Get the Best Sound From a Car Audio System

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Get the Best Sound From a Car Audio System

Driving down the highway with the music blaring and the windows rolled down, can make any normal day turn into an extraordinary one. People have been in love with their car audio systems ever since the good old days, when car radios were first commercially produced. Today's modern car audio systems with their external amps, satellite radios, and MP3 connectivity, highlight the best and brightest in current audio technology.

There is no reason to rely on those old factory stereo settings any longer when customers can easily pick up a new audio system, either from a car audio store or by using an online website like eBay.. Buying a car audio system does not need to be a complicated endeavour, even with the seemingly limitless selection currently available. Buyers who understand the overall audio system parts, can select car stereos and speakers for their power, compatibility, and features, while building an amazing audio system.

Car Stereos

The car stereo and the car speakers,, are the two main components to any audio system. When purchasing a new system, always start with the car stereo, sometimes called the stereo head, since it is the brains behind the whole operation. The car stereo controls the source, such as the radio, CD, or MP3 player,, as well as the amplification, which is the audio power measured in watts. Therefore, anyone who wants a halfway decent audio system, needs to start with a good car stereo first. It does buyers no good to rush out and buy top of the line speakers that are not compatible with their stereo head, since the speakers simply will not work with every system.


One of the easiest places to begin, is to select a car stereo head based on its sources. Once upon a time, car stereos only came with AM/FM radios and a tape deck,, which was eventually replaced by the CD player.. Now, buyers have almost endless options including: HD radio, satellite radio, and even LCD display screens, for their stereo head.

Meeting Needs

Before venturing into a store or searching online for systems, it is a good idea to take a step back and decide what kind of audio system is needed for the car. For example, if the owner has an MP3 device like an Ipod, then it is a good idea to purchase a stereo with MP3 compatibility and a plugin deck. Drivers who often get lost when driving, might want to get an LCD display screen that comes with GPS navigation. Those who like to talk on their cell phones, should consider Bluetooth hands-free calling. In other words, drivers need to consider how the stereo system can help them manage their life.


Besides the source, the most important feature for car stereos is the power, or amplification settings. All car stereos come with internal amplifiers that measure power in watts, this is called the RMS Power Output. Do not get confused between the RMS Power Output, which is the steady power, and the Peak Output, which only lasts during a brief musical burst. For example, it is common to see a car stereo with 100 watt RMS settings, and 180 watts of peak power. Pay attention to the RMS number since the speakers that work with the car stereo must use a comparable amount of power. Speakers that use fewer watts will blow out while speakers that use more, will most likely underperform.

External Amplifier

Serious audio enthusiasts who want to provide the best sound system for their car, will likely end up purchasing an external amplifier. This device can handle more power than most internal amps found in car stereos, and is crucial for those who want big sound. If the buyer is planning on purchasing an external amp to power the speakers, then he or she does not need to worry about the internal amp in the stereo. Plan on using an external amp for car stereos that use over 200 RMS output, since that is the upper limit for most internal amps.

Car Speakers

Once the car stereo head is selected, it is time to move on to the speakers. Factory-made car speakers usually cost the same as factory-made car stereos. Therefore, it makes no sense to purchase a high powered car stereo, if the driver is still using their old factory speakers. Upgrading the speakers improves the audio quality all over the car, but not all speakers are created equally. Learn the difference between different types of speakers to help in selecting the right model of sound system. Remember to always look for the RMS Power Output, since this must match with the car stereo output.

Car Speaker Types

A speaker is made up of drivers that amplify the sound passing through the device. A tweeter is a driver that plays high-range frequencies like bells and whistles. A woofer plays low-range frequencies. The size of the woofer cone determines how low the sound can reach, with the largest woofer cones being found in subwoofers, and speakers that specialise in playing very low bass notes. Speakers work by using both the tweeter and the woofer to reproduce sound, but they are built in two different types.

Full Range Speakers

As their name suggests, full range car speakers are meant to cover the complete spectrum of sound. These speakers come with a tweeter and a woofer in the same enclosure, allowing a single speaker to produce a wider range of frequency. However, by placing the tweeter and woofer together, the overall sound quality suffers. These speakers are typically cheaper than other types, and they do work better than most factory installed speakers, so they are a good choice for an audio enthusiast on a budget.

Component Speakers

Component speakers are the second type of speakers, and they are regarded as more high-quality than full-range speakers. This is because they separate the woofer and the tweeter drivers so that there is no negative feedback. They do this by using crossovers with high and low pass filters. For example, a tweeter driver in a component system uses a crossover with a high filter that only transmits notes of a certain frequency to the tweeter. This ensures that the tweeter is only playing high notes, keeping it sounding at its very best.

Low notes are filtered to the woofer, while the lowest notes of all go to the subwoofer. Component systems are typically more costly than full-range speakers, but many audio enthusiasts swear by their enormous potential for playing crystal clear sound.

Two-Way and Three-Way Car Speakers

Buyers may also come across speakers described as two-way speakers,, and three-way speakers.. This refers to the number of drivers inside of each speaker. Most factory installed speakers are two-way speakers, which means they have two drivers. On one driver, the tweeter, plays the high notes, while on the other driver, the woofer plays the low notes. High end, full-range speakers on the other hand, are usually three-way speakers. This means that they have three drivers: a tweeter for the high notes, a small woofer cone for mid-range, and a larger woofer cone for low notes. Three-way speakers are slightly superior to two-way speakers because they can better reproduce sound frequencies more accurately, due to the narrowed driver range.

Buying Car Audio on eBay

It is one thing to hear about the power that a 200 watt speaker can provide, but it must be heard in person to be believed. One should also understand the difference between full-range, and component speakers before deciding if the sound quality is worth paying the higher price. Save your hard earned money by shopping on eBay,, and find the right seller at the right price. Audio dealers from all over the world sell their products on eBay, and many of them are incredibly cheap compared to the high prices that are on the market.

Buying Used Car Audio Systems on eBay

Sometimes a buyer can get a great deal by searching for 'used car audio systems&' on eBay. In many cases, a set will include the speakers and a compatible stereo head, allowing you to purchase all of the parts at once. However, buyers need to always carefully examine the seller's listing when buying used merchandise. Make sure there is a picture of every single part to the entire system and that the item description matches the photos. While it is difficult to ascertain speaker condition online, only purchase speakers that are working. Be careful of buying any system that has a broken speaker since this could be a sign of damage to the other speakers as well.

Buying Speakers and Stereos Separately on eBay

Buyers who want to create their own audio system from scratch, can purchase all of the parts separately on eBay. Start off by searching for 'car speaker&' to find a model that suits your needs. Pay extra attention to the RMS rating since you must purchase compatible speakers, unless you are buying an external amp. If you are replacing the factory speakers in the car, you will also need to measure the area and try to find speakers that match in size. For example, if you need three-inch round speakers, then search for 'car 3 inch speakers&' to find the correct size. You can also narrow down your search by speaker type and power output.


Buying a car audio system can seem a little overwhelming at first, but the system is made simple once a buyer understands all of the necessary parts. The car stereo head should be the first item purchased, since it will control the rest of the audio system. It is better to put a little extra money into a high quality stereo head than to buy larger speakers that will not be compatible with low-powered stereos.

Choose a speaker system based on its sound quality and price. Component speakers produce better sound, but they are more expensive than full-range speakers, and some three-way full range speakers sound almost as good as component speakers. eBay lets buyers have a little more wiggle room in their budget so that anyone can purchase an amazing audio system. By purchasing an audio system that meets their needs, buyers will be happy with the products they choose.

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