Browsing Archive March, 2010

Rearview Back-up Cameras

Rearview Back-up Cameras

By Chelsey P – Sonic Electronix Writer

In the world of large and small vehicles, back-up cameras have become essential to everyday driving life. It has become a great tool for avoiding the dreaded blind spot. Rearview back up cameras were originally designed to attach to the rear of the vehicle, helping the driver in backing up without hitting something. There are many different types of rearview cameras to choose from such as a remote mount camera and license plate frame. These two versions provide you with multiple options for mounting your new back-up camera.

First, the remote mount option allows you install it just about anywhere on the back of your vehicle. Remote mount back-up cameras are ideal for someone who wants to be discrete when it comes to adding accessories onto their vehicle. They allow you to mount the camera anywhere on the back of the car, from one side of the bumper to the other. Many of the remote mount cameras come with a wide angle view and weather resistant housing, like the Audiovox CMOS2. The wide angle allows for a better view while backing up and with the weather proof housing, you will not have to worry about it breaking in the rain. Not only are there universal rearview cameras, but there are brand name ones as well. JVC makes a specific back-up camera that provides the best possible picture on the screen. The JVC KV-CM1 is compatible with many of the Double DIN head units that feature a composite video input. There are many benefits to having a remote mount camera, including diverse mounting options and discrete locations on where to put them.

license plate rearview cameras
As for license plate rearview cameras, there are two different types. One is the license plate frame with a camera built-in and the second is a universal bar-type back up camera. Each of these cameras has their own features and benefits that go along with them. The license plate frame is mounted around your entire license plate and has a camera on the top of it. The Boyo Vision VTL200C is a chrome license plate with a color CMOS camera providing you with amazing clarity. The bar-type camera is a little different then the full frame. With the simple installation, it allows you to cover just the top of the license plate for a beautiful and sleek design. Again, rearview cameras make a great addition to any vehicle whether it is a teenager’s first car, or just because you want to be safe with everyday driving.

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Kenwood KAC-8105D

Kenwood KAC-8105D

Earlier this month we wrote a blog and discussed the Kenwood KAC-7205. It was a new 2-channel amplifier released at the beginning of 2010. The entire line of this year’s Kenwood amplifiers is definitely a noteworthy set of amps that your entire audio system can appreciate. Today we would like to discuss the single channel amplifiers in Kenwood’s Performance Series. Both the Kenwood KAC-8105D and the Kenwood KAC-9105D are efficient monoblock amplifiers that could be perfect to power your systems subwoofer. The 8105D is designed for a more moderate audio system with a max power output of 1000 watts, or an RMS rating of 500 watts at 2 ohms. The 9105D is made for the higher end mobile audio system with a maximum output of 1800 watts and a continuous power rating of 900 watts at 2 ohms. Being CEA-2006 compliant, we can trust that these amps will perform to the standards that Kenwood states that it will. For those that are looking to really enhance the overall bass of their audio system, either of these Kenwood amps can be the perfect link between the car stereo and the subwoofer. Whether your plans are to retain your factory OEM stereo or upgrade to an aftermarket in-dash receiver, these amps will suit you well. They feature a speaker level input for connecting directly to the factory speaker leads. The built-in cooling fans will ensure that this amplifier is as cool as possible during operations and helps the amplifier keep from overheating.

While this amplifier is great for mid to high-level systems, I have found that the price is comparable to many of the entry-level amplifiers out there. While the prices might be similar, the features are what really set this amplifier apart from all the others. The cooling fan, gold-plated contacts, CEA-2006 compliancy, 4-way protection circuitry, the tuned bass boost, and the dual mono driver are just a few of the many different features that set the Kenwood Performance series a step above the competition. While these amps might be a little too much power for your basic entry-level subwoofer, they are a great solution for the mid-level and higher-end car audio systems.

