Car Audio Zone in Houston


Dec 22, 2010
I'm feel the need to write an unbiased review on this place. If you Google this place, there's tons of reviews and all are 5 stars. However, I feel that everyone who wrote a review doesn't know much about car audio.

Well a little over 3 months ago I decided to stop by Car Audio Zone, seeing all the positive reviews online had me thinking this place was the best in town. First off to all of you who haven't been here, the location of this place is bad. It's not in the ghetto, but the area surrounding it is pretty bad. Anyways, as soon as I walked in I was greeted by the owner. He asked me what I was looking for, the type of sound I wanted to achieve and more. I explained everything to him and we agreed on a system. I already had a head unit installed so I was getting a whole upgrade minus that. The price was pretty good especially for what I was getting. I gave him my keys, sat down and watched some TV. The waiting area wasn't big but neither was the shop itself.

After several hours (there was someone ahead of me) everything was done. During my wait time I spoke with the owner, Shawn, about multiple things. He seemed like a genuinely great guy, and I was positive all was going to go well. When I got into my car I couldn't believe how great everything sounded. I was the happiest person for about a month till I looked at my amplifier settings. I figured everything was set fine, so I had no reason to mess with it. WRONG!

I've only been into car audio for about 10 months, and one of the first things I learned about amplifiers is that the gain setting isn't a volume control. Unfortunately, the installer didn't know that. The gain was set to max, and he also had 18DB of bass boost cranked up. I was shocked that my sub hadn't blown to this point, so I turned everything down and left it like that. I went back to the shop the next day and had another installer fix it. Turns out this guy was worse. He jacked the gain up on my speakers, did the same thing to my sub as the last guy and somehow after all of this I started picking up alternator whining noises.

To my dismay, I decided to give them ONE more attempt to fix everything. They ended up having the installer from the 2ND time look at it. This time he once again jacked the gain up, added about 10DB of bass boost, but lowered the speakers gain all the way. After getting home and realizing this, I called the shop owner. He told me his installers have 15 years of experience, which was obviously a lie. I got off the phone with him, and vowed never to go back there. I feel dumb because I thought for the longest time my 250W RMS sub sounded so good. Turns out all of that bass was dirty, clipped distorted sound.

They charge a fair price on their products, but that's about it. There's tons of Boss and Sony stuff getting installed there so I have to assume most people that go there don't know too much about car audio. I'm not an expert by any means, I probably know less than 99% of everyone on this forum. However when I seem to know more about basic settings than the person working on my car, I can't recommend the place to anyone. If you don't have much money then save up and go to a better shop.

I'd give this shop 2 out of 5 stars if I had to rate it. The only positives being the owner (although he lied) and the prices. The negatives being the installers, the area surrounding the shop, the quality of products there (Memphis PR was the best stuff they had, which is what I got) and the complete lack of car audio installation knowledge.

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Reactions: The HACKER


Junior Member
Oct 16, 2011
Houston TX
I'm sorry you had a bad experiance at that place. I've Found Being a installer myself that 50% of the installers in mom and pop shops don't understand gain controls at all. If anyone here know gain controls are a voltage control to what the Radio Pre out voltage is putting out. What this means is you want to try your best to match up the gain with the RMS pre-out voltage your radio is sending to the amp. Lets say is you have a 4 volt pre out radio then you would want your gains around 3 to 2 volts on the amp, Becuase most radio companys don't rate the Pre out volteage at RMS power. Anyways I hope this help someone else out in the long run. And If you would like to try somewhere else where the installers have a good understanding of pretty much everything. Try Fry's Electroncis out S.W Freeway or Webster TX . Hit them up if you want them to tune your system.


MC Boy

Junior Member
Dec 6, 2011
Houston TX
I have found that Mom and POP stores are much better than Fry's or Best buy or for that matter any chain store because they are affordable and know much more about products and Installation than these chain stores and their Installers do, probably because the owner's are usually there to insure customer satisfaction as it is important for them to do so in this competitive age and unlike individuals working in fry's or best buy they actually care for there customers because they depend on them to bring them more business. Installers are much more knowledgeable and usually have been working for the same company for many years, I've tried retail and now I go to a Mom and Pop store I am much happier.

As far as the member that has mentioned a car audio shop and his experience with them is concerned I would say you learn something new every day but one thing is for sure paying more does not always mean you will get a better result learn systems first than invest in one if you cant explain what you want the seller does not know what to sell you.


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