Click for Coverage
Due to the EU’s Global Data Protection Regulation, our website is currently unavailable to visitors from most European countries. We apologize for this inconvenience and encourage you to visit for the latest on new cars, car reviews and news, concept cars and auto show coverage, awards and much more.MOTORTREND.COM
  • JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

Audio System Equipment Guide - Here Comes The Boom

Posted in How To: Electrical on July 1, 2002
Share this
Contributors: Lazarus Gregory
Photographers: ManufacturersLazarus Gregory

Some folks' idea of an audio system is the cheapest radio they can buy attached to a couple of speakers they found laying around in the garage. If this sounds like you, you're going to want to tune into the following pages because the products they contain might just change your life, at least in audio terms.

What you'll find here is some of the nicest audio gear you can get your hands on. The amps in this guide could probably power a small village, and the woofers are big enough to blow the doors off your rig. Not to mention the head units-they can play almost any audio and video format known to man. So if having a booming system capable of producing quality sound is important to you, check out the following parts.

Hot Subwoofers
The new 12-inch Flame Q subwoofer is now available from Audiobahn. Each chrome-cast aluminum chassis is equipped with a massive 120-ounce magnet structure that is surrounded by a flamed stamped woofer basket. Additional features include 18 cooling fins that help dissipate heat generated by the voice-coil assembly. Because it's built to handle big doses of power, the dual 4-ohm subwoofer can be driven by multiple amplifiers. Besides its unique looks, the AW1206Q is also capable of handling an incredible 1,100 watts over a broad frequency range of 20-500Hz with an efficiency of 96.4dB. For further information contact: Audiobahn Inc., 7050 Village Dr., Building G, Buena Park, CA 90621, 714/690-7530,

Lightning Audio has recently added a mono version to its popular Bolt line of entry-level amplifiers. The new B.350.1 amplifier has 350 watts of output into 2 ohms and is designed to run single or multiple subwoofer setups in a variety of configurations. It also comes with a remote level control, onboard EQ, and variable crossover. For further information contact: Lightning Audio, 955 N. Fiesta Blvd., Suite #4, Gilbert, AZ 85233, 480/966-8278,

Top Of The Line
Check out the Kenwood Excelon KVT-911DVD, an in-dash TV/AM/FM/CD/DVD audio/video receiver. It features semi-automatic operation combined with a touch panel and color 6 1/2-inch screen with 336,960 pixels for crisp and detailed display of all video images. When connected to a Kenwood Excelon KDS-PS901 surround-sound decoder, the KVT-911 allows for 5.1-channel playback of DVDs, including Dolby Digital, DTS, MPEG, and Pro Logic modes. It is also equipped to provide 45 watts of power to four-speaker channels and high-voltage audio pre-outs are available for use with outboard Kenwood Excelon audio amplifiers. For further information contact: Kenwood USA Corporation, P.O. Box 22745, Long Beach, CA 90801, 800/KENWOOD,

Plays Anything
Alpine's DVA-7996 bridges car audio and mobile multimedia by providing the ability to play DVD movies, listen to CDs, access satellite radio, or enjoy MP3 CDs. In fact, it is the first car audio DVD player with a built-in MP3 decoder. Alpine's Media Xpander sound correction technology, which ensures that music will sound as big as it is intended to be, is also found on the DVA-7996. Other features include Alpine's Bass Engine Plus technology for the ultimate in-vehicle sound control, along with Dual-Zone Audio Control that allows for DVD playback in the rear while using the tuner on the main system. For further information contact: Alpine Electronics of America Inc., 19145 Gramercy Place, Torrance, CA 90501, 800/421-2284,

Among Alphasonik's new line of amplifiers is the PMA600HC. It is rated at 300 x 2 watts at 2 ohms stereo, 550 watts x 2 at 1 ohm stereo, and 1,100 watts x 1 at 1 ohm stereo. One of the most appealing features of the PMA600HC is that it is bridgeable, which means that you can hook several of them together for even more power. Additional features include four-way circuitry protection, onboard hook-up terminals, RCA input, variable phase shift and bass boost along with a variable filter for high pass, low pass, and subsonic filter. It also comes backed by a one-year warranty. For further information contact: Alphasonik Inc., 7050 Village Dr., Building D, Buena Park, CA 90621, 714/684-1080,

