Car Audio System
Auto Parts,  Cars

Complete List Of The Major Components Of Car Audio System

There is no need to dispute the fact that any ride is incomplete without music. To have that amazing experience, all you need is a rocking audio system. Are you sick of your factory stereo system? Are you looking for a mesmerizing system for your car?

A car stereo needs a head unit (also called a single or double din stereo receiver), an amplifier (sometimes included in the head unit), and speakers. These major components make up your car’s audio system and are linked together with audio and power wires. 

Do you need a new audio system or want to make changes to the old one? If you are looking forward to making changes to the old one, then you have to figure out which components of the car audio system need to be altered. Now what you have to do is to follow these steps.

  • Listen to your car stereo system while it is parked.
  • Drive for a while and listen to some great songs.
  • Observe how the sound of your audio system works while it is parked somewhere after driving.
  • Make a list of all the components and rate how they work according to listening enjoyment.

After following all the steps mentioned above, you will end up with a list of a few components you might want to change. On the other hand, if you are planning to buy a new audio system, then you have to list out all your requirements. What do you expect from your new audio system?

car's audio system
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  • Should it be able to make calls and access music using a wireless Bluetooth connection?
  • Should it be able to tune into various radio broadcasts?
  • Should it be able to control different portable devices?
  • Should it be easy with DVDs, CDs or MP3 files?
  • Should it be able to play loud without any distortion?

What Do You Know About Your Car Audio System?

If you are not willing to tolerate the noise of traffic, the sound of engines,s and the wind, then only one thing can save you. Music is something that cannot be put into words so easily and can remain silent for a while even. All you need is the awesome sound from your audio system.

This melodious sound is nothing but electric waves, which are converted by your car’s audio system. There are mainly three components of a car audio system, which are widely known as the head unit, amplifier, and speakers. To get to know more about it, go through the information mentioned below meticulously.

The receiver, also known as the ‘head unit’, is the first one. It controls the complete car’s audio system and receives the car’s audio signal. The amplifier comes second on the line. It enhances the car’s audio signal strength. The second one is responsible for driving the third component, which is the speakers. Speakers are responsible for reproducing the sound.

1. Head Unit / Stereo Receiver 

Head Unit

  • If you look into the audio system at your home, then you may find many components such as a CD player, radio tuner, or different cables. However, this cannot be the case in a car audio system because it should be very compact due to lack of space.
  • To satisfy this limitation, the head unit is the main part of any car’s audio system because it aims to perform various operations. The main functionality it offers is to control the sound level and access the different audio sources.
  • In earlier times, AM radio was the only available option. However, as technology evolved, FM radio and now HD radio came in handy. Moreover, MP3, CD, and DVD players are also popular among users. The Head unit gives easy access to all these sources.
  • You can also control the various media players such as iPod and also go through the contents of your flash drive using the head unit. Wireless access using Bluetooth is the easiest way to navigate through the content in your music files.
  • The Head unit also controls the treble and bass controls. The user can adjust the sound of the music by adjusting these tone controls. There are some audio systems that adjust the volume automatically.

2. Amplifier

Car Amplifier
  • You might not know that sound produced at an earlier stage does not have enough power. There is a component known as the amplifier, which is used to boost the power of the audio signals.
  • The amplifier is mainly divided into two stages. The first one is known as the pre-amplifier, and the second one is known as the power amplifier. Pre-amplifiers input is the audio signal from the audio sources. It boosts the signal at a certain level, which is adequate to send to the power amplifier.
  • A power amplifier takes the input from the pre-amplifier and then boosts it at a certain level, which can create adequate sound. Some of the audio systems have inbuilt power amplifiers, which are installed in the head. If you want even better sound quality, then you will need power amplifiers. They need separate space away from the head unit due to heating issues.

3. Speakers

Car Subwoofer

  • This is a commonly known and significant component of an audio system. It takes the output of the power amplifier and converts this power into mechanical energy, which later on creates sound.
  • This sound is a result of air vibrations, which reach the human ears. The paper cone vibrates to make the sound in the speaker. Normally, the frequency of these waves lies between 20 to 20,000 Hz. This range is audible to human ears.
  • In earlier times, speakers were designed in such a way that included a whole frequency range. The problem that occurred was when the bass was needed. It was poor when the frequency was high. That is why speakers, which are designed to produce specific frequencies in a narrow range, sound better.
  • You can use woofers to get a better low-frequency bass sound. There are also tweeters, which are used to better represent higher frequencies.
  • In a nutshell, you can use different speakers and amplifiers. By mixing all of these speakers according to your need, you can get the exact sound from the audio system you seek.

Before you change any component of a car audio system, ask the questions presented below to yourself. You will be able to easily figure out what you need to change in it to enjoy the music.

  • Are your speakers working well, or do you find them broken or old? If you feel a need for new speakers, then go ahead. First of all, consider your requirements and then buy.
  • Do you find the music of your audio system low and distorted? If this is the case, then you need to get new amplifiers, which can boost the signal, and you can have powerful signals.
  • Does your car make so much noise? While driving, the noise of the car engines, road, and surroundings may be disruptive. All you need is sound-deadening material. This will absorb unwanted sound and vibrations and allow you to enjoy your music.
  • Can’t you feel the beat of the music nicely? Install new subwoofers in your car audio systems to enjoy the lower bass sounds of the beat in your songs.
  • What do you use as your music source? If you want to use your phone or flash drives as the source of the music, then make sure your head unit has this functionality.
  • Do you travel a lot and even with your family? If you like to travel a lot alone or with your family, then you can consider a change. You can install a video receiver instead of just audio.


So when thinking about the components of your car audio system, remember that the head unit, amplifier, and speakers all must match correctly in order for your music to sound good. Observe how your current system sound before making any changes. 

Don’t forget that a costly audio system doesn’t make it better, although getting the correct components for your head unit will make a big difference. So, go ahead and make changes if your current boring factory stereo system isn’t working out. There’s no fun driving your car without some good-sounding music!

Updated (3/2020)