Car Audio Resolutions for the New Year
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
Heads up!Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.
New Year’s Resolutions. Every year, many of us resolve to change some aspect of our lives or lifestyles. In addition to losing weight, exercising more, reading more, watching TV less, playing video games more (I mean LESS!) and everything else you want to take on this year, why not also promise yourself that you’ll make the time you spend in the car every single day more enjoyable? To that end, I’m talking about making an improvement in your stereo system.
Improving your stereo doesn’t have to be a big overhaul. We can keep it simple and focus on one or two things. To get some ideas for the types of improvements we can make, I polled my coworkers to see what THEY want to change, or what they changed last year. I’ll start the show:
|The Sound Ordnance B-8PT powered subwoofer|
Robert: Last year I promised myself that I would further improve the sound in my car in one of two ways before the end of the year. I already have a great stereo and some nice aftermarket speakers in the front doors. So the next step for me was to either add some bass, probably a powered sub, or add a 4-channel amp and another set of speakers.
Well scroll down to November, and I finally added a powered sub. I installed the Sound Ordnance B-8PT powered sub in my car, and I’m very happy with it. It’s just the right amount of bass for me. Adding even a small sub like this one fills in those low frequencies that your speakers just can’t reproduce. I listen mostly to alt-country and Southern rock power chords, so I’m not thumping the bass by any means. But now I'm hearing notes I’ve previously only heard on my home stereo — or other people's cars.
|Sound Ordnance P-65 6-1/2" speakers|
Deb: Deb told me that her resolution is to fix that annoying rattle in one of her rear speakers. That’s a classic sign of a blown factory speaker, and all it’ll take to fix is a new pair of speakers. I suggested that she put new speakers in her front doors and then replace that rear speaker with one of those she removed up front. That depends on both locations being the same size, of course. My hope is to convince her to go ahead and replace all four. This woman really likes her music, so it would be worth her time.
In fact, one of the easiest improvements you can make to the sound quality in your car is replacing your front speakers. It’s not that hard and doesn’t have to be expensive — especially if you’re powering them with your factory stereo. For example, the Sound Ordnance speakers that we carry are great upgrades from factory speakers.
Buck: “I just added a nice bass system to my car, so next year I plan to get the vocals sounding perfect by replacing the factory component speakers and tweeters.” He also plans to apply some Dynamat sound damping material to the rear deck to stop the bass rattle he’s getting there now.
|Infinity Kappa component speakers sound great|
When you have an aftermarket stereo, which has 2 or 3 times the power of the typical factory stereo, upgrading your speakers can make an even greater impact, especially if you get component speakers. Having the tweeter separate from the woofer lets you mount it higher in the car. And that really helps to open up the sound stage and envelop you in the sound.
Steve: This lucky guy just bought a new car, so his resolution is to replace the factory stereo and speakers with new equipment. He’s the kind of guy who won’t settle for mediocre sound, so I look forward to seeing what he does.
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My wife: She finally admitted that she wants to listen to her iPod in the car. She could probably add an iPod adapter to her factory stereo, but these days, she can replace the stereo for about the same price, and get iPod controls via a USB input, which would also charge the iPod. At the very least, the new stereo will have an auxiliary input.
That's what my immediate coworkers (and wife) had to say. With only a little reflection, I’m sure you can think of something you’d like to change or improve about how your music sounds, or what you’re able to listen to, when you’re in the car. Set your sights on making a change this year.
At the very least, buy yourself a new air freshener so that every time you get in the car, your nose will be treated to a comforting, refreshing scent.
Then consider how nice it would be to give your ears the same treatment.