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Crutchfield: The Podcast Ep. 43

Mark from Car Audio Fabrication

In this episode:

J.R. introduces this audio version of our live-streamed show, Crutchfield Live, which you can watch on YouTube and Facebook. He talks with Mark of Car Audio Fabrication, a YouTube channel devoted to making the car audio gear we sell look and sound great in all sorts of vehicles.

Be sure to check out the Crutchfield Live episode with Mark to see the custom builds that he talks about in the episode!

Explore more episodes

Read episode transcript

Hello and welcome to another episode of Crutchfield, the podcast. I'm your host, J. R. Welcome back. We have got a fun one for you here today a few weeks ago. We had a Youtuber and influencer, a person with a Youtube channel that I absolutely love and highly recommend. If you're listening to this podcast and you are at all interested in car audio, then you should check it out. It's called car audio fabrication. That's the name of the Youtube channel. The host of that show is Mark and uh, I found out about this channel because I was, I'm always looking for good youtube videos to help me convey car stereo installation concepts to our newest advisors here at Crutchfield. That's my day job is I train our new advisors to be able to help our customers buy use and enjoy, you know, cool stuff that Crutchfield cells. So that's, that's what I do. And I'm always looking for resources to help. And this youtube channel is a, just a gold mine of great helpful info. Mark is his name from colorado fabrication. He does. He's got over like 400 or so videos. Many of them center around how to build a subwoofer box. That seems to be his specialty. But he branches out and talks about all aspects of car audio installation and his videos are incredibly well done, very well produced. Uh, good lighting, good editing and just a lot of helpful information with, with visuals and everything. Um, so I found him that way. And I've been using his videos with our training classes and then I stumbled upon one that was sponsored by Crutchfield. I didn't even know that our marketing department and Mark from cardio fabrication had teamed up and that we now sponsor many of his videos along with some other really cool companies like J. L. Audio and audio control. Uh, and so we feel like we're in pretty good company there. And uh I, I thought, hey, let's uh let's reach out to this guy and see if he would like to do an episode of Crutchfield live. You can watch old episodes if you haven't seen them yet, go to Youtube dot com slash Crutchfield to find those. If you want to see all of the stuff that Mark and I talked about, he had some really cool pictures of some installs that he's done that we show in the live. So if you want to get the full experience, go find Crutchfield live on our Youtube channel. However, if you just want to listen to a podcast, then this is the way to go because we're gonna take that interview from the live episode we did and put it right here, That's this episode of the podcast. And I just want to give you a taste of what Mark's videos can sound like and what you, what kind of information you might get from them. I'm gonna play about a minute or so of one of his videos that indeed Crutchfield did sponsor this one's all about techniques that you might use to install speakers. So here we go when installing aftermarket speakers. There are a number of small things that we can do that don't take much time but help us to achieve the best possible sound that we can. I'm currently working on installing all of this gear into a truck and in this video we are focused on installing our door speakers. Now, if you've watched my videos before, you know that here on the channel, I have videos where I do full sound treatment to the doors and even fabricate my own rings. But the goal in this video is to do more of an everyday upgrade as opposed to an all out sound quality install you guys have been asking for this. So we're focusing on techniques that will get us the most performance benefit and value. Now, a quick side note this video is going to start with showing how to remove the door panels in this F 1 50. But even if you don't have an F 1 50 the installation techniques in this video can be applied to any vehicle. So stick with me. Let's get started with pulling off the door panel so that we can remove the O. E. M. Speaker. Now removing a door panel that you've never removed before. Can be a challenge because after all, where are all the different fasteners that you need to remove? Where are the different screws that we need to undo if you're unsure, I've got a good solution for you. If you're unsure how to get started, I definitely recommend this. This is the master sheet from show sponsor Crutchfield on the Crutchfield website, you can enter the year make and model of your vehicle and if they've already researched your vehicle, you can see all of the research they've done, which includes knowing what speaker sizes will fit into the door. So there you go. Mark is showing our website, showing our master sheets and he's doing an install on an F 1 50 in this video. It's compelling. It's helpful information and if you want to know how to install speakers, it's a fantastic video to watch. We've watched it in training many times because it gives us some nice visuals and all that. So Mark's videos are just great and I was really looking forward to talking to him. We got him live on the show. And so that's what you're about to hear. If you keep listening to this podcast, you will hear Mark from car audio fabrication and me on Crutchfield live, enjoy. Welcome Mark, how are you today? Doing good Jr thanks for having me. Mark is as you'll see if you produce his Youtube channel uh really is a master level, do it yourselfer who is more than willing to share his knowledge and expertise and so he's here today and we are inviting our viewers to ask questions that Mark could answer. If you ask a question that maybe I would be better to answer? I might answer some questions anyway, ask us anything about that stuff and we will do our best to get you whatever info we can. How's that for an introduction there? Mark sounds good. Yeah, we have a bunch of cool pictures to go through two. So we'll talk a little bit of my history and look at some of my older builds and then we'll get into some of the newer stuff too. So yeah, I've got a whole list of stuff I am excited to talk to Mark about. However, if you viewers at home, just ask us a question after question, we may never get to this stuff and that would be fine because we would love to answer your questions. That's one of our favorite things to do on Crutchfield Live. We have a question that came in actually before we went live from our Youtube Community Post. Uh, and this customer says, or viewer says, what speakers would you suggest for a aftermarket stereo with 24 watts by four, no amplifier. The stereos of JBc, if that matters. And this is going in a ford edge, I don't know if we need to get like a specific model going, but I think the bigger question here is when you, when you have somebody installing or just they just want a basic system, a head unit or a radio and four speakers with no plans to add an amp or a sub. Are there particular things about speakers that you look for to be a better choice than maybe a speaker that's going to be amplified? Yeah, I mean you want to look for a high sensitivity value but I mean there's definitely a ton of different parameters you want to look at and conveniently enough. I recently made a video on the channel that you guys can check out that's all about, you know, how to properly pick speakers and I know you guys have a similar video on your channel as well, you know, that's that is kind of what we do here at Crutchfield help people pick out speakers and uh there are plenty of choices. Mark is absolutely right. You want to be looking for speakers that are very efficient. High sensitivity is