In this article: We'll review 7 of the best ways to improve your sound quality to get you started towards clean, full and higher volume audio. Some of which might not cost a penny to do!

When you get behind the wheel of your car and crank up the tunes, you expect to hear what you are listening to clearly. However, without some upgrades, it can be challenging to get the clarity you desire. Thankfully, it’s simple to improve car audio sound quality with a few simple steps.

But first, do you need to upgrade your car audio system?

Signs Your Car Audio System Requires an Upgrade

Do these tasks to determine if you need to make some upgrades.

  1. Sit in your vehicle. Close the windows and the doors.
  2. Turn up your radio and play music. You can also connect your phone if that’s how you usually listen. Make sure the volume is up higher than normal.
  3. Carefully listen to the music.
  4. Is there a lack of clarity requiring you to turn up the treble?
  5. When you crank up the bass, do you notice empty, hollow sounds?
  6. Does the music sound overall distorted?

If you are having trouble with the sound quality, it’s time to make a change.

Improve Car Audio Sound Quality with These Steps

We recommended starting with one and seeing the difference. After that, you will want to do them all.

Signs Your Car Audio System Requires an Upgrade

Do these tasks to determine if you need to make some upgrades.

  1. Sit in your vehicle. Close the windows and the doors.
  2. Turn up your radio and play music. You can also connect your phone if that’s how you usually listen. Make sure the volume is up higher than normal.
  3. Carefully listen to the music.
  4. Is there a lack of clarity requiring you to turn up the treble?
  5. When you crank up the bass, do you notice empty, hollow sounds?
  6. Does the music sound overall distorted?

If you are having trouble with the sound quality, it’s time to make a change.

Improve Car Audio Sound Quality with These Steps

We recommended starting with one and seeing the difference. After that, you will want to do them all.

1. Upgrade Speakers

This step should be the most obvious. If you are having car audio sound problems, you need to start with the speakers. Factory-installed speakers will not provide you the quality you are looking for.

Swap out the existing car speakers for better quality. Even if you purchase mid-range speakers, you will see a huge difference in clarity and sound volume. Don’t neglect the benefit of adding a subwoofer for more bass too.

2. Upgrade Receiver

Once you’ve taken the time to upgrade the speakers, you must enhance the signal that is received. The factory-installed receiver isn’t going to provide the same level of output as an aftermarket receiver.

The power coming from your standard receiver could also be too low to maximize the sound from those upgraded speakers you installed. When you're looking for a new receiver, you should consider the digital to analog converter (DAC) quality. DAC is responsible for taking the data signal from your audio device and converts it to sound. The higher-quality DAC you have, the better the audio will be.

3. Consider the Connection

If you connect your phone to the audio system to play tunes, the way you hook up can make a world of difference. On older vehicles or with older receivers, you might be using an auxiliary cable. Modern technology uses Bluetooth connectivity instead. If you don’t have this connectivity, you can easily upgrade with a universal car Bluetooth kit.

However, neither of these ways of connecting is ideal. When you use an auxiliary cable, you can’t take advantage of the DAC because this connection is mainly meant for headphones. When you use Bluetooth, the audio files become compressed, which removes some of the detail.

To fully benefit from your sound system, it would be best not to stream from your phone at all.

4. Choose High-Quality Music Files

The DAC is capable of so much more than we allow it to handle. Playing a CD sends high-fidelity signals to the speakers, but who listens to CDs anymore? Compressed MP3 files and streaming audio uses a digital signal that misses all those fine details that you desire.

While you might love Spotify, you will need to make a switch if you want to improve car audio sound quality. Most people assume that the more files that can be put on a device, the better. However, this means additional compression, which pushes out the quality.

If you want the best sound quality for your music, consider encoding the MP3s at a minimum of 320kbps. This format provides two-and-a-half times more data than your standard 128kpbs, so you can imagine the boost in sound quality.

5. Buy an Amplifier

Once you have the right speakers and receiver, and you’ve downloaded music files that are going to give you the quality you want, it’s time to buy an amplifier. Your receiver has a built-in amp, but an aftermarket amplifier is going to dramatically boost sound quality.

Your amp will power up the speakers but leave a dedicated channel available for the subwoofer. To get the best sound out of the subwoofer, you want a dedicated line for the best sound.

6. Watch the Equalizer

As you are heading down the road, you want to hear the bass, so you start to adjust the equalizer. As road noise increases, you probably adjust this more, thinking that boosting the bass will help you enjoy the music more. However, boosting the bass up higher than it should be could actually distort the sound. It will expose significant flaws in your speakers or analog signal.

For the best results, reduce the mid and treble levels slightly, leave the bass where it is and turn up the volume instead.

7. Add Sound Dampening Materials

Once you have all of the sound equipment installed in your care that you want, it’s time to think about reducing road noise. Adding sound-deadening to your car interior can quiet the environment down.

Even if you want to drive without the radio on, you will get to enjoy the silence that this upgrade provides. With so many places to put these sound insulating materials, you can sound-proof the entire car if you desire.

Best Tips to Improve Car Audio Sound Quality

With all of the steps listed above, you need to keep a few pointers in mind if you want to unleash the power of your stereo. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider.

  • Take things one step at a time – there’s no reason to do it all at once.
  • Upgrade speakers in pairs – you don’t have to replace them all at once if there are budget constraints.
  • Don’t let your budget stop you from making improvements – there are plenty of ways to upgrade your car audio for less than $100.
  • You don’t need to be skilled to make upgrades – even beginners can find ways to upgrade the stereo system.

Even taking small steps can make a world of difference to the sound quality.

At CarAudioNow, we have plenty of How-Tos that will get you started. There’s no reason to suffer from poor sound quality any longer.