Consumer Automotive Research Logo
Disclosure
This website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. We are reader-supported. If you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. This doesn't affect which products are included in our content. It helps us pay to keep this site free to use while providing you with expertly-researched unbiased recommendations.
The Best

Car Stereos

Handpicked
Quality-Checked
Sale
Sony MEX-N4300BT Built-in Dual Bluetooth Voice Command CD/MP3 AM/FM Radio Front USB AUX Pandora...
  • Bluetooth audio streaming w/Simple Secure Pairing
  • Convenient One-Touch listening with NFC technology
  • App Remote with voice control for select smartphones

Read More About Car Stereos

Car stereos have evolved greatly over the years and are now available in many different varieties, types and features. In the past stereo systems were used mostly for personal and family automobiles. Vehicle stereo equipment is equipment installed inside a vehicle or other personal vehicle to give in-car music and other information to the vehicle passengers. Before the 1950's it usually consisted of only a simple AM radio with a small VCR built into it.

Stereo controls are divided into several groups. The first of these is the head unit or the control unit. This controls all the functions of the speaker and receiver units of the car stereo. In most cases, the head unit has a touch-screen to allow easy operation. The screen is normally controlled by a button on the side of the head unit or by a dial on the top or front of the unit.

Speakers are also placed inside of the head units. There are many types of car stereos with separate speakers and receivers. These could be single-speaker units, however, there are some that have two or more speakers mounted in the back, sides or front. In addition to the head units, there are also input devices such as tape players, CD players and even MP3 players.

Some car stereos also have their own proprietary controls called the carplay. This type of controls is similar to the head units and also has its own touch-screen, volume knob and other controls. Carplay controls can work in conjunction with the carplay unit. Most car stereos today come with a wireless connection or have at least a basic wireless connection.

Most in-dash touchscreen navigation units will have an LCD screen, although newer technology is starting to use an SD card reader. The LCD screen will usually have two to three buttons. You will find that most car stereos have eight to ten input buttons and that some will have as many as twenty-four buttons.

Some of the newer car stereos have the ability to play MP3 files, although not all vehicles do. The buttons will change when you move your fingers from one screen to another. However, the advantage of the Apple carplay system over the in-dash touchscreen navigation system is that it does not require that you touch the screen in order to make a selection.

Today, many cars have what is called a hands-free kit installed. In a hands-free kit, you have the ability to use the stereo without having to keep your hands on the steering wheel. The advantages of this system are that you will not need to take your hands off the steering wheel in order to make a selection or to change the track selection. This hands free option is only present in newer cars and, if it is not installed, you will need to purchase a set of double din or even triple din steering wheels that will allow you to use the stereo with your hands free.

Another source of car stereo versatility is the use of auxiliary inputs. This refers to electronic devices that are used to increase the volume or quality of your audio output such as equalizers, speakers and headphones. Most auxiliary inputs come with their own connectors and wiring and can be easily attached to your vehicle's electrical system. Most vehicle auxiliary controls will plug into a USB port or into an adapter that can be plugged into any cigarette lighter socket in order to power them.

Many automobile aftermarket audio manufacturers offer wiring kits for the additional components of an audio system. These kits can either be purchased separately or as part of a comprehensive head unit or receiver package. Most head unit manufacturers also offer preamp outputs that allow you to add additional speakers to an already assembled sound system at a later time without purchasing an entirely new amplifier and preamp unit.

There are also two types of vacuum tubes that play major roles in the operation of today's car radio systems. The first type of vacuum tube is called the Class A tube. They are usually preferred over Class B tubes because they produce less distortion and produce a more precise sound. The second type of vacuum tube is the Class AB tube which is basically a cross between the first and second tubes.

Another thing that you will want to keep in mind as you shop for new car stereos and receivers is that there are many different types and brands of satellite radio receivers on the market. You will need to take your time when you are making your shopping decision and keep in mind what features and how many channels you will need. Satellite radio receivers come in a wide variety of styles, but all operate with the same basic principle of picking up the broadcast signals from satellites in space and playing them back to you. This technology has revolutionized communications in the home and in the workplace. With more people tuning into satellite radio every day, the demand for quality car stereo systems is on the rise.