Tips for Buying a Car Audio Amplifier

If you want to blast the speakers of your car audio system, you will need to install an amplifier. Basically, an amplifier picks up a sound signal from a source and increases it, resulting in the sound getting louder. The difficult part is amplifying the source signal without distorting it. In order to keep them functioning, amplifiers require an adequate power supply and must also have the ability to store sufficient current to be able to deliver all the fluctuations within the music being played.

A CD player or cassette radio produces about 9 real watts at the maximum into 4 speakers considering the power it is provided from the electrical system of the car. However, in case you want more than that to power the speakers you have, you will require an amplifier. Amplifiers provide the extra power resulting in your ability to play music louder. In addition, amplifiers improve the quality of the sound at every level of volume that the music is played in.

In case you are thinking of buying a car audio amplifier, you will require taking into consideration a few factors beforehand. Some of these factors are the power, the channels, and the heat.

Power
The power is one of the most important aspects that has to be taken into consideration when you buy a car audio amplifier. Basically, there are two kinds of power ratings: RMS and Peak.

The RMS rating is a measurement how much power the amplifier will be able to use in order to power the speakers. When buying your car audio amplifier, be careful to choose one to match the ratings of the speakers and subwoofers. If you do not do so, there are high chances of damaging your speakers.

The other type of power rating is the peak rating. This is a measurement how much power that the amplifier has when there are sudden amplifications of sound. This rating is not as important as the RMS rating. Car audio amplifiers usually have a lower RMS rating compared to the peak rating.

The power of amplifiers range from around 20 watts per channel to more than 1000 watts per channel, while the prices range from anything like $50 to thousands of dollars according to the quality, power output, and features.

Channels
The next thing you need to take into consideration is how many channels they have. Amplifiers range from a single output channel to up to 8 channels. The most popular models at present are 2 and 4 channel ones, although mono amplifiers are also getting quite popular. It is the number of channels that will be the determining factor of how many speakers can be connected to the amplifier. Amplifiers have a left and right signal for each of the channels they have.

Heat Generated
Another thing you need to think about is the heat factor when you buy your car audio amplifier. Always look for ones that have a heatsink designed into them. These are metal strips that are provided on the exterior of the amplifier. The heat that is generated by the car audio amplifier is absorbed by the heatsinks.

Preamp Output
In case you want to go in for multiple car audio amplifiers for your audio system, then you will require one with a preamp output, which will enable you to connect multiple amplifiers to each other. The amplifier which has the preamp output will send the signal to the other amp.

Quality
The quality of the amplifier has also got to be kept in mind when buying one. Generally, the weight and the size of the amplifier itself is a good indication of the quality of the power output as well as the build. Usually, amplifiers that are of better quality usually have a larger and heavier heatsink compared to one that is of a lower quality, although many top quality amplifiers may not always follow this prescript.

Frequency Signals
In order to produce bass tones, large car audio subwoofers require lower end frequencies. However, make sure to not to go in for frequencies that are below or above the range that is recommended. If the frequency is too high it will cause undesirable effects on the sound quality, and if it is too low, the speaker could get damaged. Most amplifiers come with a subsonic filter to prevent frequencies that are too low, and also a crossover to eliminate the higher range of frequencies. These components will help the speakers receive the correct frequencies they require for performing at their optimum level.

Buying a good quality car audio amplifier is like shopping for any other component for your car audio system. First, you need to have a good idea what you intend accomplishing with your amplifier, and then make a thorough research of the choices available accordingly. You don’t need to buy the most expensive one if you are just installing a superior quality car audio system in your vehicle. But if your goal is taking part in car audio competition, then you will need to go in for a top quality and expensive amplifier. Make informed choices by finding out all the facts before buying one.

Car Audio Troubleshooting Tips

Imagine getting a new stereo system installed in your car, but it doesn’t work properly. Car audio problems are common nowadays, the reasons for which can be varied, like loose wires, problem with the amplifier, or problem with the stereo. Such problems can also cause the speakers to produce a popping or crackling sound. However, there are some steps that can be taken to diagnose and repair these problems.

The first thing you would need to do is to find the source of the problem. There can be many things at fault, such as cables, audio amplifier, or speakers. Make sure that everything is properly connected between the speakers, stereo, and the amplifier. Disconnect the wire that connects the stereo and amplifier, but do not unplug the cable connecting the amplifier to the speakers. If the problem still persists, the amplifier might be at fault. But if the problem is solved, simply disconnect the wire from the radio. If the problem still persists, then the connecting cable probably needs a replacement.

