Choosing The Right Stereo System

Automotive stereos have come a long way over the past decade with manufacturers adding new features and additions regularly. As cassette players have now been phased out and CD players beginning to be as well, new technology such as MP3 compatibility and mobile phone connectivity are now becoming more common in-vehicle sound systems. Check out the latest Effuel reviews.

With the latest technology being a vital aspect when purchasing a new stereo system; the decision in what fits best for you and your vehicle can be quite the head ache. Here, we show you how each component can help the quality of your sound.

Head Unit

At the heart of all systems, is the “Head Unit”. The Head Unit is an integral part of the vehicles overall stereo sound. This is where the amplifiers and speakers will be connected and therefore, where you will control the output and quality of the sound. The head unit is typically located (or mounted) in the centre of the dashboard, easily accessible for both the driver and passenger.-

Head units can feature;

  • AM/FM Radio tuner
  • Smart Phone support (often via Bluetooth)
  • Satellite Radio
  • Multi Language Display
  • CD Player
  • MP3 Compatibility
  • Auxiliary Input
  • GPS Navigation
  • Bluetooth
  • USB Connectivity
  • Digital Display Screens
  • Detachable Faces
  • Remote Controlled
  • DVD Player

Allowing the user to have control over speaker balance, volume, frequency, bass, treble and even noise fading, is available in most units.


Speakers come in a range of prices determined by sound quality, performance and capacity. Aftermarket speakers generally have more sound capabilities by having a larger response frequency. When purchasing new speakers, it is important to look out for the power handling, sensitivity and physical size of the speakers to ensure they will fit your vehicle.

Other types of speakers, such as tweeters and subwoofers are also available. Tweeters are small speakers that help to improve the quality of higher frequencies above 2 kHz. Tweeters are small, lightweight and very efficient; they can respond quickly, requiring little power to run the speakers. Subwoofers are the opposite of tweeters as they require large amounts of power and are designed to produce low frequencies or bass. Subwoofers require an amplifier to run and are generally fitted to a specifically designed box.


Amplifiers boost the signal power, resulting in a clearer sound with more volume available whilst eliminating distortion. In order to run an amplifier, the head unit must have RCA outputs to connect to the amplifier. The continuous power output (measured in watts) that the amplifier produces is called RMS power. Two channel amplifiers are made to power two speakers, while four-channel amplifiers are made to power four speakers.

Amplifiers should never be mounted directly to metal in the vehicle; this will create unnecessary vibrations and noise problems. Instead, mount to the subwoofer box (generally made from wood) or use screws with rubber isolators or foam tape if mounting to metal is unavoidable.

Why replace or upgrade your stereo system?

  • For overall better quality, more features or if your current system is faulty
  • For better sound quality
  • For more power and volume to your speakers

How to choose the right head system for you

Depending on what you want from your vehicle’s stereo, the possibilities are almost endless. For general functionality and ease of use, Autobarn stocks a wide range of stylish and affordable systems. If you want the latest technology, such as being able to link the unit to your phone, have built in GPS navigation and have clear and loud sound, Autobarn again has you covered with some advanced stereo systems.

Head to your local Autobarn store to receive expert advice and helpful hints on what is best for you. Autobarn can even fit the unit for you!

Questions to ask yourself whilst on the hunt for a stereo system?

  1. What sizes will fit in your car (speaker, head unit, amplifier and subwoofer sizes)?
  2. What type of sound do you want from the stereo? Do you listen mostly to the radio, MP3 players or CD’s?
  3. What type of music (rock, classical, R & B, jazz etc) do you listen to?
  4. Are you after the latest technology or something simple and easy-to-use?
  5. Is budget or quality more important to you?
  6. If upgrading only the Head Unit, will the new head unit support your current Speakers?
  7. Do you already have or want an Amplifier or Subwoofer?

Answering the questions above can help narrow your search and help make a tough choice a little easier. If you head down to your local store, our friendly staff can help guide you in your decision.

Great Stereo Products Available at Autobarn

  • Head Units
  • Speakers
  • Amplifiers
  • Subwoofers

This information is provided as a guide only and professionals should be consulted when doing any work to a vehicle. Autobarn is not liable for any loss or damage which is suffered or incurred (including but not limited to indirect or consequential loss) for any personal injury or damage to property suffered or sustained as a result of using the information provided.