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FLYING CARS & SUPERCARS AT GENEVA!

FOREVER YOUNG

LANCER DELIVERS ’N’ROLL! LOW VOLTAGE ROCK

GO GO MANGO!

MEET SSV’S AUDISON-LADEN FRUITY AUDI...

ALSO REVIEWED

FRUIT BATS, SPERM WHALES… THE BRAX MX4 SUPER AMP BRINGS MUSIC TO THEM ALL

HERTZ / MONGOOSE / POLK / RAINBOW

ISSUE

1#18


INTRODUCING THE INTRODUCING THE

X-SERIES X-SERIESDIGITAL DIGITALAMPLIFIERS AMPLIFIERS DIGITAL AUDIOPHILE DIGITAL AUDIOPHILEAMPLIFIERS AMPLIFIERS Introducing all-new X-Series,these thesesmall smallamplifiers amplifiersproduce producean an unbelievable unbelievable Introducing thethe all-new X-Series, amount power and incrediblesound soundquality. quality.Alpine Alpinesets setsindustry industrybenchmark benchmark in in amount of of power and incredible achieving new levels operationalefficiency efficiencybybyemploying employingan anall-new all-new advanced advanced achieving new levels of of operational digital amplification technology.Reliability Reliabilityisisananimportant importantfeature featureofof the the X-Series X-Series digital amplification technology. amplifiers, generating virtually zerodistortion distortiontotomaintain maintainthe thehighest highestsound soundquality, quality, amplifiers, generating virtually zero whilst producing very little heat ensurelong longperiods periodsofofoperation operationwithout withoutthe thefear fear whilst producing very little heat toto ensure a power shutdown. of aofpower shutdown. all-new X-Series amplifiers newstandard standardfor forsound soundquality qualityperformance performance TheThe all-new X-Series amplifiers setseta anew power output verycompact compactdesign. design.What’s What’smore, more,X-Series X-Series amps amps are are andand power output in ina avery designed true Hi-Res Audio playback,featuring featuringultra-low ultra-lowdistortion distortionand andaa wide wide designed forfor true Hi-Res Audio playback, frequency range. frequency range.

X-A90V X-A90V

X-A70F X-A70F

X-A90M X-A90M

• 100W RMS x 4 + 500W x 1 [2Ω@14.4V] • 100W RMSRMS x 4 +x 500W x 1 [2Ω@14.4V] • 75W 4 + 300W x 1 [4Ω@14.4V] • 75W• RMS 4 + 300W x 1 [4Ω@14.4V] BASSx KNOB CONTROL READY • BASS KNOB CONTROL READY

• 175W RMS x 4 [2Ω@14.4V] • 175W RMS x 4 x[2Ω@14.4V] 4 [4Ω@14.4V] • 120W RMS • 120W RMS x 4 [4Ω@14.4V]

• 900W RMS x 1 [2Ω@14.4V] • 900W RMS [4Ω@14.4V] • 600W RMSx x1 1[2Ω@14.4V] x 1CONTROL [4Ω@14.4V] • 600W RMS • BASS KNOB READY • BASS KNOB CONTROL READY

4 CHANNEL + MONO AMPLIFIER 4 CHANNEL + MONO AMPLIFIER

4/3/2 CHANNEL AMPLIFIER 4/3/2 CHANNEL AMPLIFIER

X-SERIES SUBWOOFERS X-SERIES SUBWOOFERS

HIGH PERFORMANCE SUBWOOFERS HIGH PERFORMANCE SUBWOOFERS The all-new X-Series Subwoofers have been engineered to perfection, supreme Subwoofers build quality have and excellent performance. The massive The boasting all-new X-Series been engineered to perfection, power handlingbuild achieves cleaner deeper bass extension,The faster and more boasting supreme quality andand excellent performance. massive greater capability. poweraccurate handlingtransients achievesand cleaner andoutput deeper bass extension, faster and more accurate transients and greater output capability.

X-W12D4 X-W12D4 X-SERIES 12” SUBWOOFER

X-W10D4 X-W10D4 X-SERIES 10” SUBWOOFER

X-SERIES 12” SUBWOOFER • 2700W PEAK POWER / 900W RMS POWER

X-SERIES 10” SUBWOOFER

• FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 22HZ-200HZ • 2700W PEAK POWER / 900W RMS POWER • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 22HZ-200HZ

• 2700W PEAK POWER / 900W RMS POWER • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 24HZ-200HZ • 2700W PEAK POWER / 900W RMS POWER • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 24HZ-200HZ

MONO AMPLIFIER MONO AMPLIFIER


ALL-NEW X-SERIES ALL-NEW X-SERIES

X-SERIES SPEAKERS SPEAKERS X-SERIES HIGH-RESOLUTIONPRECISION PRECISIONSPEAKERS SPEAKERS HIGH-RESOLUTION Alpine engineered and tuned to perfectly match withwith the the X-Series amplifiers for extraordinarily dynamic, realistic soundsound Alpine introduces introducesthe theall-new all-newX-Series X-Serieshigh highgrade gradespeakers speakers engineered and tuned to perfectly match X-Series amplifiers for extraordinarily dynamic, realistic reproduction Speakers employ an an all all new motor design which usesuses a very powerful neodymium ring magnet, ensuring a verya very reproductionand andaaspatial spatialsound soundimpression. impression.The TheX-Series X-Series Speakers employ new motor design which a very powerful neodymium ring magnet, ensuring compact very high power handling andand dynamic sound. compactbasket basketand andmotor motorassembly, assembly,while whileachieving achieving very high power handling dynamic sound. Designed even at at high volumes thethe X-Series sound is always clear—making these speakers perfect for use Designed and andbuilt builttotohandle handlemassive massiveamounts amountsofofpower, power, even high volumes X-Series sound is always clear—making these speakers perfect for with use the withpowerful the powerful X-Series X-Seriesamps. amps.

AUDIOPHILE AUDIOPHILESOUND SOUNDEXPERIENCE EXPERIENCE

Designed Designed toto deliver deliverhighest highestdynamic dynamicand andsound soundquality, quality, Alpine’s their fullfull potential when Alpine’snew newflagship flagshipspeakers speakersreach reach their potential when paired digital pairedwith withthe theall-new all-newX-Series X-Seriesultra-high-resolution ultra-high-resolution digital amplifiers for pure hi-fidelity sound. amplifiers for pure hi-fidelity sound.

GRAPHITE GRAPHITEDOME DOMETWEETER TWEETER

Instead of using a regular silk dome tweeter, Alpine chose Instead of using a regular silk dome tweeter, Alpine chose an all-new carbon graphite hard dome tweeter design. This an all-new carbon graphite hard dome tweeter design. This lightweight tweeter dome features improved high range lightweight tweeter dome features improved high range response up to 40kHz to deliver highest sound detail. response up to 40kHz to deliver highest sound detail.

NANO-FIBRE WOOFER CONE NANO-FIBRE WOOFER CONE

The woofer cone consists of an all new nano-fibre material to The woofer an alland newdynamic, nano-fibre material achieve a verycone fast consists responseofspeed while keep to achieve veryrealistic fast response speed and dynamic, while keep high claritya and sound reproduction. high clarity and realistic sound reproduction.

X-S65C X-S65C

X-SERIES 6-1/2” COMPONENT SPEAKERS X-SERIES 6-1/2” COMPONENT SPEAKERS

• 360W PEAK POWER / 120W RMS POWER ••FREQUENCY 60HZ-40KHZ 360W PEAK RESPONSE: POWER / 120W RMS POWER • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 60HZ-40KHZ

VISIT THE ALPINE WEBSITE: VISIT THE ALPINE WEBSITE: WWW.ALPINE.COM.AU/X-SERIES WWW.ALPINE.COM.AU/X-SERIES

X-S65 X-S65

X-SERIES 6-1/2” COAXIAL SPEAKERS X-SERIES 6-1/2” COAXIAL SPEAKERS

• 360W PEAK POWER / 110W RMS POWER • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: • 360W PEAK POWER / 60HZ-40KHZ 110W RMS POWER • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 60HZ-40KHZ

X-S69C X-S69C

X-SERIES 6X9” COMPONENT SPEAKERS X-SERIES 6X9” COMPONENT SPEAKERS

• 330W PEAK POWER / 120W RMS POWER • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: • 330W PEAK POWER 60HZ-40KHZ / 120W RMS POWER • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 60HZ-40KHZ


INCAR #1-2018

CONTENTS 54

Group Editor Jez Ford Contributors Jez Ford, Ralph Schubert, Stephen Dawson, Damon Greenwood, Marty Price, Jun Sawa. Artist Paul Saint Group Art Director Kristian Hagen Technical Editor Greg Borrowman Advertising Sales Manager Lewis Preece lpreece@nextmedia.com.au Advertising Traffic Diane Preece dpreece@nextmedia.com.au National Advertising Sales & Divisional Manager Jim Preece jpreece@nextmedia.com.au Production Manager Peter Ryman Australian InCar Entertainment is published by nextmedia Pty Ltd ACN: 128 805 970, Level 6, 207 Pacific Highway, St Leonards NSW 2065 © 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior permission of the publisher. The publisher will not accept responsibility or any liability for the correctness of information or opinions expressed in the publication, or for the loss or damage to products or materials submitted to the magazine for review or other purposes. All material or equipment submitted is at the owner’s risk and should be covered by a suitable insurance policy throughout transit and while with the magazine. While every care will be taken, nextmedia does not accept liability for loss or damage. Privacy Policy: We value the integrity of your per-

sonal information. If you provide personal information through your participation in any competitions, surveys or offers featured in this issue of Australian InCar magazine, this will be used to provide the products or services that you have requested and to improve the content of our magazines. Your details may be provided to third parties who assist us in this purpose. In the event of organisations providing prizes or offers to our readers, we may pass your details on to them. From time to time, we may use the information you provide us to inform you of other products, services and events our company has to offer. We may also give your information to other organisations which may use it to inform you about their products, services and events, unless you tell us not to do so. You are welcome to access the information that we hold about you by getting in touch with our privacy officer, who can be contacted at nextmedia, Locked Bag 5555, St Leonards, NSW 1590.

Circulation Director Carole Jones

Level 6, 207 Pacific Highway, St Leonards, NSW 2065 Locked Bag 5555, St Leonards NSW 1590 Tel: (02) 9901 6100 www.nextmedia.com.au David Gardiner Chief Executive Officer Bruce Duncan Commercial Director

INCAR ON THE INTERWEBS: AVHUB.COM.AU Delightfully digital as this issue may be, we’ve long been posting our best bits at AVHub.com.au, so for the very latest news in mobile entertainment, cars and features, visit AVHub and subcribe to the newsletter, which will alert you to future digital issues direct to your inbox. Audio, AV, photography and guitary bits are also up there on AVHub.

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CARS

FEATURES

08 INFOCUS

From tweeters to tyres — latest news from Alpine, Clarion, Pioneer, Sony & Waylens...

REVIEWS 54 BRAX MX4

Four-channel amplifier Its thrilling internals are pictured opposite — this German amplifier proves a benchmark by which all others can be measured.

22 BEARING FRUIT

The owner of this Audi S3 knows his mango, and his own installation team at Street Sound & Vision has delivered an Audisonloaded ride which gets under your skin...

18 SELF-DRIVING CARS

Where’s the fun in that?

56 HERTZ MILLE PRO

MPK 165.3 two-way component speakers From Beyonce to AC/DC to Verdi, Hertz delivers great sound at a high-value price.

20 SUMMERNATS WRAP

The smoke is still clearing from Canberra...

58 MONGOOSE Q2CA

32 LOW VOLTAGE ROCK’N’ROLL

Take one Lancer. Add a deep love for Australia’s finest proponents of hard rock and blues. Pipe that through solid American music machinery. And with a flick of the switch – let there be rock!

multimedia head uni Apple, Android — it doesn’t matter to this Mongoose, which has all bases covered.

52 CLASSIC DASH

Who’s in the rear-view mirror this issue? We head to the 1960s for a peak at a Moore park.

60 POLK AUDIO MM1242

subwoofer The evolution of an already battle-proven and awarded range delivers subsonic pizzazz...

42 FALCON ROCKET

This issue’s drive from the archive is a BA Falcon with an almost full Audison metal jacket that sweetly pushed our SQ buttons.…

64 SUPERCARS & FLYING CARS

McLarens, Morgans, Missiles, and honest-to-goodness flying cars were making waves at the Geneva Motor Show...

62 RAINBOW GERMANIUM

GL-C6.2 two-way component speakers Rainbow has a reputation for upstaging its competition — and the Germanium components highlight perfectly why.

www.avhub.com.au

05


NISSAN NAVARA 8” SOLUTION Enhance your Navara driving experience with Alpine’s 8” Navigation Solution, the perfect companion for the hustle and bustle and the adventurous weekend. Advanced navigation features include 3D landmarks, lane guidance, TMC live traffic information as well as speed alerts and fixed camera warnings. Venture off road and unlock Alpine’s true 3D terrain capabilities and intuitive turn-by-turn 4WD navigation. Route to your favourite POI via the extensive built-in database, or store your own special

hidden waterfall or campsite via user input capabilities. The latest incar technology, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, delivers smartphone apps into the dashboard, such as phone calls, messages and an endless choice of music which can all be commanded effortlessly by Siri and OK Google. HDMI enables connectivity to a number of different devices including smartphone mirroring—making audio and video playback possible in high-definition through the 8” display for virtually limitless entertainment.

4WD OFF-ROAD MAPS

Alpine’s standard 4WD Off-Road maps will put the Navara’s toughness into action. Off-road point-to-point navigation and turn-by-turn guidance makes losing your bearings impossible while exploring 4WD maps. Navigate to your favourite camp ground; or alternatively utilise the comprehensive points of interest database to find a new one nearby.

EXPERIENCE PRIMO 3.0 NEXTGEN NAVIGATION 3D MAPS – View maps in 3D with detailed buildings and landmarks and better orientate yourself in large cities. Speed and camera warnings further assist when navigation through unfamiliar areas.

HIGH RESOLUTION CAPACITIVE TOUCH SCREEN DISPLAY – Use the virtual keyboard to input destination addresses and operate navigation settings. This system even reads partial addresses to save time and get you to your destination faster.


