Mobile Electronics Magazine July 2018

Page 1

July 2018

2018 Industry Awards Commemorative Issue #1

PLUS: TEAM WITHIN A TEAM: Sony Car Audio Gets Big Support to do all the Little Things DSP, PART 2: Leveling Up, Keeping Up TACTICS: Dial & Learn to Increase Profits EDITOR: Be a Better Leader

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Volume 36 // Issue 7

Ad Index 14 FEATURED STORIES 14// What’s Happening: The DSP Trend and How Technicians Can Level Up Experts agree that if businesses want to be involved in upgrading automotive sound, they need to know how to work with DSP. In part two of this in-depth look at DSP, representatives from Mobile Solutions and Kingpin University, among others, discuss training and strategies technicians can use as they expand their knowledge. 34// Industry Awards: Top 50 and Top 20, 2018 Meet the Top 50 Retailers and Installers of 2018—and for the first time, the Top 20 Sales Professionals. Through perseverance, dedication and long hours of hard work, these individuals and businesses have earned their place on the list. 38// The Support Team: Sony Car Audio A team of eight dedicated individuals comprise the Sony Car Audio team—nestled within the larger conglomerate—handling sales, support and training all across the country, guided by Distribution Sales Manager Anthony Tozzi. As installations become more difficult, Sony Car Audio’s dealer base continues to grow. 42// Strategy & Tactics, Peer Series: Dialing for Dollars Del Ellis of Del Ellis International shares his strategy for increasing profitability by connecting with clients on a personal level. By turning calls and emails into a strategic process, businesses can bring in long-term customers. 48// Tech Today: Motorcycle Audio Installations David MacKinnon, assisted by Parish Tanner, discusses important factors for businesses that are considering expanding into the motorcycle audio category. Topics include wiring difficulties and special care when the bike is in the shop. On the Cover


This month’s cover is centered around the 2018 industry awards. In this issue, we’ve revealed the Top 50 Retailers and Installers. However, new to this year are the Top 20 Sales Professionals, which will be narrowed down to the Top 5. July’s cover commemorates these hardworking individuals and businesses who have earned their place at the top of the industry.

4  Mobile Electronics July 2018

AAMP Global: Phoenix Gold.............................p.7 Accele Electronics...................................... p. 2 & 3 AudioControl ........................................................p. 13 Audison....................................................................p.29 Crux Interfacing Solutions.............................p.32 DD Audio..................................................................p.21 Directed...................................................................p.33 Firstech: Compustar........................................p. 59 Harman: JBL............................................................ p.5 Kenwood................................................................ p.45 KnowledgeFest ..................................................p. 31 Metra Electronics: Axxess...............................p. 9 Orca: Mosconi......................................................p. 27 Pioneer Electronics.......................................... p.43 Race Sport............................................................p. 26 SiriusXM...................................................................p.12 Sony ...........................................................................p.11 VAIS Technology.................................................p.23 Voxx Electronics............................................... p. 60 Waylens...................................................................p.47

Contents 54 6 Editor’s Forum 8 Feedback 10 Statistic 12 Helpful Stuff 14 What’s Happening 22 Retail News/ Who’s Who 28 Hot Sellers 34 Industry Awards 38 The Support Team 42 Strategy and Tactics 48 Tech Today 54 Installs 58 From the President   5

editor’s forum

They’re Watching Your Every Move We’ve got a leadership issue in this industry. But like anything else, we can learn to fix it. I’m writing about a pretty big subject this month, but one that is important to all of us. As you know, I do the Industry Awards every year. The work is nothing compared to the end result: a roomful of friends and colleagues joining together to celebrate our industry’s best. The people who cross the stage and receive their awards (assuming the awards actually arrived!) are perceived as leaders and examples for others to follow. As fulfilling as the Industry Awards are, parts of the journey are another matter. While there are moments we can all take pride in, nothing saddens and disappoints me more than the poor examples of leadership I see from prominent people in our industry during the process. People who spew their negative, subjective opinions all over the industry, not worrying about how they look outside their cliques or who they disparage in the process. People who spread unsubstantiated rumors of collusion and back-door dealing, damaging others’ reputations because it suits their theories. People who overlook the accomplishments of peers (and even their own employees) to complain about why they didn’t achieve the same. People who blame everyone but themselves when things don’t go their way. People who publicly serve up others’ mistakes or shortcomings just to make themselves look better. People who point out problems just to be the center of attention, but don’t offer solutions with the same enthusiasm. Don’t get the wrong idea about why I am bringing this to light. It’s not my intention to bring anyone down. There’s nothing good that would come of that. With any issue that needs resolution, you must be clear about the problem, and that’s what I’ve stated here. That done, the goal should always be to make it better. I want these people to be better leaders for our industry. Each of the examples I mentioned came from good people: individuals who are passionate, skilled and enthusiastic. In their own way, each has strived to be a voice larger than where they work, which is a good thing. But few of us are natural leaders, and just as we learned our unique crafts, learning leadership is a progression that involves trial and error. We just need to be open enough to learn from our errors, so we can become better leaders. Leadership is a 24/7 responsibility. If you step up to take the mantle in any capacity, you must understand that people look up to you in everything you do, not just during the times you’re feeling

6  Mobile Electronics July 2018

leader-ly. That means your opinions, interactions and actions, whether in person, at the front of a class, on social media or at the bar, are scrutinized and even emulated. How you carry yourself has a direct reflection on the behaviors of those who follow you. Leaders focus on making others better. Before any interaction, they ask themselves, “Will my actions help solve a problem or make it worse?” Doing so avoids the behavior of publicly criticizing others when a private conversation will have better effect. Ego has no place in leadership. One of the best traits of a leader is to be able to admit they made a mistake or don’t know something.

“Each of the examples I mentioned came from good people: individuals who are passionate, skilled and enthusiastic. In their own way, each has strived to be a voice larger than where they work, which is a good thing.” Leaders focus on communication. Rather than worry about how grand they sound, they prioritize that their message was received. Leaders include, not exclude. They understand when cliques, a natural occurrence of people with common ideas, become toxic or elitist, and work to break down those walls rather than build them up.

And finally, leaders feel fulfilled when other succeed. The typical human reaction to another’s good news is to judge it against your own experience or situation, and either feel good about yourself at their expense or feel disappointed at your supposed shortcomings. Good leaders (and good friends) overcome this with strong empathy: being able to stand in someone else’s shoes and realize how hard they worked and how the situation will affect their lives in a positive way. They can truly be happy for the person because that comparison never happens: the good news is really about the other person. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have exhibited the same traits of that first group of people many times. But I recognize that I have a leadership role in this industry, and so I strive to do better. Let’s all take a look in the mirror. I challenge all of you to do better, too.


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 feedback


ADVERTISING SALES Kerry Moyer 978.645.6457 •

EDITORIAL Solomon Daniels 978.645.6463 • Creative Layout and Design: Ana Ramirez Contributing Editors: Jamie Sorcher, Joey Knapp, Laura Kemmerer and Rosa Sophia.

Published by TM

mobile electronics association

Chris Cook, President 978.645.6434 •

Suggestions for additional work are worth bringing up during installation, said Matt Kouyoumjian of Luxury Details. Additionally, Dan Bowman of Hot Rides recommended creating a car culture within the local community—and if it’s already there, participate.

Kerry Moyer, VP Strategic Partnerships 978.645.6457 • Solomon Daniels, Dir. Media and Communications 978.645.6463 • Richard Basler, Dir. Technology Solutions 978.645.6449 • Tony Frangiosa, Chairman of the Board, MEA

“Hire the best help money can buy. Treat every customer as though it was your mother’s best friend. Realize that you will never have all the answers. Don’t run with scissors.” Jeffrey Stevens, Stevens Auto Glaze & Security, Eastlake, Ohio “Do as much research as possible before making career moves. Sometimes you may be tired of where you’re at, but often the grass isn’t greener on the other side.” Josh White, Car Toys, Tacoma, Wash. “Create a car culture in your community. If it is already there, participate.” Dan Bowman, Hot Rides Inc., Morrisville, Pa. “I found that we need to focus on the job that was sold to the customer and not get distracted and do more than what was talked about. During the installation, it’s worth bringing up the other suggestions you might have to the customer in order to add additional labor to your ticket.” Matt Kouyoumjian, Luxury Details Inc., Southborough, Mass. “Remember to enjoy what you do. It’s fun!” Ed Weber, Foss Audio & Tint, Tukwila, Wash.

8  Mobile Electronics July 2018

1) Title of publication: Mobile Electronics. 2) Publication No.: 957-170 6. (ISSN# 1523-763X) 3) Copyright © 2017 by the Mobile Electronics 4) Date of filing: Oct. 1, 2017. 5) Frequency of issue: Monthly. 6) No. of issues published annually: 12 7) Annual subscription price: $35.00. 8) Periodical postage paid at Lawrence MA and additional mailing offices. 9) Complete mailing address of known office of publication: 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 10) Complete mailing address of the headquarters or general business offices of the publisher: 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 11) Full names and complete mailing address of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor: Publisher: Chris Cook, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845; Editor/Managing Editor: Solomon Daniels/Ted Goslin, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845 12) Owner: MERA, Mobile Electronics Retailers Association, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 13) Known bondholders, mortgages, and other security holders owning or holding 1% or more of total amounts of bonds, mortgages or other securities: None. 14) Tax Status: Not applicable. 15) Name of Publication: Mobile Electronics. 16) Issue date for circulation data below: October 2017. 6. a) Total no. copies (net press run) Average: 10,237 Single Issue; 12,826. b) Paid/Requested mail subscriptions Average: 6,039, Single Issue: 7,346. c) Paid sales through dealers, etc.; Average: 0. Single issue; d) Requested distributed by other classes of mail: Average: 435, Single issue: 520. Total paid and/or requested circulation; Average 6039. Single issue: 6024. e) Non-requested distribution by mail; Average: 3,860 Single issue: 4,973. Free distribution through other classes of mail: Average: 0, Single issue: 0. f) Non-requested distribution outside the mail; Average: 267. Single issue: 750. g) Total non-requested distribution; Average 3860, Single issue: 4,973. h) Total distribution; Average: 9,899. Single issue: 12,319. i) Copies not distributed; h1) Office use, leftovers; Average: 338. Single Issue; 507 j) Total; Average: 10,237. Single issue; 12,826 Percent paid and/or requested circulation; Average: 61.01%. Single issue 59.63%. 17) POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Mobile Electronics, 85 Flagship Drive Suite F, North Andover MA 01845-9998

ďƒŽ stats

Industry Pros Weigh in on the Value of KnowledgeFest

50 40 30 20 10 0


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10  Mobile Electronics July 2018

5 0


about the same


Get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music, all in a way that allows you to stay focused on the road. Just connect your iPhone or Android phone and go.


