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Behind the Scenes at audiogrog by Bill Braun

Let’s face it: this is an unconventional time to start a 12-volt company. Between the shrinking sandbox that is aftermarket car audio and the increasingly difficult process of integrating gear into newer vehicles, most companies are receding from our industry, not adding to it. Yet, there are some that are not merely surviving. They are thriving.

Audiofrog is a fledgling manufacturer that comes to the table with some legendary names on the letterhead. The most notable among them are two long time forces in the industry: Andy Wehmeyer, formerly a product manager at Harman International (JBL, Infinity, et al.); Gary Biggs, formerly of JBL, Kicker and sound competition stardom; and Marcus Yeo, formerly of Harman Asia Pacific and Pioneer APAC. Gary and Andy could be fairly referred to as “installers extraordinaire.” Both have a wealth of technical knowledge as trainers, sound-off competitors, business owners and product developers that extends decades back.

And now they make speakers.

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In the January issue of Mobile Electronics, 2015 Top 12 Retailer Prestige Car Audio showed why they are both worthy of their name and on the most prestigious list in 12-volt. Read the story below:

Disasters are caused by many things. Earthquakes, tornados and volcanoes are on the list. Some cause buildings to collapse, cities to burn and lives to be lost. Others, like hurricanes, are known to cause flooding. When a flood occurs, the water in the area rises and often damages homes, equipment and vehicles. 

In Metairie, La., a city that is part of the greater New Orleans area, rainfall is common, as is the threat of hurricanes. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck land in New Orleans and caused over $180 billion worth of damage and took an estimated 1,836 lives, with 1,577 of those taken in Lousiana alone. Needles to say, residents of Louisiana take storms very seriously.

Such was the mood when a storm hit in Metairie in 1990, causing a fair amount of flooding. While no lives were lost during this particular storm, many vehicles were damaged. Interested in a career fixing cars, Cory Himel offered to replace carpet in his neighbors' damaged vehicles, working out of his garage. Soon enough, more work came in, and before lone he had enough to purchase some alarm systems, which he flipped into enough money to purchase a small building and start a business. That business would become Prestige Car Audio and Marine, a Top 12 Retailer of the Year for 2015.

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16ME January Cover Arrow 

 

Tech Feature: Amped Up by Joey Knapp

Amplifiers are a key component to a great sounding audio system. I believe amplification is even more important in the mobile environment. In a home audio system, there is a very low environmental noise floor. Because of the low noise floor, a marginal amount of power is needed to provide good resolution in the audio playback. In addition, home audio speakers are much more efficient than their mobile counterparts. The automotive environment is very different than the home environment.

Amped up

Even a parked car with the engine turned off is susceptible to much more external noise than a home. Cars don’t have the benefit of dense building materials, heavy insulation, or double-pane windows. Starting the engine in a car will typically raise the noise floor in addition to adding a bit of tactile distraction. We own cars to be able to drive them. Whether for utilitarian purposes, or for enjoyment, at some point most every car will be moving. That movement brings in a whole other realm of noises to the vehicle cabin. Wind noise and road noise are two of the biggest enemies to a low cabin noise floor. Sometimes soundproofing can help address some of these issues, but they will never disappear completely. So, to have a great sounding audio system in a vehicle, an amplifier is paramount. Amplifiers help increase the signal level to overcome many of the typically present automotive interior noises.
Over my many years in car audio, I have installed hundreds of different amplifiers. The amplifiers have ranged in output from a few watts per channel, to thousands of watts. The locations in which the amplifiers are installed are usually narrowed down to the floor of the vehicle (whether the trunk or under a seat), under a rear deck of a trunk (leaving the trunk space useable), or the side or back panel of a trunk. Recently, though, I had the opportunity to install an amplifier in a place I had never before installed one. The location was the roll cage of a car.

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