Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to Review Box Brasil, see a complete Purchasing Guide that helps those who want to buy automotive sound. You will be pleasantly surprised when you read the information in this text before buying your car stereo.

Car stereos are available in a wide variety of sizes, brands and prices. It is important you stay tuned to the main technical features so you don't get ripped off by clever salespeople.

What are the best types of car stereos? And what are the reliable brands? Is there an average price of the products that are worth it? Are there many differences between the popular versions? These and other answers you find here!




Summary

  • In Brazil the best offers easily available on the market are from brands such as: Pioneer, Multilaser, Sony and NAVEG.
  • The most expensive versions of car stereos run MP4 and MP5 files. Popularly priced editions work more with MP3.
  • To store audio files in the device buy car stereos that have memory card slots. The worthwhile editions also work with Bluetooth.

The best Car Stereo: Our Picks

It may even seem like car stereos are all the same, but there are small, varying details in the models that can make a big difference to you or your usage needs.

Knowing the popular products is one of the best ways to discover the differences between different types of car stereos. See now what are the features of reputable devices on the market.

Buying Guide

Let's face it. It can drive you mad if you're stuck in traffic without any music to relax to. No one deserves to hear only the sound of honking horns and desperate drivers because the traffic lights won't open!

The cool thing is that you don't need to spend a fortune to have a cool car stereo in your car. But, the market is full of pitfalls, so before buying you need to read the content that we prepared in the Buying Guide below.

Um homem visto de costas segurando o volante do carro

With this Buying Guide you learn how to buy the perfect car stereo to sit in the car and relax listening to your favorite tunes (Source: Jace / Pixabay)

What is car stereo?

Car stereos are equipment to install in your car and listen to music. Some versions can also read video files, although this is something more specific to automotive DVD and Multimedia Centre.

A car stereo must be installed in the car in the correct way to work perfectly. This installation involves connecting the device to speakers or amplifiers.

Most of the different types of car stereos have amplified outputs of 4x52 watts.

The amplified outputs that output audio from a stereo directly to the speaker are measured in watts PMPO, which stands for Peak Music Power Output.

In the old days, car stereos were products that only worked with AM radio. Then came FM radio editions and an input for K7 tapes (cassette player). In the sequence appeared the CD players.

Nowadays, even the cheapest car stereos work with USB inputs. These inputs are used to connect devices such as USB sticks, mobile phones, iPods, among others that have music files.

Som automotivo com bluetooth instalado no painel do carro

The car stereo makes it possible to listen to your favourite music inside the vehicle. (Source: Amazon)

What are the advantages of the car stereo?

You may not use the CD functions - after all, almost no one uses this type of media today to listen to the sounds of the favorite band - but it is certainly worthwhile to take advantage of the audio and MP3 features, connecting your mobile phone or pendrive directly into the USB inputs.

In the advanced models, you don't even need a wire for the connection with devices because of Bluetooth.
Are you a driver who likes to listen to news on AM radio in the morning and go home at night listening to a little music? Then invest in a basic car stereo.

Things aren't all perfect either. The installation of the product itself needs to be carried out by professional technical experts and requires a connection to speakers.

Take a look at the chart below to see what are the benefits and harms of installing a car stereo in your vehicle:

Advantages
  • Intermediate models also play MP3 and have USB inputs
  • There is car stereo with Bluetooth connection
  • There are versions with good features that cost popular prices
  • Removable front
Disadvantages
  • Basic models only play radio and CD
  • It does not play videos
  • There is only audio as entertainment
  • The installation needs to be done by professionals

What precautions should I take before choosing a car stereo?

In the world of car stereo there is not that rule that the more expensive the product, the better it is. In practice, you need to buy a device that has your usage profile. For this reason, never buy the first option you find.

You have just found a powerful car stereo and you are

Som automotivo com fundo branco

Buy devices that have the power 4x45 watts in the audio output. (Source: Amazon)

First, because the power of the sound is also measured by other factors, such as the quality and types of speakers.

Second, because a very powerful car stereo can be the real battery power drainer. So if you don't have an extra battery to handle the audio, the other components in your car will malfunction.