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 helpful stuff Book: The Art & Science of Respect: A Memoir by James Price BY JONATHAN RAUCH

With more than 30 years under his belt in the rap game, entrepreneur James Prince, the founder of Rap-A-Lot Records, explains in his memoir how he earned his reputation as one of the most respected men in the business. Having worked with dozens of artists over the years, Prince is responsible for launching the careers of Geto Boys, Z-Ro, Devin the Dude, Do or Die, Pimp C and Bun B of UGK— both of whom released solo albums—and Big Mike. By staying true to his principles of heart, loyalty, commitment, and an unwavering faith in God, Prince said he has defeated many adversaries. Whether battling the systemic cycle of poverty, record label executives, boxing promoters, or corrupt DEA agents, Prince has emerged victorious. Respect isn’t given; it’s earned, and in recounting his compelling life story, Prince analyzes the art and science of earning respect—and giving respect—and how to apply these principles to your own life.

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App: PackPoint


It’s summer time, so maybe you have a business trip scheduled, but you’re meeting up with friends for a long weekend or you’re going on vacation right after. Packing can be a chore when it’s just one reason you’re heading out of town, but it can a bit more stressful if you’re

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professional resume writing services that help finesse your strengths and catch the eye of a recruiter, car audio company, or dealer. With Resume Prime, you first select the service that is right for you. Then you are sent a questionnaire that requests details for your resume. Once you send it back, you get a first draft. Then you can approve the copy or ask for revisions. Once you approve it, you will get a final copy in Word and PDF.   13

 what’s happening


In the second installment of this in-depth look at DSP and how it’s changing the industry, experts agree that if businesses want to be involved in upgrading automotive sound, they need to know how to work with DSP. How can technicians catch up to the trend? Representatives from Mobile Solutions and Kingpin University, among others, share tips and strategies to use in training. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA

14  Mobile Electronics July 2018

The DSP Trend and How Technicians Can Level Up

AudioControl hosts around 30 classroom-style trainings every year. Most recently, they hosted an after-hours training session at SEMA. Their goal is to educate techs about DSP, their user interface and what can be accomplished.

Learning something new and becoming proficient at it is always difficult, but taking things one step at a time will help avoid feeling overwhelmed. Jason Kranitz of Kingpin University in Wilsonville, Ore. offers courses for technicians on various subjects, including DSP. Employees at Kingpin Car and Marine Audio must also go through training courses offered by the University. The first question is asked on the sales side, Kranitz said, and this focuses on which DSP is the right one for the client’s vehicle. “You have to know your summing inputs,” he added. “You have inputs and outputs, and you have digital inputs. Those are your main factors that dictate which unit you need.” This can sound complicated to techs who aren’t accustomed to it. Ken Ward,

trainer at Educar, said, “One of the reasons DSP is scary to techs is [because] we’ve just given them hundreds of dials and buttons and said, ‘Here you go.’ If your job has consisted of screwing speakers into doors and putting in dash bevels, then it’s a big jump to go from that to hundreds of sliders and knobs and adjustments.” Everyone has to start somewhere when it comes to learning a new skill. If a business is looking to level up, the time to begin is now.

Own the Necessary Tools and Attend Trainings to Advance Knowledge To do all of this, experts stressed that technicians need the proper tools. According to Kranitz, this is still one of the biggest issues in the industry. He stated that he feels around

90 percent of technicians still don’t own the tools they need to work with DSPs, and this is an ongoing problem. “I see too many technicians who own a $20,000 tool box and they have $10 to $12,000 worth of tools, but they don’t own a $100 or less polarity tester,” he said, adding that consumers would want to know the polarity had been tested before it left the facility. Kranitz said some don’t do it, and they don’t always own an RTA, either. “They start out about $390. And they don’t own an oscilloscope, which is about $390 as well.” Kingpin does not manufacture such tools, but they do offer them to their students. “There’re about $1,700 worth of tools a tech should own,” Kranitz said. “Probably over 90 percent of our technicians out there don’t own them. Guys will say, ‘That’s a shop tool.’ No,


 what’s happening Kingpin University offers training courses on a variety of topics, including DSP. Jason Kranitz of Kingpin stated that instructors prefer not to lead students to the answers when they don’t get it right the first time. It’s better if students repeat the steps and find out where they went wrong, “We want them to learn and grow to understand the steps they missed,” Kranitz said.

a shop tool is a table saw or a vacuum cleaner or things of that nature. In my opinion, to be a technician in this industry dealing with sound, you should have $1,700 worth of these tools. Bare minimum.” Manufacturers, including AudioControl, offer training for technicians. Chris Bennett, director of sales at AudioControl, stated that part of his job is to run over 30 classroom-style trainings each year. Recently, they hosted an offsite training afterhours at SEMA. “We did a live tuning and demonstration. We’re out trying to get people up to speed on our user interface and what can be accomplished,” he said. “Next month, I have a Midwest trip where I’ll go through and spend a week in the territory and hit up retailers. Twice a month I’m on the road doing that.”

16  Mobile Electronics July 2018

Mobile Solutions also offers courses on DSP, according to Bryan Schmitt, president of the company. “Some of them are classes we teach in our Master Tech boot camp, and we partner with other manufacturers and they do trainings here, too,” he said, adding that manufacturer trainings have included Mosconi, JL Audio and Rockford Fosgate. Mobile Solutions follows their own processes for breaking things down into OEM integration. Part one, Schmitt said, is OEM and getting a clean signal from any modern sound system. “We have a whole class and process on how to use the oscilloscope and RTA,” he said. “The success is getting the right input, and that’s where some people get off-track. The signal that’s fed into the processor needs to be clean. The polarity needs to be correct. That’s important to have a successful

sound and tuning environment.” Ken Ward compared DSP to a Swiss Army knife—a technician needs to know which part of the tool they have to use. “For five or six years, I’ve been teaching an OEM integration class and a big part of that has been making sure you have the Swiss Army knife with the right tool on it.” Ward recalled the first OEM integration device by JL Audio, the CleanSweep, which he stated was able to take a full-range signal and flatten it and remove boosting. Then, Ward said, a similar tool—successor to the CleanSweep—was released, called the FiX. Ward began teaching a class intended to “make sure the installer knew how to test the wires in the car and confirm the part they were going to connect would solve the problems in the car,” he added.

The DSP Trend and How Technicians Can Level Up

Techs Should Practice Processes and Repeat Steps as Needed Kranitz agreed that these are very important first steps. At Kingpin University, instructors teach students how to understand different processors and what they do, according to Kranitz. “Then [we] get them to understand what processors they would need for the job,” he said, adding that the classroom has stations where students follow assigned tasks. “They have final wires like they would in a car. They go through and they have to figure out polarity, they have to figure out frequency […] and the input to the processor.” Next, he explained, crossovers are set up. “Once they’ve got it summed in correctly, they do the polarity check.” Instructors then check the students’ work and they don’t necessarily give them the answer right away, Kranitz

said, explaining that it’s preferable that students hunt it down themselves. “A lot of things are measured by our failures. Your failures make you grow. We actually prefer if they don’t get it the first time, which most students don’t,” he said. “We want them to learn and grow to understand the steps they missed.” Mobile Solutions also utilizes work stations to teach students. “Once we establish a baseline foundation in our classroom setting, we have work stations for the techs to perform the tasks themselves,” Schmitt said. “They see it on the whiteboard, they see the science, they see live demos, and we put them to work on six stations where we have three or four teams, one at each station.” Schmitt added that they have two demo vehicles. “We listen to it in a car and talk about the nuances and time delay and crossover points and they

listen and lay in with the tuning,” he explained. “It’s a full day class and it walks them through 90 percent of what they’ll have in a bay and will have to overcome.” Challenging students in a classroom setting, Schmitt said, gives them more information to help them in the long run when they’re in the shop working on vehicles. “Knowing how to use the test tools— polarity tester, RTA, oscilloscope—will help. Having a process and knowing how to use those tools is the second component.” Schmitt said each step builds off the last one. “If you don’t have that baseline, you’re guessing. We give them a nice 30-page handout to reference. Their experience of watching, doing it, listening are important.” Each team rotates tasks in the classroom. Schmitt also said that the less knowledgeable person on the team is


 what’s happening made to be the team lead, while the most senior person in the group coaches the rest. “It really empowers the younger guys who are less experienced to go through and use the tools to gain this clean signal to prepare it for the DSP,” he explained. “Then we go back into the classroom and talk about setting up the DSP and we go through a step-by-step process.” Schmitt said not everyone uses a solid process. The step-by-step process Mobile Solutions uses allows anyone to come in at any step and know exactly where they are. A similar process is followed at Kingpin University. Those on staff at Kingpin Car and Marine Audio attend classes through the university, as well. They are taught how to use all the tools, Kranitz said, and then they follow a sheet of step-by-step directions. “They go down the sheet and determine what they’re going to do—how they’re going to use it, make sure everything’s crossed over right, make sure everything’s in polarity,” he said. “That’s probably the number one thing. If you have a speaker out of polarity on your input side, your output side is all garbage. A lot of people can’t hear that until they do it, and then they go, ‘Wow, there’s something wrong here,’ but they’ve totally missed a step where that polarity is on the input side.” Kranitz noted that doing things in order and using that process is very important. “Guys who’ve been tuning a long time can walk by speakers playing and will know it’s out of phase,” Kranitz said. Those who are newer to working with DSP may not realize it. “If they’ve got something out of phase or out of polarity in the input section, and you go back and ask some questions, ‘Well, did you do this?’ ‘No,’ okay, now we have to start from scratch. If one answer along that line is, ‘I didn’t do that in that order,’ you have to start from the very beginning.” Commonly, Kranitz said, students want to know how to make a proper EQ curve. “A lot of it’s subjective,” he said. “We always look at how we’re going to do everything. It’s subjective to a certain degree. We try to get them

18  Mobile Electronics July 2018

to understand in the classroom what frequencies do what, what range of instruments, and they can make their judgment calls then. We can guide them to some sort of an EQ curve that makes sense.”

Industry Educators are Getting People Engaged in a Classroom Setting Sometimes it can be difficult to get people to focus on the material. Schmitt said sometimes it comes down to a very difficult truth: “Some guys don’t want to learn. If you want to learn, you’re going to learn it,” he said. “If you’re going to say, ‘I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I’m not going to do it any different,’ then you’ve stopped learning.”

