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Understanding Music System

If you get bored during long stints behind the wheel or get stuck in traffic jams a lot, install a music system. Listening to your favourite music while driving will alleviate the boredom and frustration. However, before you buy one find out what the important factors are in a music system. Blaupunkt, Sony, Kenwood, Philips and Pioneer have been the five major brands in the country. The next best choice is an Aiwa or JVC.

Start Off With a Good Head Unit

A good head unit is the most important part of the system. A head unit with high-voltage RCA outputs is useful. High-voltage outputs allow better noise immunity but if the speakers are run from the amplifiers built into the head unit, don’t bother with RCA outputs. Head units and amplifiers need to have impeccable sound quality and no noise (background noise or alternator noise) whatsoever. Paying slightly more and getting a CD Changer control will enable you to simply plug in a changer in the future even if you are getting a cassette or MD head unit for the present.

Enter The Speakers

Installed in the dash and the rear they are definitely the most important aspect of the music system. They determine how the system sounds. No equalizer or processor can compensate enough for poorly-installed speakers.




Amplifiers do not merely make a system sound louder; they also make it sound better. Reputed brands should be preferred. The size and the weight of the amplifier are important. The different types of amplifiers are Classes A, B, C and D of which class B amplifiers are the most common.




Equalizers are used to fine-tune a system. They are valuable instruments that can flatten a system's frequency response (they can make the output levels of all frequencies similar). There are two types of equalizers: mono and stereo equalisers. The main difference between mono and stereo EQs is that a mono EQ has only one input and one output and a stereo has two inputs and two outputs. Many people use mono EQs for the easier control they give over the output sound.




They are generally designed to handle low frequencies down to around 20Hz. With the exception of free-air subwoofers, a lot depends on how well they are mounted and enclosed. They need more power than regular speakers because they are bigger and have to move more air. Opt for a Sony Pioneer or a Kenwood amplifier for the front speakers and a better high-current amplifier for the subwoofers.



Power Considerations

It is better to have more power than you need to get clearer sound. A minimum of 30-50 watts is what is required to drive the speakers. Contrary to popular belief, too much power will not damage the speakers. Speakers get damaged because of distortion. Therefore a bigger amplifier enables higher volumes without distortion.


Powerful amplifiers are expensive so it is better to get a two-channel amplifier to drive the subwoofers at acceptable levels. They can be upgraded later with an identical amplifier and each of the subwoofers powered with an amplifier in the bridged mode for more bass.

Quality Counts

It is always better to buy quality components which will definitely increase performance of the system.

How secure is your system?

There are many security options for head units nowadays. Detachable faceplates are the most common option. The front part of the radio comes off rendering the rest of the unit useless. Yet another security protection pioneered by Kenwood is a flat panel that covers the radio when the ignition key is turned off. Some radios such as Blaupunkt use a smart card that when removed renders the unit useless.

Now you are set to drive off into the horizon, with fuel in the tank and good music on the stereo... what more could one ask for?


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