It doesn't take a hardcore car audio expert, or even a bona fide audiophile, to tell when a sound system has grown a little long in the tooth. Some factory systems are in need of some love right off the showroom floor, but even the best OEM setups eventually need a little love. But where's the right place to start?
If your car is more than a few years old, the sound system is probably missing some features that you'd love to have. We're talking Bluetooth connectivity, auxiliary inputs, USB connections, and other technological marvels that can really thrust your listening experience into the stratosphere. If that's the case, you should start off by upgrading your head unit. Make sure to find one that will meet your needs for a few years to come since that will save you from having to buy another one in the near future.
Another great place to start is your speaker system. If your head unit is adequate, but the sound quality isn't up to par, then your best bet is going to be to replace your car speakers. Full range OEM speakers don't provide the greatest sound quality to begin with, and substandard foam inserts can wear out in a hurry.
Of course, you can always build a system from the ground up. If you go that route, and money is no object, then you'll want a head unit that has preamp outputs, a quality amp, and component speakers that are expertly positioned throughout your car. That kind of project is a major undertaking, so newbies to the world of car audio might want to brush up on the basics first.
But why stop at audio? The only way to take full advantage of your crisp, new sound is to bring a video component into the mix. If you choose a head unit that includes an LCD screen, you're ahead of the curve. However, there are a ton of other options available even if you don't want to install a new stereo.Image courtesy of Matteo Martinello