By Kaia Weathers. Car Audio. Published at Thursday, June 28th, 2018 - 11:02:21 AM.
Getting the Sound Right. Most complaints about factory sound systems cite poor sound quality, and even expensive "premium systems" can suffer from muddy bass and poor imaging caused by inexpensive drivers and too little power. To compound the problem, most factory stereos don't offer the equalization controls you need to get the sound right. Here are a few easy fixes that can improve your daily commute.
Size of the woofer — It's a never-ending question — what size subwoofers play loudest and lowest? It's not an easy question — you need to consider sensitivity, enclosure type, and available power. If your ultimate goal is to have a system that plays loud and low, and space isn't an issue, go for the biggest subs. But don't underestimate smaller subs. Properly powered and in the right enclosure, smaller subs can put out plenty of sound.
If you drive a compact coupe or hatchback, a sports car, or a small-cab pickup, for instance, a 50 watts RMS per channel, or smaller, amp will probably do fine, overcoming road noises and adding clarity to your music. Look for speakers with a top RMS rating of at least 35 watts RMS (using the 75%150% rule) to go along with the amp. For larger vehicles and for those who just want more volume, you should step up to at least a 75 watts RMS per channel setup. A difference of 5 or 10 watts either way won't make any difference and probably can't even be heard. Matching speakers will need to each have a top RMS rating of 50 watts RMS or more.
Better sound quality — Adding an amplifier gives you a clean power source that can drive your speakers without straining. Unlike an amplifier built into an in-dash stereo, an external power amp isn't limited by the space available — it can be designed without compromises. That means your music will sound cleaner and more defined at all volume levels.
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