How to Make a Competition Stereo System

by Bob Shneidley

Car audio competitions bring out the best in car audio enthusiasts. They are a chance to show off months of hard work, dedication and focus. If you have an interest in good sound in your car, you might be interested. The demands of making a good competition level stereo are not light, but with the right focus and understanding of the competition world, you can bring your car up to the level you want.

Know the organizational system to car audio competitions. There are four major organizations. The IASCA is the oldest and the largest and has a focus on sound quality rather than SPL, which refers to the decibels produced by the car stereo. The USACi is the second largest group and was founded on bringing fun back into competition. The USACi has a sound quality league and an SPL league. Db Drag racing is third organization and is purely based on SPL. MECA is the newest organization and has both a sound quality division and an SPL division. Ask around and find out what organization is active in your area.

Begin to plan your competition stereo system. Budget your money; stereo equipment is expensive. Budget your time; building a stereo takes incredible time dedication. Study the rule book for competitions. Find out what league you want to compete in and what you realistically should aim for. There are different levels for pro class, intermediate and amateur. Begin forming a list of what CD player, speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers and accessories you desire for your car.

Bring your car into a professional car audio shop. All competitors do this and it can make a huge difference. Decide what components you want to have installed professionally and which ones you can self-install. Remember, you will likely not be able to do a better job than a pro shop, but it will cost you. Once your stereo is ready, pro shops can make many fine-tuning adjustments to make your stereo perform at the highest possible level.

Find a local competition and enter. Bring photo documentation of your car stereo installation. Judges need to see the parts of the installation that are now hidden, like the back of the CD player or subwoofer installation. Prepare to sell your stereo to the judges and spectators by talking it up and explaining the components. Making a good car audio system also involves good public speaking skills and networking.

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  • photo_camera car audio speakers image by Alexander Zhiltsov from