We hope your 2017 has got off to a good start!
Here, at Car and Home Stereo we already have some exciting, new products coming through the door. Come to our shop on Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, and see what we can do for you.
We hope your 2017 has got off to a good start!
Here, at Car and Home Stereo we already have some exciting, new products coming through the door. Come to our shop on Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, and see what we can do for you.
For many years Car and Home Stereo has been synonymous with Bose Hi-Fi. Over the years we have installed hundreds of sophisticated and powerful home theatre, multi room systems. It’s true to say that most of them are still providing their owners with daily pleasure, such is the reliability of Bose audio.
While every system was designed to our clients needs they all had one thing in common, cables, and lots of them! We had to spend as much time installing cables as installing the system not to mention the in depth design process to determine where everything needed to be. All this hidden detail could amount to a sizable cost. Now the whole process has become an awful lot simpler thanks to WiFi!
Wireless streaming of your music is not a new idea of course but most solutions have been of average quality often with clunky user interfaces. What is really important, apart from high quality sound of course, is that it is easy to use. The Bose SoundTouch wireless music system is just such a perfect blend of quality and simplicity.
The SoundTouch system can communicate with any WiFi connected device in your home be it Apple or Android, PC or Mac. It will search for any music you have stored and allow you to play it anywhere in your house. If you use a streaming service such as Spotify or Deezer you can seamlessly call up your favourite music directly from the Bose control app. There is even a smart Bluetooth capability to allow direct streaming to multiple devices around your home and of course there is access to the whole world of radio via the Internet.
Now you can have a whole house, high quality solution without all the complex cabling. Whatever your needs there is a SoundTouch wireless system available. From a full 5 speaker surround sound home theatre system for the living room to a simple stand alone music player for the kitchen. There is even a wireless amplifier that can be used for outside or as bathroom speakers. The amazing SoundTouch 300 sound bar is extremely popular as is the Sound Touch 20 free standing unit.
The possibilities are endless and I would urge you to contact me at Car and Home Stereo on 01625 432707 to discuss the ideal system for you.
As we come to the end of another trading year it seems fitting to look back at what has changed for us. Personally I think the development of affordable and powerful Digital Signal Processing by Audison has been a complete game changer. At Car and Home Stereo we have always embraced any new technology that will improve the in car audio experience. I can remember fitting Phoenix Gold analogue graphic equalisers in the 90s and spending ages carefully setting them up for the vehicle acoustics. Then the customer’s ‘expert’ mate would have a go, dial in the ‘smiley face’ EQ curve and ruin the sound.
When digital systems started to appear I was delighted as there were no more sliders to get fiddled with. I was one of the first to install the Phoenix Gold TiDEQ and it was brilliant if not tearfully expensive. Inevitably, cheaper systems appeared from other manufacturers but they were short on processing power and were distinctly underwhelming.
Fortunately Audison picked up the baton of digital signal processing and ran with it.
With powerful software and a host of automatic and manual signal conditioners on board, the Bit range of products now allow me to take any car and be confident of a stunning audio result, regardless of system installed and at a more than reasonable cost.
Another one of my favourite company is JL Audio. Their range of subwoofers and amplifiers are almost unmatched for performance and fidelity. Ten or more years ago we were installing plenty of subs but they were large and needed large enclosures for the best sound. This meant eating up lots of boot space, many customers just did not want that and so compromised on the bass performance. JL Audio, already masters of subwoofer design, set out to help everyone get the best bass performance regardless of available space. In the last couple of years they have produced some spectacular speakers that will operate in almost ridiculously small enclosures. Their TW range particularly so. At Car and Home Stereo sound quality is our first consideration and adding a subwoofer is to my mind essential, now we have the products to allow this regardless of space.
Another product that has really impressed me this year is the SoundTouch 300 soundbar from Bose.
This very stylish soundbar not only looks fantastic with its black glass top and minimal design but it has a sound that will quite simply amaze. As one of the undisputed leaders in sound reproduction technology Bose have delivered a product that defies reality. Although it is only a single bar it manages to create sound from places far beyond its size. Close your eyes and you will be convinced that there are speakers all round you! If that is not enough then you can also add the optional powerful subwoofer and even wireless rear speakers for a true surround sound experience. Of course it also contains the Bose SoundTouch technology which is just about the best music streaming system available today as the icing on the cake!
And if you are stuck for a last minute Christmas gift, the Bose SoundLink Mini is perfect.
Don’t be fooled by the diminutive size of this little Bluetooth player, the sound is amazing. Full portability thanks to its long life rechargeable battery and a rich, full sound whether on its charging cradle or taken on an outing.
All that remains is for us to wish you a happy Christmas and New Year. Here’s looking forward to 2017 and all the exciting developments that are on their way for car and home audio.