NISSAN NAVARA 7” SOLUTION Whether you’re hitting the job site or heading off on that weekend getaway, Alpine’s 7” navigation upgrade will make driving your Navara even more enjoyable. Experience advanced navigation features including 3D landmarks, lane guidance, TMC live traffic information, as well as speed alerts and fixed camera warnings. With 4WD off-road maps you can navigate to your favourite camp

ground; or alternatively utilise the comprehensive points of interest database to find a new one nearby. The INE-W977A dramatically improves usability and entertainment value. Featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto it provides a multitude of smartphone options through your touchscreen, you can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music all in a

POINTS OF INTEREST – You can easily search for POIs by category, name, distance and other criteria. This is incredibly helpful when looking for a restaurant, parking or a specific petrol station brand nearby.

way that allows you to maintain full focus on the road. Just connect your smartphone and go. A wide range of entertainment options are made possible on the 7” display with HDMI and USB connection allowing high quality video and audio playback. What’s more the Alpine system fully integrates into the Nissan Navara retaining steering wheel controls and the factory reverse camera.

ONE LOOK DISPLAY – Alpine’s innovative “One Look” split-screen technology allows you to view the navigation map and audio playback information at one glance — eliminating the need to switch between different screens.


ALPINE X GOES PREMIUM Alpine took out a 2018 Sound+Image Award with one of its X-Series speaker splits — and now the company has extended the X-Series performance to new high-res heights with an all-new X-Premium series, which it says are “among the finest speakers ever crafted by Alpine”. New materials are key to the X-Premium range, with new carbongraphite tweeters promising high frequency range extension to 66kHz, making them ideal for reproducing high-res audio files such as 24-bit/96kHz and beyond, while the nano-fibre woofer diaphragms Alpine says maintain high clarity and realistic sound while delivering extremely fast response speeds and dynamics. The diaphragms are

now secured with a concertina-like double-gazed edge rather than a traditional roll surround, allowing lower distortion under high inputs, and the radial ring magnets have evolved from conventional neodymium magnets to ultra-high-density neodymium, providing more powerful and efficient magnetics to govern the voice coils. There is also a newly designed X-Premium Sound crossover network that promises smooth distribution of frequencies between the components. The new models are listed below.

X-710S $549 X-Premium Sound 7x10” Component Speakers 180W Peak Power • 45W RMS • Frequency Response: 25Hz- 66kHz • Carbon Graphite Tweeter • Nano-fiber Woofer • Radial Ring Magnet • Cast Alloy Basket • High Density Aluminum Voice Coil • Robust Frame Design • High Dynamic Range for Hi-Res Audio

X-180S $499 X-Premium Sound 7” Component Speakers 180W Peak Power • 45W RMS • Frequency Response: 22Hz- 66kHz • Carbon Graphite Tweeter • Nano-fiber Woofer • Radial Ring Magnet • Cast Alloy Basket • High Density Aluminum Voice Coil • Robust Frame Design • High Dynamic Range for Hi-Res Audio

X-170S $449 X-Premium Sound 6-1/2” Component Speakers 180W Peak Power • 45W RMS • Frequency Response: 23Hz- 66kHz • Carbon Graphite Tweeter • Nano-fiber Woofer • Radial Ring Magnet • Cast Alloy Basket • High Density Aluminum Voice Coil • Robust Frame Design • High Dynamic Range for Hi-Res Audio

X-170C $229 X-Premium Sound 6-1/2” Coaxial Speakers 180W Peak Power • 45W RMS • Frequency Response: 23Hz- 44kHz • Carbon Graphite Tweeter • Nano-fiber Woofer • Radial Ring Magnet • Cast Alloy Basket • High Density Aluminum Voice Coil • Robust Frame Design • High Dynamic Range for Hi-Res Audio

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Alpine X Premium Sound Price: $229-$549 www.alpine.com.au


CLARION’S BACK-SEAT

PASSENGER PACIFIER Clarion’s $899 VT1020A motorised rooftop monitor should put at least a temporary stop to the cries of ‘Are we there yet?’. With two-zone playback support, a head unit can send audio and video to the monitor without distracting the driver, while two rear-seat passengers can use infra-red headphones connected to the monitor, keeping the front seats entirely isolated from the entertainment being used to keep those back-seat passengers in their own little world. The monitor itself is a 1280x800 HD TFT active LCD screen with LED backlighting, ready to play back high or standard definition movies from the head unit via HDMI or composite AV connections. There’s also support for USB and a second HDMI input, enabling local use of alternative media sources such as video game consoles or portable media players. The entire unit can be installed discreetly flushed with your vehicle’s roof when retracted, while chrome trimming adds a touch of class. It drops down at a tap on the provided remote control. Those specs, then: CLARION VT1020A • Screen size: 10.1 inch anti-glare LED-backlit LCD • Resolution: 1280 x 800 • Brightness: 300 cd/m2 • Horizontal Viewing Angle: 85° • Vertical Viewing Angle: 85° • Inputs: HDMI (x2), USB, Composite Video • Output: Audio Out (RCA), Audio Out (wireless through IR) • Flip Angle: 0°-120° • Video Format: DAT, MPG, MPEG, MPEG2 -TS, MPEG2 -PS, MP4 (MPEG4, XVID)

Clarion VT1020A Price: $899 www.clarion.com.au

www.avhub.com.au

09


PIONEER Z SERIES

Pioneer’s latest Z series of automotive speakers follow the company’s ‘Open and Smooth’ sound philosophy, featuring smooth off-axial frequency response, superior directivity and an extended frequency range engineered to “achieve unprecedented audio artistry” in your vehicle. “Your vehicle will always be one of the most enjoyable environments to listen to music,” says Pioneer Electronics Australia’s Product Manager Benjamin Crawford. “During Pioneer’s remarkable 80-year history, our loudspeaker technology has advanced the limits of quality sound reproduction, transforming the musical recording into reality and offering an experience that only we can provide.” The Z Series use a 29mm aluminium-alloy balanced dome tweeter, developed using HSDOM (Harmonized Synthetic Diaphragm Optimum Method) computer analysi to deliver accurate control of differential vibrations produced by the diaphragm, and improves high frequency dispersion, while the aluminium-alloy allows the tweeter to remain pistonic and linear at frequencies quoted up to 96kHz, allowing replay of high-res audio. The bass units use both Twaron, a synthetic aramid fiber that is very strong, heat resistant and rigid when woven, and cellulose fibre, naturally self-damping to reduce unwanted

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Z10LS2 subwoofer

resonance. The dual-layer cones combines the strengths of both materials, Pioneer claiming a resultant fast response and clear bass, with low coloration and distortion. The CH and C variants offer the tweeter and woofer as splits with varying levels of corossover, while the TS-Z65F delivers a coaxial version with the tweeter mounted forward within the bass unit, yet still only requiring a 2.6inch mounting depth. The new models are the TS-Z65CH 6.5” 2-Way Component System ($600), the TS-Z65C 6.5” 2-Way Component System ($470), and the TS-Z65F 6.5” 2-Way Coaxial System ($400). Pioneer Z Series Price: from $400 www.pioneer.com.au

The Z series subwoofer uses much of the same highly advanced technology as the Z full range loudspeakers, promising “fast, detailed and extended bass with tremendous impact and clarity”. As a compact, shallow design, the placement of the Z subwoofer can be optimized for sound quality and bass reinforcement, unlike conventional subwoofers that must be installed where they physically fit, while the TS-Z10LS2 is a low Q design for high performance in small enclosures, with an oversized cone (15% larger compared to a conventional 10” subwoofer) and a motor structure with a powerful 67.7 oz. magnet. It also uses Twaron, aramid fibre cone’s low mass improving both sensitivity and the speed of the Z subwoofer. Price $500.


Model number shown DDX918WS

www.kenwood.com/au/car/visual_navigation/


NEW

HORIZON

Through a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Boston-based company Waylens created the next big thing in automotive technology. Introducing, the Waylens Horizon performance camera system. More than 1600 backers pledged more than US$600,000 for development, and the final product has now moved in to production and has distribution throughout Australia. Not just a dashcam, the Waylens Horizon is a state-of-the-art vehicle performance logger, lap timer and premium video camera for driver and engine performance analysis for automotive, 4WD and motorsport enthusiasts. Some performance loggers on the market need to be professionally installed and can cost thousands of dollars. The Waylens Horizon can deliver most if not all of the functionality of the higher priced units at a fraction of the price. And no professional installation required, as it is a simple windscreen suction-cup mount with a dongle that plugs in to the vehicle’s OBD-II port. The OBD-II transmitter sends performance data to the main unit via Bluetooth. Data such as

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speed, RPM and boost pressure are all recorded as a data file and overlaid on the video. The Horizon also records GPS position, G-force and pitch/roll from sensors within the unit. The main unit is very high quality, with an aluminium casing, 7-element aspherical glass lens, OLED touchscreen display and a large 1/1.8-inch CMOS image sensor with high dynamic range processing. The Horizon records in super-smooth 1080p/60fps video along with high quality stereo audio. It can also drop resolution but up the frame rate to 720p/120fps for slow-motion recording. File storage requires a high endurance Class-10 microSD card – the unit supports up to 128GB cards (not included).

MADE TO SHARE Plus you can share. Want to see who has the fastest 0-100km/h time or the best quarter

mile? Download the Waylens smartphone app and compare times with others around the world. It’s also perfect for race days, with a builtin lap timer utilising the GPS to mark your start point; the Horizon will automatically map and track your laps from start to finish and log your best lap times to share. Laps and 0-100km/h times can be displayed on the OLED screen in real time and also overlaid onto your video. With Wi-Fi enabled, the video footage can be displayed and edited on your phone with the Waylens app, as well as shared to YouTube or the Waylens community. Even more editing capabilities are available via the Waylens desktop software; the included dock makes transfer to your PC or Mac easy. There’s even a remote attachment for the steering wheel to bookmark your favourite moments. The Horizon is available through all major auto accessories and car audio stores, with a RRP of $799. For more product info or to find a dealer near you, contact Neltronics on (08) 9383 7833 or visit www.neltronics.com.au.


Focal FPS 5.1200 REVIEW HERE

FOCAL – FRENCH, FABULOUS AND AWARD WINNING SOUND For over 35 years Focal has been developing and manufacturing loudspeakers for the home, speaker kits for cars, and monitor speakers for recording studios. The brand is recognised around the world for sound quality and technological innovation. If you are upgrading your car audio system, audition the sound at one of our 80 authorised Focal car audio dealerships across Australia.

INCAR MONO AMPLIFIER OF THE YEAR Focal FPX 1.1000

Visit www.focalaustralia.com.au for the dealer nearest you!


WHO NEEDS A VIEW?

WHEN YOU’VE GOT DVD, DAB+, APPLE & ANDROID…

Sony is building upon the success of its XAV-AX200 with the new AX205DB DVD receiver, due in Australia for a May release at $799, keeping traditional sources while adding both DAB+ radio and the latest in-car connectivity with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built in, so that all smartphone users can take advantage of seamless integration of phone and dashboard, with apps displayed and controlled from the 16.3cm (6.4”) 800 x 480-pixel full-colour touch screen. Apple CarPlay integrates compatible iPhones with the car audio’s display and controls, allowing phone calls, music access, directions and more, while Android Auto extends the Android platform into the car with a simple and intuitive interface and powerful new voice action. But this Sony hasn’t jettisoned traditional entertainment to include the new. The head unit itself includes a DVD player (which we assume plays CDs too, though the published specs so far are confusing on this issue), DAB+ radio, and Bluetooth (SBC codec only). Video output and high voltage pre-out features have been added to the new model, making this a stronger basis for an expanded system installation. A rotary dial combines with the touch screen to simplify operation. Turn it to control volume, or push the integrated button to launch sound control menus. Holding the button allows voice commands. The headline amplification rating is 4 x 55W, along with Sony’s current buzz-word across audio products of two-step “EXTRA BASS” circuitry, here touted as “overcoming engine noise and reproducing clear punch sound at any volume level”. More selective control can be achieved using a 10-band equalizer (EQ10), and there is also sound optimisation using ‘DSO’ (Dynamic Stage Organizer) which “creates a more vivid sound as if there were speakers in front of you” even if your speakers are in doors or under your dash. There are three camera inputs; the rear feed gets customisable guidelines to help you reversing accuracy. It’s a double-DIN unit but Sony notes that its slim back chassis with external space underneath enables easier cable management when installing.

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Sony XAV-AX205DB DVD receiver with CarPlay and Android Auto Price: $799 www.sony.com.au


PRINT THAT PART

‘Repair Bot’ is using 3D printing and robotics to deliver an automated rapid repair service for plastic car parts, including some which were previously considered unrepairable. The project brings together Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne with the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) and repair solutions company Tradiebot Industries with the longterm goal of transforming automotive repairs. Indeed Tradiebot’s founder Mario Dimovski believes the project’s potential benefits go far

beyond the automotive collision industry. “The ability to repair previously nonrepairable parts using world-first technology will reduce overall repair times and repair costs,” he says. “It will also create real and significant export opportunities and has flow-on benefits for the environment by reducing land-fill.” While the merits of 3D printing are well established, there are hurdles of performance and compliance that will need to be overcome before we’re routinely printing up a replacement vehicle part. One goal highlighted by Tradiebot is the development of stronger, lighter and

cheaper materials that can be 3D printed with the accuracy and performance of mainstream production parts — quality levels that are not readily achievable with most currently available materials such as the PLA, ABS and TPU polymer materials used in enthusiast 3D printing enthusiast machines. Once structural performance, durability and aesthetics can be guaranteed, an expert data analysis system will be used to optimise preparation or repair of components using detailed scan data, image analysis and optimised 3D print files for components and/or specific part features.

WELCOME MATS!