The stereo system also won’t work if there is a loose or missing connection. Check all the cables of the stereo, amplifier, and speakers separately and ensure that they are properly connected. Torn, pinched, or exposed cables can also be a reason for the system to be defunct.

If there is not enough power supplied to the speakers, they will not produce sound. Speakers that are installed by the car company work fine with the store-fitted audio system. If different speakers are installed, they might not work due to compatibility issues, or may need more power to operate. Check their power supply by using a power meter. If they are receiving power but are still not working fine, the power provided may not be sufficient.

A blown fuse also can be a reason for the stereo to be nonfunctional. Refer to the car owner’s manual and ensure if all fuses in the fuse box are intact. If they are fine, you need to check if the car’s stereo system has its own fuses, which can be possible in case of some systems. If you find a faulty fuse, you need to replace it with a new one.

There also are chances of the speaker being faulty. You may check a blown speaker by an electric meter. Ensure that there is no power supplied to the speaker; set the electric meter to show “ohms”. Place one meter lead on every terminal point. If the speaker is fine, the meter will display 1.0 ohm, but if it is blown, the meter will read infinite ohms. A simple way to check a blown speaker is to place your hand on it and feel if there is any vibration and thump coming out at high volume. If the required thump is not felt, the speakers are blown.

If the speakers are not mounted in a correct manner, they may cause problem by producing a buzzing sound or vibrating. Such problems can be solved by simply turning the mounting screws a bit tighter. You can also place a piece of rubber between the speaker frame and the car interior.

If any of these above tips don’t seem to work, you probably need to take the help of a car stereo technician.

Car Speakers Installation

Most cars these days come with an audio system installed. However, many car owners are not satisfied with the factory speakers that come along with the car. They often offer flat sound and a lot of distortion. Moreover, factory speakers are the weakest components of the car and may not last for many years. This leaves car owners with the choice of upgrading the speakers of their car.

Installing high quality speakers in your car not only improves the sound quality, but also increases the life of your audio system. Speaker installation is not all that difficult and requires a few basic tools that can be found around the house.

Installation

Installing speakers is a fairly simple job and can be done in about an hour or so. It requires a few simple tools and a basic knowledge of electrical wiring or automotive repair. You can get the job done by a professional, but installation costs are high and can be heavy on your pocket. The best thing would be to do it yourself.

Things Required:

– Screwdriver set
– Multi-use screws
– Drill
– Blow dryer
– Wire crimper
– Soldering iron
– Wire stripper
– Socket wrench set
– Electric tape
– A sharp knife
– Super glue

Directions:

Step 1: The most important thing to do before you begin installation is to read the instructions of your speakers.

Step 2: Remove the door panel and grill covering the old speakers. For that you need to first remove the door panel popper.

Step 3: Using the appropriate screw drivers, unscrew the old speakers and disconnect all the attached wiring. Once the old speakers are disconnected, carefully pull them out from their mountings.

Step 4: Your new speakers have to be installed in the place of the old ones. If you are planning to use the same old factory wiring for your new speakers, the task is extremely simple.

Step 5: Using a blow dryer or a heat gun, warm the Dynamat for installation on the door. Apply an adhesive to the surface of the door where you want to install the speaker. Peel off the back of the Dynamat and install it to the door. Use a roller to press the material onto the surface to ensure a tight bond.

Step 6: Connect the speaker harness to your new speakers, carefully attaching the right terminals. Solder or crimp the wire connections. Set the speaker in the opening and reinstall it to the mounting. Test your new speakers by playing some music.

Step 7: If they are working fine, it is time to put everything back. Replace the grill and door by fitting the screws carefully. Your new speakers are now installed and ready to use.

Every car has its own type of speakers installation issues and hence it is recommended that you read the instructions in the manual carefully.

Upgrading your Car’s Audio System

Listening to music while traveling in a car has become a norm these days. If you are driving a car from the last decade, there are more chances of the car stereo being outdated. Young drivers generally prefer their cars to be fitted with the best audio systems for in-car enjoyment, as they mostly prefer listening to loud music. Along with the development of technology in audio systems, nowadays you will find a variety of systems housing the latest technologies. While upgrading, you need to keep in mind some considerations to decide on the most suitable setup. But let us first take a look at the sound system parts to be thought about before deciding on an upgrade.

Car Audio System Parts

If you want the best performance from a car’s audio system, instead of replacing individual parts; you may consider a full upgrade of the set. The main part of a car stereo system is the head unit which is incorporated on the dashboard. Modern systems consist of a CD/DVD player, USB connectivity, radio receiver, and a small amplifier. The amplifier is a second system connected to the head unit. It does the job of amplifying signals from the head unit to the speakers. The speaker set consists of multiple speakers and a sub-woofer. The sub-woofer is responsible for throwing out bass signals from the music. Capacitors are other sound components which store energy for further use by the amplifier. Now let us move on to some tips on upgrading the audio system of the car.

