Car Audio BasicsLearn how to get awesome sound in your vehicle. This page answers some of the most commonly asked questions.
What is the difference between two-, three- and four-way speakers?
Two-way (or coaxial) speakers contain a large main speaker called a woofer for low- and mid-range frequencies, and a tweeter mounted within the woofer to deliver high frequencies. Two-way speakers reproduce your music frequency range accurately, whereas factory speakers may sound a bit muddy and muffled.
Three-way (or triaxial) speakers typically include the separate woofer and tweeter like two-way speakers, plus a mid-range driver for added warmth and texture. They offer that extra crispness and detail that factory speakers may lack.
Four-way speakers combine a woofer, mid-range, tweeter and a "super-tweeter" for very high frequencies and even more crispness and detail.
Do I have to buy car audio products from Best Buy® to get Geek Squad® installation?
Geek Squad Autotechs can install any product, no matter where you bought it. From car decks to speakers and GPS, whether it was from Best Buy or another retailer, installation is available with a lifetime warranty. Geek Squad has over 1,000 installation bays and more than 3,000 Autotechs nationwide. Learn more
What do the amplifier classes A, A/B and D types stand for?
There are three most common amplifier classes: A, A/B and D.
Class A amplifiers produce better sound than A/B amplifiers, but are rare in car audio because of their high power drain and low efficiency.
Class A/B amplifiers are more efficient than the class A design and are the most common type of amplifier in the car audio market.
Class D amplifiers are typically reserved for use with high power subwoofer amplifiers and can reach efficiencies above 80%. Class D amps are more compact, use less current, and produce less heat than the other classes.
What exactly does "iPod-ready" mean?
"iPod-ready" means a car deck is equipped to connect to your iPod and play its music files through the deck. Typically an iPod-ready car stereo includes its own cable for easily connecting it to an iPod. Once connected, many decks give you total control of your iPod through your car's audio system, including easy access to playlists, artists, albums and more. Choose a song using the controls on the stereo deck, or the remote control. No need to fumble with the clickwheel and display on your iPod. Then safely store the actual iPod unit in the glove box or console.
Can I play my thumb drive music files on my car stereo?
An affordable thumb drive can easily expand your music selection while you drive. Simply plug it into a compatible car stereo head unit that has a USB input. A great alternative to traveling with stacks of CDs, a thumb drive can store loads of digital music files for hours of enjoyment.
Will an aftermarket radio work with my steering wheel controls?
No, but you can regain those controls by installing either a steering wheel control adapter or a steering wheel interface kit. These accessories let you keep the full functionality and convenience of your steering wheel controls.
How do I get BBY installation for online purchases?
Your new car audio equipment can be installed reliably and professionally by a Geek Squad Autotech via an easy online purchase. See our Car & GPS Installation Services. Simply purchase the type of installation you need, then wait to receive an install service card in the mail. Once you receive the card, contact a Best Buy store with a Geek Squad Autotech Bay and make an appointment for installation.
What does DIN stand for, and what is the difference between single and double DIN?
DIN is an acronym that was adopted after the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) and the International Standards Organization (ISO) defined it as a standard car stereo measurement. The size of car stereo head units is deemed either DIN or double DIN. DIN units measure 2" x 7", while double DIN units measure 4" x 7". Double DIN was adopted by some car manufacturers to fit larger radios.
What do these numbers stand for: 15W x 4, 50W x 4, 52W x 4?
The "W" refers to watts, the basic unit of power. The number following the wattage designates the number of output channels on the stereo. For example, "4" means there are 4 channels: left front, right front, left rear and right rear. Therefore, 50W x 4 means 50 watts peak power times 4 channels, for a total of 200 watts peak power.
What are tweeters and component speakers?
A tweeter is a small, lightweight driver dedicated to reproducing the highest musical frequencies, such as cymbals, violins or female vocals. Cone tweeters are efficient and most affordable. Most home speakers use dome or "edge-driven" tweeters as they disperse sound for a smoother, more accurate reproduction. Semi-dome tweeters use a combination cone and dome construction for excellent sound clarity.
Component speakers combine separate midbass, tweeters and crossovers in a system that offers better power handling and performance than most two- or even three-way integrated speakers. Component systems allow you to mount your tweeters in different positions to improve the overall stereo imaging. These speakers are the best way to get high-quality sound in your vehicles and are the perfect choice for the real music aficionado.
What's single-voice coil vs. dual-voice coil, and what are ohms?
Very low frequency sounds are what subwoofers are all about. That rich pounding bass? Thank a subwoofer. Subwoofers can be wired with either single- or dual-voice coils. The coil wiring in the subwoofer works with current sent from the amplifier to produce sound.
Single-voice coils provide one set of negative and positive terminals. These terminals are used to connect audio equipment to the subwoofer. There is a single coil wrapped around the speaker cylinder. Single-voice coil subwoofers can only be wired for the ohm (the amount of current the speaker will draw) specified.
Dual-voice coils have two sets of negative and positive terminals. Two coils are wrapped around the speaker cylinder in a dual-voice coil. The prominent difference between single- and dual-voice coil subwoofers is the wiring options. Dual-voice wiring options are: parallel, series and independent. Parallel wiring produces the top output; series wiring uses one amplifier with a number of subwoofers; independent wiring uses one coil per channel.
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