Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Sound, screen, stereo

Published:Sunday | June 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMKawain Fearon

Cars are no longer just a means of getting around. They have become entertainment venues, boardrooms and cockpits for drivers.

Chances are your stereo has played a huge role in transforming your vehicle into whatever you want it to be.

Today's drivers have a myriad of options, thanks to the increased integration and evolution of the car stereo.

Not only is it just for playing music; the integration of the system now accommodates GPS for the directionally deficient, Bluetooth so you can keep your hands on the wheel while using your cell phone, USB/HDMI and SD ports to share personal selections, and a hard drive to store, your favourites.

With all the fanciness of the car stereo, the most important part is ensuring that whatever system you choose fits well into your dashboard. If not, you stand the chance of having your dashboard look like a hack job. The second thing to note is that if you are going for the big sound quality, ensure compatibility between your stereo and speaker output to avoid blowing the latter.

For the conservative spender, a 40 watt, four channel stereo may be ideal. However, for persons loving that big sound, a 1,000 watt amp may announce your arrival at the stoplight and interrupt conversations. Bear in mind that you will have to find speakers, a sub-woofer and tweeters capable of accommodating that much power.

Now that you have overcome those technical hurdles, it comes down to personality. The options are wide, but you can break it down into two categories - watchers and listeners.

The watchers can choose a system with a display screen with a touch-screen option to accommodate seeing movies. For the listener a simple, no-screen options is ideal, but this may significantly complicate things for your passengers who may have varying tastes. The screen option has the added advantage of allowing you to connect a reverse camera, making parking a breeze so you avoid scratching or denting your ride.


Vehicle control paramount

Each driver has a different level of concentration, therefore, it is highly recommended that you choose a system that offers a user-friendly menu option. This will allow for easy selections without going into too many options just to perform a requirement. A simple rule of three-touch is best when dealing with technological items. Unless you are quick at it, then you can explore to your liking - but keep in mind, control of the vehicle is paramount.

If you already have a car stereo system and don't want to change it out for additional features, there are third-party Bluetooth accessories or cables that will allow for easy integration of that desired functionality to turn your car into your own space. This is provided that the output and input slots are there, of course.

However, always remember to keep your eyes on the road.