Guide To Oscilloscopes For Car Audio

Norvan Martin
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Oscilloscopes are an easy way to measure the sound of your music and audio signals in real time. Oscilloscopes are perfect for testing sound levels and video quality in your car. In this article, we will explain what to look for when purchasing and using an oscilloscope for your car’s audio.

What Is A Car Oscilloscope?

A car oscilloscope is a tool used to measure the signal strength of various audio signals. They have a screen that displays the amplitude of a signal relative to time.

An oscilloscope lets us “see” audio waves by receiving the signal from the stereo and displaying a visual representation of the sound waves the stereo is producing.

It can measure the voltage, current, and resistance of an electrical system. It is also used to measure the frequencies of electric and acoustic signals.

How Do You Use An Oscilloscope?

Oscilloscope screens have several calibrated squares. Each of these squares represents an adjustable time base or voltage level. There are certain controls on the device that allows the user to change the time base and voltage ranges depending on the type of signal that is being inspected.

Why Do You Need A Car Oscilloscope?

You can use a car oscilloscope to troubleshoot your car audio. Oscilloscopes allow you to watch the audio signals and detect problems with your audio electronics. Oscilloscopes are essential for many reasons.

Here are some of the most common uses for car oscilloscopes:

Measure Voltage and Signals

An oscilloscope can be used to measure voltage and signals. This is essential for musicians, audio engineers, and sound system technicians who need to know what’s happening with their equipment.

By measuring voltage and signals, you can determine if a speaker is working correctly and if there are any problems with the equipment or any issues with the system itself.

Oscilloscopes are also great for finding out what’s happening with your audio system. By measuring alternating current (AC), you can determine if an audio system is healthy or needs to be repaired.

Check For Clipping and Distortion

Since oscilloscopes can be used to view audio waveforms, they can be used to detect clipping. You can use them to detect when your stereo starts to clip. Clipping can be hard to detect by your ears alone if it is not excessive. 

To check for clipping and distortion, you can simply look at the sine wave on the oscilloscope and check if it looks clean or not.

If there is distortion, for example, if the volume is turned too high for the stereo to handle, the wave will clip. This means it will become square at the top and bottom. Oscilloscope make it much easier to detect distortion.

Alternatively, you can use a DMM, but you would need to use Ohm Law to calculate the proper voltage levels and you would need to assume a specific RMS rating at a specific voltage and specific resistance.

None of these parameters are constant. It is much easier to see the waveform so you can visually know what is going on. You can even apply test tones and check for clipping. 

Graphical Display

An oscilloscope allows you to see the flow of electricity in and around your equipment. This is very important for musicians, audio engineers, and sound system technicians who need to find out what’s happening with their equipment. By seeing the flow of electricity, they can fix or troubleshoot issues quickly.

To Set Gains

You can use oscilloscopes to set your car amp gains. However, in most cases, you do not need to set gains with the high level of precision offered by oscilloscopes. This is because music is recorded at many different levels.

Calibrate Your Head Unit

Many people use oscilloscopes to determine the sweet spot in volume for OEM head units if using an interface unit.

O-scopes are great for determining the sweet spot in volume for OEM head units if using an interface unit.


If you are using an aperiodic system (meaning the audio is non-repetitive and, consequently, does not have a definite pitch), an oscilloscope is an important tuning tool for such systems.

Controlling Output Quality

Oscilloscopes allow you to control the quality of the output. This is important because it lets you make sure that the sound you are hearing is what you expect it to be. You don’t want to hear distortion or noise in your audio because that would ruin the quality of the signal.

You also want to make sure that the oscilloscope has enough resolution so that you can see the tiny changes in voltage or current that are happening in your equipment.

Why You May Not Need An Oscilloscope For Your Car Audio?

Not everyone will agree that an oscilloscope is a necessary tool for car audio. Many people believe it’s useless for amateur or hobbyist car audio enthusiasts.

For many people, just listening to your systems and adjusting the parameters is all that is necessary. However, the fact is, that oscilloscopes can be very important for many reasons, including checking for distortion and clipping.

Best cheap car audio oscilloscopes – Our Top Picks

If you’re looking for quality sound and great value, then an oscilloscope is the perfect tool for you. The market is flooded with cheap audio oscilloscopes, but not all are equal. Below, we’ll take a look at the best cheap car audio oscilloscopes to help you decide which one is right for you.

Aukuyee 2.4″ TFT Digital Oscilloscope

Aukuyee’s new 2.4″ TFT digital oscilloscope is a great budget option that offers many features and capabilities for the price. This oscilloscope has many features that make it ideal for budget-minded researchers and engineers.

It includes various tools to help you measure voltages, currents, waves, and more. Additionally, the oscilloscope has a digital display that makes it easy to read your data. The Aukuyee 2.4″ TFT digital oscilloscope is also easy to use and provides excellent performance.

