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Remember the days when you would spend hours on Napster downloading the perfect playlist then burning it onto a CD in preparation for the next day’s road trip? You would even go to the extent of printing or drawing the perfect CD label. Times may have changed with CDs being replaced by music streaming apps, but one thing still holds true—the necessity of the road trip playlist. The right music sets the mood for the whole trip, so you better make sure to set it up right. Here are five tips you can do to get the best sound from your car’s audio system.

1. Upgrade your Speakers

Vehicles in the higher price range come with an advanced and high quality audio system, but if your vehicle is leaning towards the older side, then changing the speakers can go a long way. You don’t need Burmester, or Fender speakers to revitalize the sound in your car. A decent set of speakers can come in at $50, plus installation.

2. Upgrade Your Head Unit

Head units have come a long way since AM and FM was an optional extra. Sing your heart out to Bohemian Rhapsody like Wayne’s World using a head unit, with bluetooth audio streaming. A decent head unit can range from $94 all the way to $300 without installation. Make sure when buying a head unit that it fits in your current dashboard. Take note that some head units require you to modify your dashboard and cut sections out.

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An EQ is a filter that amplifies each frequency. Adjust your car stereo’s EQ to get the best sound.

3. Download Better Sound Files

MP3 formatted audio files reshaped the landscape of how we consume music. Gadgets like the iPod became a big hit because you could carry your whole music library in your pocket which was unheard of before MP3. This format actually compresses the audio file to be so small, it cuts the minute details of sound. Download audio files with the “FLAC,” or Free Lossless Audio Codec to get all the details of Katy Perry’s California Girls for your in car dance party.

4. Ditch the Bluetooth

Yes, we get most of our music from our favorite music streaming apps, but did you know that sound quality is also lost when you use bluetooth audio streaming? Phones have a DAC or a digital audio converter, which takes digital data and turns it into an analog signal before it reaches your phone’s speakers. Streaming bluetooth means the quality of the converted data is for a smaller phone speaker or earphones, rather than a more powerful multi speaker system. A USB thumb drive you’re not using is the greatest solution. Audio files from the USB thumb drive uses the powerful DAC built in the car’s head unit, optimizing sound for multiple speakers.

5. EQualizer

Adjusting your equalizer, or EQ is the simplest way to get music sounding the way you prefer it. An EQ is a filter that amplifies each frequency, making it more audible compared to other frequencies. The EQ does not adjust the individual frequencies, but just the volume. There are apps you can download on your phone to help with optimizing your EQ to make Kenny G sound like he was playing his sax in the passenger seat. Adjust all the EQ settings in your head unit to 0. Get a song that is very familiar to you; it could be the one you sing in the shower everyday or your jogging song–as long as you know a great amount of details in the song. Adjust the settings of the EQ frequencies individually, mixing it to make that song sound next to perfect.

You now know how to get the best sound from your car’s audio system. Make summer road trips more memorable by picking an anthem and singing your hearts out. You might just be the next carpool karaoke star!

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