Kicker and Crutchfield build an awesome ATV
We rock the parking lot with a killer stereo and a t-shirt cannon
I've been with Crutchfield since 1999, where I began as one our advisors, helping our customers choose new gear. After a couple of years, I moved to the writing team where I spent a decade researching new products and getting hands on with car stereos, amplifiers, speakers, and subs. Yeah, I've been doing this for a while.
For the past few years, I've been the managing editor of Crutchfield's Car A/V web article content. I couldn't ask for a better job — we get to play with car audio gear every day! I'm a Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outside of work, I love listening to music, playing board games, and installing new audio systems for my friends.
More from Robert Ferency-Viars
The new ATV has a brighter paint job with more Crutchfield flair
A few years ago, Crutchfield teamed up with our friends at Kicker to create an ATV with a little something extra – a seriously powerful sound system. As a promotional vehicle, the ATV was a huge hit at football games, parades, and everywhere else we took it. The fact that we were firing t-shirts out of a cannon probably didn’t hurt, but even those who didn't get a shirt got to experience more sound than they ever imagined hearing from an all-terrain vehicle.
So when Kicker suggested that it might be time to try out some new gear in a new ATV, we were all in. And, as you might expect, we went even bigger this time. Kicker assured us that this Polaris Ranger would rock even harder than the old one, and boy, did they come through on that promise.
The Crutchfield ATV can be found at local college and high school football games all season long, plus other community events, like the Holiday and Independence Day parades and the annual Dogwood Festival. Wherever we go, folks in the area know what to expect when we roll onto the scene: lots of loud music and plenty of action from the t-shirt cannon.
Roll cage speaker pods
The sound system
Fans go wild when the ATV rolls into the parking lot blasting out University of Virginia fight songs with an audio system designed and built by Kicker. And well they should. Two Kicker amplifiers mounted on a custom rack under the hood power three pairs of 6-1/2-inch Kicker component speakers and two 10-inch, square Kicker subwoofers.
Custom kick panel pods
Four of the speakers are mounted in custom pods on top of the roll cage, facing out into the crowd. The other pair, mounted in custom kick-panel enclosures, faces the driver and passenger. Two custom enclosures house the two subwoofers mounted in the bed. The two 10-inch subs represent one of the audio upgrades over the old ATV, which had a single 12-inch L7 subwoofer mounted under the driver's seat. And as we all know, two 10's are louder than a single 12.
The subwoofer grilles are painted to match the color of the ATV
Note the logos on the custom storage boxes
The sound system uses its own Stinger power supply and battery, so it's completely independent of the Ranger's electrical system. Kicker even installed a digital voltmeter on the dash, so David can keep an eye on the power level when the motor is off.
The twin Kicker amps produce more than enough power to run all of the speakers and the subwoofers. Each of the six speaker pods gets 70 watts RMS, while each subwoofer feeds on 210 watts RMS.
Kicker mounted the amps under the hood, where they get plenty of ventilation but run the risk of getting a little wet from time to time. Granted, our limited use of the vehicle doesn't make that a big risk, but just in case, Kicker used marine-rated amplifiers.
An in-dash navigation receiver drives the system so the crew can entertain fans with a movie when they aren't rockin' out. The touchscreen controls make it easy for the crew to switch between songs and sources, and the stereo's 7-band equalizer gets the sound just right, even with the vehicle's open-air setup.
More power and more function
The Polaris Ranger itself is noteworthy too. This off-roader includes a few extras that didn't come from the factory. Instead of the carbureted engine in the old ATV, the new Ranger uses fuel injection for better performance. An upgraded exhaust system lets the engine push the exhaust gases out easier, so the engine can breathe better. And that means more horsepower. The new, more responsive Ranger, with its throatier sound, definitely has more "get up and go."
But what about the t-shirt cannon? Well, we upgraded that, too. A custom-designed air cannon from t-shirtgun.com literally tops off the ATV. With a quick-swivel mount and plentiful air supply, we can send t-shirts flying deep into the biggest crowds. And we bring a lot of t-shirts to every event.
The fans love the Crutchfield ATV and its sound system, but it's the t-shirt cannon that draws the crowds. And that's totally okay. We love entertaining the crowd as much as they love vying for the t-shirts. When we sweep right, the crowd follows. It's a lot of fun for everyone involved.