Tips on Upgrading your Car’s Audio System

Head Units
When choosing a head unit for the car audio system, go in for one that has options for connectivity. Nowadays, most head units are sophisticated, and include a large LCD touchscreen for GPS navigation display and showing a view of the rear camera. They let you connect MP3 players, iPods, external hard drives, and other media devices.

External Amplifiers
Though there is a built-in amplifier in the head unit, it might not be that effective to produce enough power. In this case, an external amplifier might be required to add extra power to the sound signals. These systems increase volume levels and that too without compromising with the desired clarity. You can choose a four or five channel car amp, depending on how many speakers you intend to connect. You can select a 350-watt amp for decent output, or a 4000-watt amp for a system with multiple powerful speakers.

Capacitors
These are devices which store power from the amp, and provide it to the speakers when required. Capacitors are mainly used when the alternators are not in a state to provide sufficient energy to the overall sound system. The power of capacitors is calculated in farads. You can choose those which have between point five to 30 farads of power, according to the setup of the audio system. Some of the best capacitor brands are Lanzar, Legacy, Pyle, Blitz, just to name a few.

Sub-woofers and Speakers
You have several different choices when it comes to choosing sub-woofers and speakers for customized car audio systems. Note that the sound majorly depends on the quality of speakers you connect to the sound system. You can choose two- or three-way speakers. Note that the more ranges a speaker can play, the more quality sound you will get. You also have choices in sizes, ranging from eight to 15 inches for hi-fi systems. The best brand for car audio speakers are Sony, Pioneer, Blaupunkt, JVC, and JBL.

Other Modifications
To better the new audio system, you might also need to consider making some modifications to the car interior. This can be done using car soundproofing to prevent outside noise from coming in. The quality of wires also plays a very important part in rendering the best sound. You can upgrade to thick copper wires for preventing the signal to degrade by the time it reaches the speakers. Small adjustments like these do have an impact on the sound heard by the listener.

When it comes to bettering your car’s audio system, experts suggest to use one brand on all installed products, owing to compatibility standards. Another alternative is to purchase a sound package from a renowned brand, which may consist of sub-woofer, speakers, amplifier, and a capacitor. The cost of upgrading the stereo system largely depends on the brand, number of speakers, additional accessories, and installation charges; and can even go to thousands of dollars.

Best Car Speakers

Seldom will you find a car that has been traveling mute. Be it for the music lovers, passionate drivers, a long journey, or driving through thick traffic at snail pace. A good audio system that plays your favorite music definitely is a feel-good booster. But a smart and good music system is not enough to give you the best output. An effective and component sound system is the last note on the chart for the best music output. It is almost religion to ask your best buddy for the best car speaker or your colleague who has installed one in his car. Well, yes, word of mouth has always been a strong advertising mode, and I must say a guaranteed one too. We now have a wide range of speakers and audio accessories that have shined through auto expos, showrooms, car magazines, and more. So how do you choose the one most suited? We have a quick review of some factors that make good car speakers, and a list of the best auto speakers on the market today.

Recommended Car Speakers
We have compiled a wide range of reliable and reputed car speakers, considering their brands, quality, and reviews. Let’s check some that are in the groove.

– Hybrid Audio Clarus C51-2: A great low cost deal with some of the best class features that makes a set of 5.25″ drivers. The excellent mid-bass and highs, tremendous articulation of high defined sound makes a best seller of this product.
– Phoenix Gold RSD-65CS: These are inexpensive but are one of the most effective speakers and are easy to install too. The two way component system makes them suitable for any style of music. The sound quality is more than value to the price.
– Pioneer TS-A6963R: This speaker has perhaps the easiest installation with clear mids and strong and effective bass. It features an upgraded power handling and best of technologies for improved sound, this speaker is complete value to your money.
– Hertz MLK 165: These speakers make one of the best packages with some incredible bass, defined sound and a superb off-axis response and linearity. Though these may not go easy on the pocket, but they truly stand as one of the best car speakers for bass.
– Sony XS-GTX6930: They rule the groove with 3 way speakers and santoprene surround. These Xplod GTX Series speakers are set to burn the music live with highly oriented polyolefine (HOP) cone surround and in line crossovers for high-definition detail.

