THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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62 n Performance & Hotrod Business n May 2014 AUDIO SOLUTIONS Installation Issues And still, for all the smaller size and remote-control capability of today's au- dio components, "finding space in older vehicles can be tricky," says Greenberg. Dash openings for radios are often oddly shaped—assuming there's any opening at all. "This has meant a glove box installation or under-dash mount, with mixed cosmetic results and limited access to controls." As Greenberg notes, however, a hidden amp controlled by a handheld device pretty much solves the problem of where to put the head unit. "Some simple amplifier setup is required the very first time you connect your de- vice," whether through the device's stereo headphone jack, or wirelessly using a Blue- tooth receiver/amp. KnuKonceptz offers various lengths of Krystal Kable that plug into a 3.5mm (1-1/8-inch) stereo jack at one end, while the other end bifurcates into two male RCA connectors that plug directly into a pre-amp or amplifier. On the other hand, if the instrument panel in the car you are building already contains a radio—or at least space for one— you can keep that authentic, integrated look by using a "direct fitment" radio from Cus- tom Autosound. The company specializes in packing full modern functionality—in- cluding CD controller, iPod connectivity and a USB port—into reasonably authentic reproductions of factory radios from GM, Ford, Chrysler, and VW dating back to the 1940s. "Right out of the box," says McDonald, "they fit the stock dash without any adjust- ment." The newest of these, unveiled at the 2013 SEMA Show, is the Slidebar radio—"the most original-looking radio we have ever built, with every modern upgrade imagin- able. The Slidebar appears OE—complete with analog dial—but with the flick of the slide bar the display turns digital." Rated 300 watts, the Slidebar incorpo- rates an iPod dock, USB port, subwoofer- out, and other modern features. Custom Autosound also offers a wide range of replacement kick panels with in- tegrated speakers; plus Secretaudio systems that are fully hidden and remote-controlled. "We've recently upgraded all our hard- ware," McDonald adds, "and switched to ISO plugs for our radio connections." Brown points out that the latest amplifi- ers are not only smaller, but also generally more efficient, in the sense that more of the power they consume comes out as mu- sic rather than heat. That means less heat generated in a potentially confined space, as well as less current taxing the electrical sys- tem of an older vehicle. "Additionally, smaller amps offer more flexibility in mounting location." Electrical as well as physical issues need to be considered also; cars and trucks built before the 1980s weren't wired for more ste- reo wattage than most people have in their homes. Some things haven't changed. "Despite all the new technology out there," Haynes observes, "you're still dealing basically with 12-volt power and an audio signal. But if you're planning on putting 1,000-watt am- plifiers in an older car, you better make sure you have a battery and alternator that are up to the job." "It takes power to make power," adds Jobin. "Hot rods and classics may have a minimal alternator—or even a generator— so you do not want amplifiers that draw a lot of current. The efficiency of our KICKER PX amplifiers is above 90 percent." And the amps are "about the size of a brick," making them "hot rod-friendly, as they can be hidden in previously impossible locations." Some super-high-wattage systems may require some beefy cable connected directly to the battery. So KnuKonconeptz offers a HOTROD The Alpine PDX-V9 is a five-channel amp that measures just 10-1/8 by 2 by 7-1/2 inches that is easily stackable if the application calls for more than one. (Courtesy Alpine Electronics) Compact new-generation amps pack plenty of power and are easily hidden in the small spaces of a vintage hot rod. (Courtesy Alpine Electronics) PHBMAYp58-91.indd 62 4/2/14 12:08 PM

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