Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Stereo FAQ


Q.Can I use Bluetooth® to make phone calls and stream music?

A.Absolutely! And you can often do even more, like running and controlling Internet radio or apps. Basically, a Bluetooth connection works as a bridge between your phone and your dash. Most receivers or controllers will allow you to stream the audio from your phone and play it in your Vehicle.

With the ever increasing costs of fines for holding a mobile phone while driving, you may find a Bluetooth receiver is cheaper than the fine.


Q: If I install a new stereo, can I still use my steering wheel controls?

A: You sure can but you need to install a special adapter depending on the stereo itself.


Q.What does CD signal-to-noise ratio mean?

A.The signal to noise ratio measures how well the CD player silences background noise. Higher ratings, in decibels (DBs), indicate less noise and crisper sound.


Q. What are preamp RCA outputs?

A. Preamp RCA outputs allow you to connect 1 or more external amplifiers. The subwoofer output is an important feature as it provides you with much cleaner low frequencies for your subs compared to a standard front or rear set of outputs.


Q. What is a subwoofer preamp RCA output?

A. A subwoofer preamp RCA output is an output that has a built-in low-pass crossover for specific connection to a subwoofer amplifier that powers a low frequencies driver (a subwoofer).



Amplifier FAQ


Q.How do I shop for an Amplifier?

A.Make sure to match the power output of the amplifier to the power handling of your speakers. If your front and rear speakers have slightly different power handling ratings, use the lower rating and find an amplifier that comes close to that.


Q.Can I amplify my factory speakers?

A. Adding an amplifier to factory speakers isn’t always a good idea. The vehicle manufacturer selected these speakers, meaning they weren’t high on the priority list, and they may have some characteristic that makes them incompatible with aftermarket amplifiers. If you’re wanting better sound and thinking of an amplifier, it’s good to upgrade to powerful and compatible speakers as well.


Q: How much power does my factory system have?

A: While we don’t have exact power ratings for the systems in specific vehicles, we can tell you that factory systems usually have less power than aftermarket units.

But bear in mind that, for example, the 100-watt factory system described by your car dealer probably consists of 4 channels of 25 watts peak power. This translates to roughly 10 watts RMS (continuous) x 4 — not bad, but a far cry from most current aftermarket receivers.

Even if your factory system seems relatively powerful, there are still benefits to going with an aftermarket steeos. These advantages typically include better specs, built-in Bluetooth® connectivity and iPod® controls, MP3/WMA/AAC file playback, USB input for media players and thumb drives, more extensive tone controls, easier (and less expensive) integration with other equipment, like amplifiers, and the enhanced reliability you can expect from a recognized audio brand name.


Q.Don’t factory stereos come with built in amplifiers – Why would I need one?

A.Yes, most factory stereos come with some built in amplifier action, but they’re not powerful enough to produce adequate sound at louder volumes without distortion. Bass especially suffers, since it takes even more power to produce lower frequencies than higher ones. To get better overall sound, adding an amplifier is key


Q.Do I need an amplifier if I’ve upgraded my speakers?

A.Even if you’ve upgraded your car’s sound system with the very latest head unit and speakers, it won’t make much difference to your overall sound if you’re not providing it with enough power.


Q.How many channels do I need?

A.It really depends on what you want to power or how many speakers you need to power. Amplifiers are categorized by the number of ‘channels’, or speakers, they can power. A one-channel, or mono amplifier, can power a single speaker. (Standardly used to power a subwoofer). Two-channel amplifiers can power two speakers, and you can guess how many speakers a four-channel amplifier can power. (It’s four!) There are also five-channel amplifiers that can power your entire system (2 front speakers, 2 rear speakers, and a sub).


Q.If I add an amplifier and new speakers, do I have to get a new head unit too?

A.Not if you don’t want to. If you’d prefer to keep the factory look to your vehicle, you can certainly just upgrade your speakers and add an amplifier to improve your sound. In fact, many amplifiers can actually integrate with factory radios.


Q.What does it mean when you say an amplifier is clipping?

A.Clipping refers to distortion produced by an amplifier due to a lack of sufficient power. When pushed beyond its maximum powering capability, the amplifier produces square waves, which causes distortion or even worse, results in a fried amplifier.


Speaker FAQ


Q.What kind of a difference do new speakers really make?

A.You’ll find that replacing your factory speakers can make a noticeable difference. Music sounds crisper, more dynamic, and closer to the way it was recorded and better than it would with a worn-out or low-quality speaker.

Speaker replacement is also the single most cost-effective car stereo upgrade you can perform. And even the newer, factory-installed speaker systems, which may sound OK at first, aren’t typically built to give you the years of reliable, ear-pleasing sound you can expect from a good pair of aftermarket speakers.


Q.What is impedance? What is an ohm?

A.The load value in ohms that the speakers present to the amplifier, stated per voice coil. It is the amount of resistance to the current flow. This is a key specification as subs wired in parallel or low impedances can create problems with your amplifier and potentially void all warranties.

An ohm is a unit of measurement that quantifies the amount of impedance in a speaker. Impedance measures a speaker’s resistance to the flow of current.


Q.What is the difference between peak power and RMS power?

A.Peak power handling refers to the amount of power a speaker can handle during a brief musical burst. The RMS power range figure is a much more reliable rating for determining the speaker’s power requirements. Speaker power is measured in watts, a unit of electrical power. One watt equals one volt times one amp, or one joule of energy per second.


Q.What does the speaker’s frequency response rating tell me?

A.The range of frequencies the speaker will reproduce, from lowest to highest. The wider the range, the better. The optimal range is 20- 20,000 Hz, which is the range of human hearing.


Q.What does the sensitivity rating tell you about the speaker?

A.An efficiency or sensitivity rating tells you how effectively a speaker converts power into sound. The higher the number, the more efficient the speaker and the louder it will play given the same input power. The more efficient sub gets more power out of the amplifier.

An efficient speaker helps you maximize your available power. Most sensitivity ratings measure the speaker’s output with 1 watt of input, 1 meter from the speaker. Some speakers’ sensitivity is measured with 2.83 volts of input instead of 1 watt.

Efficiency is not an accurate indicator of a subwoofer’s output capability and it should not be used as a comparison to other subwoofers to determine which one is “louder.” However, physics tells us that a 3 decibel drop (3 dB) in sensitivity doubles the amount of wattage required by a speaker to produce sound at the same volume. In other words, a 90 dB speaker will need double the amount of wattage as a 93 dB speaker if you want both speakers to produce the same volume.


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