In-Car Audio


Tech terms you will come across

Antishock (memory) A memory buffer that stores audio data to avoid sound glitches. Usually a feature of mobile systems such as DVD, CD and MiniDisc players
Antitheft Protection Various ways of trying to prevent theft. These can include a detachable or masking faceplate, or keycode systems
Changer (stacker) A unit that holds multiple discs, swapping them as necessary. Most often used with CD or DVD players
Digital/Analog Tuner An analog tuner uses a tuning knob or thumbwheel and pointer to show the frequency selected. A digital tuner has a digital frequency read-out and preset buttons for touch tuning
Distortion A measurement of the deviation from the original signal to the reproduced signal. Distortion often sounds harsh
Dolby Digital Formerly AC-3, Dolby Digital is a method developed by Dolby Laboratories to digitally encode up to 5.1 channels of high-fidelity sound in a single digital bitstream (front-right, centre, front-left, surround-right, surround-left, subwoofer)
Driver The element of a speaker that actually produces the sound
DTS Digital Theater Sound, from the company of the same name. DTS does much the same thing as Dolby Digital. The two systems are incompatible. It was originally designed for movie theatres
Dynamic Range Generally, the difference between the loudest peak and softest sound
Equaliser A circuit or program that changes the frequency response of a signal, boosting or cutting selected ranges from the overall response
Frequency Response Also called Frequency range. This is the spectrum of frequencies produced, within a certain tolerance. For example, a frequency response of 30Hz to 18kHz (+/- 3dB) means all frequencies in that range without dropping or peaking three decibels
Head Unit The controller component usually mounted in the dashboard
Impedance Impedance is commonly listed from 4 to 8 ohms, with some ranging from 2 to 16 ohms. This is a technical description of the amount of inductive resistance a speaker offers to the flow of electrical signals from a receiver. Usually, impedance doesn't affect sound quality
OEM (original equipment manufacturer) The factory-installed system. Many car manufacturers use name brand products, either standard or as part of an upgrade package

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