Solutions For Kicking It Up A Notch
So what’s the big deal about bass? Yes, there are those who want so much bass that it rattles the ribs, shakes the windows and rocks cars a block away. But bass also brings richness and life to music. And in a vehicle, there are so many things that ruin a good listening experience—road noise, speakers at different distances from the ears, poor speakers and inadequate power—that bass is lost, along with a lot of other key frequencies. The resulting bad sound can irritate even the most indifferent of ears.
Consider these three scenarios that happen every day at your store:
- A customer has just spent a small fortune on a new car. They’re pumped about the ride, but they’re NOT pumped about the sound—even after paying for a high-end factory sound-system upgrade. They come in looking for solutions.
- A customer is buying a new head unit and decides to upgrade the sound system at the same time.
- A customer doesn’t want to tinker with the dash or buy a new head unit, but does want to improve their sound system, or at least keep outside noise at bay.
All three present excellent sales and installation opportunities for you, and allow you to offer good, better and best solutions that can be tailored to each customer’s needs and budget. Better and Best solutions listed below also assume the previous solution(s) has been incorporated.
A car is a big, noisy cage that’s easily penetrated by environmental and mechanical noises. All the best speakers, subs, amps and equalizers in the world can’t fight car cacophony.
- Highly recommend sound dampening—this will improve the sound of the existing system and form the foundation for an upgraded one
Companies like Stinger Electronics, Ballistic Barrier and Ballistic Hollow Point make kits to address specific trouble spot: trunks, speakers, license plates, doors, hoods and carpets. There are also universal bulk kits to dampen other spaces. Be sure to cover the transmission tunnel, under and behind the seats, and maybe even add an extra layer over the muffler.
- If this isn’t any issue or the customer resists, move on to Better Solutions
- Replace OEM speakers with aftermarket ones
- Add a separate amp for those new speakers—the RMS output of head units usually can’t hold a candle to stand-alone amps
- If there’s a subwoofer in the future, add at least one more amp
We’re saving the use of subwoofers for the Best section below.
If there’s a budget concern, you can suggest one or the other. But really, aftermarket speakers need a separate amp to provide clean and ample power for better sound reproduction. The RMS output of aftermarket or factory-installed head units usually can’t hold a candle to those of stand-alone amps. Don’t let your customers be wowed by max power listings. RMS is more realistic and more accurate.
To provide a top-notch system that will be the envy of all, its time to add that subwoofer, enclosure, signal processor/equalizer and even capacitor!
Subwoofers and Enclosures
Subwoofers can be purchased standalone, which then require an enclosure, unless it is a shallow-mount, free-air style like the Pioneer TS-SW2002D2.
As with amps and speakers, the list of subwoofers is long, with a huge variety of pricing options. Enclosures to go with those subs range from generic to vehicle specific, with Atrend BBox Series covering both bases.
But rather than mix and match individual subwoofers with just the right enclosure, it may be more practical to use a loaded enclosure, or better yet, an amplified enclosure so the sub has its own dedicated amp. This frees either the head unit’s amp or the additional speaker amp from the load a woofer can add.
When it comes to amplified enclosures, a shout-out must go to Southern Audio Services and their Bazooka Bass Tubes. First launched in 1985 and still going strong today, Bass Tubes are available in kits that include the universal interface and extension cable or as components.
Signal Processors, Equalizers and Bass Generators
The bass, treble and midrange controls on a factory radio can’t really compensate for all the acoustical weirdness of the mixed surfaces in a vehicle’s passenger compartment and any remaining background noise. We offer a number of equalizers from a wide variety of manufacturers including Cerwin-Vega Mobile, DB Drive and Boss.
Find out if your customer listens to a lot of streaming music through the head unit. If so, recommend adding a bass generator. Compressed audio files like MP3, WMA or AAC+ lose bass during the compression or even streaming process. A bass generator like the Boss BG300 restores the lost bass and can fine-tune the signal sent to the subwoofer’s amp.
And for those wanting flash with their upgrade, choose products with accent lighting. Many automotive accessories are taking advantage of LED light effects to add excitement. Bandpass boxes are an excellent example.
Selling those solutions
So now you’ve got a game plan. But first, you need talk to the customer and find out what the issues are and budgetary considerations. Then you can offer the appropriate advice and products.
If you’ve got an employee with an unusually keen ear, offer a ride-along service to help diagnose the problems. This will certainly help in understanding exactly what the customer needs, as it may be difficult to articulate the problems and your employee might hear other issues as well. And properly adjusting the settings on processors and equalizers after installation can only be done while the car is in motion and at speed. Since distracted driving is NOT a good thing, a post-installation ride-along to tweak those add-ons to the customer’s satisfaction might go over big too.
Even with the one-on-one approach, you also need to cross-promote the various solutions in each retail display area. So create a giant chart showing problems and solutions! Be sure to include your install fees for each service too, as many of these solutions are not DIY.
In the head-unit section, the chart should include sound dampeners, speakers, amps, subs and equalizers. In the speaker area, the list should include dampeners, amps, subs and equalizers. The amplifier area should show subs and speakers. Subs should include enclosures and dampeners. And so on.
Restore harmonic balance to the automotive world—boost that bass! And look to Petra to supply all the hardwire and accessories you need to satisfy even the pickiest of ears.