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Car Audio Buyers Guide + Video

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We spend a lot of time in our cars, so it makes sense to make sure it's easy to listen to the music or radio we want at a good quality.

Car Audio Buyers Guide

Whether you have a long commute and want some entertainment, or are just looking to upgrade the sound in your car, we sell a large range of car audio equipment to help you on your way. If you're not sure where to start, our buyer's guide is here to help.

Receivers and Head Units

Also called head units or just 'the radio', this is the part that fits into the car dashboard and has the screen and controls. They come in two main sizes:

  • Single DIN - This is the most commonly seen size, and is a standard for car radios. They're a couple of inches tall, so there isn't much space for things like a big screen, but they're great if you don't think you'll be stopping to look at the screen too much.
  • Double DIN - These are, as you might have guessed, twice the size of a single DIN radio. They normally have a larger screen that might be used for things like navigation or mirroring of smartphone apps.

How do I fit them to my car?

  • Fascia Plates - Because factory fitted radios are often a specific size for the model of car, you'll probably need to buy a fascia plate to provide the right size radio slot as well as filling the gap that might be left by removing your old receiver.
  • Harness adapters - Lots of cars come with proprietary connectors for their standard radios, so often a wiring harness adapter will be needed to be able to plug in a new radio.
  • Multistalk adapters - If your car has radio controls on the steering wheel, these can often be made to work with a new radio by using an adapter.

Connectivity and Features

Most modern car stereos will include some kind of auxiliary input, so that you can listen to music from a phone or mp3 player. This can come in the form of a 3.5mm socket on the front of the radio or a USB socket, which can be on the front or the rear (so that you can route a cable somewhere else, like the glove box).

Some radios will connect via Bluetooth, meaning that you don't have to plug anything in to be able to hear music from your phone. Higher end systems can connect to your smartphone and mirror the screen or use special apps for navigation or music.

Another advantage of aftermarket stereos is the ability to add things like hands-free for your phone or DAB radio. However, this might also require a microphone or special aerial.

If this all sounds a bit confusing, or you're still not quite sure, pop into your local Halfords. We can also install your car audio systems and show you how to use them.


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