When it comes to upgrading your in car entertainment system, the choice can often be quite difficult. Car audio has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years with even low end of the market car stereo systems offering capabilities that would have normally been found in top of the range models previously.
When buying a new vehicle the audio system is usually the most basic model of a large volume producer which has been re-badged with the car manufacturer’s logo to give it a smarter appearance. You will be offered an upgrade by the dealer but this will probably be a higher range model from the same manufacturer so your choice will be limited. For this upgrade you will be charged a considerable amount. I have often been in this situation and have taken the basic model with a view to upgrading after taking delivery of the vehicle and this is where the fun starts.
To begin with there is the choice of the latest dab radio versus the more conventional FM. If you are on a budget you may opt to sacrifice the dab radio in order to include a CD multi-changer. Then again you may decide against the CD multi-changer in favour of a single slot CD with an iPod mp3 player input and this is before you even get to the idea of a DVD player and this is just concentrating on single unit systems as opposed to separate amplifiers and sub woofers.
I have always gone with the idea of getting the most power with good quality speakers. This does not mean that I drive around with the car stereo on full blast, rather that a system working well within its capabilities will produce a much better sound without a hint of distortion. The sound quality of the music is always my first priority.
After this I turn my attention to the radio. If you listen to music radio you have to make a decision between dab and FM. Most stores will have a display set up so you can compare the two. I mainly listen to talk radio so the sound quality is not my main concern when it comes to this point.
The CD player is really a matter of choice. I have always liked the option of a CD multi-changer but if the budget will not stretch that far an ipod mp3 player input is a good alternative. This can either be connected by a front input jack or a rear connection to the same socket as a CD multi-changer. Both options are far superior to a fm transmitter.
To summarise, decide on a budget, get your priorities in order of importance and shop around to get the best choice.