Car Audio and the High End


I am both an automotive hobbyist and a dedicated audio geek, and something that has always struck me is the difference between the two when it comes to music reproduction.

The car guys often spend a huge amount of money on 'improving' their car audio, which mostly means creating a bass heavy unnatural (usually loud) sound that gives them some sort of satisfaction.

The audio geeks like me may make some slight improvements in the stock car system (a notable one is swapping out the speaker drivers that perhaps cost the factory $5 for something that cost 10 times that and calling it done) but don't seem to be bothered by mediocre sound (by high end standards). Personally, I view car audio as having to be good enough not to annoy me while driving home to listen to some really well reproduced music on the home system.

Then of course there are the outliers of car audio who load up the vehicles with some much amplification that they win SPL level contests at levels that preclude anyone actually being inside the vehicle lest they have their hearing seriously damaged (the audio equivalent of those people that like to watch cars spin their tires on the spot until they burst, IMHO)

I wondered whether there were any that hang out on this site that overlap their interest in audio between cars and home, or whether they mostly stuck to home use.....
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It seems to me that the disconnect between auto and home hobbyist is often fundamental.  The car guys seem to want volume and thump and the home adio guys want a realistic listening experience.  Car guys think home guys are wimps and home guys think that car guys are Neanderthals.

And if you are a home guy, don't dare to try and explain to a car guy that the wattage ratings for car audio are ridiculously detached from industry standards (and I have seen that inaccuracy, or rather huckstering lying, sneaking into home theatre as well)
I enjoy both and look for similar things from my home and car system. Obviously what can be done and how they sound are dramatically different. In cars I generally spend 2-3k and can get a very nice setup. I always start with amplification and then add in HQ front speakers. If I have the budget a sub is the last thing to do and rear fill speakers.

Yes all too often people just add a sub to a stock setup which sounds just awful. But a good setup with more power and better separate drivers can really sound and image well. The imaging is unfortunately somewhat driven by existing speaker locations. I also stick to OEM head units (lossless music on USB) and stock speaker locations so setups are stealth. I do longer drives fairly often so a good rig in my car is important. 
Lexus LS460 with a Mark Levinson Sound System….

Luxury with superb sound.

Nuff Said..

—Charles—
For car audio I have always taken a "is it good enough" approach - especially with the way most cars are designed today and aftermarket is not such a great option. 

Right now I keep going back and forth on getting an Audi Q8 or A7. The system it comes with is what I will use and it seemed decent enough. 

Agree with the OP that the home system is where the I place all my efforts.