Pros & Cons Of Installing DSP In Your Car Audio

DSP In Car Audio

DSP can be a good addition to your car. It can drastically improve the audio system in your vehicle and give a professional feel as well. How? You will know all about it in this article. In this little article of mine, I will discuss what DSP is in detail and whether it is worth the price.

Certain issues can prove DSP to be a bad decision for you while other points say otherwise. Ultimately you will decide what is best for you. I will just walk you through to your final decision with all you need to know about DSP.


What Is DSP In Your Car Audio?

@RJ Garage

DSP is short for Digital Signal Processor. This is a device that will give you the ultimate control over songs that you play while driving. The hardware package makes sure to improve the audio quality and take it to its ultimate level.

This type of device is popular nowadays. Especially the modern cars are compatible with the processor. If you are a music enthusiast like me and have a car, you will love DSP a lot.

I adore it for the changes it brought to my car audio. Though some cars have built-in DSP features, the number is not many.

The good news is if you want to install DSP in your ride without any fuss. It’s a hassle-free process. It took me 15 or 20 minutes to be honest. Let’s discuss it in detail in the following segment, shall we?


Why You Should Install DSP In Your Car?

Want the simple answer? You should install DSP if you want to experience surreal audio quality during every ride. After installing DSP for the first time, I noticed how it optimized my car’s existing sound system by miles (got the reference?)

Well, the regular audio system of my car was good but never it never felt fully satisfying.

The same can be true for you as well unless you don’t enjoy music. Regular midrange, tweeters and woofers are typical for most four-wheelers.

They just amplify the sound of car audio but don’t separate and distribute the audio appropriately. As a result, you don’t get clear and crisp audio.  

To be honest, this is not much of an issue if you are into songs that are just humming. But if you enjoy listening to thumping beats, and enjoy quality songs like me, DSP is essential for you.

Believe me… unlike regular car audio, DSP evenly distributes each audio signal so perfectly that it feels like the music has gotten into you. With this, I got to adjust all the aspects of music.

Overall, it will seem like that the music is coming from the complete dashboard. Whether you are in the driver’s seat or in the back of your car, DSP will send you the vibe just the way you like it. 

To sum it all up, you should install DSP in your car because:

  • It will improve and maximize your car’s audio quality
  • It will allow you to control your car audio more effectively
  • It let you enjoy music the way it should be

Sounds alluring, doesn’t it? But hold on, there are certain points that can make you think twice before installing DSP in your car.


Why You Shouldn’t Install DSP In Your Car Audio?

DSP brings its demerits along. You may not want to handle these issues and it’s totally fine. Well, not only you, but many people find it troublesome to install and maintain DSP in the car. However, these points don’t seem much of an issue to me because the output is too good.

As I mentioned earlier, DSP requires a lot of optimizing. To handle these optimizations, I had to learn all the parameters of my DSP system. Learning all these is a must because you will have to adjust the music by modifying these options.

People may need to do it with every song if their playlist is filled with different genres. My playlist had such variety that I had to put my hand on the dashboard every 5-6 minutes.

It was a disaster before I learned all the adjustments. The setting I played The Beatles on, did not sound good with Nirvana. As a result, the songs were ruined for me.

Though after learning the settings I managed to get the tune of every song right, the learning process was a pain in the neck. So, install a DSP only if you are willing to go through these troubles.

The DSP requires regular maintenance as well. You have to make sure that the installation is done perfectly and do a thorough checkup whenever you notice the tiniest malfunction.

This is because a small issue can turn into a huge problem in your DSP. My first DSP installation was done hastily. As a result, a few things went wrong, leading to more trouble. Don’t repeat my mistakes and be careful while setting it up.  

In conclusion, the main reasons I think why you shouldn’t install DSP is,

  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Can be complicated to use
  • Demands frequent modification

If you can take on these points, the DSP will offer you satisfying sound quality. I think it is worth the trouble to take on these simple troubles because the outcome is amazing.

The Art of Wiring Tweeters to Coaxial Speakers Without Crossover


Is DSP Worth the Price?

Is DSP Worth the Price?

Before installing the digital signal processor, you should know what you want and what you are getting out of it. If your expectation doesn’t meet the reality, your wrong investment can haunt you for years. The regret is unbearable. But what about DSP? Is it worth the price?

Based on my experience, DSP is 100% worth the price. I had no problem with installing it and controlling the whole system. Tuning was a piece of cake as well once I got a hang of it. It was most beneficial for me because my car already had a shitty music system.

But no, DSP doesn’t improve poorly-done music. For example, if you are listening to a bad version of a ’70s song, you can’t expect it to sound amazing with DSP. This device will only make the sounds loud and clear to reach you effectively. It won’t turn clubs into spades.

What I mean to say is, when you are expecting that DSP will make any song sounds smooth, then you are in a for disappointment. I also think that it is not a worthy expenditure for those who don’t want to go through complicated modifications.

In addition, if your car’s sound production is damaged in any way, just repair it instead of getting a DSP. This will be a smart move.

In a word, don’t install a DSP if you want to make low-quality music sound amazing. DSP doesn’t promise to do that. But if you want to experience any music at its best, DSP is worth it.


How To Install DSP In Car?

If you are reading this part then it means you are interested in DSP. Well, any music lover would drool over the opportunity to control the tone of any track. This is the best way of enjoying music to its fullest.

But how do you set this thing up in your car? It can be an exhausting process if you don’t know the appropriate process.

But you don’t have to worry about that because below I have elaborated the simplest method of installing DSP in any car. This is the way I have set up my DSP a few months ago. Check it out.

Step 1: Preparation

I Started by disconnecting the negative battery terminal. Here you have to break the circuit of the vehicle first so that the power wire doesn’t touch the ground while active.


Step 2: Removing the Dashboard

How To Install DSP In Car - Remove the Dashboard

Take a screw and work on the dashboard. You have to take it out. Though you can get the work done just by removing the existing audio system, if you aim for convenience, pulling out the whole dashboard is what you should go for.

I unscrewed the dashboard panel first and gently pulled it out from its place. It was very easy.


Step 3: Making Way for the DSP

After removing the existing sound system, I found lots of wirings attached to it. I had to remove these wirings and make sure that the wires remain in perfect condition.

Once everything was cleared out, I put my DSP between the head unit I just pulled out and the amplifier that was still there.


Step 4: Remove the Wiring

How To Install DSP In Car - Remove the Wiring

While removing all the cables and wire connections, I had disconnected the RCA cables as well. Now I connected these RCAs to the DSP.


Step 5: Setting the Program

Once the connection is secured, I attached the DSP to a computer. Any notebook or tablet will do the job just fine. Me? I used a laptop.

Once attached, I ran the software sent along the DSP.


Step 6: I Did the Essential Modifications

How To Install DSP In Car - adjust DSP settings
@Эмиль Валеев

At this stage of the process, I adjusted the DSP settings and did some modifications. Here’s a short list of what I did:

  • Sourcde de-equalizer and ensured that the head unit has a flat frequency response.
  • Configured the graphical equalizer for all the channels with a spectrum analyzer.
  • Configured the graphical equalizer of the front 2 speakers and of the 2 rear speakers as well.


Step 7: Final Touchup

Finally, I attached all the wirings from the head unit and of the amplifier to the DSP. Once the connection was secured, I put the DSP in its place and set everything back on.

This is how I have perfectly installed a DSP in my vehicle. Give this method a try and enjoy the its performance.


How To Tune DSP In Car?

How To Tune DSP In Car

Tuning a DSP is as easy as pie. You have to rotate the dials and set them to their appropriate positions. However, there’s no set parameter of any perfect tune for a particular song. It greatly depends on the music and your preference.

I usually turn on music and rotate the dials. I stop adjusting once I find my vibe. Trust me, that’s all I do.


What Is the Best DSP For Car?

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From my experience, I can confidently say that Taramp’s Pro 2.6 is the best DSP for car audio that you can buy right now. I have been using it for a few months now and I love it.

It has adjustable limiters that make controlling the device easy. Once you set it to automatic, the device will set itself in a universal setting.

I found the parametric equalizer of this DSP very useful. What’s more alluring is that there is not only one, but multiple equalizers for each output. Its equalizer allows a massive frequency range of 0 Hz and 20 kHz. Impressive, isn’t it?

I must mention its user-friendliness. I like its scroll button. It allowed me to do simultaneous adjustments in the equalizer settings. A single touch takes me to the next menu while a longer touch takes me to the previous one.

All these settings are saved in the memory. These adjustments can be reset from the memory anytime you want. These settings were saved even after cutting off the power connection from the DSP.

Although I missed the Bluetooth support. It really would’ve been the cherry on top. But I can’t expect everything considering the price point. Yes, its affordable price was surprising and I am sure it will not fail to amaze you as well.

Overall, Taramp’s Pro 2.6 is a marvelous, and my favorite DSP for cars. You can check the device out in Amazon.



I can understand people having several questions about DSP and its implications on their four-wheeler rides. In this section (which I’ll periodically update) I’ll be answering these lingering queries one-by-one.

Does A DSP Improve Sound Quality?

I believe I wrote this down somewhere in the article. However, the short answer is a “YES”. But improving sound quality doesn’t necessarily mean making any music sound good to the ear. It only means that DSP will bring clarity to the music and give a loudness to it.

In addition, it evenly distributes the music in a close environment. From this perspective, you can say that the DSP will improve the performance of your car audio.


How Much Does A DSP Cost?

This thing can cost anything between $50 and $800. The difference is usually in ‘compatibility,’ size, and overall performance. However, you don’t need the most expensive DSP to get the best experience. A decent DSP for car audio costs around $100 to $300.


Is DSP An Amplifier?

In a sense, yes. DSP is an amplifier. It processes audio just like an amplifier does. The difference is in the subject of process. DSP makes music clearer and loud while an amplifier just makes music sound louder.

Can a Car Amp Be Too Powerful?


How Do I Choose A DSP?

There are a few things you need to keep in mind while choosing a DSP for your car. Firstly, you have to see if it’s compatible with your car. Though there are some universal DSP available in the market, it is always a good idea to choose the DSP tailor-made for a particular car model.


What Is an Alternative To DSP?

Amplifier can be considered as an alternative to DSP. However, in my opinion, amplifiers are not as good as them. Yet, they get the job done.  


My Last Few Words

DSP is good when it comes to processing music and audio inside the car. This thing spreads sound waves evenly, takes care of audio clarity, and does many more.

Overall, these things are good additions to your vehicles. Though they are not mandatory but are worthy of consideration. I have installed one and I am encouraging you to get one for your car if you are into songs and music. Otherwise, your car’s audio system is just fine.