Shoppers Guide
While choosing these speakers, there are various factors to consider. Before installing the car speakers, it is wise to first study the capacity of your car. Make sure you have suitable audio equipment that supports and powers the speakers. Check if your car head unit has outputs that will support expanding the speaker set. The sensitivity of the speakers is vital, it is basically how much power you car stereo can actually give the speaker. Depending on a low powered car stereo or a high power, choose speakers like low sensitive for the high powered and high sensitive for the low powered stereo. Also, how much power the speaker can handle needs to be considered. The size of the speaker and the design is also important, it should match the interiors and other components of your car. Decide what kind of speakers you need, full range speakers or component speakers. Full range ones are good if you are looking for changing your factory speakers in budget, while component speakers will give you live music with exceptionally defined sound. You may also choose the speakers accordingly, if you have a specific music style to rule your audio.

Once you consider and research the requirements and the setup of the car, choosing from the best will not be a task. Also, many a time, the sound in the showroom may differ from the actual output in the car. So a proper research and a little study will do good. An excellent sound system will put life in music, and surely set your spirits high while you drive!

Bluetooth Car Stereo

A car stereo system makes up the audio unit for the vehicle. You can use CD’s or flash drives to play music, or listen to the radio. That’s all it is good for. But Bluetooth being a wireless technology, allows you to connect multiple devices to your car stereo, if it is Bluetooth enabled. Think about it. You are driving to work, you’ve got your favorite track playing, suddenly you get a phone call. Now you have to turn down the music with one hand, and answer the phone with the other. And drive, of course. What if by pressing one button on your stereo system, you pick up the phone, the song’s volume is automatically turned down and instead of through your mobile, the call is played over the stereo? No, this is not a futuristic prototype of a car audio system, this is what a Bluetooth car stereo can do! And with competing brands and technological advancements, this is just the tip of the iceberg, with this type of car audio system.

Uses & Benefits of a Bluetooth Car Audio System

While various models and brands offer different features, here’s a look at some of the common ones.

✧ The basic function is of course, hands-free calling. Some models allow you to handle the phone completely from the stereo dashboard itself. Call information, like caller id, number and call status will be displayed on the stereo screen.

✦ An interesting feature is playing the call as audio over the stereo, so you can listen to your calls through your car speakers. Other perks include transferring your contacts to the stereo itself, so you can access your phonebook through the stereo. And when an incoming call occurs, the stereo system thoughtfully mutes any song or video playback, so you can pick up the call in peace.

✧ Easy call handling allows for safe driving as well. A very common cause of vehicle accidents and casualties is a distracted driver, who uses his phone while driving. Hands-free calling allows for mobile use, while both your hands remain on the steering wheel.

✦ A Bluetooth stereo system allows you to turn your car into a mobile media center. All Bluetooth enabled devices can talk to each other. So if your MP3 player is paired with the stereo, you can play music stored in the player on the stereo. This sort of wireless music streaming requires a A2DP profile on both the car stereo and the device, so look for this specification. Streaming video content is an emerging technology. The best part, no nests of wires and connectors to sort out!

How to Choose a Bluetooth Car Stereo

✧ You can opt for a Bluetooth kit, which is a device that acts as a middleman between your stereo and the connecting device. It translates the Bluetooth transmission from your phone, into a recognizable format for your stereo to understand. Some models require wires for connection to the stereo, some don’t. A Bluetooth kit has limited functionality, restricted to hands-free calling.

✦ A Bluetooth car adapter is a connector that allows more phone handling services on the stereo interface itself. Adapters can be universal or stereo specific. This type of Bluetooth peripherals are discreet in connections, with a simpler wiring system, usually at the back of the stereo. They are also more functional, with music and video features.

✧ The most advanced option, is a built-in stereo. No need for wires or cables, just plug the unit in to replace the existing stereo. Their slightly higher price is justified by the up-scale features and sound quality. Complete and advanced phone control and hands-free options, music controls and streaming and better audio experience, round up this sort of Bluetooth stereo, making it a premium option in car audio systems.

✦ Pick smart and think long-term when purchasing a Bluetooth car stereo. Don’t go in for a complicated system, if you are not the tech type. If you want a basic hands-free model, stick to your decision and do not get swayed by fancy sales talk. Make sure the offered specs and features on the model will work with your car and devices like a phone or MP3 player. While Bluetooth is a very friendly technology for devices to get along with, new and old Bluetooth standards used on devices can affect compatibility.

A nice snazzy Bluetooth car stereo set makes an attractive target for car thieves, so try to pick a detachable unit. Even a flip face model is a good theft-safe option. Safer driving, easy phone handling and if present, a good car sound system, are 3 good excuses to buy a car stereo with Bluetooth connectivity.