Know Your Tweeters From Your Woofers: A Guide to the Key Car Audio Components

These days you can find stereos in all sorts of interesting places. You might, for example, find a stereo in the refrigerator, which would, of course, play very cool music! 

Lame jokes aside, one of the best places anyone can listen to their favorite tunes has to be in the car. It’s built to contain the audio, like a mini studio even. But, how do you decide on your car audio needs?

Some of you may think that your factory stereo system is adequate, but you want to beef up the bass a little. Others may want a complete stereo replacement. 

Well, before you start looking into various car stereos, it’s a good idea to learn the fundamentals first. This guide will run you through some of the essential components that make up your car’s audio. But first, let’s establish a few things you might need to address.

Evaluate Your Current Car Speakers

Automakers are only interested in a vehicle radio that sounds good to a large number of customers. Even so-called premium audio systems that are factory-installed are often inadequate.

So, how do you know whether your factory system is decent enough? Here’s a simple test that everyone can complete.

First up, sit in your vehicle and close the doors and windows. Stick on some of your favorite tunes and put the volume up. Don’t be afraid to put the volume up louder than usual to immerse yourself more in the music.

Now, when you listen to your music, there are a few things you can potentially pick up on:

  • The sound lacks clarity, so you have to turn up the treble
  • The bass sounds hollow or empty when you turn it up
  • Your music is distorting when you turn the volume up high

The three main points mentioned above can all be fixed with specific car audio components, like Massive Audio at Big Jeff, for instance.

But to know what car audio will work for your needs best, you need to come up with a budget first. You also need to decide whether you want to improve your factory stereo or have a complete refit. Last, of all, ask yourself how powerful do you want your bass?

So now, let’s check out some different car audio components.

Head Units

The central nervous system of in-car audio is its head unit. This aspect of the audio system lets you make calls, listen to tunes, use the radio, and navigate to where you want to go.

There are various head unit types you can look into. For instance, you can opt for GPS navigation, double din, single din, or multimedia-based head units. 


Everyone has a basic understanding of speakers. But, when you delve a little deeper, you start to realize that speakers placed in different parts of the car have specific roles.

For instance, your tweeters and general speakers define the clarity of your audio, while the woofer deals with all your bass sounds. The combination and quality of all these speakers work in harmony to determine how good your sound will be.

Then, you have to consider that various manufacturers make different speakers sizes. So you have to find out all of the speaker hole sizes in your car to match them with the ones you wish to add to your vehicle.

Typical sizes can range from 5×7 inches to 6×9 inches. You can also get 5.25-inch and 6.5-inch variations.

Sub Woofers

We just mentioned that the subwoofer deals with the bass, but there’s more to learn. There are three basic sizes that you’ll come across: eight-inch, ten-inch, and twelve in versions. 

If the music you listen to isn’t so bass-orientated, you might be happy to have one or two eight subs. However, a larger 12-inch sub will deliver more bass clarity and warmth to your music for bass-driven music. With factory speakers, you often get a poor quality bass response when you drive up the volume.


In most cases, speakers and sub-woofers are useless without the adequate power that an amplifier gives you. However, the selection of amplifiers is difficult. You have to find out the number of channels you require. Plus, you also have to match the speakers and subwoofers with the RMS power rating.

Then, you have to consider the tuning of your amplifier if you wish to do it yourself. Of course, you can always employ professionals to do this to a high standard. 

Powered Sub Woofers vs. Amplifier and Sub Combos

We should mention that there are powered sub-woofers available that do not require an amplifier. The reason for this is that there is an amplifier built into the sub-woofer.

Powered subs are much easier to deal with than a sub and separate amplifier set up. However, with the latter, you will gain more flexibility in the way you want to set up your sound. 

Also, bear in mind that if you choose to boost your volume levels with an amplifier powering your factory-installed speakers, be careful! It’s a much better idea to upgrade your speakers as well if you really want to crank up the levels.

What to Upgrade First When on a Budget?

If you are on a budget and wondering which audio components you should invest in first, invest in some new front speakers. You’ll notice a notable change in sound quality when you change from your factory versions.

The problem with factory speakers is they can sound anemic. And the great thing is, you can pick up some decent front speakers from as little as fifty bucks for a pair!

Upgrade Your Car Audio

If you’re fed up with the poor sound system you have right now, why not invest a little in your car audio? You might spend a lot of time in your car, so it makes sense to have the audio quality you deserve.

So thanks for checking out this basic guide on audio components for your car. Please check out our blog for more tips and advice on various subjects if you liked this post.

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