Cost cuts sound ordinary
AT HOME we enjoy surround sound, flat-screen TVs, DVD players and all manner of electronic entertainment systems. So why should we leave all that behind when we hit the road?
The great thing is we don’t have to. We can take them along with us — a whole range of electronic entertainment systems created specifically for use in our cars.
Carmakers are quick to pick up on new trends in in-car entertainment and fit the latest and grooviest systems to their new models.
But the need to make a profit means they aren’t fitted to all models, and the systems fitted aren’t always the best quality available.
Base-model cars usually get poverty-pack sound systems with few features and a couple of tinny speakers.
The more prestigious models may get better-quality systems with more power and more speakers for a better sound.
But whatever the model, be it base or prestige, the sound system fitted is a compromise based on the what the carmaker believes the average buyer of that model will accept, and the need to make a profit.
The sound equipment usually fitted by carmakers are middle-of-the-road systems they know will appeal to a broad cross-section of car buyers, be they young or old, well-heeled or cash-strapped, tone deaf or tuned in.
But other buyers who want a system with more bass, or a more sophisticated, fully rounded sound, find the factory-supplied systems simply don’t do the job.
The sound they seek is close at hand. All it takes is a leisurely Saturday cruise around the sound-system specialists.
They can provide expert advice on products and installation to achieve the desired sound quality.
What may be needed is a better-quality head unit, a pre-amp, amplifier or monster set of subwoofers with some awesome mid-range speakers and tweeters capable of filling the interior with full-bodied sound. Most specialists can not only supply the system components, they can install them to ensure you get the best value for money.
DVDs are becoming popular with parents who want to keep their kids amused on long trips, and there is a wide choice of equipment available that can meet their needs.
Screens can be installed in the dash or backs of headrests, or swung down from the roof.
Children can be kept quiet and contented watching movies and cartoons or playing video games while the hours pass and the kilometres are covered.
The same goes for satellite navigation systems, which are becoming a must-have accessory for the navigationally challenged on our roads.
Sat-nav systems are a relatively new motoring technology and not many new cars have been fitted with them yet.
Many options are available, and there are plenty of experts to offer advice on the system most suitable for your needs and budget.
For only a few hundred dollars, you can dispense with the street directory and safely find your destination without having to pull over to consult a map.
Basic: many cars have cost-cutting systems.
Way to go: DVD players keep kids amused.