Browsing All Posts By Harry Donihue

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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Five iTunes Tips and Tricks for Music Lovers

There are many tips and tricks that can make your experience with iTunes much faster and easier. Chances are, you’ve got a lot of music in your iTunes and you might have some trouble sorting everything out so you can listen to the music you like. If your music library is so out of control that you avoid it and instead listen to AM/FM on your car stereo, it’s time to try some of these tips. These tips will let you get the most out of your music library and force it to behave and play music the way that you want.

iTunes Columns

First, let’s start by getting rid of extra columns you don’t use. Personally, I get rid of columns such as Last Played, Episode Number, Comments, Album Rating, etc. These are useless to me, and I would rather have my columns occupied by more useful things such as the Date Added or the Bit Rate of each song. Play around with column options and you’ll start feeling more and more comfortable with your iTunes in no time.

Custom Equalizer Presets

When I’m sitting at my computer, I have a few different sets of headphones and speakers I like to use. Every set has its own unique sound, which is why I like to keep custom preset equalization settings for every device I play music through. You don’t have to be tech savvy to understand exactly what you’re doing, just pop open the Equalizer by hitting Ctrl + Shift + 2, and start playing around until you wind up with a sound you like. Test your custom equalizer preset with multiple songs before saving it, as you can’t go back and edit it later.

Smart Playlists

A smart playlist, essentially, is a playlist that updates itself with new songs that fall under guidelines you set. For example, when I’m driving around in my car I hate having to search for the next song I want to play, as it distracts me from the road. For this purpose, I created a new smart playlist. The playlist will hold 300 songs, and will update every time I connect my iPhone or iPod with music that has recently been added and has been rated 4 or 5 stars by me. This will result in a collection of my most popular songs that I can listen to while I’m driving.

iTunes Import Settings

Import settings are important for determining the behavior of iTunes when you connect an iPod or iPhone, or when transferring music from your iTunes to your Apple device. If you have an iPhone with limited space, you may opt to convert songs that take up more space into a low bit rate so you don’t fill up your iPod.

If you like to be in control of what music is transferred to your device, you can select the checkbox to manually manage music and videos. What’s cool about these settings is you can use different options for each device you own.

Individual Song Options

If you find that certain albums or even individual songs play louder than others, you can Right Click and select Get Info. Go to the Options tab and you’ll be able to boost or reduce the volume of individual tracks or entire albums. If you’ve found songs with ridiculous minute long introductions, you can adjust the start or stop time for each of them. These song options give you a lot of control over the way music is played back and sorted into your smart playlists, so don’t forget they’re there!

There you have it, five tips and tricks that I hope will enhance your music listening experience through iTunes. Let us know in the comments below what things you’ve done to improve your iTunes. Happy listening!

 

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California Legalizes Hands-Free Texting While Driving

In a world where technology gives us the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, it’s not always easy following the rules. One of the more recent laws that we have all had to deal with is the ban on texting and driving. Now I will admit its much more efficient to shoot off a text while out on the open road, rather than pulling all the way over to poke a button or two, but it is in fact 100% illegal to text and drive in the state of California. Luckily a solution will soon be available.

Effective January 1st, Governor Jerry Brown is enacting a bill that will allow you to use a hands-free device that assists you in sending a text message or an email. I know it’s not the most exciting solution in the world, but it’s much better than not texting at all! We’ve all been in the position where you’re trying to shoot off a text and suddenly you look up to find yourself in the next lane over. Not safe! This law will assuredly cut down on your near-death experiences. You’re probably wondering… where can I get one of these fancy hands-free doodads? Sonic Electronix of course, duh.

