The world of car audio equipment sure has come quite a long way since the days of the fold-down 45-rpm record players. These days, thanks to the futuristic advancements of all things iPod (or any number of handheld MP3 players), you can listen to your favorite music in your hot rod or custom without the use of a traditional head unit (stereo). That's right-no bulky radio that you'd normally have to cram in your glovebox or hide beneath the seat facing backward.

But while new developments in mobile electronics continue at a pace almost as quick as the speed of sound, it seems one facet of the automotive industry has struggled to keep tempo-ours! Sadly, car audio is usually last on the list when it comes to a new project build, or as part of a hot rod or custom at all for that matter. With the exception of the serious audiophiles among us, sound systems often end up becoming an afterthought-typically, a cheap head unit put wherever requires the least amount of effort, and an even cheaper pair of speakers. For all it's worth (literally), if this sounds like your MO, you're better off foregoing the stereo system altogether.

Aside from the budget aspect, what a lot of us can't afford when it comes to a sound system is "space". With a smaller hot rod, there's simply not enough room for all the equipment-at least not if you want a decent setup that is capable of making the quality of noise necessary to compete with your engine's audible output. (That's the thing, most of the cars we drive are not really built to separate driver from exterior noise quite like new automobiles are-so in order to actually hear music, it has to come from a rather powerful source, otherwise, it'll be all distorted.) Still, no matter how well you insulate and sound-deaden your car, you've got a battle with locating stereo equipment.

Well, as the iPod has matured, so too has the ability to incorporate it with the automobile-including hot rods and customs. Nowadays, things have become so advanced and simplified, that you don't even need a traditional stereo (head unit) in order to enjoy quality music while driving, thanks to a little pre-amp device from V8Audio-their VC1 four-channel audio controller-combined with an iPod interface such as SoundGate's Core integration device and a compact yet powerful multi-channel amplifier like Kicker's ZX550.3 420-watt unit (coupled with their QS60.2 component speaker system). With the exception of the speakers (and maybe the VC1 controller, depending on your accessibility preferences), you can literally put all of the above beneath your seat, making it a perfect setup for even the smallest hot rod with cramped quarters. For a larger interior compartment, however, you'll have the room to branch out if need be-but the bottom line is, you'll get top-of-the-line audio performance with a minimal amount of componentry to install ... namely the head unit!

In a nutshell, the SoundGate kit allows you to operate your iPod through most any factory/aftermarket stereo and charge it at the same time; the V8Audio VC1 eliminates the need for aforementioned stereo, plus boosts the frequency of your iPod, thus providing the quality stereo sound; and the Kicker amplifier does just what its name implies: amplifies. All together, they provide the perfect means to equipping any old car with modern tunes, plain ... and simple!

SOURCE
Kicker Stillwater Designs
3100 N Husband
Stillwater
OK  74075
800-256-5425
www.kicker.com
Soundgate
Stillwater
OK
www.soundgate.com
Audio Shoppe
Riverside
CA
951-787-0550
www.audioshoppe.com
V8Audio
N/A
CA
www.v8audio.net