Car audio is something I don't think I've ever written about in 5 years of blogging. Which is odd because I travel for a minimum of 1 hour in a car every day, have done for years, and always listen to music.
Recently I had a need to sell my car, a "top of the line" but none-the-less family sedan. It was a 2008 Mitsubishi 380 Platinum Luxury Edition - leather, sunroof, 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds... a very underrated car.
Beside all the specs I was putting down on paper when trying to sell it, I soon realised after getting a new car (7 years junior to the 380), that the stock stereo system in that thing was great. To be honest, I don't even know what the specs were, other than being 6 speakers. It was poorly documented and I didn't ever bother to research what was in there on account of selling it.
What do I miss about the sound? It had a really nice bass presence. Not boomy, thumpy, or muddy, it was just right. The top end was fine (possibly average) but the quality of the highs weren't what I missed when I changed to a newer car - it was the full sounding bass that had gone.
We now have two cars in our family. One has an 11 speaker Bose system which, while very good, certainly doesn't seem leaps and bounds ahead from what the old car had (amazing to say it...).
My daily is a little hatchback, which is great in every way but for the stock stereo. It was a shocker. The highs were piercing and the bass muffled and entirely lacking definition. No amount of tweaking low, mid, or high EQ settings or directional balance could fix it. And there came with this problem an endless need to tweak the EQ settings from song to song, even on the one album.
I didn't know what I had till it was gone.
I've since replaced those rubbish speakers with a set of Kickers - 6.5" CSS65 component speakers in the front, 6.5" CS65 coax speakers in the back, and a hideaway subwoofer which lurks under the front passenger seat.
The titanium dome tweeters provide one of the most noticeable changes through this upgrade. High end tones are so directional... I experienced the difference titanium tweeters can make many years ago when I upgraded my Yamaha monitors in the home studio. You hear things you hadn't noticed before, and hear sound from directions you didn't appreciate before.
Without the sub, this new car audio speaker setup was still lacking fullness, and richness. I don't need my car speakers to pound the ground, but synths, kick drums and bass lines do need to feel a certain way.
So, while I didn't know what I had till it was gone, I didn't know how much better things could get till I needed to make the change as well. The first time I played a track with the new speakers in, it made me smile.
That's how music should be.