We actually carry a couple of solutions to texting and driving. First, the Motorolla HZ800 is a Bluetooth ear piece that not only gives you wireless call capabilities, but let’s you dictate your own text messages to send off to your friends. It even cancels out wind noise up to 40mph for a more accurate dictation. Now, if you’re like me and hate things poking you in the ear, go with the Motorola Tz710 Roadster. It’s essentially a Bluetooth speakerphone that clips onto your sun visor, giving you voice commands to many of your phones functions including, yes, texting. This universal piece is great because it’s affordable, and lets you send and receive messages and emails clearly and effectively.

There you have it. No longer should you be a trouble maker, because there are multiple solutions that almost anyone with a Bluetooth phone can do. I’ve got my hands-free device… now it’s your turn!

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Sony DSX-S210X – A Budget Friendly Stereo With an Attitude

Want it all but your budget doesn’t agree? Well Sony has done it again, folks. For a very agreeable price, you can have your cake and eat it too. Put this stereo in your vehicle and you will find tons of features that make driving more fun.

Downright Mean

If control is your thing, and your kid doesn’t listen… get them one of these bad boys and they’ll be stuck putting their iPhone in the handy “tunes tray”. Say goodbye to texting and driving and say hello to high quality audio integration for your son or daughter. The tunes tray accepts iPods and iPhones, and displays your music library in such an intuitive way that it makes selecting songs a breeze. In total there are two USB ports to ensure you are always connected.

  • Dual USB Input Connections
  • Tune Tray Integrates Apple Devices
  • Intuitive Music Library Searching

A Plethora of Necessities

Wireless remote? Check. Detachable face plate? Got it. Sony has thought of everything with this budget friendly beast. For the audiophiles out there, you’ll have more control over the tones, dips and curves of your music than your brain has ever dreamt. Bold statement I know, but well deserving. If you love a good 7 band equalizer with a side of time alignment, than I recommend this stereo to you.

  • 7-Band Parametric Equalizer
  • Time Alignment Speaker Delay
  • Digital Music Plus Sorts Music into Categories

Skip to The Basics

This puppy is CEA compliant, meaning this receiver is true to the power ratings that are stated. Pandora internet radio is supported with the use of an iPhone for streaming music on the fly. Four lines of text are displayed simultaneously on the display, offering more information at a single glance. Let’s not forget my personal favorite feature: three sets of 4 volts RCA outputs for adding up to three amps into your system. I like my music louder than loud, and this receiver has the specs to let me do just that.

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Features to Look For in a Car Stereo Receiver

When it comes down to choosing a new car stereo receiver for your vehicle, it’s always nice to have a few extra features that your old one didn’t have. There are many new ways to communicate, search for music or even navigate with a stereo receiver and we are going to touch on just a few.

Bluetooth Technology is one of the most sought after technologies in the car stereo world. It allows you to receive or make calls completely hands free, using a wireless communication between your stereo and your Bluetooth enabled phone. Bluetooth car stereos equipped with A2DP will additionally support Bluetooth audio streaming.

HD Radio is great when you live in urban or metropolitan areas with lots of radio signal. An HD Radio stereo will receive high definition digital AM/FM audio signals, resulting in very clear music. Many times, an HD receiver will allow you to tag songs that you like to later view in iTunes for download.

GPS Navigation is important for those daily drivers and commuters who do a lot of traveling. There are many different types of map databases in receivers. Some include helpful details like traffic tuning or points of interest searching. Navigation is also useful for finding the most economical routes to your destinations.

Pandora Internet Radio integration has quickly become huge in car stereos. If the receiver supports it, simply start up the Pandora app on your smart phone and plug it in through a USB connection. The stereo will typically be able to skip tracks, and sometimes it will support the use of ‘Thumbs Up’ and ‘Thumbs Down’ buttons.

iPod and iPhone Support are becoming a must in today’s industry. A good majority of people in the United States now own an Apple device to store their music, so why not utilize the iPod to bring your whole music library into the car.

These are some common features to look for when shopping for your new stereo. We hope this guide helps you track down that perfect receiver that does everything you need. If you have any suggestions of other popular features, please let us know in the comments field below!

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