The Best Guide to Upgrade Your Car Audio System – 2021

You want to make sure that you are using the best quality speakers for the system, and there are many things to consider when it comes to finding the right system for your vehicle. For example, is your vehicle a hatchback? How much power do you need? What’s more important for you-sound or features? In this article, we will explore all of these questions and more!

We all have a unique definition of what counts as high-quality sound, but we can all agree that there are certain things that make it easier to enjoy the music. Cranking up the volume, for example, is much more enjoyable with deep bass and clear treble. As for features, there are many options out there when it comes to speakers, but which is the best one for you?

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What is Car Audio?

Car audio is the equipment and components that are installed into a car to allow for better sound quality. These components may include speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers. Sound quality also differs based on the type of music you listen to. For example, rap or hip-hop requires a lot of bass while hi-fi sound is more suited for classical music. If you listen to a lot of different kinds of music, however, it is recommended that you use an equalizer to adjust the sound quality accordingly.

Car audio is the process of enhancing your vehicle’s sound experience. You can do this by adding speakers, a subwoofer (the big base speaker), amplifiers and other sounds accessories to your car.

There are countless ways to do it, but there are three main types:

1)  Passive – only requires some sort of outside amplification such as a receiver.

2)  Active – requires a separate amplifier to make the sound ideal, but there are many additional features and benefits.

3)  Custom – installed by a professional in your car by making changes to the interior (usually related to the door panels).

The different types of speakers and what they are used for

There are many types of car audio speakers and today we will take a look at four of the most popular: coaxial, component 2-way, component 3-way and subwoofers.

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Coaxial Car Audio Speakers

A single speaker split into two with a common axis.

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1) What are coaxial speakers?

Coaxial speakers consist of a single speaker split into two with a common axis. Many people think that the whole point of a 2-way setup is to have an upper and lower set of speakers, but what if you could only afford one set? A full range coaxial speaker is the perfect solution. These types of speakers may not be the absolute best for every situation, but they are a great compromise between cost and quality. Most coaxial speakers have cone tweeters built-in as well as crossovers to split up what frequencies go where. There are also coaxials with tweeter mounting options to give you some flexibility in terms of your tweeter’s position.

2) Advantages of coaxial speakers

There are many advantages to using a single pair of coaxials over other systems, and one of these is convenience. If you’re going for only one type of speaker but want the best sound possible, a coaxial certainly fits the bill. For example, the Cerwin-Vega XLS6 component speaker system includes a tweeter and 2 woofers all in one package, making it easy to find a good fit for your car’s stereo. This is also an upgrade option for car stereos that have high-treble tweeters built in like Alpine, Pioneer and Sony.

3) Disadvantages of coaxial speakers

There are a few disadvantages to using this type of speaker, and the first is that it’s not as easy to control overall sound quality after you install them. For example, the tweeters can rattle due to poor installation and many times you can’t even change your tweeter if the component is already installed in your car.

Component Car Audio Speakers

Components are a system made up of three separate speakers (tweeter, mid-range and woofer) each with their own housing for producing different frequencies. This design gives you more control over sound quality than coaxials since each speaker can be tuned to deliver only the best performance for its intended frequency range.

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Advantages of component speakers

Since each speaker has its own housing and can be mounted separately, you have more control over where they are placed in your car. There are many options out there if you want a high-quality stereo system that will provide great sound with a minimum of hassle. For example, the Pioneer TS-D202C 2-way component speaker set is designed to sound great for all music types from high bass notes to crisp vocals. It comes with 4 midranges/tweeters and 2 woofers so you can make sure they are mounted in the best possible place for your car’s interior.

Disadvantages of component speakers

The only real disadvantage with this type of speaker is that it can be a little more expensive than other types when compared to sound quality. This is because tweeter and mid-range/tweeter housing are included along with the actual speakers, which adds significantly to their cost. However, even though you are paying more for each individual speaker, it can be well worth the extra money in the long run because of superior quality.

Multi-way Car Audio Speakers

A multi-way speaker contains multiple drivers within a single enclosure to produce different frequency ranges. They are often designed with built-in crossovers to split up the frequencies among the different drivers, although there are many models that use passive crossovers.

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Multi-way speakers usually contain 2 to 4 separate sets of cones in a 1 speaker package. While these may not offer as much flexibility as component systems due to their multi-purpose design, they are certainly far more convenient than components when it comes to installation.

