Audio And Video System's - That's Entertainment!
If you've gotten this far through this month's issue of Truckin', hopefully you noticed this is our special Audio/Video issue. Many of the trucks and SUVs featured here have remarkable audio and video systems with state-of-the-art components, and custom installations that dazzle the senses.
Seeing all of the latest mobile electronic wizardry takes me back to my first couple of cars in high school - a '55 Ford station wagon and a '58 Ford Fairlane. When you're in high school, the most important piece of equipment in your ride is the radio. At 17, one of my favorite things to do was to cruise the streets with my buddies with my favorite tunes blasting on the radio. Since I attended high school from '65 to '67, two of the tunes that come readily to mind are House of the Rising Sun by the Animals, and Lil' Red Ridin' Hood by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. That music of choice came from a radio unit with big push-button channel changers, huge knobs that controlled the volume and frequency, and was belted out from a monochromatic, tinny, chromed 3-inch speaker. The tunes may not have been crystal-clear, but they were all mine.
Naturally, the quality of today's on-board sound systems and the vehicles themselves have come a long way from those tank-like creations of the '50s and '60s. On-board sound systems are no longer just radios, but rather head units, speaker systems, CD changers, amplifiers, subwoofers, crossovers, and more. With the fairly recent addition of automotive video systems, the mobile electronics equation has significantly multiplied.
The contrast between the sound components of the '50s and '60s, and the sophistication of today's mobile electronics offerings hits me hard on a personal level every time I hop into my Project Sequoia. The Sequoia (see the feature on page 144 of this issue) features seven TV screens, a DVD/CD/MP3 changer, a navigation system, an XM radio, a DVD player, and much more. While I naturally don't use all of these components on a daily basis, it never fails to amaze me the level of entertainment that is available at my fingertips as I cruise down the road. Back in the mid-'60s we thought it was the height of cool to have an eight-track tape deck installed in our ride, and if you were lucky enough to have it play through four speakers located in strategic spots inside the cab, you could truly amaze your friends with the quality of the tunes. Nowadays, you better have at least eight speakers to belt out those sounds, and no system would be complete without a pair of subwoofers, a couple of amps, crossover units, a few tweeters, and some type of equalizer to balance those tunes just right. Amazing our friends has truly been taken to a whole new level, and who knows what heights we'll be reaching in the near future?
The great thing about mobile electronics equipment is you can get as crazy as you want with your own individual install, or keep it simple, limiting the components to those essentials that really make the driving experience a pleasurable one. An upgraded head unit, a set of quality integrated speakers, and a CD changer can go a long way to improve your listening experience without doing great damage to your wallet. Or, if your wallet is fatter than most, the sky's the limit - as can be seen within this issue.
I know from personal experience that after cruising a modern-day SUV equipped with the latest audio/video goodies, it would definitely be hard to go back to the radio-equipped cars of my youth. After all, House of the Rising Sun never sounded better than when played through today's seven-speaker state-of-the-art on-board system.