First-Time Buyer: Buying a Car Sound System


When you are getting a car sound system for the first time, you want to ask yourself what you are looking to get out of the car sound system. Are you looking to play a former media type that you couldn’t play before (like an iPod or MP3 player)? Do you need better sound with a complete upgrade? Are you looking for more bass and a richer sound experience? A lot of times, it is easy to just replace your head unit (source unit); which is the main component that you put the CD or media device in.


For the first-time buyer, it’s not always as trouble-free —and will eventually compel them to visit a local car sound specialist. The specialist will be able to determine: what can be changed, how it can be changed, and how it is going to be done properly. If you are planning on doing it yourself, you need to conduct proper research to eliminate wasting money in the process.


Choose the right car sound components


Head Unit (source unit/command centre)


The very basis of installing a quality system is by starting out with a proper head unit; manufactured to connect all other components such as the speakers and subwoofers. The decision you make here will either make or break your system. It is highly advisable to aim for the higher-end models that feature the necessities such as satellite radio; visualisations; equalizers and various output points for media players and accessories. Look for a well known manufacturer. For example: Sony, Blaupunkt, Starsound, Earthquake, Bose, Extera and JVC




The first factor to take into consideration is whether to go with component or full range speakers and can be based on four main factors (in no particular order); build quality, power handling, size and sensitivity. How do you choose then? For a more affordable option — and the easier to install option — full range speakers will do the job perfectly. If a richer car sound experience is your need, but you don’t mind the bigger price tag, then component speakers will fit your profile better.




It is crucial to choose a head unit with RCA outputs in order to seamlessly install an amplifier in your car. Wiring the amplifier might be a tricky job, so if you don’t feel completely skilled to successfully install the car amp, advice your nearest car sound specialist. A lot of buyers go out and purchase a car amplifier without considering the location of where the amplifier will sit within their vehicle. Consider these ideas below.


-          Easily attach the amp to the back of a mounting box or have it customised to your needs

-          Underneath the trunk near the spare (limits your trunk space for groceries and other carry items)

-          Behind the dashboard (only for smaller amps)

-          Underneath the driver or passenger seat




If you decide to have a richer bass added to your music experience, you would want to consider investing in a quality sub-woofer (also known as a sub). Depending on the type of music genre that you are listening to, buying a more powerful sub-woofer will be the difference between keeping your music to low levels and cranking up the volume to intensified levels. You can also add a digital sound processor to improve the sound from all of your speakers.


Do I only need the investment money in car sound components?


The short answer to the question—no. Unfortunately, specialized and precise car sound installation will carry additional charges. It is best to consult your local sound specialist before buying all the essential components. As mentioned earlier: you can follow the DYI-route, but it might come at a price if you don’t pull it off without getting frustrated and losing valuable time.