elements and definition of car audio

Car Audio for Beginners: Everything you need to know

on October 05, 2023

To begin, we have to explain what does Car Audio mean? You should know that, with this, we are referring to the sound system that the cars have inside. If you're still using the audio system that came from the factory, you may not be enjoying quality sound as much.

We will be clear that for a car manufacturer, its sound system is not a priority, since they have more practical aspects in mind, such as the performance of the car, the operation of the engine, the axles, the brakes, even the lighting system will be more important to them.

Therefore, if you continue to use the sound that came from the factory, you are still at the level of beginners, and you have to learn what true Car Audio means.


Everything you need to know about car audio systems

all about car audio guide

A Car Audio system is exactly that, a system, made up of parts, which in a normal system consists of speakers and a receiving device, in fact, many people only have that and feel that this is enough.

However, if you feel that your Car Audio system does not sound as it should, because you have listened to those songs at home, using other devices or equipment, and you do not feel it with the same clarity, then it is more than likely that you are interested in knowing how to improve it.

Stop for a moment to think that it is possible that the Car Audio system that the car comes with from the factory is of good quality, so do not go running out and change everything, without having checked if it can serve your purpose of improving it. We suggest you do some tests first.

Do not go to get rid of what you have without first knowing if it can serve you or not. First, you must do a test on your car audio system to be able to assess how it sounds, and if it is possible that they serve as a basis to improve what Car Audio means in your car.

You didn’t expect that the first thing you had to do was a sound check? Right

Well it is, and this will help you know what you should change and what not, and it is very easy to do it with an app called Signal Gen, which is capable of listening to the sound frequency at which your speakers transmit without the need to remove them.

What you need is to start the app and bring it closer to the speakers so that Signal Gen can diagnose if what is being played is just noise or if the speakers you have are performing well. Diagnostics will tell you if there is distortion, or if they are failing to reproduce at the correct frequencies and if so, now is the time to change them.


Start with the speakers

If you have already run the test with the application and the diagnostic result was that the speakers emit only noise, distortion or emit at wrong frequencies, then the first step is to change only the speakers. Consider the possibility of being able to place them in a different place.

In addition, soundproofing the interior of the car will allow you to dampen vibrations and noise from the outside and the Dynamat brand has an easy-to-install kit on the market, with which you will gain a lot in internal features, reducing external interference and stabilizing the work that the new speakers that you are going to install will do.


What are the components of a car audio system

First of all, you should know what are the parts of a car audio system:

  1. The amplifier
  2. The speakers
  3. The subwoofer


What does CarAudio mean?

If you are reading this, it is because you are one of the people who enjoy, feel and live music to the fullest and, when you play it on your car, you feel that something is missing.

If you want to get the same feeling inside your car that you get when listening to your favorite songs elsewhere, then let us tell you what Car Audio means one more time.

Car Audio is a set of techniques and electronic devices that create an interconnected system that substantially improves the original sound equipment of your car, always seeking to meet your expectations.

By this we mean to say that if the audio system is not what you expect, if it fails to give you the sound you require, then we are not talking about Car Audio.


How to Build a Stereo System

In order to build a Car Audio, you have to first diagram it in your head, always taking into consideration the availability you have in your pocket. If you have already reviewed the results of the test and nothing you have works for you, you will have to acquire many

implements, from the sound source, the speakers, an amplifier, an equalizer, a subwoofer and the wiring.


Main elements that you should take into account

elements of car audio

There are elements that are basic to understand what Car Audio means, and you should try to have what you need without leaving a large amount of money in the attempt. One of the first you should know about and understand its function is the sound source.


What does a sound source do?

A sound source is like the brain of Car Audio, it directs the entire system which is why it is essential that you get a good one. If you are lucky enough that it came from the factory in the car, you will already have a fairly important piece of the entire system.

The sound source is what is commonly known as a CD radio, or a media player, because it is what reads the music that has been digitally recorded on any device, by any means you can use, whether you use DCs, a USB cable connected to your iPod, or whatever you have stored on the SD card of your Smartphone or being played via Bluetooth.

What a sound source does is convert music into an electrical signal that starts the Car Audio chain you have. Therefore, its quality and functionality is so important, because the quality of the sound that will be emitted by the sound system of your car will depend on it.


