Music is an important aspect of life for many people out there and there is no better time to enjoy a greatest hits album than it is while going on a long-distance journey. Automakers are constantly designing all sorts of convenience and luxury features to make our long-distance journeys more enjoyable, but they still haven’t found a better solution than a pair of high-end speakers.
As such, if you want to equip your car with a banging sound system, you can either opt for one from the factory or go through the aftermarket route. You can retrofit factory speakers in some cases or you can go and opt for third-party systems which can often be a both cheaper and better-sounding solution.
If you go through the factory route you will have to pay large amounts of money because hi-fi surround sounds are usually some of the priciest additional equipment options you can go for. Audi will charge you between $5k-$6k if you want to upgrade to the Band and Olufsen surround sound.
Even Toyota will charge you a few grand if you want to get the JBL Premium Audio so it’s the same across pretty much all cars out there. However, if you buy a car 2nd hand, you need to either retrofit the factory system if possible or go with a 3rd party option.
Finding the right pair of speakers for your car
The easiest way how you can find the perfect set of speakers for your car is to go through online “Find My Speaker” sites which can be found on almost every hi-fi brand site. Here you will have to input your car’s make and model year and segment in order for the system to scout all the potential aftermarket speaker options.
Sites such as Crutchfield, Pioneer, Sonicelectronix, worldwidestereo all offer you these services for free. After you’ve been given all the potential options, now you need to decide which speakers are the best, and to do so it’s best to go through specific brand forums where owners generally discuss these types of affairs.
If you have the ability try to test out a set of speakers in someone else’s car before you make the purchasing decision. It’s worth mentioning that an entry-level stereo system with a decent set of speakers usually costs around $500, but a more high-end application can cost more than two or three times as much.
Either way, this is a welcomed upgrade for those who enjoy listening to music if your OEM stereo system is not all that good.
Best car aftermarket stereo system brands
Systems such as these are designed differently depending on if they can work with your car’s infotainment system or not. If not, these usually come with specific head units which can sometimes both boost your car’s interior appeal or lower it.
Either way, you are here mostly for the sound quality, so be sure to check out these systems. The best two aftermarket sound system manufacturers are Kenwood and Pioneer because both of these are in the business of making aftermarket stereo systems and head units for decades.
Alpine, Boss, and Sony are also at the very top because they are also in the business of aftermarket audio for a long time. Blaupunkt, Clarion, and JVC also seem to be the preferred choice for many owners out there.
Best factory car stereo system brands
If you want the cleanest and most sophisticated solution possible, you will have to either opt for a hi-fi system from the factory or retrofit one if possible. However, there are many different brands that design audio systems for modern-day cars but Bang and Olufsen, Harman and Kardon, Burmester, and Bose seem to be the best ones out there.
Bentley uses a Naim audio system which is considered by many as the best audio system you can get in a car. Rolls Royce uses an in-house system which is also superior to most audio systems out there. Dynaudio, JBL, Meridian, and Audax are also known to offer amazing sound systems.
Retrofitting a set of speakers into a car that did not come with them can sometimes be possible if the audio system installation does not require lots of trim cutting and adaptation. Either way, this might be a lot more costly than an aftermarket system, but if you want to increase your car’s value while looking the part, be sure to consider this option.
Video: How to choose car speakers
What makes modern-day car audio systems so impressive?
Most automakers out there are well aware that designing an in-house hi-fi system is a rather difficult task to do so they tend to partner up with audio brands to deliver them the best sound they can offer. As such, these audio systems are tuned precisely for the car in question which makes them so sophisticated.
Systems such as these are usually extremely powerful and offer lots of adjustments in the EQ department while also looking the part. Mercedes offers a set of Burmester speakers which are integrated with ambient lightning and look amazing while in use. Active noise cancelation has also become prevalent in modern-day car audio systems.
Is it worth it to upgrade to factory car hi-fi systems?
As mentioned previously, upgrading to a hi-fi sound system in a car can cost obscene amounts of money because some brands will charge you upwards of $5k. Even so, plenty of customers tend to opt for such packages because they elevate the driving experience considerably.
The answer to this question is rather subjective depending on how interested you are in enjoying your music and podcasts. Some deem these options as a waste of money while others believe it’s a necessity on which they are not willing to compensate.
Do factory hi-fi car systems increase the car’s resale value?
Yes, they do because they cost so much money in the beginning. This means that while you are sometimes paying upwards of $5k to get the system, these costs can partially be recuperated when it comes time to sell the vehicle.
High-end audio systems also look a lot better and often hold specific features which are not available with basic factory surround systems. As such, if you love music and you have the ability, it’s better to opt for a high-end hi-fi because it will elevate your listening experience while also being beneficial when it comes time to sell the car.