THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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May 2014 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 61 possible to fit real subwoofer systems and high-performance speakers in a manner that complements the theme of the car." JL Audio's TW3 "thin-line subwoofers create awesome bass where mounting depth is limited," he says, and are available in 10- and 12-inch diameters. Also of interest are JL's C3 "convertible" speakers with polymer woofers and silk-dome tweeters that can be mounted either coaxially or separately, as the application demands. Selecting A System We asked all of our experts whether they would recommend different systems for ve- hicles of different sizes and/or different inte- rior environments—citing such examples as the tight, open cockpit of a prewar roadster vs. the somewhat larger but enclosed cab of a vintage pickup vs. the relatively large inte- rior space of a sedan-sized muscle car. "A smaller airspace is easier to fill with sound," answers Jobin, "but then it's more difficult to find room for all of the equip- ment. In a coupe or pickup cab, one set of speakers in the kick panels should be enough. The subwoofer(s) can go under or behind the seat, depending on where the gas tank and other necessities are. "Larger sedans benefit from having speakers on all four corners, e.g. in the kick panels and on the parcel shelf," he continues. "As in a public address system, the more speakers there are, the less strain there is on any one pair. And in a sedan the subwoofers can be fitted into the trunk without much trouble." But Brown cites different priorities. "The first order of business is to deter- mine what type of performance the cus- tomer is after," he says. "The entry level is a basic 'deck and four' system, with a head unit driving four speakers from its internal amplifier. This is a good basic setup that will deliver decent sound quality after a relatively easy installation. "From there the first obvious upgrade is to a subwoofer with its own amplifier, which adds greatly to the 'feel' of the mu- sic," he continues. "Fortunately, the mar- ket now offers a great many compact sub- woofers that don't take up the whole trunk, as in years past. To save space in a small coupe or pickup, a compact subwoofer can be installed beneath or behind the seats, or in a center console. Our 8-inch Type R subwoofers can by mounted virtu- ally anywhere, even easily integrated into a 1-cubic-foot custom-ported or 1/4-cubic- foot sealed enclosure." Alpine even offers the already-enclosed SBR-S8-4 "for easy drop-in installation." "The third and best option is a set of good-quality component speakers with aftermarket amplification in addition to the subwoofer. A great way to install such a system is to run all five speakers off of a single, compact five-channel amp. This will provide the best overall sound quality without taking up much space." He offers as an example the Alpine PDX- V9, a five-channel amp that measures just 10-1/8-by-2-by-7-1/2 inches—and is easi- ly stackable if the application calls for more than one. Alpine also offers an intermediate step via its KTP-445A Power Pack, "a tiny four- channel amp that plugs in behind the head unit and doubles the power of the system," says Brown. At 7-7/16 inches wide by 1-1/2 inches high by 2-1/2 inches deep, it's "a great, affordable upgrade for a basic 'deck and four' system." Haynes agrees that a custom audio sys- tem "should be built around the custom- er's listening needs as well as what the vehicle will or won't allow. When dealing with older vehicles you usually don't have 6-1/2-inch speaker holes in the doors, so there are always going to be some compro- mises. We do recommend when dealing with convertibles that a good amplifier is always installed. With the loud wind noise, an amplifier will give the consumer the volume they need while protecting the speakers from blowing." "An open car means lots of wind noise while cruising," Jobin adds. "It takes speakers capable of reproducing loud mu- sic to be heard over 40 mph. Bass gener- ated in the trunk will be mostly lost once you pick up speed." KICKER's PX-Series speakers are "de- signed to be more audible in the portions of the audio range that can be heard above wind and road noise. Our smaller speak- ers use neodymium magnets to reduce mounting depth and weight without com- promising audio output." "Open cars present a challenge," Brown notes, not only acoustically, but because audio components may be exposed to the elements. "A good option here is the use of marine speakers, as a boat has many of the same qualities as an open car. 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