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter, as CoolDrive’s phenomenally extensive range of automotive air conditioning, engine cooling and management, electrical, accessories and workshop products have recently been boosted by the RoadGear range of car mats — just the thing to protect that plush interior fit-out on your ride. RoadGear’s range extends to passenger, 4WD and light commercial vehicles, with universal passenger mats as well as the‘Oran Park’ series. 4WDers may prefer the ‘Deep Dish Outback’ series, which help catch mud, dirt, water and sand. CoolDrive is also stocking RoadGear boot mats and tray liners, both universal options which can be trimmed to size, and custom-fit tub liner mats for vehicles including the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Holden Colorado and Mazda BT-50. Mud flaps are also part of the range. RoadGear mats & liners ishop.cooldrive.com.au

www.avhub.com.au

15


TALKING TYRES Pirelli is set to get its tyre-monitoring ‘Cyber Car’ system into vehicle releases as early as next season, according to the company’s reps at the Geneva International Motor Show in March. ‘Cyber Car’ sounds a little grand, perhaps, given the application is entirely restricted to the tyres, but it extends Pirelli’s Cyber Technologies platform into consumer vehicles following on from its Cyber Fleet system for commercial vehicles, and also the Connesso system, which launched last year on the American market and is about to debut in several European countries. While Connesso sends pressure and temperature information to its app when the car is parked (based on a sensor placed on the inside of the tyre), Cyber Car goes further,

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communicating with the car’s on-board systems as well as an app, and once connected to the Pirelli Cloud potentially also direct to manufacturers and, when used in a fleet car scenario, to a fleet manager. Among the measured parameters are key tyre data such as pressure, internal temperature and tread depth, plus vertical load (vital information for electric cars). Through its connection with on-board systems, Cyber Car has the capability to intervene and activate systems such as ABS and stability control. For example, by reading a tyre’s ID, the vehicle can alter its set-up to make the drive safer and more comfortable. Tyre maintenance becomes an easier job, thanks to specific information about tread wear and whether and how the tyres should be seasonally

rotated. The Cyber Car system can also extend to integrate with car valeting, roadside assistance, and servicing systems. And of course you can enjoy it all in custom colours, given the ongoing success of Pirelli’s coloured P Zero tyres, available in sizes of 19 inches and higher in base colours of red, yellow, green, blue, orange, silver and white.


BRING YOUR PORSCHE HOME.

You demand great sound and outstanding style from your car’s custom audio system. Now you can bring that performance home. The GRAVITY ONE Bluetooth speaker delivers pure minimalism with 360° listen-anywhere sound. Designed by the renowned Studio F. A. Porsche, the GRAVITY ONE incorporates KEF’s signature Uni-Q technology in a winged design crafted from a single piece of aluminium.

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THE SPEED OF SOUND


WOT, NO DRIVER?

WHERE’S THE FUN IN THAT? Until the recent UBER crash, autonomous vehicles were on the high road to success. So will that take away all our driving joy? Or just leave a lot of free time for in-car entertainment? We reckon readers of Australian Incar will be in two minds about the rise of the autonomous car. On the one side, it takes the joy of driving out of our hands – or at best, there’ll be driver selectability, and we’ll be encouraged by THE MAN to let the computer do the driving, “because it’s safer, and it’ll reduce your insurance”. But on the other hand, here at Australian Incar we’re all about in-vehicle entertainment, and that has the potential to be entirely transformed by autonomous vehicles. Who needs rules about no phones, no motion video in the eye-line of the driver… when you have no driver? The entire cockpit could become one great zone of relaxation (or, more boringly, work). Unsupervised autonomous cars have the potential to revolutionise society and transform the way we manage our time.

and a second in partnership with Domino’s Pizza — these have an engineer manually driving behind the wheel… like Johnny Cab in Total Recall, but human. For now… With Australia’s exit from car manufacturing and a related decline in research, we’re unlikely to be a pioneer in this roadmap to Level 5 of autonomousness (see panel), despite our usefully wide open spaces. A recent KPMG report on autonomous readiness put Australia 14 out of 20, noting that “Australians are fairly

COMMERCIAL BREAK As we are already seeing, it’s most likely commercial applications which will first put driverless vehicles on the road. In addition to the tech hot-bed of California, the wide-open spaces of Arizona had, until the recent Uber vehicle killing of a pedestrian, been designated an open test-bed, with more than 600 selfdriving cars already on public roads, with Waymo (formerly the Google self-driving car project) and Intel testing in Chandler, Uber and GM around Scottsdale, AZ. Ford has self-driving cars in Miami, one collection fully autonomous

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Read and ride — with our feet off the gas and hands off the wheel, what will we do with our commute time? cynical about the technology”. Good for us! But we can nevertheless expect trials in the public transport arena — SAGE and Local Motors have announced a driverless shuttle trial to be conducted along the Glenelg beachfront in South Australia. Both companies are partners in the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), a peak body spanning the whole ecosystem of driverless vehicles. .

“The potential benefits on offer are massive, says ADVI Executive Director Ms Rita Excell. “ADVI research shows potential for $95 billion a year in economic value, and as many as 16,000 new jobs can be achieved if a proactive approach is taken to the introduction of autonomous vehicles in Australia.”

DRIVE, CREATE, RELAX As CES 2018 proved, personal autonomous driving is on everyone’s LIDAR. It is driving multi-billion dollar investments around the globe to develop in-car experiences enabled by improvements in connectivity, AI and voice control, and external sensors. One of the latest investments is the Toyota Research InstituteAdvanced Development (TRI-AD), headed by a former Google engineer, James Kuffner, to build software specifically for consumer electric selfdriving cars, rather than commercial robot-taxi services like many competitors. The company has promised to trial self-driving electric cars for the consumer market by 2020. But what will we do once we’re in there? Even as it stands, the incar entertainment market is predicted to reach a total value of $52.2bn by 2022 (BIS Automotive, 2017). Infotainment systems are already gaining in popularity, and the increased emphasis on connectivity is bringing in non-core players such as semiconductor companies, software developers and solutions providers in addition to the traditional incar entertainment


companies. But the gift of free time behind the wheel (if there is a wheel) promises to change everything. While CarPlay and Android Auto have simplified infotainment in the car based around audio, visual entertainment will follow. Volvo, for example, aims to get unsupervised autonomous vehicles in the market by 2021, and already has a deal with Uber for the purchase of 24,000 of them. Its Concept 26 vehicle gives some idea of how the traditional driver’s role may be adapted, based around a seat design that actively cradles the driver during “transformation phases” into one of the three modes: Drive, Create or Relax. Read a book, prepare for a meeting, watch a movie or learn new skills — autonomous vehicle cabins will have to adapt to allow such new activities to take place. Indeed we can expect entertainment to take an ever more central role in the intitial choice of car once the actual joy of driving is removed from the equation, as detailed in a report by Graham Jarvis, released by TU-Auto, called Keeping Entertained in the Autonomous Vehicle. Jarvis reckons the incar space is already being called “the fifth screen” (after movie theatres, TVs, PCs, and mobile phones). He quotes James Manning Smith, a research analyst at Futurescope. “With autonomous driving technologies set to make the car the next living room, entertainment companies are exploring new technology and services to entertain passengers”, says Smith. “Once level 4 or 5 autonomous driving technologies are perfected and accepted by consumers, key differentiators such as in-car choice will become the entertainment experience over the driving experience. This provides an opportunity for audio and entertainment companies to innovate bringing more immersive entertainment technology to the car, whilst car manufacturers are challenged to stay competitive bringing the right entertainment technology to the cockpit.” While in early days smartphones and tablets will undoubtedly serve as source devices, native storage and pre-loaded content will become more important. A study by EY (formerly Enrst & Young) estimates a demand for 22 billion hours of extra media consumption per year over and above what is consumed today.

FIVE LEVELS OF AUTONOMY 0 NO AUTOMATION

Human in charge. This is you, now.

1 DRIVE ASSISTANCE (HANDS ON) Mode-specific execution of either steering or acceleration/deceleration.

2 PARTIAL AUTOMATION (HANDS OFF) Mode-specific execution of both steering and acceleration/deceleration.

3 CONDITIONAL AUTOMATION (EYES OFF)

Mode-specific automation of all aspects of the dynamic driving task with the expectation that the human driver will respond appropriately to a request to intervene.

4 HIGH AUTOMATION (MIND OFF)

Mode-specific automation of all aspects of the dynamic driving task, even if a human driver does not respond appropriately to a request to intervene.

5 FULL AUTOMATION (STEERING WHEEL OPTIONAL)

Full-time automated driving under all roadway and environmental conditions that can be managed by a human driver.

ABOVE: Volvo’s Concept 26 car aims to cradle a driver between three separate ‘Drive’, ‘Create’ and ‘Relax’ modes. Exactly how we’ll relax is one of the big questions being researched at the moment. Whether that be just an extension of our Spotify and Netflix consumption, or gaming, or new forms of augmented or virtual reality – these are the questions being examined by those who aim to lead in this new entertainment space. “What we are seeing now is a manoeuvring of technology and car companies to see who will be responsible for those kinds of services in the car,” EY’s Martyn Whistler told Jarvis. Robert Guest at Access Europe points out that upgrading the entertainment will also require a wholesale upgrade in the computer power inside vehicles, which is likely to be available only with what the industry refers to as Level 5, fully autonomous unassisted vehicles. “If you look at technologies such as Virtual Reality, the kind of processing power required for true VR is above what is available on most laptops today,” he says. “But that might not be the case in the autonomous car where processing power will be exponentially greater.” That introduces another problem – dealing with the outside world while the occupants are occupied. Hitachi estimates that connected cars will send 25

gigabytes of data to the cloud every hour — that’s a serious level of connectivity, all the time, from a moving vehicle which has to re-establish data links as it travels. That will require infrastructure upgrades, plus rural as well as urban connectivity if autonomous vehicles are not to be extremely limited in where they can travel.

A DAMNED GOOD THRASHING Hanging over the whole autonomous vehicle debate, especially since the Uber accident, is the insurance question. Who’s in charge? Who’s to blame when an autonomous vehicle crashes? Your average Joe knows who to blame — it’s the car’s fault. indeed two of the six autonomous crash reports in California last year involved people “approaching a car and attacking it”, in the manner of Basil Fawlty having a fit at his Mini. Perhaps they were folks like us who enjoy the manual driving experience and don’t want to see that replaced by the likes of Johnny Cab from Total Recall...

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IT’S A WRAP With 105,000 people through the turnstiles of Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), and a second year with more than 2,000 entrants to its competitions, Summernats 31 once again provided four days of high-octane entertainment, preceded by the Day 1 City Cruise rumbling down Northbourne Avenue under perfect weather conditions. Pictured opposite (bottom pic) is the winner of the most prestigious Summernats award – Street Machine Summernats Grand Champion – which for 2018 went to Grant Connor and his immaculate candy-coloured 1967 XR Falcon, which debuted back at Summernats 29 and became People’s Choice. Grant is from Orange, and reckons he’s spent something like $300k on his ‘Bad Apple’ Falcon. As usual The Summernats Burnout Championship Eliminations were an action packed, high-octane showcase of power, beginning Friday and continuing through Saturday, which was a scorcher for weather as well as tyre tracks. Friday evening’s Great Meguiar’s Uncover of this year’s never-beforeseen show cars vehicles shifted into in the Meguiar’s Pavilion, set among the ‘Top 60’ cars showcasing the cream of the Australian customised automotive crop. On Sunday the Polytron Burnout Track was down to its final ten drivers, ultimately won by Matt James in his VF Commodore ute known

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as ‘UNWANTED’ to become National Burnout Master for 2018. Other horsepower highlights included the MPW Horsepower Heroes, Go to Whoa, as well as the grass driving events, while the music program was led by Wolfmother on the Saturday night and 28 Days on the Friday. “We saw fantastic cars, fantastic behaviour, a great program of events and despite the extreme weather that we have experienced here, our health and safety team worked

diligently to make sure our all of our patrons came and went home safely,” says Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez. With a new three year agreement solidifying a new direction for the iconic horsepower party and creating a longer term partnership for the event to be continued in Canberra, plus a new partnership with the Canberra Institute of Technology, all seems in place for the successful continuation of this iconic action-packed fourday horsepower party. Here’s to Summernats 32!

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BEARING

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2015 AUDI S3 FEATURE CAR

G FRUIT

The owner of this Audi S3 knows his mango, and his own installation team at Street Sound & Vision has delivered a ride which gets under your skin... Story Damon Greenwood Images Jun Sawa www.avhub.com.au

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2015 AUDI S3 FEATURE CAR

ver dreamt of being a car audio shop owner? This vehicle is the proud toy of one of these lucky people — Sang Tran has owned Street Sound and Vision (SSV), based in Mitcham Victoria, for four years now. But his love affair with car audio started around 15 years ago. Owning SSV must present its own problems, of course. As an ambassador for all things mobile audio, one can’t be seen driving a TD Gemini with a Voxson LED EQ/booster in it. (Look it up, people — it really did exist.) The pressure will be on to drive something that exemplifies what can be achieved in today’s automotive environments. Now, your humble correspondent here is rather old-school in his ways ­— if I could figure out a way to get vinyl mobile, I would do it. (But I can’t, so I won’t.) What’s the next best thing? Well old-school means analogue, but that’s the worst possible medium for an environment which is particularly noisy and jittery electronically… not to mention the complications of today’s integrated vehicle electronics. A proper modern purist will instead be aiming for pure un-adulterated digital signal from source to amplifier: no noise, no jitter, and with near-infinite tuning capability while delivering all of the high tech capabilities that are expected today. On comparison, and in a real-world vehicle, new-school beats old-school hands down. And so the vehicle of choice was a 2015 Audi S3 — not a Ferrari or Bugatti, but a vehicle that is certainly aspirational to most of us. Plus it’s a good size to fit some decent kit in and still have some room to cruise with some mates (or customers).

E

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2015 AUDI S3 FEATURE CAR

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TECH SPECS owner: Sang Tran vehicle: 2015 Audi S3 source: OEM + Apple CarPlay processor: Audison bit One front amplifiers: 1 x Audison AV Quattro 4 x 125W w/ bit In rear amplifiers: 1 x Audison AV Quattro 4 x 125W w/ bit In sub amplifiers: 1 X Audison AV Uno Mono 1700W @ 1 ohm w/ bit In front speakers: Audison AVK6 6” components plus Audison Voce 3” midrange drivers crossover: Audison rear speakers: Audison AVK6 crossover: Audison subwoofers: 2 x Audison Voce AV10 10” subwoofers enclosure: Custom sealed battery: OEM body deadening: Stinger Expert Roadkill installer: Street Sound and Vision www.streetsoundvision.com.au total build time: 2 months credits: the awesome installers at SSV of course, Richard Addis, Travis Maddicks for doing the custom installations and all the boys at Harvey Body Works for matching the Audi Exclusive colour and painting the panels.

