Browsing Archive September, 2012

SMD Products Now At Sonic!

They say you should be careful what you wish for but in this case you can stay care-free. You can now sleep soundly because Sonic Electronix now carries an assortment of products  from the legendary Steve Meade. If SMD products were potential life-long companions, then you would want to make sure to treat them to a nice lobster dinner and make sure to call them back after the first date.  What i’m getting at here is that they are very good quality products and have been proven to be one of the best among professional and amateur installers alike. We are very excited to be getting these in and I might even pick up one up myself!

SMD DD-1

SMD DD-1

SMD DD-1

The workhorse of the SMD line is the popular SMD DD-1.  This unit is a distortion detector and analyzer which is used to set gain and eliminate distortion by matching the source units output level.  This is a must have tool for any sound system due to the fact that any system can experience clipping.  It includes easy-to-read LED indicators that will tell you if your system is experiencing a distorted signal and will tell which way to adjust your gain to eliminate clipping.  The DD-1 is powered by a 9V battery in order to isolate it from the vehicles electrical system.  This guarantees that you will only be measuring the audio signal and not the noise in the vehicle’s charging system.   In addition to all these great features, a test tone CD is included for accurate calibration.  There is also a high voltage version called the SMD DD-1 HV.

SMD CC-1

SMD CC-1

SMD CC-1

Another essential tool is the Crossover Calibrator called the SMD CC-1.  This calibrator tool will allow you to seamlessly set electronic crossovers on your amplifiers to their desired frequencies.  It features a “competition mode” which can be used to match frequencies and gains of any 4 channel amplifier or multiple monoblock amplifiers.  When it comes to applications such as these, it is very important to make sure the amplifiers are putting out the exact same amount of power especially when you have two or more amplifiers on a dual voice coil driver.  The unit also includes an RCA harness so you can measure the output voltage of your headunit directly.

You can take it one step further by adding an LED sound system output display called the VU-DIN.  This display will give you a real time indicator of your music and will specify how close you are to clipping your signal.  Comment below and tell us what you think of SMD!

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How to Use MediaBridge with Siri Integration

Audiovox and Dice are pleased to announce that their MediaBridge 1500 line of products now has Siri Vehicle Integration. Siri commands iPhones to choose music content, place phone calls, find directions, and many other useful actions. Speak to Siri as if she were your personal assistant! MediaBridge with Siri Integration improves driver safety plus adds fun and convenient features. Kits are available for many different makes, from BMW  to Toyota.

HOW TO USE SIRI WITH THE MediaBridge 1500

For Siri to work with the MediaBridge 1500, your iPhone must be connected via Bluetooth to your MediaBridge 1500. Siri can control music played via Bluetooth streaming or through the MediaBridge 1500 USB dock connector. VW/Audi SAT and BMW MediaBridge 1500 users press the Voice Dial button on the steering wheel to summon Siri. All other MediaBridge 1500 users press the radio Scan button to summon Siri. After you hear the familiar chime, your spoken commands will be received through MediaBridge 1500 microphone.

Music playback can be sent to different paths on the MediaBridge 1500. To hear music in USB/iPod MediaBridge 1500 mode, select the Dock Connector option on the Airplay button in the iPhone Music app. To hear music via MediaBridge 1500 Bluetooth streaming, select the MEDIABRIDGE option on the Airplay button in the iPhone Music app.

MUSIC PLAYBACK COMMANDS

When Siri is used with Audiovox MediaBridge 1500, a person has complete control over music playback on his or her car audio system. With the press of a single button, your audio control wish is Siri’s command. Siri can tell the MediaBridge 1500 to Play, Pause, Skip, and Stop music. For example, to play a particular song, press the designated MediaBridge 1500 radio scan button or steering wheel button to summon Siri, listen for the familiar chime then say, “Play Sweet Child of Mine” and the song will play. To listen to a playlist say, “Play Club Mix” and your favorite club songs will turn your car to a party on wheels. Music can also be chosen based on other criteria such as Artist, Genre, and Album.