the way you know how efficient a speaker is that's rated in sensitivity in decibels. Uh and something around 90 to 93 d be efficient is probably where you wanna be when you're using just head unit or raid power and not an amplifier. Typically when you put an amplifier in and you've got 50 or 75 watts for your speakers, efficiency isn't all that important anymore because you've got the power to drive the speaker sound about right, let's see Greg on youtube says, I just purchased the Alpine HDZ 6 50 three's this week. Is it better to use the crossover? It comes with or run my L. C. 1200 as a six channel to each speaker. Is that a three way set? The let's go find out. It's a full three way set. So basically he's asking if he should use the crossover or if he should run full active. Um personally personally I I always like to run full active which means you don't use the crossover, you're connecting directly to each channel. But with the footnote of making sure that you know what you're doing because you need to properly tune that amplifier and set the crossovers on that amplifier to make sure that you're not sending you know mid range or bass frequencies especially to something like a tweeter because you would definitely end up damaging it. So as long as you know what you're doing. Yeah it's it's always a good idea to go active. But make sure you do your research. Yeah. And when you go active you're using fewer components, fewer things in the signal path, fewer things that could potentially distortion or make it less clean than it could be. And uh and yeah so if you can go active, I think I fully agree with you, mark that makes perfect sense. Yeah. And with that set being a three way too you'd be using all six channels. So if your plan is to also be using that amplifier to try to power rear speakers or anything like that, You're gonna be out of channels already. So good point. Uh let's see the next question comes from Ryan uh and this specifically, you might be able to answer this now better than ever before because you recently went on a tour of the JL audio facility, which is a really fun place to go. I've been there myself. I want to talk to you more about that later, but this person has a JL audio specific question, Does the bluetooth digital input for the JL audio amps really play hi or is it able to play high fidelity audio? Do you happen to know that if not we can look it up? I don't, I don't know that off hand. I'm sure it uses the, I had to guess, I would think it uses like the latest app decks codex and everything. Um I do know that it's like that piece, it's a separate piece that you need in order to I forget the name of them. I've got it right here. It's the JL audio V X I B T C. Bluetooth communicator for VX. I amps for control, not streaming. So I'm, I don't know if I'm looking at the thing he's asking about but that's just so I think, I think I think that's if you want to use like their mobile app and then like uh you know, tune the amplifier with, with the mobile application, like on a, you know, a portable device. Have you done any installs that? use those VX I amplifiers? Those things are just I mean incredibly customizable the intricate detail you can do to fine tune everything. What have you, what's been your experience with those VX I amplifiers? They're awesome. Yeah on the on the channel. So we did a full build in a Wrangler. Um and so I had two of the amplifiers in jail. What's also cool with their stealth box lineup is they have um obviously the subwoofer enclosures that go in the back of the vehicle. But for the Wrangler they also have uh these amplifier mounting brackets that mount underneath the seats. So it just makes it really, it's a nice solution to easily mount up those amps underneath the seats and yeah like I said to the VX, I am so it was a six channel and then a mono block on the other side powering the subs. So yeah they're they're fun and they sound super good and paired up with with jail audio's new max which is their tuning measurement system device has like a full microphone array paired up with that and doing all the tuning on the on the R. T. A. With that is that car ended up sounding really, really good. Yeah that's that's some next level stuff if you're doing car stereo installation for the first time, that's probably not what you're trying to do. But if you are trying to create a super high quality sound quality type of competition level. Just a sound system that will blow your mind and you're putting the amps and the speakers and the subs and all of the stuff in place, uh, to be able to tune it with that kind of level of granularity is pretty impressive. Yeah. Uh, cool. So the next question, I don't know if you have any thoughts on this. It's a specifically about a Pioneer speaker. What do you think of the pioneer lightweight fare? Right magnet? Subwoofers? Are they good? Uh, and same person, What do you think of the new pioneer subwoofer? The T. S. A 301 S 4? Uh, so if you have any thoughts on that, great. Uh, but what about just in general, the idea that magnets, uh, you know, a lot of people think a good subwoofer has to have a humongous magnet on the back. Is that true? Or are there exceptions to that rule? Can you do it with newer magnet? Like, uh, you know, neodymium, stuff like that? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I feel like it's kind of a marketing thing and it's something I've talked about on the channel before that you definitely want to be careful. Like you don't want to buy a subwoofer purely based on its power rating or purely based on, like you said, the size of the magnet. I feel like, um, that's something that a lot of manufacturers will kind of stick at the top of their specs, they'll be like, oh it has 100 and 20 ounce magnet or whatever. And people just compare the size and really it's more so about, you know, the build quality about the actual um parameters of the subway for like there's many other factors that go into it, so uh so true. Um Let's let's uh I think we've hit all the questions that have come in so far. Uh So I want to start asking you some stuff about box building, about your experience, how you got into doing what you're doing now. Um Let's uh let's let's go on a journey. How did Mark go from uh you know high school to this? Like how did you get to do what you're doing? Yeah. So, so in high school I really, that's where I kind of caught the bug if you will. Um You know, one of my friends had a system with a couple of subs and I thought that was the coolest thing ever. And of course someone to outdo my buddy. I feel like that's how a lot of people kind of get into it. You've got to have the louder system than your friend. So in high school really started, you know, kind of building my own stuff and and installing my own speakers and then I ended up going to school for mechanical engineering. So it kind of translated well into um you know, taking my box builds and everything to the next level and um incorporating different fabrication techniques into everything. Um kind of what I learned throughout school and then I also enjoy you know woodworking in the high level um woodworking tools and has always also kind of been a hobby of mine. So kind of mixing the two together have kind of like formed this this high level enclosure building and different aspects of karate. Also like amplifier racks and um making speaker adaptors and have a ton of pictures we can go through that will probably better better explain this. I love it. Let's go through the journey that some of these pictures are older builds right? And then you've got some pictures of some stuff you've done more recently. Yeah I love it. Let's see what you got. There we go. So I see the trunk of a car with what looks to be for one of those 12:15 a.m. T. X. S. Yeah so this is this is where we kind of started, right? So this is like way back in the day this is probably 15 years ago. I think this is I think I finished this build like in my senior year of high