Do i need a subwoofer or is just a CD enough?

So I bought new speakers for my car (Citroen C4 2007) rear and front.
My current CD is old and doesn’t have an AUX input nor Bluetooth so I can’t really play music from my phone/Spotify.
A mechanic told me that he can sell me a supreme CD that will optimize my new speakers to their fullest, that CD is pretty expensive…
I looked at the internet and found a pretty nice CD (I think?) its called Nakamichi NQ711B.
It has a microphone, AUX, Bluetooth, USB, and an app to control the bass, vol, etcetera… It costs much less but I wonder… Will my audio experience decreases if I won’t get the more expensive CD? If no is there a reason to buy an expensive CD? And if just a cheap CD but also a good subwoofer is what I need?

I was surprised to see that Nakamichi sells for about $50. Nakamichi used to be a very high-end brand. No longer - like Dual, it is now used for ultra-cheap electronics. I don’t think any $50 head unit would be considered ‘good’, especially if it has all those inputs/outputs. It can’t have much power, and clean, wide frequency response power is important to avoid distortion. I’d plan on spending $150 or more.

Cheap radio head units will be cheap in quality (possibly in sound quality, most definitely in build quality,) but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the most expensive will be the best in your situation.

do some research- read head unit reviews on, on, on Citroen forums, and then decide what you are after compared to what your wallet can afford and what is practical for your car.

Yeah. Sad but familiar story. They made world class high end tape systems, and then when CDs came along they just fell by the wayside because they didn’t innovate. They went bankrupt something like 20 years ago and were bought out by a Chinese company.

OP, why are you going to a mechanic for car audio advice. Most mechanics aren’t also audio experts. You need to talk to a car audio installer. The Crutchfield suggestion is a good one, though you might not be able to order from them depending on what country you live in.

Unless you are just sitting in a parking space with the engine off, the automobile is a lousy audio environment. Even sitting in a parking space with the engine off, it is still not a very good audio environment. It is full of hard surfaces that reflect too much sound muddying it up. When moving, road noises and wind noise intrude making the low volume sections hard to hear and drowning out the higher frequencies.

It is also a temporary environment. People tend to not keep their vehicles all that long, and you are starting with a vehicle that is already 13-14 years old. Yet despite all this, some people will invest more in a sound system for their car than they will for their living room.

But, to answer your question, a low buck head unit will have some serious limitations to getting the most of the system. One thing for example, you might compare two units that claim to have equal power out, the high end unit will claim (and probably actually have) a lower THD (total harmonic distortion). Many will be at 0.1% or lower while the cheaper unit will have 10% at max power, if they even list the THD at all. Most cheap units won’t because it is not good.

THD is very important as it caused by clipping the signal. Think of a spring. Let’s say the initial stiffness of the spring is 1kG per cm of stretch or compression. For the first 5 cm, it is pretty consistent. 5cm of compression or stretch requires 5kG, 3cm requires 3kG etc. But as you go beyond 5cm, it requires more than 1kG for every cm, say 6.5kG to go to 6cm, 8.5kG to reach 7, 11kG to reach 8cm and 20kG to reach 9cm. You. are approaching the limits of the spring. To go from 5 to 9 cm require an additional 15kG.

An amplifier has limits too. For example a 0.01v to 0.1v input may produce a 1 to 10 watt output that is linear. But above a 0.1v input, less power out is produced so the output curve will start to flatten out. When that happens, the amplifier starts to produce harmonics that did not exist in the original signal, thus distorting the input.

This is only one way the more expensive amplifier is worth the extra cost. There are quite a few other parameters to be considered as well but this post would get way too long. But the cost/quality curve is also non linear. You might get a head unit that is 5x better than the cheapest one for only 2 to 3x the cost, but after that, the next 10% increase in quality could cost you 10x as much.

I would also not waste money on a sub unless you listen to music that has low frequency tones. Most music does not. Music will a strong beat does not necessarily have a lower tone. The beat is not the tone. But if you do get a sub, it does not need to have a larger amp than the amps to the regular speakers, if it is more powerful, it can also distort the sound.

Needs are air,water, food, shelter, everything else is wants.

1 Like

I’m really confused (or I think you are). A CD or sub-woofer? These are two completely different components and have nothing to do with anything. Secondly - do you mean Head Unit that has a CD player? Never seen a head unit that’s just a CD.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a auto audio system to get good sound. As @Keith said…too much road noise to spend a lot of money on an expensive audio system.

Listen to @shadowfax Why are you going to a mechanic for car audio. If you want to do it yourself then check out Crutchfield. If not then find an audio installer. Even in my small town there are 4 within 10 miles of my house. I don’t know what your budget is, but you can get a decent system for under $500 installed…Depends on the bells and whistles you want.

I think the OP is not in the US so wouldn’t Crutchfield have international shipping charges ?

The way that the OP phrased his query reminded me of an old (very old) joke from my high school days:
Do you walk to school, or do you carry your lunch?

I think that we need the OP to define his terminology for us.

You sound like some old duffer. But I agree. I’m an old duffer too.

The OP needs to visit an vehicle audio shop so he can hear and actually understand what each unit does . Plus it needs to be compatible with what ever phone he has.

