Are you stuck thinking about where to get the best, impressive car stereo? Come on in, shop online and check out our featured products! Vehicle audio includes mobile audio, car audio, 12-volt (sometimes other voltages such as 6-volts for pre-1950s vintage cars and 24-volt for civilianized military vehicles or heavy-duty commercial civilian trucks or for light vehicles such as golf carts that use 24-volt electric motors) audio and other terms are used to describe sound systems fitted to an automobile or other vehicle commonly called a car stereo.
While we are talking about cars (hence car radio or car stereo), the term can be used referring to similar systems fitted to marine and aviation craft, motorcycles, or heavy industrial equipment. The primary use of such equipment is usually entertainment, but can also include communications equipment, public address, and other similar applications.
For decades most vehicle dashboards had a rectangular “cutout” where the head unit was installed (which went above another rectangular cutout for the HVAC controls), and this allowed for straightforward replacement of the stock system with an aftermarket stereo, since audio technology improves faster than model updates from car companies. These cutouts, however, also allowed for easy theft of the car radio. Due to auto manufacturing differences over the years, aftermarket headunit products are manufactured in multiple form factors. The primarily used size is mostly referred to by its legacy name of DIN, which refers to ISO 7736. DIN headunits come as single DIN or double DIN. A third less common standard is used mostly by Chrysler group and for a time Mitsubishi in their OEM devices.
Modern vehicle manufacturing nearly always includes a complete car stereo system of some kind from the factory when the car is assembled. This is referred to as the ‘stock’ system, or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) system. These systems can be supplied by an exclusive vendor to automakers specifications, or other company that specializes in design or production of such equipment. Additionally, there is a large market of car stereo products sold directly to consumers to replace, upgrade, or expand the vehicle’s stock sound system capabilities.