If you drive your car frequently, you no doubt listen to lots of music when out on the road. To take full advantage of each jam session, you have to improve the audio quality in your car in any way you can. There are a handful of ways to augment the stock acoustics of your vehicle. Here are some of the best ways to listen to music the way the artist truly intended.
1. Replace the Factory Speakers
In most cases, a vehicle's default speakers just aren't very good. There is an entire aftermarket dedicated to improving the quality of each speaker in your car. These units offer much-improved sound quality and are easy to install. Most cars feature a plug and play speaker system. Once you have a compatible unit, you can pull out the old ones and drop the new speakers right in.
2. Upgrade Your Head Unit and Ditch Your Phone’s Built-in DAC
Most stock head units come with an auxiliary connection. While this offers a convenient way to listen to your phone or mp3 layer, the audio quality will inevitably take a hit. A head unit with a built-in USB slot is the way to go. A USB connection will improve the digital conversion process of each song. A stereo can convert digital audio way more effectively than your phone can. This leads to massive improvements in audio clarity and depth that are normally lost in translation.
3. Add Equalizers, Signal Processors, and Amplifiers
Installing even one of these components will make a huge improvement over stock audio systems. Adding all three is the key to true ear-melting sound. Since it can be quite expensive to upgrade everything at once, an incremental approach is much more manageable. Start off with a nice amplifier as a base. You can then add equalizers or processors on top of it whenever you have the time or resources.
4. Get Higher Quality Audio Files or Utilize High Definition Audio
No matter how many physical hardware upgrades you accrue, your sound quality can still be limited by the digital files you possess. Many sound files downloaded from the internet are heavily compressed. While this makes it easy to fit more songs on one device, the sound quality will take a major hit from compression. Nowadays, phones and other mp3 players have way more storage capacity. This allows you to use CD quality or even HD audio files without worrying about larger file sizes.
5. Invest in Sound Dampening Materials
Once you have advanced audio systems and high-quality files, you still need to mitigate the amount of sound coming from outside your car. You can use a product like Dynamat to line your door panels or hood. These sheets of material block loud noises caused by freeway travel or loud traffic. This ensures you get the best sound with zero distractions.