With technology improving every year, it seems that the only way to keep up with the latest innovations is to attend trade shows and conventions. After attending the SEMA and CES events, we were able to see some of the newest products, as well as the latest trends in the 12-volt market. The most recent shows showcased the fact that the audio industry’s technology is surpassing some OEM applications. In some cases, the A/V aftermarket world is getting together with the OEM manufacturers to produce decent sounding systems, which can be easily upgraded by the owner.
Since today’s technology is ever-changing, the “cool factor” is always increasing. The one thing that will remain constant during these changing times is our “gotta have it” mentality. Like a moth to the flame, we’re attracted to the latest pocket gadget, which is guaranteed to make our life more interesting, if not easier as well. Car manufactures realize this, and are starting to offer things like integrated solutions for your cell phone and MP3 players. The aftermarket is following suit with integration options for the new OEM radios. They are now offering everything from Bluetooth technology, which seems to be one of the biggest options that most of the manufactures are trying to incorporate, to the iPod integration that has become increasingly necessary in today’s market.
The aftermarket is constantly providing solutions for these “gotta have it” needs. CES (Consumer Electronic Show) 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada, showed us quite a few technology leaders with menu-based transmitters, spread spectrum technology, Bluetooth integration, and modular applications, just to name a few. The original equipment manufacturers are working hard to offer the creature comforts that we desire, such as remote start, auto window closure solutions, and navigation and video options. To stay ahead of the game, the aftermarket has to stay on the cutting edge while keeping the factory advancements at bay.
Manufacturers are now bringing the high end to the people with moderately priced, but exceptional-sounding offerings in speakers and amplifiers. While the high end is still available for those who desire the best, the entry level is no longer seen as second rate equipment. Serious sound and reliable power are in, and the prices are right where you want them. For the power-hungry and bass-thirsty, many manufacturers are returning to the hey-day of monster power by offering subs that only the serious can appreciate. They are also pushing amplifiers that occupy very little space. With both ends of the spectrum receiving ample attention, it just leads us to wonder what next year has in store for the consumer.
Over the years, manufacturers listened to the consumers, as most car owners grew weary of sacrificing trunk space. Manufacturers developed shallow-mount speakers that are perfect for the small spaces commonly found in today’s interior designs. These shallow mounts are now packing some big power in a very small package. Other manufactures, like Pioneer, have developed woofers that are compact and use several magnets to put out some impressive bass for your classic ride.
Sirius satellite radio has also completely changed the audio game. Now, you can listen to your favorite type of music from coast to coast, without having to hear commercials or change the station. If your radio is not equipped with a built-in receiver, you can add a receiver on the aftermarket as companies are releasing several different types of universal adapters. XM satellite radio has also developed a portable system, which allows you to take your music anywhere you like, from your home, the car, or to the office.
Another innovation that’s here to stay is the Apple iPod, which allows you to download music and hear it anywhere you go. The latest iPods are available with up to 160 GB of memory space for music and video, making it possible to maintain an entire music and movie library in the palm of your hand. The integration of iPod technology can be seen in the small “shuffle,” or in the more economical Nano’s, which are great if you have a small music library that you want to bring with you.
Summing up all of the latest technology in a few pages is nearly impossible to do, as the technology coming from today’s audio/video manufacturers surpasses yesterday’s technology by a wide margin. With so much new product out there, we hope that we can be helpful with some information for all your audio needs, from entry-level car stereo to the more serious earth-shattering sound systems. We hope that our 2010 Audio/Video Buyer’s Guide can help you make the right choice for your custom vehicle.
