|good ol' Dark Star|
Sound Bar Experiment
Sunshade to Shelf). That little shelf gets a ton of use. When we drive, our phones, and glasses go there. I have a couple surgical masks up there in case of forest fire smoke. We keep the cords for charging our phones there. When we camp, we use that aluminum lip for clipping the front privacy / sunshade. Super handy. It has about 2-1/2 inches of height, so putting even basic tweeters up there would be difficult. Arguably, I could install speakers into the shelf so they point down (and I still might do that), but I wanted to try something less destructive first. C's sound-bar idea sounded like a great one. He recommended getting one from Goodwill, and I would have done that if I knew I could get one that (a) worked and (b) had all of its related cords. So, I bought one of these at AZN instead. For $35US, it was a viable experiment, and if the experiment was a bust the speaker could be used on our back deck.
We found that we could not drive enough source volume into the sound bar through the 3.5mm wire/plug input. We used an old MP3 player and then an iPhone that way. Max volume still wasn't loud enough, but there was no distortion. When we used blue-tooth, though, it was totally loud enough to hear. In fact, it was in this arrangement that we drove home from Eugene after JRAD (See JRAD - Eugene Road Report). We used the speaker for lot-sounds at 4Peaks as well. If the sound enveloped us more, I would have stopped right there. After Oliver, I was spoiled and wanted music at least as full as GratefulEd has in Belle.
Plan for Surround Sound
Remember the speaker spot in the dash that faces upwards? I believe I can fit a pair of small (3-1/2") speakers in there, but I think I'm going to hold off on that for this first round. I would like to see how the basic 4-speaker system works first.
For the rear speakers, I was at a loss. The real estate anywhere around the bed is basically consumed. Boo and I need all of that low space for ourselves. The head-space is open and unimpeded, perfect for when you sit up or when you are going to bed. I don't want a speaker there. So, we get out of the box for the definition of "rear".... I got a pair of 6x9 speaker boxes and loaded them with speakers. This will force the wiring for the speakers to be a little more free than your more typical install. While driving, the speakers will sit under the middle-row / lot couch or on top of our camping stuff. I could use velcro to hold them in place; I'll let the driving experiments drive to that, if needed. Once we're parked, the speakers will have enough wire to move up to the pop-top or outside the bus.
Thump Thump Thump
One of the things that I thought about when I did the stereo in Oliver was the portability of the custom speaker box and amplifier. So, part of the plan for Hapy will include speaker wiring for a possible sub-woofer as well as thought around how to run the speaker wires at the head unit so I could swap the amplifier in without having to re-wire everything. This meant that the head unit needed to have greater output capability than the unit I put in Oliver, since it will probably, most often, be running without the amplifier and sub. I surmise that simply because moving the amp and speaker box will take effort, and sometimes that little extra thing is just one thing too many. So, for a head unit, I got another Sony (MEX-XB120BT, this time) which puts out 45W per channel. It also has 5V outputs for an amp, which aligns with the amp-outs from Oliver's head unit (Sony MEX-M70BT). This should support the portability I was aiming for while supporting some solid sound when I do not have an amp.
With a pile of parts (front speakers, rear speakers, 6x9 speaker boxes, a head unit and a big spool of 14ga speaker wire, I felt ready to start. As with any interesting post, this got long, so I'll stop here and pick it up next time.
Thanks, as always for following along--