Distinct Beat 122 S. Oakland St., Gastonia NC Phn: 980.285.8888

Car Audio Definitions and Terms (The Lingo)
Head Unit:
This is the device that is often reffered to as "the radio". A head unit is the most often used component in your system. This peice of equipment should be high quality, and as user friendly as possible. This device controls the systems total sound, and a large majority of its functionality. Head units come in many varieties like single DIN and double DIN units, flip up or down displays, removable faces, can process digital media like CD, MP3, WMA, SD cards, USB drives, and Ipod units. When choosing a head unit, we recommend purchasing a name brand unit, one with as many features, and as high of power as your budget will allow.
Amplifiers are the components in your system that take signal from the head unit and increase the power prior to delivering the signal to the speakers. Some aplifiers are intergrated into the head unit and are often inferior to external amplifiers. External amplifiers of high quality will deliver high signal to noise ratios, power rated in RMS or CEA, have low distortion ratios of 0.05% or less, and will contain crossover networks to filter unwanted frequencies.
A crossover network is a circuit that filters unwanted frequesncies prior to delivering the signal to the speakers. It's purpose is to eliminate unwanted frequencies from the signal path to the speaker. An example of this is a tweeter that can only play frequencies from a range of 2500hz to 20khz, cannot play frequencies below 2500hz without damage. The crossover will eliminate the frequencies below 2500hz and protect the tweeter from distortion. Crossover networks come in two forms, active and passive. Active crossovers are powered by your 12v system and are often placed beore the amplifier.Passive crossovers do not require 12v power and is typically placed between the amplifier and the speaker.
These are the components that produce the sound from the amplifiers signal, and are also reffered to as a "driver". Speakers come in many forms from full range, to seperate units like tweeters, midrange drivers, woofers, and sub woofers. Some configurations are combined by adding a tweeter and a woofer together creating what is called a coaxil or 2 way speaker. There are also 3 way and 4 way configurations as well. The better speaker you purchase, the better your system will sound. Always test drive speakers before purchasing, as this is the best way to determine if you like the sound it produces. All speakers are not created equal.
Tweeters are the small speakers that produce the higher frequencies in music. These speakers often opperate in the high frequency ranges above 2500hz, and produce sounds like cymbals crashing, etc.
Midrange drivers:
Midrange speakers range from 2" to 6" in size and produce mid frequencies like voices, string instruments, etc. The better the midrange driver the better the voice, guitars, and other instruments will sound.
Woofer speakers range from 5" to 10" in size and produce low bass frequencies raging from 1000hz down to 80hz, and produce sounds like drums, bass guitar, etc. The better the woofer the better the bass guitars, drums, and bass lines will sound.
Sub Woofers:
Sub Woofers can be found in sizes ranging from 6" to 18" in size and produce the very low bass frequencies like drums, bass line pulses, impact noises, bass guitar, etc. Sub woofers typically produce frequencies ranges of 200hz down to 20hz. The better the sub woofer the smoother and louder the bass frequencies will be. Never purchase a poor quality sub woofer, your ears will know the difference immediately.

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