school. So the reason I just want to kind of start in the past is like some of these enclosures are pretty obnoxious looking and I definitely made a lot of mistakes and actually one of the videos that I'm working on editing right now is going back and looking at one of my, my day. different past builds and kind of analyzing it and talking about what I would do differently now that I know what I know today. So I like to do those kind of builds every those kind of videos every once in a while because I think it's just good to understand that like some of the stuff that you're gonna see a little bit later, I didn't just learn that overnight and I think it's valuable because I've had people tell me before that it feels kind of discouraging when you see like the real high level stuff. Um, you know, do you can understand what I'm saying? Oh, 100%. I mean, I've seen, you know, car shows, DB drag races, some of these sub enclosures that are like, whoa, hold on, How did you get that to sound that good? And that takes a lot of trial and error experience. Um, just what's needed to actually physically make the box. I mean, I, I am, I watch, you work in the videos on your channel and I am in awe of what you do and put it together and that's not how my brain works. There's no way I could come up with even this 15 year old build in this trunk of this car. So yeah we'll get you there. I know you've been watching lots of the videos, so I appreciate that. So yeah, you know, this is like you said, M. T. X. Subwoofers, four twelve's were sitting there in a sealed box and then I decided to do something a little bit different. This was an old tourists by the way. Uh, so what I switched to here is the these were actually ported enclosures support, you can see my cursor, right? Yeah, so the report is in the back area here and it goes this way and then kind of fires into the inside of the vehicle. So this was 2 15 and this is obviously just the skeleton going on right now as I was, you know, planning on stretching my material so you can see the old materials stretched. They're a bunch of fleece. I think it was probably Halloween around that time based on the color scheme there. But yeah, you end up applying resin and obviously we're skipping a lot of steps here, but applied a bunch of resin and fiberglass and built up the strength and the, and used a bunch of body filler and again, you know, I always look back at these pictures and see little things. I could have done better. Obviously there's some body filler issues going on there, but nevertheless kind of a cool build from 15 or so years ago. So, um, now moving forward a little bit more so this is more of a recent building. I just kind of wanted to show this, this is like another kind of style to building subwoofer enclosures that is called stacked fabrication. So in this case here, I'm building out a subwoofer enclosure for a shallow mount subwoofer, I believe this was a 10, this was probably 88 years ago at this point. So, um, anyway, came up with a shape that I knew was going to fit into the side area, which also happened to be a Wrangler, this is a Wrangler JK and I started expanding that shape. You can see here building upon it and you know, it's kind of hard to see in this picture, but behind here there was a little bit more of a clearance on this layer just to better match the vehicle itself. But this enclosure is also ported, so the porch is kind of built into the geometry of the sidewalls there and here's a little bit more of a finished look once, once all the assembly came together. So this piece here was just to kind of finish out the outsides of the report, um, added some body filler around the outside there and you see a lot of gaps like right here, you can see that dark shadow there. There's actually an intentional gap between this surface and the backside of this panel because I've watched your videos for and that's for like a fabric or some other material you're gonna put in there so that it fits in there and looks tight rather than having like a, you know, it butting up against it. It kind of goes under and it just looks fantastic. Your boxes look fantastic man, the fit and finish what you're doing today is very impressive. Yeah, Thank you. I appreciate that. And you're right. I'm glad to hear you've been watching. So yeah, like he said, it's to allow for precise vinyl fit mint within, within there. So depending on what material you're using, if you were rapping with carpet and then vinyl on the front here you we would have a different gap size. But I was going for a vinyl to vinyl transition and uh, even here there's a gap and you're gonna see. So in this next picture you can see this is after we wrapped everything with vinyl and you know, the gaps are real nice and perfectly straight. And even on this little insert here, I had a couple of pieces of aluminum going across just to kind of give it a cool accent with, with a white color and then, you know, obviously the black on the outside there so turned out turned out pretty good. That looks great. I mean that's basically a custom built, like it's kind of like what JL audios doing with stealth boxes except you're creating it like one at a time. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. This is one off, not mass produced at all. So uh, here's, here's another build. So this is obviously more of a daily driver. This is actually from my dad. So this was dad's daily driver build which is a full build series that we did on the Youtube channel. So um obviously you know this JR but you know, just for some people that might be new to what I do. So I might build series on the chan, I'll go through like the full process of installing the radio and actually wiring it up, installing the speakers, doing sound treatment and all of these are separate videos. So each thing is kind of broken out into its own, you know, separate task so that we can really dive into the details and really explain things. So everyone out there can follow along and you know, learn alongside us. So um right here this is obviously the back side of the head unit and you can see some of the different wiring that I did and of course, you know, this was brought to you by Crutchfield video. So um we of course use the master sheet in order to determine exactly how to take the radio out. And we also, you know used all all the guides from crutchfield in order to properly match everything up and we knew exactly what integration piece we also needed because of crutchfield. So um, you know, using the vehicle selector, we didn't have to basically didn't have to figure out a whole lot on our own because you guys do so much of the heavy, heavy work for us, like we knew exactly what integration piece we needed etcetera. So, and this is uh, this is the radio installed there in the dash. So kind of unique in the equinox that it ends up giving you kind of like this dual screen where you're no longer using the top screen anymore. But that's because you're no longer using the top screen for the radio anymore. I should specify, you still use it for the climate controls and everything and then the radio is added down here and get the fit kit in there as well. We're seeing that happen a lot more in cars where they have a screen, but it's not really in a spot where the new radio can replace it. So you'll end up with a two screen experience. And depending on the car, you might end up with a screen that does nothing. Or again, if we have a, like an data link maestro type of, an O E. M. Integration adapter, you might be able to completely keep using the factory screen even though you've installed a new radio. And so you have a true to screen experience that varies so much from car to car. And yeah, that's kind of crutchfield specialty is knowing what's going to happen, researching vehicles, having all of the gear that it takes to put a head unit in uh, in some in the cars and a lot of cars that you can't do it at least not yet. So we're seeing that more and more as well