Components can be expensive when it comes to overall cost because you have to buy the actual individual speakers for each performance range, which adds up. However, multi-way speakers are much less costly than their component counterparts because the design allows multiple drivers to share a single housing and crossover network. This means that you don’t have to buy as many individual parts, which cuts down on costs.

A great example of this is the Pioneer TS-A6886R 2-way 4″ multi-range speaker set. This mid and tweeter combo comes with a built-in crossover network that splits up frequencies between the speakers for optimal sound quality. All you have to do is mount them in your car and you’re all set.

Advantages of multi-way speakers

Since these type of speaker systems use built-in crossovers to split up the frequencies between the drivers, they are much easier to install than components. Usually all that is required is mounting the speakers in place using simple tools like a screwdriver. This can make the installation process easier for many DIY enthusiasts who don’t have a lot of experience with car audio installs.

Disadvantages of multi-way speakers

The main disadvantage to these types of speaker systems is that you don’t get as much control over where each driver will be positioned. However, this is usually made up for by the fact that they are easier to install than certain options.

Subwoofers

Another important element of your car audio system is the subwoofer. This type of speaker is designed to reproduce those low frequency bass notes that are impossible for other speakers to replicate on their own. Although it doesn’t provide the same kind of control over performance that component systems do, a good quality subwoofer can add a lot of depth and power to your overall system.

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Components take the driver, crossover and housing all into account when it comes to optimizing sound quality. So you often get higher fidelity from components than you do with multi-way speakers. This is because multi-way speakers rely on built-in crossovers which are not quite as accurate as the ones in component systems.

Advantages of subwoofers

A lot of people say that a good quality sub is what separates the men from the boys when it comes to car audio systems. A well-placed and high-quality sub can add extra depth, power and bass response to your system that you would not be able to get otherwise.

Disadvantages of subwoofers

Subs can be a little difficult to install specifically because they must be custom fit into a vehicle’s cargo area or behind the seat, so there is often some drilling involved. They are also fairly costly when it comes to cost per speaker, especially if you choose a high-end model.

It is important to remember that you should always select the best option for your application when it comes to speakers and there are many things to consider, such as how often you will be using your system. If you plan on using your car audio system every day for fun or professional reasons, then a mid-range component set may be right up your alley. However, if you are looking to add a subtle upgrade to your factory speakers, then multi-way speakers may be right up your alley.

Stereo sound is great for music lovers and owners of high end vehicles that need the best possible audio quality available . If this is an important factor then you should definitely consider choosing components over multi-way speakers. Components allow for better sound quality and allow you to more easily install your system without unnecessary hassle that could turn off less experienced enthusiasts working on a budget.

This is why it is important that you take the time to carefully consider which type of speaker set up will be right for your vehicle. You need to make sure what kind of vehicle you have and what your budget is.

Tips on installing a new system in your vehicle

Home theater sound systems are an investment that can live in your vehicle for years to come. If you install a system yourself, you’ll be more familiar with it when issues arise and will feel comfortable troubleshooting it yourself if necessary. Read on for important tips about installing home theater sound systems in cars, trucks and SUVs.

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  • Plan the system design and layout.
  • Choose the right speakers and amplifier.
  • Plan for the installation of your car audio speakers.
  • Install the speaker wiring correctly in your vehicle.
  • Install an aftermarket amplifier, if necessary for your new home theater sound system.
  • Test the installation.
  • Test play your home theater sound system to make sure it works correctly.
  • Clean up the installation to keep your vehicle nice and tidy. 

How to troubleshoot problems with a new system.

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If the sound system plays, but is distorted or unpleasant, check the following:

  • Power the amp on and off to see if it is functional. This may be easier to do when you have a spare set of RCA cables available so you can just swap them out. Break any pair of wires in half and tape each side onto the chassis. Don’t connect them together or to anything else so you don’t create a dangerous short circuit.
  • Check for loose speaker connections and repair as necessary. Loose wires could cause bad sound quality or may lead to early demise of your speakers, especially if they are exposed to extreme heat from the amp’s fan running on high. If you find any loose wires, repair them.
  • Check the power and ground wires running from the amp to your home theater speakers for breaks or shorts. Repair if necessary (again, test with spare RCA cables).
  • Replace a bad speaker or other part of your audio system. You may have blown a fuse when you turned on the system. You might have a bad amplifier, which can be repaired or replaced if it is still under warranty.
  • If there is static, check to see if the cord coming from your speaker box that connects with your radio has been disconnected.
  • Check the fuzziness by turning up the volume on the radio.
  • If you’re having speaker hum or feedback, try spreading out your speakers with spacers if they are too close together. Try a different set of surround speakers to see if it helps (along the same lines as the above example).
  • If your home theater sound system is still not sounding like you think it should, have your dealer check it for you.
  • If all else fails, take your car audio speakers back to the shop that installed them and have them look at things.
  • Read the instruction manual that came with your system.

