More Power…

Jeff, at Alphecca commented on my boombox entry.

But then I got to thinking (and I’m older then him and so my days were earlier then his) we used to drive around the high-school with (brace yourselves…) our eight-track players in our cars blasting Black Sabbath and ZZ Top. Cars (in my day) didn’t have much of a sound system so we had huge, loose speakers sitting on our back-decks. So in reality we were all the same. And like all high-school kids, we were obnoxious. Some things never change.

You should have seen my last vehicle.  I had a 1996 Dodge Ram club cab with two 10” subwoofers in a box under the back seat, a CD/MP3 player, and two 100W/channel Rockford Fosgate amps.  It started out as a simple project: add an MP3 player and replace the speakers so I could run more power to them.  My reason was that I wanted to be able to hear the music while driving at highway speeds with the windows open (the existing stereo wouldn’t drive the speakers well enough to do this without serious distortion).

I enlisted the help of a friend from work who had an interest in car stereos (it’s interesting to note that he had to keep his rear license plate in the back window because the bass from his stereo had vibrated the rear license plate holder loose).  We met up at another friend’s house in Arlington one Saturday and went down to Trader’s Village where my friend knew somebody who would make us a good deal on the equipment.  We started working on it around noon, with my friend doing the wiring and me doing the mechanical stuff (I had to take the front seats out, pull the front off the dash, and take off the door panels).  We ended up finishing the work on my truck around 2:00 am.

Like all such projects, it kind of took on a life of its own, although the system sounded great.  It also had enough power that I never turned it all the way to the maximum volume setting.  The windows and mirrors would be vibrating badly long before I hit the maximum and I didn’t want to shake anything loose.

Please note that I was always careful not to annoy the neighbors with my stereo (I always turned it down when I left the highway and entered a residential area).  I hate it when people drive down your street at 2:00am making a lot of noise (and bass is the worst, since it travels further).

I’ve already replaced the factory radio in my Avalanche, but I don’t think I’ll take it to this level.  For one thing, the interior of the Avalanche doesn’t allow much space for subwoofers if you want to maintain the ability of the rear seats to fold down when you open the midgate.  The other is that I think I was starting to damage my hearing with the old system (the road noise from driving with the windows down would cause me to turn it up too high).

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