Deciding what kind of entertainment system to install in your car depends heavily on the way you use the vehicle. Here are some broad categories – mix and match as required!
Just use the car to get to work? Good news: you probably won’t need to upgrade anything.
Factory speakers and head-units offer all kind of features, especially on newer cars. Talk radio presets and iPod connectivity are your best friends, but if you want to really control your iPod instead of just plugging in analog audio, you may need to get a slightly fancier head-unit.
If sound quality is extremely important to you, you may want to upgrade the head-unit and speakers.
You won’t necessarily need a separate amp, especially if you have a modern car with a quiet cabin, but consider it if you’re a real audiophile. Direct digital connection to your iPod will justify you ripping all your tunes at higher bit-rates for sound quality.
Hands-free mobile control can be much more than a microphone glued to the inside of the windscreen and a docking station in your cigarette lighter.
Many head-units have sophisticated Bluetooth connectivity options and will either tap in to your phone’s address book or keep a separate contacts list. Voice-dialling and steering wheel controls enhance safety – and legality!
THE PARTY ANIMAL
You’d be surprised how little you need to spend on your car’s audio to get truly tectonic results.
A big subwoofer, powerful speakers and a dedicated amp will let you pull your ute up next to the bonfire and entertain the whole four acres. The audio quality might not exactly be nuanced but if sheer volume is your priority, an upgrade is a must.
Mere audio won’t be enough for you. Unless you bought a higher-end family car, you’ll benefit from a double-DIN unit that incorporates GPS navigation, steering wheel controls, and the ability to listen to music in the front while piping DVD or digital video to screens in the rear.
Spend more to have this integrated into your dash and reduce cabin clutter.