During a training session, in a packed classroom, Schmitt can usually tell the difference between those attendees who want to learn, and those who don’t. “Those guys sit in the back row in a class, and I make them sit up front because I want them to be engaged,” he said. “I pick on them and get them to come up and I engage them.” The goal is to get them to realize during class why the subject matter is so important to the future of the industry. “If people come to us, they have a better understanding when they leave.” There may be more DSP-enabled products in the marketplace than there are channels for them, according to Ward. “We have more technical product than we have qualified installers,”

The DSP Trend and How Technicians Can Level Up

At Mobile Solutions, students work in groups and follow specific procedures. They are given a handout for their reference, and the less knowledgeable members of each group are appointed as team leaders. The step-by-step procedure they utilize allows anyone to step in at any point and know exactly where they are.

he said, which is why it’s so important that those who want to remain in the business of sound upgrades continue to educate themselves. “The math says that some of the products shipping today that require some familiarity with this are going to fail. Not because they are bad products, but they are going to fail because there isn’t a distribution channel that can handle them along with everything else,” he explained. “I’ve been in product planning, and one thing you have to figure out is how the product gets to the consumer.” In this case, small businesses are that channel, and if you don’t learn how to work with DSP, Ward said, “then you have no future as a technician in the long-term. You’re going to have to learn to do that.” Schmitt added that technicians haven’t been able to adapt quickly enough to keep up with the evolving technology, or they simply aren’t embracing it. “If you aren’t trained on it and you’re guessing, it can sound a lot worse. It can be really bad. There’re so many things to adjust and get wrong, so you need to know how to get it right,” he said. “That’s our biggest challenge as an industry—training our technicians.” Some technicians need to learn new ways and new strategies, Schmitt said, and stop thinking “old school and doing it 1990-style.” Schmitt noticed younger technicians who are a bit more computer savvy seem to embrace it

The DM Smart App is AudioControl’s user interface, available via the company’s website. Chris Bennett, director of sales at AudioControl, explained that it’s important to understand the audio signature and how to test it. He recommended that technicians work with a DSP on the bench first, before attempting it on a customer’s car.

more, while older techs have more difficulties. “To me, our challenge is we need to get guys thinking about how this can benefit them,” he explained. “They have to learn the software and how to get the signal and use the test tools, the scope and the RTA.” Kranitz added that it’s essential to be able to listen for prompts in the vehicle, such as navigation, backup prompts, and cell phone prompts. “You have to grab those speakers in order to sum them,” he said. In the shop, they have different tuning levels, including what Kranitz called the “ultimate tune, which is more of a one-on-one, where we spend about 30 to 40 minutes tuning a car. We might let it sit for the whole day and then come back to it because your ears get fatigued,” he added. “Sometimes we

could have a car four extra days because we’re only spending 30 to 40 minutes a day on the car, putting the last little bit of our own personal tune onto it.”

Practice With Equipment Prior to Handling An Installation Tools and test equipment have become more and more accessible, according to Bennett. “Get educated and understand the test equipment that’s available, and have a thorough understanding of audio,” he said. “The software, the user interfaces that all of us aftermarket guys have come up with over the last few years, is incredible. It’s amazing the amount of test equipment and tools we have available to us now.” Bennett added that the most important thing is to understand the audio


 what’s happening

Bryan Schmitt is the president of Mobile Solutions, which offers training courses in DSP (and other 12-volt subjects) according to their own recommended procedures.

signature first, and now how to test for what you’re working with. “The second thing is to get your hands on a DSP, put it on a test bench and play with it,” he said. This should be done before there’s a car in the shop, he added, before the technician is trying it for the very first time on a customer’s vehicle. “That’s the best thing you can do,” he said. “Get familiar with the equipment you’re going to use before you plug it in for the first time.” The DM Smart App from AudioControl is available via the company’s website. “Most manufacturers have the software free of charge so you can look at the user interface,” Bennett said. AudioControl’s user interface is available for both PC and Mac. Over the last couple years, Bennett added, the industry has evolved to the point that manufacturers have a better grasp on DSP. “As a manufacturer, you work with higher-tier retailers and installers, and they have advanced their skill level with overcoming some OE obstacles,” he explained. “That’s part of why we’re out there training and talking

20  Mobile Electronics July 2018

and showing people our user interface so they can gain that knowledge.” Bennett said people leave training sessions with the sense they’ve received a lot of information. “We need to remember that might be the first time an installer is looking at a DSP,” he added, stating that there’s an intimidation factor for an installer who’s never plugged a computer into an audio product before to tune it. “We don’t want to rely on what the factory systems do,” Bennett said. “If everyone was happy with it, no one would buy aftermarket car audio. Our goal is to get in digitally, get that signal […] manipulate it, correct any OE design element in the audio signature, and provide what the installer is looking to do with all this aftermarket equipment—whether it’s play louder, have better imaging, or stage depth.” To make it sound great, he added, it’s essential to use a DSP. Those working in sales need to have a basic idea of DSP, as well. Ward stated there’s no need for a deeply technical pitch with customers,

however, “The salespeople need to be able to demonstrate it.” Ward posed a question to business owners: “What business are you in?” Businesses that want to continue upgrading sound systems need to know how to work with DSP and how to demonstrate the differences to clients. Bennett added that choosing to work with DSP simply comes down to the diversification of categories, much like deciding whether or not to offer window tinting or any other service. “[It’s] how you go to market and what your long-term plans are. Does every retailer need to [know how to work with DSP]? If they want to work on late model cars, absolutely.” “Any type of training is good,” Schmitt said, stating that a lot of manufacturers offer training. “Take advantage of those trainings, and if you can further your education by reading online or coming to classes—anything to help you get more exposure and go to that next level. Embrace the technology,” he added. “Learning it is so important for our industry.”

The DSP Trend and How Technicians Can Level Up


 retail news


Car-Tunes Inc. Brings Audi Sound Back to Life At one time or another, every mobile electronics shop has probably had to fix the work of a previous install gone bad, or that wasn’t done correctly in the first place. For Mississippi-based Car-Tunes Inc., this took the form of an Audi that previously had a bad attempt at an amplifier installation, along with all vehicle harness wires being cut, improper parts and installation. “We did a complete system of Memphis VIV line amplifiers and component

22  Mobile Electronics July 2018

sets that are in this product line,” said Kimberly Trainer, president and owner of Car-Tunes. “This is a repeat thing we see a lot lately,” Trainer added. “We’ll have a vehicle come in, always higher-end vehicles that need special technical care. Someone will go in, not qualified to do anything to the vehicle, and really just completely damage everything. If the vehicle came to us with just a factory system, not altered, it would have been

in better shape than after having all the harnessing wires damaged and those sorts of things.” The shop’s head tech, Dalton Trainer, did all of the work on the vehicle, which came from two hours away. (Dalton is also Kimberly’s son, and has been involved in this kind of work since he was 12 years old.) Kimberly noted that when the shop completes a job like this, a lifelong customer is gained.   23

 retail news When the customer learned the extent of the damage, they were obviously disappointed. Once he left the car with the shop for a week, Car-Tunes had a chance to work its magic. Upon pickup, the customer was relieved to see how the car should look under the care of talented professionals. To help protect customers against

this kind of thing, Trainer encourages them to do more research before they shop. “If we had a way to reach customers through advertisement that just put these little thoughts in their heads about things to look for when they are going to a business to get this type of work done, so they would know where

to get the quality service.” For customers who move away, Trainer noted that she’d recommend them to other Mobile Electronics Specialists of America shops “because I know they will have a quality installation bay. They’ll be qualified.” Car-Tunes itself is a MESA member as well.

Distinctive Ride Opens New Store Location At some point, business requires expansion, and for Wasilla, Alaska-based mobile electronics shop Distinct Ride, this meant building one location, where everything could be housed. Previously, the shop had been renting two locations. “There wasn’t anywhere to rent in our area that would fit the needs we have,” said Spencer Richardson, shop operations manager. “We were forced to build. It’s all brand new from the ground up. We worked with an

24  Mobile Electronics July 2018

architect and engineer to do the design.” Richardson noted that the shop has a 1,500-square-foot showroom, bathrooms and an office that takes up about 500 feet, along with 5,500 square foot of shop space, totaling 7,500 square feet. The shop is also now located in a more commercial area with more drive-by business. There has been an increase in customer foot traffic, as well as positive comments about the new location.

“We have had to adapt and expand,” Richardson said. “We have a small population, and something like 40 percent drive to Anchorage every day. At our store, we do all vehicle enhancements, Rhino Lining, window tint, car audio, remote start, lighting, but we also do wheels and tires, lift kits, towing accessories and airbags.” The shop’s grand opening was on June 13, including giveaways, ribbon cutting and a food truck.

Who’s Who

Faces in the Industry Greg Tackett

Hot Rides Inc.

Invests In Car Culture To Draw Customers A number of mobile electronics shops host and/or participate in cruise nights to draw business. Morrisville, Pennsylvania-based Hot Rides Inc. goes above and beyond by investing in both cruise nights, sponsoring series and investing in local car culture. “We do our cruise night the first Wednesday of every month so it’s easy to remember,” said store manager Dan Bowman. The shop shuts down both stores early to allow for set-up, and works in conjunction with a local classic car club while also bringing in local radio stations to add some extra fun for attendees. Each cruise night sees 120 to 200 vehicles on display, according to Bowman. While translating these investments into money for the shop is something that’s difficult if not impossible to track, Bowman believes in helping create local car culture. Even if customers bring kids who might not be into cars, Bowman is confident everyone will find something they like. Paired with being off a main road and lights and action on-going, attendance really breaks down to drawing a crowd. To commemorate the cars that are present at the cruise night, the shop picks six cars with the best lighting and presents them with awards. “We do a lot of off-road lighting, accent lighting, stuff like that. Then we have the folks who do it themselves, and we pick the six most striking lighting packages.” Hot Rides Inc. also sponsors other local cruise nights to help expand its reach. “The beautiful thing is, where our two stores are [in New Jersey and Pennsylvania], the surrounding towns, there’s a lot of affluence. A lot of these towns try to do business in their own town. However, there aren’t a lot of shops that do what we do—we’re very fortunate. So, with these cruise nights we’re just reaching out to these communities that [are like] our neighbors down the street, they’re not in our backyard.”

Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo Pikeville, Kentucky Years of industry experience: 45 Hobbies: ATV/side-by-side, family and traveling. What you’re really good at: People, merchandising.

Mario Castro Audio Interventions Bonita Springs, Fla. Years of industry experience: 10 Hobbies: Boating, riding motorcycles, jet skis. What you’re really good at: Basketball.

