- Getting the music in
- iPodding on-the-cheap
- Head of the class
- Your in-car audio options
- Getting the music out
- The power behind the music
- Add it all up
- What is Dolby and why do you need it?
- Watts that?
- Tech terms you will come across
Strange as it may seem, inside your car can be a far better listening environment than in your home, if your system is designed correctly. A typical car's defined space and fixed seating can provide a great listening environment that you can tune your system for. Space may be more limited than in the home, but you can still build your audio system to suit it.
A true audiophile who spends a lot of time commuting, for instance, will probably be drawn to the super high-quality DVD-Audio, the successor to the CD. DVD-Audio reproduces original studio or concert performances with bit-for-bit accuracy. It has multichannel capabilities for real surround sound, and also carries multimedia "extras" which can be accessed with the right equipment (eg, visual displays of lyrics, liner notes, artist photos and biographies).
For "people movers" which often have a couple (or more) children in the rear, a split system that incorporates a DVD player and/or a game console in the back (with headphones) will let you listen to your favourite audio while driving, without getting driven around the bend by endless repeats of The Wiggles, Barney, Hi-5 or game music and special effects noises.
Or, for top quality audio the whole car can enjoy with the rich, full effect of surround sound, you might go with a system that incorporates Dolby Pro Logic II technology and a front center speaker.
|Out of sight, out of danger
Your expensive sound system may not be immediately apparent to thieves, as speakers, amps and subwoofers are often hidden from casual view, but one thing that will give the game away is your fancy head unit. One look at it will say "I've got a really nice sound system installed in here!" For this reason, many head units are detachable, even on moderately priced systems. Push a button and the whole front fascia pops off to be safely hidden out of sight or taken with you (in a special case) when you leave the car.