As Megan Trainor so famously put it, it’s all about the bass. We’ll be honest with you, we’re not quite sure what she’s referring to. But when it comes to the quality of audio in your car, well in this instance we very much talking all about the bass!
It is in fact the entire premise of this article, where we will be looking a huge variety of ways to make the Bass in your car sound as good as possible. So strap in, turn up the bass and get ready to squeeze the best audio you can from your in car system.
First Things First – The Big Question About Amps and Subwoofers
One question we get asked time and time again is can my bass sound great without an amp, a subwoofer or both? We hate being asked this question because the answer is that technically speaking no you won’t get incredible bass if your car is not carrying a high end amp and sub woofer.
We hate being asked that question – and so having to give that answer – because it will put a lot of people off right at the start of their journey to incredible bass and sound. Installing an amp and subwoofer takes money, it takes time and it takes up space in the car itself. Those are three things that not everyone may want to invest in their cars sound system, which in turn stops them doing anything to make the bass, and the sound system in general, sound better than it does already.
And that sucks, because it’s actually only a partial answer.
Lets break it down a bit. Yes, if you do want the bass in your car to sound as good as possible then you need a good amp and sub woofer. Regular car speakers are simply not big or powerful enough to drive the highest levels of bass by themselves. We’re sorry to have to break that to you, but it’s true.
What we suggest instead is that you:
Ask the Question Differently
And here we are busting out the clever world play. Instead of asking can my bass sound great without an amp, a subwoofer or both, we suggest that most people would be better off asking can my bass sound better without an amp, a subwoofer or both?
Notice the difference there? It’s an important one, because the answer to this, slightly different question is a big yes. You can make the bass in your car, and by extension the whole sound system, sound much better even without an amp or a subwoofer.
We like that question and answer a whole lot better than the first one. We like it because it means that anyone can have great sounding bass and audio in their car – anyone at all – with just a little investment of time and cash.
Hints and Tips
In the next section, we’re going to throw out some hints, tips, tricks and suggestions to help you on the road to getting the best possible sounding bass.
- Adjust The Levels
This may seem like such basic advice, but we know for a fact that it has worked for so many people that we don’t hesitate to put it right at the top of our hints and tips list!
The fact is a lot of people who don’t think they are getting the best bass they can out of the their vehicle sound system will simply assume that the components of the sound system – speakers, the radio unit itself, etc – are not up to the job.
There is a very good chance, as we’ll discuss below, that this could be right. But before you run out to invest in new speakers, it could be worth taking a little time to check out the current tone settings of your sound system.
Whether these are physical sliders mounted on the radio or those that can be found via an internal menu, it is well worth your time to check them out. If the Treble is too high or the Bass it too low, it can really have a negative impact on the sound quality.
One little extra tip we’ll give you for free. Try adjusting the fade so that it favors the rear speakers over the front ones. Rear speakers are almost always bigger and more powerful than front ones, with larger cones and bigger outputs. Getting them to shoulder a little more of the work can be a quick and easy way to improve the in car bass and audio quality.
- High Grade Amps and Sub Woofer
Wait, wait hold up – we know what we just said about not needing amps and subwoofers don’t click away in rage! At the very least, please let us explain.
Ok, still here? Firstly, thank you.
Secondly, all we are saying is that if you want the bass in your car to sound incredible, then you are going to have to invest in a good set of high quality amps and a sub woofer. Like we mentioned above, these devices have the power to essentially drive the sound system and kick out awesome bass without distortion.
Remember too though that we said if you want incredible bass. If you simply want better bass (and overall) sound than you currently experience in your car then read on for a whole range of other tips, tricks and ideas to help make your bass sound great without the big investment of a high grade amp and sub woofer installation.
Happy you stuck around? You will be!
- New Speakers
One thing you have got to understand early on in your journey for better bass is the fact that the speakers in your car are almost certainly crap. Sorry to be the bearers of this bad news, but this is a sad but true fact that if you are still using the speakers that your car came with when it rolled out the factory they are probably not the highest quality.
Look at it from the car manufacturers point of view and you can kind of understand why this would be. Many people don’t really care about the quality of speakers in their car, beyond making sure that the music they play, the calls they take or the talk radio that spikes their blood pressure sounds OK.