Please note that we will be shut for the Christmas holiday from December 25th until January 3rd. Have a happy and musical Christmas!
Know someone who’s obsessed with music? Want to surprise them with a new set up? Know absolutely nothing about audio systems?
Why not pop in to Car & Home Stereo? Tim would love to be of service! No one knows sound like Tim and as a musician he understands the importance of it.
That’s why we are bringing you the best from Audison, Alpine, Bose, JL Audio, and many more!
Listening to music with quality speakers is just an extraordinary feeling and there are so many options to choose from in our incredible selection of audio systems, radios and even headphones. We are sure we have something suited for everyone’s taste and we are ready to help you find something be it for you, or a loved one.
Don’t be stranger this Christmas! We’re here on Sunderland Street in Macclesfield and we would be delighted to help you. Please don’t hesitate to call us on 01625 432707.
The Land Rover Defender is a true British classic design. Although, now sadly out of production, the longevity of the Defender means that they will be on (and off) our roads for a great many years to come.
It’s design hasn’t changed much in its 70 years and, despite continuous improvements to comfort the audio, performance has always been poor. A relatively noisy environment coupled with small speakers has always meant the sound in the Defender has a lot left to be desired!
As Macclesfield in Cheshire is a fairly rural community there are a lot of these vehicles about as you can imagine and over the years I have developed an audio upgrade package which is powerful and discreet.
The first challenge is the speaker size. Being only 10 cm without modification means that the bass performance is limited. Step forward JL Audio! As the undisputed leaders in subwoofer design, JL Audio are perfectly placed to design speakers that have a much better bass response. This is not to say that a 4 inch speaker can replace a subwoofer but JL Audio’s expertise means that you will get a massive improvement over the stock speaker.
To bring the bass response up to the required standard we need to fit in a subwoofer. The irony is that although the Defender is a large utility vehicle, there is almost nowhere to discreetly install a sub box without compromising useful space. JL Audio is here to the rescue, again, with their amazing sub, the 6w3.
This astonishing unit is a true 6 inch subwoofer. It is optimized for a tiny enclosure of just 0.125 cu ft. I have developed a carpet trimmed speaker box that will fit just under the roll cage bar behind the front seat. One can be used but for best results we recommend one either side to create an effective 12 inch sub. This allows for a much smoother performance and really blends with the music.
So now we have a sub we are going to need an amplifier. Again, space is limited but fortunately there is room under the driver’s seat for a compact unit. It makes no sense to just amplify the sub so we always install a multi-channel unit to power sub and speakers.
Here we must address the acoustic issues in the vehicle because of the speaker layout and the rather boxy interior of the Defender the sound staging is challenging to say the least. It is essential to install some sort of signal processor or regardless of the quality of the installed equipment, the sound stage will be poor.
I now always use the Audison Prima AP9Bit amplifier. This amazing unit has a full digital signal processor coupled to a powerful 8 channel amplifier in a very compact chassis.
This amplifier can be configured in any way I need depending on the complexity of the installed system. In the Defender it can be a 5 or 6 way for one or two subs. I can then configure the signal processor for the car acoustics and the personal musical tastes of the owner. The software is very powerful, providing full spectrum equalization on every channel with very fine time alignment available to place the sound stage where it needs to be.
As a musician I can appreciate the subtleties of sound and this software allows me to bring out the finer details of the music even in a challenging environment like the Land Rover Defender. I am often challenged by owners who say you can’t get a good sound in a Defender but I guarantee that I can. I have installed many of these systems now, both for private individuals and for local dealerships, the feedback is always the same, that they just can’t believe how good this sounds. One customer even came back to tell me that the sound was better than in his Bentley GT!
It is true that the kit described above is extremely good but without the ability to carefully tune it the results would be arable at best. That is where I can make the biggest difference, my experience and exacting standards mean that this great equipment can be enjoyed to its true potential and I feel that this is true value.
Whatever you own, Land Rover, Lamborghini, Lotus or any other car with a challenging audio performance I can make it better, give Tim a call on 01625 432707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to start your journey to better sound.
Aerials, the unsung heroes of radio!
They may not be glamorous or sexy but your aerial is arguably the most important part of any radio system. It is the link between the station transmitter and your car radio and without it the best radio receiver in the world is going to be silent.
This is particularly true for modern DAB receivers. Digital radio is still broadcast on the FM waveband but the signal is now just a string of 1s and 0s instead of a modulated analogue signal. This transmission method means more stations, more data, better sound and clarity. There has been an explosion of content providers keen to use this digital media rather like we saw when digital TV started.
Despite the many advantages of digital transmission, there is one major drawback, the fact that it is either fully available or not at all. That is to say that if reception quality falls then the signal completely disappears. With an analogue FM signal if the signal strength dipped then all that happened was a slight interference or a drop to mono, DAB on the other hand will ‘bubble’ and disappear, usually just when things are interesting!
