In 2003 I entered my ordinary (everyday) works Mitsubishi Delica 1996 4wd Works van, into the 2003 NZ National SPL Sound-offs (which that year, were held as part of a public display in/on the old tennis courts beside the main pavilion in Pioneer Park)
I rocked up (silently of course, as I didn’t want to give anything away) and asked if I could enter my van ? Huh.. No they said – it’s only for high powered car installs, as they are the only one’s with enough power for these SPL shows.
Hey there’s a van (sort of like mine) I said.
But it’s got tinted windows they said so must have something good inside.
What a load of rubbish I thought (unfortunately I sometimes think aloud -so they heard that).
Oh, ok if you insist the organisers said, lets have a look at what you think you’ve got.
Now don’t forget – here was an old guy in his late 40’s early 50’s trying to get his (what appeared to be) everyday works van with it’s factory fitted middle row seats still inside, (rear triple bench seat removed, no tinted windows, and it was basically a huge 4WD, with all the windows opened a little, to boot. (for ventilation see – as it’s a hot day).
Who was he trying to fool.?
All the “other” contestants there, had shiny freshly painted cars, or sign-written, mural painted things, that looked like they were supposed to be in some inner city show room window, instead of rocked up to a (behind the pavilion) “Blossom Festival” public sound-off event.?
Or they were everyday “street-cars, and tinted window vans” on lowered springs that had been driven “in”, by sunglass toting young men & women, who were by then strutting around (as if they were important people or something?).
So – the organiser’s decided they look at it, & gave the old works van the once over from a distance and then scoffed a bit, until I opened the sliding door and rear hatch.?
What are all those speakers in there for (they asked).?
Oh – that’s my sound system. There was only an odd and very weirdly arranged assortment of OLD speakers in there, (25 in total) some with their little boxes, some partly fitted to old TV plastic surrounds, some still had the radio-boom-box’s plastic cases attached, even more “oddments” had been stripped out of “anything-that-works” that I could find in the local rubbish-dump/car wrecker’s yard (from some scrapped vehicles).
I did have though:
A nicely made three-speaker 12″ subwoofer 3way lined box, sort of fitted (with tie-downs) across the rear hatch area, behind where the rear row of seating had been earlier ?
Although the box fairly bristled with a LOT of 12″ 12v.DC neon’s of various colours.
Just for effect (I said).
Without then telling them, they were ALSO (by me) used as my “on-board” VU power meters, (thus nine VU’s in total), for all of the subwoofer speakers, & for about 5 mid/bass speakers too, that were scattered around inside the van, including the big one’s in-back.
Oh, and right in the middle of the van’s floor was a HUGE old (Pioneer House Speaker), a “floor-standing-type speaker box”, laid on it’s back – with what looked like a single OLD (house) 12″ 8Ω speaker UPSIDE DOWN on the top of it, (with a few more 12vDC neon’s and a 24v truck number plate light, screwed onto it (no cover = light exposed, as it often blew).
What couldn’t be seen – was the OTHER 12″ 8Ω (original speaker of that box), which was still sitting (in-situ) underneath the “pair” – that was actually from a broken box, that was upside down and firmly clamped to the first speaker, with a small spacing ring to seal the two “speakers” together, thus “forming” a parallel-wired 4Ω “single 12” reverb dual type super/sub-woofer “centre channel” speaker, which was itself NOT fed from any specific one channel but actually was in series with the common earth return “wire” (going back to the amp’s ground itself) = being a “common ground earth return system” -fed from all three of the other main sub-woofers (-ve terminals), which were actually “fed” from a balanced 3ph 3ch TRIPELLO stereophonic (not 2ch stereo) circuit of my own 1965 design.
Thus there were technically four sub-woofers, being three 12″ 4Ω standard single diaphragm subs in separate compartments of that woofer box, which were “wired” in a 3ph “Y =parallel” balanced feed configuration (being 3 speakers, fed at 3 different 3 phase angles, housed in the one big woofer box, all neutral point wired-together in a Y “STAR” circuit that I developed in 1965), & with a virtual (single) dual-speaker-coil 12″ 4Ω (reverb) super/sub woofer in series with them all (as the summation super reverb (& that was also passively bypassed, so that the dual coils ONLY got really=low sub/sub bass frequencies).
I think the “bodies” (buried deep) in the Alexandra Cemetery, must have heard that crowd laughing.? From all the way across town, from behind the back of the pavilion, and with all of the other “noisy” Alexandra Blossom Festival events & Activities (as well as the musical sideshows) still going on as loud as they could.!!! Eh.! What ?????????????
I was a little stunned.? (they had all laughed).
But it’s a “7.3(+1) analogue surround sound system”, that I made myself .. I said.
I still have no idea why they “increased” the noise level of their laughter.
Maybe they wanted to do a special (as loud as possible) “crowd test” SPL reading?
Thus, after they’d looked in the windows, of the nice dusty-back-road “dirty un-tinted windows” (of the works van), with all the middle seats still in the back – just reverse flipped forwards, to make room for .?
A lot of assorted speakers (all makes models & sizes), in no apparent “installed” order.
With a tiny wee “control box” (zip-tied to a 300 watt reactor amp) that I’d made for the RCA connectors, fed from an “in-vehicle” dashboard-fitted Blaupunkt Radio/Tape player.
Oh and an aux-fitted 6-CD exchanger (behind the front passenger seat) for CD’s.?
