So you have decided that the stereo that came with your vehicle just ain't cutting it anymore and it's time to explore your options. These days, there is a wide variety of stereos you can choose from, so you need to be informed when you go ahead and buy one. There are some good resources out there that will make this decision easier if you know where to find them. In this article we'll try to show you where to look and a few things to look for.
- Find reviews online. There are some good online sites that will give you comprehensive reviews of newer car stereos. My first stop would be at About.com's great stereo page. Anything you need to know about the stereo you might want, you can find here. As far as sites with car stereo reviews go, I find that CarDomain has a bunch for each product but they also sell those products. Like Amazon, they both review and sell products. Now, there is no reason to believe the veracity of these reviews compared to any others but I think it is worth noting. CrutchfieldAdvisor has a nice review section split up into editorial and consumer reviews, which is a good way to compare. All things reviewed sites such as cnet and Epinions have a good number of reviews by consumers also. Search.Acoustics is the best of everything. It contains editorial reviews from car audio sites, car audio magazines and consumer sites.
- Car audio magazine reviews. There are some great magazines on the stands that give good reviews. They usually have a corresponding website, which is like getting the best of both worlds. Sound&VisionMag, CarAudioMag, and CarSound&Performance are all good resources, both online and on the magazine rack.
- Ask a professional. In every town or city you'll be able to find a local car audio shop. There is no harm walking into one of these places and just asking an employee about the different stereos. Now, these guys do want to sell you something but for the most part they will shoot straight with you. Another benefit of this is that if you do choose to go with one of the units they sell at the store, they will install it for you also. If you buy one online and need someone else to install it, you have to shop for installers after getting the unit. Bigger places like Circuit City and Best Buy have a large selection of car audio products and installation services. Look for specials at these places where free installation might be offered.
- So when comparing reviews, always keep a few things in mind. Is the reviewer trying to sell you the product he is reviewing? Does the reviewer have car audio experience? Keep in mind that I have found some of the best reviews from amateurs and some disparaging reviews from sellers. So look around at as much as you can and get a consensus. With all of the resources above, this should be easy enough to do.