Category Archives for Blog

How Often Should You Replace Car Speakers?

Depending on your budget and requirements, changing or upgrading parts of your car audio system can fluctuate between an affordable expense to a bank-breaking endeavor. There is a massive difference between entry-grade and audiophile-grade speaker prices. Keeping this in mind, there are no hard and fast rules regarding when to replace or upgrade your car speakers. There is a raft of situations where a replacement or upgrade may be desirable, or even unavoidable. So here are a few answers to the question of how often to upgrade your car speakers

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The Difference Between Ported and Sealed Enclosures

There is a common perception that subwoofers are for people who listen to genres like dubstep, EDM, and hip-hop. But in reality, with the right kind of subs, you can enhance the performance of your audio system as a whole. The trick is in finding the right sort of subwoofer for your preferred genres in music.

And if you are planning to buy a component subwoofer, you have the freedom to choose a particular kind of enclosure that is in sync with your sound and music preferences. If you take a cursory look at some of the subwoofer enclosures (or boxes as they are also called) available on the market, you will notice that some have holes while others don’t. Ever wonder why? Read on to find out.

Why do subwoofers need enclosures?

Check out any car speaker, or any speaker for that matter. They usually come in a protective structure or housing enclosure. But in the case of subwoofers, the enclosure actually has a much more important function. You see, the level of bass effects produced by a subwoofer is mainly determined by the type and design of enclosure used on it. In fact, the driver inside the subwoofer only accounts for a little over a quarter of the effect; the rest is all from the enclosure.

How does that work?

The human ear can only catch frequencies as low as 20Hz. Anything below that is felt as vibrations if they are strong enough. The job of a subwoofer is to create low frequencies, including those thumping vibrations, an effect which we popularly call “bass.”

To do this, the speaker driver inside the subwoofer is designed to be larger, and capable of actually moving air to create those waves. It creates a back and forth movement of air. A subwoofer enclosure is specially designed to channelize the airflows and prevent them colliding efficiently. This helps prevent distortion, delivering a cleaner and more precise sound.

The Scosche SE12CC is a sealed enclosure for double 12-Inch subwoofers.

Why do some enclosures have holes while others don’t?

There are mainly two different types of subwoofer enclosures, along with a third which is a hybrid of the first two. The enclosures without holes are called sealed, while the ones with holes are called ported enclosures. The hybrid between the two is called bassband enclosures.

A subwoofer driver creates waves of air that travel in all directions. It is the enclosure’s job to reflect and channel it in an optimal manner, with minimal distortion. The addition of a hole in the enclosure creates subtle variations in the acoustics, which directly affects how the output of the subwoofer sounds, or “feels.”

What does a sealed enclosure feel like?

In a sealed enclosure, the air doesn’t have an escape route as the box is airtight. This leads to an extra pressure inside on the cones of the driver. The net result is increased pressure on the speaker cones and an overall dampening effect on their movement. For car subwoofers, sealed enclosures are often very attractive because they are the smallest type of enclosures. Since space is at a premium in vehicles, they often provide the easiest fit.

Sealed enclosures give the bass from sub extra “clarity,” or rather, crispness. Volume is also on the lower side, which is understandable, as the speaker cones are completely covered or muffled. The smaller the enclosure used, the more pronounced the muffling effect.

For most music genres that do not require high thumping bass, sealed enclosures are more than adequate. Sealed are also better for movies and nonmusical audio playback.

A common subwoofer enclosure with the hole in the front.

How different are ported enclosures?

The effect from these holed enclosures is often dramatically different. The “hole” is called a “bass port,” and it is not there at random. The size and positioning of the hole decide the volume and bass output of the subwoofer. Improper positioning of the hole can result in crippling distortions.

The hole increases efficiency and reduces the pressure on the speakers. And since the airwaves have an outlet, with each movement of the cone, they travel out through the hole. When properly designed the result is more powerful waves directed towards the user.

