible to connect 4 speakers and 2 subs to amp with 4channel???

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/2/2016

    Archil, your JBL speakers could handle a bit more power, but it sounds like with your current gear, your best bet is to use the 4-channel amp with the 2 pairs of JBLs. As far as the factory subs go, you might want to consider stepping up to a separate amp and aftermarket subs. Give us a call if you'd like recommendations.

  • Paul S. from San Francisco

    Posted on 12/12/2016

    I recently purchased and installed the Alpine MRX-110 to power my sealed 12" sub and ran into a question about frequency filter setting. I have a pair of Infinity Kappa 693.11i 3-way in my kick panel powered by Rockford's P400x2 Punch with high pass filter set at 80hz. I wanted my sub to handle the punchy band (80~120hz) of the low frequencies and I currently have it set at 100hz, but I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do. Do you have any suggestions on where the pass filter should be set at? Could overlapping (High pass at 80hz and low pass at 100hz) frequencies from my 6x9 and sub cause issues?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/14/2016

    Paul, unless you're noticing a problem with your sound, you should be fine. If you're noticing your sound is too boomy, you could consider bringing that low pass filter down to 80 Hz, but in the end, what makes you happy will be the best sound for your system.

  • Chance from Edmond

    Posted on 3/29/2017

    I recently just purchased two pairs of kicker ksc68 for my 08 ford f150 four door and was wondering if I should have gotten the kicker css68 component speakers to replace my factory speakers since they use a seperate woofer and tweeter location?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/31/2017

    Chance, if you're happy with the sound of your coaxials, then you made a great choice. Components can have an advantage in sound because the separate tweeters are closer to your ears and can provide better staging. However, adding components can be a bit more work to install. In the end, it'll come down to your preference, but give us a call if you'd like to speak to an advisor.

  • Kevin McAllister from South Thomaston

    Posted on 4/13/2017

    "In line" implies a series connection with the amplifier. Capacitors are installed in parallel with the vehicle's electrical system. It would also be more correct to say they store current from the alternator.

  • Arnold from Fort Worth, TX

    Posted on 4/26/2017

    Hi, I recently bought a pair of aftermarket speakers to install in my GMC Sonoma. I hooked them up to an amplifier, but I get a lot of static noise once the engine is on did I do something wrong?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/27/2017

    Arnold, you may have a faulty connection or depending on signal wire placement (and the sound you're hearing), you may be picking up some interference. Either way, it sounds like you may need to check your work. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Shay from Telford

    Posted on 4/27/2017

    Hello. Very informative article. I have a couple questions and I hope you could assist me. I already upgraded the big three. I just ordered a XS Power D6500 battery. The battery will be my only battery for the entire vehicle. I have an Ohio Generator altenator putting out 310 Amps. I have 2 JL 1000/1s powering 2 JL 12W7s 2 JL 600/4s powering 8 6.5 C5-Series door speakers. My system is rated at 3200 RMS watts. My questions are, would I benefit more from a hybrid capacitor (I was looking at getting the Stinger 10 farad hybrid capacitor) or should I get an ultracapacitor (the one I'm looking at is a group of 4-6 of them chained together)? Which one would fit my systems needs better? What are the benefits of each? Thank you!

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/28/2017

    Shay, based on the specs you've quoted, we recommend you try out your system without any capacitors. Sounds like you have plenty of power. If you still feel like you need something for those giant bass drops, give us a call.

  • Shay from Telford

    Posted on 4/29/2017

    Thanks Alexander for a quick reply. My primary worry is voltage drop and subsequently blowing my equipment. I am installing fused distribution blocks for all 4 amps to help safeguard against it, but I wanted an "insurance policy' so-to-speak to further prevent the issue from happening. Any thoughts/suggestions/feedback you could give me about the potential for voltage drop and how to protect against it? Thanks again! Have a great weekend.

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/1/2017

    Shay, I've passed your question along to our advisors. Someone will contact you soon to talk the best solution for your system.

  • Shay from Telford

    Posted on 5/2/2017

    Thanks! I appreciate the help!

  • Christopher Hall from Salem

    Posted on 8/17/2017

    I have a new 2016 Nissan Rogue lease with the most vile audio imaginable .. its across the board on AM-FM-XM-CD..extremely harsh upper mid range distortion I'll bet if measured would have to be 25% thd...God know what the IMD is... All Rogues sound the same... the Bose head and audio is not much better. My Rouge has the standard head with no external amp so there is no way to get a pure pre-amp level out to install a new amp-eq and speakers. The RF reception side of the head is satisfactory but the audio is so under powered, distorted, harsh and grating I can't enjoy the car... I wish I had my Ford SUV with the stock audio system back...Nissan and the dealer will do nothing. I am stuck with this car for two more years... I will never buy another NIssan just because of the bad audio system. My nice just bought a new Pathfinder against my advice... she's sorry now. Any suggestions or am I screwed

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/18/2017

    Christopher, thanks for reaching out! I've passed your story along to an advisor. Someone will contact you soon to help you find the right solution for your Nissan.

  • William from Adamsville

    Posted on 9/21/2017

    I recently purchased a 2017 Toyota corolla se and it has the 6.1 inch touch screen stereo. It has 6.5's in the doors and the rear, with a 6x9 opening. I recently put aftermarket 6x9's. Well, the 6x9's sounded terrible! Any advice?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/2/2017

    William, could you elaborate on how they sound terrible? If you purchased the speakers from us, we can help! Give our Tech Support team a call for free help troubleshooting your system.

Great Gear Giveaway

THE

GREAT GEAR GIVEAWAY

Ask an expert advisor

No pressure, no commission — just lots of good advice from our highly trained staff.

Find what fits your vehicle

 
 
 
 

Can't find your exact vehicle?

Featured Products