The roar of the engine, the wind in your hair, and the whoops and hollers from your buddies behind you—sounds like the soundtrack to a perfect weekend ride. There’s only one thing missing, and that’s an actual soundtrack blasting from your speakers.
What’s that? You haven’t installed a badass stereo system in your machine yet?
We have to ask—what are you waiting for?
If you’ve been thinking about bringing some tunes along for the ride, there’s no time like the present. The market is chock full of stereo system options for your ATV and UTV, and you can find some of the best right here at SuperATV.
When you’re shopping for audio equipment for your machine, you’re not just looking at speakers. Audio accessories can be pieced out and sold separately (speakers, head units, etc.) or they can be bundled and sold as entire sound systems.
To help you understand what’s available and what you might need, here are some of the most common pieces of audio equipment you may come across.
Think of this as the control center for your audio setup. The receiver takes the signal from whatever your audio source is (your phone, for example) and sends it to your speakers. Head units usually feature AM/FM capabilities, USB and/or auxiliary input, and Bluetooth capabilities. It also might have controls that let you adjust the bass and balance of your audio.
This is an obvious one—the speakers are where your sound comes from. They’re usually sold in various configurations. You might see speakers sold individually, in pairs, or in sets of four or more.
Sound bars are basically like longer, bigger speakers. Since your audio is projected from a bigger source, your music is louder. Sound bars can contain multiple speakers and most can connect to your phone via Bluetooth.
A sound system is a complete audio setup for your machine. These kits usually come with a receiver, multiple speakers, an amplifier, and cables. Some even include LED lights. Since there are more parts, sound systems are a little trickier to install. You get a more immersive audio experience out of it, though.
Even within those four broad categories, you’ll have decisions to make. Not all speakers and sound systems are created equal! Here are some other things to consider when deciding how to enjoy your favorite tunes while you ride.
Speakers and sound bars can be mounted in different locations, depending on your machine. Some are designed to mount to your ATV’s handlebars, and others can be secured at different spots on your side-by-side’s cage. Knowing where you want to put your speakers and also knowing the measurements of your machine’s components (like cage width) can help you figure out which sound system is right for you.
These speakers are going to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. You want a sound system that’s durable and capable of withstanding water, dirt, sunlight, salt, and other elements. Most ATV and UTV speakers are weather resistant, but there are multiple levels of resistance. Some components are more durable than others.
Where is your music coming from? If you’re going to plug in your phone via USB or auxiliary cable, make sure the sound system you choose is compatible. If you’d rather go wireless and connect via Bluetooth, get a system with Bluetooth capabilities. Most sound systems these days will have all of these options, but it’s still good to double check and make sure you’re getting what you need.
This is where the fun stuff comes into play. (Who are we kidding? We’re talking about sound systems here—it’s all fun stuff.) Some people are OK with the basics, but other riders might want something a little extra. In that case, check out the sound systems that come with LED lights or subwoofers. These components cost a little more, of course, but they’ll make your off-road audio experience even more exciting.
If you’re not an audio expert, looking at sound system descriptions might feel like looking at another language. Those strange terms are pretty important and may even help you make a decision—if only you knew what they meant.
Here are some words and phrases you might see when shopping for your audio setup.
An amplifier is an electronic device used to increase a signal’s power. Within a UTV audio system, an amplifier makes it possible to run more speakers. The receiver or head unit of a sound system has an amplifier within it, but depending on how many speakers you want, more power may be needed.
The auxiliary (or aux) port is a standard connection point for headphones, speakers, and other types of audio equipment. On most cell phones, the aux port is where you plug in your earbuds.
Bluetooth is a type of short-range wireless technology that can be used to connect cell phones, tablets, speakers, and other electronic devices. If your sound system has Bluetooth capabilities, it can connect with most cell phones or tablets without wires.
Amplifier output stages are broken down into classes, depending on how power is dissipated. Most ATV and UTV audio amplifiers fall into a Class D category. In the most basic terms, this means the amplifying devices operate like electronic switches, rather than in a linear manner. As a result, Class D amplifiers are more efficient than other types.
This type of speaker incorporates both a tweeter and a woofer (more on these in a bit). Coaxial speakers produce better sound quality than single-cone speakers. They’re also more affordable and easier to install than other options.
Some components in a sound system, like the circuit board, might be touted as “conformal coated.” This protective coating “conforms” (hence the name) to the circuit board to protect important electric parts from harsh environments.
The decibel, abbreviated dB, is a unit of measurement that describes the intensity of sound.
This rating indicates how resistant a product is against various elements—think water, dust, and sand. IP stands for “Internal Protection” and the two numbers that follow represent solid and liquid resistance. This IP rating chart can help you decipher what each of those numbers mean.
For example, let’s say you find a UTV speaker that has an IP67 rating. Based on the chart, we know that this speaker is protected from total dust ingress and from being submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
A tweeter is a type of loudspeaker that produces high-frequency sounds. If you guessed that the name comes from the high-pitched sounds made by birds, you are correct!
Think of woofers and subwoofers as the opposite of tweeters. These speakers produce sound on the lower end of the audio spectrum, also known as bass. Just like tweeters were named after bird sounds, the name “woofer” comes from—you guessed it—dogs barking. The more you know!
Stereo systems range from mild to wild, so you can expect the installation difficulty to vary, too. Some side-by-side speakers can be hooked up in a matter of minutes. Other setups, like big stereo systems, require more complicated wiring.
Knowing how your machine’s electrical system is set up can be helpful when wiring those complicated kits, but it’s not a total requirement! As long as you have some basic tools and a clear set of instructions, even the most novice off-roader can figure out how to install audio equipment on a quad or side-by-side.
The right audio equipment can completely change the way you ride. From ATV speakers to all-inclusive stereo systems, there really is something out there for everyone. Do you just need some tunes for you and a passenger to enjoy? Grab a pair of speakers and you’re set. Are you looking to entertain the whole crew on the trails? Treat yourself to a big ol’ sound system.
Whatever you need, you can find it at SuperATV. Check out our wide selection of audio equipment, from speaker mounts to amplifiers to multi-speaker sound systems.
And finally, you can’t forget about the music itself. Quality speakers are one thing, but a quality playlist is what takes things to a whole different level. If you don’t already have your favorite riding songs queued up, give ours a listen! The official SuperATV Spotify playlist is full of jams that you can’t help but sing along to.