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2015 AUDI S3 FEATURE CAR

SUBTLE, BUT MANGO From top to bottom, start to finish, I get the feeling that this car was built to scream ‘subtle’ and ‘understated’. No, you didn’t read that wrong, and I’m sure you’re looking at the Audi’s colour in the pictures here and thinking ‘understated??’. Well I did say “screaming”. It’s a colour you’ll almost certainly never have seen before, on an Audi or any other car. It must be custom, right? Not quite. It’s actually an Audi exclusive called Mango Yellow — one of only five in Australia for that year. Understatement of the year: “That colour is pretty damn skippy.” I have seen a lot of exclusive limited edition car colours in my time and the reason for the scarcity is normally obvious because the colour is like a glob of pus and a strawberry doughnut had a kid and that kid then threw up on the car. But this is not such a colour. It’s a rarity, but it works. And of course here in Australia, we know our mangoes. But before you get grand ideas of using the colour on your own twin LS1-engined Lada Niva, think again. The paint codes aren’t publicly available, and when he planned his modifications, Sang had trouble finding a panel shop that could paint-match the colour. After much faffing about, the highlight colours were matched by eye by the colour-sensitive team at Harvey Body Works. You can’t see the joins. And moving into the interior — again, we generally see cars which either go balls out “look at me” or deliberately aim to keep things subtle and stealthy. This Audi interior pretty much nails it right between the two.

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ANY TUNE. ANY ROOM. WIRELESSLY. HEOS is a family of wireless music players that allow you to fill every room with music and control it all effortlessly from your Apple or Android device. Plug in, connect to WiFi and play. Easy.

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2015 AUDI S3 FEATURE CAR

UNDER THE SKIN However, let’s leave that fruity skin treatment behind and focus on to what makes this ride so enjoyable in entertainment terms. The head unit appears standard — and for all intents and purposes it is. But nothing else in the audio chain comes close to standard. The original head unit was kept for very simple reasons — everything still works, everything looks factoryfit, and it would have been near impossible to improve on that look. Time spent doing this just for difference’s sake would have detracted from the far more useful aspects such as door cards, body deadening, subwoofer enclosure, and tuning. When the Audison bit One (an Incar awardwinner for its superb versatility and quality) allows for so much tuning and adaptation of the OEM source signal, it can become an irrelevance to even look for a substitute source unit. Nevertheless Apple CarPlay was added to the unit’s OEM capabilities, to give full phone functionality through the source unit and access to apps, voice control, navigation, and music. A few cool features are that all input audio channels are synchronised (some OEM source units delay some audio channels) and the source signal is de-equalised to remove any source-unit frequency bias without affecting phase response. Then comes that Audison bit One. These guys really have thought of everything. It’s so highly versatile and graphically easy to use; an accessory is even available which will solve the problem of low impedance OEO outputs so that the Audison’s fully digital source path can be utilised in any situation. So you have a completely flat, phase-aligned, synchronous high-quality digital sound source — the ideal from which to start tuning. This can be done automatically, or for those of us that have a spare week or two then time alignment, EQ and output levels can all be separately adjusted through the Audison DRC. Indeed the entire system here — processor,

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amps and speakers — it’s all Audison. This is the true way to get the maximum result from the Audison bit One. Both front and rear amplifiers are Audison Quattro 4-channel 120W RMS, sporting AV bit IN digital interfaces, allowing perfect digital connections to the audio processor. The front speakers are Audison Voce AV K6 splits (previous EISA award winners, these) plus a 3-inch Audison midrange driver, making for an active 3-way component system. The detail in the front stage must be incredible, the kind of sound that has you listening to every bit of music you

own so that you can pick up nuances that you never heard before. Rear ambience is handled by another pair of AV K6s, thereby keeping tone and music reproduction matched and consistent throughout the interior. To handle the depths of the frequency range, this Audi has an Audison Voce AV uno mono amplifier gunning some 1700W RMS at 1-ohm, again with an AV bit IN interface, and feeding two Audison AV 10 10-inch subwoofers in sealed enclosures. These fire backwards over the top of


DRIVER PROFILE Name: Sang Tran Car: 2015 Audi S3

the three boot-floor mounted amplifiers — all elegantly enhanced by highlights, in Mango Yellow, of course! It must have been quite the job to fit all this even in the Audi’s luxurious frame (but then of course, mangoes love a squeezing).

MANGO CRUSH This Audi is probably what the Audi engineers would have specified for every S3 if they had an open cheque book in regards to audio and interior. It’s not “look at me” yet could more than hold its own at a car show; it’s not the loudest car

out there, but SQ is spectacular — you could flick from Metallica to Mozart and the music would remain gobsmackingly good. All in all, then, one impressive tightrope walk that has it all — super high tech, balls-out depth, impeccable tuning versatility, and a careful combination of stealth and show in the one package. An excellent installation and vehicle that showcases what top-notch car audio shops can do in Australia. It’s left us with quite the crush on this magnificent mango motor. And no, we’re not taking the pith.

1. What got you into car electronics? Have been in the car audio industries for over 15 years and have always loved car audio since I got my first car and have a passion for music. 2. Occupation? SSV Store Owner. 3. Favourite music for testing audio gear? I listen to all types of music but my fave album to tune SQ system is Tracy Chapman. 4. Dream car? Too many! But my next car will be a Chevy Camaro. 5. Other hobbies/interests? Work too much to have hobbies! 6. Where to next? Start another project on the next car.

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ROCK’N’RO

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2003 CE LANCER FEATURE CAR

OLL

Take one Lancer. Add a deep love for Australia’s finest proponents of hard rock and blues. Pipe that through solid American music machinery. And with a flick of the switch – let there be rock! Story Damon Greenwood Images Ralf Schubert

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2003 CE LANCER FEATURE CAR

wo things go together really well in car audio — American music muscle, and hard rock. There is nothing better when you want the music clean, and yet so loud that you can feel your heart beating when the music stops. If this is something that cranks your tractor... then read on, fellow enthusiast.

T

LET THERE BE ROCKFORD As regular readers will know, we have featured some pretty special cars throughout the fine pages of Australian Incar over the years. Now

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in this particular case the automotive specs of the vehicle may not be as impressive as some. However.... the specs of the car audio system, installation and overall presentation of this ride are all well and truly Incar-worthy. And overarching this whole installation is the clear-minded focus of the car’s owner to grandstand his admiration for his favourite band, channelled via his devotion for a mighty American car audio brand. In other words, good people, the dude rocks hard to AC/DC, and loves his Rockford Fosgate. A few ‘for instances’… He sports an AC/DC Hells Bells tattoo on his left shoulder, and plans

to have a wrist-to-elbow tribute to Bon Scott complete in time for Bonfest in Freo as we were preparing this article. And you may notice a photo a few pages hence of Shane wearing the famous Angus Young outfit — this was bought as one of three that Angus actually wore on tour in Australia. (Subsequently laundered or not, we can only speculate.) And as for the car audio, we note his email address starts as “sirrockford”... Now onto the car. This is a Mitsubishi 2003 CE Lancer with practically factory everything, except for extractors and heavy-duty rear springs (for the obvious reason). Factory everything — did I just


2018 OCTOBER 19TH – 21ST 2018, THE COMO MELBOURNE

SAVE THE DATE THE ORIGINAL AND STILL THE BEST! Quality Australian Hi Fi & AV show 7 years on and still going strong. Showcasing the best Hi Fi & AV from Australia and around the world More than 100 top brands · Live musical performances · Great and convenient location · World class guest speakers · Prizes galore

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facebook.com/AustralianAudioShow

chestergroup.org


TECH SPECS owner: Shane Mills vehicle: 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer CE engine: 1.8L standard induction: factory exhaust: extractors and 2.5” 4 way tip transmission: factory suspension: factory front, heavy duty rear springs brakes: factory body kit: evo 5 body kit exterior: ACDC custom graphics interior: full re-trim in red and black vinyl with themed highlights SYSTEM source unit: Eclipse AVN827GA front speakers: 2 pairs of Rockford Fosgate T3562-S components rear speakers: 1 pair Rockford Fosgate Pro PP4t and PPS4 components subwoofers: 2 x Rockford Fosgate T1D415 15” subwoofers amplifiers: 2 x Rockford Fosgate T400.4 4-channel amps bridged, 1 x RF Power T25001bd4cp mono amp wiring: Rockford battery: 1 x Odyssey Yellow Top lighting: Red LED sound deadening: Full Dynamat configured power (as wired): 3300W RMS installed by: Grants Car Stereo Morley WA www.carstereo.com.au

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2003 CE LANCER FEATURE CAR

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2003 CE LANCER FEATURE CAR hear a collective ‘meh’? But think about it. Shane likes his cars — but he digs loud clean AC/DC a whole lot more. And we’re not about to criticise somebody putting music top of the priority list like that. A reliable car like this doesn’t cost so much to run — and that means more money to be spent on the ever-evolving system and AC/DC memorabilia.

POWERAGE On to the meaty stuff. Up front we have a DVD receiver which was top-of-the-line a few years back, the Eclipse AVN827GA, an all-in-one touschscreen DVD receiver with navigation and Parrot Bluetooth and iPod control built-in. This has its own amplification — though clearly not enough of it for the owner’s choice of banging music. But it does maintain a strong signal-tonoise ratio of 99dB across all inputs, so delivers a nice clean output to the high level 3V pre-outs. From these the signal is sent down through the Rockford cables to three amplifiers. Two Rockford Fosgate T400.4s have been bridged to deliver a stonking 200W per channel to feed two pairs of T3562-S component sets. These were award-winners in our Incar-Sound+Image 2017 Awards, the judges praising the LCP 25mm tweeters and 6.5-inch woofers, backed by large neodymium magnets. That’s both high efficiency and effective driver control under the stresses and strains of the Young brothers’ finest — indeed the woofers were meticulously designed using Germany’s Klippel laboratory’s three-speaker certification program. “Indubitable accuracy” and “low-level details that other component sets tend to miss” were among the praise heaped upon this splits by the judges. These have been custom mounted in the front doors and A-pillars, and supplemented by

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YOUR LOCAL CAR AUDIO SPECIALIST IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SOUND. WHY RISK YOUR MUSIC WITH ANYONE ELSE? THE SPECIALIST

THE INTERNET

Talk to people with years or decades of car audio knowledge

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Receive reliable personal advice

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Expect to be asked about your needs and music

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Actually listen to a number of products before you buy

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Have a nice coffee

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Get a full warranty with local return point

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Have an ongoing relationship

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CAR AUDIO SPECIALIST STORES. The right place for the right sound.


2003 CE LANCER FEATURE CAR

DRIVER PROFILE Name: Shane Mills Car: 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer CE

1. What got you into car electronics? Bass fiend in the beginning... but it’s starting to take its toll, so now into SQ. 2. How long for? 23 years. 3. Occupation? Car audio fan! 4. Favourite music for testing audio gear? Really? You need to ask? AC/DC. 5. Dream car? 1971 HQ or 1969 R/T Charger. 6. Other hobbies/interests? Drag racing. a pair of Rockford Fosgate PP4t and PPS4 Punch Pro components on the custom rear deck. These speakers are the duck’s nuts in loud, being designed specifically for high SPL applications “for people who like their music loud and clear”.

BIG BALLS Now for the deep heart of the project ­— power from a Rockford Fosgate T2500-1bd mono amp (at 2500W the biggest they’ve made) is sent to a pair of top-of-the-range T1D415 15-inch subwoofers, bridged down to 1 ohm to achieve

1250W RMS into both subs. We reckon even Cliff Williams would be happy with that. Installation is top quality with a few quirky additions; please note the nod to the ‘old school’ with vinyl-upholstered seats. The school tie in the boot is a must for any self-respecting AC/DC fan… while the handcuffs are a thumbs-up to the anthem Jailbreak. Installation was handled by Grants Car Stereo in Morley WA. Everything looks exactly where it is supposed to be, and while it’s meant to be a loud install, these guys knew when to stop adding things and so achieve a loud install matching the decibels, but without getting overly complicated (with lighting, for example). We reckon there were many hours getting the boot right. The moulds would have been removed, adjusted and then refitted many times during the build to achieve such symmetry.

BACK IN BLACK (AND RED) Trim was performed by Classic Auto Trimming, also in Morley, an impressive mix of red and, obviously, black, with a cool stretch of barbed wire across the top of the rear seat. Complementing this and completely setting the car apart is the artwork. Endless hints and intricacies abound — it would take a car-rental-thoroughness of

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7. Where to next? Evolving the car from loud to quality — the 15-inch subs have recently been swapped for 4 x 10-inchers to give a tighter bass and better overall sound quality.

inspection to find them all. From a deep red base the car showcases beautiful lifelike flameenhanced murals of the band, edged strategically with famous AC/DC song titles. So we present to you the little Lancer that could, and has, and does! And since our photography took place the boot install has been modified — the twin 15s have gone, replaced with a quad installation of P3 10-inch subs with floating amps. In closing, I hope you’ve noticed (and appreciated) that I didn’t load this article with cleverly placed AC/DC song titles. I really really wanted to, but our Editor insisted on keeping them for the section headings. I am allowed only one, as it is an essential sign-off. For those about to rock — ­ we salute you! Yes we do. Till deaf do us part. [Drops mike, walks off stage.]


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ON T E K

2002 FORD FALCON GT FEATURE CAR

levels there’s When it comes to high SQ nator in the brand mix… often a common denomi . And our ‘Ride from and that is Italy’s Audison is a BA Falcon the Archive’ for this issue on metal jacket. with an almost full Audis Story Ed Kramer Images

Shane Dixson

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2002 FORD FALCON GT FEATURE CAR here are a number of brands that inspire the enthusiast who seeks the ultimate in high quality sound. In the upper echelons one of the most revered is Italy’s Audison. And in this Ford GT, owner Paul Laurence has chosen a mostly Audison system to crank out the tunes to their utmost fidelity.

T

MARVEY-LOUS INSTALL So let’s start with that audio system. The signal flow starts here with a Kenwood DDX403BT multimedia head unit neatly integrated into the dash (the system has been beautifully installed by Marvey Tech Car Audio & Security). An Audison bit One has been used to massage the sound and align all acoustic outputs, with the controller handily placed by the centre console for easy reach. Amplification is by way of Audison’s LRx 4.5 4-channel amplifier running front and rear speakers and, as an exception to the Audison kit, a Massive Audio N4 2000 watts monobloc has been put in for subwoofer-driving duty. The front speakers feature a 3-way system consisting of Audison Voce AV1.1 tweeters, Voce AV3.0 midrange and Voce AV6.5 midbass drivers. The rear sticks to a simple 2-way system by way of Audison’s Voce 6.5 splits. The subwoofer is a second departure from Audison, with two Kenwood eXcelon KFC-XW1224D 12-inch

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The ultimate experience all-new state-of-the-art Thomastown showroom.