True JL Audio subwoofer performance at a very nice price! These 12″ subwoofers have a long excursion, DMA-optimized motor system, Elevated Frame Cooling technology, highly linear suspension and have a Power Handling of: 200W RMS. If you want to learn more about this product and the JL Audio line up log onto www.jlaudio.com
Superior sound quality and simple drop-in installation make Boston SC Mobile speakers a perfect fit for car audio enthusiasts looking for great paerformance from factory locations. To learn more about this and other Boston Acoustics products visit them on the web at www.bostonacoustics.com
Boston’s G1 car audio subwoofer incorporates features such as SureSet impedance selection and protection and RadialVent cooling-plus the flexibility to work in multiple enclosure types. To learn more about this and other Boston Acoustics products visit them on the web at www.bostonacoustics.com
JL Audio C3650 converts from coaxial to component system in seconds. Oversized 1.2-inch woofer voice coils for superior power handling. This system features a pure silk dome tweeter for smooth, accurate high frequency response, programmable outboard crossover networks with tweeter and mid-range presence controls DMA-Optimized motors for superior mid-bass and linearity. If you want to learn more about this product and the JL Audio line up log onto www.jlaudio.com
Clarions subwoofer line includes three series, the WQ high-end series, WF mid level shallow series and the more economical WG series. The WQ and WG series offers one 10″ and 12″ subwoofer. All provide balanced sound, while delivering a powerful acoustic space yet maintaining pure sound quality. The WQ series subs include dual gold plated terminal blocks, custom stamped steel powder coated chassis and accommodate 1500Watts of max power handling with 500Watts of continuous raw power. They both include aluminum finished top cones, high-excursion rubber surrounds and dual strontium magnets. To learn more about Clarion’s audio line visit them at www.clarion.com
OPTIMA Batteries/ Spiralcell Technology is what differentiates OPTIMA batteries from the competition in both appearance and performance. Their unique shape is the result of six spiral-wound AGM (absorbed glass mat) cells that are tightly compressed into a sealed case. This patented Spiralcell design allows OPTIMA batteries to deliver superior performance in both starting and deep cycling applications making them perfect for all your different applications. To learn more about Optima batteries log onto www.optimabatteries.com
The Solo-Baric L5 inherits all the same patented technology as the dominant L7 square woofer, with a hot new look and improved design for an even mightier performance. The L5’s motor structure also handles extreme power with high-temp dual voice coils covering a new heat-dispersing, solid pole piece, a poly-cotton semi-progressive spider with perimeter venting built into the spider landing, and long-lasting Spiralead tinsel leads. Altogether it’s a square-sub recipe for delivering superior bass. To learn more about living loud check out kicker on line at www.kicker.com
The rugged ORION XTRPRO124 12 inch subwoofer provides continuous power handling of 500 watts RMS at a price that won’t break the bank: just $249 MSRP. Born with a bad attitude and the raw muscle to back it up, XTRPRO subwoofers hit harder and stronger than the competition. For more info please visit www.orioncaraudio.com
Setting a new standard in value for high performance amplification. With stunning looks, an aggressive feature set, and crisp clean power, GTA Amplifiers the right choice for any demanding listener. To learn more about this and other Boston Acoustics products visit them on the web at www.bostonacoustics.com
High Current Competition Class D Mono Amplifier drives 2,500 watts RMS into 1 ohm: serious amounts of power driving ridiculously low impedances at completely sick output levels, when you have to be the LOUDEST, the LOWEST and the STRONGEST system in the joint. For more information please visit www.orioncaraudio.com
Pioneer developed the industry’s first basalt fiber made from natural rock interwoven with aramid fiber. Used in the surface layer, this Aramid/Basalt Fiber material is highly rigid and better absorbent, enhancing stability and maintaining integrity throughout a wide temperature range. D-Series speakers feature an exclusive rear chamber tweeter enclosure that we first used in our famed PRS speakers. It extends mid-range frequency for improved vocal imaging and staging. The built-in crossover improves the transition from mid to high frequency, for a smoother mid-range to tweeter response. Audiophile-grade capacitors and inductors are used, and all components are encased in a clear acrylic cover for protection. To learn more about log onto www.pioneerelectronics.com
