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The ABCs of Car Audio

Our Car Stereo Experts Know a Thing or Two About Car Audio in New Orleans

A valued customer told us, “When I get a car audio installation near me, I choose Mobile One Auto Sound because they are the most knowledgeable about car audio near me.” We want everyone in New Orleans to get the best from their car audio, and to do that it’s essential to know specific terms often used in car stereo installation.

Below are the most important terms you’ll hear when shopping for professional car audio in New Orleans.

Amplifier - An electronic device that boosts a weak power signal into a stronger one. Amplifiers are required in car audio systems to increase the weak power sent from the head unit to power capable of powering a set of speakers.

Amp wiring kit - Everything you need to hook up an amp to a car stereo system.

Crossover - A device that takes one audio input and splits it into multiple frequency bands so you can route them to different speakers.

Decibel - The ratio of change in sound level. Decibels use a logarithmic scale, so a 5dB system is twice as loud as a 4dB system and uses two times the power.

DIN - The space into which a typical head unit in a car fits. DIN is a 2-inch x 8-inch space. Double DIN is a 4-inch by 8-inch area.

Dual voice coil - A speaker with two voice coils so you can output two inputs through a single speaker. Dual voice coils are mostly used to allow a subwoofer to output both channels of a stereo signal.

Distortion - Any sound output that’s been deformed from its original input. We typically want music to come through clean and accurate, so distortion is a negative effect we want to reduce.

Equalizer - Also known as EQ, an equalizer isolates specific frequency ranges and allows you to boost or reduce them. Equalizers will enable you to add or remove more bass or treble, for example.

Enclosure - The case by which a speaker is surrounded. Sealed enclosures use trapped air in an entirely sealed-off box for rich sounds at low frequencies. Ported and vented enclosures don’t completely enclose the air, resulting in less accurate results than sealed enclosures.

Frequency - See Hertz.

Frequency response - The range of frequencies an audio component can output. Wider frequency response is typically better for most applications.

Headroom - The amount by which your audio system can exceed a certain level. Having this extra capacity in your speakers can protect them from damage or sound distortion should there be an unexpected peak in power.

Head unit - The central control unit of your car audio system, otherwise known as the car radio, car stereo. Modern head units don’t just offer audio control; they include everything from navigation systems to parking tools.

Hertz (Hz) - A measurement of frequency in cycles per second. In practical terms, Hz refers to the pitch of a sound. Most humans can hear pitches between 50Hz and 20kHz.

Isobaric speakers - A technique for mounting two subwoofers in close proximity without causing issues with their air chambers. Isobaric speakers can be used to increase bass frequency response without increasing the size of the cabinet.

Impedance - How much resistance to the audio a speaker’s vocal coil has. The lower the impedance, the more efficient the speaker is.

Midbass speaker - A speaker designed for high-frequency bass, as opposed to subwoofers that focus on low-frequency bass. This is a range of around 80Hz -350Hz.

Midrange speaker - A speaker that’s designed to focus on the midrange frequencies we hear. This is a range around 350Hz-5kHz.

Pre-amp - A unit that takes a small electrical signal and boosts it to be used in a power (standard) amplifier. The pre-amp supplies voltage, not current. The power amplifier supplies the current.

Sensitivity - Measured in decibels, sensitivity denotes the intensity of sound a speaker produces at a range of 1M when powered by just 1W of power.

Sound processor - Connects to your car stereo/head unit to remove unwanted sounds and shape the sound as you see fit.

Subwoofer - A speaker designed to output the lowest bass we can hear and feel, typically under 125Hz. Useful for pairing with mid-range and high-range speakers that can’t reproduce these low frequencies.

Tweeter - A treble speaker that’s designed to output high-frequency sounds from 2kHz to 20 kHz, which is the highest frequency humans can hear.

Watt (W) - A basic unit for measuring electrical power. The wattage of a loudspeaker denotes how much power it can withstand.

Woofer - A speaker designed to output low-frequency sounds between 10Hz and 1000Hz. Most car woofers are 4-8 inches across.

Car audio installation in New Orleans

Once you’ve committed these components to memory (just kidding), stop by and see us at Mobile One Auto Sound. Our product experts can help you navigate these ABCs and beyond, and help you find products that are compatible with your vehicle. Stop by and see us at our Metairie, Gretna, or Covington locations, or visit us online to see just a sampling of the car audio products and accessories we carry.

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