Want to buy a car stereo that's not too powerful and doesn't demand too much power from the battery? Buy devices that have the power 4x45 watts in the audio output.

The vast majority of popular versions work with 4x45 watts of power, it is not difficult to find these devices on the market.

How to identify the best cheap car stereo models?

If you just want a sound to listen to CD and radio there is no problem, because these products cost low prices, regardless of the brand.

On the other hand, those who want the minimum technological potential in the device, can find good deals without spending much money. For this it is important to evaluate the technical characteristics of the sound, which you need to at least have:

  • Digital display of song names or radio station names (RDS - Radio Data System);
  • USB connection;
  • Remote control that works up to 20 meters away;
  • Bluetooth;
  • 4x45 watts of power;
  • Capacity to read MP3 or WMA files;
  • Button to adjust the volume at different heights.

Which to choose: automotive sound with CD, DVD or central multimedia?

The CD-player car stereos with MP3 capability are the choices with the lowest costs and most benefits. Use these devices if you don't spend much time in your car or are never keen on watching videos.

One disadvantage of the CD-player is that there are no GPS capabilities to show drivers the correct routes. However, there are drivers who use GPS apps on their mobile phones, connecting their smartphone without having to use other car features.

 Som automotivo simples instalado em painel de carro

For those who just like to listen to music, a simple car stereo is sufficient. (Source: markusspiske / Pixabay)

For people who have an advanced age and are not very familiar with the audiovisual technology of the moment the versions that only play radio and CD seem perfect.

If you're a bit technologically savvy, when buying the CD-player car stereo, never dispense with some features, such as USB input, auxiliary jacks to fit amplifiers, MP3 playback capability and Bluetooth.
The DVD-player in the car represents a real entertainment channel on board. This device has plenty of audio capacity, accepting different types of music file formats.

The car DVD player can also serve as a GPS to facilitate day-to-day driving. The screen size of a DVD-player can range from 3 inches to up to 10 inches or more.

When children are inside the car as passengers, they can be calmer. This is because the children's concentration remains on the films played by the DVD player in the car.
In some versions, there are even auxiliary inputs for installing video games. There are also productions that

allow the content of the mobile phone to be played directly on the DVD-player screen.

DVD automotivo no banco de trás do carro

Invest in an automotive DVD if you are looking for more resources. (source: MikesPhotos/ Pixabay)

A main screen format of car DVD monitors is Wide Screen - the same configuration as in cinemas. There are productions that even have touchscreens, so you select options with a touch of the screen.

In some versions of the product it is possible to connect other monitors, including in the back of the front seats for passengers to watch the content.

Different from the two already mentioned, the multimedia centre serves as an MP3 player, DVD player, GPS, digital TV and much more. This model even has inputs for different types of speakers or powerful amplifiers.

If you stay many hours on long trips with passengers, the best choice is central multimedia. This device allows one person to listen to sound by controlling the audio on a monitor, while other passengers watch movies on the other screens installed in the car.

There are many differences between the 3 most used devices for car audio. This is why it is important to know your usage needs and budget very well before buying a version.

For you to better fix in your mind the difference between the types of car stereos see the table:

CD-player Automotive DVD Multimedia Center
Pricing Low or intermediate prices Intermediate or high prices High prices
Video playback No Yes Yes
Entertainment power Low Medium High
Capability in audio equalization From low to medium level (depends on price) Medium Medium
Storage capacity Low Medium High
Quality in audio reproduction From low to medium Medium Medium
File storage Memory card Memory card or internal HD Memory card, internal HD or in cloud (online)
Radio AM and FM The cheaper versions have only AM AM, FM and the possibility of tuning radios from international countries
GPS No Yes Yes
Touchscreen No Yes Yes
Connection for extra monitors No Yes Yes
Bluetooth No in cheap price versions No in cheap price versions Yes
Digital TV No Yes in some versions Yes

How does the audio equalization of the car stereo work?

Another particularity of the device is the audio equalization control. In some models there are even small monitors that show the menu in detail for you to regulate the sound power.

The audio equalization of the car stereo can be controlled manually. However, those who do not know much about the resources to equalize can select the pre-configured settings of the device.

Some preset equalisation options for car audio are set according to music genre.