The new XD amplifiers employ JL Audio’s hyper-efficient NexD technology to unleash huge, audiophile-grade performance from an amazingly compact package. Achieving total efficiencies above 80% and employing an unregulated power supply, XD amplifiers strike an impressive balance of fidelity, power and size while also putting far less strain on your vehicle’s electrical system than conventional “big” amplifiers. If you want to learn more about this product and the JL Audio line up log onto www.jlaudio.com
GM Digital Series
Class-D amplifiers are 80-90 percent more efficient than those of traditional class A/B design. The monoblock GM-D8500M and GM-D7500M are engineered specifically to power in-vehicle subwoofers and feature 2 ohm stability allowing them to deliver high power and ahigh current in a wide variety of configurations, from a single subwoofer to multiple subwoofer applications. The 4-channel GM-D9500F completes the line-up of GM Digital series by providing a matching full-range Class-D amplifier featuring the same electrical and thermal efficiencies and the same compact chaassis design. To learn more about Pioneer’s audio line look up on line at www.pioneerelectronics.com
Kicker’s DX-Series Amplifiers simply provide reliable, relentless power, and make it affordable for those who seek top features in a high-performance car audio or multimedia system. An additional, often overlooked benefit is that each individual KICKER Amplifier’s actual power always exceeds its rated power, as documented inside the carton. To learn more about living loud check out kicker on line at www.kicker.com
The XR-1S is Kenwood’s smallest monoblock amplifier ever, delivering 600 watts (RMS) at 4 ohms and 700 watts (RMS) at 2 ohms, with a maximum power rating of 1,500 watts. Kenwood’s exclusive Dual Sigma Drive circuitry is included for improved damping factor, better musical dynamics and lower distortion. The XR-1S also has a continuously variable low pass filter (50Hz to 200Hz), along with preamp-level outputs for adding multiple amplifiers in an efficient, level-balanced and frequency-balanced manner. An optional remote bass control can operate the volume of the XR-1S from the driver’s seat and will provide up to +18dB of bass boost as desired. To learn more about Kenwood visit them at www.kenwood.com
The new double-DIN DDX616 carries many of the advanced features, minus built- in Navigation, as the DNX6160 including the 6.1″ WVGA touchscreen panel, external media control, personal customization and built-in Bluetooth. The optional KNA-G610 ($600.00 suggested retail price) is a hideaway module for those customers who wish to add Garmin navigation to the DDX616 at a later time. To learn more about Kenwood visit them at www.kenwood.com
Pioneer is transforming the automobile into a hub for entertainment and convenience. The AVH-P3200DVD model boast large touch screen displays from 5.8 to 7 inches and include a variety of features such as the enhanced touch slide user interface, Apple iPod/iPhone control, USB connectivity, SD card playback, Bluetooth, and navigation upgradeability. To learn more about Pioneer’s audio line look up on line at www.pioneerelectronics.com
The VX400 is a double DIN 6.5 inch touch panel. This unit now offer built-in Bluetooth for hands-free operation and audio streaming, it is also HD Radio Ready with iTunes Tagging and are navigation ready with optional accessories (THD400 and NP400 respectively). The sleek units offer a significant and stylish upgrade to simple factory radios. To learn more about Clarion’s audio line visit them at www.clarion.com
The VZ400 is a single DIN unit with motorized 7-inch touch panel. This unit now offer built-in Bluetooth for hands-free operation and audio streaming, it is also HD Radio Ready with iTunes Tagging and are navigation ready with optional accessories (THD400 and NP400 respectively). The sleek units offer a significant and stylish upgrade to simple factory radios. To learn more about Clarion’s audio line visit them at www.clarion.com
For single-DIN DVD receiver applications, Kenwood introduces the KVT-516 ($850.00 suggested retail price). The KVT-516 is equipped with a retractable 7″ WQVGA touchscreen monitor and Z-Action mechanism for exceptional reliability. Users can play their favorite audio or video content from their iPod, iPod Touch or iPhone and control the device through the touchscreen panel on the KVT-516. Garmin navigation can be added at a later time through the use of the KNA-G610, and the KVT-516 can be upgraded to Bluetooth later via the KCA-BT300. To learn more about Kenwood visit them at www.kenwood.com
The INA-W900 was designed to be easy to use. Source icons are big and bright for quick recognition. A simplified intuitive interface allows drivers to easily manage navigation functions and audio features. Four hard buttons on the outer frame of the INA-W900 give quick access to the most frequently used audio and navigation menus. To learn more about Alpine’s audio line visit them at www.alpine.com