Car audio

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Car audio/video (car AV), auto radio, mobile audio, 12-volt and other terms are used to describe the sound or video system fitted in an automobile. While 12-volt audio and video systems are also used, marketed, or manufactured for marine, aviation, and buses, this article focuses on cars as the most common application. From the earliest days of radio, enthusiasts had adapted domestic equipment to use in their cars. In the 1960s, tape players using reel to reel equipment, Compact Cassettes, and then 8-track cartridges were introduced for in-car use.

A stock car audio system refers to the OEM application that the vehicle's manufacturer specified to be installed when the car was built. A large after market industry exists where the consumer can at their desire replace many or all components of the stock system. In modern cars, the primary control device for an audio system is commonly referred to as a head unit, and is installed in the center of the dash panel between the driver and the passenger. In older vehicles that had audio components as an option, such devices were mounted externally to the top of or underneath the dash. Car speakers often use space-saving designs such as mounting a tweeter directly over a woofer or using non-circular cone shapes. Subwoofers are a specific type of loudspeaker for low frequency reproduction. Extremely loud sound systems in automobiles, which have been nicknamed "boom cars", may violate the noise ordinance of some municipalities.

Motorcycles have been utilized with similar equipment since they also have the so-called "car audio" experience. Even pedal bicycles, as well as homemade boomboxes have utilized sealed lead-acid batteries (or 12V power supplies) for applications outside of motor vehicle use, likewise the store displays which mount in demo models prior to aftermarket purchases for installation.

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