How to Choose Audio Upgrades

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Modern Sound

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, go to your local Car Audio installation shop to see what size equipment you can put into your vehicle without having to do much fabrication.

After you’ve determined what fits in your car, you’ll need to determine what parts (if any) you’ll need to install the speakers and/or radio you’ve purchased to go in the dash and door panels. Some vehicles employ (iso mount) and don’t require a dash kit to install the radio in the factory spot. This normally necessitates the use of O.E.M. radio brackets or the cage that came with your new radio. If you’re still asking yourself,

 “What do I need to install my new radio?”

If you have the tools you can learn how to build a car audio system, here is a list of everything you’ll need to install a car radio and connect to your phone:

Car Connection

Dash Mounting Kit

The dash disassembly and re-assembly instructions will be included in this kit.

Wiring Harness Adapter

This is used to electronically connect everything. It is vehicle-specific and may be modified to your unique year, make, and model. Some harnesses can even bypass or combine with your factory-installed amplification system, chimes, rear-seat entertainment systems, vehicle speed sensors, and other features.

Antenna Adapter

This is what you’ll use to connect your factory antenna to your aftermarket radio. You will not be able to get radio reception, whether AM or FM, without an antenna adaptor. Because they already have the Motorola style connector that your aftermarket radio requires, most vehicles may not require an antenna adaptor.

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The second simplest thing to do is to replace your factory speakers with a better made pair that can withstand a little more abuse. This is always recommended when starting a high fidelity system, especially if you plan on enhancing the music from your stereo.

Depending on the year, make, and model of the car, there are a variety of speaker sizes and depths to choose from. In the world of automotive audio, there are three types of speakers: coaxial speakers, component speakers, and subwoofers. The size and frequency response of these speakers are the most noticeable differences.

The second step in your quest for high-quality audio is installing car speakers; the first thing you’ll notice when they’re installed is that your system isn’t as “bass heavy” as it once was. This is due to the parameters of your new speakers and their efficient nature; companies that make aftermarket speakers understand what frequencies speakers can produce safely and efficiently, whereas the vast majority of the bass frequencies produced by your factory speakers cause excessive distortion at high volumes, causing them to blow.


Sure, there are five-channel amplifiers that perform well, but I’ve always preferred to use separate amplifiers for different types of speakers.

A four-channel amplifier is typically designed for coaxial and component automobile speakers, though some incorporate a “low pass filter” that permits sub woofers to be connected to them. As I previously indicated, if I can avoid it, I prefer not to use four channel amplifiers in that situation.

On the box or in the installation instructions, all amplifiers should contain a peak power measurement and an RMS or CONTINUOUS power handling measurement; these measures are very significant and can nearly always identify how to operate them appropriately.

For example, a four-channel amplifier with a peak power of 1000 and an RMS handling of 500 X4 may power four speakers each requiring up to 125 RMS when powered properly with a fully charged battery.

The reason we know this is due to the nature of the amplifier; the amp is designed to power four speakers (4 channel), therefore we divide the RMS (500) by the number of speakers it can support and get 125 watts RMS! Those are used to power one or more subwoofers and typically feature built-in low pass filters that limit the amplifier to just putting in frequencies that are not damaging to the subwoofer/s.

A hi-low converter converts normal high-level input to low-level (RCA) input so that the amplifier may properly use the signal from your radio. Return to our main page to look for the appropriate amplifier for your vehicle, or return here to search through our reviews. Here’s how to set up a subwoofer amp and a four-channel amplifier.

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Buyers of sub woofers can be divided into two groups: those who desire loud bass and those who simply want a beautiful full bass presence in their system. It’s critical to determine which buyer you are before making a purchase; buyers frequently don’t realize the system they got is too much or not enough for them until it’s already installed and calibrated.

If you want a nice sound that isn’t as loud, a low wattage set up is key. The rule of thumb to use when considering products is that if you want just a little more bass to fill the vehicle, I would go no higher than 300 watts RMS, and if you want a little more bass to enjoy at louder volumes, You could go between 300-800 watts RMS.

Anything over 1000 watts RMS is considered competitive power, which can rattle panels and drain a lot more amperage from your alternator.

You might want to explore into the 1000 watts range if you’re a bass addict like me. When planning any car audio installation, you should always consider the type of sound you want; this is the first step in learning how to install a car audio system.

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