and we're more than happy to tell you that so that you don't end up taking your dash apart and only to find out that you can't really replace the radio. Uh, so yeah, did you use Crutchfield before we actually had a business relationship? Yes, 100%. And I've been using you guys since I can remember like since high school. So yeah. Yeah, no, it's, it's definitely always been very handy to, like I said to have the Master Street and uh, you know, all the, all the wiring diagrams and, and knowing what speaker adapters you need and you guys definitely make it easy. I'm seeing a couple of questions come in. I like this last one, I'll add some context to as have you ever done an extreme build meaning? Spl uh so I think the answer is probably gonna be yes, but that's a whole different animal than building a sound quality system. I mean, the stuff I've watched you do is primarily been focused on building an entire system that sounds great. Um, but spl spl competitions dB drag race and stuff like that, that's kind of a different animal. Have you, are you in that world at all too? Uh, not not anymore. So I definitely did some stuff back in the day, but now I've just, I've translated, I don't know, my interest has just changed much more to like the high quality sound, the sound quality if you will. Um To me I just because of my interest in fabrication, like to me the coolest thing is like when a car has a complete audio system and you almost can't even tell that it has like a completely redone audio system. Like I just I guess I value more of like the stealthiness and installs nothing against the S. P. L. I still think that stuff is cool and it's definitely equally challenging to do you know that level of build. But I guess my interest level has just changed. Yeah that makes sense. Got another good question here from Kendra. What type of bonding agents do you use in adhering the fabrics and the vinyl to the box? Excuse me. So I should know also I'm fighting through the end of a cold so I apologize if I mean it really quick, just a cough. But yeah so um the adhesive you definitely want to use is called, it's made by D. A. P. It's called weld would landau top interim adhesive I owe it. Just look up one of my upholstery videos on the channel because I'll show more and talk more about it. But it's the upholstery adhesive that I always use. Do not do not please do not use the spray adhesive that you get at like the hardware store it just it works okay. Like if you're just doing um like a box with carpet with you know, normal like trump carpet, but when you're actually doing vinyl, you really want to use that adhesive that I mentioned because it's, it's like actually made for automotive upholstery and it will lock down and it will not release in the heat. It works really well. How did you get to the point where you, you know, did you call JL audio, did you call audio control, Did they call you? How did that kind of work for you? Yeah, so, uh, a lot of, a lot of the relationships that I've built have been, you know, me reaching out to them and more so because I've used their product for so long in the past, you know, I know it's a good product that I feel comfortable recommended to everyone. So you pretty much nailed, you know, both of my, my major manufacturer relationships, audio control in jail audio. So I really like working with their gear and you know, there's a lot of other great gear out there for sure. But in the past and so those are two brands that we carry, you can feel free to mention your other sponsors if you just want to throw out some love, even though they're not brands we have. Well that's, I mean we're a rising tide floats all boats. So who else sponsors? You? Yeah, so new concepts is my, my big wire and like wire distribution sponsor and then I work a lot with mobile solutions there. Um, a company that specializes in training people on custom fabrication. They have like live in person trainings that you can go to. Um, and they also have a full range of fabrication tools and like materials, raw materials, things that you would need. Um, I've actually partnered so brian Schmidt, he's the owner of mobile solutions and he also has the Master Tech expo, which is a cool uh, live event that you can go to, that, you know, for car audio fabricators and really installers. And uh, so I've, I've helped him and assisted him in coming up with many different tools, designs and things over the years. So that's awesome. And that you can have the sort of the freedom and the power to really only partner with companies that you feel comfortable recommending. That's something you share with us at Crutchfield, you know, the brands that we sell, we sell quite a few, but there's also quite a few brands that we don't sell and we are very selective about the products that we show and carry and sell to our customers if we don't feel, you know that the company behind the product and the product itself is uh, you know, sort of shares our values and our beliefs then we can avoid it. And so that's awesome. Let's talk about what's going on in this picture here. This is uh, this is just kind of a cool technique that I use to kind of frame out an area in in this case I'm trying to come up with the shape for an amplifier rack so you can see here and the next step and again, this is all stuff that's covered in detail. Step by step on the channel. Obviously we're skipping quite a few steps in these pictures but came up with the shape for this, this plastic material that I like to use for amplifier racks. You can see that we have two audio control amplifiers mounted into the the, you know, this is the area underneath the storage compartment of the Equinox obviously by the spare tire there. Excuse me. So I got the two amplifiers mounted and then also part of this bill, I wanted to mount the tweeter and the mid range into the a pillar of the vehicle. That way I could have a full three way active component set up in the front of the car with the 6.5 inch before being mounted in the door. So these are the rings that I came up with um, to start my fabrication process for making these custom a pillars here, A little bit, you know, more fiberglass work. So right now I just have some material stretched over those rings that you just saw, there's some wooden sticks holding this in place and again skipping a lot of steps. But yeah fiberglass that did the body filler, sanded everything and then re wrapped it with the exact same headliner material that's in the car. Excuse me. So here it is and it's finished. I love this. You know, we have this conversation with our customers probably 100 times a day when, because so many cars these days have, you know, when I started doing this in 96 it was uncommon for a car to have, you know, a factory tweeter mounted up high, you know, on the higher on the door, a pillar, the dash. And now it's fairly commonplace for a car to have that. Yes. Which has definitely made it a little easier to replace the factory twitter with a new one rather than what you used to have to do pretty much all the time was create a location for your new twitter. Um, so not everybody has to go to this level of installation, but what you've done here looks amazing. Um, can you talk a little bit about installing tweeters? Uh, just maybe the way a normal average everyday joe might do it rather than something this intricate. Is it, is it easier today than put to put tweeters in? I don't, I don't know exactly what I'm asking. I hope you're picking up what I'm putting. Yeah, I mean it's definitely easier I would say because the location kind of is more readily available. I do actually, um, will go into it and let's see. I've got a few more pictures to get through. But um, I do have an example of that, but uh, yeah, I mean it's like anything, there's a lot of different techniques that you could use and I'll show you guys what kind of what I like to do. So we'll get to that. But yeah, continuing through this build here, this is the 6.5 inch component, so