So that is what car manufacturers do, they install speakers that sound OK, and nothing more. That keeps the overall price of the car down, a far more important consideration for the majority of people.
Therefore if you are looking to get the best sounding bass in your car, upgrading your sound system with a good set of after market speakers can be a great first step. These days, top quality speakers can be had for smaller sums of money than at any time in the past too, making this, dollar for dollar, one of the most effective ways to get great sounding bass in your car.
- Better Quality Music
Don’t worry, this is not a dig at your musical tastes! If you want to cruise around with Nickleback blaring or Whitney Houston crooning away in the background we won’t say a word. Heck, feel free to take a peek at our IPod playlists and you can see that as far as musical tastes go, this is a glasshouse we should not be throwing stones in!
Instead, what we mean here is in terms of the quality of the music file itself. If you listen to music that has been downloaded as a music file – such as via an IPod or other MP3 file music player hooked up to the car radio, then those files may have been compressed.
In fact, unless you’ve taken the time to play around with the default settings of your music player that almost certainly have been. Compression is used to cut down on the space the song takes up in the music player memory. That means that more music files can be fit onto the device (hooray!). But they are also lower quality overall (boo!), which means that some higher and lower frequency elements of the music is lost. This can really affect the bass level playback of the song, making it sound poor during playback.
If you listen via a MP3 player then, we really suggest you check out the compression level in the device settings.
- Mobile Studio
If you think about it, a car is actually quite a tough place for your speakers to be able to give the best bass performance. The car itself is quite loud for example, with the engine roaring away at the front and 4 tires grinding away at the road surface. Weather conditions like wind and rain can add their own sound effects too, and even hot weather can see the windows rolled down.
Then there is the fact that the car vibrates, both from the motion of the engine as it cycles and from contact with the road surface as the car drives along the street. Speakers of course also work via vibration, vibrating the air to generate noise. This means they are fighting against the vibration of the car when trying to generate deep bass notes.
That is a tough fight, which is why we would suggest transforming the vehicle into a mobile studio. If you’ve ever seen a music studio, whether in real life or on TV, you know the walls are covered in sound deadening materials. We’re not saying you should do this to your car, mainly because it will look pretty dumb.
What you can do is add some sound and vibration deadening material around the speakers. There are loads of kits available these days, but all they really consist of is sheets of sound deadening foam. Use one of these kits when installing new speakers and for just a few bucks you can really improve the audio quality.
- Better Converters
This tip goes along with the one a few above about making sure your music files are not compressed. That is because this is another tip to ensure that the music being played is as high quality as you can get it. Again, do this and the speakers and radio have better quality music to work with, which will really help to make it sound better.
Inside any MP3 style music player – be that your Smartphone, IPod, whatever – there is something called a DAC. This stands for Digital to Analogue Converter and, basically, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Even though it doesn’t come in a tin. But you know what we mean.
Its job is to convert the 1s and 0s that make up a digital file into an analogue signal that can be played, as music, through the vehicle sound system. The trouble is that the DAC built into things like phones and personal music players is all well and good when it comes to converting the file into an analogue signal to play music through headphones.
It can struggle though when converting into an analogue form that is strong enough to be played through speakers. That can lead to a lessening of audio quality at the upper and lower scales of frequencies, including, shock horror, the bass.
If, like most people, you like to play music off your phone or Ipod or other device in the car, set up your car radio to bypass the DAC found in the portable device. Most car radios, especially modern ones, have a built in DAC themselves that is much better suited to converting the digital file to a high quality audio stream suitable for the demands of car speakers.
There you go, lots of tips and tricks and suggestions to make the bass in your car sound as good as possible. As we said, investing in a sub woofer and amps is clearly the best way to ensure that you are getting the very best bass you can.
But any of the other suggestions, whether used alone or in conjunction with each other, can really help to improve the bass in your car and help to deliver high quality audio.
Whichever you go for, we wish you happy driving with a banging, high quality bass soundtrack backing you!
- How to Upgrade Your Car’s Sound System – wikiHow
- How do I get the best sound out of my car’s audio system? – howstuffworks