So let’s concentrate on DAB aerials as they are crucial to good reception. Most DAB radios are sold with an in windscreen aerial.
Let me say now that these are the least desirable type. They work but at a very low gain which means that in weaker signal conditions they will fail. Of course, a lot of modern cars have no external aerial and you may not wish to install one so these stick on aerials are your only option. Some are better than others and at Car and Home Stereo I have tested as many as I can find. The one I use is the most successful one to date offering reasonable reception under most conditions. This is not to say it is faultless and it still suffers from directional issues which are to say a station can be clear when travelling to work but poor in the opposite direction.
For best reception there is nothing better than an external aerial. Since DAB radio is broadcast on the FM waveband it is perfectly possible to use a standard aerial as fitted to the roof of some Fords and wing mount on Land Rover Defenders. All that is needed is a modulator to separate the two signals.
These can offer up to 10 dB of gain for both FM and DAB which means a great reception for both.
Unfortunately the modulator cannot be used with existing amplified aerials as fitted to many cars.
These vehicle aerials strip off the higher frequency signals before sending to the radio so no DAB. In these cases I always prefer to fit a replacement combined FM/DAB aerial.
These can again offer up to 10dB of gain and of course suffer no directional issues. If your car has navigation then there is a version of this aerial that also contains a GPS receiver. The mast is removable and the look of the car is unchanged. I have often fitted this aerial to cars with no external mast like the Volkswagen T5 and the reception is dramatically improved.
As I said at the start, aerials are not glamorous but getting it right will mean trouble free reception and less annoying drop outs.
Call Tim on 01625 432707 if you wish to discuss options to improve your radio enjoyment.
For this instalment let’s look at speaker installation. The speaker is the last piece of hardware between your music and your ears and as such has an awful lot to do with the sound you hear.
The science behind the speaker is extremely simple; pass an electric current through a wire that sits inside a magnetic field and the wire experiences a force, vary that current and you vary the force. Of course this demonstration produces no sound but if we attach the wire (or coil) to a diaphragm (or cone) we have the nucleus of a working speaker. The electronics in the amplifier produce the varying electrical current and the speaker responds, creating the highly complex vibrations in the air that we hear as music.
The above description is of course highly simplified and in reality there are many more aspects to speaker design. We have to consider the weight of the moving parts, the resistance to movement within the materials themselves, the linearity of the magnetic field, the quality of the coil wire, the damping to prevent uncontrolled excursion, stability of the frame and so on and so on! Fortunately all of these considerations are engineering problems and this means that better engineering will lead to a better product.
When Mr. Ford or Mr. Audi or even Mr. Porsche are told that they have to put speakers in their cars their first consideration is not about quality even when they enlist the help of respected Hi-Fi companies. Their overriding concern is one of reliability. A blown speaker is a warrantee issue and that costs money. The trouble is that a speaker that can survive heavy metal hard core country rap at full volume has to be made super resilient. This speaker is not going to be able to respond to the subtle nuances of any quality musical performance.
At Car and Home Stereo we are always going to install a high quality speaker, carefully selected to match the vehicle and musical tastes of the customer. This is where our installation skills are needed. The average car door is a challenging place for a speaker. It is a steel box that is often wet inside, can be freezing one day and very hot the next. There are moving parts within it and it is subject to a large amount of vibration and noise. Let’s look at a typical installation addressing each point.
First of all we carefully remove the inner trim making sure that all clips and seals are retained. After this the next job is to treat the metal skin with sound deadening material which will absorb road noise and any vibrations within the door.
Particular attention is paid to directly behind the speaker as this will absorb the sound generated by the back of the cone and prevent reflection back into the door panel.
Once the outer skin has been treated we apply a foam barrier to the inner skin. This forms a watertight seal and acts as a thermal and acoustic barrier. This keeps the car warmer in winter, cooler in summer and again reduces road noise. The difference these treatments make to a car is astonishing.
Now we come to installing the speaker. The factory units are often built to fit so we must make panels and collars to allow a perfect fit to the door.
It is very important that no moisture gaps are left as it may come as a surprise to know that doors are designed to let rain flow through them. Any gaps could lead to a wet floor so we make sure everything is sealed with high quality silicone, both the collar and the speaker, this also ensures no air gaps to compromise the speaker performance.
Quite a lot of work but absolutely worth it. These Audison APK speakers sound great anyway but by treating the door they are at least 30% better.
If you would like to know more about how we can improve the sound in your car please call Tim on 01625 432707.
Today let’s look at the range of fantastic high performance products from JL Audio.