Michael Kreiselman Sound Wave Customs Virginia Beach, Va. Years of industry experience: 7 Hobbies: Baking donuts, going on adventures and train horn installations in sedans. What you’re really good at: 12-volt, wiring, implementation, leading a team and learning new things..   25

 retail news

26  Mobile Electronics July 2018

Immaculate Concepts Auto Sound & Speed Revitalizes Business With New Distributor A mobile electronics shop may have to make some choices to diversify and solidify its offerings. Among these choices is a change of distributor, which is what Liberty, New York-based Immaculate Concepts Auto Sound & Speed found itself dealing with. The previous distribution company Immaculate Concepts used had both a high minimum order cost and a tough delivery schedule, according to shop owner Joel Gandulla. When Gandulla was interested in changing distributors, Keystone Electronics Corp. did not allow the shop to become a distributor because there were too many in the area already. “Fast forward seven years later, I try

Keystone again because the local distributor had gone out of business, and then we picked them up,” Gandulla said. “Keystone allowed us to have numerous brands with any auto [and/or] truck accessory.” With a much more reasonable delivery schedule—only four or five days, according to Gandulla—and a lower minimum order cost, the choice to switch to Keystone has been something to keep the business healthy. “Switching [to Keystone] allowed the shop to switch from a 12-volt wheel shop to a complete auto and truck accessory shop, from auto and lights, lift kits, tonneau covers, floor liners, basically anything you have for a truck or car.”

Gandulla also noted there has been a distinct increase in customer participation in these segments. The shop’s bread-and-butter trucks are usually the Ford F-150, the Dodge Ram 1500 and Chevy pickups. After spending four or five years in business with Keystone, Gandulla recommends that for those shops looking to switch to Keystone as their primary distributor, check to make sure there aren’t any others in the area first. “They don’t approve a lot of accounts, and you have to have a really, really good storefront.” Gandulla stated that representatives will come and measure square footage of your showroom.   27

 hot sellers

While there’s a learning curve on new technology, retailers overcome it by explaining products in layman’s terms. Even customers who feel as if they still need a CD player can be shown otherwise when they begin to get familiar with some of these topselling products. Pioneer MVH-1400NEX Mechless CarPlay Unit Submitted by: Jon Lackey, Blvd Customs of Lakeland, Lakeland, Fla. Main Selling Features: “Plug in your phone and enjoy the new technology.” Primary Objection: Additional parts required. How to Overcome: “We educate the client based on the application they bring in the shop. Once they see what is required and how it makes it seamless, they understand and can’t wait to get it in the vehicle.”

28  Mobile Electronics July 2018

Stinger RoadKill Fast Rings, Foam Acoustic Coupling Rings Submitted by: Jon Schmitz, Mach 1 Audio, Washington, Mo. Main Selling Features: “Customers respond well to a hands-on demonstration and its simplicity.” Primary Objection: The material it’s made out of. How to Overcome: “[Explain] it is similar to the material used by [the] OEM.”


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 hot sellers

Kenwood DDX9904S CarPlay/Android Auto Deck Submitted by: Andrew Field, SoundShapers Inc., Brewer, ME Main Selling Features: “When people see CarPlay for the first time, we get a great, strong positive reaction with an ‘I gotta have that’ statement.” Primary Objection: Price. How to Overcome: “We show the customer all the features in the radio and the fact that (if you have cell service) you also have built in navigation without the extra expense of upgrading to a nav deck.”

JL Audio VXi DSP Amplifiers Submitted by: Ethan Blau, Sound Wave Customs, Virginia Beach, VA Main Selling Features: “The size of the amplifier; the punch and features the amplifier packs; the upgradability the VXi line offers; the ease of use; the ability to tune, not only for us industry professionals, but even [for] the client with the Bluetooth add-ons; and the name behind the amplifier.” Primary Objection: Price and learning curve. How to Overcome: “[Demonstrating product]. [The] learning curve is explained in layman’s terms to the client.”

Pioneer AVH W4400 Wireless CarPlay and Wireless Android Auto Submitted by: Greg Tackett, Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo, Pikeville, Ky. Main Selling Features: “The wireless feature hits home with customers. Consumers are strapped for time as well as looking for simplicity in the products they purchase. Wireless technology allows the customer a quick, easy and fast way to connect.” Primary Objection: Price and labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “We still have a lot of customers who like a

30  Mobile Electronics July 2018

CD/DVD [player]. [They use their phones] for pictures, navigation through the CarPlay and Android Auto and for a phone, but not to download music. Our older customers, fifty plus, who are still upgrading or are looking for something better than they currently have are looking for ease of use, better sound and the latest technology like Apple Car Play, a better screen and wireless technology. But this customer still wants a DVD/CD player. It seems they feel they are being cheated paying a premium price and not getting a CD/DVD player.”



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 hot sellers Sony AV-AX100 CarPlay/Android Auto Deck Submitted by: Keith McCumber, SoundsGood Auto, Coquitlam, BC Main Selling Features: “It’s simple, easy to use, looks beautiful and the warranty allows this to move off the floor with lightning speed.” Primary Objection: Price and missing features. How to Overcome: “Some people think they still need a CD player in their car until I ask them when was the last time they actually put one into their existing deck.”

Excalibur Remote Starts Submitted by: Anonymous Main Selling Features: “The extended range.” Primary Objection: Price and additional parts required. How to Overcome: “[Carefully explain] reasons for upcharge.”

32  Mobile Electronics July 2018

AudioControl LC-1.800 Amplifier Submitted by: Omar Jawad, Sound Depot and Performance, Gainesville, Fla. Main Selling Features: “Well-priced powerful amp that has excellent input capabilities. Flexibility to do integration without having to buy other integration parts.” Primary Objection: Labor cost to install. How to Overcome: “[We] talk about the five year warrant that comes with installation [and we] discuss our reputation and tenure in our local market.”

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SoundSkins Sound Dampening Material Submitted by: Jeremy Czech, Muntz Audio Video, Green Bay, Wis. Main Selling Features: “In terms of SoundSkins, I use as a sales tactic [the fact] that I actually know John and could text him anytime and [that] he’s always there for me. It gives a customer peace of mind when the company has a face.” Primary Objection: Learning curve. How to Overcome: “I have an active display. We also educate the customers on why sound dampening is important. We have had huge success with SoundSkins. Before KnowledgeFest a couple years ago, we rarely used any sound dampening material.”




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Industry Awards

Top 50 and Top 20 2018 Meet the Top 50 Retailers and Installers of 2018—and for the first time, the Top 20 Sales Professionals, which will be narrowed down to Top 5 during voting. Through perseverance, dedication and long hours of hard work, these individuals and businesses have earned their place on the list.

Absolute Electronix – Rockville, MD

Audio Works Newark, DE

DC Car Audio Sarnia, ON

ACT Audio Vernon, CT

Audio X Inc. Florence, AL

DES of Wilmington Wilmington, NC

Adrenaline Autosound Clayton, NC

Autosound Lab Fresno, CA

Distinctive Car Toyz Pleasantville, NJ

Al & Ed’s Autosound Los Angeles, CA

Cartunes Inc. Atlanta, GA

Distinctive Ride Wasilla, AK

Audio Solutions StL – St. Louis, MO

Certified Autosound Maple Ridge, BC

Driven Mobile Electronics Chantilly, VA

34  Mobile Electronics July 2018

Elevated Audio Denver, CO Explicit Customs Melbourne, FL Extreme Car Audio Marrero, LA First Coast Auto Creations Jacksonville, FL Foss Audio & Tint Tukwila, WA GNC Customs – Goshen, IN Greg’s Custom Audio, Video & Car Stereo – Pikeville, KY Industry Auto Designs – Las Vegas, NV JC Audio – Jackson, MS JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO Kartunes Auto Stereo and Alarm – Seaside, CA Lakes Audio – Baxter, MN Lakeside Audio – Conroe, TX

LIS Audio

Spring Hill, KS

Virginia Beach, VA

Lynx Customs Centennial, CO

Sounds Good Stereo West Park, FL

Mobile Edge Lehighton, PA

SoundsGood Auto Coquitlam, BC

Mobile Toys College Station, TX

Speed of Sound Technologies Milford, CT

Mobileworks Tintworks Santa Maria, CA

Stereo and Video Center Tyler, TX

NVS Audio Roselle, NJ

The Car Audio Shop High Ridge, MO

NXS Automotive Bossier City, LA

The Only Stereo Warehouse Kamloops, BC

Ocala Car Audio Ocala, FL

The Sound Shop Indian Trail, NC

Prestige Car Audio & Marine Metairie, LA

Tier One Motoring Oaks, PA

Showtime Audio Chicago, IL

Titan Motoring Nashville, TN

Solar Pro Tint n Tunes Warrensburg, MO

Trick Factory Customs Coquitlam, BC

Sonics Sound Arlington, VA

Tunes-N-Tint Lakeland, FL

Sound Connection Inc. Waite Park, MN

Unique Audio Lorton, VA

Sound FX Lewes, DE

Westminster Speed & Sound Westminster, MD

Sound Wave Customs   35

Industry Awards

Nicholas Apicella – Apicella Auto Sound – Stony Point, NY

Andrew Evens – Industry Auto Designs – Las Vegas, NV

Brent Leavitt – Low Notes Garage – Boise, ID

Tim Baillie – Trick Factory Customs – Coquitlam, BC

Wayne Fabian – Crown Performance – Winnipeg, MB

Adam Lewis – Sound FX – Seaford, DE

Pierce Barrett – Soundscape Car Audio – Carrollton, TX

Nicholas Frazier – Innovative Concepts – West Springfield, MA

Erick Markland – Markland Designs of Atlanta – Lithonia, GA

Melinton Benavides – Speed of Sound Technologies – Milford, CT

Aaron Garcia – Perfectionist Auto Sound & Security – Anchorage, AK

Christopher McNulty – Driven Mobile Electronics – Chantilly, VA

Charles Brazil – First Coast Auto Creations – Jacksonville, FL

Jeremy Garrett – NWA Custom Audio – Bentonville, AR

TJ Carlson – Musicar Northwest – Portland, OR

Bobby Gately – Gately Audio – Sacramento, CA

Dan Castro – The Car Audio Shop – High Ridge, MO

Roop Gossal – Inc Ridez – Surrey, BC

David Cruz – Avant-Garde Design – Palm City, FL

James Halter – Stereo and Video Center – Tyler, TX

B.J. Curcio – Broken Silence Custom Car Audio – Stamford, CT

Ron Hoser – Tier One Motoring – Oaks, PA

Ata Ehdaivad – Absolute Electronix – Rockville, MD

Bryon Jankow – Seismic Autosound – Concord, CA

Dave Evans – Adrenaline Autosound – Clayton, NC

Christopher Labonte – Brian Reimer Audio – Winnipeg, MB

36  Mobile Electronics July 2018

Rob Miller – JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO Jeremiah Mojica – GNC Customs – Goshen, IN Bryan Moon – Audioefx – Lubbock, TX Shaughnessy Murley – Visions Electronics – Red Deer, AB Tyler Neault – Certified Auto Sound – Maple Ridge, BC Chase Norman – Tint World Orlando – Longwood, FL Jaime Palafox – Agoura Autosounds – Agoura Hills, CA

