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Anytime you get behind the wheel of your car, you will want your music to set the mood. You want your music to sound good to make sure you can enjoy more adventures. Getting your music sounding right is important to make your drive enjoyable and relaxing. You can do a few things to tune your audio system to make your music sound better. Dig into your car’s infotainment system to learn about the adjustments you can make. 

Tuning your audio system can bring your music to life and help you hear the intricacies of your favorite song!

You don’t need a high-end audio system

bose performance series speakers. a great higher-end system that sound great, but can sound better with tuning
A Bose Performance Series Speaker | Philip Blank via Unsplash

One of the most common misconceptions about car audio is that a high-end audio system makes your music sound good. While a high-end system can help your music sound better, it is not vital. More speakers do not equal better sound, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. You can bring better sound to your music by simply playing with the settings to make your system sound better.

Even the most basic audio system set-ups with four or six speakers can sound good. These systems can offer you the lows, mids, and highs necessary to help you enjoy your favorite songs. To make sure you can get the best possible sound, you can tune your audio system and hear music in a whole new way.

Basic tuning tips for any audio system

If you are ready to get your music sounding better than ever, utilize a few tips and techniques to get music sounding great. First of all, make sure all settings such as the fade, balance, and EQ settings are set to the middle, or in audio terms, flat. This will ensure that the starting point for your sound is balanced, and you can tune your sound just right.

  1. Queue up your favorite song and listen to it once or twice to better understand the basic sound. Make sure it has a good mix of highs, lows, and mids.
  2. Start with the fader, or fade-control, to get the best front-to-back balance. Do the front speakers first, then the rear speakers, and find the right balance.
  3. Next, balance the left-to-right sound. Ideally, you will want the music to sound centered; if it doesn’t, adjust either the right or left dial to get it how you want.
  4. Finally, most audio systems will come with treble and bass adjustments, and some may even have a mid adjustment. You will want to carefully adjust each setting to ensure one particular sound is not overpowering. These adjustments are a significant aspect of making your music sounding great.

With all of these adjustments, you will want to have a pen and paper or your phone’s notepad open so you can track the tuning adjustments. Tweak these settings until you get the sound you want. This can take a little time, but be patient because the result will be more than worth it. 

Utilize an EQ for even more adjustment

Most basic audio systems can sound better with the adjustments above, but it can sound even better if you use an EQ. An EQ can allow you to adjust the sound by each frequency, ensuring you get an even more balanced sound. Some cars will have an EQ built-in, but your phone will have one if your vehicle doesn’t. Even a basic EQ with presets can be a huge adjustment, allowing you to hear dramatic differences in your favorite song immediately.

Be aware that using an EQ can be very overwhelming with the number of adjustments that can be made, make minor adjustments to keep your highs clear, your mids flat, and your bass full and boomy.

Have some extra money? Get an RTA

a sound calibration microphone that can be used to tun  your audio system to sound even better
A Sound Calibration Microphone | Akshay Jagtap via Unsplash

An RTA is a real-time analyzer that takes measurements of the exact frequencies your speakers make and tune your system. An RTA is a microphone placed in the car’s center between the two front seats. This tool will take precise measurements of your car’s audio system using pink or white noise. Pink noise is recommended. Then, using dedicated software on either a phone or laptop, you can monitor the measurements and adjust them accordingly.

With proper tuning, your measurement graph should not be too high, low, or flat but rather should flow up and down smoothly. You especially don’t want to see any abrupt changes in the pattern. Using an RTA is the best and most in-depth way to get the most balanced sound out of your audio system.

Aside from turning, spend some money and upgrade

If you can spend a little money, upgrade your audio system. Upgrades are a surefire way to get a better and more enjoyable sound when you drive. When combined with tuning your system, upgrading the components can make your audio system sound incredible.

One of the first upgrades you want to consider is buying new, aftermarket speakers. In most cases, the OEM speakers in your car, aside from those found in high-end systems, are relatively thin and cheap. These low-quality speakers can distort your music right away. You can purchase more substantial and complete speakers for a reasonably good price. Crutchfield is ready not just to offer you the speakers you want but also has guides, tips, and tricks to make sure you can get what you want.

The next upgrades you’d want to consider are the stereo, known as a head unit, and an amplifier. In many basic audio systems, the head unit has a built-in amplifier. This powers both your head unit and speakers. When you get a new head unit, you’ll need more power. There are some models to consider to ensure you can get the features you are looking for. Additionally, choosing a new amplifier will be necessary because, like an upgraded head unit, upgraded speakers require more power.

A few other upgrades can include:

  • Add a subwoofer or replace yours
  • Add sound deadening to the doors, floor, and even roof

With upgraded components and more power, specifically-tuned settings can help your music come alive.

Your music is bound to sound better

a daft punk song playing on a Samsung phone that is mounted in the cd player
A Samsung Phone Mounted In-Car with a Song Playing | Michael Jin via Unsplash

1 Reason Your Car Audio Sounds Terrible is Easy to Fix

If you have been looking to make your music sound fuller and more complete, tuning your car’s audio system or upgrading the specific components is a great process. With just a little bit of time and effort and spending money if necessary, your music can sound incredible!

Get ready to enjoy your favorite music much more when you tune or upgrade your car’s audio system.