The basic constituents of a high-quality car stereo system are an AM/FM tuner, a CD player, an amplifier (optional but recommended) and great speakers.

Rule: No auto sound can equal the performance of fine home equipment. The auto compartment is little, surrounded with engine and traffic noises, and surrounded by rival electric signals. And all this at a moving environment. A welter of specialized and individual choices dictate the final package.

General guidelines: Shop around. Car audio components are often discounted. Check mail-order houses and the Internet for the best buys.

Crucial: Deal with reputable companies and buy name brands. Make sure you can exchange or return components in case they prove incompatible or do not fit in the car. Bear in mind each unit must be installed and may require custom mounting fittings. Keep personal tastes in mind. Rock and country music lovers usually prefer stronger bass ranges. Classical music demands good mid and treble.

The way to allocate your spending: 40% to 50% for tuner/tape participant, 25% to 30% for amplifier, 25% to 30 percent for speakers (unlike home gear, for which half the recommended cost may go for speakers ).

General guidelines: Components are a better deal than manufacturer-installed original audio equipment. Great manufacturer-installed equipment can cost $1,000, a cost that will typically bring you much better noise if spent on components. Try to find a dealer that has put a sound room to hear and compare various systems.

Under-dash components are easily installed.

Overriding drawback: A thief can slip out the under-dash gear as readily as an ashtray. Choose in- car sound system /CD players if you don’t want to store the parts in the trunk each time you leave the vehicle. (If you still want an under-dash system, Sony parts are elite ones )

Amplifiers: Most auto-sound packs gain from amplifiers that reinforce bass and high-treble tones.

Problems: Amplifiers are bulky and frequently must be installed under a seat or in the back. Unless your tuner has a bypass circuit allowing one to plug into the preamplifier, your costly amplifier is only going to boost the twisted output of the built-in amplifier.

Smart buying: Look for amplifiers measuring power in watts (w) per station in terms of distortion (THD). Goal: About 5 watts per channel at 1% less or distortion. To get this, the amplifier might need 50 watts per channel cause few function at greater than 10% efficiency in a car.

Bi-amplifiers: They provide different power boosts for bass and treble ranges. Bi-amplification may be called for when separate bass and treble speakers have been installed.

Speakers: Speakers must be compatible with amplifiers. Their power capacity should be marginally higher than amplifier. Case in point: Buy 60w speakers for a 50w /ch amplifier. One way to be certain of speaker/amplifier compatibility is to buy them as a package.

Stereo sound requires at least two speakers. Many fans choose four. Non-directional bass speakers are best placed in the mill cutouts in the rear window shelf. Next best placement: In rear doors. Treble speakers can be mounted facing door panels or under dash.