One cannot ignore that the devices of intermediate prices or higher have a differentiated work on the liquid crystal display. This display appears on the monitors of the sound with animations that enhance the interior decoration in vehicles.

Some versions of car stereos can even store audio files. This is possible thanks to the memory card which is fitted in the product. You can change the card whenever you want if you want to evolve the storage capacity.

Never switch on a car stereo without the car switched on. If you do this for a few hours you end up draining the battery power. As a result the car cannot even start the engine after you turn the key in the ignition

Purchase Criteria: How to compare stereo models

There are many car stereo offers on the market. But with all the demands of everyday life, it is difficult to find the time to do some research and compare every single offer in detail.

There is a way to compare car stereos without wasting time. You can guarantee to buy the best products for the lowest possible prices. Want to know how? Simple, follow the 8 points explained below:

Let's unravel the details of these 8 auto sound comparison criteria in the words below:

Installation

There are several tutorials on the internet that explain in detail how to carry out the installation of different auto sounds. In these cases, you risk doing it on your own as you need to know minimum electrical engineering skills to install.

Most experts recommend installing auto sound only with professional services. This is important because of the experience of these professionals, who can quickly solve any problem in the installation.

LED

Some car stereos of the best brands feature a neon tone in the different buttons, numbers and symbols. This not only adds value to the device but also helps with the decoration of the car.

There are different shades of neon colours: blue, yellow, red, white, among others. This diversity of tones in the system requires almost no battery power.

This is a tip for those who also want to save money. After all, products without special LED lighting usually cost less.

Fuses and circuit breakers

Fuses and circuit breakers need to be powerful once you want to install a superpowered car stereo. They work to protect the parts of the stereo from short circuit problems.

To know which fuse or circuit breaker to use in the powerful car stereo you need to analyze the power of the amplifiers and the voltage of the stereo.

Don't forget to have extra fuses and circuit breakers to use in cases of emergency. This way the party in your car will never stop because the sound stopped playing.

Remote control

In DVD-player and Multimedia Centre the remote control is indispensable. This device changes the digital TV channels, chooses other film options and does several other different tasks.

The simplest car audio CD players and MP3 players also require a remote control. With this feature, people in the passenger seat can change a song or radio station, and the driver doesn't have to take his eyes off the road.

If you like to open the car and turn on the stereo at the gas station you can also use the remote to change songs from a distance. These car stereo remotes run on batteries or small, inexpensive batteries, they don't need the car battery to work.

Manual

The instruction manual is not valid to use only when installing the car stereo. It teaches you how to perform all the basic special features of the devices!

Sometimes on the Internet, you can find information on how to select your car stereo options. However, this is not guaranteed. It is only guaranteed when you access the information you want in the manual.

Equalization

Make no mistake about it. The ability to equalise audio in car stereos is low to medium. To have professional equalization buy an equalizer and connect it to the device.

This does not mean that you can never have quality control in simple car stereos. Even in the cheap versions there is the equalization system working inside the devices, something that is configured in the options menu.

In general, this equalization system has options to make the sound more: high, low, stereo, mono, among other choices. In some devices you can even increase the sound of an instrument in a song. For example, you can increase the sound of the double bass to hear this instrument better in a jazz song.

Mulher sentada dentro de um carro vermelho mexendo no som automotivo

The equalisation system has options to make the sound more: high-pitched, low-pitched, stereo, mono, among other choices. (Source: Dan Grytsku / 123RF)

AM / FM Radio

Many people are surprised when they realize that the car stereo does not work on FM radio. Believe me, this happens more often than you might imagine.

It turns out that some cheap versions only offer AM radio options, cheapening the production of the devices.

Before confirming the purchase of your car stereo, check to see if it works with AM and FM radio.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is nowadays one of the most basic features of any car stereo, even some cheap versions. Use Bluetooth as an indicator of whether or not a product is of reliable technological quality.

Offers that do not offer Bluetooth deserve a bit of mistrust from modern consumers. With this feature the device is more flexible to play even the songs that are on the mobile phone.

Now it's time to go shopping! After reading this guide you can more easily find the best auto sound offer within your budget.

(Featured image source: Vereshchagin Dmitry/ 123RF)

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