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Sony AIR-SA20PK Wireless iPod Whole House S-AIR Audio System

Sony AIR-SA20PK

Wireless is the way to go, especially if you love to listen to music throughout your whole house as much as I do. I was getting tired of moving my iPod dock every time I wanted to listen to music from my iPod in a different room. Sony has made it much easier for me with their AIR-SA20PK Wireless iPod audio system. It is a wireless, two-speaker system that allows you to place the speakers in separate rooms without having to run any wires. My favorite feature on this Sony audio system has to be the multi-zone and dual source function; this feature enables you to play your iPod in one room, while another speaker is playing the AM/FM radio in another room. With its full function remote control for both the transmitter and the speakers, as well as the simple plug-n-play installation, the Sony AIR-SA20PK is easy to operate and install. Another feature I enjoy is the multi-functional speakers, which are equipped with an alarm clock that will awake you to the iPods music or AM/FM radio, sleep timer, LCD display for the viewing of track information, and not to mention the outstanding sound quality they produce. The entire system can be expanded up to 10 wireless speakers, which can provide an ultimate surround sound system dedicated to the iPod.  With the 10 compatible speakers I can place a speaker in every room of my house so no matter were I go, my music will always be right there with me.  Fully compatible with a TV connection, you are able to display the iPod video content on a television or a home theater system. Sony’s S-AIR iPod dock works with the iPod Touch, iPod Nano, iPod Classic, iPod Mini and iPod Video models and has 1 set of rear audio RCA inputs for a connection of a secondary audio source. With all of its features and expandability options, this is a great wireless audio system for an affordable price.

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Subwoofer Wiring Diagrams

 

How do I wire up my subwoofer(s) to my amplifier(s)?” Well, that’s actually a really great question! In fact that is one of the most asked questions in the car audio field. This is not surprising however, because Ohms Law is just not something the average person could derive. Sonic Electronix has spent many months creating and perfecting a subwoofer amplifier wiring diagram to take all of the guess work out of configuring your audio system. So, how does it work and why would it help you?

Subwoofers have different impedances (Dual 4 ohm, Single 2 ohm, etc) that change your wiring options when you add or subtract woofers. The final impedance of your subwoofer must match the acceptable impedances of your amplifier, with 4 ohm and 2 ohm being the most common final impedances. Not only do you have to match impedance, you must match wattage as well. It’s best to get the combined total RMS wattage of your subwoofers to match the RMS of your amplifier. If you are still scratching your head, don’t worry about it, that’s why we made this subwoofer wiring guide.

Here is how it works:

  • First: Start off by imputing the number of subwoofers you plan to run to your amplifier. The size of your subwoofer is not important here, however please match the wattage of them combined with your amplifier.
  • Second: Input the voice coil type. Both subwoofers need to have the same voice coil configuration. For example, if it says it is a “Dual Voice Coil (DVC)” subwoofer, and you want to run two subwoofers, they both need to be DVC woofers.
  • Third: Select the impedance that your subwoofer(s) are rated for. For example, if the woofer says “Single 4 Ohm Voice Coil” you would select “4 Ohm” in the wiring tool. If it says “Dual 2 Ohm Voice Coil” you would select “2 Ohm” from the list, even if you are using multiple woofers. Remember, each of your woofers impedance need to be the same.
  • Fourth: Finally, choose the type of amplifier you are hooking up your subwoofer(s) to; monoblock single channel amplifier, 2-channel amplifier, or even a 4-channel amplifier.

Click “View Wiring Options” and sit back and relax! Our car audio wiring diagram tool will do the work for you. If your configuration is compatible, our diagram will show you a graphical representation of how to wire your woofers and amplifier together. Some configurations even allow multiple wiring options, so we will show you all of the different options and allow you to choose which is best for your setup. The ohm rating by the amplifier is what that subwoofer configuration will produce, so make sure that the subwoofer accepts that rating. If it says “8 ohms” next to the amplifier, but the amplifier you plan to use does not have a power rating listed at “8 ohms” then you need a new configuration. Keep trying different configurations until you find the ohm level and RMS power rating that you need to match everything together. At the bottom, all of the most common configurations are listed, so you can feel free to take a look at them simply by clicking on their respective link!

