This feature is about a busy man who, in order to strike a life work balance, has invested in a VW T5 which he uses regularly as a family getaway vehicle. Most weekends, Craig Beck will take his family to UK destinations. Comfort is everything and no stone has been left unturned.
There is no end to the modifications that have taken place in this vehicle but in this story we confine ourselves largely to those carried out by FOUR MASTER, Source Sounds in Sheffield. Naturally the first thing that has to be done in a panel van is to treat every floppy piece of metal that can be accessed with Skinz Expert sound deadening. The effect of this is dramatic and changes the internal acoustic from noisy and commercial vehicle like to luxury vehicle. If nothing else was done to the vehicle, the addition of liberal amounts of Skinz Expert is well worth the effort and the relatively low cost. However, as the saying goes "you cannot polish a pigs ear!" (I think that's how it goes!). And there is no way around the fact that Mr. and Mrs. VW build superb vans with fantastically round wheels and strong engines, but then ruin them by fitting dreadful speakers and head units.
Music is an important feature of this vehicle as it helps Craig and family to get in the mood for their frequent forays into the countryside and so, he briefed Paul at Source to put a lavish audio system in the vehicle. The interior is vast and this was reflected in the scope of the install. Source installed two Hertz HDP 5, 5-channel amplifiers. One of these uses bridged channels to drive a pair of Hertz High Energy HSK 165, 2-way component speakers whilst the dedicated subwoofer channel drives a Hertz Energy ES 200.5, 8" subwoofer in a custom enclosure mounted way down the back of the vehicle. Another one of these is driven from the subwoofer channel of the second HDP 5. The other four channels are divided up between a pair of Hertz Energy ESX 130, 5" coaxials behind the rear passenger seats and a pair of Hertz High Energy HCX 165, 6.5" coaxials mounted in the tailgate.
On paper, given the amount of open air in the vehicle, the system design sounds beset with phase and time alignment issues. However, at the hands of one of the nation's finest installers the system sounds great, which is a miracle given the lack of signal processing available. The balance between subs and front-end is particularly impressive and the rear speakers did not interfere with the huge front soundstage. Testament to Paul's understanding of the importance of carefully balancing levels to the separate components of the system.
Craig and family are big fans of popular music from the "hit parade", and the "Now 94" album left in the head unit sounded great. Of course, it is vital that when reviewing such a system, that music with similar energy and purpose is used. This was dutifully done and you can read the results in the forthcoming issue of Driving Sounds Magazine.