YEAPOOK ADS5012h Handheld Digital Portable Oscilloscope

The YEAPOOK ADS5012h is a handheld digital oscilloscope that is perfect for quickly and easily inspect the performance of your audio and video equipment. This oscilloscope is perfect for probing sound and video signals with its easy-to-use interface.

The ADS5012h offers excellent performance for an affordable price. It can be used to measure audio levels, spectra, frequency response, noise levels, and more. The ADS5012h is also lightweight and portable so that it can be used anywhere you want to test audio and video signals.

It’s an excellent choice for beginner investigators or anyone who wants to test audio and video signals quickly and easily.

JYETech DSOShell Portable Oscilloscope

The JYETech DSOShell is a fully assembled, portable oscilloscope perfect for professional testing and analysis. It comes with an enclosure that makes it easy to transport and use, making it the perfect tool for any laboratory or office.

This oscilloscope has been designed with performance and efficiency in mind, making it the perfect choice for anyone who wants to test and analyze audio signals. The JYETech DSOShell is also easy to use, providing users with a clear display and simple controls.

Cheap Handheld Oscilloscopes – Our Top Picks

Looking for a great way to get started in digital marketing? Look no further than our selection of cheap handheld oscilloscopes.

Owon Handheld Digital Storage Oscilloscope, 2-Channel

The Owon handheld digital storage oscilloscope is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable and easy-to-use digital oscilloscope. This oscilloscope has a 2-channel design, perfect for capturing audio, video, or other digital signals.

The oscilloscope is easy to use with its simple controls and intuitive menus. The Owon handheld digital storage oscilloscope is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable and easy-to-use digital oscilloscope.

Velleman Pocket Oscilloscope

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly handheld oscilloscope, look no further than the Velleman Handheld Pocket Oscilloscope.

This instrument has some great features for the price, such as its easy-to-use interface and low price point. Additionally, this oscilloscope is one of the smallest and lightest on the market. It’s perfect for use in small laboratories or classrooms.

Cheap Bench Oscilloscopes – Our Top Picks

Rigol Digital Storage Oscilloscope

Rigol’s digital storage oscilloscope is one of the best options for budget-minded business owners. This oscilloscope is perfect for amateur and professional use, and it’s easy to operate.

The Rigol Digital Storage Oscilloscope has several features that make it an excellent choice for anyone looking to purchase a digital oscilloscope. It includes a 3-inch color screen, so you can see your data, a backlight system to help keep your images bright, and automatic Gain control to ensure accurate measurements.

This oscilloscope is also very affordable, making it an excellent option for busy professionals who don’t have time to spend hours calibrating their equipment.

Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200 MHz Oscilloscope


The Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E, 200 MHz Oscilloscope, is an excellent audio and video engineers tool. This oscilloscope has an adjustable frequency range of 100 MHz to 200 MHz, perfect for analyzing audio and video signals.

The oscilloscope also has a resolution of 0.5 MHz and a memory size of 4 KB, making it easy to store and use your signals. This oscilloscope is also lightweight and easy to carry around, making it perfect for labs or classrooms.

Owon Portable Digital Oscilloscope With USB

The Owon Portable Digital Oscilloscope with USB is one of the best handheld oscilloscopes on the market. It features a 6 MHz probe and has a built-in oscilloscope, wave editor, time display, and USB port.

This oscilloscope is easy to use and is perfect for research and development purposes. It’s also affordable, making it an excellent option for those looking for a high-quality digital oscilloscope.

Siglent SDS1104X-E 100Mhz Digital Oscilloscope

The Siglent SDS1104X-E is a digital oscilloscope perfect for budget-minded businesses. This oscilloscope comes with a 100 MHz frequency and is capable of reading various types of data, including temperature, time, pulse, and sound.

It also has an automatic gain control for high-level signals and a 10-bit resolution for low-level signals. The Siglent SDS1104X-E is easy to use and features a clear display. It’s also affordable, making it a good choice for businesses that need an oscilloscope for research or testing purposes.

How To Use An Oscilloscope To Test Car Audio

To use an oscilloscope to test a stereo, we play “white noise”. White noise uses test tones to check the stereo.

This is just a simple tone at a single frequency (1,000Hz, for example, which is towards the upper end of the human vocal range) from an audio test disc.

Next, we increase the volume of the stereo until the wave squares off, then reduce the volume down until the wave is round again. Doing this ensures that we are testing the cleanest signals possible at the maximum output level.

