Authors note: This is part one of a series that will chronicle my journey into Car Audio, with no knowledge what so ever. I hope you all enjoy it, and hopefully I can help others who would like a better sound experience in their car. Because that's what it's all about, right?
For all of us, they go hand in hand, don't they? Whether its cruising down Main Street bumpin' Still D.R.E, or ripping through canyons blasting Radar Love, music seems to have an integral role in the driving experience, for a lot of people.
I feel that none of my driving journeys (besides track days [in a Camry of all things]) would be the same without music. But, why is that? Is it the countless musicians singing about cars, or all the car commercials you see wth a classic rock lick? Is it the car chases in movies and TV with orchestra epics? I can't exactly put my finger on what. But I know music and driving will forever be associated.
Now, I like listening to music in my car more than others for sure. I fancy myself to be a music nerd. I've been playing bass for 6 years, have a thing for HiFi gear and Vinyl, and my music libary is 3000 strong, consisting of absolutley everything you can think of, from Rush, Snoop Dogg and Armin van Burren, to Luciano Pavarotti, Idris Muhammed (for you Jazz & Soul guys out there), and LCD Soundsystem.
As you can tell, I really enjoy my music, but I've never really been a sit down with headphones and listen type of guy. I love feeling and experiencing my music, which my car enables me to do, while getting me from place to place. So that's why a nice sounding audio system is important to me, but in the past, stock stereo systems in cars have been far from stellar, to stay the very least. In the past 5 years however, they have advanced considerably. This post from the Jalop guys shows how much they have advance on the high end, but what about the average cars we buy? I'll point to Fender systems put in newer VW's, Alpine's in the Mopars, and Boston Acoustics' system in newer Camaros, but most stock systems in almost all cars can get the job done. So, its easier than ever to get a decent audio experience in a car.
On the flipside, my 2004 Camry didn't have a good stock system. Flat, muddy, and if any bass even touches the speakers, the speakers and trim rattle and shake worse than a meth-addict on a 3 day bender. Which is what has turned me into a Car Audio freak. Now, you're probably thinking, what's the point? Why not put your money towards performance and screw the audio, that's the Jalop way!
Well, 3 reasons.
1. I like music.
2. It's a Camry.
3. See number 2.
Now, I am a student, so I was on a strict budget. So, for Part 2, I will get into the start my first system build, and how to choose the best head unit for you, based on features, size, and your budget.