Car Audio & ICE Installs:
Possibly the most expensive modding job you can do on your car is the ICE Install. Basically, it's down to the budget you have and what you want from the system. In car entertainment includes everything from head units to sub woofers and DVD to games consoles like the X-Box. If you spend a great deal of time in your car, cruising or going to shows then your ICE install will probably be the last, all important modding job. If you're just starting to plan your ICE install here's a few tips on how to get the best out of your money.The Basic of ICE: Car Head Units:
The head unit lets you control the sound, choose the track & how loud it goes.It may sound a bit obvious but pick a head unit that looks good and has the features you want. The head unit is the centre of your I.C.E system. Most head units are a combination of Radio and either CD, Cassette, MiniDisc or DVD player. Although easier said than done, it's a good idea to spend a fair amount on the head unit because it will be of better quality and will be more feature packed, allowing you to upgrade your sound system easier in the future. Try to choose a head unit with at least 2 pre-outs as this will allow you to connect extras, such as an amplifier later on. Also make sure the model you choose has some sort of anti-theft device. The most common being the removable faceplate, this will prove very unattractive to thieves. It's difficult to choose one that isn't cool as manufacturers are all knocking out head units that ooze KEWL some even have customisable graphic displays. Another option is to go for a super DVD screen which is always a wicked thing to have, they are expensive but well worth the level of respect you get for having one, plus there's the added bonus of being able to watch movies in your car.Cabling:
Good quality cabling is essential when building a sound system and is an area which is very often overlooked. Faulty or cheap wiring causes glitches in the sound such as buzzing which can ruin an ICE system. However this can be easily prevented by using quality cabling. Ensuring the lay out of decent power, earth, speaker and shielded RCA cables will not allow these problems to occur.Multi-Changers:
Multiple DVD or CD unit that allows you to have from six - ten disks in your car. A multi-changer is a separate unit which holds a number of either CDs or MiniDiscs. It's connected to and is controlled by the head unit. Changers are especially handy if you are wanting two types of music format. For example you could have a cassette head unit linked to a CD Changer, allowing you to play both cassettes and CDs. They also mean you don't have to swap CDs whilst driving. Just load the magazine with your favourite CD's before you set off. Multi-changers can be mounted in a number of locations. The most popular locations being in the boot, in the glovebox or under the passenger seat. Basically just hide the unit away from prying eyes.Amplifier:
Makes the sound generated by the head unit louder & re-routes sound to the various speakers. There are so many amps available that picking the right one to power your system can be baffling. Generally the idea is to match the amp's RMS power output with the component's RMS power output. For example if you want to run 2 subs with each one having a RMS power output of 300W, then an ideal amp to run these subs efficiently would be a 2 X 300W (RMS). The 2 stands for the number of channels that the amp has. A good idea is to buy an amp with as many features as possible as this will help as your sound system progresses. Such features include adjustable crossovers, multi-channel operation, bass boosts, high/low pass filtering, etc. If in doubt, ask Frozen Audio
what they would recommend. Tweeter:
Speaker that handles the higher end of the sound range, like vocals for example. These produce 'high end' frequency sounds and there are 2 types; cone and dome tweeters. The cone ones are cheaper as they are made out of cheaper materials. Dome tweeters cost more but they are made up of more advanced materials and due to this, the sound quality is much better too than cone tweeters. A popular location to mount these tiny speakers is the dash.Woofer:
Speaker that handles the lower end of sound including Bass. Sub Woofer:
If you are wanting some bass in your car you will need to purchase a subwoofer. There are 2 types of subs, these are enclosed and free-air subs. Free-air subs are usually mounted on an MDF parcel shelf and work by using the car's boot space as an enclosure. Enclosed subs are subs which are mounted in a sealed box. These boxes vary in shape and size and some are even ported, this provides longer, deeper bass. The size of the sub you choose depends on what type of music you listen to. Generally small subs (10") suit tight and punchy baselines, where large subs(15") suit long and deep baselines. Whereas 12" subs provide a bit of both. Another option is to buy an active sub which is an enclosed sub with a built in amplifier. These take away the hassle of finding a suitable amp for your sub.Car Speakers:
There are loads of car speakers to choose from. Many of the more well known manufacturers have a selection of different price bands so you can tailor the install to meet your budget. But it's not just how good a speaker sounds, it's how good it looks, both in terms of the overall design and the colour. More manufacturers have been concentrating on how to make their speakers look great from all angles including the speaker cone, body and more importantly the frame. Exposing the back end of a speaker has become more popular with ICE installs so if you're going to do this then you want a kewl back end. When buying speakers it's important to pick ones which suit the type of music you listen to. Decent I.C.E dealers will let you do this. Speakers come in all shapes and sizes but the most common types are Co-axials, Tri-axials and Components. Co-axials/Two-ways are designed to reproduce a full range of sound. They are made up of an integrated woofer and a tweeter, which is positioned in the middle. Tri-axials/Three-ways are like two-ways but also incorporate a third speaker for the mid-range frequencies. Four-ways contain two mid-range speakers. Components usually come as a pair of woofer speakers and a pair of separate tweeters. They come with a pair of crossovers which send the correct frequencies to the correct components. In comparison, components offer the best quality sound but they also cost more as well.Door Builds:
You can really go mad with a door build. So long as the speakers have a secure mounting there's almost no limit to what you can do. With a fibre glass door build you can have almost any shape you can imagine and colour code it to match the rest of your ICE, its harder than just replacing your door speakers but well worth the effort.Car Audio Extras:
If your desire is to make a BIG impact with your ICE install then all the other components can be made a feature. Power caps, crossovers, graphic equalisers etc can all be incorporated to improve the look of your ICE. Give it some thought and get them out in the open. ICE Install Materials:
Your choice of material can make or break your ICE install. The standard black cloth looks ok but it's not going to win any awards. There are loads of materials that you can use to make your ICE a little bit different. Fibreglass, Carbon Fibre, Metal and Perspex are just a few suggestions. Check out Frozen audio for possibles. Hopefully you now have some idea of how you want to present your ICE. Look for inspiration around the car shows, meets and cruises or in Magazines like REDLINE. They usually have a feature car with an ICE install you can get ideas from but don't copy outright, there's nothing more annoying to show up at a show to find someone has the same ICE as you. Planning your ICE Install:
Deciding on your ICE Install depends on two things.
Budget - How much are you prepared to spend?
Available space - How much interior space you want your ICE to have.
It's all about the end product. If you want to replace your head unit & current speakers then obviously this isn't going to cost as much as a full blown custom boot installation. But it's the boot installation that will do the business, even if it does mean losing a vast amount of load capacity. Something to consider if you have a family or if you use your car for work. If you want to add a games console & TFT screens to the install then there's even more to consider. Where are the screens going to go? Where are you going to mount the games console? What about the power requirements? All these questions have to be answered before you start to strip out the interior of your car.
Make a List
Start off by looking around ICE shops.
Decide on the amount of space.
Make sketches on how you want your install to end up.
Once you've considered all the options you can start your install. Alternatively you can get a professional ICE installation company to do the whole lot - Check the sponsers page for more