Well this isn't ground-breaking news but did you know that car audio can sound as good or better than a similarly priced home audio setup or pretty close to an actual life performance if the foundations are looked upon and tweaks are employed?

For the past 10 years a crowd of well-wishers have thought that car audio will move along with the technologies found in Pro-Audio and AV applications, such as time-alignment (Delay), electronic crossovers (to filter off frequencies going to your speakers drivers), electronic EQs (parametric and graphic equalizers), little did they know that it caused the equipment to sound even worst than before. Yes, of course CD players sounded better and offered more convenience than the cassette deck but over time, cheaper and cheaper CD players were introduced, forcing to us a sound that is very digital and artificial. Thin, emotionless and boring is how I describe it, which makes us miss our analogue cassette deck at times. New players came with even cheaper components, plastic lens, puny non-discrete power supplies but a whole lot of features ITELU! (I tell you :P) Technology triumph over quality! Players now come with MP3, iPod ready, USB ready and one day, it will even make you drinks!

It is still a misconception that many people with car audio systems like loud, deep thumping bass or fancy blinking lights to impress the passengers. Fortunately, it is not true because there are also groups of audiophiles and music lovers in the car audio scene.

These are guys that go for pure decks, with no fancy dials,no built in amplification and features but a player that deliver the best reproduction possible from the media. Car audio cd players from makers like Mcintosh, Denon, Fujitsu Ten comes into mind. Some of the commercial brandnames like Clarion, Alpine and Pioneer have pure decks that are worth considering at their respective price points.

What is really holding back the performance of car audio to achieve similar pleasures that our 2ch home audio can produce lies in the basic foundation. Acoustic for one. Yes, the car is a more hostile environment for good sound but can it be remedied or cured? If in Japan, they can solve small room problems with tweaks, why can't we solve acoustic problems in the car?

Power supply is another flaw. In car audio, power delivery to your cd player and amplifiers can be a major hindrance to the actual potential. By changing equipment alone without addressing power management is probably one of the most common mistakes of installers in the industry. Beefing, conditioning, regulating, isolating etc. can help make cheaper setups outshine expensive ones.

Cables are important in car audio, although longer runs are really damaging to the pocket. Typical car audio cabling is simply insufficient. Imagine putting Monsters and Stingers in your audio path. My goodness, what is wrong with these guys. Even an entry level Transparent, VdH, XLO, Supra, Ixos is a much better choice and not suprising similarly priced compared to top-of-the-line car audio cables. Keep cables short by installing the amplifier under the front seats. Go to the extent of using good high-end silver cable if you have a spare from your home audio. Trust me, you will never want to take them out. 1.5 meter pair will be sufficient in most cases, if not 2m pair.

Finally, car audio speakers suffer mainly from crossover issues. Does that cheap little box that comes with your component speakers work? Oh yes, they do but they sound pretty crappy. They sound okay to me, some kid will say. Hey, kiddo we want good, excellent, marvelous, out of the world... and okay is not in my vocabulary. Does that high-end cd player or shiny amplifier with built in electronically controlled crossovers able to do a job of a purpose build custom passive network (crossover)? Hell, no! Are we all being taken for a ride by the manufacturers? No, but you've been taken via a short-cut with zero scenery.

So, the next time someone tells you it is a waste to invest in a car audio system, tell him/her to pay a visit to Audio Creations, a niche car audio dealer that did not sway along with the industry towards the no-where-land, but dedicates itself to bringing music to your automobile in the most interesting ways. It is by no means rocket-science.

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