In stark contrast to sealed enclosures, ported enclosures are much, much louder, and have more pronounced: “thump”, or bass. It can effectively double the sound output when compared to a sealed enclosure. This can also result in less clarity and crispness, which is not an issue for bass-heavy genres like hip hop or dubstep.

Another option is the bandpass, which has the speaker in a sealed enclosure, which is placed inside an enclosure with a hole. This combo increases the bass level while giving more crisp and clear output that a simple ported enclosure. Ported enclosures are typically larger than sealed types, and are often difficult to accommodate into cars.

5 Killer Quora Answers on Subwoofers

In the past, when you had doubts regarding stuff like cars or car audio, you asked a friend, a family member, or the local expert at the garage or hardware store. But times have changed, and everybody, including your friends, family, and those experts at the shop and garage are all online these days. And you can ask your questions regarding subwoofers online as well, on sites like Quora.

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The Difference Between 2-Way And 3-Way Car Speakers

If you have never upgraded your car audio system before, you are probably a bit lost regarding the best speaker system upgrade. Fear not, for the aftermarket car audio niche is pretty well developed, with numerous configuration and design options available. You can be forgiven for feeling a bit lost amidst all the din! One major issue that is constantly doing the rounds on car audio forums is whether you need a 2-way or 3-way speaker system. What is all the fuss about, and what is the difference between the two?

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Why A Double DIN Head Unit Is Better Than a Single DIN

Single DIN and Double DIN are the two main radio sizes which feature on modern automobiles. They are also popularly written as 1 DIN and 2 DIN. The system was standardized by the German Standards organization Deutsches Institut fur Normung, or DIN for short. Though both systems were popular in the past, in recent years, 2 DIN has far outstripped 1 DIN as the format of choice for car manufacturers. So it can be safely said that one size is indeed superior to the other, barring a few exceptions.

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6 Compelling Reasons Why You Need a New Head Unit

Unless you have a really fancy car, the factory head unit on your dash is probably worth a resounding “meh” at best. Auto manufacturers don’t usually bother about providing audiophile grade equipment on their basic cars out there. Exceptions are there, but throughout history, anemic audio systems have led to a thriving business for aftermarket car audio solutions.

Even then, only audiophiles and bassheads had good reason to change the head units. But that is no longer the case. CDs have all but disappeared, and head units with touch-screen, WiFi & smart connectivity have become the norm. Here are six reasons why you might really want to look at some of the modern aftermarket solutions available, especially if you have a car that is more than two years old.

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How Much Difference Does a Head Unit Make?

If you are new to audio systems for cars, it is important to have a proper understanding of car audio system units. The head unit is an essential component in a music system, it’s the brain of the system. On your head unit, you choose the radio station you want to play, you insert the CDs or DVDs, you connect your phone and so much more. I usually say that changing a head unit in an old car will take it to 2017.

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Where Should You Install Your Car Subwoofer?

Ever since the introduction of the subwoofer in the 1960’s, their popularity has sky rocketed, both in the home and in the car. As people became more and more conscious of their music and wanted to hear everything that the producers had intended the listener to hear, more and more subwoofers began to make their way on to the market.

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Why You Need a Car Amplifier for Better Sound

In my opinion, the greatest mystery in the world of car audio technology is the fact that amplifiers are not given the limelight that they deserve. The consensus amongst people who are new to the concept of improving car audio systems seems to be that amplifiers are solely for the enthusiasts who want to “beef up” their subwoofers to produce bone-crunching bass to show off to their other car audio enthusiast friends.

That couldn’t be any further from the truth! Car amplifiers are a necessity for every system, regardless of how small and inexpensive it is. If you are looking to improve the sound of your cars audio system and an amplifier is not at the top of your check list, you need to read this article in its entirety.

Let’s start by looking at what exactly an amplifier is and what it can do for your car.

What Exactly Is an Amplifier?

Car Amplifier

Most amplifiers that you buy for your car will look like this!

An amplifier, regardless of whether it’s in a car audio system, or a home audio system is a dedicated device that receives a weak audio signal and amplifies it. It’s as simple as that.

