If one were to study the timeline of Car Audio Systems, it would look somewhat like this –
- Monophonic AM
- Motorola Dashboard Radio
- The FM i.e. the two-way Radio
- The Cassette Player (Mono/Stereo)
- The CD player
- The Digital Audio Player (Non-supportive of the iPhone aux)
- Digital Audio players that are supportive of the iPhone aux but leave out the Android Users
However, the latest car audio systems are compatible with all smart phones and are almost always wireless. In such scenario, is it even valid to question the value of old school car audio components? Yes, in a lot of ways it is. Old school car audio components are of a sturdier built and can add a lot of merit to the final product. For instance, amplifiers have moved on from being 2-channel to multichannel but unless your amplifier is stable, you are not going to have a solid sound system.
An Overview of the Brands – Then and Now
Brands such as Orion and A/D/S (previously ADST) have survived the test of time. Some others like the not-so-friendly Chrysler (What with the turntables, back in the day!) haven’t completely disappeared from the scene either. On the other hand, brands such as Alpine (of the Motorola fame) maintain a steady, moderate presence quietly surviving the market changes. One might get a fair idea of the old school brands that have stayed on and the new age brands that have since formed a firm foothold in the market by looking at the Gear4Wheels’ list. It gives you a very clear and concise picture of the good, better and best in the market currently. However, if one were to look at the situation practically, older components have very little to offer. The latest products in the market offer competitive prices, and whilst they might not be as sturdy as the products built 15 years ago, they offer excellent quality at their price.
The Balance Between Millennialism and Nostalgia
To be fair to them, it is the only way to go in this highly cut-throat, capitalist, millennial world where e-commerce rules the game. Thus, if one is indeed buying an amplifier or any other audio gear that is over a decade old, then it is ideal to also use it in a vintage car. Those products are bound to add more touch and charm to antique models than in the modern day cars. More often than not, these products offer little more than nostalgic and sentimental value. In that case, we should simply cut the oldies some slack and let them revel in the past even if for a little while.
Change is Inevitable – Newer Components Over Older Ones
The market has gone through an enormous change and hence, the change in car audio systems was also inevitable. It is going to be a companion for the many long drives that one shall take from the life of a car. Hence, whether you’re going old-school or new-age, the final output only counts if it has impeccable sound. Some of the old-school amplifiers still help in improvising the sound to a considerable extent but the same cannot be said for all the products. Even in case of amplifiers, it is ideal to buy the newer ones over the older ones as it might lead to bleeding and distortion of sound.
Thus, are old school car audio components worth is? In a lot of ways, they are but do they stand a chance before the new technology? Not so much!