Having trouble deciding which song to play? Let the iPhone choose by commanding Siri to shuffle songs through your MediaBridge 1500. Press the designated MediaBridge 1500 radio or steering wheel button to summon Siri and tell it to, “Shuffle my music” and then you will then hear a random song from your iPhone collection on your car stereo. If you are in the mood to hear a song with a music genre but you don’t know where to start then tell Siri to, “Shuffle Jazz” for instance and all Jazz music within your collection will begin to play in random order. Similar music shuffle controls are available based on Playlist, Artist, and Album. If the currently playing random song isn’t to your liking then simply tell Siri to “Shuffle” and another song will be chosen at random.

Not only can you access your own personal music library with Siri’s help but in iOS6 you can also launch your favorite music streaming application. For instance, tell Siri to launch Pandora and the Pandora App will automatically open and begin to stream. Once a music streaming app is open, the control of music content must be performed using radio or steering wheel buttons.

USING SIRI FOR SENDING TEXT MESSAGES WITH MediaBridge 1500

Through the MediaBridge 1500 interface, Siri will enable you to dictate and send a text message without taking your eyes off the road. For example, to do this you must press the voice button, wait for the chime, then say, “write a text message to Bob.” Siri will then ask you, “What do you want to say to Bob?”Then you must press the voice button again and speak your message so it can be converted to text. Next, Siri will repeat the message back to you to make sure it is  orrect and then Siri will ask if you are ready to send the message. If the message is correct then you can press the voice button one more time, say the word “Send”, and your text message will be sent to Bob. Furthermore, Siri can be set up to read incoming texts as well so that there is no delay in communication with your loved ones and associates.

TIPS ON EFFECTIVE SIRI USAGE WITH MediaBridge 1500 IN CAR

There are additional measures you can take to ensure Siri understands your voice commands most efficiently. For instance, there are language preferences that can be set on the iPhone which configure Siri to understand different English dialects and languages like French, German, and Japanese. Also background noise should be taken into account so you may wish to roll up your car windows or raise the top on your convertible to eliminated noise caused by wind within your vehicle. (Only raise the top on  your convertible when you are stopped) Also to gain access to Siri she must be enabled. To enable Siri open the settings menu and tap “General”, look for and then tap “Siri”, now you should be in a Siri menu where you must switch Siri on. If you need to adjust language settings and other related features, this is all done in the Siri menu as well. When you are finished making changes, close the menu and Siri is ready to assist you.

SIRI FEATURES BASED ON iOS version

Siri has the greatest range of features and capabilities when used with the newest version of iOS which is iOS6 at the time this document was drafted. Therefore, it is best to ensure that your iPhone is using the newest version of iOS. For example, with iOS6 Siri can control music playback when the iPhone is connected to MediaBridge 1500 in locked where iOS5 users do not have this ability. Also iOS6 has a more extensive language support system including different Chinese dialects, Korean, and Italian. In addition, Turn-by-Turn Navigation is available beginning with iOS6 to help drivers negotiate unfamiliar territory or find a swift route to your destination. It is important to note that Siri is only available for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, the 5th-generation iPod touch, and the 3rd-generation iPad

 

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Spin That DJ!

You’re set! You’ve got all the right DJ equipment, you’re motivated and inspired by your idols, and you are ready to set sail on your journey as a disk jockey. But wait, how do you use these turntables anyway? If this is where you are stuck at the moment, here is my attempt to help get you on the right track.

Audio Technica AT-LP60 Belt Drive Turntable

Audio Technica AT-LP60 Belt Drive Turntable

In general, there are two different types of turntables that DJs use. One set of turntables have a “belt drive.” Belt drive tables tend to be inexpensive and specifically for beginners, because there is only so much that you can due past the initial stages with a belt drive deck. The turntable plate on a belt drive component is connected to a motor with a flexible belt, so when you actually touch the record when mixing the belt slips and the platter stops. These types of turntables are reasonable for basic mixing, but are never going to be appropriate for scratching (where a DJ is handling the record constantly).

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct Drive Turntable

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct Drive Turntable

The second type of turntable has a direct drive deck that attaches the motor directly to the platter. This creates the drives strength, called torque, better. The quality of the turntable with a drive deck is going to be dependent to the price you pay for it. The price of the deck goes up as does the price of the motor and for that reason the torque gets higher. As a beginner you’ll most likely use a deck with a torque of about 1 kg/cm, a mid-range deck is between 1 and 2 kg/cm, and the top of the range model offer torque from 2 to 4.5 kg/cm.

