Choosing a high-end car audio system involves deciding what factors you want in a sound system, where you want to mount the system, your price range and what model will work best for your make and model of vehicle. Here are some tips on how to get a high-performance car audio system.
Decide between touch-screen and push-button displays.
Car stereo systems with a standard-size, push-button display screen
are equipped with buttons for programming radio stations, display
features and switching between stereo functions.
Car audio systems with enlarged LCD displays are often equipped with
touch-screen capabilities to allow you to program and operate the
system's functions by touching the screen instead of pushing buttons.
These systems are more expensive and may not fit in smaller or older
Decide if you want a docking station.
Some high-end car audio systems come equipped with docking stations
that can be programmed to play songs off an iPod or MP3 player. Be sure
your model and brand of device will be compatible with the stereo system
Consider Bluetooth compatibility.
Car audio systems with Bluetooth functions can be programmed to operate a
Bluetooth hands-free device, such as a cell phone. This type of system
will be more expensive, but will make your commute safer.
Consider recordable CD capabilities.
Some car stereo systems are equipped to play "burned" CDs that have had
songs copied from your home computer or MP3 player. Not all car sound
systems include this capability as a standard feature, so verify the
system you're considering can play these CDs.
Know where you want to mount the system.
Trunk-mounted systems are housed in the car's trunk and need to be specially wired. These provide better security, since they can't be seen, but are less convenient when driving.
Dashboard mounted systems replace the car's factory stereo and sound system. This is the most common mounting method.
Some systems are designed to be mounted in a car's glove compartment or under a seat. They provide more security, because they are more difficult for thieves to access, but can be more difficult to operate while driving.
Evaluate warranty options.
Purchase a multi-year warranty on your car audio system in case it gets damaged or stolen. Choose a warranty that includes all parts of the system, is several years and costs a one-time fee rather than an annual charge.
Add anti-theft options.
High performance car stereo systems often come with optional anti-theft features like removable face plates or password encoding that prevents the system from being operated without a password when disconnected from the car's battery. These anti theft options will cost extra, but will help protect your investment.
Shop at professional car audio stores.
Get your car audio system through a business that specializes in high-end automotive audio systems and installing them. These experts will be more knowledgeable about options that suit your car and price range than if you shopped at an electronics or department store.
Set your price range.
Car audio systems start at around $150 for a simple interface, which is the faceplate that houses the radio and CD player components. Additional speakers and sub woofers cost $200 and up. Know how much you can spend when you shop and get a system that fits that range or that allows you to get a starter system that allow you to add woofers, tweeters and other components.