The advent of gadgets these days has let us enjoy different things right at our fingertips. We can communicate with anyone almost anywhere using our phones. We can look for information anytime via the internet. We can listen to music right away through MP3 players.
The downside of this technology, however, is that the data we get may no longer be the original ones. We get choppy lines for calls and trimmed down articles on the Web.
For music, it may not have been very obvious for many, especially those who are not into high-res listening, but much of the songs we listen to these days have lost its authenticity. And by that, I mean the original format.
If you have been itching to boost audio quality in your car but your wallet is raising its eyebrows, here are some tweaks you can make to improve car audio quality without spending a dime.
Best Ways to Get Better Car Audio Quality
- Set head unit equalizer properly. Car stereos nowadays are equipped with systems to enhance music such as an equalizer. The most basic stereo should have at least 2-band EQ—the bass and treble.
What an equalizer does to enhance sound quality is to cut out inconsistencies in the frequency ranges. It is also for mixing and matching the lows, mids, and highs according to your preference.
Because cars have a different acoustic environment, it is a good idea to equalize the frequency bands accordingly. Also, you may make these adjustments based on the genre you love listening to.
To help you determine the optimal audio setting, you may use phone apps that can measure the sound in your vehicle. The features you are looking for are real time analyzer and SPL meter.
According to the International Auto Sound Competition Association, the ideal setting is that the difference between frequencies should not exceed 3 dB.
It may be a challenge to adjust this with a 2- or 3-band equalizer as your options are very limited, but at least try to narrow down the differences as much as possible.
- Use lossless format. Because space had become an issue in our storage systems, our beloved audio experts came up with a way to store music that will occupy as little chunk in our storages as possible. And we have called them digital music.
The problem with this process, unfortunately, is that much has to be given up to fit the limited storage space. As a result, we get sounds whose quality are not as impressive as how they were recorded. But since flash drives are having more and more storage capacities these days, space should no longer be an issue.
To preserve a song’s original format, what you can do is to rip songs from vinyl albums or CDs and save them in a lossless format. WAV, FLAC, and ALAC are the most common formats under this type. MP3, MP4, and OOG, on the other hand, are the lossy ones.
A WAV file is a completely uncompressed audio while the latter two have undergone a special compression while maintaining all the necessary data.
Two of the free ripping programs you can use are iTunes and Windows Media Player.
- Use head unit’s DAC. Instead of relying solely on our mobile phone when playing music and using our car speakers for amplification of sound, why not let the music pass through car’s stereo?
“Not everyone is created equal,” some say. And so are smartphones. Some have poorly designed DACs while the others are pretty neat.
If you think your phone’s converter belongs to the first group, use the head unit’s DAC instead. To do this, use the digital inputs such as the USB ports or a proprietary jack. Avoid using the wireless function or the phone’s audio jack.
This way, the digital to analog converting is offloaded to the head unit.
Knowing how to improve car audio quality doesn’t have to cost us an arm and a leg. Sometimes, the small tweaks we make without cost can do the magic.