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Get More from Your Factory Stereo System.

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by: ARA
(ARA) - As excited consumers buy 2004 model vehicles in the coming months, one of the first things they want from their pride-and-joys is better sound.

And one of the last things they want is to engage in a complicated overhaul of the dashboard area of their new cars.

Here?s good news -- the days of that trade-off are long gone. With add-ons such as satellite radio, a multi-disc CD changer, or mobile video, even factory stereos are primed for dramatically improved entertainment options and sound quality.

?The good news is that you don't have to dismantle your sound system if you want more than your in-dash receiver can offer,? said Dan Hodgson, vice president for business development at Crutchfield Corporation, the leading Internet and catalog retailer of consumer electronics.

?These products are ideal if you want to keep your factory radio, drive a leased vehicle, or just don't want the hassle of a complicated installation,? Hodgson said.

Adding satellite radio

One of the most popular additions to factory systems is satellite radio, and little wonder why. Once you?ve had an earful of satellite radio?s 100 channels of crystal-clear music, news, sports, and entertainment, you'll find it hard to go back to terrestrial signals.

Delphi and Kenwood have satellite radio tuners that connect to your existing system with a cassette adapter and a cigarette lighter power adapter. The Delphi SKYFi delivers XM satellite radio signals. Kenwood?s Here2Anywhere offers SIRIUS programming. ?These are great products because you also can buy a kit to connect them to your home receiver. That way, you can enjoy satellite radio at home and in the car,? Hodgson said. Satellite radio requires a small monthly subscription fee.

Mobile video

Even the most bland factory stereo system can be spruced up with add-on DVD or VHS players. The Farenheit DVD-5 plays DVDs (and CDs), and can be stowed in a hideaway location. Add a custom Vizualogic headrest with a built-in monitor that slides into your factory openings without cutting or splicing, and you can enjoy movies in your car without overhauling your vehicle?s interior.

Add an amp or a sub

For great clarity and definition, and richer bass, an amplifier/subwoofer combination is definitely the way to go. An amp will add fuller sound to the interior of your car -- this can make a fantastic difference in roomy SUVs.

Most of today?s amplifiers have inputs that can be connected directly to the speaker wires in your existing or factory system.

Power a subwoofer from the amp to hear previously unrevealed bass notes. Some subwoofers, like Amplified Bazooka Tubes have a convenient built-in amp, so you don't need a separate power source.

Play multiple CDs

Tired of fumbling for single discs on (or under) the seat to put in your CD receiver? Then add a multi-disc changer for hours of listening enjoyment. An FM-modulated CD changer sends a signal from the changer to an unused band on your FM dial.

That means any vehicle with an FM radio is ready for a CD changer upgrade. Some even play MP3-encoded CDs.

Some manufacturers, like USA SPEC, even make CD changer/adapter packages for particular makes and models of vehicles, so that you don't have to pay dealer mark-up.

For more information, visit for car stereo add-on products, or visit for tips on improving your factory system.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Editor?s Note: Founded in 1974, Crutchfield Corporation is the nation?s largest direct integrated marketer (catalog, call center, and Internet) of consumer electronics products. It offers a convenient, full-service shopping destination to buyers of car and home audio/video products. Providing an unprecedented level of customer service, Crutchfield is noted for its high integrity, product expertise, and technical support. Mailed to approximately 7.5 million households, Crutchfield?s catalogs include comprehensive explanations of product and technology intended to help consumers make informed buying decisions. Crutchfield was the first authorized audio/video retailer on the Internet, launching its Web site ( in the summer of 1995.

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Courtesy of ARA Content

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