Let’s be honest here, life without music would be a lot more difficult to cope with. If you couldn’t bring the music with you when you drive then we would be a very unhappy bunch of people. Car accessories that produce sound are a must in every car, imagine what your drive home through rush hour would be like in silence, not so pleasant right? This article will cover all things to do with car sound and we will elaborate a bit on the different kinds of car audio accessories that one can buy and what the differences are. Then we will bring you some of the loudest cars in the world, just to show you what can be achieved.
First off, let’s begin with why you should upgrade your sound.
Why Upgrade your Car Audio?
The most obvious reason to upgrade is that fact that a lot of car manufacturers will use low quality car sound systems that will very quickly start to produce a distorted or muddy sound. The range on these stock speaker systems are also often not equipped to produce a song’s full range of sound.
Some vehicle owners are not simply concerned with quality but they may want to compete as car audio enthusiasts at competitions where participants try to produce the best sound quality or volume (depending on the category you enter). Some of these competitions are for things like the deepest bass sound or the highest treble. This kind of sound requires the best aftermarket speakers that are available and then all the extra car accessories that go along with them.
Then there are those that just want a luxurious sound experience while they are sitting in traffic. Whatever the case may be, car audio for sale can make a big difference to your everyday life.
A breakdown of Car Speakers and Speaker Systems?
There are many different kinds of car speakers and sound systems that have been made especially for cars, SUV’s and trucks. The shape and contours of the inside of the car’s cabin play a big part in the clarity you hear. You should be aware of this, don’t put a car system into your truck as it won’t function properly, and will most likely not be powerful enough. There are multiple sizes, shapes and designs that each produce a particular sound range and are designed to fit into specific vehicles. There is no one-size-fits-all speaker and each speaker will produce a different sound in a different vehicle cabin. To maximize your audio experience, you really need to get speakers that are the correct size for each available audio port in your vehicle.
The Head Unit
This is a vital piece of kit as you can have as many speakers in your car as you like but if you don’t have a way to effectively control them, they are almost useless. The head unit is the center console in your car where you scroll through your music or turn up the volume. As space is limited in a vehicle, the head unit has as many different kinds of audio technology crammed into one sleek unit as possible. You have your car radio for sale, volume controls, CD players, preamps and car amplifier packed into one place.
These units also control media players such as iPods, USB drives and are able to receive Bluetooth wireless streaming from a smartphone. Your audio preferences like bass, tone and treble are also controlled though this console.
In addition, some of these head units come with fold out DVD screens and elaborate iPod docking stations to make the user experience that much easier.
There are two different kinds of car speakers. These setups available are component and full range speaker system setups. The main difference here is the use of sound drivers. These drivers are the central components of any speaker and it’s the part that converts electric frequencies into audible sound.
• Component car sound systems: In this setup each speaker has its own dedicated sound driver with multiple drivers dedicated to their own range of sound frequencies. Speakers are put in different places throughout the vehicle and then the range of sound is set to be produced from a particular area. This means the component speakers will produce a much wider range of sound. This will give off a fuller sound with very good clarity as each sound is being handled separately.
• Full range (also known as Coaxial) car sound systems: These kind of systems are more common than Component sound systems. These are mainly used in factory stock audio systems, which makes them more available and more affordable. The reason for this is because the entire system shares one sound driver, so each frequency comes from the same place. As a result, a lot of frequencies get lost in the noise and will lack the same clarity that a Component system would produce.
Different types of car speakers
Speakers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes but there are five general car speaker variants available, these are as follows:
• Tweeters: Tweeters are the high frequency controllers in a car sound system. Tweeters manage the high pitch sounds like symbols or saxophone sounds. These are the smallest speakers you will find and they will either be a standalone component or part of system.
• Super Tweeters: These type of speakers produce the highest frequencies possible. These are almost strictly used in components stems where crossover devices are used to transfer all high itch ranges to the super tweeters. If you want to make sure you have a lossless range of highs, then super tweeters are a must.
• Midrange: These speakers will not be found in a full range speaker system as they send sound though one sound source. Midrange speakers will monitor and deliver sound that takes place between the high and low pitch frequencies. These speakers will produce highly detailed sounds that the woofers (explained below) and tweeters won’t be able to handle properly.
