With the torrential winds and rain having moved out of the area and several days of sunshine in the forecast, I decided to yank the bulky Caprice out of storage and burn unreasonable quantities of fossil fuel. Every year it amazes me—I use my rubber-insulated Snap-on wrench to reconnect the negative cable to the battery and the car fires right up. I let it run for awhile and then head out to the dairy farm.
So to be clear, the music system in this car was originally built in 1996 when I acquired the vehicle. Installer extraordinaire Jason Venne integrated an Alpine CD tuner from the mid-1990’s that was made specifically to physically fit in place of General Motors OEM (original equipment manufacturer) radios. My car made that chore difficult because the heater controls are integrated in to the same faux-wood plastic panel, but Venne showed why he is The King and made it work beautifully.
Now there were other rules of engagement regarding this system build—I bought this car because I liked its almost laughably antiquated interior design, including Art Deco-like door panels with plastic trim and crank window handles. So all loudspeakers had to be integrated into their factory locations. I didn’t want any “new holes” in the car. I happen to have always liked dashboard speaker locations sonically—This car had OEM 4X6 ovals in front, 6X9 ovals under the rear parcel shelf. Venne set up back of the car for an infinite baffle subwoofer (another technique I favored when I had my facility) including carefully applied heat-activated sound deadening material called V-BLOK.
Fast forward (from 1996) to present—I decided to remove the infinite baffle woofers and have old friend George Briscoe, currently employed at High Fidelity Autosport in Newington, CT design me an optimized enclosure for a pair of Focal woofers I had fallen in love with years ago. I handed George parameters for the drivers that I had extracted by good friend Tom Holmes, who tested and measured them for me. Additionally, I had George relocate the amplifiers and electronic crossover from the center/rear of the trunk to the right/rear quarter. I bought a new JL Audio HD600/4 (with remote subwoofer level control—a must for all of my systems) to run the rear speakers and the woofers, and I used my all-time second favorite car amplifier to run the fronts—an Audison HV Sedici (built about 16 years ago). The Audison HR-100 is my favorite car amp ever made—but I don’t own one…
So no holes in the car, no EQ, a new subwoofer enclosure (built from ultra-lite MDF to keep weight down) and an amp rack that allows me full access to all amp and crossover adjustments. Tuning the system has progressed nicely, but I expect it to be a month-long project as I get acclimated to the sound and carefully massage away bumps and dips in frequency response. This is a simple, clean, invisible music system (to quote the legendary Rich Inferrera) that maintains the integrity of the car but delivers detailed, dynamic, accurate sound with enough power to help overcome the rage of the not-so-quiet Caprice 9C1.