Q: If I install a new stereo, can I still use my steering wheel controls?

A: Yes, but it will cost you.

Q: How can I connect my iPod? What’s the difference between using an AUX cable and a USB connector?

A: You can run  a cable from the iPod’s headphone jack to your stereo’s AUX input or use your iPod’s cable and plug  into a USB input. An AUX connection tends to transmit some background noise, and you’ll have to control the tunes from the iPod itself — not the safest way to do it if you’re driving. The USB connection, on the other hand, transmits no background noise, gives you control from the receiver, and charges your player all at once. In many cases the receiver also processes the sound, something it’s designed to do better than your iPod, especially in an amplified system.

Q: Can my factory speakers handle a high-powered CD receiver?

A: Your factory speakers should handle the output from one of our high-powered in-dash CD receivers, but there are limits to their performance. Turn up your new radio with the car sitting still, make a note of the volume level at which your factory speakers start to distort, and avoid cranking the radio up past that point. Speaker performance is critical to listening enjoyment. We recommend adding quality, after market speakers as soon as you can, so that you can really take full advantage of the big, rich sound your new receiver has to offer.

Q: How much power does my factory system have?

A: we can tell you that factory systems traditionally have less power than after market units. Bear in mind that the 100-watt factory system described by your car dealer probably consists of 4 channels of 25 watts at peak power. This translates to roughly 10 watts RMS (continuous) x 4 — substantial power. This is a far cry from the power ratings of most current after market CD receivers.Even if your factory system seems relatively powerful, there are still benefits to going with an after market receiver. These advantages typically include better overall specs, built-in features like Bluetooth® connectivity, iPod controls, MP3/WMA/AAC file playback from disc, USB input for media players and thumb drives, more extensive tone control, easier (and less expensive) integration with other equipment like amplifiers, and the enhanced reliability you can expect from a recognized audio brand name.

Q: How much power do I need to get optimum performance from my car’s sound system?

A: Since every car stereo is different, there’s no magic “wattage formula.” As long as you stay within the recommended power range of your speakers,increasing power will always add richness and depth to your music. Compare a spinet piano to a concert grand. The small piano is good enough to play music clearly, but move up to a grand and you’ll gain better tone, greater harmonic detail, and more volume. The larger instrument is simply more powerful.

Q: How “power” efficient are my speakers?

A: Your speakers themselves have a direct influence on the overall “power” of your system. If you’re planning on powering your speakers with an in-dashreceiver, efficient speakers with a sensitivity of 90 dB or higher will definitely give you more bang for your buck. However, installing high-performancecomponent speakers combined with an outboard amp will generate total maximum performance.

Q: I’m thinking of adding a subwoofer. What do I need to know?

A: Subs need substantial amounts of power to reproduce the lowest tones, so it’s essential to use an outboard amplifier with them. You should count on using more power for bass than you use to power all of your full-range speakers. If your receiver puts out 20 watts RMS x 4 channels (80 watts total), you should send at least 80 watts to your sub. Using a 50 watt x 4 amp to drive your components? Dedicate at least 200 watts for just for bass.

Q: Why are wiring cables important?

A: Your system’s chain of components is only as strong as its weakest link, so don’t cheat your amps and speakers with substandard power cables and speaker wire. No one buys an HDTV, only to run coaxial cable to it.

Q: My car has an over sized factory radio. Why can’t I replace it with an over sized after market receiver?

A: “Oversized” receivers come in two different sizes:

3″ tall (or DIN-and-a-half) slot found in many GM/Chrysler vehicles.

4″ tall (or Double-DIN) opening in many other vehicles.

If the dimensions of your car’s dash opening differ by even a fraction of an inch from these standard over sized openings, you won’t be able to install one of

these over sized after market radios without modifying your dash. Many Fords, for instance, appear to have Double-DIN openings — in reality, the opening is a little too small. In some vehicles, the bracket system that holds the factory radio in place won’t work with an over sized after market receiver.