Stereo systems are electronic devices designed to play audio signals. Most systems provide an option of playing audio cassettes, radio, CDs or DVDs which can be in various file formats such as mp3. Most vehicles are manufactured standard with a basic stereo system; if not an aftermarket system can be installed. There are many stereo systems available from the extreme mega loud systems to a highly refined audio experience.

Car Stereo Radio and CD Player
Car Radio and CD Player

When the volume is increased to maximum limits the sound can break up harshly, this is known as distortion. The amplifier distortion level is the most important specification of a sound system, the lower it is, the better the sound quality. The best level of distortion is less than 1 percent at 3/4 volume. Amplifiers drive power to the speakers and are an important part of the speaker system. An amplifier receives a low amperage signal from the stereo head unit, then it converts that signal to high amperage to drive the speakers. External amplifiers can demanded more power from your vehicles electrical system and special considerations must be made if too much amperage is being drawn from the system.

Car Stereo Amplifier
Car Stereo Amplifier

It is optimal to install high performance speakers which can be arranged in the car so that the sound surrounds the listener. Sound can be divided into separate frequencies which are then sent to each independent speaker depending on its designed range. The woofer creates a deep bass extension to provide lows without perceptible distortions, while the mids are designed to handle the mid-range sounds; lastly the tweeters handle the high frequencies.

TV Screen
TV Screen

Cars are now manufactured with the option of LCD screens, multiple CD player, CD changers and navigation systems. The LCD screen is used to watch videos and display a rear view camera when the car is driven in reverse or to display the navigation system. On some vehicles the LCD is used as a driver information center to warn of upcoming services and other pertinent information.

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Article first published (Updated 2013-08-16)