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Crank It: A Guide to Caravan Sound Systems

Car audio systems have improved greatly, so it’s easy to enjoy good music while on the road. But what do you do when tucked up at night in the caravan, or sitting around a campfire?
Constantly evolving technology means we have more choice and better caravan sound systems than ever before. From small portable speakers to surround sound, CDs or a digital music library on your iPod or laptop, there is a system that will suit you.
Compress It
Music in mp3 format is ‘compressed’, meaning it takes up very little space; so it’s perfect for caravan music. Find new favourites online or convert your CD collection by copying it onto your hard drive using software such as iTunes.
Before leaving home, transfer the music you want onto your smartphone or a high-capacity iPod, which will hold thousands of songs in one tiny place. Alternatively, make up a few digital playlists and store them on data CDs for playing in the car stereo – most play mp3 files and it means you don’t have to carry multiple audio CDs.
Both your iPod or phone can connect to your car’s sound system via Bluetooth and are rechargeable during transit.
Surround Sound
The serious enthusiast might opt for a surround audio fitout, with wireless speakers in living and bedroom areas and external waterproof speakers mounted under the awning or in a luggage compartment.
It’s important to remember, however, that the more output you want, the greater the drain will be on the available power. The size of your DIY sound system might also depend on the space available in your caravan.
Bluetooth Speakers
At the opposite end of the scale is a portable Bluetooth speaker system. They’re tiny, last for ages on battery and require minimal power to recharge. You can have music playing on a computer in the caravan and sit outside with just the speaker beside you, booming out as loud as you like.
Bose has a high-quality stereo model on the market for less than $300. Alternatively, there’s one that doubles as a waterproof speaker/light for under $200.
Headphones
For those times when you want to enjoy the full sound of a rock concert or Wagner’s Ring Cycle, a good set of headphones will allow you the full indulgence without disturbing your fellow travellers.
Headphones that sit over the ear are better than the in-ear or ‘bud’ style, which don’t always fit, or stay in place. Noise-cancelling headphones are more expensive, but they do block out most engine, road or campground noise.
Sound systems are becoming more compact and powerful all the time. Talk to other caravanners, audio resellers and RV manufacturers to see what’s available and how it could work for you.
Need more room to fit your surround-sound system in the caravan? Try these ways to reduce clutter.

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