• Woofers: Woofers are responsible for the mid to low frequencies. In full range speaker systems, you will most likely notice a larger bottom speaker, this is the woofer, then a smaller speaker on the top, this is the tweeter. In the full range setups, the woofers handle multiple frequencies but in a component system, the woofers handle a specific range of low frequencies.
• Subwoofers: You will only find a subwoofer in a component system sound setup as these are dedicated to the lowest of frequencies. They are very large and need an enclosure with an amplifier to power it. You can further boost these speakers to create very low bass tones that are much lower than the song intended for. In car bass competitions, these are the main focus.
The car amplifier
No car sound system is complete without a good amplifier to heighten the power of an audio signal, this will allow the signal to effectively move though the system to create sound. This heightened power is a two stage process that needs both an amplifier and a preamp to stop the amplifier from blowing the car audio system.
The preamp is normally housed inside the head unit which receives signals from an audio device (be it CD, AUX, Bluetooth or a car radios signal). The preamp amplifies the power but restricts it so the amplifier is prevented from producing too much sound and so the signal is resistant to noise from the other electronics in the vehicle. The amplifier takes this low frequency signal and amplifies it to create sound.
Although a lot of systems do come with built-in amplifiers, if you really want to get some powerful sound, then you will need a separate powered amplifier.
Now that you know what car accessories there are available for sound, here are some tips on which ones to buy for your vehicle.
Selecting the best new car speakers
There are four things to consider here: Full range or component, size, sensitivity, power handling and quality of the device.
Component versus full range
As we have mentioned before, component systems give a better sound quality due to the handling of the sound. These car audio for sale components are more expensive though.
Full range speakers are cheaper, easier to install and you can easily get replacement parts.
The decision here will be based on whether you are going for quality or the biggest bang for your buck. Component for quality, full range for a happy customer.
Size and configuration
You first need to find out what size speakers your car audio is designed for. The easiest way to do this is to take them out and measure them. Otherwise a car sound store can look this up for you. You need to know the make, model and year of your vehicle and then they will be able to give you a possible list of sound configurations. This way you can buy new speakers that you can drop right in without modifying your car.
This will depend on what your head unit and amplifier can put out. Why buy speakers that are too small, that’s wasting power, or too big, which would be a waste of money. If you already have speakers, then you can buy a head unit to match that too.
A car’s audio power is measured in a root-mean-square value (RMS). Be mindful that the maximum RMS power handling is what you should be worried about and not the peak RMS power handling. If you build the setup according to the second figure, you could very well blow your speakers.
This is how much power your speakers need in order to function properly and will be dependent on your head unit and external amplifiers put out in terms of sound. Higher sensitivity speakers need less power.
Car Speaker Build Quality
It stands to reason that low quality sound components will degrade quicker. Spending some extra money here will give you better car audio quality for longer.
The loudest car in the world
The world record for the loudest car stereo in the world belongs to Craig Butler which was broken at the DB Drag Racing Spring Break Nationals in 2013. Craig scored an ear shattering 181.1 decibels to clinch this title.
This was his setup:
• 4 x 1 inch Digital Designs Z Series Subwoofers
• 8 x Incriminator Audio IA80.1 Bass Amps
• 4th Order Bandpass Subwoofer Enclosure (each sub was sealed in its own section)
• 182db Termlab Certified Score (world’s loudest spl van)
To get this title, Craig has to first register with a score greater than the previous record, which he also held at 180.2db. Then Craig posted a second attempt score of 181.0 db. We unfortunately can’t tell you how he did this as Craig Butler won’t divulge his secret.
If you are looking for some great deals on anything from car accessories to a car radio for sale, the first place we suggest looking is on www.automart.co.za. Auto Mart has a wide range of car sound systems and accessories being advertised by sellers across South Africa. If you don’t come right on Auto Mart, then the site has an affiliated site called Junk Mail, and if you cannot find the accessories you are looking for on Auto Mart, you will most likely find them for sale on Junk Mail. There really is no reason to look anywhere else to upgrade your car audio.