209 Settlement Rd Thomastown Ph: 9464 4373

14 Translink Drive Keilor Park Ph: 9336 0188 www.streetsoundvision.com.au

474 Whitehorse Road Mitcham Ph: 9874 5678


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2002 FORD FALCON GT FEATURE CAR

TECH SPECS owner: Paul Laurence vehicle: 2002 Ford Falcon GT engine: BARRA 4L intake: Alloy 3-inch pipe, custom air box transmission: BTR 4-speed controllers: ECU tuned by Exhaust Plus exhaust: XForce stainless steel extractors, stainless steel Cat, 2.5-inch mild steel dual sided with XForce rear mufflers suspension: Pedders heavy duty lowered springs, Pedders Sports Ryder big bore shocks all round, White Line sway bar 29mm front 19mm rear, Pedders adjustable rear control arms brakes: FG XR6T rotors and 322mm calipers powder coated flame red wheels: Rodney Jane 20-inch tyres: 235/30/20

SYSTEM source: Kenwood DDX403BT head unit front speakers: Audison Voce AV1.1 tweeters, Voce AV3.0 midrange and Voce AV6.5 midbass rear speakers: Audison Voce 6.5 splits subwoofers: 2 x Kenwood eXcelon KFC-XW 1224D 12-inch subwoofers front amplifiers: Audison LRx 4.5 4-channel amplifier rear amplifiers: Audison LRx 4.5 4-channel amplifier subwoofer amplifiers: Massive Audio N4 monobloc amplifier processor: Audison bit One wiring: 2 x 0-gauge neg cable, 0-gauge to fuse box, 2-gauge to amps and vehicle system, 10 sets of Stinger 4000 RCAs battery: 2 x Optima D34 Yellow Top lighting: 10m of RGB LED strip, 2 x RGB LED downlights, LED interior, blue LED in the handles sound deadening: Approx five bulk packs of Dynamat Extreme (around 45 sheets!), three packs of 0.25inch Dynaliner installed by: Marvey Tech Car Audio & Security total build time: Nine months credits: Joh from Marvey Tech, Dave from Exhaust Plus, Jeremy from Image Classic Cars, Sam from Professional Cut & Polish, Rikki from Kustom Auto Trim and Sound Quality Super Series

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2002 FORD FALCON GT FEATURE CAR subwoofers to pump out the lows. All is tied in with 10 runs of Stinger RCA interconnecting cable while a variety of 0- and 2-gauge cable is used throughout. Comprehensive use of sound deadening applies throughout with an estimation stretching out to around five bulk packs of Dynamat Xtreme and three packs of quarterinch Dynaliner. Two Optima D34 Yellow Top batteries power everything up including a lighting system consisting of 10 metres of RGB LED stripping, RGB LED downlights, LED interior lighting and blue LEDs that have been integrated into the door handles.

INSTALLATION, INSTALLATION The speaker positioning aspect has been very important here… as it is in any high quality install. Paul decided he’d use as little reflective

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material as possible throughout the car. The car was “pulled apart and stripped” with the interior retrimmed in black suede throughout. Once the sound deadening was in and the interior re-dressed, Paul was amazed at the quietness inside the cabin, which he describes as like “stepping into a recording booth.” The A-pillars were customised to hold the tweeter and midrange drivers, while the midbass drivers were placed within the door trims. The amplifiers are mounted on 20mm acrylic plates which have been hand cut and thoroughly polished by Paul himself. The acrylic is lit by LED strips and the look is as if the amps were floating. In a carbon-fibre-look panel towards the rear centre (which is also carried through to side accents) sits the Audison bit One DSP. In a shallow gloss-painted recessed custom fibreglass enclosure sit the two Kenwood 12-inchers. The enclosure was designed with a view to sound


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“WE’D SAY THIS IS ONE EXCELLENT FORD GT THAT, SO SWEETLY, PUSHES ALL OUR SQ BUTTONS…...”

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2002 FORD FALCON GT FEATURE CAR

DRIVER PROFILE Name: Paul Laurence Car: 2002 Ford Falcon GT

1. What got you into car electronics? Not, sure, I’ve always tinkered with car audio. It’s where you spend many hours going to and from work. 2. How long have you been into it for? About 17 years. 3. Occupation? Automotive electrician. 4. Favourite music for testing audio gear? As long as the input quality is good, I listen to everything. 5. Where to next? An Audison bit Play, 10-inch HD screen and another engine is being rebuilt for a turbo conversion.

quality rather than all-out bass output. A panel can be placed over the top to allow the boot to be used conventionally. All the boot panels have been designed to be easily removed should servicing of any parts be necessary. Overall, the boot install is extremely eye-catching. The exterior of the Ford features a GT replica body kit while the car has been resprayed and adorned with a carbon vinyl bonnet sticker, original GT-style stripes — and the badges have been removed. The Rodney Jane 5-spoke 20-inch wheels with very low profile tyres really suit the look of this car, as does the body kit, for an overall very racy look.

CONCLUSION The mix of very well selected and skilfully installed gear has paid dividends in terms of circuit recognition for this Ford GT. It has won a number of Sound Quality competition rounds and — even though not designed primarily for that — ­ has won a highest SPL of 137.9dB prize at Extreme Auto Expo comp. We’d say this is one excellent Ford GT that, so sweetly, pushes all our SQ buttons…

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f you were styling a classic mystery spy thriller series for TV, would you put your hero in, er, a Volvo? Well perhaps, if the Volvo in question was not a 1970s’ 140 Series ‘tank’, but rather a nifty 1967 1800 S. And that was the choice made for (and by) Roger Moore, starring as The Saint in the ITC series which ran from 1962 to 1969. The 1800S was quite late to the party, making its debut in an episode called ‘A Double in Diamonds’ in February 1967. Although, truth be told, the producers wanted an E-Type. But when Jaguar turned them down, Volvo was delighted to jump in and promote its sports car offering, especially since its previous effort, the 1900, had sold a grand total of, er, 68 cars. The show then made a regular delight of putting its arch-villains into Jaguars and crashing them spectacularly off cliffs! When The Return of the Saint launched in 1978 with Ian Ogilvy in the lead role, Jaguar coughed up a V-12 XJS for the MkII series pretty sharpish... At the time of its original launch sans-S, Volvo had insisted the 1800 was an Italian design by Pietro Frua, creator of the classic Renault Floride, the Maserati 3500 GT and many more. Well, not quite — while three prototypes had indeed emerged from Frua’s facilities, the work had actually been done by Pelle Petterson, a student of Frua but the son of Helmer Petterson, engineering consultant to Volvo. Pelle later went on to become a yacht designer and Olympic-medalling sailor with a line of clothing and sportswear. So well-regarded did the car (and The Saint) become that Corgi released a miniature edition. But here in all its glory is the original article — which had its own starring role this March at Techno-Classica Essen in Germany. Built at the Volvo Torslanda plant in Sweden in November 1966 (the earliest run of original P1800s had been undertaken by Jensen in West Bromwich, UK), this 1800 S in ‘Pearl White’ is equipped with Mini-Lite wheels with the rare original ‘truncated’ spoke design, Hella fog lamps and a Volvo wooden steering wheel. And inside you can still see details from the filming of The Saint — a thermometer on the dashboard, and a separate interior fan installed specially to cool the actors during filming. Moore himself was the documented first registered owner under the original London registration plates of NUV 648E, but of course in the show, it sported the famous ‘ST 1’ plates… clearly not one to work under deep cover, Mr Templar. Moore eventually sold it, though he continued to drive Volvos for many years, and after several other owners (including actor Martin Benson, who played Mr Solo in the James Bond film Goldfinger), Volvo Cars re-purchased the car and declared themselves “very excited” to have the car at Techno-Classica, its first appearance at a European classic car show.

I

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1967 VOLVO 1800 S CLASSIC DASH

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BRAX MATRIX MX4 FOUR-CHANNEL AMPLIFIER

AUDITION

SIMPLY EXQUISITE AMPLIFICATION. REVIEWER MARTY PRICE

Many moons ago I read an article stating that amplifiers have zero bearing on sound quality, and that speakers alone were to be the source of primary concern. I remember at the time thinking that this sounded a little insanus cogitandi — and thankfully nowadays many know better. Though not everyone, as those in the business of selling high-end amplifiers will tell you. Yet really, it’s the speakers that are the intrinsically ‘dumb’ devices, for lack of a better term. They sit prone, doing absolutely nothing until they’re instructed what to do, and while of course speaker design and quality play a very important role in the reproduction of quality sound, it’s the amplifier that tells the speakers in which linear direction to move, how far — and, most importantly, how accurately. Astute audio designer Brax understands this, and understands it well. A child of parent conglomerate Audiotec-Fischer, Brax was conceived by Heinz, Gudrun and Julian Fischer in 1990 and henceforth has grown from modest beginnings as a niche supplier to now servicing more than 50 countries across the globe from its headquarters in Schmallenberg, Germany. Successfully building a reputation as an

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innovative, no-compromise audio manufacturer is no small task, but then it only takes one audition of Brax equipment to get the message — it’s no fluke that the company has gained its reputation. Should you remain sceptical then grab a cup of tea and take a seat, while I put one of the marque’s most intimidating behemoths to the test.

SMALL, BUT HUGE Given the company’s comparatively small size, Brax presents a modestly-sized amplifier stable, with only two ranges — the Graphix and Matrix — each containing a single two-channel and single four-channel unit. Though the two sets actually share remarkably similar ancillary specifications, the Matrix units are far larger, and when I say large… dust down your thesauri, people, because words like ‘gargantuan’ don’t begin to do these things justice. They’re quite simply colossal, in every sense of the word. The MX4 sitting before me, for example — it’s capable of powering an apartment block. The product of endless hours of research and development, this amplifier brings together the latest in material evolution, technical advancements and meticulous

manufacturing processes, implemented to exacting tolerances for an end result which is nothing short of astounding. Before I get too frothed at the mouth, however, let’s start with a little background. In a day and age where many an amplifier manufacturer rushes into making everything ‘digital’ in order to go smaller despite this being often to the detriment of sound quality, Brax instead put aside this temptation and stipulated from the start that the Matrix units must remain Class AB. While Class-D units are more electrically and thermally more efficient, and can boast a smaller footprint, they just don’t share the same quality of sound. We could debate in long form whether this be due to Class-D building up waveforms from digital square steps, or from its inherent inaccuracies rising with frequency, or from delivering non-linearity at low levels. No matter the reason — Class AB inhabits more solid ground, tried and tested within the analogue realm. Its reputation for accurate audiophile sound — when expertly applied — is well established. Since Class-AB generates more heat, it’s harder to cater for higher power ratings, so it is quite the statement to say that the MX4 is a


four-channel design with each channel outputting just over 275 watts continuous when presented with a four-ohm load. And the unit is bridgeable, returning you just over 550 watts per channel pairing. Its outputs are carefully monitored and regulated to ensure optimal control, ergo loading it down excessively won’t send its power output figures flailing about wildly, as can be the case with many other amplifiers. As if the power figures aren’t jaw dropping enough, wait until you get a load of the accompanying specs. How does total harmonic distortion of 0.001% grab you? (Insert eyepopping emoji here.) A damping factory of over 1000 indicates complete domination over undesired cone movement and controlled deceleration too (if you’re wondering whether that’s impressive, note it’s widely agreed that humans cannot discern differences much beyond 50). Reciprocal speed and accuracy is maintained thanks to its incredible slew rate of 20V/µs; separation of 80dB ensures minimal channel bleed, something often overlooked by serious audiophiles despite them shelling out on high-end processors, to get the staging and imaging perfect. Noise and artefacts are also kept inaudible given an impressive signal-tonoise ratio of 110dB. Last but not least is its frequency response — from 10Hz at the bottom through to, um, 80kHz, so it’s good to know that besides its core market of humanoids, the Brax will be able to entertain everything from fruit bats to sperm whales… assuming you can fit them in the car once you’ve found room for the MX4.

GORGEOUS TOPOLOGY

DETAIL = REALITY With trusty test instruments at the ready I installed the MX4 and set the gains, a straightforward task given they remained all the way down — you surely won’t need to raise this amplifier’s sensitivity, such is the enormity of its ability. For the sake of testing I did raise them while playing my zero-noise track, and not surprisingly it’s near completely noiseless until you literally hit full gain, and even then it’s insignificant in real-world listening terms.

Winding things back to commence with the actual sinusoidal music the MX4’s performance was downright awe-inspiring — and I don’t mean simply blowing-your-hair-around impressive (though it’s capable of doing such, and flapping your trouser legs too). No, I refer to its aural minutiae, the way it presents tiny nuances and idiosyncrasies in the sound; this is nothing short of incredible. It simply misses no detail. Whether I was listening to softer classical and jazz or harder metal and techno, the MX4 presented detail after detail, including some I’d never noticed before. When playing the sub-bass and mid-bass instruments — the likes of pipe organ, cello and tuba through to bass guitar and digital bass drops — the sound was powerful but smooth and natural. When playing mids through to the higher treble notes, there were none of those pitches where many big amplifiers send you scrambling for cover; rather the MX4 was simply exquisite. Higher notes are presented superbly, terrifically controlled, completely devoid of any harsh peaks in the linearity. I was enjoying this through suitably high-end speakers, yes, but the reality is that the MX4 will bring the best out of any given speaker complement, while given a high quality source and high quality speakers, the ensuing atmosphere it creates borders on the indescribable, almost the unimaginable.

A TRUE REFERENCE When designing the Matrix amplifiers, Brax possessed clear-cut aspirations to develop a benchmark amplifier by which all others would be measured. Difficult though the task may have been, it’s succeeded, and delivered an inestimably rare result of true reference quality. We’re aware that finding a Matrix amplifier to audition may prove a little challenging, but if you are presented the opportunity, jump at it. There are very few audio components capable of offering a belief-busting epiphany of an aural experience. Without any word of exaggeration, the MX4 provides just that.

