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The main component of any car’s sound system is its stereo. It is the voice that lets you listen to the highest quality sound.

A stereo is made of three components; the source, the preamplifier, and the amplifier. The source is simply how you choose what you want to listen to. It could be the car or boat’s built-in AM/FM tuner, your phone, an iPod, or a CD. A preamplifier (or preamp) allows you to make adjustments to the sound. These can be simple features such as the volume, balance, fader, source selection, and tone adjustments, or it can be more complex tools adjustments like crossovers, equalizers, and time correction. Finally, the amplifier is what ‘boosts’ all the adjustments made to the preamp and then sends it to the speakers around your car or boat. 

These three components, along with a speaker system, make up a stereo system. Upgrading any component of this system will make a huge difference in how you experience audio in your car. You could make more precise adjustments with an upgraded preamp, boost the audio quality further with a new amplifier, or increase the maximum sound with a new set of speakers.

Car Audio StereoMany people upgrade their stereo systems because of new advancements in technology for many components, such as adjustable HD displays, Apple and Android integration, Bluetooth, Satellite and HD Radio, GPS Navigation, customizable color schemes, touchscreen monitors, precision sound controls and parametric equalization systems that can all be installed. A new stereo can give your car a new sleek feel and make it more enjoyable to drive around town. A more advanced amplifier can give your car clearer and richer sound.

A new stereo could also include auxiliary inputs, USB connections, and audio/video outputs. This could mean screens in the back seats, external amplifiers, or powered subwoofers.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number and variety of models in our car stereo offerings. How do you know which one is right for you? Our experts at 360 Audio can help you find the perfect pieces to fit your price and needs. To completely upgrade and transform your sound system, we recommend pairing your new stereo with aftermarket speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers in order to achieve that concert-like surround sound. Learn more at