How To Use A Cheap Handheld Oscilloscope To Set Gains

1. Tools Needed

You will need the following tools to carry out this guide:

  • Suitable portable Oscilloscope with X10 probe
  • A working receiver

The Head Unit

The head unit is the essential part of an oscilloscope. It allows you to view the oscilloscope data and control the oscilloscope’s settings. The settings you make on the head unit will affect how well the oscilloscope functions. The following are some settings you can make on the head unit:

  • The frequency range that you want to work in
  • The type of data you want to watch
  • The resolution that you want to use
  • The color of the data (black and white, color, or RGB)
  • The zoom factor (4x, 8x, 16x, or 32x)

2. Double-check You Have Disconnected The Source Inputs From Your Amplifier

If you have not disconnected the source inputs from your amplifier, they may still be connected.

Once you have reconnected the source unit, ensure that the outputs to your speakers or subwoofers are not connected. If they are, it may be necessary to adjust the output levels on your Oscilloscope.

3. Insert Your Test Cd, And Play A Test Tone On Repeat

Insert your test CD, and play a test tone on repeat a few times to get the settings right.
The first time you use the Oscilloscope, make sure you have the correct input and output levels.

You’ll need to set the gain according to the type of test you’re trying to perform. Oscilloscopes vary in their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential to make sure you understand what they can and cannot do before starting your tests.

If you don’t have enough power or if the gain is too high or low, your Oscilloscope will not function correctly.

4. Configure Your Oscilloscope To The Correct Values

The first step is to configure your Oscilloscope to the correct values. To do this, you’ll need to set the Gain, Width, and Frequency of your Oscilloscope. You can find these values in the scope settings.

Click on the “Gain” tab and set a gain of 10 or higher. You should also set a width of 50 or lower and a frequency of 200 or lower. Make sure your Oscilloscope is set up with a 9-volt power supply for best results.

5. Reinsert The Amplifier Inputs From The Source Unit, And Disconnect The Outputs To Your Speakers Or Subwoofers

If you have difficulty reconnecting the outputs to your speakers or subwoofers, try reconnecting the amplifier inputs from the source unit first.

If this does not work, then it is likely that there is something wrong with your Oscilloscope. You can find more detailed instructions on using a cheap handheld oscilloscope here.

6. Reconnect Your Speakers To The Amplifier And Enjoy Your Music

After reconnecting your speakers to the amplifier, you will want to reconfigure your EQ settings. One common mistake is not reconfiguring your EQ settings after reconnecting the speakers.

This can cause the music to sound garbled or distorted. Adjust your EQ settings after reconnecting the speakers to the amplifier to fix this.

7. Reconfigure Your EQ Settings

Once you have your Oscilloscope set up and your test tone playing, it’s time to adjust your EQ settings. Different EQ settings may be necessary depending on the type of music you listen to.

Oscilloscopes have a range of frequencies that can be used to fine-tune your sound. You’ll want to make sure that the Oscilloscope is set to the appropriate frequency range so that you can troubleshoot any problems you might encounter with your audio.

Liumy Lm2001 Oscilloscope Review


The Liumy Lm2001 oscilloscope is a powerful and affordable oscilloscope that is perfect for use in forensic science. This oscilloscope can measure frequency, time, pulse widths, and other essential metrics with a high degree of accuracy.

Additionally, the Liumy Lm2001 is easy to use and can be used for various scientific tasks. With its large range of measurement options, the Liumy Lm2001 is perfect for any scientist looking to versatilely test their equipment.

Liumy Lm2020 Oscilloscope Review

The Liumy Lm2020 oscilloscope is a high-quality, budget-friendly oscilloscope that is perfect for inspecting digital circuits and signals. It offers excellent performance for the price, making it an excellent value for your money.

The oscilloscope has various features that make it ideal for both scientific and practical uses, such as its high resolution and color screen. It also comes with a built-in amplifier and frequency translator to make it easy to connect to various types of digital devices.

Overall, the Liumy Lm2020 is a great oscilloscope for scientific research and practical applications.


How To Use An Oscilloscope For Car Audio?

You should know a few things about using an oscilloscope for car audio. First, make sure that the equipment you’re using is compatible with the frequency you’re interested in measuring.

Second, be sure to set up the oscilloscope so that it’s capable of measuring the specific frequency you’re interested in. Finally, be sure to understand how an oscilloscope works before starting measurement.

How To Tune Audio With An Oscilloscope?

There are a few ways to tune audio with an oscilloscope. One way is to use the spectrum analyzer. Another way is to use the tuning mode on your oscilloscope.

The first way that will better indicate the audio’s frequency is Frequency Modulation (FM). The second way will show how many harmonics are present in the audio.

What Oscilloscope Bandwidth For Audio Do I Need?

Oscilloscope bandwidth is the maximum resolution range at which a particular oscilloscope can operate. This range is typically determined by the type of oscilloscope and the specific application you are using it for. You need to have a bandwidth of at least 20 kHz for audio oscilloscopes.


Oscilloscope car audio is a great way to watch videos and listen to music while you’re driving. It’s a great way to take your car audio experience to the next level. Depending on what you are testing, you may also need a real-time analyzer or a SPL meter.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin