The Evolution of Modern Day Car Audio Systems

POSTED ON October 25, 2019

If you’ve been searching for a “car audio shop near me,” you’ve landed in the right place. The team here at MTS Customs is not only experts in-car audio, but we have a passion for high fidelity sound in the mobile environment. Because our enthusiasm is so great, we find it important to take a step back every once in a while and appreciate the past.


The introduction of the first mobile audio system

Did you know that the first car audio system dates back to the early 1930s? Well, now that you do, you can appreciate the evolution the system has undergone over the decades past. With its introduction from the American Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, the first car stereo cost around $130, making it a luxury to only the wealthiest of families.

Powered by a single battery, this system used vacuum tube technology. This posed an issue as the power it required to operate couldn’t be handled by the existing car battery systems. Another problem was the size of the unit. Unable to be located within reach of the driver, this steering wheel operated AM audio system left room for many advancements.


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Highway Hi-Fi

It was not until the 1950s that major advancements occurred with car audio. For example, in 1956, Chrysler phased out its expensive transistor radio with the first (and only) in-car record player named the Highway Hi-Fi. However, this audio system was only available as a factory-installed item at the time of purchase. Thus, limiting the availability to consumers who were not in the market for a new vehicle.

Due to limited music selection and a high tendency to malfunction, a later version was released by RCA in 1960. Because this model was not Chrysler exclusive, the label “highway hi-fi” was dropped. However, this version experienced even more issues with functionality and phased out even more quickly than the first version.


Compact Cassette and CD Players

With the difficulties that vinyl was producing, it was time for a change. In 1964, Philips stepped up to the plate with its launch of the compact cassette. In 1968, this model became optional in-dash equipment for new Ford models. Although noise reduction and sound quality continued to be perfected, this model held on strong until the mid-1980s when Pioneer introduced the CDX-1, the world’s first CD player for vehicles.


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Modern Day Audio Systems

The introduction of the CD player brought about audio as we know it today. Instant track skipping, multiple music selections at once, stock and aftermarket units, unprecedented sound quality, and more have revolutionized mobile audio as we know it today.


Today, like yesterday, our audio continues to be perfected with innovative technologies. For more information on the “car audio shop near me,” contact the experts at MTS Customs. We’re our professional choice for custom automotive aftermarket solutions.


Come to MTS Customs for all your MA car audio needs. Contact us at 978-251-1230 to talk to our experts today.