04-16-2010 01:17 AM
Looking to upgrade the sound in your car? If so, Best Buy® has what you need to make sure you’re covered. For those just getting into the car audio game, let’s take a look at the four main components to a car audio system. These are available in store, as well as on BestBuy.com.
Deck- The deck is the primary control unit for a car audio system. Usually installed in the center of the dash panel, there are many sizes, varieties and features when it comes to decks. These almost always include the basics: volume, AM/FM tuner, CD player, bass/treble tuner. Outside of these features, there are several other bells and whistles that come along with many decks, including iPod connectivity, GPS, satellite radio, on-screen navigation, DVD player and many more.
Speakers- Car speakers are quite similar to other loudspeaker designs, with key some key components customized for use in a car. One of the main distinctions you will notice when browsing speakers is two-way and three-way. A two-way, or coaxial, design reproduces music's frequency range using a subwoofer to produce low sounds and a tweeter to produce high frequency noises. A three-way, or triaxial, design incorporates a subwoofer for low frequencies, a tweeter for high frequencies and a mid-range driver. In the end, the sound is quite similar and it’s really up to the user to determine which they prefer.
Subwoofer- Although there are woofers built into speakers, many people prefer to purchase an additional subwoofer to amplify low-frequency sounds. Mobile subwoofers are not very different from any other type of subwoofer in terms of construction and can range from about $70 to $300. When browsing subwoofers, you’ll notice many of them are listed by ohms- most either two or four ohms. The difference between the two is the wiring method used to get the correct load to the amp. For best overall performance, it's better to get a higher powered amp and load it with four ohms than a lower powered amp and force it to push more power with a lower load, like two ohms.
Amplifier- A mobile car amplifier is a term used to refer to a dedicated electronic amplifier separated from the other components of the car audio system. Many decks have amplifiers built in, but there are some that do not, and even if an amp is built into a deck, some users desire a richer sound experience. One of the main distinctions you will notice when looking through amplifiers is the ‘class’ of each amp. An amplifier's circuit design determines its class of operation. Class AB designs are most commonly used for car amplifiers because it combines reasonable efficiency, low distortion, and reliability. Class D amplifiers boast higher efficiency, produce less heat, and draw less current than traditional Class AB designs, but they tend to have more distortion.
There are a couple resources that will be very helpful in your search for car audio bliss: first, on any car audio product page on BestBuy.com, there is an option at the top which says “Does this item fit in your vehicle? Find out now.” Clicking on this Vehicle Fit Guide will allow you to select your make and model of car to see if a particular product is compatible with a particular vehicle. Click here for a full range of services and prices for installation of car audio systems & components by Geek Squad®.