Do We Need Expensive Factory Audio?

Premium audio systems are a hot-ticket item that some salesmen might have you go for, but make sure the system matches your music tastes first.

The answer to this question ultimately depends on what you listen to. These days music is usually multiple tracks merged together. Music recordings started as a single track, then a dual, then more as the years went on. Sometimes, it can be up to 160 tracks in one song collaborated into one song! Yes, that means you are hearing 160 different things happening at once, from 4 rhythm guitars, drums in 16 different places and not to mention other percussion here and there.

The problem is the general public these days usually hear their music though ear buds. It’s true, studios will mix and master songs so they sound great in your factory issued ear buds that came with your smart phone as opposed to that upgraded audio system you can select for your BMW. Those fancy factory auto systems sounded great when music was meant to be played on larger speakers. Granted, the music will still sound great in a new car, but it wasn’t designed to.

If you listen to new music in an old car, it will sound horrible. Fewer track layering was done, thus the speakers didn’t have to deliver as much. This is why listening to Doo Wop music in a 1959 Cadillac sounds great and listening to electronic dance music just isn’t as clear, as well as doesn’t fit with a car like that. Listening to old music in a new car will actually sound like it’s missing something. Try listening to a tune like Great Balls Of Fire in a brand new Honda Civic, then try Thrift Shop. You’ll notice new music will sound better in the newer car. Now try to listen to the same songs in something 30 years old or older, you’ll notice the older music will sound better in the older car.

So do you need to spend more for that option? It Depends on what you like. Sometimes modern acts will record with less tracking, but that’s very rare and expensive if they actually record it on tape as opposed to a digital track. As for me, I could live off of three chord rock n’ roll all of my life. I’d rather have the standard radio and spend the option money on performance parts.

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