Last Post For A Legend
Trevor Trevett has been a DJ since 1983 and his need to surround himself with high quality music at all times has led him to have quite a system put into his car. In this article, we investigate how the system was created.
Trevor likes driving nice cars. He admits to having an interest that goes way beyond a passion and bowls on towards an obsession that has cost him lots of money over his lifetime. Unlike many who upgrade their audio (something Trevor has done since he owned a Ford Capri in the 80’s), when I asked him about standard fit systems he suggested that he didn't hate them, but felt that most lack dynamics and sound “plain” – Of course, we would, and often do go much further than this in our description of standard systems in cars!
Trevor completely embraces the entrepreneurial spirit of the eighties and was running his own business at the tender age of 19 years old. The business in question was a general store selling non-perishable goods and products that would now be more at home in a chemist. Along the way, he was DJ’ing as a hobby but not necessarily to supplement his income but because he thoroughly enjoyed entertaining. He was heavily influenced by his own clubbing days in the late 70’s and a lot of the funk and soul music of his youth still turns up on his decks today, but he is experienced enough to know how to read his audience and select music guaranteed to get them going!
I was quite surprised to hear that Trevor is a life-long James Last fan. A fact that was revealed as the news headline on the day I met him, announced the passing of the great musical impresario. Trevor’s interest went back to his early days of listening when his James Last easy listening collection sat alongside T. Rex, Slade, Mud and Sweet during Trevor’s formative years.
A BMW M5 has always been on Trevor’s wish list even though he had previously owned an Aston Martin DB9. For the M5, he wanted to take the audio to new levels of fidelity and took it to FOUR MASTER Highdown, in Worthing to receive the expert opinion of an old friend of this magazine, Jeremy Owen. Jeremy is a demon system designer and persuaded Trevor that he needed some high definition audio in his life. It was, therefore, decided that Trevor should consider a full digital system designed around the bit Play HD music source from Audison. To accompany this exciting entrée, Jeremy prepared a main course of Audison Voce amplifiers (AV 5.1K and AV Quattro) along with a set of 2-way Voce’s up front with the addition of a Hertz Mille Legend ML 700 3” mid and two 12” Voce subs in a custom enclosure in the boot. An Audison bit One processor handles the shaping and time alignment of the sound and passes signal onwards to the amplifiers still in digital form.
Looking at the installation I was initially quite scared of the manic stare produced by the two 12” subwoofers that suggested a youthful over emphasis in the low-end. I know what just one of these babies can do, but two!
It was clear that Trevor liked his bass and he confirmed this to me during audition. As Trevor listens a lot to a PA system during DJ’ing duties for the rich and famous, this has become his reference. Along with powerful low bass, Trevor prefers dominant high frequencies and is less obsessed than most with mid-bass. This is slightly unusual but as stated many times before, personal taste of the owner is the absolute priority when designing a sound system.
On listening to the system initially, I have to say that I found it lacked dynamics almost as if we were listening to MP3’s then Trevor said; “Hang on. We’re listening to MP3’s!” (Phew, the old lug ‘oles are still working then!) We slipped a CD into the standard BMW head unit and proper listening was resumed. As regular readers will know I am a big fan of Voce’s. The relaxed and highly musical sound coupled with razor-sharp articulation offer the best of all worlds in my opinion and these attributes were clearly evident in this system. I was however, a little perplexed as to why the image was playing a little “lefty” and maybe a bit lower than ear height – These are relatively small issues but for a system of this sophistication and knowing the equipment as well as I do, it was clear that the system had been set for Trevor’s specific tastes. I reached for the Audison DRC controller, which can be used to control some of the top-line settings on the bit One processor including selection between four possible settings and my thoughts were confirmed. But as well as the set up, it was clear that there was some rear-fill coming from the rear passenger doors. This, I was later told, was fed from the full-range centre channel of the factory system and was causing what I felt were odd anomalies with the sound stage. This had been specified by Trevor himself and it is not for me to criticise however, I would say that I prefer my music to all come from up front but then, I am not one of the busiest men on the Brighton DJ scene!
Once I properly understood how the system was configured and my brain had become accustomed to the sound stage, we listened and listened and listened and I would still be listening now if the photographer had not been keen to get home before his bedtime! – Trevor really struggled with my concept of a Top Five favourite driving sounds, as do many others, and opted to not submit one so instead, I have listed the tracks which I felt worked best during the audition of this car. First up was Hey Now by London Grammar. This highly atmospheric track is difficult to reproduce in a car as it is as much about the space as it is about the sounds. One of the key elements however, is the low bass that got the two 12’s in this car really excited proving once more, you don't need high tempo to create truly energetic sound. I play the track in my car on occasion but fail to get anything like the bass articulation that the Voce 12’s managed. The openness in the composition and arrangement were stunning making the interior of the car sound like a concert hall or perhaps more like an abandoned wharf-side warehouse. The track reaches a crescendo and then a quite swift diminuendo to its final sweet-voiced conclusion with the long reverb decay on the final sung note seeming to last forever. Try this track in your own car, if it doesn’t make you immediately want to call your partner and suggest a “quiet night in”, your system may require a bit of work!
Unfortunately, I only managed the briefest of listens of HD music as the bit Play HD was suffering from some odd behaviour. This has since been rectified with a major firmware upgrade from Audison. One of the risks of adopting a technology so early in its development is that these things can happen and we all owe early adopters a hugely doffed cap for their commitment. It is this initial feedback that makes some products become great and I am thrilled to say that Trevor has done us all proud in this respect. I know this as I have now listened to flawless high definition music streamed from bit Play HD on many occasions and in many cars and it works just fine! One of the tracks that did work however was Led Zeppelin’s Heartbreaker. The solo guitar seemed to almost rip the cones from the mid range speakers such was the attack and the recorded valve amplifier buzz was extremely obvious. I really enjoy hearing such “features” in old recordings as they underline the humanity of the moment when it was recorded. I was quite surprised about the guitar however, as it suggested a much greater presence of mid range than I had anticipated when listening to other tracks albeit 16 bit, 44.1kHz rather than 24 bit, 96kHz. The track played on with the reintroduction of the rest of the band, following the solo, hitting me like a dramatic thunderstorm. I was once again smiling from ear to ear as I fed more CD-based music into the CD player. Each one offering a tiny element of new discovery as the Voce amplifiers and speakers worked in perfect harmony to reveal the space within the music. The experience was truly stunning.
Unfortunately, Trevor has now sold this car as his need for speed has led him once again to an Aston Martin. The system went with the BMW, so whoever purchased it is presumably even now marvelling that a car can sound that good. It would be really interesting to meet with the new owner and find out what they think about this monster of a system that they had no part in specifying! – If you are reading this, do please get in touch!
As for Trevor, I have not managed to catch up with him since I met him in the summer of 2015 and I know he had no plans to upgrade the audio in his new Aston Martin and was even quite enthused about experiencing the factory fitted Bang and Olufsen system that comes with that particular model. I doubt it will come close to the fabulous Audison system in his ex-BMW though.
Top Five Tunes
Hey Now – London Grammar
Heartbreaker – Led Zeppelin
Lucille (Has Messed My Mind Up) – Frank Zappa
Rolling In The Deep – Adele
Love Bird – James Last
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