The Directors of Car Audio Masters understand the importance of offering specialised installer training and technical development in the 12 volt specialist industry is more relevant now than ever.
With the complexity of the 12volt automotive systems, the need to keep a high standard of installation integrity with the required skill set when working on new vehicles is paramount and this type of training allows CAM technicians to be hands on with the latest technology and diagnostic tools. All this is necessary when installing any aftermarket audio system or electrical components to a modern day vehicle.
With the ‘Big Box’ retailers throughout the retail world finding it even more difficult to make the car audio segment a viable category it will be up to the SPECIALIST car audio store to have technicians with the passion and knowledge to make these audio and visual upgrades possible.
It is Car Audio Masters (CAM) goal to move forward in partnership with world’s best industry trainer’s like Bryan Schmitt from Mobile Solutions in Phoenix Arizona to hone CAM member’s skills.
Bryan is a qualified MECP master technician from the U.S.A with many years’ experience in training within the 12volt industry. Bryan is at the forefront when it comes to the installation techniques, audio tuning and audio integration. He has industry contacts with the leading suppliers of Audio integration products from companies like Audison, and Rockford Fosgate. These key relationships help assist Bryan in this ever changing industry, allowing him to teach the attendees about the latest solutions available.
After the huge success of CAM’s 2011 installer training courses the challenge of organising and running a 2012 CAM Mobile Solution Installer Boot Camp was virtually assured and the three venues required to service over 85 CAM members throughout Australia were chosen.
The first of these boot camps was held at Maroochy Car Sound on the sunshine coast Queensland over a three day period then duplicated in Melbourne at AZ Trading (the Australian headquarters for Rockford Fosgate) four days later. Grateful thanks go out to the guys at AZ for making their superb venue available for CAM to use for the Victorian training course. The final course was held the following week over in Perth, Western Australia at Alberts Car Stereo- Myaree.
The day kicked off strong with the morning session focussing on Subwoofer Enclosure Design, looking into the benefits of constructing the correct subwoofer enclosure, understanding subwoofer specifications and how to get the best result for our customer.
Attendees looked at the subwoofer theory and the most advanced subwoofer programs such as TERM PRO and the benefits in using programs like this.
Topics covered were “EBP” (Efficiency Bandwidth Product), understanding the subwoofers free air resonance and using this figure with the electrical ‘Qes’ of the subwoofer. This equation and theory will help technicians choose the right subwoofer for the customer. Understanding these formulas allows them to work out the best enclosure for the subwoofer and whether it will be suited to a sealed or vented enclosure.
Subwoofer optimisation was discussed. This involved selecting the best location in a vehicle for the subwoofer, the process involved to achieve this result and why this is important before beginning an installation. Attendees explored the different tuning frequencies and impedance that a subwoofer has when it is in use and the effect this has on the operation of an amplifier. All this information is the key to producing a better outcome for the customer.
In the afternoon session Bryan was in full swing with Router techniques using Mobile Solutions smart templates and how the simple process on how to construct a perfect circle. This also involved learning how to press out speaker grills by building a jig using the router and then a hydraulic press to stamp out a custom grill, a very cool operation!!
Then it was onto making a fibreglass demo. This was done by using a VW GTI to construct a side mounted rear enclosure. Bryan Schmitt went through the stages of how to ‘prep’ the vehicle and via a step by step process used special techniques (which he had developed and refined over years of experience) to show attendees how to achieve a great result every time.
With ‘day one’ gone all attendees were very keen to get into ‘day two’.
Bryan was going to be more hands that day with a back to back live demonstration. The morning session started with the Fukuda Jig. This special tool is a ‘must have’ for any technician who wants to produce a perfect fit dash trim. Different router techniques using ABS plastics were also demonstrated.
Attendees saw techniques and products used to bond acrylics and ABS plastics together as well as looking at different results that can be achieved when using various styles of router bits plus the process behind sanding and buffing acrylic to create a glass like result. All of this process can be completed in a very short time frame. Bryan completed a small project using plexiglass/acrylic by applying a special film to his business logo and creating a professional result in front of our eyes. It was an amazing result in such a short time.
The wood grain paint demo was one of those processes that totally amazed attendees. The fantastic process that achieved such an outstanding result with minimal products was unbelievable. It would be the type of installation technique that would complement a system in a Mercedes Benz or any luxury vehicle.
