High Society Kustom Garage

Musical soundtrack

A large part of enjoying your ride out on the road is sharing the fun with friends and family.  Much like your favourite movie, the musical soundtrack accompanying the journey is a vital part of the experience.  To create the perfect soundtrack, you’ll need a method to bring the music into your car.  Crafting the ideal ride involves hard work and tough decisions.  While we might have an idea of what we want to achieve, expert advice often reveals the best path.  Proper planning is crucial, as completing tasks in the wrong order can lead to headaches later on.

Sound decisions

What does music mean to you while driving?  Is it mere background noise, easily served with simple equipment?  Or do you aim to fully enjoy each track as intended by the recording artist and producer?  Designing your sound system, like every part of your customized vehicle, depends on your intended use.  Early addressing of components, at least in terms of packaging, is always preferable to avoid reworking wiring and other issues.  If you have a rough idea of where components are being placed, draw a mud map.  Then every trade that works in the area prior to installation can be made aware and hopefully plan accordingly.   Starting with the end in mind WILL save you time and money.


The first step once you’ve decided what type of sound you’re after is looking at the electrical system.  Will the existing setup will physically be capable of dealing with the added demands of an upgraded entertainment system.  Bass heavy sound systems require a lot of clean, readily available power to the amplifier in order to supply the subwoofers. These systems may require you to upgrade the alternator, and/or add a second battery.

Next, examine the stripped down interior and measure the available space. Do this before buying components so you can be sure that the items you purchase are going to fit.  Also, items you wouldn’t have otherwise considered may now be an option.  The type of vehicle may also come into play dictating what equipment is either necessary or redundant. Most newer vehicles use combined HVAC and infotainment functions in an integrated panel that don’t readily lend themselves to modification.  In such cases, a Digital Signal Processor is a better choice than a head unit purchase.  Among other features, this will convert line level outputs into flat, clean signals suitable for an amplifier to use as an input.

Your musical soundtrack

Now that you know the required equipment and available space, it’s time to research. Visit a retailer, use the head unit a little to make sure that you’ll be comfortable using it.  Audition some speakers with some of your own music, making sure that the sound is what you’re aiming for. Each brand has different ranges that will each have its own “sonic signature” making the same music sound different. If you’re new to car stereo, maybe use front and rear full range speakers from the same range.  Try using component speakers for the front stage and coaxial speakers for rear fill.  This makes it more likely that the sound you’re hearing will match.  If you’re buying quality components, you’ll want quality wiring too.  Don’t forget about sundries like connectors, fuses and mounting hardware.


Now it is time to start thinking about the installation. You may choose to opt for a stealth installation, keeping as much as possible hidden.  Or you can make it one of the stars of your interior.  That doesn’t mean that the stealth system is simpler to install.  In most cases it is quite the opposite.  Having the ICE out for the world to see does mean that your installer can show off their fabrication skills.  And you can get the wow factor if that’s your thing.


Ultimately, sound quality takes precedence over aesthetics.  Even premium products can be outperformed by modest gear with meticulous setup.  Quality earths, solid wire connections, and crossover points being adjusted properly can really make your sound system shine.  A properly designed sub box needs some technical knowledge.  Like an engine, you’ll only get the most out of your equipment with proper tuning.  These things can enhance performance and listening pleasure.


The installation timeline depends on the vehicle and the type of build.  If the vehicle is already a driver things will be very different than a ground up rebuild in the early stages.  For the rebuild, fabricating should begin before final paint, and certainly before the rest of the interior is built.  But waiting until after the car’s basic wiring is complete makes a lot of sense also. As does having any sound treatment carried out if clearances are to be catered for.  For a driver, now is as good a time as any, so what are you waiting for?  Your soundtrack awaits!

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