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How To: Upgrade your Car Stereo

How to: Upgrade your car stereoUpgrading Your Car Stereo

What you need to know!

If you have never upgraded any of the factory audio systems in your car please read here first.

There can be many steps to achieving a good sound in a vehicle, varying from a simple speaker upgrade to a full on amplified system. Listed below is an insight into what these steps are.

Speakers

The best and simplest way to upgrade an audio system is to fit a set of front component speakers. This consists of a woofer, tweeter and a separate crossover. The crossover separates the frequencies produced by sound into high frequency and middle frequency. The tweeter produces the higher frequencies and it is best suited either high up on the door or around the dash area. The woofer should be placed lower down in the door area. These are generally fitted in factory locations so nothing is on show.

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Alpine cd radio SheffieldHeadunit (Stereo)

If you want to go beyond this you should upgrade to a better headunit. A headunit upgrade generally means better quality audio, more power to the speakers and more settings to adjust the sound. If you’re looking to add an amplifier to your system you should look for one with a high pre-out voltage, normally around 4v. This gives a better signal to the amp resulting in less gain needed on the amp therefore giving you better sound quality. Dedicated subwoofer pre-outs are becoming more and more common and also lead to better sound quality from the subwoofer. Don’t worry if you a stereo that can’t be replaced, we can still get a good sound out of a factory stereo using specific interface modules.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR RANGE OF HEADUNITS

Hertz subwoofer SheffieldSubwoofer

If you want greater sound quality a subwoofer and amplifier will do the trick as you’re installing something that isn’t currently in the vehicle. This means that the high and mid frequencies are coming from your front speakers and the low frequencies (bass) come from behind (bass is non directional). As a general rule, the larger the subwoofer the deeper the bass it will produce. Don’t worry if you are thinking this will give you ‘boomy bass’ and people will hear you coming. Adding a subwoofer into a vehicle is like adding a subwoofer to a home cinema system, if gives definition to the sound by adding in the really low frequencies that speakers can’t play. Subwoofers can be small and fitted quite discrete so they take up little room in the boot.

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Audison Thesis HV Venti amplifier SheffieldAmplifying

If you want to go even further to get the best from your component speakers then an amplifier would be the next improvement. This will increase power and also allow you to tune your speakers to your own specification. An amp will also add depth to the sound and give you more control over what you are listening to. Similar to a subwoofer, an amp can be quite small and sometimes hidden away so you can’t see it at all.


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Wiring

Wiring is always needed if you’re looking to add an amplifier to your system. You can get a full wiring kit from around £39 but this will depend on the power/spec of the amplifier(s) you are using and we will happily discuss these options in store.

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Dynamat sound proofing Sheffield

 

Sound Deadening

This is a very good idea and one that should never be overlooked. Sound deadening stops the metal (and sometimes plastics) of the car resonating and reducing the sound quality of the speakers you are fitting. To see how this works pop into the shop at some point and have a play with our sound deadening demo stand.

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Watts and RMS

Some companies like to label their speakers with ridiculous claims like ‘1200 watts.’ It is very rare that this is true and most companies will use a ‘peak’ or ‘max’ power figure. When choosing speakers or amplifiers always look at the ‘RMS’ figures as this should be the true power figure.

 

Some Recommendations for manufacturers:

Speakers – Hertz, JL Audio, Audison, Rainbow

Subwoofers – JL Audio, Hertz, Rainbow

Amplifiers – Audison, Hertz, JL Audio

Headunits – Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, Clarion

You may never have heard of these names before, however these are the best specialist brands from around the world, for any more information on any of the above, please feel free to browse our website further or call into our store and speak to one of the team.

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Testimonials

I bought a car radio from somewhere else with the intention of replacing the factory installed one. I contacted Halfords and they bluntly told me that they did not fit a radio that was not supplied by them. I then stumbled upon Source Sounds on internet and decided to give them a try.
What set wind to my sails was their warm customer relations and their confidence that it was “do-able!”. Their charges are reasonable as well.
They changed the fascia and in the process provided extra space for auxiliary equipment (space that had been covered by only two knobs on the previous radio). They kept me updated on the progress. I now have a trim dashboard , and am over the moon! Thanks to Paul and his team. Your customer care is second to none.

— Nhamo Chinogara

Absolutely first class customer service with some real friendly and knowledgeable guys. I had every option and product explained to me in depth and the finished product is perfect. I will be using them for years to come

— Joseph Lynch

Just wanted to say a massive thankyou to you guys at Source, especially Chris and Paul who over the past few weeks have impressed me no end. I went to them with a typically sub-standard BMW sound system, not really knowing how it should be improved and had a really friendly informal chat with Chris about the best route to take. What has impressed me most is that never at any point are the people here pushy – they really listen to your requirements and budget and make honest suggestions and give a number of options. Chris and Paul both spoke in some detail about what the issues were and how the problems could be addressed and I felt I was in safe, honest hands throughout the upgrade process. A whole new set of 3 way speaker set up and a new amp later the car sounds crystal clear like never before. Not wanting to change the head unit, the guys had solutions as to how to keep the car looking as factory as possible, and even asked me back in so they could check how the system has bedded in. Old components are carefully removed, allowing you to have them replaced should the car ever be sold. Their installation couldn’t be faulted and their customer service is genuinely excellent – polite, highly knowledgeable and above all honest, with their customer’s best interests at heart. I have no reservations in fully recommending them and have no doubt I will be back in future. Thanks again gents !! Jason