BRAX

TECH SPECS

With the performance specifications canvassed, let us now move to the physical build and the innovative technologies encompassed within. I carefully removed the bottom plate with trembling hands — I’d seen images of the fastidiously-designed internals, but nothing quite prepares you for the gorgeous topology lurking within (see the glimpse left). If ever a picture summed up amplifier circuitry perfection, this is it. Not only are these handmade wonders packed to the hilt with some of the tightest tolerance components money can buy, they also boast some of the most advanced technology hitherto available. Featuring two separate power supplies each dedicated to its own pair of channels, the electrical odyssey starts out with no less than eight 5000µF/18V capacitors which serve to stiffen and smooth the incoming voltage before it’s shunted into twin titanic toroid-core transformers plus two storage chokes, to be stepped up to the final voltage. Additional stability can also be garnered via a separate terminal which allows for the plumbing in of a Brax power stabiliser if you so desire. Speaking of the transformers, it’s worth mentioning that these have been specially developed, employing highly-efficient core materials in order to guarantee over 1800

watts to be made available for distribution to the power caps. So far as power storage is concerned, Brax has seen fit to include no fewer than eight 3300µF/100V power capacitors (total capacity 26,400µF, thanks very much), ample for handling any impulse load presented to the power supply. And with such enormous power on tap, delivery is equally stupendous, with twelve 200-ampere high-grade transistors in addition to 32 hand-selected high-end MOSFETs clamped in arrays below the lateral circuit boards. This is not just haphazardly set in motion, either — the amplifier and power supply are processor controlled, ensuring everything stays operating within predetermined parameters. In its search for that extraordinarily lownoise performance, Brax has omitted signal manipulators altogether, aside from the gain controls. There’s no crossover controls, no phase control, no bass boost — nothing. Just raw clean power. This is a phenomenon not uncommon when talking serious high-end amplification whether it be in the car or the home — if you need signal processing, do it elsewhere; the amplifier amplifies, and only amplifies (remember Stewart Hegeman’s definition of an amplifier: ‘a straight wire with gain’). To further highlight the absolute sound perspective, the MX4 features a BurrBrown 24bit DA converter behind its twin Toslink optical digital inputs, so it can accept a fully processed digital signal from the Brax processor, upon which point it can perform the conversion to analogue in-house. Not only could it, as mentioned, power an apartment block, it slightly resembles one too. At 11.5kg it’s a physically imposing affair, with an outer case measuring 360mm square with a height of 79mm. This is constructed from highgrade aluminium, presented either in a raw brushed silver or black anodised finish depending on your preference. The Brax logo, Matrix logo and serial number are all photo-etched onto a metallic plaque which is sunk into the top face and centred. Along one end are goldplated power, earth and remote terminal blocks able to accommodate up to 0AWG cable, while at the opposite end reside the inputs, gain potentiometers and speaker output terminals capable of accepting up to 8AWG. The amplifier comes presented in a beautiful timber case, and Brax also includes a signed birth certificate (in addition to a t-shirt).

MATRIX MX4 FOUR-CHANNEL AMPLIFIER TYPE: Class AB four-channel amplifier POWER RATING: 4 x 275 watts continuous at four ohm FEATURES: Raw power COST: $5999 CONTACT: Audiotec Fischer WEB: avhub.com.au/brax

• Stunning build • Stunning sound • Stunning everything • You pay a price for stunningness

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HERTZ MILLE PRO MPK 165.3 TWO-WAY COMPONENT SPEAKERS

AUDITION REVIEWER STEPHEN DAWSON

TWO-WAY HERTZ PRO. Hertz: it’s a technical unit for cycles per second, but it’s also an Italian car audio equipment marque, established 20 years ago this year, and sharing a stable under Elettromedia with Audison. Here we’re looking at a pair of component speakers from the Hertz Mille range, the Pro MPK 165.3 two-way speaker system — which is about midway up in the Mille range. Below this is a two-way coaxial unit, above is a three-way system (and above that Hertz’s Mille ‘Legend’ offerings). The MPK 165.3 comes in a pack with two tweeters, two bass/midrange drivers, two crossover networks, along with grilles and hardware. The hardware includes both flush and raised mounts for the tweeters.

TALKING PARAMETERS We’ll look at all these bits individually in a moment, but first I’d like to note some welcome figures provided in the booklet that comes with the speakers. (They are also available in a tech sheet available from the Hertz website.) These are the ‘Electro-Acoustic

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Parameters’ of the drivers. These are not the standard specifications, such as frequency response and power handling. These are things like the effective diameter of the drivers (usually measured from the mid-point of the roll surround), the free air resonant frequency, and even more obscure parameters going by such names as Qes and Vas and Re. This are the specifications that allow system designers to tune enclosures to provide the best performance for the speakers (sometimes they’re called the Thiele/Small parameters). That these are provided up front speaks well of Hertz. Whether they’ll be useful is less certain. After all, the opportunities to provide well-designed enclosures in a car are limited, other perhaps than for subwoofers. The bass/midrange units (model number MP 165.3) are nominally 165mm models (effective diameter 132mm, if it matters). They feature a 25mm voice coil of pure copper that’s wound on a Polyamide former. This, says Hertz, provides both high power handling and “very low intermodulation distortion of vocals”

(I’m not quite sure how). The cone is called an ‘Exponential V-cone’, made of pressed pulp with cotton fibres, and rather than the usual rounded dust cap over its centre, in the middle it tends to recede slightly more sharply into a hollow point. Hertz says that this and its overall shape is geometrically optimised for midfrequency linearity and dispersion”. There are assorted other features for this driver which Hertz says provide for “improved efficiency”, and “low distortion at high power levels”. Its electrical resistance is 3.1 ohms. Actual impedance is a frequency-based curve that depends on a number of things, including enclosure design. Nominally the package as a whole is the usual four ohms.

HIGH FREQUENCY SUPPORT The MP 25.3 tweeters have a 29mm diameter — both effective and nominal — and adopt a soft dome using something called Tetolon fibres. (If you do an internet search for Tetolon, you’ll mostly find links to Hertz and Audison


PERFORMANCE While in practice you will be equalising the speakers for your car and your seat, I did some of my listening without EQ to try to get at the ‘core’ sound of the system. Two things became quickly clear: these speakers sound better and better the louder they are played. And, as a result, they’re going to be perfectly happy if the EQ involves a bit of bass boost, as one suspects it will. The reason they sounded better as the volume was advanced was that it lifted up the bass. Jumping ahead, I’ll relate now the measurements made at the end of my time with these speakers (I was keen to see what more objective metrics might have to say). In my test rig their output was a little recessed below a peak at around 150Hz, and I suspect it was hitting a resonance in my environment around there, for the output fell away

by around seven decibels below that, then maintained that new level down to 55Hz. Even below that point the roll-off was gentle, with the specified 40Hz bottom-end only down a further 6dB. Note, this was not in a custom box, designed to tune the bass performance to an optimum. If you were to do that, the whole bass end could be flatter. I should also mention the top-end measured performance. The output was maintained

some systems make speakers sound tiring. The boost on the bass was again welcome. Of course the very deep stuff — a lot of this album verges on the infrasonic — was absent, but enough of the 40 to 60 hertz region was delivered to give a good sense of the bass underpinnings, and the synth kick drum on Hold It was powerful enough to produce a visceral impact. Use of a subwoofer will, of course, take up the strain. Something a little different perhaps? How about Kiri Te Kanawa singing É Strano, Ah, Forsè Lui from Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’. Sopranos and car speakers often don’t mix at all well, but that wasn’t the case here. Her power was evident, yet the voice was delivered smoothly and sweetly. There was no high frequency resonance of the kind to which cheap speakers are susceptible; in other words, there was no wincing, even at the climax. The backing orchestra was also well delivered, and there was even a reasonable delivery of the ‘air’ in the recording, the reverberations and space around the instruments and the vocalist.

by the tweeter out beyond 22kHz without diminution. Obviously that well and truly covers all treble available from CD, and far beyond that from the likes of an MP3 (did you know that most MP3 tracks are low-pass filtered at 16kHz?). Your use of the tweeter +2dB setting on the crossover will depend very much on your tweeter positioning and subsequent EQ. Without EQ I preferred the 0dB setting for what sounded to me like a smoother tonal balance. In addition to the tone, the dynamics were excellent, and the volume levels available were plenty. Indeed, after a time of listening in their natural state, I bumped up the bass level by around six decibels, and that added good body to the bass guitar. I was listening to AC/ DC’s ‘Back in Black’ at that point, and the bass grind resulting from a bit of bass enhancement added enormously to the music, without adding any noticeable distortion. The speakers could simply take the power and make use of it. With that boost I was able to play the music a little more quietly while retaining its sense of energy. Brian Johnson’s voice was delivered with excellent clarity. Even at the 0dB setting for the tweeter, the cymbals were very slightly forward in the mix, although not irritatingly so. The important thing is that all the frequencies are there and undistorted. Moving to Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’, the lady’s voice was beautifully rendered, with all the clarity you could need for coherence and understanding of the lyrics, and an absence of wobbles in the upper frequencies that can with

Fine sound, good styling, a quality crossover — I really enjoyed the Hertz Mille Pro MPK 165.3 speaker system. When I discovered that they were priced at just under $500 for the set, they turned out to offer excellent value for money as well.

CONCLUSION

HERTZ MILLE PRO MPK 165.3 TWO-WAY COMPONENT SPEAKERS TYPE: 2 way component speakers NOMINAL SIZE: 165mm (bass/midrange); 29mm (tweeter) POWER: 220W peak; 110W continuous SENSITIVITY: 92dB NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 220W peak; 110W continuous CROSSOVER: 3.5kHz SYSTEM FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 40 to 22,500 hertz WEIGHT: 1.07kg (Bass/midrange); 70 grams (Tweeter) COST: $499 CONTACT: Clarion Australia on 03 8558 1115 WEB: www.hertzaudiovideo.com • Very good sound quality • High quality crossover • Good value for money • Best if EQ’d for a little bass boost

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TECH SPECS

speakers — though it also appears in a 2006 patent for an exciting new kind of bra cup which better maintains its shape after extended wash cycles.) The tweeter’s voice coil is 25mm in diameter, and is ferrofluid cooled for high power handling. A neodymium magnet is used. Hertz says that a ‘Center Turning Duct’, along with ‘selected’ damping material in the rear chamber, provides for a lower resonant frequency and reduced harmonic distortion, while the faceplate aims to assist ‘high linearity in off-axis installations’. The DC resistance of the tweeter is 3.9 ohms. The included crossover has a nominal dividing frequency of 3.5kHz (the 1.2kHz free air resonance of the tweeter is well below that). These are very impressive crossovers, quite heavy and substantial, beyond what I’d expect to see in any similarly priced two-way home high fidelity loudspeaker. The low pass filter to the woofer operates at a gentle 6dB per octave for reduced phase shift, while the high pass to the tweeter features a 12dB per octave slope, the better to protect it from potentially damaging low frequencies. The crossover uses Hertz-branded components: two hefty coils, three five-watt resistors and a 160V-rated bi-metallised polyester film capacitor, all on a printed circuit board in a 100 x 75 x 30mm ventilated case. A twoposition switch sets to the tweeter level to 0dB or +2dB, and the connections for amplifier, tweeter and woofer are all screw clamps, clearly labelled and easily accessible, and capable of accepting good thick cables. Hertz rates the frequency response of the whole system at 40 to 22,500Hz, and the power handling at up to 220W peak or 110W continuous. The sensitivity is rated at 92dB (presumably for 2.83V input, at one metre).


MONGOOSE Q2CA MULTIMEDIA HEAD UNIT

AUDITION

CLEVER MONGOOSE. REVIEWER STEPHEN DAWSON

Why double up on your smarts? You already have all the navigation and entertainment and connectivity power you need in your pocket, so it seems a bit silly to buy the same stuff to put in your car. Especially as you’ll probably update your phone every year or two, but you’ll be hoping your car entertainment system lasts as long as your car, give or take an upgrade. And you’ll certainly be hoping that will be more than a year or two. So it was a smart decision in itself that the cleverest functions of Mongoose Automotive Technologies Australia’s latest premium head unit — the Mongoose Q2CA — rely entirely on your smartphone, taking advantage of its powerful inbuilt computer, which Mongoose then leverages via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

CONNECT TWO Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are Apple’s and Google’s respective versions of interfaces with your phone, allowing you to use a set of their facilities via the Q2CA’s own touchscreen. I will be returning to those functions since they basically form the core of things here. But before that, let’s check out the rest of its capabilities. The Mongoose Q2CA is a double-height DIN unit, with its touch-screen using very nearly all of the space on the front. There’s only a fairly thin bezel — 5.5mm on the top, 13.3mm on the

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side — and a narrow band across the bottom for the controls. There is no disc slot or rotary volume control. Instead the controls across the bottom are touch sensitive, and marked by red backlights. There’s a home key to take you back the main page of the unit, a microphone button to invoke Siri or Google Assistant, a mute button and a seven-dot volume level indicator. You can touch a point on this to select a volume level, or slide your finger along it. With so little around it, the screen manages to be very large at 172mm (6.75 inches), or very close to as big as it could be in a device with this form factor. Mongoose didn’t indicate the screen resolution, but a little work with a magnifying glass and a calculator suggests that it is WVGA in resolution, which is to say 800 by 480 pixels. The standard screen layout is sensibly organised, with everything on the front page. The Media selection — this brings up the screen for the Bluetooth or USB player, whichever is in use — has the prominent top left position. Underneath that is the radio selection. Within that there’s room for 30 AM and FM presets. There’s no DAB+ digital radio here. Then there are eight more items on the main screen, smaller but still easily selectable, for other functions. Two of these are for Apple

CarPlay and Android Auto. Two more are for USB and for the analogue auxiliary input, which also supports composite video. There are selections for making phone calls via a connected phone, and playing back music via Bluetooth, both of these working outside the CarPlay/Android Auto systems. You might have a Windows phone, for example, or a Bluetooth-equipped music player that doesn’t run iOS or Android. Or, for that matter, you may want to play music from an iPad, for which there is no CarPlay support, or perhaps an older iPhone that predates CarPlay. For CarPlay you need at least an iPhone 5, and iOS 7.1. For Android Auto you need at least Android 5.0. Another selector is for the camera input, while the final one is for settings. The head unit packs a full set of connection options, including support for steering wheel controls, and line level outputs in case you want to use an external power amplifier. There’s a subwoofer output, the mentioned A/V inputs and two USB cables supplied — one of those is for CarPlay or Android Auto (its tag only indicates the former, but neither does Android Auto work on the other USB cable). The other is for attaching an iPod or USB storage. A microphone with a generous length of cable for plugging into the rear of the unit is


provided. There’s also a microphone at the top left of the unit (and a reset button at top right, just in case things goes wrong). That little microphone only switches on if the remote microphone isn’t plugged in. As always, only a restricted list of supported apps work with the CarPlay or Android Auto functionality — basically audio players, maps and navigation, phone and texting. And of course use of the Siri or Google Assistant for voice commands. What you actually have available on the screen in CarPlay and Android Auto will depend on the apps you have installed on your phone. For example, Spotify will be available only if it’s on your phone.

