Driven By Music

A cool new car deserves a cool new entertainment system in place. Right? So, here’s what you should buy.

Arup Das        Print Edition: July 13, 2008

A cool new car deserves a cool new entertainment system in place. Right? So, here’s what you should buy.

It’s a common site to see a car slowly roll in and park next you, its neon lights flashing underneath and music thumping out so loud, it would probably shame new generation auditoriums. We don’t care much about the rest. But the stereo matters, especially if you want your car to have that edgy feel about it. Car stereos are not just great stress busters when you’re caught in maddening traffic, but they also double up as mini discotheques on the move. But, how do you go about choosing the best? Here is the low down: a car audio system consists of four basic components: the head unit, amplifier, speakers and auxiliary input devices.

Speakers

One must know the amount of power a speaker can handle. This is important when dealing with woofers, since it requires more power to play loudly. Make sure that the power measures in Roller Music System (RMS) watts. What sort of music you listen to also makes a difference. If you like to listen to bass-heavy music, you should get powerful amplifiers and ample subwoofers. If your music taste runs to pop, though, you would want a speaker system that can reproduce the entire audio spectrum evenly.

Our Tip: Sony XS-HT170SN and Alpine SPX-17PRO PRICE: Rs 5,999 and Rs 27,850

Amplifiers

Amplifiers
All car audio systems have amplifiers, even if they are small ones. They not only make a system sound louder, they also make it sound better. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessarily the number of speakers you have installed, but the amplifier that largely dictates how powerful your music system will sound. Occasionally, the amplifier will be attached to the rear of the head unit. However, in most systems, it is hidden elsewhere in the car to better dissipate the heat.

Our Tip: Sony Xplod™ Amplifier-XM-1S and JBL GTO1004 PRICE: Rs 8,999 and Rs 11,000

Auxiliary Input

Auxiliary Input
Components such as CD changers and equalisers, mobile phones, navigation systems, iPod, MP3 players and many other gadgets interface with the head unit for amplification and signal processing.

iPod
Our Tip:
JVC KW-AVX706 PRICE: Rs 8,600

The Head Unit

Sony MEX-BT2500
This is the central processing device in the system and controls all the functions in the car audio system. The important thing is to check out the head unit’s features that could include display panel with floodlighting, the design (does it provide electronic shock protection?) and how userfriendly the controls are. The head unit can double as the control centre for an LCD display in the back seat.

Our Tip: Delphi X300 BT and Sony MEX-BT2500 (both come with inbuilt Bluetooth) PRICE: Rs 10,990 and Rs 8,999

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