By now Bryan was ‘on a roll’. Going straight into a centre console application he demonstrated that the unique feature of this project was to produce a curved top to create that ‘console’ shape and a very cool technique and process was used to achieve this. An ‘adjustable curve’ was used to create the console shape, by using a Rabbet bit to rebate the curved section into the side trims of the console.
Bryan took the router demonstration to a whole new level when he constructed a 3D router Jig used to demonstrate a complex Dash fascia. This type of jig could be applied to many applications and made the class think of all the different trims and panels that this method could be used for. Again, Bryan completed this project with a very professional result in a very short time and his dash trim was ninety precent completed using this custom made 3D router jig.
Attendees were soon onto the next project. The next module also utilised the router and upholstery techniques to create rebated slots into a MDF trim. These rebated slots allowed Bryan to cut the carpet and inlay it into these slots, creating a more visually appealing trim by using contrasting carpet colours.
The last project for the day was the construction of a trim which utilised various router techniques using again the Mobile Solutions router smart templates. By adding or stacking some shapes on top of this panel Bryan was able to give this trim some dimension. The main part of the trim was wrapped in carpet. The feature trim (which could be either a speaker grill or amplifier cover) was trimmed in grey vinyl. This custom made mesh trim was a great finishing touch to this custom made panel.
This was a ‘non-stop’ day and each project that Bryan produced taught new unique skills, techniques, processes and ‘tricks of the trade’ to achieve some very outstanding results.
The final day was upon us and this was based around audio integration with the unveiling of the highly anticipated Rockford Fosgate Three Sixty.3 processor (only one of the 12 prototypes in the world).
Bryan correctly referred to car Franchise Dealer’s workshops as the only other reference point and ‘bench mark’ that customers have as a comparison so their subsequent expectations of the ‘car audio’ workshop standard is governed by that presumption. CAM members need to know the importance this has on their business and should lift the quality of their workshops to at least match the high quality of work that specialists should all aspire to be noted for.
Bryan also spent time explaining the options and solutions that are available and the challenges that are faced when dealing with MOST and CAN BUS wiring which is now becoming quite a common wiring platform throughout many new cars. This knowledge and understanding is a major advantage for all technicians that attended these training courses.
The remainder of the day was devoted to the Rockford Fosgate Three Sixty.3 processor and the Graphical User Interface (or the ‘GUI’).
This processor was very intuitive and very flexible and has been in the development and testing stage for some time. It was good to see that so much time has been spent making sure it ticked all the boxes.
It was great to see that the Rockford engineers even went to the trouble of making the bass and source knob flexible in its functions. All of these adjustments can be configured in the ‘GUI’ so this allows it to suit any installation application or customer’s personal preference.
The new Three sixty.3 also offers an out- board Bluetooth dongle which makes this piece a little more future proof and easier to perform Bluetooth upgrades if they are required. Bryan spent some time going through the operation and different ways that the Three Sixty.3 can be configured which has given all attendee CAM technicians’ valuable understanding of this unique product.
This is one of those ‘must have’ devices for the specialist, especially if you have a vehicle that has an integrated dash. The Three Sixty.3 provides the gateway to expand and the ability to achieve the ultimate system.
The second part of the final day, covered topics such as advance tuning and how to evaluate crest factors. Trouble shooting noise issues was also covered with new and faster techniques to address and overcome these challenges. Time was spent on the automotive charging system determining the system’s current draw. The big plus is that attendees were able to use a vehicle for a live demonstration to evaluate the battery condition and to work out how much current is available.
Bryan showed us a live demonstration of how we can prevent an amplifier from clipping and he broke this down into a step by step process showing how to set the gains and match the levels by using an oscilloscope and a distortion detection meter to maximise an audio systems output. Again these processes that were shown have all given attendees a better skill set to produce better sounding systems and a superior outcome for the customer.
This type of specialist training has been made available only to Car Audio Masters members so that any of the CAM specialist dealers throughout Australia have the capacity to provide a CAM qualified technician with the correct knowledge ready to work on your vehicle.
Look for a CAM member near you and ask for a ‘CAM trained’ qualified technician to work on your car.