Now if you are still looking to purchase some equipment and you are on a budget, you may want to keep in mind that it may be more effective if you place more of your budget towards a better deck and less on a mixer. It is very likely that as time goes by you will grow out of whatever mixer you first purchase and will soon upgrade to another. But, if you start out with a good set of turntables, you won’t have to worry much about any upgrades later on since they will most likely last for a good amount of time.

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Top Locations to Mount a Car Amplifier

There’s no greater accomplishment than installing a sound system on your own. Sometimes you’ll run into road blocks along the way, like finding a location to mount your new amplifier. There are many places that are acceptable to mount an amplifier, and it’s a matter of finding the one the works best for your application.

Underneath the Seat

One of the most common locations to mount an amplifier is underneath a seat. This method will keep your amp out of sight and leave your car looking factory. If you’re installing a 4-channel car amplifier to power your door speakers, by mounting it under your seat you will have a central location to rout all of your speaker wires. Keep in mind you will need to hide any connections that could potentially be kicked or stepped on by passengers.

Trunk or Hatch Area

Another option is to mount the amplifier in your trunk or hatch area. This is most commonly done with subwoofer amplifiers, as it’s easy to keep the length of the speaker wire leading to your subwoofer down to a minimum. Keep in mind if you have a vehicle where you can see into the trunk area, this may not be the best location.

Amplifier Rack

If you’re going for a custom look for your installation you can build what’s called an amp rack. An amplifier rack can be anything that you’ve built to hold one or multiple amps in place. You can mount amplifiers in places like under the rear deck of a sedan, hidden in open cavities of your car or any other place you can think of. If you do build a rack to hide your amplifier, make sure it has lots of ventilation as it will get hot.

Final Tips

If you want to mount a car amplifier to the back of an enclosure, add a rubber gasket wherever you put a screw in. This will reduce vibrations that travel to the amplifier, potentially causing damage. If you decide to mount your amp to the back of a seat, remember to leave a couple of extra inches on each wire in case you need to fold your seat down. Strategize your installation and plan things out before you start screwing things in. You can do it! Let us know where you prefer to mount your amplifiers in the comment section below!

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Everything to Know About Fuses

Don’t Refuse the Fuse!

ATC Fuse

ATC Fuse

We’ve all heard of them but few people actually understand how they work.  Fuses are an absolutely essential part of any car audio system.  You can think of them as pawns in a chess game since they act as sacrificial tools in order to protect your amplifier or battery (your King and Queen).  They are low resistance and provide over current protection.  Basically inside a fuse, there is a thin metal strip and depending on the fuse rating it will be thinner or thicker.  If there is excessive current the fuse will blow the metal strip and interrupt the electrical circuit in order to prevent overheating or catching on fire. 

ANL Fuse

ANL Fuse

AGU Fuse

AGU Fuse

There are many different type of fuses but some are more popular than others.  The first to mention is ANL/AFS fuses.  Mini ANL and AFS are basically the same thing with their wafer style design.  These fuses are used in fuse holders and are run in-line between the battery and the amplifier.  Depending on the RMS wattage of your amplifier, you will require a different fuse rating.  Failure to use the right sized fuse will have dire consequences!  ANL fuses are larger and range from 100 to 300 amps while AFS fuses are smaller ranging from 40 to 125.  Remember that ANL fuses have the highest capacity of any fuse type so these are ideal for high wattage systems.  Another type is ATC and ATM fuses which are used for your vehicles fuse box for applications such as your interior dome lights or headlights.

Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers are an alternative to fuses

Then there are MAXI fuses which are essentially a larger version of the ATC fuse.  Last but not least is the AGU fuses which are glass tubes instead of bladed like all of the other ones listed.  AGU fuses are used for small to medium sized amps which range from 30 to 100 amps and are included with numerous amp kits.  Another alternative is using a circuit breaker which is unlike a fuse in that it does not need to be replaced.  Circuit breakers are simply reset either manually or automatically in order to continue normal operations.

Don’t be the person that decides to connect their amplifier straight to the battery without at fuse.  Not only will you destroy your system, but you’ll look like a noob!

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