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Congratulations. You’ve bought a high-end car that comes with a near-flawless stereo, made by the Boses and Harman Kardons of the world — even the most obnoxious audiophile can’t find fault with it. Now, welcome back to reality. It’s very likely you’re among the millions of people in the country that doesn’t own that fancy sets of wheels, so there will always be room for im- provement when it comes to your car’s audio system. The best way to satiate your aural senses, therefore, is to assemble a great aftermarket audio system. Here’s how.

GET BETTER SPEAKERS

PRICE: RS 700-5,500

This is the obvious first step to upping your car’s audio game. Unless you’re among the super-premium car owners, there are chances that your factory audio system comes with speakers made of emaciated fabric. So you can choose something as inexpensive as a Woodman or a SoundBoss and experience significant improvement in clarity. Go for a JBL coaxial or a Sony XS series, and the difference will be remarkable.

A NEW HEAD UNIT IS A GOOD IDEA

PRICE: RS 7,500-30,000

If your car is slightly older when compared to some of the current-gen ones, chances are that the in-dash unit too will be outdated, to say the least. Toss it out and get a new one — in addition to much cleaner sound, they also offer better connectivity options via Bluetooth, USB or AUX. Budget options for a cool head unit could encompass local manufacturers, but you also have tempting premium products from the Pioneer AVH range, and also the JVC KW series.

AMP IT UP

PRICE: RS 3,000-10,000

3 amp it up

Amplifiers are often implicated as the criminals responsible for sound pollution, but cut them some slack — good amps add a new dimension to the clarity of sound by sending precise signals to the speakers. The resulting crispness is easily observable, with the distinctive sound of almost every instrument coming through. Among the more popular amps this year have been the Blaupunkt and Sony units, alongside the Alpine BBX series.

OLDSCHOOL SUB-WOOFERS

RS 3,500-12,000

You might also go all old-fashioned with a powered sub-woofer for your system, that comes with a built-in amplifier. So if the lowest notes are your primary concern and you really want to drop that bass, getting a sub-woofer is the single best alternative for a bunch of other stereo parts. Volga and Woodman make for good new choices, apart from the evergreen Sony and Pioneer offerings.

SOUND DEADENING

PRICE: RS 4,500

The less you hear external noises inside your car, the better it is for your audio system. You can install sound-deadening pads on strategic parts of your car, like the door panel, to enhance your audio experience. Automobile products manufacturer 3M offers one of the most cost-effective solutions for sound cancellation in the country.

SMART CHOICES

You can further enhance your user experience with gadgets like a wireless Bluetooth FM transmitter and radio adapter handsfree, for as little as Rs 1,000, which will enable you to use your car’s radio as a speakerphone, and you can also play music through it, on the most archaic of audio systems.

In addition, the quality of the audio files that you’re playing will also impact the output, so try avoiding super-compressed MP3s, to enjoy the nuanced highs and lows. Connectivity also has a role to play here, because if you’re not using an AUX cable or a USB to pair your phone with the system, it might lead to distortions and sound abnormalitiesM

LOOK AFTER IT

Once you’ve assembled a car stereo as per your demands, it’s now your responsibility to also maintain it.

  • Do NOT overdrive. Nothing kills a speaker or fries an amp faster than distortion. If the sound starts to crackle or distort at high volume, turn it down. If you want it louder, you’re going to need more power, and the volume button isn’t going to help.

 

  • Check your power connections. Since there’s a lot of electrons flowing through a car’s power cables, there will be a lot of vibration from a big system too. Check the grounds every now and then to make sure they are still tight and not starting to corrode, and also your battery terminals.

 

  • Protect your speakers. They do take up a lot of space in the boot of your car, but you should avoid luggage and other stuff frequently coming in contact with the speakers, let alone jumping up and down on them.
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