Car audio has a rich history filled with industry and hobbyists alike. People who have pushed the envelope with their installs, technology, products, and intelligence. Their contributions will always be regarded in some fashion; whether it be sharing knowledge via a forum, sharing experiences in install tricks, creating new products to help us get closer to our goals of a great car audio system, or continuing to push the competition aspect of the hobby. With the vast amount of knowledge available I asked some of my friends who many consider “heavy hitters” in the community a few fun questions to see how their different origins and histories influence their perspective on the hobby today.
Steve Cook , 40s , owner and custom installer at AudioX Inc Custom Car Audio in Florence, AL.
“Little by little” by Robert Plant… and … wow this is hard. I cannot possibly tell you my five favorite songs. There’s way too many. But I can give you five favorite artist instead: Pink Floyd , Dire Straits/ Mark Knopfler, Keb mo, Beck, Van Halen.
Favorite thing about car audio besides creating cool installations is just listening to music in the vehicle, creating an atmosphere, and a realistic soundstage. That’s what keeps me going. Searching for that perfect car audio bliss.
My first system was in my 79 Camaro. I had an alpine tape deck hooked up to some flea market 6×9’s in the back deck and I sat in my car in the driveway and listened to it for hours. I was 16 and thought it was the coolest thing ever.
But how I got started in car audio is another story. My friend in art school, his dad worked at StereoRama in St. Petersburg, Florida. He had a Firebird with a 500 W Alpine system in it and my friend said we were going to go for a ride down the beach in his dad’s car. So we jumped in and went for cruise down the beach. He started playing Frank Zappa at volumes I never heard and clearness I’ve never heard before with 4 10 inch woofers in the back and Alpine mids and highs and amplifiers. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. A concert in the car. Unbelievable to this day. That is what started it all for me! I wanted that!
Then the SPL bug hit me and after seeing some of the world’s loudest vehicles compete with the crowds standing around them in awe, I wanted to be the world’s loudest. After 4 years of competing in 2004 I won the Extreme Cup for the world’s loudest vehicle and then continued on breaking records until 2008 until I realized that this was very difficult and an extremely physical thing to do. Toting around a 22,000 pound van full of concrete, steel, batteries and equipment was getting very dangerous and not worth the hassle! So I started up my SQ addiction. Then the goal to have the best sounding vehicle in the world was my only drive! And to this day I still sit in my garage and listen to my stereo and tweak on it to gain that little bit extra sense of realism and perfection that I can only try to get out of it.
The biggest things that’s changed in car audio in the last 10 years is the power of the amplifiers has increased and the physical size has decreased, as well as digital processors are now available so you can fine-tune a vehicle like you could never do before. You can almost use stock locations in the car and a DSP to get the same effect today as a rebuilt dash or some crazy install back in the day. It’s amazing what you can do now with the technology and products we have compared to years ago.