Over the last few years, we have seen a trend emerge of mergers between car manufacturers and audio brands with a loyal following. For example, Lexus has teamed up with Mark Levinson, Volvo, BMW, Maserati with Bowers & Wilkins, Audi with Bang & Olufsen, Bentley with Naim, and Mercedes-Benz: Burmester, to mention a few. These premium systems don’t come cheap, costing $2000 to $3000 on average. This cost is usually added to the car’s financing, where it becomes an extra $20 per month. I am sure if they were to display the components for the world to see, consumers would be a little more hesitant to pay such a price for what it most of the time the bottom tear of aftermarket car audio! The salespeople and car makers reps at car shows will tell that “these premium systems use careful audio design to position speakers, include subwoofers, and combine excellent amps with superior speaker build quality,” nothing but a bunch of hat air! In my opinion, this is why people make these terrible mistakes.

And then there is the misinformation propaganda mainstream media, and even worse, the “auto bloggers.” For example, some loser named Scott Oldham at www.autobytel.com wrote, “listening to music in your car can be better than listening at home.” What? Is this guy deaf, or is he one of those that listen to music at home on an Alexa or Google speakers?

Factory Premium Car Audio System Suck!

Any vehicles mentioned above would have a hard time matching the sound quality, definition, sound stage, and imaging of a DIY speaker kit like the C-Note from Parts Express. But don’t take my words for it. Take one of these systems apart. You are going to be appalled at what you find.

For starters, they use the exact speaker location as a non-premium system. The driver maybe 10% better quality, not more than that! In some cases, you get a better quality head unit and some additional features, but aside from that, nothing more than some extra commission for the sales guy!

I am not going to lie to you. If you are looking for audiophile quality sound in your car, a factory premium audio system is as far from it as you get. Everything starts with the vehicle. High-end vehicles with good sound deadening and large size doos speakers means you have a head start, bet regardless after installing thousands of systems, in everything from Mercedes-Benz S-Class to 8-Series BMW, it is hard to get sound quality, definition, sound stage, and imaging anywhere near a home system without speakers pods or kick panels. But in some instances, I rather have a simple car or truck. Think of it like the donor vehicle theory Hot Rodders so often use. Then there is the power issue. Yes, some of these OEM systems have 1000 watts of power, but this power is divided into 20+ speakers giving you an effective 40-50 watts of power per speaker! Barely enough to reach 100 dbs.

After applying the much-needed sound deadening and building custom kick panels, and real premium speakers, you will not spend anywhere near the $2000 to $3000  car dealers are asking for factory premium systems. I mean, you could, but you have to spend that much to have a car stereo system of audiophile quality.