The quality and volume of the music in the car is not only influenced by the amount of money invested in the acoustics. In most cases it is possible to noticeably improve the acoustics of the car without much cost. And some of the steps described in this article are free, but, as practice shows, very effective.
First, you need to understand the characteristics of your stereo and speakers. Whether all the equipment in your car is in working order. You may need to consider buying a new car stereo with Bluetooth or other components in your car.
The main thing in this case is understanding that the quality and volume of music in the car depends on many factors, and therefore it is necessary to take a complex approach to their improvement. That is, you cannot just stuff a big subwoofer in the trunk and hope for sharp improvement of the situation. Yes, maybe the bass will appear. But the general quality of acoustics will hardly improve only due to this step.
Vibration and noise insulation
It may be a revelation for some people, but the very first step to improve the music in the car does not concern the acoustic system at all. Anyway, you should always start from the vibration and noise insulation. If everything is bad in this respect – no amplifiers and subwoofers will help you to move towards quality.
How vibration and noise insulation affects the music in the car
Extraneous noises that are not music (running engine, rattling casing, rustling tires) are nothing but sound waves. Music played by the acoustics is also sound waves. When there is insufficient vibration and noise insulation in the car, these two types of sound waves mix up. As a result, a part of useful sound, emitted by speakers, is compensated by parasitic noises. That is, roughly speaking, some ranges of music signal frequencies are simply “lost”.
As a result, our ears are exposed to both music and noise while driving. It is only natural that the abilities of the human ear are insufficient to filter out the useful sounds from the noises. Therefore, it seems to us that the music sounds quieter (although, in fact, we have not changed its volume). In addition, it is very “dirty”, because some of the sound frequencies are drowned out by noise of the same frequency.
It is also worth mentioning that vibration isolation and noise isolation influence the perception of music in the car almost equally, but they are absolutely different things. Let’s briefly consider the difference.
Vibration isolation is designed to damp the vibrations. In the car, their sources are many – it is the metal body, body parts and plastic interior trim. Vibrations are transmitted to all of this from the engine and suspension. As a result, all of the above works just like the diaphragms in speakers, emitting sounds. Parasitic sounds, which deteriorate the sound quality and “lower” the volume of the acoustics.
A special material capable of damping (“calming”) the vibrations of the parts can fight the vibrations. It is sold in the form of a foil cloth with a waffle structure. Effectively dampens the vibrations on any surfaces – both metal and plastic. The only condition that must be observed is that the vibration isolation material only works in direct contact with the vibrating part. That is, you can not, for example, lay on the floor of the trunk first noise insulation, and on top of it the vibration isolation. So it will not work at all.
Noise insulation is designed to damp the noise that enters the cabin from the outside. The sources of such noise in the case of the car are many. This is a running engine, and banging suspension, and hissing rubber, and passing cars, and oncoming air flow, and so on. All this noise, penetrating into the cabin, is also superimposed on the music, muting some of its frequencies. It seems to us that the stereo just starts playing quieter.
The material, capable of detaining parasitic sound waves, allows you to combat this kind of noise. Unlike vibration isolation, it works anywhere. It doesn’t even have to be attached directly to surfaces. Parasitic sound waves are “lost” in the fibrous structure of the noise insulation, weakening or attenuating altogether.
In order to finish the topic of noise- and vibration isolation it is necessary to mention that it must be made only from those places where the music in the car comes from. That is even if you isolate the front doors and the trunk compartment with a good quality vibration isolation, even after that the sound of the acoustic system in your car will improve noticeably. Although ideally, of course, it is necessary to remove any parasitic noises, so they do not mix with the music, do not muffle it and do not distort it.
Revision of the car stereo
The next important factor that affects the volume and sound quality of the music in the car is the car stereo. There are two ways to improve it. The first is to buy a more expensive boombox, and a well-known brand. The second is to revise the existing device. If with the first way everything is clear, then on the second it will be useful to stop in details.
Significantly improve the existing radio by replacing only a few parts. Especially the actions described below are effective with budget models, during the assembly of which the manufacturer has saved a lot.
If you don’t have a basic understanding of soldering and how radio components look like, it’s better to refuse this way of improvement. At most, ask someone who knows about it.
“Dig” in the following directions. First, you need to improve the temperature of the main chip of the boombox. As a rule, in inexpensive models they are installed directly on the case without any heat sinks. And this leads to the fact that the chip overheats, as a result distorts the sound, works jerkily and so on. If you can not add a heatsink because of the design of the boombox, a positive effect can be achieved by refreshing the thermal paste, through which the heat is transferred to the heatsink or the case.
Second, check the electrolytic capacitors. If they are blown, leaky or darkened, they should be replaced with new ones of the same rating. When replacing capacitors, it is important to consider not only their capacitance, but also their voltage rating. It should not be less than that of the part to be replaced. A larger voltage is acceptable. Also note that electrolytic capacitors have polarity.
Basically, this is all that can be done with the radio without going into radio electronics.
For normal sound of music in the car is enough only four regular speakers. However, all of them must meet a number of requirements:
- The power of each speaker must match the power of the output channel to which it is connected.
- The impedance of the speakers must be the same as the output channels of the radio.
- The speakers must not be damaged or dirty. Both defects lead to audible noise in the form of crackles, croaks and other sound distortions.
- The signal from the stereo to the speakers should be sent through shielded wires of sufficient cross-section. If the wires are thin, part of the sound signal will not reach the speaker due to resistance.
Unshielded wires – will “trap” extraneous radio interference.
The front of the speakers should be tightly sealed from the rear. If the fit is not airtight, the sound waves radiating inside the doors or trunk will penetrate into the cabin and cancel out the waves we are listening to.
In addition, it is important that all the speakers are connected correctly, that is, with the correct polarity. To find out where the plus and minus of the speaker is, you can use an ordinary thumbtack battery. If you put the battery potential in front of the speaker and the diaphragm slopes to the front, it means that the plus side of the battery is the same as the plus side of the speaker.
A freestanding sound amplifier is not only capable of amplifying the volume of the music in the car, as many believe. Its presence also has a positive effect on sound quality. This happens because the system begins to work not at its maximum capacity, and in normal mode. Built-in inexpensive boomboxes amplifier (the main chip) at more or less decent volume often works not only at the limit of its ability, but also far beyond.
Only after you have passed all the above steps, you can hope to improve the sound quality of music in your car by installing a subwoofer. It should be taken into account that a passive subwoofer will turn out to be absolutely useless box in a trunk without an additional amplifier. If you choose the configuration of the equipment properly, the sound in your car will become louder, of higher quality and richer, and the bass will be deep.