The Beginner’s Guide to Car Audio Systems

Car audio systems can be enigmas to the newcomer. You know good sound when you hear it, but you don’t know how to create it in your vehicle. That’s OK; we can help.

Learning about car audio starts with an understanding of what each component contributes to the overall audio experience. But it’s also a great idea to be able to identify the pitfalls that you notice in your car audio, then learn the right fix for each situation.

Beginner’s Guide to Car Audio Systems

Know the Main Parts

There are three main components to car audio systems: the head unit, the amplifier and the speakers.

Head Unit

Sometimes called the “radio,” or the “stereo,” this is the brains of the operation. In older cars, this is what accepts the CD or cassette. In modern vehicles, the head unit is often built into the vehicle’s entire “infotainment” system, which is the central LCD screen that also controls climate and provides navigation.


The amplifier takes signals from the head unit and increases them with a boost of power. In some smaller cars, the amp is built into the head unit.


This is usually the first place the newcomer turns when their sound quality is low, assuming it’s the speakers that need an upgrade. In reality, the speakers are only transmitting what the head unit and the amplifier send.

What Does Your System Lack?

While there are many other components that can affect the overall audio quality, those are the top three pieces of every car audio system. Now, consider where your vehicle’s sound isn’t up to par. What complaints do you have?

Your Speakers Buzz

Factory-installed speakers aren’t the best quality, but you can easily upgrade to an aftermarket set that provides a wider, fuller range of sound. If you really want an upgrade in the speaker department, install a separate woofer and tweeter and use component speakers for midrange sound.

There Is Not Enough Power

If the sound simply feels like it needs more “oomph,” your amplifier is likely the culprit. Since it delivers more power to your new speakers, you’ll get more clarity without the distortion.

There Isn’t Enough Detail 

If you’re a music nerd, you know that layers of audio are essential to the full experience. An upgraded head unit could help enhance jazz or classical listening, taking your ears to another level.

Newbies: Come to Laketown

At Laketown Speed and Sound, our professional technicians have years of experience building car audio systems specifically for audiophiles. If you fully embrace this label and want to take your on-the-go listening experience to the next level, bring your car to our shop today!