How to adjust car stereo for best sound [TIPS]

Home » How To » How to adjust car stereo for best sound [TIPS]

If you’re a newcomer or a seasoned audio expert, there is nothing out there quite like adding brand new audio equipment to your car. However, it can leave you a little disappointed when your fancy new speakers aren’t pumping your music like you expected them to.

Calm down and don’t go sending hate emails to the company that sold you these, because everything is fine. Just follow these helpful tips on how to adjust car stereo for the best sound, and you will be listening to your great music in no time.

Set the equalizer and adjust the subwoofer

However tempting it may be to crank up that bass to the max on your receiver, it is necessary to tune your system beforehand as to avoid any major issues. You must first begin with the stereo’s equalizer set flat, as explained through this helpful YouTube video.

Crutchfield banner_car_stereo

All tone controls must be on 0, and no EQ curve should be engaged. After turning the subwoofer on, click play on some music you enjoy and slowly increase the subwoofer output until you get to that perfect ‘sweet spot’ of music that you think sounds the best.

If the bass now sounds like it’s coming from behind you, all you need to do is lower the sub amp’s crossover point to de-localize the bass, which should fix the issue in no time.

Check the speaker phase

Hopefully, the speakers within your system should be in the firing phase, which essentially just means that all the cones are moving in and out at the exact same time.

If this is not occurring, then you can expect to lose bass response, which makes your system sound un-focused and simple. It is a must to check all speakers for this, EVEN if yours was professionally installed.

To determine whether you are having this issue or not, listen to some bass-heavy music after putting your stereos balance control all to one side.

Now, you should return the balance control to the center, and you should hear significantly more bass.

If this isn’t the case, then your speakers are completely out of phase and need to be fixed. You can do this by switching the possible and negative leads on your speaker, and continue doing this until the right amount of bass occurs in your music. You can use this pretty simple method to independently check the front and back speakers.

Create a soundstage across your dashboard

Hopefully, if done correctly, your speakers should create a sound stage. Essentially, a sound stage means that when you close your eyes, you should be able to hear the music as if the instruments are directly in front of you, arranged in a far-right to far-left formation.

Some vehicles are a bit stubborn and make it tough to set up a soundstage on, but there are several ways that you are able to get the sound you’re looking for.

Firstly, if your car has pretty small front speakers, you could install some bass blockers. Bass blockers filter out low frequencies so your speakers are able to play louder with more clarity.

Secondly, if you have a subwoofer or just larger speakers in the back of your car, you can use the receivers fader to move the music forward and then achieve the soundstage. To do this, you must also make sure that the overall level is turned up so you can bring the bass back into play.

A final method to create this soundstage could be to make adjustments if your speakers are mounted low in the door. This is because low speakers have a negative impact on the soundstage, which would ruin all your prior hard work.


So, good job on going out of your way to attempt to improve your own car stereo through unique adjustments. Remember to follow the following guidelines to improve your cars stereo system:

  • If you are confused, don’t attempt it yourself, always contact a professional as to not harm your car
  • Each option has a different outcome, so do some for research into which one you believe ould benefit you the most
  • Remember, if you are going through with the operation to improve the music quality yourself, follow the instructions as carefully as possible

Well, that’s all for now. Make sure to comment below if you have any other thoughts or questions about the issue and good luck in improving your car stereo system.

Hey, there mobile audio lovers! My name is Vincent Talbot, founder and chief editor at Ask any mobile audio fanatic, installer, or company rep what makes a good car speaker, sub, or amp, or, better yet, why he or she prefers a certain brand over another, and be prepared to endure a litany of opinions, viewpoints, and passion-fueled perspectives. To be honest, mobile audio shopping can be a daunting task without a guide, so I’ve assembled what I feel are the best products to consider to make things easier for you. More.

Why you should trust me?

Mobile audio is my passion, so before I put anything in front of you I exhaustively research a broad range of products, review all the available information on them and ultimately make a curated list of recommendations. As a result, I want this site to be a trusted resource that you can rely on and that is not rigged by brand sponsorship, so you can use this information when you are planning your new mobile audio upgrade.