All they said was: What ? Well at least you have a good brand car radio !!
Ok, we’ll test it.
BUT ONLY AFTER EVERYONE ELSE HAS HAD BOTH (THEIR) RUN THROUGHS.
Just in case you want to change your mind??? (snigger, snigger, snigger).
I waited and listened to vehicles “rattling their innards” all over the tennis courts.?
Playing their “better quality music” !!!
Ha, ha, ha, ha. – You call that: Music.. ?
That wasn’t music, that sounded like 50,000 monkey’s banging silly jungle drums.
After the last “contestant” was tested and the crowd started moving away, I said.
I still want mine TESTED.!!!
You do.? Oh alright then, do your windows up.
No I said, I want to do my “first run” the way it is thanks.
More horrendous laughter.?
Undeterred, I put the old 1970’s solid gold hits volume “whatever” 2ch. tape cassette,
(into the tape slot) and asked.! Ready.?
Any time you want to try they said.
SO I pushed the tape in and watched the crowd..
All the “jaws” hit the concrete at about the same time.
Dead silence from the crowd, after I was told to turn it off.
The initial reading (at 83% full volume on the head unit):
126.6 dB (all windows open, & with the back hatch door UP = open too).!!
What the Ph%^&= /rk ….. “one young fellow said”.
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT POWERING THAT.?
Oh just the head unit, and that wee Warehouse “bought”, el-cheapo 300watt 2ch amp.
More jaws hit the concrete.
Well they looked and looked, and some eventually said.
IT’S INSIDE THE CENTRE SUB BOX.?
What I said.
THE BIG AMP, (they replied back)..
Um – !!! So where’s the heavy-duty 12v DC power feed cables then, I said.?
More stunned silence.
There were none.
Just the standard low quality “house type” figure 8 speaker cables.
Well then, that was just a fluke then some smart young fellow decided.
(all of them mutually agreed).
They WANTED ME then – to close my windows & crank BASSES – ?
But instead I LOWERED the volume & CUT ALL SUB FEEDS
& Yet the wide open “van” still blew a (slightly) “0.3_dB lowered” SPL of 126.3 dB
Just with a whole heap of standard speakers (no subs or super reverb).
Just the main ch. speakers, some mid’s, plus upper’s and tweeters.
Oh and some small LED’s on some of the mid’s up front.!!
(as I had some VU’s there too, see).
126.3 dB WITH NO SUB-WOOFERS AT ALL (nor any “power sucking” neon’s, LED’s, or that truck’s registration plate standard 24v, 21W filament globe light “on the reverb box”).!!!
See – I told you there wasn’t any HUGE amp, in that sub’s central box.
The overall result.
Third placing, AND IN FRONT OF, just about every other vehicle there.
Most had spent thousands, on “installing flash speakers”, big amps and nice paintwork.
About two or three “hundie” $$$ (max).
Not bad eh for an “old fart”.?
Music SOUNDZ a lot more – when 7p3 goes into 4×4
The eventual winner (who sadly passed away not too many years later) was a young local lad, with a LOT of family money behind him who had this “tiny, two door, hatchback car” (a Mazda rotary) that he’d deliberately BLOCKED OFF behind the front driver/passenger seats (with a solid wooden panel), to allow him to “install” a HUGE SPEAKER SUB (BOX) inside the entire rear-end itself, into which he’d nicely fitted two 24″ 1,200w SONY EXPLODE “subs”, both driven by a single 2,400 watt SONY EXPLODE AMP.?
Plus the cross-over “mid-range & tweeters”, that were installed in the front (remaining) cabin space.?
He got first place with an ear splitting “thunderingly loud” cacophony of sub-bass noise, with LOTS MORE bolts dropping off everywhere, and rattles aplenty from everywhere else, as the car “simply vibrated”. ? Not a single note of, or a hint of “music” just a thunderous roar.
Similar to an Industrial concrete aerator “vibrator sounds, in deep wet concrete, newly “poured” at a building site.
WHAT A H3LL of a noise.?
And there were a lot more bolts “falling off” (that the young guy explained, as he picked some up, he always has to go around the car, tightening everything “later”.!)
As also said, he died shortly thereafter – in a car accident.
I’ve always wondered why.?
The next guy (2nd) was in the other van, with tinted windows, Two 48″ rockforts and two 12 inch earthquakes.
And a 1,500 watt amp per L+R chs.
But as he blew his 60A line fuse going in (with no spare) the sparkie (=me) simply got an overhead line’s cable joiner and bolted the wire ends together (& wrapped it in tape), you want it to NOT blow second time around I said?
He needed a jump start (for the van to restart) after the SPL test.
He beat me, by 0.5 dB. (for 2nd place).
I didn’t mind, because his sounded like the first, with not as many rattles (and no bits off.)
A lot of miserable youth with holes in their wallets, drove away sad that day.
Because an old guy, had a “musical sound system” that everyone could clearly hear..
No rattles, all doors and windows wide open.
Not a single “laugh” to be had anywhere afterwards.
Just open acknowledgement, that they’d never heard anything like THAT, (or seen such a hodge-podge of speakers) .. that had simply “taken their breath away”.
Me -I got a certificate saying 3rd.?
Wow .!!! All I could think about was something entirely different (actually).
All those expensive cars, & what could I have done, with them, if they had been MINE?