Budget guide to an awesome car sound system

Posted by Chazlin Haskins on 11 Jul 2017

Budget guide to an awesome car sound system
Your car’s sound system is easy to amp up with some budget friendly changes. Suzuki’s car customisation expert, Chazlin Haskins, takes us through some easy audio fixes.

If you’ve ever seen a car’s windows rattle from the bass, you’ve seen a car with a pimped up audio system - and it’s not hard to replicate, even as a newbie.

Typically, the sound system that comes with most cars is just okay . The radios themselves are more or less the same calibre across specs and models, but the speakers are where the manufacturer saves some money. As Lifewire explains, “The fact is that the sound system is one of the places that OEMs almost universally neglect in the name of higher profits. If a car stereo sounds ‘okay,’ then that’s all the OEMs are usually looking for. Even factory-installed ‘premium sound systems’ typically aren’t up to snuff.”

I’m going to assume with this guide that the car you’re working with already has a radio, or what we in the industry call a ‘factory head unit’. I also want to give a warning - there’s a risk of fire and voiding your electrical warranty if the parts are installed incorrectly. It’s best to speak to your dealer for a recommendation of someone reliable - your dealer will know who’s best in the area with that speciality - to install it without any danger. If you don’t know what you’re doing, DON’T DIY! It’s easy to pop your computer box and blow all your new equipment.

BUY BETTER SPEAKERS

First prize is to buy new speakers. For low range speakers, you’re looking at a budget of anything between R600 - R800, and if you want to go a bit higher spec, the mid-range, decent speakers go up to R1500. Says Lifewire, “Factory speakers are typically pretty anaemic, so you may notice a pretty big improvement in your sound by simply replacing your front speakers. A decent set of front speakers might only set you back $50 [in South Africa, Auto Style has a wide range available, like these from Pioneer]. Component speakers provide even better sound, but that’s a little more complicated.”

ADD AN AMPLIFIER

For most people, changing out the speakers will be enough of an increase in quality. However, if you want to up your game even more, you can add an amplifier to the car’s system. This will send more sound to the speakers, but just be sure they won’t exceed the speaker’s capabilities.

ADD A SUBWOOFER

Leave this for last - the subwoofer increases the bass (those deep, vibrating notes!) and it can be quite overwhelming if you do this first.

TIP: Tune your radio to not exceed the speaker’s capabilities.

Some budget, yet high quality brands you can look at:

  • Starsound
  • TARGA
  • Sony
  • JVC
  • Pioneer

My best advice?  If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t try to DIY it.  

Download our guide on questions to ask your dealer

Topics: Driving a car

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