What specifications should a good sound source have?

  • From a technical point of view, there are some aspects that you should take into account when choosing a sound source, such as: S/N ratio, that is, the relationship between signal and noise, the best quality will be obtained from the sound source that has a higher S/N ratio.
  • The DAC, which is the range of digital conversion from bits to analog, 24 bits being recommended, to have the best audio quality.
  • The preamp output power. This is very useful to know, if you are going to incorporate an external amplifier into your car sound system, which is highly recommended, and if you want the best performance, you should get a power between 2 and 5w.
  • The possibility of filtering and equalizing the sound. It would be ideal for your audio system to have time alignment and equalization, which will allow you to later be able to modulate the acoustic possibilities inside the car.


What role does an amplifier play?

If you want to really know what Car Audio means, this is basic. If in the test it turns out that your stereo equipment does not have enough power, what you need to have on a basic Car Audio is to increase the power with a separate amplifier, because that will make the sound have more energy and will be heard much better. If what you want is a high level Car Audio, you are going to need an external amplifier, because it can give you the closest thing to a live experience, with great depth of diffusion, dynamics and sonic realism.

As a suggestion, try to choose an amp that has the best RMS power, and ignore other comparisons. Remember that it may have great power, but without proper control it won't do any good. Just because it's more powerful doesn't mean it's going to give us better results.

There are parameters that you should take into account when buying an amplifier:

  • S/N ratio, again it is the noise and signal ratio, the higher it is, the better quality the sound will have.
  • Check the total harmonic distortion or THD, the less value this parameter has, the better the sound quality.
  • Choose the right class of amplifier, in fact, they are classified as class A, Case A/B and even class D. In this case the letter matters, and if you can get a Class A, you will have the real answer to what Car Audio means.
  • Take into account the Damping Factor, because the higher it is, the better it will control the movement of the speaker on the bass, and if you are going to add a subwoofer, this is very important.

When you go to buy it, make sure to review the evaluations online and trust the brands, because that will guarantee an honest manufacture, with top quality internal components which it is worth spending money on, because if the sound source is the brain of a car audio system, the amplifier is the heart.

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Is it necessary to add a subwoofer?

If you have the possibility, add a subwoofer to your Car System, to which you can directly connect the amplifier and place them both inside a box of suitable dimensions, well sealed, without holes through which air can enter and cause sound distortions.

A subwoofer is much larger than a speaker, whose function is to reproduce bass and sub-bass sounds as faithfully as possible, eliminating distortion caused by subsonic bass, lower than what can be heard by the human ear, which are present in recordings and cause a lot of inconvenience. To choose the right one, try to look at:

  • The RMS power it can handle.
  • The sensibility.
  • The impedance, which must be between 2 or 4 Oh.
  • The dimensions of the box that the manufacturer recommends.



Many times a bad connection or the use of an inappropriate wire can cause the most specialized car audio system to be ruined. Therefore, the importance of wiring is not something that should be set aside, on the contrary, you have to make sure that the wiring is done well and that the cables are of good quality. What you need is some RCA cabling of sufficient construction quality, with double or triple shielding.


How to take care of your car when installing an audio system

First of all, the battery is something that you must take into account, especially if you are going to place a true Car Audio System, with power and versatility. In these cases, think of a separate power supply system, with an independent battery.

If you decide to soundproof the interior of the car, make sure that nothing is left exposed, because even the glass, the carpets and the insulators of the same upholstery can influence the sound quality.

Finally, find a way to keep the connections and cables hidden and immovable in the same place.

Now that you know what Car Audio means, get down to work!



Simple, the goal is to achieve a balance between the components of a sound system for your car. This can only be achieved with the most appropriate devices, researching and following the recommendations and technical specifications that each component requires, so that you achieve the harmony you need to enjoy music to the fullest.

That is what we have tried to show you in this article. We hope that we have instilled in you the bug of curiosity and it is even possible that, if you set your mind to it, you can make the changes yourself at your own pace.

You can also be interested in:

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Difference between Crossover and Digital DSP Processor in Car Audio. Which one is more Convenient?

How to choose the best speaker?

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