The Ultimate Guide on How to Build the Best Car Stereo Systemout

How to Build the Best Car Stereo System

Table of Contents

When you get a vehicle, there are a select few things that every driver must-have. Of course, some prefer having the performing vehicle out there – the best suspension system, a clean sounding engine, or maybe a real loud muffler.

Some prefer having the external clean look – a nice paint job, a lowered car, and some swaggy-looking rims!

While others prefer having the best-sounding car on the block! Maybe you’re a Bass head, and maybe you are looking to have that booming loud beats? If that’s the case, you need a real nice stereo system. But how do you even begin?

When it comes to souping up your car, one of the most challenging things you will have is creating the best-sounding car stereo system. Luckily for you, we have done some extensive research, so you don’t have to. In this guide, we discuss everything you will need to build the best car stereo system. This is the ultimate guide in building the best car stereo system to maximize the sound performance of your vehicle.

Understand What You Need

The first thing you should be looking into before you begin is understanding what you want first truly. And to be honest, this is probably the toughest part of the process. Especially if you are new at this. The last thing you want is to start buying equipment without really understanding what goes into creating a nice-sounding system. So begin with a goal in mind. It’s important – it’ll save you a ton of money in the long run!

So ask yourselves this:

  • Do you want you system so loud that you feel like your at a live EDM concert? Something that can deliver some of that glass shattering beats?
  • Do you want your speakers to have that nice crisp sound? Maybe you want the clearest natural sound?
  • Or perhaps you want some power coming from your speakers? Do you want to have that loud crackling sound coming from your stereo?
  • Or maybe, you want a combination of these things?

We all have our personal preferences on what makes a good sound system. So whatever your reasons are in looking to soup up your car stereo system, we are here to help.

To build a great sound system that meets your needs, start by asking yourself: what is the most important thing that your new car stereo wants to do for you? If you don’t come up with an answer right away, don’t worry; just start by taking a look at your current setup.

How Does Your Current System Measure Up?

The next thing you can do to understand what to do next is to rate your car’s current stereo system. How does it measure up? Does it produce a flat, boring sound? Is it monotonous, muffled, or flat sounding?

Maybe that’s a lack of dynamism and a low variable output sound at each frequency level. If so, that might be due to low quality or deteriorated sound equipment. It might also be due to an absence of an external amplifier. If something sounds off, troubleshoot your current sound system and see what it might be:

  • Listen to each speaker individually.
  • Are all the speakers working, or do you hear a slight rattle or distortion?
  • How’s the overall performance of your speakers on the road? Is it very distinguishable or can you barely hear it?
  • Do all your sound system’s functions seem to work okay?
  • Do you feel like you’re missing something?
  • What would you like your system to do that it won’t do now?

What are the Main Components in a Car Stereo System

One of the more challenging things when it comes to upgrading your car stereo system is to understand what goes into it. First and foremost, what are the most important components that go into a car stereo system anyway? Then, what does each component do, and is it necessary to change them out?

Here are the major components to consider when you build the best car stereo system:

  1. Head Units and Receivers – think of the Head Unit as the Brains of the operations. They are the ones in control of generating that quality sound waves to each of your components.
  2. Amplifiers – this is what gets you that power! If you are looking to have more oompf to your sound system, you need a good quality amplifier to give you that extra boost.
  3. Car Stereo Speakers – these are the legs and arms of the entire operation. This is your main component for the entire system. It’s the main output. Everything else is set in place to improve the quality of the stereo speakers themselves.
  4. Tweeters – these are what creates that crisp and detailed sound in your system. They can produce that upper range treble that other components cannot produce.
  5. Subwoofers – this is what gives you that loud booming bass. If you want that concert type feel with some sick sounding vibrations, subs do just the trick!

Tips on How to Build the Best Car Stereo Speakers

Tip #1: Replace your car’s speakers


Speakers are the last thing that car manufacturers think about when designing and building a car. Factory speakers are usually made of lightweight paper or other cheap-to-produce materials that tend to wear down and fall apart quickly.

That’s the reason why they look cheap and sound pretty horrible! Even the so-called “premium” sound systems lack performance and power to deliver top-notch sound.

A good new set of aftermarket speakers will truly improve the overall sound quality of your car audio system. Best of all, they’re easy to install and usually pretty affordable!

Tip #2: Add an amplifier


Most head units have built-in amplifiers, but these amps are neither powerful nor adjustable as external amps. Additionally, a subwoofer requires more power to operate than what a regular head unit can put out. You could also consider a separate amp to drive your subwoofer(s) and use the amps built into your head unit to power your speakers. However, using separate amps requires crossovers between the amps and speakers to distribute the amp’s signal to the correct speakers.

Using a separate amplifier will provide more clean power than any car stereo, and that’ll make a day-and-night difference in terms of sound quality.

Check out: Best Car Amplifiers

Tip #3: Add a sub and hear what you’ve been missing

MTX Terminator Series TNE212D review

We’ve installed a lot of car audio systems, and one of the best things that we love to see is when somebody hears a sub in their car for the first time and yells, “WOW, that’s Amazing.” A well-chosen subwoofer will immerse you in a pleasurable listening experience. On the other hand, a subwoofer will take a load off your speakers, too, since you’ll be playing your tunes with the bass control set at “0” instead of “+5”.

Subwoofers come in various sizes, types, and shapes. The most common sizes for a mobile subwoofer are 8 inches, 10 inches, or 12 inches. In addition, some of the best subwoofer manufacturers offer amplified subwoofers with enclosures, which are the easy off-the-shelf solution for people who don’t want to bother themselves with designing and installing an enclosure.

Some brands went the extra step and created shallow mount subwoofers intended to be used in vehicles with limited space, such as pick-ups, sports cars, and compact vehicles. These thin subs are usually mounted either behind the seats or in the rear speaker’s deck.

Tip #4: Car Stereo Head Units and Receivers


Keeping your in-dash head unit (or receiver) isn’t a wise decision (No head unit typically has more than about 60 watts of total output power). Simply because most factory head units don’t have pre-amp outputs (RCA), meaning you cannot use external amps. Luckily, there is a workaround if you want to cut down the costs. It uses speaker level to line level converters, but these tend to sacrifice some sound quality.

If you’re willing to replace your in the dash-head unit, then the design and the size are some of the important keys to take into consideration. There are standard and oversized head units available. The standard size is also called single DIN, and the oversized units are commonly known as 1.5 DIN or double DIN. Double DIN units are your best bet if you have space because they usually feature LCD monitors for video playback and GPS navigation.

Tip #5: Build a better sub box. Or simply buy one

sub enclosure

Installing a subwoofer inside the wrong enclosure can negatively affect its performance. Additionally, you can destroy a sub that’s designed for ported box use by driving it hard in a sealed enclosure. We’re not going to get into the debate about which is better, they both clearly work, and it really boils down to personal preference. It’s also essential to build your sub’s box with the correct dimensions. A mismatch can result in short-term wear out or a sub fatality.

All these issues can be avoided by buying a ready-made enclosure that’ll work with your subwoofer.


Building a sound system from scratch is not going to be an easy job. There are many factors to be taken into consideration. The topic is a bit complex, but we’ve done our best to explain some of the concepts here. By now, you’re a lot closer to build the best car stereo system for your vehicle. You’ve figured out what should be upgraded and pinpointed the way forward to a better listening experience.

How to Build the Best Car Stereo System

Table of Contents

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top