Cars often come equipped with a stereo system, but how often does that system come with good bass? Unfortunately, the answer is rarely. However, a few simple steps can upgrade the stereo system in a car from good to great in no time!
What’s more, you need not implement these steps all at once. So if you’re worried about breaking the bank with an upgrade, follow an incremental approach instead!
Proper planning and budgeting are pretty much all you need to enjoy good music in your car. So if you’re ready to hear your car pump those beats, dive right into our stereo upgrade plan!
5-Step Guide to Upgrade the Stereo System in a Car
Many hold off on enhancing their car’s stereo because they fear the process is too complex or expensive. However, it doesn’t have to be either! Here are a few simple steps that will have your stereo pumping bass like never before.
Also, bear in mind that you can implement these in stages and in whatever order you like!
1. Find a Factory Radio Replacement
The quickest way to achieve better sound is by replacing your car’s factory receiver. Doing so gives your speakers a lot more power, in turn, resulting in improved sound quality. Not to mention, this applies regardless of the volume level!
When choosing a receiver, consider whether you want it to be compatible with your iPod or CD collection. Similarly, think about whether you prefer listening to an HD Radio station or Pandora Internet radio.
Opting for a SiriusXM-Ready receiver is non-negotiable if you’re a satellite radio buff. Also, don’t forget to look for built-in Bluetooth connectivity since hands-free calling is a must these days.
2. Purchase Brand New Speakers
All a new receiver does is give your factory speakers added power. However, if you don’t mind your factory radio, you can skip rough to the next step: installing new speakers!
If you greatly value sound, your factory speakers won’t be able to cut regardless of upgrades. So install aftermarket speakers to upgrade the stereo system in a car instead.
For vehicles with four or more doors, it’s best to start up front near the driver’s seat. Other locations can be dealt with as and when your budget allows.
Remember to verify sizes, shapes, and types before investing in speakers for your vehicle.
Also, here’s a handy tip for those buying speaker sets installments. Choose speakers that will fit your rear doors if you’re purchasing a full-range set for your ones. That way, you can move the coaxials to the rear whenever you choose to switch to component speakers upfront.
3. Install a Better Amplifier
Once you have your new speakers installed, get to work on adding an amplifier. Doing so will give your speakers the power they need for top-notch sound quality and clarity. Your front and rear speakers will need a 4-channel amp to power them adequately.
Also, remember that you can always use your amp’s rear channel to power a subwoofer if you add one. This hack will serve you well until you’re all set to install a dedicated subwoofer amp.
4. Add in a Subwoofer
This next step is a favorite for many. However, you don’t need to be super into bass to appreciate what a subwoofer does for your stereo’s sound quality.
A sterling subwoofer instantly gives the music pumping from your stereo added depth. Remember, though, to pay close attention while pairing subs and amps to keep up the sound quality of your speakers.
5. Get Your Subwoofer a Separate Amp
This step is one you can leave for later while you upgrade the stereo system in a car. However, it’s one you shouldn’t skip if you want your subwoofer to perform to the best of its abilities.
Your sub needs more juice to get that powerful bass sound, and a dedicated mono amp will help provide that.
While you’re at it, consider lining your trunk lid with soundproofing mats. That will help reduce vibrations, especially if you’ve placed your subwoofers in your car’s trunk.
How to Tell if You Need to Upgrade the Stereo System in a Car
Unless you’re upgrading your car’s stereo system purely because you want to, consider testing it out first. Doing so will help you determine whether your system actually needs immediate improvement or not. Here’s how to go about said testing:
In a New Car
If you’ve just bought your car, you may expect the stereo to produce excellent sound. However, as mentioned earlier, factory speakers are rarely up to par. Here’s how you can test your speakers to see whether they need enhancement:
- Sit in your car and lock all doors and windows fully.
- Connect your phone to your stereo or use the radio to play some music. Also, ensure the volume is as high as you can tolerate.
- Spend a while listening to the music and take note of details.
- If clarity is lacking and you feel the need to increase the treble, you’ll need a couple of upgrades.
- Similarly, if you feel the bass isn’t as powerful as it should be, you’ll need a few improvements.
- Finally, if you find the sound distorted at higher volumes, it is a sign that you need an upgrade.
In an Old Car
If your car is a tad advanced in age, you likely don’t need to run a speaker test. That’s because no one knows your car better than you. So if you’ve felt like your stereo isn’t what it used to be, chances are it’s not.
The takeaway here is that if your speaker doesn’t sound good to you, it’s best to give it a little boost.
It’s really no Herculean task to upgrade the stereo system in a car. Neither is it a massive drain on your budget. Give your speakers a listen, identify problem areas, and work your way from there!
A bit of smart planning and budgeting, and you’ll be listening better at a much more affordable rate!