One of the major differences between new cars these days and others from yesteryear is the dropping bonnet.
Today from the driver’s perspective the front of the car drops away and it makes it much harder to judge how much room there is in front when parking in a tight spot.
Older cars generally had a fairly square and blunt shape to the front. You could usually gauge parking better by keeping an eye on the position of the mascot on the bonnet and then allowing another six inches.
Of course, these bonnet motifs have long been removed as they were considered an added danger if a pedestrian was hit. The ones that do still exist have to pass the test of collapsing easily in case of an accident.
The sloping bonnet is also a result of design changes to reduce the likelihood of serious injury should a car hit a pedestrian or cyclist.
So parking sensors have become the norm for most cars manufactured today. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of older cars on the road today that do not have them.
The good news is that they ae cheap and easy to fit. They make parking in awkward spots a great deal easier although a driver’s own view and common sense should still be used.
Older people will remember the cars with big and bright shiny chrome bumpers. They will also remember that you knew how far you could go when you felt the gentle bump of hitting the car in front or behind whilst parking.
Hardly any damage occurred as the car being bumped would also have a sturdy bumper. But now if you take a look at just about any new model on the road you’ll realise a significant design change.
There are no longer any bumpers but just a wrap-around piece of body panelling. This is much easier to scuff or even crack when using the bump to park method. It’s also more expensive to replace so the answer if you haven’t got it is to fit parking sensors.
So, you’ve just spent a hefty whack of savings on a new car only to find that it’s car-stereo system is a bit rubbish. Yes, this is exactly what you should expect; unless you’re buying a car that’s renowned for its audio technology (e.g. Audi) it’s very likely that the stereo will be bad.
From the car manufacture’s perspective, this makes sense: they’re selling you the car, not the audio. Not everyone is an audiophile, so why would they bother catering to the most particular customers, when everyone else is happy with a cheaper system? The truth is that they don’t.
Fortunately, it’s not too difficult, nor too expensive, to upgrade your entire system. Just a few simple changes can make a huge difference. Below, we’re going to explore the various things that you can do to improve your in-car music experience.
1.Change the speakers: if you have a limited budget, then the most important thing is usually to change the speakers. This is where the manufacturers scrimp the most, so they’re often very low quality. If you’ve bought a second-hand car, and they’ve never changed the speakers, then they might have blown too.
For as little as £50 you can change the speakers. Even the most basic speakers are often better than the manufacturers’ speakers, and certainly better than speakers that have blown.
2.Add sound proofing: a major issue with cars and music is that cars are huge hunks of metal. This means that the soundwaves bounce around and reverberate. This affects the quality of the music; it will sound distorted and off. It’s relatively straightforward to fix; you need to add sound-deadening materials.
You have many options, so go and speak to your local car audio shop. Our local car audio Romford specialist sells floor mats, special material for placing inside the doors, and various other sound deadening options. It will make a huge difference to the car, and can cost as little as £20. The good thing is that you don’t have to pay over the odds, because even a little amount of sound deadening can make a huge difference. Plus, you'll annoy the neighbours less.
3.Change the head unit: this is relatively expensive. A decent head unit will set you back at least £150. However, they can make a huge, huge, amount of difference to your enjoyment of your in-car stereo.
i.Firstly, they can improve the quality hugely. They may have a greater power output, and so be able to play the music louder than before – especially if you combine this with an amp.
ii.Second, they can allow you to play many more files and formats. For example, if you buy a Bluetooth stereo, you can then connect your phone or tablet, and then listen to those files via the stereo. You can also add things like DVD players, so you can watch files (but not while you drive, obviously!).
iii.Thirdly, you have extra features, like satnav and hands free.
There are many benefits, and the ones you derive will depend on the unit you buy. For this reason, it’s important that you spend your time researching different head units. This way, you'll end up with a unit you like.
Unless you spend a lot of time in your car listening to music, then chances are that you would consider yourself to be perfectly happy with the audio system you currently have. If you can get along playing your favourite CD’s or tuning into your preferred radio station then the majority of people are unlikely to give their in-car stereo system much thought. However, you might want to consider that your audio system probably doesn’t sound as good as it could.
Deterioration over time is one major factor; speakers are not made of the best materials and they simply lose sound quality over the years but rather than considering a complete replacement of the speakers, why not utilise an in-car amplifier to enhance sound instead? No matter how well made your car speakers are, an in-car amplifier could massively improve the quality and overall sound from your stereo, even if you didn’t think that it was possible!
