Getting the best sound in your car is more of a journey than a destination. It’s a gradual process that you can review and tweak along the way, not an all-or-nothing proposition. You can always spend a ton of money on all new hardware if you so desire, but there are a surprising amount of small tweaks and improvements you can make to your car audio system to improve your overall condition. sound quality.

Most of the ways to improve the sound quality in your car involve upgrading, for example, purchasing a new head unit or installing premium speakers or a subwoofer, but others are really focused on improving the environment in your car, primarily by eliminating as much external interference as possible. possible.

Here are five of the best ways to improve the sound quality in your car.

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Replace your factory speakers

Новые автомобильные динамики на белом фоне.


Problem : factory columns usually useless

Correction : Install some nice aftermarket features that fit the same dimensions and play well with your existing head unit

The easiest way to hear any improvement in car audio quality is to replace factory speakers with better aftermarket units . When you do a direct replacement and put in speakers that match the dimensions and base type of the factory speakers, it’s literally a plug and play job of pulling out the old blocks and putting in the new ones.

If your car has been on the road for a while, there’s a good chance the speakers have started to deteriorate, in which case you’ll probably hear a noticeable improvement just by throwing in replacement units.

You can also go the extra mile and replace coaxial speakers with component speakers, or even add a subwoofer but this type of upgrade is more complex and costly.

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Update your head unit and disable your phone’s built-in DAC

USB-кабель подключен к автомобильной рации.

Knape / iStock / Getty

Problem : If you listen to music through a phone or MP3 player and an auxiliary connection, the sound quality is greatly degraded

Correction : find a spare head unit with USB connection

While head unit upgrades aren’t always the best place to start, when you’re aiming for better sound quality, it’s always worth considering. This is especially true if your head unit is slightly longer in the tooth, or if it doesn’t have preamp outputs and you’re about to install an amplifier.

Another reason to consider upgrading your head unit is if you enjoy listening to digital music in your car. If your head unit does not have high quality built-in DAC then the addition of a new head unit that will allow you to transfer heavy digital audio processing from your phone or MP3 player to your car stereo.

To take advantage of a head unit equipped with a high quality DAC, a USB or proprietary connection is required, so be aware that you will need to connect your phone or other device to car stereo via USB cable, rather than a conventional assistive device. input. This allows the head unit to read data from the device and convert it into analog audio signals that are sent to the amplifier and speakers.

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Add components such as amplifiers, signal processors and equalizers

improve the sound quality of your car

Amplifier stabilization isn’t the cheapest way to get the best sound quality in your car, but the right amplifier can make a big difference in creating the best system.

Problem : factory car audio systems simplified

Correction : the gradual addition of components, such as a new amplifier, as part of a thoughtful upgrade process

Adding an Amplifier or another component such as a signal processor or an equalizer will usually be more costly and complex than installing speakers or even upgrading a head unit. However, an amplifier can allow you to install better speakers and really change the quality of your car audio.

If you’re dealing with a factory stereo that doesn’t have an amplifier, it’s important to find a device with speaker level inputs. The best way to do this type of upgrade is to install a head unit that has preamp outputs, but an amplifier that includes speaker level inputs is at least an acceptable alternative. Another option is to use loudspeaker to line level converter .

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Use high quality music files or even high resolution audio

high resolution audio

Jump on high resolution highway.
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Problem : If you listen to digital music, the sound quality may suffer due to overly compressed files

Correction : use larger and less compressed music files

One of the most overlooked factors in car audio quality is the sound source. An extreme example would be someone insisting on only listening to AM radio and not FM radio and then complaining about the sound quality.

While there are better quality AM radio stations and the AM vs FM issue is far more complex than this reductionist example, everyone knows that they will hear better sound quality if they listen to an FM station.

Similarly, CDs provide better sound quality than FM radio, and you can hear even better quality if you switch to digital audio files — or suffer a dramatic loss in quality.

The problem is that digital music files are not all created equal. For example, if you have a lot of music in your collection that you purchased—or acquired through other means—ten or more years ago, it’s likely that they are more heavily compressed than they actually are.

Switching to a lower compression level or even switching to a lossless format can make a huge difference in terms of sound quality. High resolution audio is even an option today although the large file sizes mean you can no longer take your entire collection with you.

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Attenuation of external noise sources with noise-absorbing materials

degrade sound quality

You can’t do anything about the sounds coming from the car, but reducing outside noise can help you improve the sound quality.
Daniel Grisel / Stone / Getty

Problem : most cars allow too much road noise in

Correction : use damping materials and other solutions to minimize road noise

Most of the ways to improve car sound quality involve upgrading your car audio system, but they completely overshadow the fact that cars create some pretty weird soundstages. The interior volume of a car or truck will never match the dynamics of your home theater, but damping materials can really help.

The easiest and fastest solution in this category is to insert some dampening materials like Dynamat into your door panels. These products are basically sheets of sound deadening material that help keep out road noise and other sources of outside interference, which is why they are so easy to install in door panels. The process is basically to detach each panel, insert a sheet of damping material, and then reinstall the panels.

The same process can be applied to other noise sources. For example, you can install a similar sound deadening material on the inside of your hood to reduce noise from your engine, and the same material can be installed under carpet to further reduce road noise.

Similar damping materials are also available to prevent vibration from car speakers from propagating into the metal of doors and other areas where they are installed. By cutting the vibrating metal and sticking to the vibrating air, you can see an improvement in sound quality.

If you end up installing a large subwoofer in the trunk, then the same type of damping material will help. The basic idea is to level the floor, side walls and the inside of the trunk lid, leaving only the divider between the car and the trunk open. This can help reduce vibration and improve the sound quality you get from your subwoofer.

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