Edmunds.com Offers Tips on Buying the Best Audio System for Your Car
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — March 8, 2011 — Even though new cars come equipped with better standard stereo systems than ever before, aftermarket car stereos can still offer the best sound quality and the latest integrated features. But with enhanced audio, navigation, satellite radio, MP3 playback, and iPod integration to consider, shopping for the right system for your car can be difficult.
Edmunds.com offers valuable advice on how to customize an "audio-motive" experience in "How To Shop for an Aftermarket Car Audio System."
Before comparing the available audio technology on the market, Edmunds.com suggests taking stock in what works best with your car. Every car stereo shopper should consider how much cargo space they are willing to sacrifice for subwoofers, and whether they are willing to go to the trouble of replacing an integrated system or simply keeping the factory head unit and adding only amplifiers and speakers.
As for the financial element of the decision, consumers should think beyond purchase price and budget for installation, labor and additional parts like amplifier wiring and adapters.
Edmunds.com advises customers to shop only with authorized dealers, and installers should be certified by the Consumer Electronics Association's "Mobile Electronics Certified Professional" program.
When considering stereo system components, Edmunds.com offers the following tips:
- Head Unit: A stereo system's head unit should have a logical layout and should be easy to use without distracting too much from the driving experience.
- Amplifier: It's very hard to judge an amplifier's sound, so buying decisions will often come down to budget, system configuration and your own brand preferences. But as Edmunds.com Contributor Terry Miller advises, "There's no reason to buy a 100-watts-per-channel amplifier if the speakers you like can only handle 50 watts."
- Speakers: After narrowing your search for speakers based on what will fit your vehicle, you'll have to trust your ears. Everyone hears sound slightly differently, and evaluating speakers is very subjective. You will be the one listening so it's best to go with speakers that you like.
Edmunds.com also advises consumers to carefully consider their shopping environments. Stereo system shoppers are urged to bring their own music to hear how their favorite tunes play on different systems. And most importantly, Edmunds.com advises consumers to be wary of demo displays within a store.
"Demo rooms at most retail facilities aren't ideal for auditioning speakers," writes Miller. "The acoustics and speaker positioning are nothing like what's found in vehicles, so speakers will sound different in your vehicle than in a store. If the retailer has demo vehicles available, check out the speakers in them to get a better idea of how the speakers will sound when they're installed."
For more detailed advice on buying an audio system, visit How to Shop for an Aftermarket Car Audio System at Edmunds.com (http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/how-to-shop-for-an-aftermarket-car-audio-system.html). You can also find additional devices and technologies to enhance the quality of your vehicle on the car technology page (http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/).
About Edmunds.com, Inc. (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)
Edmunds.com Inc. publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds.com Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.