What kind of amplifier?
This is probably the first question you need to think about. As most cars have four speakers, you will need an amplifier which has multiple channels on it; at least four and luckily these are the most common ones found on the market. If you are a complete newbie to purchasing an in-car amplifier then it would be best to speak to a professional who should be able to advise you based on your personal requirements and the type of car that you own. There are many London Car Audio companies if you are local to the city who would be able to offer advice on the different amplifiers which would be suitable for you.
Where does it go?
The amplifier will be placed in the boot of your car. It is powered by the car battery and connected to the speakers.
How much will it cost?
Like most technical equipment, the higher the price, the better the specification. However, that doesn’t mean that by spending hundreds of pounds on an amplifier you will automatically be given better quality sound. Depending on what you are looking for, you may find that a cheaper model of amplifier gives you exactly the quality of sound you are after; there are always plenty of affordable options out there if you spend a little time looking for them. If you are looking into great sound enhancing options then you might also want to consider purchasing a subwoofer at the same time as the amplifier. Subwoofers are speakers which are solely designed for low frequencies. Generally subwoofers are thought to be used for those who like loud music with a lot of bass but actually a good subwoofer can enhance the overall sound quality no matter what type of music you enjoy listening to and no matter whether you like the volume turned up high, or way down low. The subwoofer will also sit in the boot, next to the amplifier so you won’t have to worry about compromising on in-car space either.
On a long car journey there’s a lot of difference between being the driver and a passenger. The driver has to concentrate on what he’s doing and the passenger can just end up utterly bored.
But now, instead of staring vacantly out the window the passenger can chill out in the back watching the latest movies on an in-car DVD player. With screens on the rear of the front seats and a set of wireless headphones the passenger can get involved in some long film to break the journey.
With iPod connectivity and touchscreen, films, music and games can all help relieve the otherwise boredom of a journey. There is no end to the amount and type of entertainment that passengers can enjoy and also the driver as long as it doesn’t in his or her case involve film.
Eventually when driver less cars are the norm the driver will be able to enjoy all the audio/visual pleasure that passengers get today.
The car of the future that will simply have to be programmed to find its destination will be much like flying an airplane. Modern planes hardly need the pilot as they cover the journey and often land themselves.
But for now, any car audio Romford, if that’s where you live, is the place you need to buy the latest audio equipment.
The super expensive new cars that most of us cannot afford, are fully equipped audio-wise. But for lesser mortals just about all in-car entertainment can be improved upon. Most will not have a Double Din with iPod connection, Bluetooth with DVD and a touchscreen.
Once this has been added it might be worth looking at adding a more powerful amp and possibly changing the speakers to cope with the increased output.
It’s surprisingly possible to make these changes with a modest budget but when it’s properly done you’ll never be bored on any road trip.
If you turn the car into a mind-blowing sound-around theatre then maybe you should think about some dampening to completely keep out all road noise.
So, you’re thinking of upgrading your car stereo, and you want to use an installation expert. This makes perfect sense. They have the knowledge, expertise, and practice required to install the stereo correctly. If you have little experience in these things, then it can turn into an expensive problem if you decide to go ahead and change it yourself. You risk damaging the stereo and the various other components.
Having said this, some people are reluctant to use an audio shop. This is because they might not necessarily trust that they can change the stereo without causing any damage. The majority of audio installation services in the UK are excellent. Nonetheless, we have provided you with some top tips to ensure that you get it right first time.
1.You should always use a car stereo installer if the speakers that you buy are larger than the original speakers are/were. This is because the mountings might require modification. This literally involves cutting into the car door and removing excess metal. It’s important that a professional undertakes it, because they understand how to do this without compromising the integrity of the car.
2.Another reason why you should take the car to an installation expert is that they know where to look for empty speaker slots. Most manufactures know that people will want to install after market car speakers, and they accommodate for this by creating slots. A decent car audio installer, such as car audio in London, will know exactly where to look for these slots.
Many car owners have hacked into their cars, without realising that there was a pre-installed hole exactly like the hole they've just made. Furthermore, that hole is likely to have had a better position than the one you made yourself. The manufactures hire audio experts to make sure that they choose an optimum position for these hidden slots.
3.When buying your speakers and stereo online, you need to be extra careful. This is because the audio might not be up to scratch. You don’t get to “try before you buy” when purchasing audio equipment online. In the real world, you can ask your audio specialist if you can listen to the various speakers/stereos they have for sale.
