Get the Best Quality Sound from Your Vehicle

September 1, 2021

Everyone loves good driving music, but our favorite tunes need the right setup to sound their best. Unfortunately audio quality isn’t a priority for most car designers. They’re a bit more worried about safety and standards - rightly so. That doesn’t mean you need to settle for mediocre sound quality.  

Here are some tips to help you customize your car’s audio system so it always sounds its best. From factory setups to custom builds, you can make the most of what you’ve got.

First Things First

We don’t settle when it comes to other electronics–i.e., phone, tablet, earbuds, home stereo – so why would we be ok with mediocrity in one of the larger investments we’ll make in life? 

Thankfully, improving your car’s audio is well within your reach and even the simplest of improvements can yield noticeable results. That said, a certain level of skill and attention to detail is key here – even the best equipment won’t perform well if it’s not used or installed correctly. So if you have any doubts about your abilities, get in touch with a professional like the FatMat team. We’re here to help!

Beef Those Speakers

Car manufacturers don’t build vehicles around the sound system, even though we wish they did. The good thing is that custom sound is just a nice set of speakers away. If you’re looking for tighter bass and more overall clarity, this is the quickest and easiest fix. Standard speakers often try to do it all, soundwise, from just one unit. But they generally don’t feature high-quality materials or maintain deep, lasting sound. Constant use, moisture, and UV rays can break them down quickly.

Aftermarket models feature a wide variety of materials that are engineered to improve sound. They also produce bass, treble, and midrange sounds using multiple components for a higher quality experience and a more distinct audio range. New speakers can accentuate details in the music you’ve been listening to for years – it’s a terrific first step to revamping your car’s audio. And remember too, quality isn’t always parallel with price. Research will tell you what’s best for your needs.

Kill That Sound

So your car isn’t built to optimize your audio system - fact. This is even more true when we’re talking about vibration and road noise. Here’s a key example: door panels are constructed using thin metal, a substance that carries vibrations all too well. They’re also usually not accompanied by materials that can deaden the resulting noise. Oh, and speakers are often mounted in doors too. Add those variables together and you get lots of rattling, interior noise, and distorted sound quality. But the issues aren’t confined to the doors–anywhere that speakers resonate directly against metal will set you up for compromised sound. 

All this interference could lead you to turn up the volume in hopes of better quality. But that won’t get you there. Instead you’ll just be amplifying the negative and creating a harsh listening experience. So what can you do when road, wind, and vehicle noise threaten quality?

The answer is pretty simple here: kill them. Using sound-deadening products is the best way to quash outside noise and stabilize speakers. Cut-to-fit noise-reducing material–like FatMat’s array–work to absorb vibrations and mute background sounds. When properly installed, it can even support your vehicle’s speakers, giving them stability so they can do their job in peace. And with extraneous noise cancelled out there will be less overall stress on the audio system.

Where should you install this miracle product? Anywhere that acts as a resonating chamber–think floor panels, the trunk, and near the tires. Soundproofing doors could sound excessive to some, but it can make a big difference. Of course that’s a bit more intense of a job to handle. If you’re not confident with installation, we’re around and can offer pointers–get in touch.

Amp It Up

Ok, so new speakers are in, noise-deadening product is down–what’s next? It’s time to power up. Regardless of speaker quality, things can only get better when you add an amplifier to the mix. If you’re after big bass and clear, powerful sound, this is a must. And whether you’re jammin’, cruisin’, or chillin’, you’ll notice a clear difference in sound quality. That is the goal, after all.

So just what do amplifiers do? They bring extra power to your car’s audio components, amplifying electrical signals and giving more juice to your audio system. Standard issue stereos have an amplifier, but it’s nothing to get excited about–they’re usually too small to power a custom audio setup. So if you’re planning to run several components–tweeters, speakers, subwoofer–you’ll be needing the extra power. Otherwise, you won’t be getting out what you’ve put in. On that note, be sure the cables attaching all this fancy equipment are top-notch. Cheap, undersized cables can’t supply the power your souped-up system needs. 

Equalize It

Ok, this is the third time we’re saying it–cars weren’t made for ideal stereo sound. The very materials used in a car’s construction work against quality sound in every way–some surfaces absorb while others reflect. The resulting lack of balance brings peaks and dips and makes music boomy or shrill. And the built-in controls just can’t make up the difference. Bringing an equalizer to the mix works with your music for an ideal user experience. 

Here’s a pro tip: be sure your controls are adjusted correctly. Proper tuning is essential for the best quality sound. Settings should reflect the best parameters of your most-listened-to music. And let’s not get overzealous here. Maxing out tone controls will just stress your audio system and work against the goal. 

Soup the Subwoofer

It’s all about balance when we’re talking subwoofers. Far from the stereotypical booming car at a stoplight, the real purpose of a subwoofer is to bring music into balance and bring clarity to your favorite tunes. A subwoofer picks up low-frequency sounds to accentuate the higher frequency sounds produced by the speakers–bass is more within control and speakers aren’t stretched beyond their abilities. The details revealed by a good subwoofer really are remarkable. With the right equipment and calibrations, you’ll be re-discovering well-loved songs. But remember, like every other step of this auditory journey, customization is king. So settings should always reflect the style of music you’re actually listening to. Once all the details are straight and you’ve experienced the difference a subwoofer can make, other audio systems just can’t compare.

Focus on Features

Now you’re armed with info and ready to get out there and customize your ride. Remember that you don’t have to be an expert overnight. If you’re looking for suggestions or help, know that FatMat is here for you. We can recommend products and give pointers. So if you’re looking for something special in the sound-deadening department, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We know the difference a great sound system can make and want to help you get there. We look forward to hearing from you!

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