Many television advertisements feature luxury vehicles with luxury features. While many tout better gas mileage, high-quality leather seating, or better performance, Lexus is promoting their Mark Levinson stereo system. While that sounds crazy to some, a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates found that over 50 percent of all Lexus owners said they might not buy a car if it didn’t have a brand-name stereo system.
What You Get
Spending all that extra money should give you the best, but many carmakers are trying to cut costs by using inexpensive aftermarket stereos. However, every upgrade isn’t necessarily worthless and you have to look at the full audio value you receive, even if the gear installed is aftermarket. Even small improvements can give listeners better results than the factory upgrades. However, it isn’t easy to make your car stereo sound excellent because of the harsher acoustic environment.
The problems include the fact that carpet absorbs sound, glass reflects sound, and road noise can cancel out some of the musical tones. Along with such, speakers are usually near the feet.
Why Factory Systems are Best
Factory systems can have an advantage over others because they’re tuned to that particular vehicle’s interior. They can make slight changes to the sound to help negate road noise, carpeting, and placement of the speaker.
Even so, OEM (original equipment maker) products aren’t expensive to make and may include a fancy brand name. Therefore, many audiophiles spend a lot of money to soundproof their vehicles or add thousand-watt amplifiers and customized fiberglass speaker boxes.
Casual listeners don’t have to break the bank, and neither do audiophiles if they know where to look.
Manufacturers tend to spend most of their money on the CD/DVD player and radio. Therefore, you don’t have to replace the head unit to get better sound. Clearly, they look for the lowest sound range, and most factory units that use a subwoofer don’t get real bass. For about $300, you can install an amplifier and subwoofer to add an octave to the range. Ambitious listeners may want to add two amplifiers. The point is that if the head unit is strong, you don’t have to replace the entire system to get what you want.
As mentioned earlier, the study conducted showed that most people are willing to spend $1,000. If you have an excellent head unit, purchase an amplifier, four speakers, and a subwoofer, you’re looking at about $1,000 worth of equipment, depending on the brand. You may have to pay extra for installation, though many professionals do it for free if you buy the products from them.
Why Keep the Head Unit
Other than saving money on the stereo system, a lot of the car’s digital data uses a data bus. Digital data can include many systems, such as trip computers and keyless entry. When you mess with the radio, you can disable some features that share that same bus unintentionally. Along with such, it is also essential that you choose the right person to install the new equipment; doing it yourself can be disastrous and could cause you to lose a lot of your data, as well.music