You can help minimise the risks here by shopping with an audio shop that has a good reputation. The shops offering car audio in London tend to be excellent, because they have a greater number of customers, and as such, if they make mistakes, you will soon hear about it. If you’re buying online, choose a London-based shop, and then look for online reviews. We’re assuming here that you live in the UK. By purchasing stereo parts in the UK, while living in the UK, you’re afforded with many consumer rights.
4.Make sure that the audio shop understands the various technologies behind your new stereo. Contact them by phone, email, or in person, and ask them a few questions about the new stereo and speakers. If they offer a comprehensive answer that makes sense, then it’s a sure sign that they understand exactly what they're doing.
It is something that we take for granted in today’s society, but the car radio, the thing that accompanies us to and from work every day, is only just over 85 years old. This means that in such a small amount of time, their technology has grown exponentially, evolving from basic radio frequencies to satellite technology. This timeline shows the growth of the in car radio and shows how so much has been achieved in such a short space of time.
1930’s: First Car Radio Available Commercially
The first car radio that was available to the masses was produced by the Galvin brothers who labelled the radio under the name Motorola. It could be bought for $130, which is the equivalent of $1,775 today, an extravagance for the wealthier classes of society.
1950’s: The first Radio With FM, the first Becker Mexico and transistor radios.
Up until the 1950’s, AM was the only frequency available on in car radios but that all changed in 1952 when Blaupunkt introduced the first FM radio system for automobiles. In 1953, the Becker Mexico radio was unveiled to the world; this radio was seen to be the very first premium car radio as it had an automatic search button that would allow you to search the stations, as well as a choice between AM and FM frequencies.
However, it was the all-new transistor radios that became the biggest phenomena; Chrysler had teamed up with Philco and produced the very first in car transistor radio in 1955. It became a $150 option for their 1956 range of Chrysler cars and from there, it went on to be replicated by other car companies and was the top manufactured radio of the age.
1960’s: The eight-track tape player and first stereo all introduced.
Before the cassette player came, the eight-track player was the favourite, although its popularity only lasted 15 years. It was innovative and car audio London saw a sharp rise in production and sales of the eight-track. The very first stereo was brought in-car by the late 60’s and Becker’s Europa came with a tuner that wouldn’t just amplify one radio channel but two.
1970’s: The birth of the cassette
Deemed to be one of the greatest creations that mankind has seen, the cassette became an instant hit inside and outside of the car. It allowed a choice of songs and also saw the first branded cassette players from Pioneer and Alpine.
1980’s and 90’s: First CD players
CD players were first installed in the mid 1980’s but it wasn’t until the 90’s that they saw a boom in popularity. By this time, cassettes and CD’s worked side by side in harmony until the cassette gradually started to be phased out. By the end of the 90’s CD had become dominant and MP3 files were also introduced, with head units also being given the capability to play these in-car.
2000’s and 2010’s: Goodbye Cassette, Hello Bluetooth
The first part of the 21st century saw a dramatic improvement in technology which saw the in-car systems being upgraded to allow them to interact with mobile and computer devices via Bluetooth. This allowed drivers to use their mobiles wirelessly which, in turn, allowed them to drive safer on the roads.
Most new cars have a great range of features, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add to them. There are plenty of accessories that you can add to your car to make it truly amazing. Here, we have compiled a list of all of our favourite on-board accessories.
Let’s Go Through the Basics:
First things first, all cars should have a basic list of items. These include:
• Spare tyre: believe it or not, you’re not required by law to carry a spare tyre. However, if you do have a spare tyre, and you have to use it, it must be road-legal. Our advice is always to carry a spare, and to regularly check the spare for signs of damage.
• First aid kit: again, in the UK you do not have to carry a first aid kit in your private car (taxis & passenger vehicles are mandated to carry first aid kits). However, they recommend that you carry at least a medium BSI first aid kit. Furthermore, if you travel to other countries, such as France, it is illegal to drive without one.
• Warning triangle: again, there are no laws in the UK mandating the use of warning triangles, but they are heavily recommended. And, again, many countries in Europe require a warning triangle by law – some countries, such as Spain, require two.
• Reflective jacket: again, this isn’t illegal in the UK, but is in many other countries. Highly recommended.
• Fire extinguisher: again, this isn’t illegal in the UK, but is in many other countries. Highly recommended.
Some Accessories You’ve Probably Not Considered
Next, we’re going to look at some of the accessories that you’ve not thought about, but which can improve your driving massively.