Formed in 1975, JL Audio are based in Florida USA and from the very start, their passion has always been to produce the best possible products. Originally they concentrated on sub-woofers and they quickly earned an enviable reputation for amazing power and performance. More recently JL Audio have expanded their range to include speakers and amplifiers with the emphasis once again firmly on quality and performance.
It’s true to say that the JL Audio range of subs has something for everyone. From small, discreet custom enclosures to high output monsters to true Hi-Fi quality audiophile drivers. The engineering expertise at JL Audio means that even their least expensive sub still sounds amazing and will work in a relatively small enclosure.
Every in car system will benefit from the installation of the dedicated bass speaker and at Car and Home Stereo we will make sure that it is fitted and set up correctly.
Of course a sub-woofer always needs an amplifier and so the logical step for JL Audio was to produce their own range. Car and Home Stereo is proud to be a JL Audio Signature dealer which means we carry a wide range of products. The XD range of amplifiers is a particular favourite of mine. They only take up a small amount of space but deliver an amazing performance! From the compact XD 200.2 to the immensely powerful XD 1000.1 they offer a level of flexibility and performance unparalleled to anything else.
Never a company to stand still, JL Audio have just upped their game and released a new range of amplifiers designated the RD series.
These units are extremely good value for money and sound amazing as they are based on JL Audio’s NexD D class technology. Multiple input configurations are available making for pretty much universal compatibility while the small footprint means installation is straight forward.
JL Audio speakers are some of the best around. Even the entry level TR series have a detail and clarity many other more expensive speakers cannot compete with. Taking a step up to the C2 series and we are well on the way to a true Hi-Fi performance. Where space is tight the C2 400 (a 10cm speaker) punches far above its weight for low frequency. This has become my first choice for the Land Rover Defender and is more than capable of overcoming the road noise while still producing a full range performance.
One speaker range stands out though, the C5. This speaker range has a natural and transparent sound that is simply breathtaking. OK they are not cheap but that is not the point, where high fidelity is the goal you have to go a long way to beat this speaker. The tweeter alone is one of the smoothest speakers I have heard with vocal and piano pieces a joy to experience.
And of course there are many more products in the JL Audio line up. There are processors that allow seamless integration with factory standard audio systems. These units can repair the poor performance of the standard head units found in BMW, Audi, VW and others that can not be changed meaning you do not have to put up with the stock audio.
There is also a range of very high performance marine speakers used on the like of Sunseeker power boats. However at Car and Home Stereo we are land locked and there has never been a big demand for these here!
The most important point is that, with JL Audio, we have a range of products that can suit any application and any performance requirement. We have the experience and resources to make sure we offer and install the best possible sound at any budget.
Give Tim a call to discuss your requirements or, better still, call in to the shop in Macclesfield for a coffee and a chat.
Here at Car & Home Stereo, we don’t just stock speakers we also have a great variety of Bose accessories.
We don’t think you should have to sacrifice quality if you don’t have a high tech set up so we have some incredible Bose headphones in store. It is an ideal birthday or Christmas present for just about anyone.
Pop into Car & Home Stereo on Sunderland Street for more information.
We are proud to introduce the latest addition to the Bose Soundtouch family, the Soundtouch 300.
This innovative sound bar offers a level of flexibility and performance that has never been seen before.
Bose has always been a technology led company and over the years have developed a range of home audio systems that have revolutionised the way we see, and use Hi-Fi.
The Bose Soundtouch platform has taken the wireless, networked audio market to new heights of performance which, coupled with its elegance and simplicity of use has made it the market leader.
The Soundtouch 300 is the first in a new range of home theatre systems that feature amazing performance, stunning looks and an unrivaled feature set.
The new black glass top has been engineered by one of the most famous automotive glass producers in the world while the sleek design draws from years of in house development.
At the heart of the system is the new sound bar.
This can connect to your TV via HDMI or optical ensuring complete compatibility.
It contains the now famous Bose AdaptIQ software to ensure the best possible sound in any room regardless of size or shape and once connected to your home internet network you can stream all your music to it via WiFi or Bluetooth.
But of course it doesn’t end there as there are also a couple of optional upgrades.
If you enjoy the power and performance of modern films you should add the incredible Acoustimass 300 sub. This relatively small unit can be mounted anywhere in the room as it utilises a wireless connection to the sound bar. All it requires is a mains connection. The AdaptIQ software can perfectly integrate the sub into the acoustic environment.
The second optional upgrade is the Acoustimass 300 rear speakers.
Again these use a wireless connection to the sound bar so no more trailing cables to the back of the room. These will add a true surround sound experience to your movies and music!
This is the first of a whole new range of amazing products from Bose that will once again place it firmly at the top of everyone’s must have list.
At Car and Home Stereo we will be stocking the full range of these systems and we would welcome you for an audition at our showroom on Sunderland Street in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
If you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01625 432707.