the mid bass subwoofer in the door and we of course did a bunch of sound treatment within the door as well uh, to properly get rid of all those vibrations and residents. And then this is the jail audio stealth box in the back of the Equinox that we installed. So I didn't build that, that's, you know, straight from jail audio, which is super cool that they had, uh, that option for this vehicle because that's where the O E M subwoofer goes in. So just swap that out. So this is just a cool little panel that I lasered and stuck on here, you know, since it's for my dad, it's dad's daily driver built by us, car audio fabrication and then we've got all the sponsors there, you can see Crutchfield there of course as well, we're riding around with your dad, I love it, that's right, he rocks out to this every day. So there's dad, dad loves the, yeah, dad loves the vehicle, you can see the custom component speakers in the, in the a pillar there and he's got the radio down there as well. So if you didn't do this, if you didn't do this for your dad, would your dad, does your dad care enough about this to have built or bought a system like this, does he? No, no, no, no, he loves it, but I don't think he ever, you know, would have done it himself. So yeah, my dad's the same way. I can't get him to care enough like when I ride in his car, it's not the same. Yeah, it's always rough riding riding in a vehicle that doesn't have a proper system. I have a question, can you back up one picture to the stealth box? Yeah, so uh when I was at JL audios headquarters and this has been like 15, 16 years ago now. Uh but I think they're thinking of this is the same when I was there, they had a ford Mustang, they had that thing fully torn apart and they were looking for the perfect place to build a stealth box and they shared with me what something that makes perfect sense once you hear it, but you might not think of it. Uh their philosophy in building a stealth box one, it's got a sort of fit and look good in the car, They got to find a place where it makes sense under a seat in the corner of a trunk, something like this. Uh and then of course they've got to make it work with one of their subs of the internal air space, all that, all of that part easily done, right. And then sometimes they will find that they can put this box here and it looks great, but it doesn't actually sound great with the acoustics of the car. So then they have to find another place and see, and there have, and they told me there's been cars that they just don't do a stealth box for not because they can't, but because they, there's nothing they can do in that car that fits sort of all of those criteria. And so my specific question for you is when you're making a custom box, like that jeep box that you showed us a little bit ago, how do you know, it's gonna sound good? Or have you encountered a case where you built a custom box like that and you're like, oh, great, It looks awesome, fits great. Doesn't sound good. Yeah, so definitely what I like to do. And again, I have a full full video about this on the channel, you can check out to see the process. I think it's titled something along the lines of like, testing out a subwoofer location, something something like that. But I like to take a, uh, I specifically have a little test box and I'll use and I'll just put it in the location and, you know, I'll measure with a microphone and I'll put it in different orientations. And even it's a down firing box, so I can even put it down firing if I'd like to uh, to check that out. But yeah, I put it in different locations in the car, face it in different directions and I can generally get a pretty good feel for the acoustics of the vehicle before I spend all the time, you know, actually custom making and enclosure. So that's kind of in a nutshell, the process. But like I said, that that video goes more into detail, Awesome. I figured somewhere in the, what is it 400 or so videos that you might have the answer to that question. Uh, and I think you're gonna find viewers at home that that's going to be a common theme that Mark has probably answered most of these questions in a video of some sort. So the fact that he's willing to share with us and point us in the right directions is great. We're also trying along the way. We've got abby in the background posting links in the chat. Here's to any videos that we know are applicable to what we're talking about. So, uh, so thank you for doing that. Abby. Um, we have another question that has just come in, Raven says, hi Mark, always great work. Do you have preferences. Do you have a preference between ear tuned versus our ta tuned systems and what is your go to tuning tool. Yeah, So, uh, when people ask this, I always kind of equate it to like the performance vehicle industry. So like if you were to, let's say you're building a car to, you know, go down the track right in the quarter mile track, if you're gonna have somebody tune that car, are you going to have them just randomly adjusting parameters until it kind of seems like it's going fast or are you going to trust the guy more that you know, has the computer hooked up to the E. C. U. And it's fine tuning everything and then you know, you're actually measuring your your time down the track and uh the point being I'm going to trust the guy more that's using the tools that are refined for doing that particular thing. So to answer the question, I prefer the R. T. A tune. Um As part of the process, you of course want to listen to it by ear but that should be after it's arty eh tuned. So you go through the full R. T. A. Tuning process and then once you're done you're kind of adding the ste Therese, she likes to say, I can quote them but like the salt and pepper to the final tune, you might be doing some small adjustments, you know, to make sure that it actually sounds good to your ear but the R. T. A tune, if you're doing it properly should get you 90 95% of the way there. And as far as I go to tuning tool, I like to use the audio control D. M. R. T. A. Which is a great tool because it allows you to do acoustic measurements along with electrical measurements. So if you are integrating with the factory car audio system, you can measure the actual electrical response of a speaker and make sure that you know, has all the proper frequencies that you're hoping to have there. And uh, it just gives you a lot of flexibility. And I also really like the jail audio max tuning system. So, and again, conveniently both of those are on the channel. So what a coincidence if you want to see more detail. Yeah. And you know, there are other tools like that available out there in the world. Mark is gonna stick with the companies that is working with him that he supports them, they support him. Uh, there's others and we can talk about them another time. But yeah, no, no doubt that the audio and the audio control are excellent. Yeah. And for for entry level, I mean I'm sure you guys have an option to, there's microphones that you can connect, you know, directly to your to your phone and you can get like an R. T. A. App at least have a rough idea of, you know, the performance of the system. So I love this question from wrecks, are there any vehicles you've done and install in that have proven to be notably more difficult than any others are their cars in general. You're like, oh no, I don't want to work on that car because that's not gonna be easy at all. Not, not that you're always looking for the easy way, but there's cars that are by far harder to deal with than others. Yeah, so, you know, a little bit more about me. So I don't do like a ton of installs. I kind of only do installs for myself and my friends, like I'm kind of like the D. I wire that kind of shows everything. So probably not the best person to ask this question because, you know, I haven't had a whole lot of exposure to a ton of different vehicles, I would say every vehicle has its own, you know, independent challenges. One of the hardest things