Things to Consider Before Selecting Your New Audio System
Although a stereo upgrade won’t typically increase the monetary value of your ride, it increases its inherent value for you – and the amount of enjoyment you get from driving. And while you can absolutely purchase a stereo kit with little to no thought, if you have expectations for your new car audio system, you’ll want to put a bit more effort into making your purchase.
Consider the following before visiting a car stereo store to buy your equipment and have it installed.
Why Do You Want to Upgrade Your Stereo?
The reason you want to upgrade your existing car stereo will affect every aspect of your purchase.
Maybe you drive an older used vehicle, and a speaker or two are “blown,” and you simply want to improve sound quality by getting new ones. Maybe your current factory stereo system is too weak, and an amplifier is really all you need. Maybe you wish for additional stereo capabilities than your current one can provide, like navigation or Bluetooth connectivity. Or perhaps you’re seeking fully customized sound with booming bass.
Your reason for the upgrade will guide the rest of your considerations as you prepare to shop for equipment.
How Much Do You Want to Spend?
In today’s modern era, even inexpensive stereo components can provide exceptional sound. So, if you don’t have much of a budget, don’t write off your stereo just yet.
And if you plan to invest quite a lot into your car stereo, you might spring for premium options from a well-known brand.
Whatever your budget, it’s important that you decide on one and stick to it to prevent buyer’s remorse and to stop you from buying something you don’t really want or need.
How Do You Listen to Your Music?
Your next consideration is how you usually listen to your music, or how you want to listen to it. This consideration is actually two-fold.
First, what method do you use to play your music? Are you old-school with CDs, or do you want to stream from your smartphone? If you exclusively listen to CDs, you can skip units with Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Second, how do you prefer to listen to your music? At full volume? Low and soft as background noise while you drive? If you aren’t wanting to play it loud, you may not need as powerful of an amplifier or as capable of speakers and subwoofers to achieve what you’re looking for. Alternatively, if you want a car that goes boom, then you’ll need to look for speakers and other components capable of producing the sound you’re looking for.
Do You Want Any Special Features?
Today’s stereo systems are capable of so much more than standard factory equipment of years’ past. And even if you buy a new car with an upgraded stereo, if it doesn’t do everything you want it to, you can still upgrade it, ultimately saving money over the cost difference in trim levels of the same car model.
You can find stereo systems with built-in navigation, satellite radio, and capabilities of playing back from any device, including a thumb drive. You can even add a touchscreen to your car stereo, bringing your ride into the 21st century in mere minutes of car audio installation.
Shop around for units to see all the available features you could choose from before making your decision, so that you’re happy with your new stereo and don’t find yourself wishing for something different.
Can You Install It Yourself, or Do You Need Help?
Your last stereo-related decision just might be your easiest. Do you want to install your new system yourself, or pay for professional installation?
If you’re paying for professional installation, you may need to budget for it – or you can shop at a car audio store that includes the service for free when you buy from them.
Should you decide to install it yourself, make sure you have the knowledge and skills to do it right. Car stereo installation can be a frustrating and intricate process, especially if your new components aren’t perfect fits right away. If in doubt, always leave it up to the pros.
It’s Your Time to Shine!
Now that you know what you should be thinking about before purchasing a new car stereo, it’s time for you to head out to your local car audio store or shop around online to secure a good deal on a system that you’ll love listening to. Good luck!