Audio signals are too weak to be heard without amplification, so an amplifier is a crucial piece of kit for any audio system. Even the basic car stereo in the cheapest of cars will have an amplifier built into the head unit. The problem with built-in amplifiers is that fact that they simply can’t produce enough power to give your music the sound quality that it deserves, especially at louder volumes when you will really start to hear the distortion and the break down of sound quality.

If you are serious about the quality of your sound system, you will need to invest in a dedicated amplifier. The amount of choice can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to the game, but we will get to that later on this article. For the meantime, let’s breakdown the benefits of adding an amplifier to your car audio system.

The Benefits of Adding Amplifiers to Your Car’s System

So, now that you know what an amplifier is, it’s time to discuss why you need one. There are many reasons for that but here are my top 3 reasons why an amplifier is something you should get.

They Make Everything Louder

Cars are extremely noisy. You may not notice how noisy they are until you turn on the radio and try to listen through bog-standard speakers. The engine, the tires on the road, the traffic and the air-conditioning system are just a few examples of the external noise that can really drown out the music that you are trying to listen to.

Adding an amplifier will eradicate this problem by literally amplifying the sound of your music without distorting it, allowing you to hear the music and nothing but the music.

They Drastically Improve the Sound Quality

One of the main reasons why people decide to add amplifiers to their car audio system is to improve the quality of sound. Factory speakers will tend to crackle and distort the music as you turn up the volume, but speakers that are fed via an amplifier will not. The result of adding an amplifier, regardless of how small or cheap it is, will be cleaner, louder, bassier and distortion-free music.

If you want to hear the clarity of the vocals and the distinction of each instrument when listening to your favorite music, adding an amplifier is the way to go.

They Provide Additional Features and Flexibility

For the serious audiophiles amongst us, having access to customization features like equalizers and signal processing is a must. However, a lot of older car stereo systems will not provide the features that you crave. Adding an amplifier will allow you to take control of your sound without having to purchase a brand new stereo player.

Also, an amplifier will give you the flexibility to add/remove different channels to your car’s system whenever you decide that you want a change. This is great for those who like to work on their cars regularly or those who always need to purchase the latest equipment.

Good Looking Car

What’s the point of having a good-looking car if the sound is like sh*t?

How to Choose the Right Amplifier for Your Needs

As with most pieces of car audio equipment, the amount of choice when it comes to amplifiers is mind-boggling. One of the most common questions that I get asked by people who are looking to purchase their first car amplifier is “How many channels do I need”?

The answer is relatively simple, and it completely depends on how you plan to build, or how your current system is currently built. Let me explain in more detail…

“Channels” are simply referring to the number of outputs that can be linked to an amplifier at one time, with the outputs obviously being speakers and subwoofers. If you want to amplify a system with two speakers, you will need a 2-channel amplifier. If you want to power a system with 4 speakers, you will need a 4-channel amplifier. Simple, right?

One thing to note, however, is that if you want to include a subwoofer in your system (which you definitely should be), you will need either a 3-channel amplifier or a 4-channel amplifier. If you want to run two speakers and a subwoofer, you could either purchase a 3-channel amplifier and use one channel for each, or you could purchase a 4-channel amplifier and bridge two together to power the amplifier.

The benefit of doing the latter is that you will always have room for expansion if you decide to add more speakers or subs. If you want an amplifier that can comfortably power your entire system (4 speakers and a sub), you will require a 5-channel amplifier.

Do I REALLY Need an Amplifier?

Literally speaking, you do not need an amplifier in your car.

If superb sound quality is something that you can live without, then by all means, continue listening to your music through your bog-standard system. However, if you want to experience music in the way that it was intended to be experienced by the producer, you will absolutely need to make the small investment in a good-quality car amplifier. The difference in sound quality, the clarity of the sounds at high volumes and the roaring bass that an amplifier can produce need to be experienced first hand for you to truly understand the difference.

Do yourself the favor and start looking for an amplifier right now. Your ears will thank you later.