Adam Perkins – Sound Wave Customs – Virginia Beach, VA David Phillips – The Sound Shop – Indian Trail, NC Cameron Powell – LIS Audio – Spring Hill, KS Jonathan Ram – Paradyme Sound & Vision – Sacramento, CA Carlos Ramirez – NVS Audio – Roselle, NJ Daryl Reetz – Lakes Audio – Baxter, MN Oscar Rodriguez – Oscar’s Audio Designs – Corpus Christi, TX Jeovani Rojas – Showtime Audio – Chicago, IL Aaron Schildknecht – Solar Pro Tint n Tunes – Warrensburg, MO John Schumacher – Audio Solutions StL – St. Louis, MO Steve Sheppe – SoundsGood Auto – Coquitlam, BC C.J Silvey – Foss Audio and Tint – Puyallup, WA Matthew Thomas – Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX Austin Thorne – Tunes-N-Tint Lakeland, FL Bryan Turvaville – 806 Autoworks – Amarillo, TX Jason Vanlakerveld – BPG Autosound & Security – Richmond, BC Sage Weir – Sounds Good Stereo – West Park, FL

Jayson Cook – Columbus Car Audio & Accessories – Columbus, OH Tommy Craig – Elevated Audio – Lakewood, CO Devin Daniels – Certified Autosound & Security – Chilliwack, BC Sean Davis – Tip Top Customs – Morris, IL Mathew Ell – Stereo King – Canby, OR Seann Ernest – Certified Autosound & Security – Chilliwack, BC Shawn Hawley – Certified Autosound & Security – Abbotsford, BC Robert Kowatch – Perfectionist Auto Sound – Anchorage, AK Jason Kranitz – Kingpin Car & Marine Audio – Wilsonville, OR Joshua Landau – JML Audio of St. Louis – Fenton, MO

Brian Layton – Sound FX – Lewes, DE Pablo Manrique – AM Distributors – Blue Island, IL Corbin May – Visions Electronics – Grande Prairie, AB Nick Pocklington – Certified Autosound & Security – Abbotsford, BC Ruben Rivera-Arauz – SoundsGood Auto – Burnaby, BC Cody Roehl – Lakes Audio – Baxter, MN Chris Rossi – Tunes-N-Tint – Lakeland, FL Amari Schwartz – Perfectionist Auto Sound – Anchorage, AK Parish Tanner – Ocala Car Audio – Ocala, FL Justin Wingfield – SoundsGood Auto – Coquitlam, BC   37

ďƒŽ The Support Team The U.S. headquarters for Sony is in San Diego. The giant consumer electronics company, founded in Japan in 1946, makes a myriad of products from wireless speakers to headphones to car stereos.

A Grassroots Goliath Tucked inside its massive parent company, Sony Car Audio covers the country with trainings, support, sales and more to keep its dealer base satisfied and strong. 38  Mobile Electronics July 2018

A Grassroots Goliath desirable brand whether for TVs, computers or car stereos. Nestled within this large conglomerate, which has its U.S. headquarters in San Diego, Calif., is a gem of grassroots operation. Sony Car Audio operates its tightknit support team under the guidance of Distribution Sales Manager Anthony Tozzi who works remotely from New Jersey. “We are a really unconventional business,” he said. “While Sony is this large company, car audio is just a small part of their business. One of the things we constantly say is that we’re an electronics company that happens to sell car audio. With that said, our team is very small. There are eight people in the entire country that run this particular part of the business. We have a few guys who wear support team hats, but it’s truly a team effort.”

A Small Team Spread Out Across the Country

Part of its support efforts, Sony Car Audio maintains a presence at industry events like CES, SEMA and the MEA’s KnowledgeFests. Tozzi said it’s an important way to stay relevant.


The name speaks volumes. The Sony brand in the consumer electronics industry, and around the world, has always carried weight—and still does today. The Japanese company was founded in 1946 with only 20 employees and launched iconic products like the Walkman in 1979 and the world’s first compact CD player in 1982. While currently best known for its PlayStation and digital cameras, the mammoth company is regarded as a design trendsetter and

Sony’s support efforts, according to Tozzi, are broken down into two operations. The direct-to-consumer support is handled by Sony directly. “They have an entire consumer support division that handles every product we make,” Tozzi said. “It is what you would see on Sony. com or If someone calls the 800 number [800-222-7669] in the owner’s manual or on the Sony website and is looking for support, that is all handled internally at Sony by a dedicated support staff that responds to everything from car audio to wireless speakers to headphones to anything else that we make.” Then there is Tozzi’s team. “Our portfolio is a little bit different than most of your typical 12-volt teams,” he said. “More than 50 percent of our business is done through independent 12-volt retailers. Usually that is not the case with most other manufacturers. With that comes the need for a strong support team—a grassroots team—that I manage. I have four people who report to me and hopefully we are adding a fifth in the near future. The four guys under me support the distribution network and independent network that is about 1,600 dealers strong. We have 1,000 of what I would consider healthy dealers and

about 600 players who are really supporting the mobile line.” The Sony Car Audio team is not based in one location, but rather spread out across the country and only comes together in person several times a year. About two years ago, Tozzi said a tech support line was implemented just for Sony’s car audio products. “It is for dealers only and it’s an 800 number [855-SONY-12V] that rings a few of my guys’ cell phones,” Tozzi said. “It directly connects a retailer to one of our team. Ryan Kuhlmann, who is based in St. Louis, is our asset and support manager, and he wears a lot of hats. Fielding these tech calls is one of his responsibilities.” National product trainer Kris Bulla is based in Nashville, Tenn. “Kris creates all of our training content and he facilitates all of our in-the-field trainings,” Tozzi said. “To date we have done more than 60 trainings around the country and the goal is to do somewhere between 80 to 100. We are pretty active in making sure we are out, meeting with dealers, and making sure we host trainings,” he said. “He also fields tech support phone calls when he is available and he also handles some content development. Kris helps with creating training modules and also supports Ryan with technical information when that is needed for documents and ads.” Based in Dallas, team member Richard Wong has a hybrid role. He’s out in the field, according to Tozzi, but also handles about 20 percent of the tech phone calls. “He is our field support manager,” Tozzi said. “He’s not behind a desk. He’s in the field almost every single day. He visits retailers, does quick on-the-spot trainings, and teaches dealers and their sales teams about new products while also making sure items are displayed correctly. He is our go-getter who spends a lot of time in the stores.” Mike Rundel, distribution account manager, based in Detroit, has a hybrid role on the team as well. “He spends a lot of time in the field, but also calls on distribution accounts. “He takes some of the weight off my plate by managing three distribution accounts both administratively and in the field,” Tozzi said. “Then there’s me, and I manage   39

 The Support Team A successful addition to its support efforts, Sony Car Audio has run its Boot Camp for the last three years. It offers a weekend of training, learning and yes, fun!

everything that is not in one of the previously mentioned portfolios,” Tozzi said. “I oversee sales and support for what we call our distribution business. We have no direct accounts outside of those few national accounts. So everything we do in the 12-volt space—relating to any independent retailer—is done through a network of 12 distributors in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.” Rounding out the rest of the Sony Car Audio team is director of sales Rick Kojan who is based in San Diego, Calif., where Hisashi Hayakawa, product manager, is also based. National accounts manager Andrew Wright, who is located in Chicago, manages everything that faces the division’s national footprint accounts— Best Buy, Walmart, Fry’s Electronics, West Marine and retailers of that nature. Support through Tozzi’s team is much broader than just being technical. “Ryan manages all of our digital content. For example, if someone is looking for an image for their website,” Tozzi said. “If someone is trying to make an ad—and it has to go through our Sony corporate channels to make sure the content is

40  Mobile Electronics July 2018

being used appropriately—Ryan oversees that. He also fields about 70 percent of our tech calls for distributors and mass merchants when it comes to set-up sheets. When we are launching a new product and dealers need to know dimensions, weight, country of origin and UPC code, Ryan manages all of that content.” Tozzi not only oversees his group, but travels every week. “I am visiting the direct accounts that I call on and I also hook up with my team as time permits,” Tozzi said. “As a group we probably get together four or five times a year at most.”

Direct Answers and Crowd-Sourced Replies There are different ways that retailers can reach out for assistance, but the recommended approach is to first call the tech line: 855-SONY-12V. “It’s a pretty easy number to remember and we keep trying to spread the word on it,” Tozzi said. “We tell dealers to call this number because it rings a bunch of different people’s cell phones on the team and the chances of someone being available are pretty high. If it’s after hours or on a

weekend, my rule with my team is if you want to answer the phone, feel free to answer it. We don’t have set hours on this because my guys are accessible, so we tell the dealers to reach out and if someone is around, he’s going to take care of it.” To keep tabs on issues that come up frequently and to discuss general matters, Tozzi has a weekly conference call with his team. “One of the aspects is to go over the tech calls that came in during the week,” he said. “If we are seeing a pattern with something, that is where Kris typically steps in because he is the most technical among us. He will then reach out to Japan and to the engineers and start collecting serial units and bad units and sends them off to start the process of finding out what is going on.” Tozzi’s team also runs a Sony dealer-only car audio Facebook group. “My guys are constantly monitoring it, but what’s also nice is that someone can crowd-source information,” Tozzi said. “If one of my guys isn’t on there at the moment, there are lots of dealers who can provide support and insight. It is huge for us. We have more than 700 members. Every single member has been vetted and it is a private, closed group. In order to gain access you have to provide proof and documentation that you

A Grassroots Goliath Sony Car Audio makes an appearance at the DAS Consumer Electronic Dealer Show.

are an active Sony dealer or you’re one of our distributors. We don’t let in any outsiders. It’s not a hang-out for industry people which a lot of these groups can end up becoming.” Trainings in the field can be anything from an evening in a conference room where local dealers are invited to something piggy-backed onto a distributor show. “We are very active with this and you can see us at almost everything,” Tozzi said. “If one of our distributors or partners is having an event, you can consider us there. We always try to hold trainings at those types of events. We do hold individual trainings throughout the year and we have the calendar for that posted on our Facebook page.” Also important for Sony Car Audio is to maintain a presence at all major mobile electronics events. “We are a diamond sponsor with MEA. We do all the KnowledgeFest shows,” Tozzi said. “We exhibit at SEMA and at CES. We want to stay relevant and have our face out there.” For the last three years running, Sony Car Audio has held a Distributor Sales Boot Camp. “We bring all of our distributor salespeople, at Sony’s expense, to a central locale (this year was Chicago) for a weekend of training, learning and fun,” Tozzi said.

