So you’re planning to build an impressive car audio system that fully meets your needs? Coming up with a complete audio system for your vehicle isn’t as a hard task as you might have thought. However, it can be a challenging process since the various components including the speakers are designed for specific cars. This guide is going to take you through one of the simple steps in building an affordable car audio system.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Figuring Out What You Need
The first thing you need to consider before anything else is figuring out all the things that you require. This is actually the most difficult part of the whole process. It all depends on what on your expectations. Maybe you’re looking for a system that will make you feel like you’re in some sort of a concert or the one that will just make you relax. Some people prefer a big bass while others are just okay with a medium one. Starting the whole process with a goal in mind is very important since everyone has his/her own personal preferences. Figuring out the things you need for your car audio system will save you from the potential waste of money. Why should you purchase a speaker that doesn’t meet your needs anyway?
Generally, everyone’s desire is to have a great sound system that enriches your music through the production of natural and clear sound. A great sound is not the loudest neither is it expensive. It should be the one that truly satisfies your desires. In order to come up with a great car audio system, you need to meet your requirement first. You should ask yourself some questions like, what is the most important component that you want to feature in your car’s audio system, and what do you expect the vehicle stereo system to do for you. Don’t panic if you fail to come up with an answer right away, just take a look at your existing setup and you’ll figure out all you need. Once you get an answer, you can proceed to the next step. Before proceeding to the next step if you also have a problem with the tonneau cover you can read the review here.
Step 2: Pick Your Speakers
Speakers are the cornerstone of the whole sound system. Actually, all other sound components in your system are there to support the speakers. There are different models of speakers out there that you can choose from. You should take your time and research the best ones available for your car. Some of the good brands you can choose from include Polk Audio, JBL, and Kenwood among others. The best way to find the best car audio speaker units is by researching and reading up on the online markets.
You will be capable of figuring the best speaker units you need based on the customer comments and reviews. Your car’s design and makeup will determine the type of speakers you go for. The vehicle’s mounting location will determine whether you’ll go for full-range speakers (also referred to as coaxial speakers) or 6×9 or 6.5 units. Usually, 6.5-inch units are preferred for rear deck speakers while front car door speakers are best suited with 6×9 inch units. The most difficult process is usually finding the best balance between clarity, performance, sharpness, and the sound depth of the speaker.
The main important things to look for in a speaker includes:
- Build materials
- Power handling
- RMS Sensitivity
- Frequency range
Step 3: Select Your Receiver
After you’ve found the best speakers for your car audio system, now it’s time you go for the head unit. There are different models of aftermarket head units including digital media receivers, single din head units, and double din head units. The various receivers are offered with a wide array of functionalities such as Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, and others. The head unit is the core of your car’s audio system and therefore should be given adequate attention. Preferably, you need to go for a head unit featuring a large touchscreen to enrich your vehicle’s dashboard. This will make your car look nice just as it sounds. Another important factor to look for in a car’s head unit is usability since your head unit serves as your sound system’s interface.
The following are some of the features you should look for in a car receiver:purchase a speaker
- Bluetooth compatibility
- Satellite radio availability
- HD Radio & Pandora Internet Radio
- Steering Wheel Control Compatibility
- Customizable Display
- USB Inputs Remote control
- Preamp outputs
Step 4: Select Your Component Speakers
Component speakers are separate crossovers and tweeters that produce outstanding sound imaging and adds more realism to your music. These speakers can make a big difference when it comes to the quality of sound emitted by your system. It is usually recommended that you move full-range speaker units from the first step to the car’s rear deck and then fix the component twitters and crossovers up-front. It is important to note that installing component speakers involves a more complex process than their full-range counterparts.
Stage 5: Select a Multiple Channel Amplifier
You’ll need an external multiple channel amplifier that gives you the freedom of adding new components as you go. Multiple channels are more flexible compared to the factory units. Amplifiers are like boosters since even aftermarket head units (receivers) are not usually not powerful enough to drive the entire audio system. Amplifiers come in various channel variations but the more the number of channels the better. You can prefer to use two of the channels to power the front-mounted speakers and bridge the other two channels’ output for powering a subwoofer. Five channels amps are the most reliable as they allow you to power the whole of the sound system, subwoofer included. Four channels are usually used for powering the front and rear speakers while the fifth channel is purposely for powering an external subwoofer.
Step 6: Select a Subwoofer
After selecting an amplifier, now drop a subwoofer into the mix. This gives you an opportunity to enjoy that bass that you’ve been missing. If you selected a 4-Channel amp in the previous step, then you’ll require another single channel amp for driving your subwoofers. If you opted for the 5-channel amp then you’re better off because you’ll use the fifth extra channel for driving the subwoofers. However, for a more professional and robust installation, it is recommended that you go for a separate mono channel amp for powering the subs. There are different subwoofers available in the market.
When buying subwoofers, always consider the following factors:
- Frequency Range
- RMS Power handling
Step 7: Build a Better Sub Box or Simply Buy One
You should never install a subwoofer inside the wrong enclosure as this will affect its performance. It is recommended that you built your own box with the correct dimensions or just go for an enclosure in the market. Don’t destroy your ported box subwoofer by forcing it into a sealed enclosure.
BONUS STEP! Sound Deadening
I know, I know…the title promised seven steps, right? Well, you’re in for a special bonus step to make that sound system absolutely epic.
The bonus step?
But wait, why would we want to deaden the sound after we take all of this time and effort to produce rockin’ sound?
My friends, we are talking about deadening the unwanted sound in your system; namely, vibrations and rattles.
Sound reduction tools are an often overlooked but totally necessary way to take your sound to the next level. Allow the crisp, tight sound of your music to shine by eliminating even the slightest vibrations and rattles which can downgrade your sound.
Not only is this a crucial step, but it’s also easy and relatively inexpensive.
Our sound boss here at Speaker Champion has a go-to product for sound deadening: Damplifier Pro. Damplifier Pro’s US-made, top-rated deadening sheets are in a word, kick-ass. Easy to install yourself, reasonably priced, and once installed, make a HUGE difference in your sound quality.
Damplifier Pro‘s specs are impressive. Take a look:
- Elastomeric butyl compound with no cheap fillers or asphalt
- Annealed, black matte foil with ghosted Second Skin logos
- 2mm sound deadening material: total thickness (2mm)
- Each sheet is 12” x 20” (1.67 sq ft) and weighs about 0.70 lbs/sq ft
- Temperature rated from -75°F to 450°F
- Guaranteed adhesion for the life of your vehicle
- Proudly made in the USA
There is even a handy calculator to determine how many sheets you need for your particular vehicle. Or, just select a ready-built pack for your trunk area, door area, full SUV, full sedan, or full truck.
Simply put, this bonus step will be well worth your time and money.
Building a car audio system from scratch isn’t an easy task. You need to consider several factors. The topic seems quite complex but the guideline above have broken it down to a more understandable concept. After going through it, you should be a little bit closer to building your own perfect sound system.