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Today cars are no longer just a means of transportation, the more prestigious, the more beautiful the appearance. After all, you can have a car like everyone else, but with a completely unique inner world - finish, color, materials, sound system.
Car audio has evolved from the usual two speakers to powerful subwoofers with dozens (!) Speakers. Debunking these misconceptions and let's get down to it.
Myths about car audio
The power of my radio tape recorder is as much as 200 watts! The misconception is based on the confusion of different concepts - nominal and maximum power. Usually, manufacturers of sound equipment indicate the maximum, peak power values, but such indicators can be obtained only on special stands, almost in laboratory conditions. The average consumer will not receive such power simply by definition. If you want to know the real power, then look for the nominal parameters, if they turn out to be at least 4 * 15 W, then this is not bad. Many people wonder where did such a difference in values come from? The fact is that the peak power is the limit for the equipment, when it reaches its equipment, the end comes, tests upon reaching such figures are literally a test of survival. Curiously, manufacturers go for some tricks to achieve high numbers that are known to sell better. So, the equipment during the tests can be cooled with liquid nitrogen, which will help to squeeze out the last juices of their technology. But numerous Asian brands, famous for their cheapness, are not at all puzzled by testing, simply declaring high power, taking it from the ceiling. The risk of being exposed by such manufacturers is minimal, since the user still cannot verify these numbers.
In a good expensive car, the music is excellent by definition. We will start from the conceptual bundle "high-quality car audio", which implies first-class components that are successfully combined with each other and installed in the car by specialists. Equipping cars with high-quality sound is unprofitable, first of all, for the manufacturer - where is the guarantee that a car, with a significant price premium, will sell well? High-quality sound will be appreciated only by professionals, and practice shows that they still try to independently improve what they already possess. Experts note that there are only a few models with a really cool built-in audio system, among them the Audi A8 with Bang @ Olufsen acoustics, or the Volvo S80 with a Dynaudio system.
There are 12 speakers in my car, they give a mind blowing sound! The sound quality does not depend on the number of speakers. If you use equipment of mediocre quality, you can get the opposite effect - all the noises, wheezing will sound simultaneously from all 4 (8,10,12) speakers. In most cases, for a strong and beautiful sound, it is enough to have a powerful "front", a subwoofer and a 4-channel amplifier. Increasing the number of speakers in a car is often not insisted on by engineers, but by marketers. It is not surprising that in the segment of the most expensive systems the number of speakers is approaching two dozen. For example, in Lexus, the Mark Levinson audio system consists of as many as 19 speakers located throughout the cabin. Naturally, they mainly perform image functions, rather than somehow complement the sound. Often the shape of the speakers, their size and installation location depend on the imagination of the designer. You can see a beautiful speaker in the most secluded place, but in reality it will be almost empty.
The active subwoofer can replace several other components. The only difference between an active and a conventional subwoofer is that in the first case the amplifier is located directly in the case. In fact, such a neighborhood is controversial from the point of view of efficiency. It is better to choose the option with placing the subwoofer in the trunk, and the amplifier in the cabin, the passenger seat is perfect for this. Naturally, an active subwoofer is much larger and therefore takes up quite a lot of space in the trunk. The myth is born of simple human psychology - how can "active" equipment be worse than "passive"?
The more different functions the audio system has, the better. And again, the hand of marketers can be traced, who supply devices with a bunch of additional functions. The phone must have access to the Internet, an audio system - TV and GPS navigation, and so on. Typically, the consumer is faced with the fact that some of the many components do not work well. An attempt to give the device a lot of extraneous functions is inherent mainly to firms that are looking for their buyer in the lower price category. Reputable firms do not waste their time on trifles, paying attention directly to sound quality. For example, in Pioneer head units, the radio is completely separate from the CD player. So do not rush to the radio with the functions of an alarm clock, game center, navigator and other things, follow the adage: "Less is more."
It is better to select components so that they belong to the same brand. It is not difficult to understand the logic of such people, who obviously want to solve the compatibility problem in this way. In a specialized magazine, you can see how among, let's say, head units the winner was the products of the firm N. Often the buyer goes to the store, along the way acquiring not only this product, but also a subwoofer, amplifier, speakers of the same company. Having collected the entire set, the buyer will naturally be satisfied, at least from a moral point of view. Meanwhile, the firms that produce the best head units are often quite mediocre in the field of other acoustics, producing it only to fill the line of components. What is the reason, you ask? The catch is what's inside the different components. For example, in the case of a radio tape recorder, there will be microelectronics inside, based on modern relevant technologies, but in the case of a speaker - macroelectronics. A professional seller will definitely tell you which manufacturer is strong in which components, but an illiterate seller will try to sell a whole set of products from one company.