I think the "CD"here is meant to be a head unit. And yes a new headunit could improve your driving and listening experience esp with bluetooth/etc. I have installed quite a few and they have always been an improvement on basic radios. You have to find the installation kit for your car to make it fit with the adapter for the wiring harness as you don’t want to splice into factory wire.

For those who think the car is not a nice place for music, you should sit in my Veloster with subwoofer and the dimension system. It is worlds different than what the basic radio would be.

Sure, but where else can most of us crank up a stereo real loud? A high end killer stereo in an apartment with thin walls and cranky neighbors is like a high performance sports car in a traffic jam.

Well, I am old but doesn’t duffer refer to some kind of golfer? I never had any regular scheduled free time to take up golf until I retired and I had too many other things I wanted to do to take up the game.

Hey, first of all, thanks for all the answers!
No, I’m not from the U.S, in my country the mechanics are “all doing” meaning that they install also audio-related parts.
In “CD” I mean the radio unit, I’m not sure how to explain it otherwise? check the CD model that I’ve posted - " Nakamichi NQ711B" you’ll probably know what I mean by then haha.
But perhaps I haven’t explained my self good enough… I’ll try again
I bought new speakers for my car and want a good audio experience (bass, volume, etc…) I want to listen to music by connecting them to Spotify on my phone but since my CD doesn’t have an AUX input I can’t do that. So I need a new CD that has AUX, Bluetooth, and a mic (maybe some more useful features?) Anyway, as I understand it, the CD is only a mediator between my phone and the speakers? So if I have good speakers, having an expensive or a cheap CD won’t make a difference in sound quality? Overall the question is - do I need an expensive CD so I can get a good audio experience? If yes then what makes a good CD… good, so I’ll know what stats to look for?
My mechanic has advised me to get the UTE-200BT, he’ll take 215$ for it, installation included.
I can’t really find reviews of it… how do I know if it’s good? If it will maximize the potential of my speakers to their fullest?
what CDs do you recommend me buying so I can get a supreme sound quality? I love a strong bass and it needs to have AUX, Bluetooth, mic…
thanks for all the help!

First of all you are not looking for CD . Call it a Head unit or a radio with the features you want . Many new vehicles don’t come with CD players now .

It seems you will have the work done so try and find a shop that can let you hear what ever they want to sell . Where ever this unknown country is .

When you say “CD”. It sounds like you mean “Head Unit” The head unit is the part of the system you interact with, it can have a radio/CD player/USB port/AUX input etc, on it. Most modern head units don’t have CD players anymore, as most people use bluetooth or flash drives to play music. I haven’t used a CD in about a decade.

When it comes to quality, you get what you pay for. The last vehicle I had that I did an extensive aftermarket system was my old Bronco. This would’ve been back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. It replaced the factory head unit (AM/FM/tape player) with a Sony headunit that was AM/FM/CD. I replaced the crap factory speakers with Infinite Kappas ( 6.5 inch 3 way in the front doors, 6x9 2 way in the back), added a 4 channel 400W (I think) JL audio amp to feed the Kappas, which were very power-hungry speakers. And added a subwoofer box in the cargo area with two JL Audio 10’s powered by a JL audio 2 channel amp which was on the order of 600 watts.

The results were impressive to 20 year old me. However as I got older and more boring, having a banging sound system became less of a priority. Though these days I’m tempted to do some more quality of life improvements to my Mustang. There’s certainly room for improvement, but I really like Sync 3 and would probably just replace the factory speakers and maybe do an inline amp, and possible a stealth box sub in the trunk.

Anyway, a new modern head unit will probably get you some of the functionality you’re looking for (Bluetooth, USB, etc.) However a cheap head unit will not likely produce hugely better sound quality as cheap head units don’t always have noticeably more power (watts ) than a factory radio. Peak wattage isn’t nearly as important as continuous (RMS) wattage. Also different speakers respond better to differing amounts of power. The factory speakers almost certainly are made with lower power in mind, and they are likely of dubious quality. Aftermarket speakers are almost always better in terms of quality, but some of the higher end ones only sound their best when they are being fed more power than a typical head unit can provide (this is where amplifiers come in). Of course there are also aftermarket speakers that are made to be powered by the head unit only as well.

Subwoofers, particularly ones that are mounted in the trunk/boot require some planning. How many do you want/need? What size?, How much power is it going to take? Can you use the head unit to bypass certain frequencies? Can the trunk/boot be effectively matted to keep unwanted/unsoundly vibrations in check?

This is what I’d do.

#1 get a new head unit with a CD player (if you want). Features like Bluetooth and added microphone can make for a nicer driving experience because now you can do hands free driving. Also adding Apply CarPlay or Andriod Auto is a nice feature, especially for using GPS. A new head unit can improve the overall sound quality.

#2 If you think the system is lacking base then think about a woofer. It’s really a personal preference.

did you purchase good quality speakers? If you spend go and spend a ton on a head unit and went cheap on speakers, it still won’t sound good- or won’t last long.

again, this is a lot about personal preference and wallet capabilities. As others have said, go talk to an audio pro and see what they recommend.

Here’s what I could find:

This doesn’t look like it plays CDs, is that ok with you? It list 50 watts x 4, that’s probably peak, the US version is 50 watts peak, 18 watts RMS, which is OK.