to me about some of the newer vehicles is like, it's pretty much impossible now to run aftermarket wiring like through through, um, you know, the door wiring harness into a door. So a lot of times you have to just make do with the factory wiring. But with that said, a lot of times, factory speaker wiring is more than capable of like handling the amount of power that you would really need to send to a speaker, it's more so when you're trying to add like an additional active component speaker and a door being able to have that, you know, separate run of, of wiring meaning always a challenge, meaning it's probably okay to just use the factory speaker wire. Even if you're installing a big 50 75 75 maybe 100 watts of power knowing you're going to send it over. Sure you would like bigger, thicker speaker wire, but the factory will do okay. But if you want to put two speakers in your door when there was only one, you're gonna need more speaker wire, you can't do that. So running the wire through the door, I have watched your video on this and it is if you want to know how to run wires from the inside of your car to the inside of your door, Mark does A fantastic job abby. If you can find that video and post that in the Chat, that is a must watch video. I have shown it to every training class over the last 12 months, whatever. If it's I don't know how old it is, but the at least three training classes of new advisers either have seen or will see that video this year. Yeah. And if if anything and then you at least see what the, what the challenges and you can decide if if you think it's really worth it anymore to upgrade that wiring because it's it's definitely not easy. So, no. Cool. Should we keep going through pictures? Let's see, let's see your next. I don't know. We could probably do this for hours. I don't know if we'll get through all of your pictures but I love seeing the evolution. What's going on here. All right so this is uh this is a build in a Jetta. Yeah this is the Jetta build. So again I've got all my gear picked out from from you guys. So I got the head unit there from Sony that we ended up doing on this build and of course the steering wheel adapter so that we can retain those steering wheel controls and the different integration pieces and wiring harnesses and on this build. Um I wanted to add so I was using audio control amplifiers and I wanted to add their A. C. R. Three which is their um like remote level controller that uh it's right here uh the remote level controller that attaches to their amplifiers so you can control you know volume level or sub subwoofer level depending on what you choose in the DSP software for those amps. But um this is that same wire or the you know the same component here. I've just separated it from that audio control bracket and I actually made this on the channel. This is just like a cool little assembly that is made out of acrylic. Made it on a laser and it screws in from the backside there and it just gives me you know more of a finished panel. These this piece here is what used to be in two different spots here. So just kind of a more of a finished look rather than like drilling a hole in a dash piece or something like that. Yeah, that looks good. Just say that looks great. I mean it looks like it belongs there uh super tight. Like I like that thank you. This is the speakers that we went through our we installed on this. This is the jail audio C3 speaker which if you're familiar with that speaker, it's pretty cool because it's what's called like a convertible speaker. It's one of the few on the market that does this, you can actually detach the tweeter. It's it's a component tweeter and a component will for you can detach this tweeter and mount it somewhere else in the vehicle if you want or you can mount it, you know, they include this piece where it's kind of more like a co axial speaker mounting if you will, even though each speaker is connected separately, you can see there's actually two different uh pairs of wiring going in there. So for conductors. But what I really like about this speaker is I feel like it's a cool speaker if you, if you want to always tell people that you should look at car audios and investment because when you get rid of a vehicle there's no reason that you can't take all the audio system out of it and put it into your next vehicle. So um in fact a lot of times on the channel I'll mention that when we're doing an install that you know there's ways that you can install things so that it's very easy to return the vehicle back to factory when you go to take out your after market system. So always kind of like to keep that in the back of my head. But the point being uh this speaker is cool because it has that flexibility of being able to mount the tweeter separately if you were to take this system out of this vehicle and go into a different vehicle that maybe had a twitter spot that's easy to install into uh you know now you can just switch to that orientation. It's not like you're locked into this this co axial configuration you know which makes a lot of sense if you think about it as an investment and you're not buying very inexpensive, entry level, you know, base level sort of speakers if you're buying something like this it's kind of like buying home speakers right? You don't leave them in the house when you move to a new house, you take them with you and there's no reason why you wouldn't want to take a really nice speaker like the C. Three with you to your next car if you're if you're using a 6.5 6 and three quarter. That's a common size chances are you're gonna make it work in your next car too. and yeah, being able to do, you do what you want to do with that twitter makes a lot of sense. Yeah, for sure. So uh here's some of the wire in here. You know, I like to always try to follow along some of the O. E. M. Harnesses and keep everything nice and secured their with the got the crossover for this speaker mounted over here and then for this build, we also did a custom enclosure, this is a sealed enclosure. You can see it's got just some really simple design elements added to the front here but just add, you know, make it a little bit more unique on the channel. We're always talking about all sorts of different fabrication techniques. So you know, I used the woodworking router quite often. So so this round over that you see around the outside of this flush mount hole that's made with a round over bit on the router and then to add those lines, I literally just used a table saw before this piece was assembled to the box. I just, you know, carefully measured my offset on my fence and ran it through the table saw at a really shallow depth a couple of times. And I think uh for them, yeah, so you can kind of see it's hard to see in the picture but in person you can definitely see the lines a little bit more, just gives it kind of an interesting design element. So yeah, I mean you you always got some sort of flare going on and something to set the boxes apart from just sort of a run of the mill box. I have a question uh Kendra says do you do a lot of laser cutting for your small panel pieces? Like are you uh is that has that become a common thing that you're doing? Yeah, I do now that I have a laser before before you know, obviously not so much, it's kind of like I said earlier, there's always a million different ways to make something that the nice advantageous thing about a laser is you can cut like let's say in the curly piece you could cut incredibly skinny and make like a really small fine detail that you would never be able to do with like a jigsaw or a normal, you know, woodworking type tool so. Yeah, yeah, yeah for sure. The other thing I like to use quite often is the three d printer. So what you know, it's cool like anything technology you know is always coming down in price. So laser machines are much more affordable now three d printers especially are much much more affordable now you know to get a printer that can make a relatively