Sony Support Team Prevails While Installation Becomes More Difficult Even with a substantial training schedule and solid support in the field and on the phone, dealers face challenges in today’s fast-changing marketplace. What’s happening out there, Tozzi said, echoes

the sentiments of many others in the industry—installation with vehicles continues to become much more difficult. Also of concern, Tozzi said, is another matter. “There is a lot of attrition in the installer base,” he said. “There are not a lot of guys in the bay who have been doing this 20 or 30 years. A lot of the younger folks coming up in the business today have not learned things the way others have. For instance, my first job installing was 18 years ago and I learned how to install by doing—and it was very hands-on. There wasn’t a Facebook page to run to every time I had an issue. There weren’t YouTube videos that showed me how to take a car apart. The downside of being really accessible to dealers for support is that it can sometimes it can be a crutch. Installers need to take ownership and be actively engaged in the business and be professional by learning the trade. It comes down to educating themselves, figuring out how things work, and it is one of the big reasons that we support KnowledgeFest. We truly think guys should go and treat it as a learning event. There is a lot to be learned.” It is exactly this complexity with vehicles that has helped to fuel the need for independent retailers and has ultimately helped Sony Car Audio’s dealer base grow. “Installations these days are becoming more difficult,” Tozzi said. “Even some radios now require certain firmware for updates. So the future looks bright for specialists. What we are also seeing right now especially as a headunit manufacturer, with regard to consumers, is that so much is being done via

phone. The head unit is becoming the interface between the vehicle, the phone and the rest of the sound system. People are so comfortable with their phones, and with the introduction of CarPlay and Android Auto which essentially allow people to control their phones with the radio. Things are becoming easier for the consumer from a usability standpoint, but conversely, from an installation standpoint, they’re absolutely not.” As Tozzi reflected, 10 years ago when a car was delivered to someone there was a lot of time spent explaining to that consumer how their new radio worked. “Nowadays, you don’t spend that much time because radios are much simpler to use. They’re more user-friendly and people are much more adept with technology. Consumers today are not as intimidated.” What hasn’t changed is the nature of the business, according to Tozzi. “Car audio is still a niche business and really requires you to be a car audio guy, “ he said. “In other categories within Sony you can take a sales manager and move them from cameras to Bluetooth speakers to TVs and it wouldn’t matter—the business isn’t one of passion. They aren’t a touch business like this. It’s not like that with 12-volt.”

Maintaining a Grassroots Mentality All of it adds up for Tozzi who said he enjoys what he does because he has a great group of guys—and soon may be bringing on a fifth team member. “Our success really comes down to maintaining this grassroots mentality,” he said. “While we’re in this huge company, we operate pretty much autonomously from the rest of Sony. Where we have gained market share is through our grassroots activities which is about getting out there, seeing people, and keeping the lines of communication open with our dealers. “Supporting our dealers means a lot of different things—whether it means we can help you because you don’t know which wire goes where or because you have a defective unit and need a new one by tomorrow. We have gained ground because we have made it a priority to take care of our dealers.”   41

 strategy & tactics


Connecting with clients on a personal level via phone calls helps increase income and decrease cost. By utilizing specific strategies, shops can improve their profitability the dialing for dollars way. WORDS BY DEL ELLIS

I would like to begin by sharing some tips that helped me when I owned a car stereo store. I believe this will help you, but only if you act on what I am about to share with you. Most of you who know me or have heard about me might be thinking, “He’s the sales trainer,” and that is true. I know for a fact and believe everything starts at the front of the house with selling. If you can’t make the sale, you can’t pay the best installers, you can’t pay the bills and you can’t stay in business—period. Running the most profitable and

42  Mobile Electronics July 2018

successful car stereo business for a single store in the nation wasn’t just done by making sales, however.

Become Profitable by Maintaining High Morale I had to learn and understand business principles, and then apply what I learned. I learned to lead my team to become more productive and profitable, keeping the morale high. I did so by writing out my vision for our company and then finding out what my employees saw as their vision. Then I lined up my vision with their vision to help them achieve what they wanted. One of my mentors, Zig Ziglar, taught

me, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” All these things added up to making the income I deserved.

Know Your Bottom Line Profits Each Month If you can make sales but cannot control your cost, this is like eating chicken broth with a fork or mistaking activity for profitability. Too many times, I hear, “We are busy.” Ask yourself this question: At the end of the month, after all the bills were paid, what was your bottom line profit? I, too, thought being busy was good.

Dialing for Dollars


The Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX, AVIC-W6400NEX and AVH-W4400NEX in-dash receivers feature Apple CarPlay™ compatibility that works wirelessly, specifically designed to support a cable free connection between your iPhone® device1 and your car. All three units also support a wired USB connection for Apple CarPlay in case you need to charge while you drive or use additional smartphone connectivity options.

PIONEERELECTRONICS.COM/CAR TWITTER.COM/PIONEERUSA FACEBOOK.COM/PIONEERNORTHAMERICA INSTAGRAM.COM/PIONEERCARAUDIO YOUTUBE.COM/PIONEERELECTRONICS Read all safety instructions in the product documentation before use. Distracted driving can result in serious injury, or death. Only use a function when it is safe and legal in your location, pay attention to the road and your surroundings, and obey all traffic rules. Apple CarPlay requires iPhone 5 or newer with the latest version of iOS. Apple CarPlay, CarPlay, iPhone and the works with Apple CarPlay logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. PIONEER and the Pioneer logo are trademarks of Pioneer Corporation. ©2018 Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

1   43

 strategy & tactics

“At the end of the month, after all the bills were paid, what was your bottom line profit?” The shop was packed with cars and I was booked out sometimes eight weeks in advance, but after I figured out my bottom line profit, I was just busy and not profitable. I felt like I was working for the government, my landlord, my suppliers and advertisers—everyone but me! After 30 years of being in the car audio industry, I see the same mistakes I made. Spending thousands of dollars on advertising to get people to call or email us. I was fortunate to understand that simple experience will never be your best teacher. Instead, it is evaluated experience that is your best teacher.

Turn Calls and Emails Into a Strategic Process Every time I had someone call or email me and I wasn’t able to get them into the store, I felt like all the money I spent got flushed down the toilet. So I started working on my emails and phone calls to develop a process that got over 80 percent of those clients in the shop, but at the same time got rid of the clients who just wanted to pick my brain and waste my time. The process is so effective that one of my clients (Kingpin Car and Marine Audio) has locked up their front door and the only way you can get into their facility is by scheduling a consultation. Stores tend to spend with the intention of getting more business. I know I did before I found out a few things the hard way—or rather, the costly way. I found out there was a more affordable way to increase my business and generate more income.

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Connect With Clients on a Personal Level to Increase Profits and Decrease Cost What if there was a way to lower your advertising budget by 70 percent, which would go directly to your bottom line profits and generate more income at the same time? What would you do? Any time you can lower your cost, it increases your bottom line profits. For example, if you spend $1,000 per month on advertising, how much business do you have to do to make it back? When I was able to cut these costs and gain more business at the same time, it enabled me to increase my bottom line profits. How about getting clients into your store in a way that makes it 54 percent easier to close the sale? The truth of the matter is that once your clients buy from you, they already like and trust you which makes it easier to close the sale. Do I have the attention of your sales department now? Imagine if your clients spent up to 30 percent more in your facility. What if previous clients coming into the store are more likely to buy new technology from you by 50 percent over a new client? Apple, a 580 billion dollar business, knows this fact and banks on it when they come up with new technology. This is so effective that Apple will have people lined up around the block to get the latest and greatest iPhone. The difference between Apple and your business is that Apple spends 1.3 billion dollars a year to get the word out on new technology. What is your budget for advertising?

I discovered that whenever I ran a promotion, sometimes the business I did barely covered the advertising cost. So I did all this extra work to make more sales, but I ended up working for everyone but myself. I’m sure everyone understands that the technology in our industry is always changing, too. The process that I call dialing for dollars can help you become extremely effective without over-spending.

Follow Up With Clients to Learn Their Level of Satisfaction Dialing for dollars means taking the time to reach out to your previous clients based on old school methods and proven ways to generate sales, referrals and five-star reviews. All three can only be achieved by the phone. Think about it for a moment. How many emails do you delete from companies asking you to take their survey? Why would you think that your survey would be any different? According to Small Business Trends, 68 percent of your clients will not come back because they feel abandoned. Why? Nobody reached out to them or followed up to make sure everything was perfect. The truth is, they feel the business does not care. People do not know how much you know until they know how much you care. You can be in the Top 50 retailers or installers in the industry, and that is great, but it doesn’t mean anything to the client unless they know you truly care about them and are willing to do what it takes to make them happy. I’m going to share a true story with you. I wanted to do something nice for my wife. Because I did not follow up,

Dialing for Dollars


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 strategy & tactics I ran into problems. I wanted to buy new tires for her car as a surprise, so I took it without her knowing about it. I dropped off the car. When they finished, they called me to let me know it was ready. I paid and then took the car home expecting her to be really excited. She was at first. But when she pulled down the visor to check her makeup, a problem arose. When the technician who worked on the car pulled the visor down, he left two dirty fingerprints on the inside of her visor. Guess who heard about it? You’re right—it was me. What upset me was that I had just spent over $700 on a gift for my wife, and she was grateful for the gift, but what she wasn’t grateful for was the fact that the visor she looked at every day was smudged. What did I do? I did what 68 percent of your clients are doing right now, and that is never going back to the business where I bought the tires and had them installed.

Keep Existing Clients Coming Back • It costs five times more money to get a new client than it does to keep an old one. •An existing client, on average, will spend up to 30 percent more money with you than a new client will. •An existing client is 50 percent more likely to buy new technology from you. •It is 27 to 54 percent easier to close the sale with an existing client than with a new customer.

Scott Thomas of Sound FX in Lewes, Del. uses the dialing for dollars method to build long-term client relationships.

after the completed job, we always followed up, and again on their first, second or third or more anniversary of doing business with us. 2. Prepare a survey with five to 10 questions, maximum. 3. Text them and ask if they have a few minutes to spare. Respect their time and they will respect you. 4. Call them and be prepared to have a favorable experience. 5. Email them their rewards for helping you. I recommend a $25 loyalty rewards certificate with a 90-day expiration.

•According to the national average, your existing clients buy a new car every 3.5 years.

6. Ask them for referrals. I recommend sending them three $25 gift certificates so they can give them to their family, friends or co-workers.

