All About that Bass … and 9-inch Screens … and Bluetooth … - The Eleventh Hour
Back in the day, when huge audio systems dominated the show scene and truck beds were filled with orderly rows of subwoofers, Truckin magazine used to do 12-Volt issues on a regular basis. Although making big bass, or “bringing the doom” as my friends Pops and Captain call it, is no longer a staunch rule for building a custom truck, it’s still pretty popular. DB Drags are still happening, and because of new technology, more is now being done with less. Take the current trend in amplifiers, for example. Ten or 15 years ago people would buy giant monoblock amps that spanned the length of their cab wall and boasted giant wattage numbers that almost never were true. Nowadays, with digital technology, one or two amps that you can palm with one hand will power up a system that will piss off the neighbors and make most audiophiles happy. Subwoofers and component speakers are taking advantage of technology, too. While the competition subs are still enormous, there are now tons of shallow speakers made to pack a punch while tucked away behind or under seats—great news for us custom truck guys.
In this issue, not only did we peruse the CES show for new products and put together a buyer’s guide with tons of cool new stuff, we also immersed ourselves into the world of car audio, doing not one, but two different installations on various project vehicles (actually, we did three, and ran out of room so one will be saved for the next issue, but I’ll tell you about it here).
To try and cover different approaches to upgrading the audio system in trucks, we worked with three different companies and three different installers and were on three different budgets. The first was a relatively modest install in our oldest truck, adding a double-DIN touch screen, new component speakers, a pair of mini amps, and a 10-inch sub in a universal box for under the seat. It was a budget-minded installation and a similar one to what you would get if you shopped around at your local mobile audio shop. The second installation was geared more toward all of us old-schoolers who are looking for the most bass for the buck, but with a twist. By utilizing a stealth head unit and a pre-fab under seat box, you’d never know the system was there until we turned up the bass knob. We made big doom without breaking the bank. Finally, we took advantage of state-of-the-art technology and installed a 9-inch touch screen in our newest project vehicle, along with new components and a healthy dose of bass. This was definitely the priciest of the builds, but considering what it takes to purchase a new truck and build it to this level, it’s all in proportion.
What do all of these new systems have in common, you ask? Connectivity. It’s a big buzzword, and for good reason. It’s what we’re all looking for these days. Bluetooth, access to SiriusXM, HD Radio, or at least a USB or auxiliary port. If you don’t have some sort of access to digital music and you’re driving anything newer than an old-school hot rod pickup, then it’s time to step up. We were behind the times with some of our own projects. Now we aren’t, and we’ll never go back.
Keep on Truckin’
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