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BROWSE AMPLIFIERS WITH DSP
DSP – THREE BIG LETTERS FOR BETTER SOUND
There are two common misconceptions about adding components to your factory sound system: More speakers and amplifiers will just make it louder, and subwoofers are just for those obnoxious kids who come down your street at 3 a.m. Who wants that? Best to just stick with what you’re stuck with, right?
Let’s clear up these misconceptions. Imagine bouncing a ball in a room with a six-foot ceiling. Chances are, every time you bounce the ball, it’s going to hit the ceiling, right? But what if you raised the ceiling to 50 feet? Now the ball can reach its maximum effectiveness.
Improving your sound system is like that. We’re not just making it louder (which would be the equivalent of getting a bigger ball). We are increasing the “headroom,” or the capability for the system to perform at its best, resulting in clearer highs, better vocals, and just the right amount of bass to produce well-rounded sound.
So what does it take to make better sound? Better speakers, sure. High-quality speakers are designed to play back the proper frequencies that your music was recorded with. A subwoofer? Yes. Even a small subwoofer will fill in the missing low end of the frequency spectrum that makes music come alive. And of course, there are amplifiers, which supply the power necessary to add the dynamic range to your music.
But before that, there is a device that takes the music from whatever source you play—radio, CD, iPhone, MP3 player—and “preps” it to be amplified and produced through the speakers. These devices are called Digital Signal Processors.
Depending on the type of radio you have in your vehicle, you may require a certain type of DSP. But regardless of form, all DSPs do the same thing: change the incoming signal from the source, fine-tune it to reduce interference, separate it into different frequencies based on the frequency range your speakers are designed to handle, then send it to the appropriate amplifiers to play through the speakers.
Here are the three types of DSPs:
Basic: The basic DSP takes the front and rear speaker channels from a radio and processes them as described above. Some include the ability to raise or lower the volume of the signal to match its volume to the system’s needs. These DSPs are used with basic factory or aftermarket radios.
Equalizer: Equalizers, or EQs, take the incoming signal and adjust it. Each lever or knob adjustment of an equalizer covers a set frequency range, and essentially raises or lowers the volume of that range. (Another, more versatile type of EQ, called parametric, has one or more knobs or levers that let the user choose the frequency range and raise or lower the volume.)
Summing: A summing DSP is needed if you want to improve a so-called “premium” system from the factory. In many premium systems, the source signal has already been separated by a factory installed DSP and sent to factory amplifiers. These separated signals may not match the frequencies needed for the new sound system. So the summing DSP basically puts all of the frequencies back together, then separates them to fit the new amplifiers and speakers.
Of course, a DSP can have a combination of the features we’ve described, and a few more as well. Some give you the ability to control the amount of bass output with a dash-mounted knob, so you can adjust it on the fly based on what you’re listening to. Another option is an input for your portable device, either through an analog stereo input, a “digital” optical feed, or over Bluetooth. If your car radio does not have the option to play music from your phone or MP3 player, this feature is a nice add-on.
So when you think of making your sound better, talk with us to see which sound processing option will give you the results you want. Anyone can sell you larger amplifiers and speakers, but without the right signal processing, you’ll be getting exactly what you were getting before—only louder.
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