INSTALLATION

PERFORMANCE The first thing to note about the Mongoose Q2CA is that it was very easy to use. The touch-screen was responsive and the text and graphics were sharp and clear. The screen was bright, although the black levels were limited (judging from the harsh position of someone who reviews TVs regularly — few will find it troubling on a car head unit). One thing I particularly liked was that the volume control is indeed on the right-hand

album ‘Frizzle Fry’ was tight and strong, and Claypool’s bass well rounded and full, while the control of the unit over the speakers remained excellent. If you want to play music from USB storage the unit turned out to be rather competent, handling not just MP3 and iTunes-style AAC, but also high resolution FLAC (up to 96kHz). It did not support Apple Lossless. The unit ran fairly warm, but not unusually so. Just about the whole pack of it, apart from the spaces left for connectors, is covered with head sinks.

CONCLUSION The Mongoose Q2CA performs well and is pretty good value for money. For those wanting to make the jump to a unit that integrates with a phone, particularly if you’re platform agnostic and may use both Apple and Android phones in your car, then it’s well worth checking out.

MONGOOSE Q2CA MULTIMEDIA HEAD UNIT TYPE: Double-DIN multimedia head unit FEATURES: 6.75-inch touch screen; Apple CarPlay; Android Auto; Bluetooth; Mic supplied; USB playback; AM/FM; Steering Wheel Control ready; Reversing camera input; A/V input; pre-outs including subwoofer POWER: 4 x 45 watts (maximum) into 4 ohms COST: $699 CONTACT: Mongoose Australia on (02) 9482 4444 WEB: www.mongoose.com.au

• Apple CarPlay and Android Auto • Good overall performance • Very good value for money • Nothing at this price

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Physical installation of this unit should present no difficulties. The necessary cable looms are provided, with caps on the RCA-terminated line outputs, and the other cables semi-stripped, requiring only for the insulation to be pulled off. The park brake lead to release the moving vehicle function locks doesn’t do anything weird. Those wishing to cheat can just wire that to earth. Within the ‘Audio’ section of the settings is a three-band equaliser, and an easily adjustable balance/fader control. What is not provided are facilities for adjusting the time alignment of channels, limiting the ability to tune the system for the best stereo imaging, nor for adjusting the crossover frequency of the subwoofer, suggesting that the main speakers will always be delivered a full bass signal, even if a subwoofer is installed. That tends to waste power on bass that those main speakers probably won’t be able to deliver. Interestingly there was a switch buried down in the menu settings for choosing whether the car is left-hand drive or right-hand drive. By default it was on left-hand drive. But I didn’t find any obvious effect from changing it! Apple CarPlay is a very convenient system, basically because there’s no set-up required at all. You just plug a Lightning cable into the marked USB cable, and then plug that into your phone. The CarPlay screen is brought up and after granting a couple of permissions you’re right to go. Android Auto has two modes: one where you control everything from the phone and the other where you use the head unit for control. The latter is like CarPlay, but you need to connect the cable and also pair the phone with the head unit via Bluetooth.

side — closest to the driver in Australian cars. A touch-sensitive volume control has the potential for trouble, particularly an accidental touch of a high volume spot having the system blast at dangerously loud levels, possibly damaging speakers or head unit, or worse, alarming the driver. Mongoose has thought this through and has made its touch volume operate in a relatively safe way. If you touch any point lower than the current volume, it will switch instantly to that level. But if you touch a point higher, even right up at the top, the level will increase by only a modest amount. Keep tapping for more. To increase rapidly, you touch and swipe to the right. You’re going to want to have a cradle for your phone somewhere reasonably close to the head unit, but also close to you. It will need to plug in for the enhanced features, but it turns out that unit’s own microphones won’t detect ‘Hey Siri’ or ‘Okay Google’. A safety feature I guess. You can instead tap the microphone button on the front of the head unit to have them listen to your question or direction, or direct your ‘Hey’ or ‘Okay’ at the phone. Once Siri or Google Assistant has started, the unit’s own microphone works. Happily both Siri and Google Assistant are very good at understanding the human voice... at least by the standards of machine understanding. You will typically need to speak forthrightly, given the possibility of noise in the car. Then the effectiveness will depend mostly on how adept you are at using Siri and Google Assistant in general. You can do all the stuff expected in a car, including sending texts and voice dialling by contact name, and having messages read back to you. But you can do the other stuff for which we’ve come to rely on these assistants, such as asking for directions, finding out whether the shop you want to visit is still open, doing basic arithmetic and even resolving disputes by asking for factual information. Which is better? Siri and Google Assistant both have their fans. I’m better with the latter, but that may not be the case with you. The unit did a very good job driving loudspeakers, and maintaining good control over them. I tried it both with and without a subwoofer. I would have preferred the inclusion of a switchable high-pass filter for the main channels for use with a subwoofer, but there still seemed to be plenty of power on tap. That was particular evident when I used main speakers with good bass (down to about 40 hertz) and no sub. The kick drum on the Primus


POLK AUDIO MM1242 SUBWOOFER

AUDITION REVIEWER MARTY PRICE

VALUE EPITOMISED. One of the subtitles employed by American company Polk Audio is ‘The speaker specialists’. And while in this modern marketplace boastful by-lines are not uncommon, I don’t need to tell you that this one wasn’t one acquired by chance. Native to Baltimore Maryland and conceived back in 1972 as a humble yet specialised audio company, Polk Audio soon gathered momentum as astute customers began to take notice of a company whose products performed within the higher end of the market yet somehow managed to avoid the inherently higher-end price tags that so often accompanied other brands. It’s a phenomenon that Polk Audio (commonly referred to simply as Polk) has mastered over the years, and today the company still produces components aplenty which not only outdo much of the competition, they often freight with half the fiscal baggage too.

MOBILE MONITORS The new MM components are a perfect case in point. They form part of the latest incarnation of the acclaimed Mobile Monitor range, a range

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that itself speaks volumes when it comes to marrying top-shelf sound reproduction with affordability. The new MM range includes a full range from coaxials and component sets through to some very neat power amplifiers. However it’s the subwoofers we’re concentrating on today. The MM subs are available in sizes ranging between 8”, 10” and 12” and with either single or dual voice coil configurations — thus allowing the perfect match to your system’s impedance requirements, while aiming to provide exceptional bottom octave performance without sending you into the red with the accountant. And I was particularly interested to review this MM1242 subwoofer because it’s receiving rave reviews overseas. Especially where its ‘output for mounting depth’ ratio is concerned, so to speak. Before we go too far with the intricacies, though, let’s just canvass the fundamentals of its physical design, starting with a closer look at the topside technology. Given that subwoofers are ultimately air pumps, whereby the forward motion of the cone generates a high pressure compression wave and the reverse motion

generates a low pressure rarefaction cell, one would imagine the diaphragm and surround are arguably the most crucial components — after all together they form the sole membrane that’s giving causation to air molecules’ kinetic journey. Polk has invested considerable time during the development phase getting these components just right, and although many will ignorantly just state a cone and surround are easy to bang out, there’s a surprising sting in the prerequisite tail of this particular design set — the MM range is IP56 marine-certified. This means the subwoofers need to sport a cone material that’s not only strong and light, it must also be water, UV and salt resistant. So just like that, out go most of your standard cone material options, and along with them those simplistic materialist theories. Yet running with an exotic material and saddling it with a five-figure price tag wasn’t going to provide the endgame Polk was looking for — the company needs to sell subwoofers, after all. So drawing on much of its near-half-century of design experience, the engineers started with a base of polypropylene, then working


their magic in order to develop a composite material which is held in position via a Santoprene surround. Together these combat the elements, providing exceptional resistance to the aforementioned undesirables in water, UV and salt. The cone nevertheless offers a superb weight-to-strength coefficient, assisted greatly by numerous strengthening ridges built into the face design.

SHALLOW PERSONALITY With the front end spoken for, let’s now turn our attention to the structure that lies beneath, because the wizardry doesn’t cease up top. One of the most fascinating aspects of the MM1242’s design is the subsonic output it can provide despite its shallow 118mm physical mounting depth. Again a pause for consideration — when talking subwoofer motors, you’ll notice one thing common to many a high-end subwoofer is that their mounting depth is often almost as deep as they are wide. This is because of the intrinsic relationship between the motor’s position and the magnet’s flux. The densest regions of a magnet’s flux tend to be centred on the corners, so where the voice coil lives in relation to these is paramount to its influence. How far the voice coil can move and remain completely controlled is what we call Xmax, and is critical for accurately reproducing those lower subsonic frequencies. Low frequency harmonics often lend themselves to big strokes and long voice coils, thus conducive to a sizable mounting depth. Polk engineers circumvented this issue by designing a 25mm-high 54.4oz ferrite ceramic magnet that possesses an extremely potent flux despite its limited height. The force generated is thenceforth exerted over the multi-layered voice coil that resides upon a judiciously positioned 50mm thermally efficient former. The end result is a motor that can play very low without requiring the customary

TIMBER & TIMBRE When it comes to designing its enclosure, the shallow mounting depth allows for an abundance of designs for a variety of possible locations. My particular test vehicle was a wagon, so space was not an overbearing concern; however these subwoofers will suit perfectly utility vehicles, just to cite one example where depth is often critical. I did face one small hurdle, though, when designing my enclosure — Polk doesn’t supply any ThieleSmall specs in the manual. This tends to make optimal enclosure design somewhat challenging. Polk doesn’t leave you completely in the dark, providing a ballpark figure for enclosure volumes, both sealed and ported. However the stark reality is that this ballpark resembles Fenway Park in size, and is not too helpful if you’re like me and like to achieve a perfect Q for your enclosure. The result of a little experimenting I settled on a sealed enclosure just shy of 50 litres in order to return my desired Qtc. Armed with my gorgeous-smelling new timber enclosure, I mounted my subwoofer and began the wear-in process playing sine waves centred upon the sub’s resonant frequency, which is quite a low Fs, given its motor depth. With enclosure loaded, subwoofer run in and all the specs pointing to an enjoyable experience, did all the stars align to provide for an out-of-world subsonic experience? In fairness I might be overselling it a little there… its output is not quite the life-altering experience. But putting hyperbole aside, it’s certainly one exceptional performer. The output it provides is superbly controlled and accurate, and it delivers with a smoothness not often heard these days. This pertains primarily

to its motor design, of course; nonetheless we ought not to discount Polk’s expertise in finessing this equation. Any subwoofer can be designed to output enormous dollops of kinetic force. The MM1242 is deliberately designed not to rupture ear drums. Because of this it’s able to provide articulate deep details in your music you may not have noticed previously. From being able to handle the ultralow requirements of genres such as classical and jazz, through to the chest kicking demands of rock and techno, it handles each and every one of them without any hint of struggle or complaint.

CONCLUSION Overall the MM1242 is one very impressive subwoofer — perhaps not a great surprise given it’s effectively the evolution of an already battle-proven and highly awarded range. However there’s something about its performance — its subsonic pizzazz as it were — that’s nothing short of astounding.

POLK AUDIO MM1242 SUBWOOFER TYPE: 12” single voice coil subwoofer CONTINUOUS POWER HANDLING: 420 watts continuous, 1260 watts maximum FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 26Hz – 200Hz IMPEDANCE: single or dual four ohm COST: $359 CONTACT: Directed Electronics Australia on (03) 8331 4800 WEB: www.polkaudio.com.au • Exceptional pizzazz for the money • Usefully shallow mounting depth • Also marine certified! • No ‘buts’ at this price!

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titanic mounting depth. Dynamic regulation is assisted via a Conex spider which serves to work with the surround in keeping everything right where it should. Together these return a sensitivity of 87dB and frequency range of 26Hz–200Hz. All this hardware is contained within a non-corrosive fibreglass-reinforced ABS basket with a weight of only 4.8kg. This basket is also

home to the main portion of the cooling system, which begins with eight large perimeter intakes that are mesh covered and strategically positioned around the basket. These allow copious amounts of air to come into the motor, flowing a predicable trajectory around the outer edge of the voice coil and through the spider before returning through the inside of the voice coil gap along the inner walls for expulsion via the 20mm bellmouthed pole vent. This cooling system is quite efficient, allowing for a continuous power handling ability of 420 watts. Maximum power is stated at 1260 watts and while there is an extended back plate allowing for overruns in addition to that that suspension being most robust, I still don’t suggest you start testing this figure for extended periods of time. Just in case you’re tempted though, Polk has seen fit to incorporate a pair of 5A fuses into the motor design as a safety buffer.


RAINBOW

GERMANIUM GL-C6.2 TWO-WAY COMPONENT SPEAKERS

AUDITION

UNCOMPROMISED DESIGN. REVIEWER MARTY PRICE

Yes, the company is called Rainbow. Make your peace with it. In high-end car audio circles there are some eclectic brands that elect to remain modestly sized and out of the mainstream spotlight, and German manufacturer Rainbow is a perfect case study. “What’s its name again?” is something I hear ceaselessly. Yet this astute little prodigy has been designing, developing and (unlike many wholesalers) actually manufacturing its own high quality audio components for decades now, in the process firmly anchoring itself within the upper echelons of car audio worldwide.

WHAT NEXT? So a few years back, Rainbow’s head designer Paul Jelko was faced with a conundrum. What to actually design next? The Rainbow stable already held its bases covered with the entrylevel ‘Experience’ range, and above that what are arguably world’s best component speakers in the mighty ‘Reference’ series. What to do next when looking for a new challenge? The decision was taken to develop a brand new range that would sit pretty much dead centre of the two — and when I say ‘develop’ I don’t just mean a quick rehash of existing equipment with fresh new stickers. Those

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familiar with Rainbow will appreciate that this innovative master doesn’t shy away from a challenge, and Rainbow developed a completely new range, utilising afore-learned technologies and materials from ranges residing far above it. And the end result, named ‘Germanium’, stands head and shoulders above competing lines not only at its given market position but far higher too. The Germanium range features an abundance of components from component sets and subwoofers through to amplifiers. Speakerwise there are various sizes and flavours available in passive, semi-active or active configurations. Here we’ve opted to examine the most common of these configurations — the almost too straightforward two-way passive GL-C6.2 component set.

