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Car stereo system profiles

Matching the car stereo system to the car's driver

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 Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.

If you ask us, a car stereo system is much more than a stereo and a pair of speakers. Adding components like a satellite radio, subwoofers, amplifiers, a navigation unit, and a video system can transform the time you spend in your car from a boring daily routine to a highlight of your day. A well-designed system will allow you to catch up on the music you've been missing out on, keep up with the latest news, follow your favorite sporting events, entertain your kids with a backseat movie, or simply turn some heads in the parking lot.

Check out the driver profiles below to get an idea of what you might want to include with your next car stereo system:

The Daily Commuter

The majority of the time you spend in your car is on the way to or from work, or driving to meetings and other business events. Entertainment is not your first priority, but neither is a dull drive.

SiriusXM Onyx Plus

A typical system might include:

  1. Full-range speakers — Dollar for dollar, the best way to improve your car's sound.
  2. Powered subwoofer — Install a compact sub under your seat or in the trunk, and enjoy fuller, bigger sound.
  3. Dock-and-play satellite radio — With channels dedicated to virtually every genre of music, you're sure to find programming that'll make your commute go by faster.
  4. Receiver with Bluetooth® — Lets you keep in touch with your home or office while keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

The Road Warrior

You're on the road more than the average driver, and you expect more from your car and your car stereo system as a result. Comfort, variety, and convenience are tops on your list.

Kenwood DNX571TR

A typical system might include:

  1. Add-on satellite radio — Puts the immense variety of satellite radio at your fingertips.
  2. In-dash monitor/navigation system — The large, fold-out screen on an in-dash monitor makes it easy and safer to view maps, satellite radio info, and MP3 tags.
  3. Receivers filtered for iPod/iPhone® controls or Android™ phones — Control your iPhone or Android with your stereo, and keep it charged up while you're on the road.
  4. Component speakers — Get the best possible sound quality for your road travels.
  5. Amplifier — Give your music the power it needs.

The Family Chauffeur

You may be the driver, but your passengers have a way of making their wants and needs known. Rear-seat entertainment is a definite priority, so you can keep your sanity as you negotiate the route from soccer practice, to ballet lessons, the grocery store, and home.

Headrest video monitor

A typical system might include:

  1. Overhead, or headrest video system — A portable DVD player can be easily moved in and out of the car. An overhead system provides a permanent, cleaner installation, while a headrest screen blends into your vehicle's interior perfectly.
  2. Car stereo with dual-zone capability — Allows you to listen to a CD or satellite radio up front, and let the kids listen to a movie in the back.
  3. Dock-and-play satellite radio — SiriusXM offers outstanding children's programming.
  4. Receiver with Bluetooth® — Lets you keep in touch and on top of your appointments while you're driving.

The "Work Hard, Play Hard" Driver

Seems like you're always on the move — whether you're hauling mulch for your garden, taking your kayaks to the river, or running around town on the weekend with the recycling, the family dog, and a load of groceries. Your vehicle is both practical and versatile, and your stereo system should be the same.

CD receiver with USB input

A typical system might include:

  1. Receiver with a USB input — Hours and hours of tunes on a thumb drive = less clutter, more music.
  2. Receivers filtered for iPod/iPhone controls or Android phones — Control your iPhone or Android with your stereo, and keep it charged up while you're on the road.
  3. Full-range speakers — Flimsy factory speakers just don't cut it, especially when you can dramatically improve the sound for less than $100.
  4. Vehicle-specific powered subwoofer — Blends seamlessly into your interior and saves space.

The Performance Artist

You expect a lot from your ride — it should drive like a dream, turn heads on the highway, and sound like a live performance on wheels.

MTX subwoofer and amplifier

A typical system might include:

  1. In-dash monitor/navigation system — Watch a movie with friends in the parking lot, quickly navigate through MP3 folders while driving, get directions to the nearest gas station — this thing does it all.
  2. Receivers filtered for iPod/iPhone controls or Android phones — Control your iPhone or Android from your stereo and keep it charged up too? That's a no-brainer.
  3. Component sub and mono amp — Big, big bass is essential.

The "Drive It 'Til It Stops" Driver

You bought your car for next to nothing, and you'll drive it until it drops. The factory sound system sounds horrible or doesn't even work. You need good tunes, but you don't want to put a lot of money into the car. You need stuff that you can transfer easily into your next vehicle.

Kicker 6-1/2" speakers

A typical system might include:

  1. Speakers — Dollar for dollar, the best way to improve your car's sound.
  2. Stereo with auxiliary input — Play your MP3 player through your stereo.
  3. Dock-and-play satellite radio — Transfers easily from your car to your house and even to your next car.
  4. Small powered sub — A compact model fits neatly under a seat and gives you surprising bang for your buck.

  • annette wade from hazlehurst

    Posted on 2/27/2022

    how can i call this company

    Commenter image

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 3/1/2022

    Annette, you can give us a call at 1-888-955-6000.
  • Bond

    Posted on 4/18/2019

    Why "the daily commuter" include speaker+powered subwoofer (without amplifier for the speaker)? And "the road warrior" include component speakers+amplifier (without subwoofer)? Thanks.

  • charlene from st pete

    Posted on 3/3/2019

    audio 2007 honda civic works but sound only through speakers on dash and very low. Took to several places but getting different reasons and solutions from each palce

    Commenter image

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 3/3/2019

    Charlene, 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.
  • 1stGenGS3nATX from Austin

    Posted on 10/30/2018

    Hey now I just took the changer out of my antique Lexus and if I could have kept it I likely would have. Since I took it out my whole life has turned inside out and I just keep adding more and more stereo equipment to my car and now I have just realized that I even have accounts on at least six different car audio forums! What happened to me!!?

  • Commenter image

    Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/21/2018

    Jeremy, not likely. You'll need an aftermarket amp with speaker-level inputs.

  • Jeremy Welch from Valrico FL.

    Posted on 5/20/2018

    Does the factory radio have RCA plugs in back for the hook up of an amp?

  • Spike from Bahston

    Posted on 1/25/2017

    Props to the guy with the CD changer!!!

  • B

    Posted on 11/22/2016

    OK, so YOU are the guy that still has a functioning CD changer in 2016! Pretty soon it can go directly from your car to the Smithsonian!

  • m

    Posted on 7/9/2016

    still into 6 CD changer in my car ... wouldn't be without it!

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