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How Many Speakers Can You Connect To Your Head Unit?

The factory sound system and the head unit that come with every car that you purchase do a good job of providing the ability to listen to music from the get-go. For most people, the stock speakers and head unit are more than enough. They simply want a couple of speakers to listen to their favorite Elvis records and they can’t tell much difference between good audio and bad audio.

You, however, are different. The fact that you are a reader of our website tells us that you love your music and you want to make your car audio sound as good as it possibly can. Bravo!

When customizing your car audio, one of the first things that people look to purchase is a new head unit. They are cool and give your car a high-tech feel. Why wouldn’t you want to upgrade your head unit?

The problem comes when it’s time to wire up your new head unit to your speakers, but you haven’t got a clue whether or not the head unit that you have purchased is compatible with a number of speakers in your car.

How do you know how many speakers a head unit can power? Is it possible to power more speakers than the head unit user manual said? We created this article to answer these questions and more, so let’s jump straight in.

How Many Speakers Can I Connect to My Head Unit?

Unfortunately, we have to start off this section with some bad news. We can’t really answer this question!

The number of speakers that a head unit can power is different for each head unit. Well, the vast majority of head units will be able to power just 4 speakers, but some can power more and some, less, so in order for us to give you an answer to this question, we would need to know the model of head unit and the car that you are wanting to install it in.

We know this isn’t the answer you are looking for, but it’s the truth. The only way to know how many speakers you can connect to your head unit is to ask the manufacturer or read the owner’s manual. As we mentioned before, the vast majority of head units will be able to power four channels (2 front, 2 back) so chances are, your head unit is the same, but it’s always worth double checking.

Many Speakers

How Many Speakers Do You Have?

Is It Possible to Power More Speakers Than the Manufacturer Recommends?

The built-in amplifiers inside most head units are good enough to power some small speakers with decent power output, but they are nowhere near powerful enough to give you the booming ultrasound that you are probably looking for.

The number of speakers that you can connect to your head unit is final, unfortunately. There is simply no “life hack” to get around the fact that your head unit’s built-in amplifier does not have the capability to power additional speakers.

However, that statement only holds true for the head unit’s built-in amplifier. Purchasing an external amplifier is another story completely. If you want to power additional speakers, as well as a subwoofer, you will need to purchase an external amplifier to do so.

External amplifiers are considerably more powerful than stock amplifiers inside of a head unit, and they also tend to give you more flexibility and options when setting up your system. It’s not possible to sufficiently power a subwoofer with a built-in amplifier, so if you want to install a sub you are going to need an external amplifier anyway, but in addition to that, if you want to power more than the standard 4 speakers that most head units will allow, you are going to need to shell out the extra money for an external amp.

Is an External Amp a Necessity?

Not at all.

Like we said at the beginning of this article, the built-in amplifier that you will find in all stock head units is more than sufficient for most people. You can power a simple 2-front, 2-back system with a head unit’s amplifier and the sound that it can produce is decent.

With that being said, if you want to take your system to the next level, either by adding more speakers or by adding a subwoofer, you are going to need an external amplifier. There is no doubt about it.

Luckily, a good-quality amplifier is not too expensive. Of course, as with most pieces of technology, there is a huge range of products to choose from which suit almost any budget, but for the most part, a good quality amplifier won’t cause you to break the bank.

Bugera Amplifier

Even though you don’t need one, an amplifier will help in getting a better sound

To Wrap Things Up

Hopefully, this article has not dissuaded you too much. You may have searched for this content with hopes of reading that there is a simple way to increase the number of speakers that you can connect to a head unit, but as you now know, that’s just not the case.

If you are serious about improving your car audio system, we would strongly suggest that you spend that extra money to purchase a good external amplifier. Not only will an amplifier improve the quality of the entire system, it will also give you the flexibility to add or remove speakers and subwoofers to your system as you get more and more comfortable with car audio technology.

Building sound systems is an addictive hobby, so having the flexibility to build, improve and downgrade systems whenever you feel the need is a great option to have.

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