DRIVER BONDING The deceptively plain 166mm GL-W6 driver is not quite as elementary as first appearances suggest. Its cone has a fine-woven paper-pulp base, but reinforcing this and providing exceptional damping characteristics is a blackened aluminium layer molecularly bonded with the lower diaphragm, the combination providing an exceptional Young’s Modulus without saddling it with excessive weight. This allows

the aggregate cone to maintain its structural integrity even under the most challenging of kinetic demands. The centre of the cone is home to a carefully-shaped dust cap, which not only combats resonance but also serves to push the speaker’s output azimuth well forward of the piston face. Not to be outshone by the exotic cone, the top suspension features a specifically profiled butyl rubber ‘dual-M’ surround. These twin parabolic curves flex and move, varying distances depending on the drive’s linear movement, thus ensuring everything is kept within the strictest of alignments. Assisting this and forming the lower portion of the suspension is a non-progressive polycotton spider which, along with the flux, oversees carefully the linear movement of the motor within, and provides a sensitivity of 90dB. Unsurprisingly it’s not just any old motor either; far from it. Rainbow worked meticulously on the motor itself, the result being a 32mm Kapton former wrapped with a four-ohm copper voice coil, tuned by dual copper shorting rings. The first of these is embedded within the pole piece; the second has been placed within the confines of the magnet. Space and public interest won’t permit me to delve too deeply into the intricacies of this system —


suffice to say that these rings work to rectify the various issues posed by closed loops of electrical currents within the conductor, sometimes known as eddy or Foucault currents. These rings alter the magnetic field via Faraday’s law of induction, the result being a lower inductance and far less overall distortion. Turning the unit over reveals a magnetically inert die-cast aluminium frame, complete with four pairs of aerodynamically transparent webs which serve to hold the ferrite magnet firmly in place. Peppered liberally around the perimeter are numerous intake vents which allow for titanic gusts of cool air to be inhaled with each reciprocal movement. From there said zephyr travels over the voice coil and former, before being expelled via a 10mm pole vent, bell mouthed to ensure that no fluid dynamics issues rear their ugly head. This efficient cooling system allows the motor a continuous power handling of 120 watts. Likewise the suspension, despite having a very low fluid resonant frequency, is robust enough to handle the odd peak burst of double that. The motor also enjoys a high Q, making it ideal for automotive locales such as doors. Palladium-plated terminals are located upon one side between the web fingers, adjoining silver-coated conductors leading to the coil.

Likewise the cooling system is also a tad departed from the norm, with Rainbow electing to omit the standard ferro-fluid cooling methodology and instead run with an advanced fullyventilated multiple-pole air-cooling system that allows for a continuous power handling of 120 watts. This aspect along with the suspension is conducive to an exceptionally unrestricted movement leading to more natural sound, deeper resonant frequency and lower F3 point. These enable the driver to blend seamlessly with its bigger sibling.

CAPPING THE DEAL Speaking of seamlessly conjoining driver output, this is the domain of the crossovers. Beautifully handcrafted, they come housed in robust ABS cases finished with smoked black Perspex covers. Beneath the cover is an interior full of high quality goodies, such as MOX resistors and Mundorf capacitors, the latter working in conjunction with the low resistance air-core coils providing second order 12dB slopes centred on 2200Hz. Unlike many mid-range crossovers these units also feature phase correction, sometimes referred to as a impedance linearisation circuit; these

HIGH-END HIGHS

CONCLUSION

help to align the drivers electrically by altering the phase at certain points in order to ensure the sound from both arrives at to the listener simultaneously. Testament to Rainbow knowing a thing or two about crossover design is the quintuple point switching system allowing you to tune the tweeter attenuation perfectly to suit your application. And if you’re guilty of getting a little overzealous with the volume at times, rest assured Rainbow has incorporated twin protective circuits in the form of a PTC fuse, with a halogen bulb which will actually light up if you’re starting to encroach upon the circuit.

FITTING & LISTENING Installing the full component set is quite straightforward thanks to the modest mounting depth of 65mm and 20mm respectively, dimensions that’ll see them go happily into most modern cars. With components mounted and running in nicely via correlated pink noise, I rummaged through my music collection accumulating all sort of titles. I was super keen

Coming into land, then. Don’t be put off by the name — rocking up to your local audio competition proudly proclaiming your car is full of Rainbows might generate the odd snicker from folk less well informed. Trust me, though, when I promise you’ll have the last laugh. For one can’t happily return to audio mediocrity once speakers of this quality have been auditioned. Rainbow has long had a reputation for upstaging its competition — and the Germanium components highlight perfectly why this reputation is so well deserved.

RAINBOW GERMANIUM GL-C6.2 COMPONENT SPEAKERS TYPE: 6.5-inch & 1-inch component set CONTINUOUS POWER HANDLING: 120 watts continuous, 180 watts maximum FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 39Hz–30,000Hz IMPEDENCE: 4 ohm midrange / 4 ohm tweeter COST: $999 CONTACT: Dynamic Audio WEB: www.rainbow-audio.de/en • Top-notch performance at the price • Brilliant design and build • Only price – but worth it!

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Rainbow has cut no corners pertaining to the design of the GL-T26 tweeters either, utilising ideologies from numerous high-end design concepts to achieve its goal. The 26mm diaphragm is constructed from a base of silk that’s been coated with a clandestine chemical coating, and the dome profile optimally designed to provide superb off-axis response. Even the grille protecting this hasn’t escaped Rainbow’s attention, being designed with hexagonal perforations in order to remain as transparent as possible. Living beneath the dome is a motor featuring a similar copper shorting ring to the midrange which works on conjunction with the four-ohm voice coil wrapped tightly upon a thermally efficient aluminium former. Enshrouding this is a fastidiously designed neodymium magnet whose physical shape and position are such that it’s able to impress a substantial influence over the voice coil. The die-cast aluminium rear housing holding all this is no less the marvel. Back waves emanating from the diaphragm and their inherent turbulence can create serious issues for a tweeter attempting to reciprocate many thousands of times per second without distortion. Each reciprocal movement sees this cavitation create a choppy mess of compression and rarefaction waves that the proceeding cycle must withstand and overcome. In order to allay this, Rainbow designed an elaborate labyrinth within the backend, an almost aperiodic-like chamber lined with a specially-designed synthetic material. This labyrinth chamber hastily diminishes the energy of back waves, keeping them away from the underside of the dome.

to get into these drivers given my experience with Rainbow equipment hitherto. Within audio circles Rainbow has quite the reputation for sounding awesome straight out of the box with very little ado, and the Germaniums proved to extend this trend and then some. In reality when talking high-end speakers you hopefully don’t get bad ’uns, so to speak, nevertheless some do consume entire days before they sound good. Not these boys, though. Right from the get-go they’re quite something to experience. The midranges are very stout in their aural reproduction, punching not only with impressive accuracy but with real definition right down into the lower midbass regions, validating that combination of cone material and suspension design. The higher orders of sound are likewise remarkably precise. Whether you’re playing the normally shrill sound of violins, through to the crash of cymbals, the tweeters remain clinical, smooth and crystalclear to the point — they sound more akin to the real instrument than a mere mechanical diaphragm. The crossover is equally wellimplemented, guaranteeing that the drivers transition seamlessly in order to provide a harmoniously clean reproduction across the entire audible portion of their specified 39Hz– 30kHz frequency range. The overall linearity of the sound is simply beyond reproach.


TOP 10

STUNNERS from the Geneva International Motor Show 2018

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Images @gims.swiss


Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

1

Take the world’s most extreme road car and remove those tedious road-worthy rules – and the result is Aston Martin’s track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro, a car with the performance capabilities of a current Le Mans LMP1 prototype or Formula One car. It even has its own bespoke Top Trumps card (left)! – though full technical details are still to come. It boasts wider bodywork and much larger front and rear wing elements, and uses a lighter construction of carbon fibre so that it weighs 1000kg, but is capable of generating more than its own weight in downforce. Heater, de-mister, infotainment – all gone. Carbon-fibre suspension wishbones, moulded race seats and a lighter exhaust system – in. The result is a combined power over 1100bhp from the 6.5-litre naturally-aspirated V12 engine, capable of hitting 225mph. Just 25 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pros are to be built, for delivery in 2020, and we’re sure readers will be disappointed to find (as we did just as we were putting in our review request) that all 25 have already been sold. Don’t you hate that?

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2

McLaren Senna GTR

Poor old McLaren – it just can’t keep up with demand. Finding that all 500 units of its new Ultimate Series Senna had been sold before they’ve even been launched, the apologetic Brits had to soup it up even more and promise 75 of these spectacular Senna GTRs to be produced, each priced around (pinkies in mouth corner please) one million of their British pounds. Don’t be driving it down to the shops, however – this is a track-only incarnation with more power and torque than the road-legal Senna, and expected to post the fastest ever McLaren lap times outside Formula 1. They’ve even made a watch (or rather a McLaren Automatic Flyback Chronograph) to kinda match it, though curiously it looks like it’s been built out of Lego.

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3

Lamborghini Huracan Performante Spyder

Last year making its debut in shocking Jaffa orange, this year the Lambo Huracán Performante has lowered its roof and been transformed into the Spyder, and with higher performance, too — 35kg less weight and a few bonus horsepower, its 5.2-litre V10 delivering 640HP total. The rest stays the same as the hard-top, with the starter button and ANIMA drivingmode selector, that downforceenhancing rear wing, carbon-ceramic brakes and 20-inch wheels. But with the top down, we reckon the ride is going to be even noisier now…

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4

Ferrari 488 Pista

Not a GTO, in the end, then, Ferrari’s Geneva-unveiled 488 road car has been suffixed ‘Pista’ (meaning ‘track’ in Italian), an indication of its track-worthy performance of 0-100 in 2.85 seconds and 0-200kmh in 7.6 seconds, thanks to an engine derived from its 488 Challenge race car. Indeed this is the most powerful V8 Ferrari engine ever fitted to a road-going Ferrari, delivering 711 bhp of peak power and 770 Nm of peak torque, using new twin turbochargers.

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Morgan Aero GT

5

Want one? (We do.) Well you can’t have it. Only eight of these magnificent £120,000 “gloves off” variant of the Aero 8, the raceinspired Aero GT, will ever be produced, and they’re all spoken for! It’s a run that’s marking the end of Aero 8 production at Morgan’s Pickersleigh Road factory at the foot of Worcestershire’s rolling Malvern Hills in the UK, and each will be individually tailored to reflect the customer’s personal specification. The Aero GT features manual transmission and the Morgan N62 V8 engine, the final Morgan models to feature this naturally aspirated V8 along with the Plus 8 50th Anniversary model that was also revealed at Geneva.

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6 Farewell, then, 6 Series, the 8 Series is taking over atop BMW’s pile, and even before its full launch BMW was showing off this concept four-door Gran Coupé, which is “unmistakably taking luxury out of its comfort zone”, according the company’s marketing engine, retaining the hallmark M gills, goldcoloured brakes, wheel rims and M twin exhaust tailpipes, delivered here in a curious ‘Salève Vert’ paint finish. It’ll offer upwards of 600bhp in fourwheel drive to its 19-inchers, adapting the M5’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 and eight-speed auto gearbox.

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BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupé


Corbellati Missile 1800hp

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“Our intentions: being the fastest in the world” says family jewellery firm Corbellati rather less than humbly as it dives into the world of hypercars with this V8 9-litre bi-turbo baby backed by 1800 horsepower and 2350Nm of torque, its carbon-fibre chassis aiming for such low drag (and the necessary down force) to reach and exceed 500km/h. Assuming you get there without running out of gas, you’ll be then trusting to the braking system of carbo-ceramic discs to slow the 20-inch 265/35 tyres at the front and 345/30 at the rear – assuming they survived the ride. Next stop Monaco…

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8

Jaguar I-Pace

Geneva was, of course, stacked with EVs out to prove that electric doesn’t mean a milk float, and few of these hit the desirability of Jaguar’s I-Pace, which is to be built in Austria as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing partnership with Magna Steyr. It’s no fizzer in the performance stakes thanks to a state-of-the-art 90kWh battery achieving a range of 480km, 80% charge in 40 minutes, and decidedly un-milk-float sports performance of 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds. UK price will be £63,495.

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Goodyear Oxygene

Living tyres? Goodyear’s concept tyre has living moss within the sidewall, a smart tread design circulating moisture and water from the road while the moss inhales CO2 from the air, releasing oxygen via photosynthesis. It’s green in other ways, with non-pneumatic construction 3D-printed with rubber powder from

recycled tyres, and “harvesting the energy generated during photosynthesis” to power its onboard sensors, artificial intelligence processing, even a customisable light strip in the sidewall that switches colours when lane changing or braking. And of course it’s connected, using LiFi (visible light communication) for the

9

vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-toinfrastructure (V2I) data exchange critical to smart mobility management systems. Though quite why your tyre needs to share, we ain’t entirely sure. But after all, it’s a concept design “meant to challenge our thinking” rather than actually sell (yet). Jean Michel Jarre must be proud.

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10 Dutch engineering, Italian styling… and anyway, who cares how it looks when this is an honestto-Betsy freakin’ flying car! The world’s first flying production model, indeed, compliant with existing European and American regulations for both flying and driving, and available for order now ($400,000 with a non-refundable $10,000 deposit). The limited ‘Pioneer’ Edition will have only 90 vehicles made for delivery in 2019, after which PAL-V will start the delivery of this Liberty Sports model on show at Geneva, which has two seats up front in almost like a speed-boat orientation, while the ‘car’ uses separate engines for road and air, and a gyroplane rotor system for lift. Doesn’t it make you just hum Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

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PAL-V Liberty flying car


TROUSER FLAPPING BASS FROM UNDER YOUR SEAT

The word Euphoria conjures up images of a blissful and serene state, but in the case of our db Drive Euphoria EPS8 Subwoofer serenity is not what is first to cross your mind. Unless of course your definition of bliss is listening to your favourite tunes with real punchy bass. The EPS8 is a dynamically powerful subwoofer, which delivers true trouser flapping bass when you need it - all in a compact unit that sits comfortably under your seat.

FEATURES INCLUDE: 550 watts of Dynamic Power · Dual passive radiators for added bass · Adjustable input sensitivity · Low level RCA inputs · High level inputs · audio sensing remote turn on · Protection circuitry · P.W.M. MOSFET power supply and much more

/dbd riveaus&n z

Pl e a s e s e e o u r w e b si t e f o r m o r e d e t a i l s w w w. d b d r i ve . c o m . a u o r c a l l 0 2 9 482 4444


Australian Incar #1-2018  

12V Tech, Tests & Techniques

Australian Incar #1-2018  

12V Tech, Tests & Techniques