good parts so try to use whatever different tool I can, you know to to put it to work and uh there's lots of different automation that we like to work with. Is this the amp rack for the Jetta, yep, yep. So this is the amplifier rack, so the audio control D dash 4.800 that's a DSP integrated amplifier which was kind of like I was mentioning earlier which allows you to connect that a Cr three. Um and you know I could switch between tunes from the front seat and I could set it up in this case I set it up so that the controller was purely just for the control of this amplifier which is the mono block amplifier for the subway fares. So and I don't I don't think I mentioned these are to jail audio 13 W threes. So even in a sealed enclosure this thing was crazy loud, it sounded super good and it's definitely definitely a fun build. So got the got the wiring there, everything secured in place with some zip ties. And this this piece of plastic is A. B. S. It's like quarter inch thick sheet of A. B. S. Um It's mounted to the subwoofer enclosure but it's mounted with like these rubber isolators so that it will not really transfer any of the vibration from the subwoofer enclosure. And you can see I always add bracing and other things inside the enclosure to make sure it's good and strong anyway so you could put your hand on this box and you couldn't even feel any vibrations. So there's really no concern there with that mounting? That's a custom question we get a lot is can I just mount my amp to my sub box? Can you talk more about that from the maybe the more basic sort of, can I just bolt the amp to the box and everything's gonna be okay? Or are there problems that will arise as a result of that? I mean, it's it's like anything. I feel like that's a hard question to answer with like a definitive yes or no because if the box, if the box is just like off the shelf, it might not be built with that idea of like, oh somebody's gonna mount an amplifier to this. So the sides might be a little bit more prone to vibration. Um Whereas in my case I knew I wanted to mount my amplifier rack to it. So I made sure I added the extra bracing and I made sure I added those isolators. It's it's kind of just like an engineering question if you will. So how do you guys usually answer that when people ask, so we start with our stock answer to most questions, which is, it depends. Uh And uh and then we talk about it with our customers and you know, if if if you're using uh sort of an entry level, very inexpensive amplifier, uh compared to something, you know, high end, really well build, build quality, next level stuff? Uh There's a different answer there, write a lower quality amplifier. Uh there's a better chance that those solder joints and things inside the amplifier could work themselves loose if there, uh if they're having to deal with those vibrations from a pounding subwoofer on a daily basis. Right? So it might shorten the life of an amplifier or cause you problems. Uh if the build quality on the amp is really well is high end, probably not gonna have any any problems. Uh and if you want to attach it to the box, obviously there's multiple ways to do that. You don't necessarily just want to go screwing it in with your wood screws directly through. You want to try to make sure the box can handle it and all of that. So yeah, we try to have those conversations, basically what you said. It depends and but it can be a very good place to put us up an amplifier. Uh if all the, if all of those boxes are ticked again, if people watch on the channel, you'll see that some, a theme that always follows, you want things to be serviceable, um you know, easy to, to work on if you need to, you don't want to have to be on doing 300 screws to, to get back to your fuses, so, and that all comes along with, with planning and um, you know, thinking through a bill before you do it and we're talking about the twitter locations here. So this vehicle had a tweeter in the sail panel and I wanted to add a twitter there, but unfortunately the twitter that is going to be using is larger than this whole size. So I ended up three d printing some rings and I bought bodywork them in there and then uh to get an idea of the finished look, that's what it ended up looking like there. Yeah, that's some next level twitter stuff. If you if you're not ready to do that kind of stuff, we should probably go with the tweeter that's about the same size or maybe a little smaller than the whole, that's there. Yeah, it can be really tough to make that look good if you've got to make the hole bigger. Uh Yeah, yeah, it looks easy when we go through like, you know, these three pictures but there's there's quite a bit of work between those three pictures, especially with, you know, getting it all sanded and looking nice so um and then I did want to talk about, so this is a more recent build on the channel, so again, uh started with upgrading the head unit, this is the F 1 50 build, so we upgraded the head unit there again with all the integration parts and everything from you guys to retain our steering wheel controls and and this does have the uh the maestro interface so it talks to like the can bus signal of the vehicle and it will pull up all the different vehicle parameters and I can change um, you know, like the lock options and the lighting options throughout the vehicle. You can probably you could probably retain the factory backup camera using the maestro with that vehicle, with the radio that's compatible. The maestro. Yeah, that thing is powerful using absolutely those battling maestros, especially with the ford trucks, heavy trucks, these newer vehicles where there's so many things integrated in that they make a lot of stuff possible without that, it just wouldn't be doable. Yeah, for sure. So this is all the gear that was going into that build. So we've got four tens JL audio T W one's got the R D 1500 slash one, that's going to power those four tens. We have 22 channel amplifiers. And on this build a lot of people asked why not just do a four channel amplifier And when I was doing this bill, that was during that time that there was a lot of product availability issues. So, uh no no real specific reason other than I wasn't able to get my hands on the four channel amplifier at that time. And there's no reason I couldn't make do with the 22 channel amplifiers and then I really like that C three component setup. So front doors have the C three with the wolf from the door. The tweeter up in the a pillar and then the back doors have uh, you know, just mounted in the normal location in this co axial style configuration, even though it's still a component speaker and then the full system has an audio control DM 8 10, which is the DSP. So the signal comes from the head unit into the DM 8 10. And the DSP allows me to, you know, fully tune every aspect of the system before that signal is sent out to the amplifiers. So this, I needed a convenient way to, you know, package all this together as far as the amplifiers and the DSP goes. So this is my amplifier rack that I built for in the back of the vehicle. Again, we've got all the new concepts wiring all in there. So all the power wire and then all the signal wires between the DSP and the amp. I added an additional fuse block here just to give myself some accessory wiring. So, if I wanted to do lighting or cooling or anything like that. Now, I have a nice uh way to connect, you know, add those additional accessories. That's right. They're available in the back of the vehicle because this got mounted to the back inside wall, like behind the back seat of the truck. Were you at all concerned about the amps having enough room to breathe to ventilate to dissipate heat or are these amps not, you're not too worried about that with these amps, you always want to take that into account. I mean, these are definitely pretty tight to each other here but I know that these amplifiers, you know, they'll they'll be able to handle it but more so I want to