When it comes to buying the best car audio accessories, you have a lot to choose from. It can no doubt be somewhat overwhelming to know where to start to get the best sound for your vehicle. Many people instantly think of new speakers, subwoofers, and amps. But what about DSPs?
In case you’re unfamiliar with this acronym, DSP stands for digital signal processor. The short and simple answer is that it is a device that will make your music and audio input sound amazing. When you play a song inside a building, it sounds different than a song playing in your car. This is because the acoustics are different, so the music is heard differently. A DSP can be used to smooth out differences in acoustics so your music will sound like you are hearing it in person instead of through a speaker.
A Digital Signal Processor is a device that allows you to manipulate signals from various inputs and allows your speakers to play in a way that they were designed to by cutting out distortion and increasing overall volume.
A DSP might just be the coolest thing you can upgrade in your car to not only increase its value but also amp up your driving enjoyment.
No one speaker is capable of putting out a full range of frequencies, so most car audio systems are made up of tweeters (for high frequencies), midrange (for vocals), and woofers/subwoofers (for bass frequencies). We typically dedicate an amplifier channel to each speaker. The DSP is in charge of correctly separating the audio signal and distributing it appropriately to each speaker.
Each speaker is also placed in very different places in a car. The distance between the listener and each speaker varies. A DSP can be used to even out these distances so that it sounds like your music is occupying the whole soundstage of the dashboard.
Most DSPs allow you to save multiple settings, so you can adjust the sound on the fly. This can be useful if you want to have a different sound setup when you have passengers or when you have the top down, for example.
At Audio Intensity, we can help you find the best digital signal processor for your needs. One of the best DSPs for your money is the DSR1 8-Channel Interactive Signal Processor by Rockford Fosgate. This DSP is smaller and lighter than most of the others on the market, which means the installation is easier. Though it lacks in size, it doesn’t lack in performance. It has both great high and low filters that allow it to play a wide array of sounds without any difficulty or distortion.
If you aren’t on such a tight budget and want perhaps the best model currently on the market you can’t go wrong with the six-channel Audio Control DQDX. This DSP system guarantees an almost distortion-free sound even when you have the volume maxed out. It also comes with remote control, making it very easy to manage.
For some people, doing a DSP installation might be an easy Sunday afternoon project but for the majority of people, this isn’t going to be something you want to do yourself. If you have an understanding of car wiring and the electronic components in your vehicle you might be able to install the DSP yourself. You could read the installation manual that comes with it and refer to a quick tutorial on YouTube for any problems or issues that may arise.
However, any time you start rerouting wires from the car stereo, speakers, and amplifiers you are likely to run into unexpected problems. Some vehicles have fuses for other things running through a factory-issued stereo such as controls for turn signals or voice-activated Bluetooth features. If you aren’t aware of them and you accidentally cut or bypass something you could run into serious wiring issues down the road.
Another common problem is where to install it. Some vehicles have an area that is already perfect for installation but for others, you have to manipulate parts of the dashboard to make room or clear an area in your trunk or cargo area. You need to make sure wherever you install your DSP, it is safe and secure not only to ensure the proper functionality of the device but also for the safety and security of people and other items inside the car.
While most people like to try to do things themselves, this is something that should be taken on with caution and you might want to seek out a professional to help. Spending more money upfront can actually save you a ton of money in the long run, especially if you end up doing damage to the device you just bought trying to install it and ruin it before you can even enjoy it.