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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.

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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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The UK's Ultimate Car Audio, Security and Navigation Specialists, having been voted on numerous occasions by the "UK's Best Installers" by the Car Audio, Security & Navigation Industry Find out why...
Testimonials

Absolutely brilliant, outstanding service from advice on which alarm to have, very professional install and great introduction to the system when it’s fitted. I’d recommend these to anyone. Well done!

— Alan Usher

A BIG “thank you” to the staff at source,had speakers,amp,sub,head unit and cables fitted…great service,sounds amazing!!

— Steve Darlow

just had a speaker upgrade, along with sub and amp fitted by these guys ……. everything, from product knowledge to installation is amazing, thanks to Jordan for getting me to buy what i needed, not what i thought i needed and to Paul and the team for the most awesome installation and sound experience an my T6 ……. it really is unbelievable the difference……. i knew it would be good, but this is astonishing!!! …… if you want the best, listen to what these guys say to you and go with them!!! …… Thanks so much guys …… got my dream wheels now you’ve had your mitts on her ….. awesomeness!!!