• Breathalyser: this is something that many of you won’t have thought about, but you can buy breathalysers to carry in your car. These are excellent for people that like to have a drink or two and then drive afterwards. They help you to work out if you're safe to drive or not. Interestingly, France has made these a legal requirement.
• Reverse parking sensor: these are excellent for all drivers. Even if you’re excellent at parking, they can spot things that you might not be able to see because they’re sat in your blind spot, such as a bollard or a brick. They make parking much more effortless. A reverse parking sensor will warn you when you're approaching an object by beeping faster and faster. You can also buy front and side mounted sensors, to make the job even easier. We’ve never tried, but you can probably park a car without even looking if you have a surround parking sensor system.
• Seat belt cutter/window breakers: if you’ve ever been unfortunate to be in a car accident where someone is trapped, then you will fully understand the importance of both of these items. In our opinion, they should both be mandated by law.
• First aid blanket: if there’s an accident, people can go into shock. Here, their body temperature can drip massively. A first aid foil blanket can help them to preserve heat. They’re also handy if you break down at night or in the winter.
Isn’t it true that pleasant distraction helps fill time? A visit to the theatre and a thoroughly enjoyable play passes quickly. What’s pleasurable we always want to last and never end?
So if you are setting off on a long driving trip perhaps on the once a year summer journey to Italy or Southern France what is better than the sun-roof down and a blast of music to please the Soul.
You need a good sound system for this and a UK car stereo to make you want to sing along at maximum decibel.
Different generations have different ideas of what that music might be. At my age it’s Buddy Holly but after him came the greatest summer’s driving songs surely of all time with the Beach Boys.
The thing about recorded music is that over some weak equipment it is probably better not to listen at all. Good sound systems are always worth the money and cheap cars do not have the amplifier, speakers or all round acoustics to do justice to your favorite sounds.
It’s a bit like forty years ago when everything was mono and music came across as one dimensional and dull.
Many young people have no idea how black and white everything was just fifty years ago. The opportunities that have created outstanding musical sound and quality are near perfection and it is difficult to know where it goes from here.
From bass to woofers, mid-range to tweeter speakers with the right amplifier produce sound quality that is sensational to the old man only used to jazz in the nineteen sixties on a 78rpm record.
In Car Music is an Aladdin’s cave of every possible piece of equipment to improve the sounds inside your car.
The wonderful thing about modern Hi-Fi is that advancements in technology along with fierce competition mean much of this equipment is within the means of many.
An upgrade of your car audio will increase the pleasure of those long journeys down to Mother-in Law or even the short trip to work.
For UK car stereo www.incarmusic.co.uk
Amplifiers can help to enhance your in-car music experience. However, if you buy the wrong one – maybe because you don’t quite understand what amplifiers do – then it can actually make your music sound worse. Here, we have written an introduction to car amplifiers UK; much of this is relevant to the rest of the world, but a few things relate specifically to the UK. If you’re having trouble understanding what amplifiers are, and how they work to improve your music, then read on. This is a simplified version, so even those that are technically illiterate can understand.
What Is an Amplifier?
An amplifier does exactly what it says on the tin and amplifies your sound. It does this by taking the voltage from the A/V connectors (these connectors come with all stereos, and that have red, yellow and white jacks) and increases the voltage (i.e. it amplifies the voltage) which increases the power signal for the speakers, woofers and tweeters.
How Powerful Should You Amplifier Be?
Contrary to what you might assume, you don’t just choose the biggest amplifier that you can. The amplifier doesn’t need to be that strong because the head unit often provides sufficient power. The power is also sufficient to use for the subwoofers as well as the main speaker. However, because it’s sharing the power across multiple speakers it can do with a little help from an amplifier – but only a little help.
People assume that if you want to double the volume you need to double the power of the amp. This simply isn’t true. Instead, it works by degrees.
We mentioned earlier that you really only need a head unit to power the speakers and the sub woofers. However, to do this you need to fiddle around with power output and this is relatively complex. It involves understanding things about voltage, wattage, decibels, etc. It involves quite an in-depth knowledge of audio/visual technologies. For people without this advanced knowledge (and that’s most people) an amplifier will be required if you want to power anything more than component speakers do.
The stereo system requires different amplifiers depending on the type of speakers and their size. This means that you will have to ask an audiophile for precise guidance on your stereo.
Why Do We Need an Amplifier?
