Speakers Play the Sound
When building or upgrading an auto sound system, the first thing most people investigate are the speakers. While speakers do play an exceptionally significant role in the overall sound of your system, there are many other things that must be taken into consideration if you are going to avoid “overspeaking”. (“Auto Sound Systems, Speakers, And You – The Holistic Approach”) It is not necessary with modern technology and enclosures to take your entire trunk up with giant subwoofers to get that bone shaken bass you want.
The Head Unit
Good sound starts at the source. And in the case of auto sound systems, this source is the head unit. This is the CD player in your dash that provides the signals that the rest of your system amplifies and plays back. (“Auto Sound Systems, Speakers, And You – The Holistic Approach”) You can have the best speakers and amps in the world, but if you pair that with a cheap head unit with a lousy DAC, your sound will be lousy.
In fact, with good speakers and amps, any shortcomings in your head unit will become glaringly obvious; the speakers will faithfully reproduce everything fed to them, including the hiss caused by a cheap DAC and op amps.
Again, the best way to get killer sound is to start at the source and work your way to the output. After you have an excellent quality head unit that makes a clean audio signal, you need quality amplifiers to take this signal and push it still clean to your speakers.
“Cheap amps will often introduce noise into your signal, whether through lousy signal to noise ratios, or ground loop/alternator whine caused by poor internal or external grounds.” (“Auto Sound Systems, Speakers, And You – The Holistic Approach”) Again, with good, speakers, any problems with your amplifiers will be very audible as your killer speakers faithfully reproduce every bit of the signal the amps provide – including any noise.
And finally, you should consider the speakers themselves. The biggest two things to remember are quality makes an enormous difference, and bigger is not always better. If you listen to a lot of music with extremely fast base hits, like techno, using 15″ subwoofers will make your bass line muddy and indistinct. For this type of music, 10″ or 12″ is the largest subwoofer you want to push. If you listen to rap or other music with extremely low frequency and rhythmic base hits, a 15″ may be what you want. In all cases, mounting the speakers in a finely tuned bandpass enclosure will ensure the best quality sound. (“Auto Sound Systems, Speakers, And You – The Holistic Approach”)
The Speaker Enclosure
The sound you get out of the exact same speaker/amp combination will be vastly different depending on the enclosure you put it in. A simple sealed enclosure will provide a neutral, flat response across the frequency curve of your speaker. A tuned bandpass enclosure can either help make up for a deficient area in your response curve or amplify the frequencies you really want to add punch to.
“While speakers are often the first thing considered when building an auto sound system, they really should be near the last on your list.” (“Auto Sound Systems, Speakers, And You – The Holistic Approach”) Only after you have a quality head unit and amplifiers to drive them should you worry about your speakers. Even moving your current speakers into diverse types of enclosures can make an enormous difference in your sound quality. (“Auto Sound Systems, Speakers, And You – The Holistic Approach”)
Best Wishes, Coyalita
Behavioral Health Rehab Specialist
See Tomorrow: “The iPod And the Auto Sound System”
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