make sure I had enough room obviously on the front side here and the back of the seat is actually pretty much it starts like in this location here and then it angles more, you know towards this white beam that's going across so it looks tight but there is, you know, a good amount of breathability in there for those amplifiers. So I asked that thing, I'm thinking about a previous truck I had, where I had a five channel amp installed behind the seat of the crew cab truck but it was right up against the seat and this was not a class D. Or a very efficient amp. That thing got hot. I ended up with a like a like a little mark on the back of my seat back, just from the heat of the amplifier. It was a good enough and that it didn't have a problem. But yeah, clearly you want to dissipate heat. So something to think about, yep, always take that into account in your mounting location for sure. So this was that the front door that will for the C. Three will for installed this time using um more, you know, just off the shelf speaker adapter but then also doing some sound treatments around the outside. I didn't do a full sound treatment on this just to you know, show a different job on the channel, something that's more entry level quote unquote if you will um where I focused purely on the location around the speaker and then added the the wave guide ring in order to guide the sound through the grill on the door panel. So um little things like this too, we always talk about on the channel. So like making mounting brackets for in this case, this is for my fuse next to the battery. You know, you don't want to just leave the fuse black dangling in there. And I always try to avoid drilling new holes if I can. So this mounts to a location here that you know just has a couple of bolts and then these screws mounting the top here and everything is made out of this abs plastic so it's able to handle the high temperatures of the engine compartment and these are drilled and tapped holes so I don't have to worry about excessive hardware or anything. It's just those screws on the top side holding that in and the fit and finish on your installations puts my stuff to shame. I am not Like I'd be ashamed to open the truck, the hood of my F150 and show you how my fuse holder is zip tied zip tied to an existing wire. It's not quite, it's not quite flopping around, but it's not that this is tight. thank you. So this is the, the enclosure that is going to be going underneath the back seat of the truck because remember we needed to mount up those four tens uh, so this is kind of a cool thing, you know, for mobile solutions, the fabrication company that I mentioned earlier, they have these quick corner pieces, you can buy the pieces already made or you can use these templates to make them and what you'll see the just keep an idea of what these kind of look like and you can see how those are used in the corner. So basically it allows you to have a piece coming from each side like that, but you can retain that curved corner that matches like the front quarters of a truck seat. So, and then there's the subwoofer obviously and so the top of the enclosure isn't on yet, but there's going to be for these down firing down firing style configuration. So this is the front there again, you can see all the different beauty panel work that I do. Um so this is all done, you know, on the, on the router table. So use a series of different templates and techniques to go through and make that and you can see all that step by step on the channel. This was made on the laser, the sponsor panel here, so there's there's crutchfield right there. I did a couple of layers of acrylic. This actually has like a brushed aluminum look which is pretty cool and it looks looks nice. That's well within the vehicle, added some different design elements there and it's hard to kind of see, but I also added some design elements on the side of the enclosure there that matched like the the door sill of the, of the vehicle. But yeah, here it is after after being wrapped in that nice black vinyl turned out pretty cool. Top of the enclosure with, with you know, typical enclosure carpet, yep, and that's all designed to fit under the seat of this F 1 50 under the back seat. Ah look at that, yep, so and again four tens underneath this seat and this small of an air volume because you know those subwoofers from jail, they're designed to work with that small of an air volume. This thing sounds awesome, it's so loud, like you would be blown away. And to me what's super cool about this is it's it's not like I had to fold up my seats or take the seats out to get that big bass, everything is still functional. People can obviously sit back here just find, I just yell at them if they're reckless with their feet and they kick my nice enclosure. But yeah, this is awesome, Mark, I think I could talk to you about this stuff all day. I hope that maybe we, maybe you'd be agreeable to maybe doing this again, someday we didn't even get a chance to circle back around to the home theater you built with the help of paul, one of our advisors. Uh and there it is. Love it. Uh I think we could probably talk for another hour about that. We do not have time to do that today. Uh, and another thing I would love to invite you to come to Crutchfield at some point. And I would be, I would love to give you a tour of our distribution center. Our call center are training our video studios. Uh that would be fantastic. I'd love to come out sometime and do a factory tour. We just did the jail audio one and it was awesome. So it would be great to come out to Crutchfield and see you guys in person too. Yeah, that's what made me think of it. And I would love to do that. So let's stay in touch, Mark, I can't endorse your channel enough. I highly recommend Crutchfield customers that are thinking about building boxes. Doing installs in addition to the wonderful resources we try to provide you on our website. And of course, when you talk to us live on the phones, uh check out Mark's channel, you will learn a lot. Uh and watch some of that stuff before you start building your own box, you will build a better box because of it. Uh and so yeah, thank you again. Mark cardio fabrication dot com. Uh Car audio fab on instagram, Youtube dot com slash car audio fabrication. Thanks for coming on. I'm sorry. You're not feeling well. I hope you hope you feel better soon. Yeah, thank you. All right. That's gonna do it for this episode of Crutchfield, the podcast. I hope you got a lot out of that. Please subscribe to Mark's channel car audio fabrication on Youtube. It's fantastic. And of course, if you're looking for him to design you a sub enclosure or some other stuff, go to car audio fabrication dot com. We are proud to be one of his sponsors for his Youtube channel because he does such great stuff. We've got some more cool Crutchfield, the podcast episodes coming at you in the upcoming weeks. I'm really excited for our next show. Later here in just a few weeks in october one of our guys, Jeff, he uh he's uh he works in our creative department. He's all about headphones. He writes our, our product pages for the website, he writes about head phones and he got a chance to interview many american who is a pretty famous music engineer and mixer and master guy. If you're unfamiliar with his work, you're actually wrong, you're not unfamiliar with his work. You've heard his songs, he has mixed and mastered songs from many humongous artists including Santana, The Rolling Stones. Uh, Kendrick Lamar's new album and somewhere in the neighborhood of 2198 other songs uh and I guarantee you you have heard music mixed by Manny, mary Quinn. And Jeff got to interview him and we got to interview Jeff about interviewing Manny, and you'll hear all of that on the next episode of Crutchfield, the podcast coming at you in a few weeks. I look forward to you hearing that. Thank you for listening. I'm J R over and out.

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