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November Issue Feature: Installs - Live From Tempe

11-29-2017, Mobile Electronics -- In response to its popularity earlier this year, Mobile Solutions and Orca Design and Manufacturing teamed up again September 9 through 11 to host a live build workshop for 25 installation techs from around the country. The training was sold out and featured 2017 Installer of the Year Chris Pate, past IOTYs Tom Miller and JT Torres, Top 12 Installer Sage Weir and Bryan Schmitt, owner of Mobile Solutions. The vehicle used was a 2017 Volvo V90 XC Cross Country, owned by Mobile Electronics Editor-in-Chief, Solomon Daniels.

"We basically had three different components to the class, which was blended in with our Master Tech class. We talk about OEM integration, signal and how to add audio to modern vehicles," Schmitt said. "We did a classroom theory, how to use test tools like the oscilloscope and RTA, then talked about it in a real world fashion. I thought it was great for guys to see live demonstrations on a real build while they were there. Trying to stick with the three-day time period was a challenge. We did a great job managing it."

The participants were thrown into the mix with no preparation after an initial sketch of the design was created by Tom Miller. Each person found something of interest to them and began working on that element. "The most difficult part was building something that someone else drew," Weir added. "It was my first time out there at Mobile Solutions. I didn't have any assigned tasks per se. I just started running wires into the doors, then showed interest in the sub enclosure."

When I fabricate and build stuff I basically freestyle. I've never really built anything from paper to reality. It was a rewarding challenge in the end."

All products used were provided by Focal and included Focal Kevlar K2 tweeter speakers, 6-inch mid bass and 3-inch mid range speakers in the doors, two amplifiers and a controller for the console. "The whole project was a real world install. It's something that we would actually do for one of our customers in any of our shops," Miller said. "The process that we used is called 'Design, Engineer, Fabricate.' It's a three step process. The idea there is that by breaking down the project to three separate steps it allows us to get a better result."

Miller, who served as design director for the project, likes to use the design language of the vehicle he's working on to give him ideas. In the case of Volvo, he is already familiar with the designer and previous work, which is Scandinavian in style and includes straight lines, with a clean, uncluttered look. "In this project, the areas where we had an influence were with the tweeters and subwoofer enclosure. With those, I'm trying to reflect the existing design language without doing anything too contrived where I'm just pulling a shape off of the car that's already there and just trying to emulate that," Miller added.

While it was a team effort, each portion of the build was managed by a different person. While Weir handled the sub enclosure, Miller worked on the A-pillars, Pate handled the wiring and amp mounting and Torres handled the controller. 

Read the rest of the story HERE.

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