•Many businesses are doing nothing to get these clients back into their facility, let alone getting referrals from them.

7. And if you are brave enough, hit them up for a review. If you don’t ask for referrals or reviews, the answer is always “No!”

Begin Dialing for Dollars

The Payoff, if You Are Willing

What are the steps needed to put together the process of dialing for dollars?

I was in a restaurant when I saw a sign with this slogan on it, and it just stuck with me. The slogan said: “Those who want to do something, do it! Those who don’t, find excuses.”

1. Look up the information on what they purchased from you. Three to five days

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I want to challenge you to take heed and more importantly A.C.T. upon the knowledge you just gained. The ‘A’ stands for Apply. Apply and start incorporating these strategies. Not in just those found in this article, but in everything you have the opportunity to experience. The ‘C’ stands for Change. Make the necessary changes that you know you need to make. The choice will always be yours. Keeping your word to others is a matter of pride, and you should keep your word—however, the first person you should keep your word with is you. The ‘T’ stands for Teach others. When you begin to teach others, you will always remember the information and it will be easier to apply. Hopefully, I have sold you on why you should reach out to your existing clients the dialing for dollars way. I want to ensure you that if you do it, the process will increase your profitability and more importantly your overall customer satisfaction. Isn’t offering good service the main reason why we should be in business in the first place? If you need additional help, you can email me at or go to I promise I will show you more than just how to sell.

Dialing for Dollars


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 tech today

There are some important factors to consider if your business decides to do motorcycle audio installations, including wiring and special care when the bike is in the shop. In another look at summer fun, Tech Today reviews the basics for those interested in expanding into this category. When it comes to motorcycles, it is often said that “Loud Pipes Save Lives,” and that is a philosophy that most bikers believe in and live by. When it comes time to take their music on the road, bikers need a sound system that can be heard over their open exhaust pipes and the wind. Combine these challenges with

48  Mobile Electronics July 2018

limited space for speakers, limited amplifier installation options, diminutive electrical systems and steadfast preferences regarding appearance and style, and the motorcycle audio market can be challenging. This installment of Tech Today will give you some insight into several different motorcycle audio installation

and integration options. Before we dive in, we want to extend a special thanks to Parish Tanner at Ocala Car Audio for his help with the content and some photographs he has provided for this article. As many of our readers already know, Parish is an avid biker, and he enjoys spending his spare time behind the handlebars. Also

Summer Fun: Mortorcycle Audio Installations

Motorcycle Audio Installations audio systems, trading labor to install a system and being allowed to store the bike is a great trade-off. If the dealership sells the bike and the gear, they’ll make more profit and chances are, they’ll be happy to loan you another bike and repeat the process. If you have a website, make sure you are tuned in to the motorcycle crowd with relevant articles, content and pictures of your work. While many bikers look rough, these guys and gals do their research before buying.

Parish Tanner of Ocala Car Audio always has his 2010 Harley-Davidson Street Glide at the store so he can show potential clients that his company is serious about motorcycle audio.

Motorcycle Paint Protection and Tools

contributing photos are Extreme Audio in Midlothian, Va. and Mechanicsville, Va. and Mobile Edge in Lehighton, Pa.

Find and Define Your Clients Parish attends as many motorcycle-related events as his busy schedule allows. He loves cruising and spending time with his fellow bikers at local bars and restaurants. Ocala Car Audio sponsors toy runs, poker runs and most of the motorcycle-related events that come their way. In the truest essence of the term, Parish uses grassroots marketing to connect with new clients and support his passion and business. Sundays are a great day for a ride, so Parish will saddle up and meet fellow bikers and head out for the day. These small rides may involve as few as four or six bikes, but often have 20 to 30 participants. Parish points out that it’s

important for his fellow riders to feel that he is there for the ride, and not as a marketing tool for his business. When they ride, he’ll crank up the music and have fun. Inevitably, this leads to someone asking about options available to upgrade the audio system on their bike. Parish never pushes the audio or makes fellow rides feel like he’s there to sell products or services. He’d be there even if there wasn’t a sound system on his bike, and he’s respected for that. When he’s at the store, his bike is always nearby. Having a motorcycle equipped with upgrades is a perfect way to demonstrate your store’s capabilities. It also helps to brand you as an expert. If none of your staff members ride, talk to a local dealership about borrowing a bike and putting it on display at your store. Just as in our previous articles about powersports

Bikers are fanatical about the appearance of their bikes. When you have their cruiser in your possession, they will want to know that you will take good care of it. Most paint shops don’t have access to Harley paint codes and getting a perfect match by trial and error is nearly impossible. Even a small chip could be very costly, and Parish told us he’s heard of small repairs that cost thousands of dollars. Cover the gas tank, front fender, fairings and anywhere you will be working with a towel, soft blanket or automotive shipping wrap. If you remove the fairing, fuel tank or saddlebags, store them far away from the bike on a carpeted rack that won’t get disturbed. Even though a motorcycle is smaller than a car, you will want to dedicate a similar amount of space to it so that other technicians and staff members stay away from the bike. A little extra protection goes a long way to maintaining your reputation in this tightknit community. Working on a Harley doesn’t require any significantly special tools. T-27 and   49

 tech today T-40 Torx drivers and a quality Phillips screwdriver will let you access almost anything. Having a rolling tool cart beside your working location can save you a lot of time. Just be sure to lock the wheels on the cart so it stays away from the brightwork and paint.

Motorcycle Electrical Systems and Wiring Nowhere is it more important to be aware of your audio electrical system requirements than on a bike. Many bikes have a stator that provides as little as 20 amps of current while some get up to 54 amps when the engine is above 4,000 RPM. It’s worth noting that Harley-Davidson and many aftermarket companies offer upgraded charging systems. Use amplifiers that are as efficient as possible and never skimp on power wire size or connection quality. Every extra millivolt the amp receives results in a reduction of current. Installing an oversized amp on a client’s bike and leaving him stranded with a dead battery is a great way to make you and your shop very unpopular. If a client will be playing the audio system for extended periods while parked, an extra battery is a necessity. Parish uses high-quality AGM batteries from Stinger or one of the many lithium cells available on the market. Lithium batteries are roughly one-fifth the weight of a conventional lead-acid cell and are much smaller. A lithium battery upgrade can store twice as much energy as a conventional flooded If you are adding equipment to a saddlebag, make sure that no water can get in.

lead cell. For maximum play time, a lithium battery can be added to a saddlebag without dramatically affecting the weight and balance of the bike.

Motorcycle Wiring Considerations If you are installing a new amplifier, you will need to raise the gas tank to run power wires from the battery to the fairing or saddlebag. A T-49 Torx bit will release the tank from the bike frame to let you run your wiring. Even if the amp is small, using quality all-copper 8 AWG power and ground wire to ensure

efficient energy delivery. If you are going to run wiring into a fairing, you will need to make sure it’s protected. Parish made a splash shield for an Indian motorcycle using a small piece of ABS plastic over the wiring where it exits the bag. The drip shield can be molded into shape using a heat gun and held to the bag with stainless steel hardware. Alternatively, you can use an off-the-shelf stainless steel clam shell vent sourced from your local marine supply house. You will want to take extreme care when mounting equipment in a saddlebag. Any sharp edges could scuff, scratch or rip the driver’s leathers. Likewise, you don’t want to take up too much storage room in the bags. They are, after all, the only way for the biker to carry his belongings.

Saddlebag Wiring Considerations Any wires you run into a saddlebag needs to have a quick-connect plug. Don’t use a set of spade terminals from your parts rack. Automotive-grade weather-resistant connectors are available from sources like Digikey or CE Auto Electric Supply in Arizona. The Metri-Pack

50  Mobile Electronics July 2018

Summer Fun: Mortorcycle Audio Installations Once you have a steady flow of motorcycle audio clients, make sure you update your website and share your success on social media.

A Harley-Davidson Boom Audio upgrade speaker beside a JL Audio C3-600.

connectors from CE Auto Electric are perfect for saddlebag speakers and lighting upgrades. Don’t bother with cheap connectors; they become a hassle instead of a benefit.

Fairing Wiring There isn’t a lot of space inside a motorcycle fairing, but there is enough to house a quality amplifier and its associated wiring. As with any vehicle, managing wire lengths, routing and preventing vibration is crucial. Cloth and fleece automotive-grade tapes and high-quality vinyl wire tires are a must for every installation. As big and cushy as these bikes are, they still transmit vibrations and bumps from the road to the chassis and rider. Make sure everything is tight and secure so your client only hears the music.

Pre-2014 Harley-Davidson Cruiser Upgrades Parish keeps several popular upgrade solutions in stock at all times. Many older Harley have speakers that have deteriorated and failed. Having a few sets of replacements ready to go is a must. The stock speakers on the older

bikes have 2-ohm voice coils. If you use a conventional 4-ohm speaker, your client likely won’t be happy with the system as the amp will make only 2/3 as much power. A great option is the PowerBass L2-522. This 5-1/4-inch coaxial speaker set has a nominal 2-ohm impedance and drops into the factory mounting locations nicely. Never be afraid to show your clients something better. Simply putting a pair of speakers on your counter can have a dramatic effect on their replacement decision. For clients who want more from their audio systems, Parish likes the JL Audio C3-600 or the Hertz HCX 165.5. In the case of these speakers, the client will want a compact amplifier to get the most out of the 4-ohm drivers. Parish uses the Kenwood KAC-M3004 in a twochannel configuration to provide up to 150 watts per speaker. The MMATS MD4100 is another option and provides more than twice as much power. Parish has also been known to use the JL Audio M100-CT tweeters on Harley fairings. He will remove the factory fuel gauge and air temp display. The radio includes a “Distance to Empty” display so

A JL Audio M650-CCX-SG-TB Coaxial speaker in a factory lower fairing speaker enclosure.

that the rider won’t run out of fuel. For bikes with lower fairing speakers, Parish usually turns to the JL Audio M650-CCX speakers. His team creates a plastic spacer ring to adapt the large aftermarket speakers to the small mounting provisions of the original drivers.

2014 and Newer Road Glide, Street Glide and Electra Glide Upgrade Newer Harleys are often referred to as “Rushmore bikes.” Their larger fairings have room for 6.5-inch speakers and include dedicated enclosures. Parish notes that these bikes take more time to work on because you have to remove the outer fairing cover and the housings to access the speakers. Being able to install larger speakers is a nice reward for the   51

 tech today A weather-resistant six-position connector and high-current power wire plug make saddlebags easily removable.

additional time and effort, but make sure you budget accordingly. The radios on new Harleys use CAN communication to turn on the factory amplifier. If you are upgrading one of these systems, be sure to use an amp with integrated remote turn-on capabilities. If you connect the amp remote input to an ignition-controlled source, you’ll get a very objectionable pop when the radio fires up. If you don’t carry a line of amps with remote turn-on detection, the PAC LP72 or a similar product will generate the signal you need for the system to operate properly. Parish also mentioned that Harley has provided enough speaker wire so that the output of the radio can feed the input of the new amplifier directly. They run new speaker wire from the output of the amp to the upgraded speakers, making it easy to return the bike to stock.

