Why Upgrade Car Speakers? 3 Reasons You Know It’s Time
For years, I kept on delaying upgrading my car speakers while keeping my fingers crossed a higher quality audio would be able to give me high-quality music.
That choice not only made me miss on a lot of premium quality sound but also made my friends question my sanity. Well, music-wise that is.
Here are some Reasons You Must Upgrade Car Speakers:
1./ You have an Old Car
Your car model doesn’t have to be as old as your grandpa before you consider upgrading your car’s audio system.
If your car is relatively old, perhaps one that’s manufactured before 2010, you may have to replace your car’s factory speakers. Chances are the audio system that comes with it is not giving you the premium sound. Unless, of course, your car belongs to the higher end of the spectrum.
But even then, if you’ve been using your car’s audio system for a long time, there’s a high chance its quality has been reduced because of the normal wearing out process.
2./ You have a Broken Audio System
It is no question that when you have a broken audio system, you are going to replace it. But don’t replace it with virtually the same audio unit model as the stock system.
Having a damaged car stereo is a sign and a perfect chance for you to step up your car sound tripping game.
3./ You keep on Searching for Tips on How to Improve Sound Quality in Your Car
If you find yourself browsing for tips on how to improve the sound quality from your car’s audio system, you have to admit that you need a new system.
Although there are simple and cheap hacks to enhance the sound quality, it will still be useless if the audio system itself is the problem.
Before You Upgrade Car Speakers
Although I highly recommend upgrading car speakers, there are some things you have to do in preparation for the upgrade.
1./ Add an Amplifier
Most head units have built in amps. These are great features of a car’s head unit, but if you find yourself often trying to get rid of distortion when turning up the volume, it can be that your amp is significantly underpowered.In this case, an external amp is a good option. When buying one, consider these three: channel, power, and compatibility.
By and large, one speaker needs one channel from the amp. So when looking for an external amplifier, think about the number of speakers it has to power up and match it with the amp’s channels.
Underpowered speakers result in underpowered and distorted sound. When purchasing an amplifier, make sure its power matches or exceeds the speakers’ RMS value. If you have a separate subwoofer, it is best if you power it with a separate amplifier because subs usually have their own power needs.
If your head unit doesn't have a preamp output, your amplifier should have speaker level inputs. Otherwise, pick one with line level input. These considerations will save you from the headache of getting matching wires and adapters to make the two units compatible.
2./ Upgrade Head Unit
If you love listening to songs from your phone or mp3 player, chances are you are listening to a lot of digital files. To enjoy the full benefits of this type of file, you should make sure your head unit has a high-quality digital-analog converter or DAC.
Without such, you are heavily relying on the phone’s or mp3 player’s DAC feature, which doesn't always translate into premium sound quality, especially if your phone belongs to the lower end of the spectrum.
3./ Play High-Quality Files
Listening to a lot of digital music is not enough guarantee that you are getting the ultimate sound quality.
Consider playing high-resolution audio files such as ones with low level of compression or, if possible, the lossless format.
But remember that doing so means you need to have a lot of memory space as one song usually occupies thousands of megabytes in your storage.
But if portability is an issue, you can opt to stick with normal mp3s as long as the bitrate is kept to the maximum.
4./ Use Deadening Materials
You have to kill, literally. Kill the sound that’s from the outside of the car. To do this, you have to buy and install car deadening materials.
These materials are usually mats, foams, or insulations placed on the doors to reduce vibration sounds. Some also install it in engine compartments to get rid of the rattling noises.
Once these materials are properly installed, you will notice that the outside noise is greatly reduced, making you listen to your music with more concentration.
How to Upgrade Car Speakers
Now that you have done necessary modifications to your car for an enhanced listening experience, it is time to upgrade car speakers. Here are the two simple steps:
1./ Ask Yourself these Questions
- What speakers fit my car?
Aside from manually measuring the driver size, you can key in your car’s model and see the size of speakers installed in it. Several websites offer free fit guide so you can answer “what size speakers are in my car?”
After knowing the size, you can start browsing for component speakers that you like.
I am recommending component speakers over coaxial ones because the former is generally better sounding. Full range speakers can give you decent sound alright, but you can do more tweaking and adjusting with component speakers to meet your taste.
- How much juice can my head unit and amp provide?Enter your text here...
While looking for component speakers, it is best if you have knowledge of the power your head unit or amplifier can provide.
As I mentioned earlier, if your speakers’ power is higher than the source unit, distortion may appear especially at high volumes.
Knowing the power handling also lets you decide on the speaker’s sensitivity. Low-powered units call for components with high sensitivity and vice versa.
- Are these upgrades permanent?
If yes, it is best to find one that sounds great and can last a really long time although there are virtually no speakers that will last for as long as we live.
But even though there is no hard and fast rule how long a speaker will last and how good it will be at producing sound, it’s good to know these generally accepted rules of thumb:
- Rubber surrounds last longer than other materials, especially foam and cloth and foam and paper.
- More rigid materials reduce distortion caused by flexing in the cone. Clay impregnated cones and polypropylene ones are two of the best options that reduce flexing.
There are other factors that make one speaker stand out from the crowd. The best way to find out is to listen to them by yourself.
2./ Start Shopping
After answering the questions above, I’d bet you have done enough preparation for you to go out and find the ones that suit your needs.
If this is your first time upgrading, it’s best if you know the terms related to a speaker’s specifications. There are quite a lot but just focus on the RMS power, sensitivity, mounting depth, and cutout diameter.
The rest, you can leave it to your ears’ discerning capabilities.
After you have done these two, there’s nothing left but to install them babies in your car.
If you are still mulling over whether to upgrade car speakers or not, let me tell you one thing: your car’s manufacturer doesn’t care about sound quality as much as you do.
Factory speakers are meant just so you can hear what song you are playing. If you’re after ultimate sound quality, upgrade and get yourself the best speakers in the market. You’re welcome.