Small But Strong
Rockford Fosgate recently introduced a new 6 1/2-inch model to its line of Punch HE woofers. Available in either 4 or 8 ohms, the latest addition to the Punch HE line is designed for use in locations that larger subwoofers won't fit. This makes it ideal for small confined spaces such as behind the seat in a small truck. Best of all is that the 6 1/2-inch Punch HE still offers ground-shaking bass like the rest of the bigger Punch HE line. If space isn't an issue, Rockford Fosgate has Punch HE woofers available up to 15 inches. For further information contact: Rockford Corporation, 546 South Rockford Dr., Tempe, AZ 85820, 480/967-3565,

Radio By Satellite
XM Satellite Radio is the first digital satellite radio service in the U.S. and offers 100 channels of radio (including music, news, sports, talk, and children's channels) broadcast coast-to-coast in digital quality. Transmitted via XM's two powerful satellites directly to your car or home radio, the service is available for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. XM radios are built by manufacturing partners such as Pioneer, Alpine, Sony, and Delphi and are available in retail outlets throughout the U.S. For further information contact:

The MB Quart QSD is a 6 1/2-inch, two-way QSD Series Separate Component System. The Q series uses neodymium magnetic motors in both the tweeter and midrange component. Balanced Temperature Technology is used in the laboratory-grade MUSiCOMP crossover network and extracts the best possible performance from each transducer. A newly developed wet powdercoating of genuine titanium on the midrange cone provides a naturally linear, musical response. For further information contact: MB Quart USA Inc., 15 Walpole Park, South Walpole, MA 02081, 800/962-4412,

Pure Gold
New from Phoenix Gold is the Titanium Series high-resolution component loudspeakers that are designed to provide the most accurate in-car listening experience possible. The Titanium Components use 3-inch voice coils for superior driving force and power handling, computer-optimized suspension components, and high-grade inner radial neodymium motor structures. A tweeter, a 5 1/4-inch or 6-inch midrange, and a 9-inch mid-bass all come in the component system. The tweeter features a pure silk dome diaphragm along with a high-temperature voice coil. A design that places the magnet, pole piece, and top plate on the inside of the voice coil is part of the mid-range speaker. The mid-bass driver mounts in 2 3/4 inches and allows for true mid-bass integration for the front of the vehicle. For further information contact: Phoenix Gold International Inc., 9300 North Decatur, Portland, OR 97203, 503/286-9300,

Visit Boston
Boston Acoustics enters the world of 12-volt electronics with its launch of the Boston GT car audio amplifier. The new line consists of seven models ranging from a compact two-channel design to a powerful five-channel amplifier. All models use high-current power supplies that are stable in 1-ohm stereo loads, or 2-ohm loads when used in mono mode, enabling the products to easily drive Boston's own 2-ohm subwoofers as well as any other subwoofers available. Common to all models is a low-profile, easy-to-install chassis along with a removable top security panel that protects the system's control-setting switches and recessed input/output cables. For further information contact: Boston Acoustics Inc., 300 Jubilee Dr., Peabody, MA 01960, 978/538-5000,

Not Swiss Cheese
Swiss Audio Inc., has a complete selection of car audio amplifiers to cover all popular applications currently needed in the USA. The company's SMR Series of MOSFET AB amplifiers includes both stereo and four-channel models, as well as a single-channel mono unit along with various bridgeable options. At the top of the line are the SDX1500 and SDX2000 that are rated at 1,500 and 2,000 watts respectively. For further information contact: Swiss Audio Inc., 7050 Village Dr., Building C, Buena Park, CA 90621, 714/690-8795.

Extreme Excursion
New from Digital Audio is the 12-inch Pro Excursion Subwoofer. The DAW1200 is capable of handling an impressive 700 watts with a frequency response of 20-500Hz and an efficiency of 92.7dB. The motor structure is equipped with a 120-ounce double-stacked Strontium magnet that is mounted on a polished chrome-plated cast-alloy chassis. Tight and accurate bass is provided by a PHAT 2-inch foam surround, along with a non-transfer paper cone coated with KM3 for virtually no distortion. For further information contact: Digital Audio Inc., 1923 Bomar Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76103, 800/299-9035,

Blow Out Your Windows
If you are looking for enough bass to register on a Richter scale, the new XT 15 subwoofer by Crossfire might be for you. The design team at Crossfire started with a black powdercoated 12-leg aluminum basket and then attached a 280-ounce magnet assembly. Other features include a 3-inch aluminum voice coil that is capable of handling up to 1,500 watts. As with all Crossfire products, the XT 15 features a three-year dealer-installed warranty. For further information contact: Crossfire Car Audio, 12222 Bell Ranch Dr., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670, 562/906-0800,

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Browse Articles By Vehicle

See Results