Source Unit Feature Upgrades

A compact Hertz four-channel amplifier mounted atop a factory radio by the crew at Mobile Edge in Lehighton.

This Aquatic AV installation from Extreme Audio was paired with Rockford Fosgate speakers.

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The factory radios on bikes are fine for CDs or listening to the radio, but most clients want to be able to connect to their smartphone wirelessly using Bluetooth. Both Parish and Mike Bartels from Extreme Audio love the AquaticAV radios. These radios are direct plug-and-play upgrades for 2013 and older Harleys. Both models include Bluetooth audio streaming. The premium model adds a color display and SiriusXM. If you choose a conventional automotive CD receiver or a marine solution, make sure your client can see the display in bright sunlight. The displays on most automotive receivers are designed to be viewable from directly perpendicular to the radio and above. They wash out when viewed from a lower angle. The Rushmore series bikes have a much more complicated radio solution. Boom! Box radios have built-in equalization that must be addressed for upgraded speakers to function reliably. There are two approaches to correcting the settings in the radio. Companies like TechnoResearch are specialists in reprogramming Harley ECM and

Summer Fun: Mortorcycle Audio Installations

Motorcycle audio provides a great opportunity for added income. These clients will spread the word to other bikers, so make sure to take good care of them.

even the radios. Using their VCM-TR, you can choose from several different speaker and amplifier configurations for the factory radio on the 2014 and newer Road Glide, Street Glide and Ultra Glide bikes. Each configuration has different equalization curves associated with it. The default curve has some nasty bumps in the bass response that result in terrible performance. If you choose to reflash the radio, you will want to analyze the response of the audio signal to make sure you have the information you need. The two speakers—Upper Fairing / 1 AMP configuration has good bass output, but a big dip around 60Hz. The more conventional four speakers— Upper Fairing / Rear Pods / No Amp

selection has much smoother frequency response overall, but the bass rolls off steeply 100Hz. A second option, and one that provides more flexibility, is to combine a radio re-flash with a compact digital signal processor. The ARC Audio PSM is a compact processor designed specifically for motorcycle and powersports installations and includes splash covers for the connections and conformally coated circuit boards to improve longevity. The PSM comes pre-loaded with an EQ curve that undoes the nastiness of the default radio settings. Using your RTA and a windows laptop, you can smooth the frequency response of any speaker choice to give your client the tonal balance that he or she

wants. If they are used to a premium sound system in their car or truck, you can even dial in a little delay to the rear speakers to help create a soundstage across the windscreen.

Motorcycle Audio is a Great Income Opportunity If you haven’t already embraced motorcycle audio as an area of specialty for your shop, it’s time to start. Remember, these systems are going to be played loud, so don’t skimp on the gear or the quality of the installation. Lastly, be sure to take care of these clients. They tell their friends about their good and bad experiences.   53

ďƒŽ installs

SUPERB SKYLINE Submitted by Steve Cook, Audio X Custom Car Audio, Florence, Ala.

This beautiful R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R recently found its way to Audio X in Florence, Ala. The owner wanted an audio system that would rival the attention to detail in the 1200 HP engine build. After speaking with Steve Cook, owner of Audio X, a plan was formulated. A car with this level of performance mandates that all weight-related changes are given careful scrutiny. The team at Audio X made it their goal to ensure each part of the car they modified was done with weight reduction as a key component. The audio upgrades in the front of the car include A-pillar rebuilds to incorporate Morel tweeters and dome mids.

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The doors got a boost in midbass output thanks to the upgraded Morel woofers. The in-dash technology was given a big boost with the integration of a new Kenwood eXcelon DNX-9905s radio. The modifications done to the cabin of the car were relatively mild. Looking in through the window, you might not even notice them. Open the trunk, though, and you will find the hidden gem of this installation. The audio goal for the trunk was to have some serious low-end reinforcement. To accomplish that task, two Morel subwoofers were installed in the rear lower section of the trunk floor. Beyond the audio requirements, the visual aspects of the trunk are really stunning.

The Audio X team had help from Alan Lindgren to get all the trick pieces for the trunk CNC cut. The trunk lid features a pair of speakers and a video monitor. The use of orange, blue and aluminum trim pieces really grabs the eye. When your focus moves from the trunk lid to the trunk, even more orange, blue and aluminum trim is found. In addition, OEM-matched black vinyl and gray suede accents were used to further enhance the design. The centerpiece of the trunk is the aluminum Skyline badge, backlit via an acrylic trim ring. The team at Audio X took an incredible car and made it even better!   55

 installs


Submitted by Andrew Evens, Industry Auto Designs, Las Vegas, Nev.

Sometimes our projects can have a little more meaning than just satisfying a consumer’s needs. Such is the case with this 1974 VW Beetle that found its way to Industry Auto Designs. This Beetle is not only a cool car, but also a father and son project. With the majority of the work done, it was time for the interior and a bit of audio equipment. The father/son team turned to Andrew Evens for help completing their project. Andrew Evens, along with Steven Cupich, set to work on the Beetle so they could make the Memorial Day deadline. The interior is a great-looking combination of black vinyl with plaid flannel

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inserts for the seats and door panels. The back seat features an embroidered VW emblem between the two seating positions. Behind the rear seat, a new back deck was fabricated and upholstered in the same materials. The panel conceals a Phoenix Gold BassCase8 that provides the bass for the audio system. The remainder of the audio system is found up front. The kick panels now feature fiberglass pods to hold JBL component speakers. The pods were then upholstered in matching black loop carpet for a factory look. The audio source for the installation is a JBL Bluetooth controller mounted on a custom acrylic panel that was laser cut from

acrylic. To power the system, the crew at IAD again went to JBL for the amplifier that powers all of the speakers. The final touch the Volkswagen needed was some under bonnet trim. The vehicle has an air-ride system. Aside from the gas tank, the front is taken up mostly by the air tank. The clients requested that the tank remain visible, giving them future potential for customizing it. The design of the bonnet area complements the interior of the Beetle and features the same black vinyl and plaid flannel. Thanks to the work of the Industry Auto Design team, this father and son project is now complete.

ng Beetle   57

from the President

COMING TO KNOWLEDGEFEST? Arrive with a Mission We’ve gathered the best available education, supplier displays and much more. What you do with it is up to you. I just finished reviewing some of the responses from the magazine’s latest industry survey, which focuses on KnowledgeFest. It asks questions about the main benefits of the show for attendees as well as how respondents rate KnowledgeFest against other events in terms of value to their business. But there was one response that did not show up in the Stats section on page 10. Those who responded “Not sure yet” on whether they were attending KnowledgeFest were asked what the most important factor was in determining whether they would go or not. More than “Cost” or “In-store obligations,” the overwhelming answer was “Value of the Event.” That’s good and bad—bad because it means we can do a better job of communicating the value of KnowledgeFest. But good because it shows that retailers are thinking about things the right way. Businesses are prioritizing long-term success over short-term profitability. So, for those of you on the fence, I’ll make the case for attending KnowledgeFest. Show and Tell: There is a lot to see and hear on the exhibit floor. The best suppliers in our industry bring their A-Game to KnowledgeFest. They exhibit with the hope they will make a positive impact on your business and on their own. Learning the Products: The Dallas KnowledgeFest will deliver over 70 hours of high-quality education directly from your favorite suppliers. This is an opportunity like no other. A place to learn what you need to know about every technology our industry has to offer. Back to School: Gaining valuable insight for your business is a must to survive. KnowledgeFest delivers the education you need to thrive in an ever-changing industry. Meet and Greet: No more phone calls, texts and Facebook. Your next conversation will be face-to-face with both old friends and new. Celebrating Success: And then there’s the industry awards. An evening that will become a wonderful memory for many as we honor those in our industry. The Mobile Electronics Industry Awards will recognize those who have excelled above the rest. We’ve assembled the best group of vendors, instructors and industry professionals to provide you the opportunity to excel in your business or career. But the one component that will guarantee you get the most from KnowledgeFest is

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… you. If you come to Dallas with the idea of hanging out with friends, taking in a few free vendor dinners, sleeping late and attending only the popular fabrication or OEM integration classes, the show is going to be a waste for you. But if you want to maximize your ROI on away-from-theshop time by heading home with knowledge to immediately impact sales, here are the steps: 1. Have a plan before your plane takes off or before you shop for road trip snacks. Look through the class schedule and make reservations for each so you can print out an itinerary. This is important: Don’t pick the classes that are popular just because everybody else is doing it. Think about the knowledge you need for your business and select the courses that fill those needs. 2. Plan your exhibit floor time in sections over three days. You can only take in so much information before your eyes—and brain—glaze over. Look at the show floor and plan to cover it in segments with one section per day. Then, spend real time with the vendors to understand their product lines. Each of them has spent good money so they can be here to spend that time with you, so take advantage. But after you’ve completed the section, take a mental break. 3. See your vendors, then see more vendors. On the show floor, keep an open mind and visit all of the vendors there. You never know what product you’ll need down the line, even if you don’t have the need right now. The same goes for vendor trainings: see your vendors, then pick three or four trainings on new companies. 4. Don’t skip the networking time. Keynotes, town hall meetings and casual get-together sessions are great opportunities to meet like-minded professionals who may have answers to problems you’re experiencing. Or, your experience might help them thorough a complicated situation. Plus, it’s nice to develop contacts you can call throughout the year to get and give advice. KnowledgeFest is a must for any industry professional. If I were still doing retail, it would be the one event that would be marked on my calendar because of the talent, knowledge and opportunity gathered in one place. Come to Dallas with a mission. You’ll leave with hope, purpose and opportunity.

VOXX brings dealers Overhead, Seat-back and Headrest solutions from Advent, Audiovox and Movies to Go. Systems that deliver the latest in technology enhancements, bringing you better choices to connect your customers to enhanced entertainment. VOXX’s mobile video products give users direct connection to any HDMI/MHL enabled device, (smart phones, tablets, even Smart-TV devices such as Roku, Chrome-cast and Amazon FireTV Smart Sticks) for the convenience of connectivity and streaming on the road. VOXX’s Mobile Video Systems bring you all you need to keep your customers calm cool and connected on their next trip! * Hot-spot required for Connectivity to Apps

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