A good sound system can make your ride more enjoyable, especially when travelling long distances. Most new cars will come with a standard stereo and CD player, but there are other options you can choose to enhance the sound and capabilities of your stereo.
A stereo deck is also known as a head-unit or receiver, and is the control system of a car stereo. A display screen, usually with LED fronts the unit and allows you to select from its many functions. This unit usually has a detachable face which enables the control screen to be taken off and put away so it doesn't get stolen. Although it is standard for older cars to come equipped with a cassette player, you will find that most modern cars come with a CD player.
The most popular way of playing music in a car, a CD player can usually read a variety of types of CD, such as CD-R and CD-RW. Some models can read other types of formats, such as Mp3 or WMA.
A CD shuttle or changer stores a number of CD's in a separate unit ready for selection and use. It enables you to change CDs by selecting a function on the deck without having to manually insert the CD whilst driving. A CD shuttle not only makes music selection safer, but also more efficient.
This is a system that allows you to store burned CD music in data format, meaning that you can hold several hundred Mp3 songs on one CD. The deck will display the song title and artist for more efficient browsing. An ipod is a type of Mp3 player.
WMA (Windows Media Audio)
This is incorporated into Windows Media Player and compresses the songs into about half the file size, which allows you to burn twice as many songs as an Mp3 player onto one CD. The sound quality is better than an Mp3 player, and allows easier transferability of files from computer to computer.
Standard car audio systems usually have speakers installed in the doors and rear parcel shelves of a car. These speakers usually produce all of the sound range through the one unit. High-end audio systems can be installed to produce a better quality sound by way of specialized speakers. Different types of speakers include:
Multi-elements speakers contain two different types of speakers built into one. A large cone (woofer) produces the low-range frequencies and up to 3 small cones (tweeters) handle the high-pitched frequencies.
Tweeters are high frequency components that create the high pitched sounds heard in your music.
Midrange speakers are designed to pick up and reproduce the middle and some lower bass frequencies.
Sub woofers reproduce only the lowest frequencies, the bass, and then amplify them. Often this is a separate unit and can be located in the trunk of a vehicle.
Amplifiers provide the power (in watts) needed to drive the speakers. The amplifier (amp) is a key part of the audio system, but it is important to ensure that the power handling capacity of the speakers is greater than or equal to the power of the amplifier. If the power provided by the amplifier is greater than the amount of power the speakers can handle, this will cause the speakers to blow.