Much design effort is given to the development and tuning of high-end automotive audio systems. Typically, premium speakers, separate amplifiers and careful tunings are used to create very high audio performance levels. Lower cost vehicles and vehicles of lower trim levels often feature more ordinary speakers and no separate amplifier. This typically leaves a number of listeners with little option for enjoying adequate bass performance, improved stereo imaging, etc.
Small changes in acoustical component features and specifications can produce significant returns in spectral performance. Additionally, low-cost, powerful audio digital signal processing (DSP) has made its way into modern receivers. As the processing power of these devices improves, there are new opportunities for lower-level vehicles to produce customer-pleasing levels of audio performance.
This paper addresses issues facing designers of lower-end audio systems and proposes solutions for potentially vexing problems such as those caused by non-linear speaker excursion. Informal listening test results from expert and non-expert listeners are also included.