Let’s face it – a car ride, no matter the length, is more enjoyable with music. That being said, low quality sound can put a real damper on a road trip. However, achieving optimum level with your sound system doesn’t have to be complicated. Below are some easy tips to help boost the quality of your sound system.
1. Check your speakers. The problem may be as simple as you needing new ones. Purchasing brand new speakers will cause tighter bass and clarity not received prior.
2. Don’t over-compress your music files. Your music will sound best at its highest bit rate, so keep this in mind when downloading music files. If you prefer to stream your music, such as through Pandora or Spotify, go into the settings and select the option that will provide the best quality.
3. Skip the digital-to-analog converter. A DAC converts digital info into analog music signals. While this is great when you’re listening through earbuds, the same cannot be said when applied with a car stereo system. When connecting your music device to your aftermarket stereo through the usage of a USB cable, skipping the DAC very well may be an option.
4. Purchase a sound mat that blocks outside noises. Sound mats will stop other disturbances (such as car door vibration and road noise) from interrupting or overpowering your music. You won’t have to increase the volume, which in turn spares your amps from having to work overtime.
5. Invest in a car amplifier. While your stereo is great at producing sound, an amplifier makes it even better.
6. Consider a signal processor or an equalizer. The inside of your vehicle can cause some disturbances when it comes to the quality of your sound system. Glass and plastic surfaces reflect sound, while floor carpeting and seat covers absorb sound. This can cause issues with frequency response peaks. An equalizer is the best solution to this problem. Outboard equalizers offer multiple ways to fine tune frequency responses, and a parametric equalizer allows you to change up the centerpoint and width of EQ bands so you can focus upon the problem zone.
7. Restore or rebuild your subwoofer box. If you’ve chosen to build a better box, it’s important to seal it properly, as air leaks can hinder your subwoofer’s ability to function at optimum level. You’ll also want to match the interior volume of the box to the subwoofer that will be going inside of it. If you’ve chosen a ported box, make sure it’s the right fit for your specific subwoofer. You wouldn’t want to damage it or ruin it completely. Of course, a pre-made enclosure is the easiest method to use.
8. Set your amps to the correct gain. Can’t figure out why your new system doesn’t sound so new? It may be because you’ve mistaken the gain control as volume control. Gain controls are in charge of the amount of input signals coming into the amp. When turned up too high, distortion comes into play. It is suggested to turn your receiver’s volume control ¾ of the way up to maximum volume, and then turn up the gain control. Once you hear distortion, back it up some and you’re ready for some great quality sound. The best way to know where your gain should be set is to read the instructions for your amp.
9. Don’t be trigger happy with the controls. With a factory system, turning the radio tone controls up to 11 could cause your system to create distortion during your car ride. Small bass boosts, lowering the highs and mids slightly, then turning up your overall level is the better option. For aftermarket systems with multi-band equalizers, refrain from excessive tone boosts or cuts. Try programming a few different EQ presets to find what works best with your car. Under no circumstances should you do this while driving. Stay safe while on the roads!
10. Consider a subwoofer. These can make a world of a difference with your stereo system. Whereas before you had to crank up the bass, subwoofers allow the bass control to be set at “0” while still giving you the boom you desire. This makes things easier on your speakers.