Here is an example that may clear up any loose ends:

-Let’s say you picked up two Kicker 10CVR122 subwoofers and a Kicker 10ZX750.1 amplifier. The subwoofers combined RMS power is 800 watts, that is 400 watts RMS each subwoofer. The amplifier produces 750 watts RMS at 2 ohms final impedance, so need to find subwoofers that when wired properly, produce a 2 ohm load. The RMS ratings match up very closely, so this setup, if we can get the wiring right, will work great! So, go to the wiring tool and type in 2 subwoofers. Now if you look at the description for the kicker subs, it says they are “Dual 2 Ohm” subwoofers. Go back to the tool and type in “Dual VC” for number of voice coils and “2 Ohm” impedance respectively. Almost done! Will this work? Final step input the amplifier type that will be used with these subwoofers. The ZX750.1 is a monoblock, single channel amplifier, so choose “Mono” under the Amp Type in the subwoofer wiring diagram tool. Now click “View Wiring Options”. The picture says “Mono Amplifier @ 2-ohms” which is just what we needed! The amplifier produces 750 watts RMS power at 2 ohms, so this is a perfect setup! The picture will show you how to run your positive and negative wires to your subwoofers and amplifier. Is it that easy? Yes, as a matter of fact it is, and you didn’t even have to do mathematical calculations with Ohms Law. No offense to German physicist Georg Ohm, we just like things to be as simple as possible.

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Sony XAV-60

Sony XAV-60

At the 2010 CES show in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Sony booth to learn about their newest products. This year one of the most remarkable things at the car audio portion of the Sony booth was a new audio and video receiver, the XAV-60. What impressed me the most about this new unit was the crisp screen, the new SensMe technology, the advanced audio processing, and the reasonable price. At first glance at the Sony XAV-60, I knew that there was something special about this screen. Living up to the reputation of high quality displays, Sony has integrated technology from their Bravia televisions to create an in-dash car display that is bright, vivid, and incredibly detailed. No matter where a passenger is sitting, they will be able to watch their videos in high resolution and with great visibility. After learning about the story behind the monitor, the Sony representative began to show me about a brand new feature to the 2010 line of select Sony receivers. This SensMe technology has been available in the past for other Sony devices, but now has entered into the car for a listening experience unlike anything you have heard before. The SensMe application allows you to connect an iPod or Sony Walkman to the XAV60 and choose your music based on your current mood or how you are feeling. The interface is quite simple. A point graph is displayed on the screen with each of your songs being a point on the graph. Each side of the graph represents a mood or feeling. Once all your songs are analyzed, they are plotted on the graph in a spot that is representative to their “mood”. The user then touched his finger on the screen to select an area with songs inside. Then only the songs in the selected area will play, each with a similar tone. Now when you are in a mood for a specific tone of music, it is just a touch away. As I played with this application at CES, I found it extremely simple and easy to use. For this application alone, the Sony XAV-60 is a step ahead of the competition.

Inside the double DIN chassis, there are some new and sophisticated audio processing technologies that enhance the playback of all your music. Some of these features include the Center Speaker Optimizer (CSO), which creates a virtual soundstage in the location of a center channel speaker and the Rear Bass Enhancer (RBE), which places a low-pass filter on the rear speakers and allows them to act as a “subwoofer”. This RBE is a great feature for cars that don’t have the room for a large subwoofer, but still want the low end that the subs produce. Sony integrates a 7-band equalizer for all the audio tuning that you could handle. I was shown feature after feature right there at the Sony CES booth and heard the unbelievable difference. When the Sony rep told me the low MSRP for the unit, I didn’t believe him because this unit has too many features to be considered one of the “inexpensive” A/V multimedia receivers. For those that are considering a new in-dash audio and video receiver, the Sony XAV-60 prove to be an incredible in-dash stereo.

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