What do I need for good Sound Quality?

The most important component is the speakers since they produce the actual music and therefore play a large part in what type of sound quality you get. The other components are important too, but not as much. That is why this article will focus on speakers.

To get the best sound quality out of your system, you need to start with a high-quality component. Most people think that this means a really expensive product – which isn’t always the case. In fact, many guys or gals that like to show off with their system, end up spending a lot of money for product brands that may not even be the best. When it comes to brand names, you are more likely to get something good if you pay more money for them. However, other times you can find a really good quality speaker without having to spend too much money . So, what other things should you be looking for in your speakers?

What size are they ?

Speaker sizes come in many different sizes…from 8″ all the way up to 21″. The most popular though by far is the 6X9. They sound a lot better than old school 5″ and 6″ models that used to come in cars. 

You want to try to use larger speakers in the front of your car, as these will produce most of what you hear while driving. This is because they are closer to your ears than the ones in the back. So, if you can afford it, try to find some 6X9s or even better – 6.5″ speakers.

Exterior or Interior ?

This is a good question, because it will determine how easy your new speakers are to install. If you have an exterior speaker system, half of the work is already done for you since all of the wiring and mounting has been taken care of. However, if you buy an interior system, you’ll have to install the speakers into some sort of mounting system and then run wires from them to your radio.

Interior systems will usually require more work, but they will also give you more control over how things sound . You can pick and choose what sounds go through each speaker, which makes it easier for you (and whoever is driving) to hear what’s going on.

For example, if you listening to the radio and want to turn up the bass a bit, it takes two seconds to do this…and no one else will even know you did it!

Power is not that important…or is it?

Another common misconception about car audio systems is that more power equals better sound. This is not always true, because you can have a cheap system that has more power than an expensive one and still get bad quality sound. The wattage of the amp is not really that important, since there are all kinds of different ways to produce an equal amount of power (in regards to price).

Power can mean slightly better sound, but not much more . It does not mean that you’ll hear everything well or even most things…but it can make some parts of the music stand out a bit more.

I would suggest getting something with at least 150-200 watts per channel , which is fairly cheap and will give you plenty of power-even for bass heads!

What’s more important for you, Sound or Features?

So with all this in mind, let’s say that you are not looking for crazy bass and just want to enjoy a good quality sound. Before purchasing components, ask yourself what would be most important to you…features (like being able to adjust the bass) or sound (without any extra features).

This will help you decide what to buy. If you can’t get both sound and features, pick one of the two. If sound is more important, then go with a nice loud speaker system that has no extra controls or adjustments…just pick your music and enjoy! The same goes for adding features…if they are more important to you, this may be worth more to you than just picking the best quality product for your music.

If you are interested in getting some extra features, then it’s a good idea to add them after you buy the speaker system . You can find speakers with pretty much any feature already built into them nowadays, so there is really no need to buy a separate amp for extra bass.

In this case, it’s best to focus on the sound that you will be getting first…and then find out what features are available with your speakers later .

What kind of system do I need?

As mentioned earlier, there are two main types of systems-exterior or interior. These have different installation procedures, so you’ll want to determine what kind of system is right for your vehicle.

Exterior systems are exactly as they sound…they are installed outside the vehicle and usually require that you drill a few holes in your car or replace your factory grills . They will always produce better quality sound than interior models, but may be illegal in your state or require removal of any factory trim.

Existing speaker systems can be upgraded to an aftermarket system fairly easily, usually with the help of a few tools and wiring diagrams that are shipped with the new speakers .   If this is something you’re considering doing, have someone who knows what they’re doing assist you because it can be very complicated.

Interior systems are installed inside the car and usually only require you to remove your old speakers, put new ones in place, and plug them into your fuse box . These types of systems use the existing wiring from your car , so they take less work than exterior models. It is important that you check out what type of speakers are compatible with your car before purchasing them, since you may have to modify the speakers in order for them to fit.

Because of their location, these types of systems do not produce as much quality sound and are typically only recommended for people who want something temporary or basic .

The Verdict?

Now that you know what type of system will work for you, don’t forget to think about what features are important to you…and which type of system will give you the best bang for your buck. After weighing all these factors, you should be able to find a set of speakers that will bring your sound up to speed!

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