Although factory car stereos have improved in sound capabilities and quality over the years, those who love a custom system still want features that reflect their use and listening habits. Receivers, car amplifiers and speakers are just a few of the basics to start with, but there’s a whole lot more to car stereos than meets the eye.
The first consideration is cost. Pick your budget and then move from there to find the best system within your price range. After you know how much your going to spend, think about what you need in a system. Most stereo systems come with a 3.5mm auxiliary port, but if you’re concerned about connectivity with other devices, like smartphones and laptops, make sure that it has a also has USB port. Factory stereos now come with a 30-pin USB standard, but an aftermarket stereo system will have one that’s compatible with the latest electronics technology. If you intend to add on to your system later, make certain that the one you choose is expandable.
If you travel out of range of your favorite local station or in rural areas where reception is spotty, you may want to look into a stereo that comes equipped with satellite radio service or capabilities. It’s also a good idea to see if the model you’re looking at has built-in HD for higher quality sound definition.
A completely digital system, sometimes known as a “mechless” system, is a good choice for those who only listen to digital media, as opposed to CDs. These systems are lower in price than Cd-capable systems and they’ll accommodate most digital media storage and playback devices.
If you’re handy, installation isn’t much of a consideration. However, if you’re not mechanically inclined, it’s better to find a stereo that’s easy to install yourself or factor the cost of professional installation into your budget. Just make certain that the system you finally select will fit into the available space in your dash.
The final consideration in selecting a car stereo system is the most important: sound. Try it before you buy it and make certain that the system you choose is appropriate for the dimensions of your vehicle; there are few things worse than blowing out your windows while driving down the road.