Stereo Buffs Crank Up The Sound

A growing number of car stereo buffs believe louder is better. And companies are catering to that "crank up the volume" market.

Top of the line stereo systems can easily cost thousands of dollars and generate enough decibels to rattle windows a block away.

You're sitting at a red light, it could be anywhere, when you hear that distinctive thumping. A low frequency bass from someone's car stereo starts your windows rattling.

Benjamin Carroll is getting used to the raised eyebrows and occasional obscene finger gestures his loud stereo system attracts. Standing next to his truck, you can actually feel the sound.

"My bass sounds pretty good. I set car alarms off all the time. The system, pretty kicking. I like going downtown, cruising with it up. Of course, looking to make sure nobody is getting upset with the loudness. But other than that, it's just a nice show," said Carroll.

Companies compete for "best of show" when it comes to sound. The variety of speakers and amps and stereo accessories makes shopping for the perfect system a difficult decision. Do you want clean, quality sound or blast out the eardrums decibels?

Josh Seal sells car stereos for Empress Audio Systems.

"There's kids that come in here and spend two, three, four thousand and on up. We've done up to twenty thousand dollars in one vehicle," Seal said.

For many customers, louder is better.

"Some of the largest speakers take one thousand watts of real power. Some of the more expensive amps are going to have that. I mean a lot of the kids are nowadays running 500 to 600 watts average," he said.

Cranking up the volume on a car stereo is nothing new. That's been happening for years. Another thing that hasn't changed is bragging rights. Car stereo lovers still like to talk about who has the best system.

Benjamin Carroll gets stares and attention wherever he drives.

"People have given me the point where they just roll up their windows and say oh no. And other times they just sit there and look at me and say, oh that's pretty nice," he said.

Nice and loud.

There is a definite rivalry among car stereo buffs. Empress Audio sponsors a "crank it up" competition to show whose car stereo is loudest.