Most people will listen to more music in their cars than in any other place. But for the audiophiles among us, having the right music tech is a crucial aspect of the car buying process.
All cars come with audio systems as standard but they won’t necessarily produce the best quality of sound. So here are some tips for getting the best sound from your car along with our choice of cars that come fitted with the best sound systems and technologies:
Firstly, the quality of sound emitted from the audio system of a car is largely subjective. It depends on your personal music tastes, how you hear different sounds and the environment of the car itself.
So if you’re extremely particular about the sound from your audio system, play a song you’re very familiar with that contains a wide range of different instruments and sounds.
You want to hear the song as the artist and producer intended, so you need to listen carefully for the low, medium and high-frequency sounds. If your speakers aren’t producing some sounds clearly, then you need to consider altering your equaliser settings.
If your choice of music often contains sounds that are outside the frequency range of your speakers, then you’ll struggle to hear them. So, for example, if you’re into Drum & Bass and your existing speakers can’t cope with extremely low frequency sounds, then you’re not going to get the most out of the music. You could also consider supplementing your existing speakers with a subwoofer which will handle very low frequency sounds.
For example, if your amplifier has a power output of 1,000 watts but your speakers have a max power output of 500 watts, then your speakers won’t be able to handle the levels of sound being transmitted from the amp to the speaker. This can easily result in a blown speaker.
Ensure your speakers can handle the max power of your audio system for the clearest sound at any volume.
Most audio systems will come with equaliser pre-sets designed for enhancing the sound for different types of music or listening experiences. However you can adjust the equaliser settings yourself to get the best sound in your car.
A lot of people will rush to increase the bass levels to get that thumping sound and feel. But bear in mind that this will overpower the higher frequency sound producing instruments or vocals and you won’t be hearing the track as the producer intended.
However, sometimes it pays to actually decrease frequencies such as the bass or treble levels - rather than increase them - in order to get a more balanced and crisp playback.
Now that you know what’s required for a better music experience in your car, here are the top cars you can buy already fitted with some of the best sound systems around:
For years now Audi has used Bang & Olufsen speaker systems in their top of the range models, such as the Audi Q7, a car that has luxury written all over it. But they also more commonly use Bose, a speaker system that delivers enviable quality and a crisp sound that fills the cabin.
Bose offers the full experience of surround sound and is not exclusive to just Audi. You'll find it in Porsche, Chevrolet, Fiat and many more.
Bang & Olufsen are regular partners with BMW but the high-end Surround Sound system for the BMW 7 Series is our favourite.
The 16 active loudspeakers driven by 1,200 watts consist of 7 tweeter speakers – each paired with a mid-range speaker for a clear and balanced sound – and 2 subwoofers attached through the body of the car to cancel out unnecessary vibrations for a crystal clear bass output.
What’s arguably more impressive is the Dynamic Sound Optimisation function, which Bang & Olufsen have expertly engineered to optimise the sound in response to changing conditions inside and outside the car, for constantly clear audio. Additionally, Studio and Expanded modes can be applied to create very distinct audio experiences like sitting in a recording studio or replicating the feeling of a huge concert hall.
But what really makes Meridian’s Surround Sound system appealing is its exclusive Trifield technology which combines the sound from the left, right, centre and surround speakers so you won’t miss a single note – no matter how low or high.
Owners of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class are treated to a sound system engineered by one of Germany’s finest music system designers, Dieter Burmester. His innovation is apparent in this state-of-the-art 3D Surround Sound system which combines analogue and digital amplifier technologies to provide outstanding atmosphere and tonal clarity.
The car’s three-dimensional sound is created by 2 Burmester loudspeakers built into the roof, with another in the overhead control panel. The speakers are then complemented by a 3D sound algorithm - unique to the S-Class – which adds a subtle spatial quality to the sound environment.
Music lovers will love the personalisation functionality of this system. The VIP setting lets you optimise the sound quality for each of the four individual seats.