There are a few reasons for using an amplifier:
1.They make the system louder. With car stereos, you need to be careful with making them too loud because you can get in trouble for noise pollution, but also it can act as a distraction and can therefore be dangerous.
2.They improve sound quality. You need to make sure that you choose the right amplifier though, because the sound starts to distort as the amplifier reaches its limits. This means that it is better to buy a more powerful amplifier. The more powerful the amplifier, the less the potential for sound distortion.
How Do I Know Which Amplifier To Buy?
Unfortunately, understanding car amplifiers is a whole area of study in itself. If you don’t know which amp to buy then you will either need to learn about amplifiers (and that will take several weeks of study) or you will have to ask someone – remember that you will need information about car amplifiers UK, because different countries have different power systems.
I don’t know how much time you spend in your car, but if you’re anything like the millions of commuters up and down the country, you probably spend a good hour a day in the car. Clearly, it gets a bit monotonous in the car. One of the ways that we like to entertain ourselves is through our car stereos. Manufacturers, such as Sony car stereos, understand that we need entertainment and they’re really spoiling us. You can do so much through your head units: watch DVDs (err, not when you’re driving!), listen to the radio, listen to podcasts, telephone people, browse the internet, etc. But we can think of a few extra things that we want our car stereos to do. So if you’re a car stereo manufacturer, and you want some inspiration, then read on.
Car stereos should definitely have in-built storage and memory. And I don’t know about you, but I want at least 64GB. I have lots of music and a few films that I’d like in my car. The films because I stop at the drive-thru once a week and how awesome would it be to watch a film while munching on my burger.
Rewind/Pause/Fast-forward on Radio Settings
How many times have you listened to a radio station and missed something someone said, or missed a song that you were waiting for. Being able to pause and rewind a live radio programme would be awesome. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to fast-forward it unless we’d pause it first, but that would be cool too.
Another thing they should do is let you record radio programmes or in-car telephone calls. With that 64GB storage, that would be quite easy. It’s not as if the technology doesn’t already exist. The bigger manufacturers, like Sony car stereos, should really jump on the bandwagon for this one because it will boost their popularity. Some people are quite disparaging about the brand, so giving people something that they can’t get anywhere else would be a great marketing trick.
Most car stereos now come with built-in Satnav and GPS capabilities. However, this is rather one sided. The car receives information from the satellites but it doesn’t send information back out. How amazing would it be if our car stereos communicated certain types of data with the satellites? We would be able to create real-time congestion information. We’d be able to avoid road accidents, traffic works and schools at kicking out time. It would give us so much flexibility. In fact, it would do wonders for traffic management if we let our cars tell us where to drive in real time.
This is what Google are trying to do with their driverless cars. Most of us can’t afford a Google car, so the next best thing would be to have an in-car stereo that can carry out some of the same functions, such as traffic management.
Simcard Slot for Your Phone
Car stereos should allow you to insert a simcard so that you can use your stereo as a phone over your existing mobile phone tariff. This would probably involve multiple simcards on the same number, or simply let you wirelessly connect to your phone.
Most of us experience favourite music with an increase in heartbeat and a general feeling of being better for the experience although oddly enough there are some people who feel no emotions at all and actually hate all music.
Ignoring that strange group, with no inclination to listen to music, the next question is where and how is the best place to enjoy it. Many audiophiles spend thousands of pounds on home Hi-Fi and sometimes dedicate a whole room in the house to accommodate a correct array of speakers and specially prepared acoustics.
Another obvious way to get the most from your particular taste in music is to upgrade the factory installed car audio system.
Apart from the hugely expensive limousines most average car audio systems are just that; average, but there is much that can be done to upgrade and spectacularly improve the quality for surprisingly little cost.
A new amplifier in the boot and an upgrade of new car speakers UK will soon turn you into one of those people who drive around all day just to listen to results.
If you do boost the sounds with newer and better equipment it will also be a good time to look at improving the acoustics. A simple dampening can make a big difference and is something anyone is capable of doing over a weekend.
Dampening not only improves the sound inside because it prevents sound waves escaping but it also blocks out road noise and any other annoying little car noise. Fortunately most new cars have a better level of insulation of engine noise with the completely enclosed engine casing.
This is a relatively new concept only evolved because of the reliability of modern engines. Anyone over the age of fifty will remember that weekends were often spent servicing the car with regular water and oil checks along with greasing nipples.
Today the modern car is quiet enough to listen to good quality music but with a little extra effort it can become not just quiet but midnight graveyard quiet.
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