The acoustics of the car manufacturer are better suited to the car. Indeed, it is better to select "native" parts for the car (light bulbs, cuttings, etc.), but only the car audio is not included in this list. By the way, few automakers do their own acoustics, you can only recall Daewoo and Hyundai. Usually, manufacturers order such devices on the side, only labeling them with their own logo. But, as already discussed, the standard system is by no means the best option. Sophisticated music lovers generally try to abandon the built-in audio system when buying a car. There is both a net benefit and time savings when installing a self-selected option. Here we will touch upon another myth. Many people think that the quality of work of standard equipment can be improved by purchasing an expensive subwoofer. However, this is not so - for a good technology to work, a full high-quality complex is needed, and in conjunction with a mediocre product, any product will start to junk.
It is better to choose the acoustics that won the car audio competition. In fact, there are different competitions. Some of them, related to SPL (Sound Pressure Level), aim to give the maximum sound volume. For these purposes, the car is equipped with all kinds of "booties", glass is reinforced so that the wrong ones fly out, and the sound is started using a remote device, being at a distance, so as not to become deaf. But this is not directly related to sound quality. In order to determine the really standing equipment, it is necessary to investigate the general composition of the musical background, how semitones appear, the influence of sound components on each other. To fully test the equipment, several recordings of different styles are even selected. That is, high-quality sound makes it possible to hear all the nuances of music, both individually and in a single sound.
It is best to install the audio equipment in a sedan-style enclosure. This myth is quite ancient and has practically become obsolete today. About ten years ago, an audio system was a radio tape recorder with speakers, and few people had ever heard of subwoofers. The myth was born from the following considerations. Only in the sedan behind the rear seats is the shelf rigidly fixed, while in other body types it is movable. Therefore, the speakers will experience shaking, which can affect the sound quality. Today, no one clings to the rear speakers, it is considered more effective to install a cool subwoofer and a powerful "front". Today, the priorities have literally turned upside down - it is in the trunk of a sedan that the subwoofer is isolated, while mono-volume bodies are more suitable for installing car audio. In a sedan, the sound will pass through the rear wall, but the compression effect will be noticeably weakened by it.
You can buy a capacitor and listen to music for hours without worrying about draining your battery. In a loudspeaker system, a capacitor stores energy, ready to release it when needed. But a capacitor in no way replaces a battery, nor is it its purpose, because in any case it is powered by a battery, being a link in an electrical circuit. It would be wrong to evaluate the performance of a capacitor by how long music will play from it with the engine off. The specialization of the capacitor is very narrow - to give away part of its energy in case the charge of the main source is not enough to ensure normal sound. This can happen if additional energy consumers are connected, and a capacitor is required, in fact, only for the most powerful systems, with an actual power of several hundred watts.
I am well versed in electrics, so I will install the audio system myself. This myth is a consequence of our difficult legacy, when everyone simply had to be a turner, a locksmith, and an electrician. Today, there is no such need anymore, but the consciousness still lives in their heads that everything can be done with their own hands, you just need to listen to the advice of a knowledgeable person or read the appropriate magazine, and besides, you can save money. No one denies that it is not difficult to do the simplest work - to embed, for example, a radio tape recorder into the dashboard, but we are talking about professional car audio. It is necessary to choose from hundreds of combinations of dozens of the necessary components, connect all this neatly with wiring, while "listening" to the scene in search of the ideal sound. To get high-quality sound in the cabin, it is not enough to assemble all the components; you also need to configure them to convey all the nuances of the music. By the way, poor training is not only among garage masters, but also among many installers in dealerships. After all, usually there is no full-time position "master of car audio", there is only "master of additional equipment" who deals with the protection of the crankcase, and plastic body kits, and car sound. Should we expect from him really high-quality, jewelry work, which will fully reveal the possibilities of expensive equipment?
Great music can be bought for little money. A really cool audio system isn't worth $ 100 or $ 300 unless you're looking for a budget option. When starting your search for a technique, remember that the miser pays twice. Decide on your requirements, then show the car to specialists. For each car there is a standard conversion algorithm, which, however, can not be followed by developing an individual plan. The main thing is that people who specialize in this are engaged in car audio, without doing a dozen other things along the way. After all, as the English proverb says: "A shoemaker makes good shoes because he makes shoes and nothing else."