Everything You Need To Know About Your Car's Stereo

Jul 25, 2020 12:49 PM EDT | Staff Reporter

Everything You Need To Know About Your Car's Stereo

(Photo : Everything You Need To Know About Your Car's Stereo)

When it comes to your car stereo, many of us will look blank and scratch our heads when people ask us questions about them. In our day to day lives, the chances of us ever having to think about it is pretty remote, apart from maybe changing the station or skipping a song. But there may well come a time when you do need to know about your car stereo, yours could have stopped working, or you may want to look for an upgrade. So here are the key facts that you need to know about your car stereo in case you want to attempt to fix yours or fit a new one. 

Modern Systems

Gone are the days when you would get in a car and put in a trusty cassette tape or even a CD. Only older cars still have these types of head units and if yours does, it might be time for an upgrade. Modern car stereo systems though, still follow the same pattern of design. They have a head unit, which is the unit you twiddle on when you want to change the volume, station or song. You will have tweeter speakers; these will often be located at your feet in the front of your car. And you will have subwoofers in the back of your car. In some older cars, these were often found in the parcel shelf, now they are inbuilt into the vehicle. Modern systems will allow you to connect your phone to it, so that you are able to play music, make calls and in some cases if they have a display, use the GPS. 

Power Output

Unless you have bought a car with a Bose sound system, chances are your power output will be pretty limited. There will be a restriction on volume as well as the tones that you can hear. Head units that are fitted as standard are good enough for average people who are happy listening to the radio on a daily basis, but for some music lovers, this power won't be enough. If you find yourself in the category of not being happy with the sound, then you can upgrade all aspects of your audio, which also includes power. The bigger the system you go for, the more power you will need, which results in amplifiers. If you opt for a component speaker system and large subwoofer, a standard head unit isn't going to be strong enough to provide enough power to it. An amplifier that can be mounted in the boot near the woofer will give you the power boost you need to make the most of your set up. This way there is no risk to your cars battery, as the power draw comes from the amplifier. 


If you have a standard audio system in your car, chances are you also have coaxial speakers. These are full range speakers that all perform the same task when it comes to tone and pitch. They take up less space than their component counter parts and also require a lot less power to operate. If you are a music nerd, you'll find that the coaxial speakers won't give you the same clarity that component speakers will. That's because in component speakers, each type will make up one component of the sound, so you will have high range tweeters, mid-range and sub woofers, all of which will only operate at a particular frequency. The thing with component speakers is that each one will require a driver. A driver operates like a traffic conductor, it will tell the sound which speaker it can or can't go to depending on the range of the tone. It is this traffic conductor that gives you the range of sound that you want. Drives don't take up space, but they can be difficult to wire in, especially into modern cars. So, if you are thinking of upgrading your audio it will be worth looking at the car speakers guide to see which options you have. 

Head Unit

The head unit can be considered as the brains of the operation when it comes to your audio. It is the centralised point where all the decisions are made by you and it with regards to what you listen to and how it sounds. If you want to upgrade your head unit, there are no shortages of choice. You can have one with Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect your phone. You can have one with a touch screen to make sure that you can easily change your song without having to faff with buttons. If you have a Japanese import car, you can also get double din systems to fill up that empty blanking space that we are so used to seeing. The head unit doesn't have to be brand new for you to be able to adjust the sound quality. Even in older head units you are able to change the bass and the treble depending on what you are listening to. Newer head units give you are more control than ever before and if you have upgraded you speaker system to a component system, then you can really enjoy fine tuning it to make your sound perfect.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to anything electrical, people are a lot more afraid of it than they should be, and car stereo systems are a perfect example of this. By their very nature, they are exceptionally simple pieces of kit that only have a few components. Because of their simple nature, they are also exceptionally easy to upgrade. You don't need to upgrade all of the items at the same time, you can choose to upgrade piece by piece. So, if you aren't happy with the way your system sounds or your head unit is old and outdated, then updating and upgrading is something that is very easy to do. If you aren't sure where to start, don't worry there are an array of guides online or in stores that can help you decide on what audio path is best for you. 

See Now: OnePlus 6: How Different Will It Be From OnePlus 5?

© 2021 Auto World News, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Get the Most Popular Autoworld Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics