2021 State of the MECA Sound Quality League Letter to the Industry

GOODLETTSVILLE, TN (01.14.2021) – I’d like to take a couple of minutes to praise and publicly thank all the good people who have participated in our Sound Quality League contests these past 22 years. This includes the Competitors, Teams, Judges, R&E Members, Retail Members, Manufacturer Members, and Fans. What we do with our vehicles and equipment is extraordinary, I believe, as we pursue the purest, most realistic music re-creations, enjoyed as we roll down the road. When people hear the amazing systems we create, they are impressed – blown away. if they had access and could sit in the vehicles to experience what we experience…for some it would be a life-changing experience (much the same as it was for us).

I’d like to provide some info and insight into where we are today, 22 years into the program. There is a significant amount of misinformation, rumors, untruths, slander, and libel and we try to counter this bad mojo with reason, transparency, and the truth.

MECA Commish Steve Stern has been hands on since the earliest days. Shown here, very focused, judging a club member’s car over a decade ago. 

The objective for SQL contestants is to participate and learn during the season to get ready for Finals – The Big Show – at the end of the season to determine our World Champions. The many local and regional shows before Finals are part of the indoctrination, education and socialization, needed to compete at the highest level. Tonality and Staging/Imaging are the main criteria for determining the most realistic and accurate systems.

MECA SQL focuses on 7 Sound Quality classes based on complexity of design. That’s it, other than Master which is “Manufacturer” class, and an elective class for those who want the challenge of sound quality competition at the highest level. It is a time-proven, logical, refined, installation-based way of fairly grouping vehicles with similar builds. Other people and organizations conceptualize and practice other classification methods. Some do attempt to separate Professional and Consumer Competitors, and that is the source of much discussion because of gray areas and questionable class assignments. MECA does not separate Pros and Consumers. We have done it in the past, and moved on when we determined that performance in the lanes was equally successful for all, at the highest levels, no matter their employment or equipment sourcing contacts. This is our way and it is a fair contest format.

There are some in the car audio community who do not understand or appreciate what we do. There are some who do not like our methods for scoring and determining the Champions. There are some who express that we do not do a good job, or at least, not good enough for them. There are some that make it more personal and do not like individuals that participate in the program. We can’t please everyone although we really do try, and we realize we will always have detractors and apostates. MECA is not perfect and does not claim to be perfect in any manner. But, we, Judges and R&E Members, genuinely care about doing a good job and bringing a sense of value and respect to the Competitors and Contests.

There are genuine superstars in our Sound Quality League, repeat Champions, Champions, and those who have not achieved Champion status, yet, who know and understand what the Judges are listening for. Every sport has stand-outs – winners – who excel at what they do, and they set the bar for others, and demonstrate what can be done. In the past people like Alma Gates, Mark Eldrige, David Hogan, Steve Cook, Kirk Proffitt, and Rick Washabaugh, for examples, were Champions who were admired and advanced the sport. They dominated their classes for years, and moved on to the Hall of Fame. New people have come in and taken up the gauntlet and advanced our sport. We have incredible people like that in our club right now, members who are very serious about enjoying and sharing music at the most competitive level. You need to meet them and hear their systems before they retire.

If you consider yourself part of the car audio community, then these are your Champions, no matter what brand, team, or other alliance you hold dear. These are your Champions and should be celebrated by the Mobile Electronics Industry and all who value what sound quality contests are all about. You should want to meet these people and take advantage of the knowledge and listening sessions they can provide.

As we begin a new year with sincere hopes for better times, please, when it comes to our SQL, participate if your heart is into it. You will get a lot of support and you will have a better sounding system at the end of the season. For all who profess a love of car audio, please take time to sit and listen to the best sounding vehicles available at our events. Almost all of our competitors will have no problem sharing their systems with you, after the Judge has completed his/her job, and you need to hear what our best scoring and sounding systems really sound like.

MECA was created in 1999 to bring the car audio community together. We want to do positive things for all car audio enthusiasts and professionals. We invite those who have not competed in a while to give this another chance. We are proactively working to bring new blood into the SQL contests, especially reaching out to younger people through our Retail Member network. With industry support, specifically the Manufacturers, we can continue to engage and encourage music lovers to enhance their vehicles with high-performance car audio gear.

We’re moving forward and want to unify the SQL community. Sincere thanks to those who have contributed and support our Sound Quality League.

Visit mecacaraudio.com for more.

Alpine Electronics to Offer Online Product and Sales Training for Authorized Dealers

AUBURN HILLS, MI (01.14.2021) – Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. will offer four, hour-long online training webinars for their U.S. Authorized Dealers. These webinars will focus on newly released and upcoming Alpine products. As most states are still observing local and state-level “Stay at Home” orders, Alpine continues to find unique ways of reaching their dealers.

“As we continue to navigate this unique environment, we’re committed to providing the same level of marketing and sales support our dealers have come to expect from Alpine,” said Ed Moriarty, Assistant Vice President of Sales and Technology, Brand Business Unit, Alpine Electronics of America, Inc. “In the coming months, we will continue to find new opportunities to increase brand value for our dealers.”

This is the first series of webinars Alpine will host in 2021. In 2020, Alpine hosted 11 webinars that highlighted various topics, from new product introductions, marketing promotions, and detailed product training.

Led by Alpine National Trainer, Chris Teguh, the theme for the 2021 webinar training is “Sound Check,” a play-on of preparedness and performance that focuses on applicable selling and marketing techniques for new and upcoming Alpine products. The training will be fully accessible online, with time for questions at the end.

Registrants can choose from the following days to attend:

Wednesday, January 20, 11 a.m. EST
Thursday, January 21, 10 a.m. EST
Monday, January 25, 7 p.m. EST
Tuesday, January 26, 3 p.m. EST

All Alpine Authorized Dealers are encouraged to register for this free webinar by contacting their Alpine Rep.

Visit alpine-usa.com for more.

SSV Works Offers Industry’s Only Aftermarket RZR Pro XP Kits

OXNARD, CA (01.14.2021) – SSV Works is offering the industry’s only weatherproof Polaris RZR Pro XP full aftermarket audio solution.

“Our new 3- and 5-speaker kits with JVC backup-camera-ready radio for Polaris RZR Pro XP (2020) are now shipping and we are also offering, for a limited time, the added value of a backup camera with these new systems,” explained Trevor Kaplan, SSV Works CEO. “Not only do our kits offer the only aftermarket solutions available, but they are affordable and come with everything you need for an easy Plug-&-Play install. These complete kits are the loudest and best sounding systems available on the market for your RZR Pro XP.”

SSV Works customers can also add more bass to their RZR Pro XP with an easy Plug-&-Play subwoofer system, or improve the sound of their factory Ride Command system with an easy upgrade with SSV Works’ new RZ5-UD10 under dash 10-inch subwoofer enclosure.

“Installing the RZ5-UD10 is a simple process with less disassembly than our competitors,” Kaplan continued. “The enclosure is designed to maximize output without taking up usable space under the passenger side dash. It’s a perfect upgrade to your RZR Pro XP.”

The Polaris RZR Pro XP 5-speaker kit includes:
• Direct-Fit dash kit with JVC MR1 Media Receiver or SSV Works MRB3 and Backup Camera
• Front door panel speaker pods with SSV Works 6.5-inch speakers
• Direct-Fit amp mounting system with 4-channel amplifier
• Plug-&-Play harness, wiring, and cables
• 8-inch and/or 6.5-inch cage mount pods
• 3-speaker kits are the same minus the cage pods
• MSRP (3-speaker kit): RZ5-3A1 is $2,049.99
• MSRP (5-speaker kit): RZ5-5A1 is $2,399.99

Additional features of the RZ5-UD10 include:
• Available loaded with a 10-inch SSV Works Powersports subwoofer (RZ5-UD10), Kicker 10-inch subwoofer (RZ5-UD10K), or unloaded (RZ5-UD10U)
• 100 percent fiberglass for the best sound quality and bass response
• Finished in a black texture coat to match the factory interior
• Includes stainless mounting hardware and step-by-step installation instructions
• Pre-installed weatherproof subwoofer wiring harness

JVC’s IPX6-rated KD-MR1BTS digital media receiver features Bluetooth, USB, a 2.7-inch color display, global tuner with weather band, 7-Band EQ, rear view camera capability, and is SiriusXM-Ready.

For more information, visit www.SSVWorks.com, call 818-991-1SSV (1778), or email sales@SSVworks.com.

Pioneer Introduces Its Next Evolution of Compact Powered Subwoofer

LOS ANGELES, CA (01.13.2021) – Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. has announced the TS-WX010A compact powered subwoofer as part of its CES 2021 all-digital experience.

Compact in size with exceptionally low power consumption yet able to produce powerful and impactful bass, the TS-WX010A is a direct result of Pioneer’s over 80 years’ experience designing and manufacturing loudspeakers, combined with an understanding of the evolving automotive landscape. Due to its small size and high electrical efficiency, this compact subwoofer is a perfect upgrade for many of today’s vehicles, especially EV (electric vehicle) and gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles where low weight, small size and low power consumption are a priority.

Click lay below to view the embedded video
or click here to view it on Instagram

“Electric and hybrid vehicles are increasing in both popularity and availability but upgrading the audio in these vehicles presents challenges for traditionally large and heavy powered subwoofers,” said Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “With the introduction of the TS-WX010A, Pioneer introduces a unique solution designed to enhance the listening experience with deep, powerful bass while seamlessly integrating physically, electrically and most importantly acoustically into the vehicle.”

Ted Cardenas, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications with the new Pioneer TS-WX10A Compact Powered Subwoofer.

Measuring only 9-inches wide, 4-5/8″ deep, 2-3/4″ high, and weighing just under 3-1/2 pounds, the TS-WX010A is the smallest and lightest powered subwoofer in the Pioneer lineup. Featuring a unique 6-5/8″ by 3-1/8″ rectangular woofer with a low mass / high strength aluminum cone, urethane surround and high-power magnetic circuit housed in a down firing sealed enclosure made of high-grade resin, the TS-WX010A is powered by a built-in Class-D amplifier rated at 50 watts RMS output (160 watts maximum).

Click image to view on instagram.com/pioneercaraudio

The compact dimensions of the TS-WX010A allow it to be installed inside the passenger compartment of most vehicles, providing the potential to integrate acoustically with the vehicle’s full range speakers and seamlessly enhance both output and overall sound quality. With installation options that include vertical or horizontal mounting, the TS-WX010A is optimized for installation in the passenger side footwell (but specifically never in or near the driver side footwell), where its small size affords the ability to be attached near the underside of the dashboard or the center console. The TS-WX010A accepts both RCA type line level or speaker level inputs for connectivity to aftermarket audio systems or integrated into factory installed systems.

Additional Information:

• Frequency Response: 20Hz – 200Hz
• Sensitivity: 98 dB (when installed in the passenger side footwell)
• Adjustable phase (normal / reverse), low-pass crossover frequency (50Hz – 125Hz), gain and input type (RCA type line level / speaker level)

Consumers can learn more about the product at pioneerelectronics.com/TS-WX010A. The TS-WX010A will be available in January 2021 with a suggested price of $280.

Warning: This product must never be installed anywhere in the driver area or elsewhere in the vehicle where it might interfere with its safe operation or impair the performance of a vehicle’s operating systems or safety features, including air bags, controls and indicators (lights). This product is not vehicle specific and appropriate installation locations will depend on the vehicle model. General safety precautions should be observed when the product is installed including, specific to hybrid and electric vehicles, the location of the vehicle battery and battery charging system. Always ensure the product will remain secure during installation and operation.

Orca to Host Virtual 2021 Showcase January 14 – 15

CAMARILLO, CA (01.13.2021) – Orca Design and Manufacturing will present its 2021 product line via two days of virtual gatherings with retailers, sales representatives and company personnel. The ORCA 2021 Showcase will give industry professionals an in-depth introduction to new amplifiers, digital signal processors, wireless technology and premium connectivity solutions.

To accommodate attendees nationwide, ORCA will host Zoom meetings twice per day on January 14 and 15 at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. PST. Each meeting will feature identical content, presented by ORCA Trainer Nick Wingate, Audio Engineer Alan Huslebus, and National Sales Director Nalaka Adikari.

“Even with show cancellations, our industry moves on,” said Kimon Bellas, president of ORCA. “Our objective is always to present cutting-edge audio product to meet the changing technology advances in vehicles as well as the evolving needs of the people who own, drive and enjoy them. The ORCA 2021 Showcase is intended to educate and excite our current and prospective dealers and give them more ways to create fulfillment with their customers.”

ORCA will distribute invitations to meetings via Direct2Market industrywide email as well as through its sales representatives. Attendees must RSVP for each meeting. For more information, contact your ORCA sales representative.

Visit orcadesign.com for more.

Oracle Lighting Debuts Nissan GT-R ColorSHIFT “Lightning Bolt” RGB+W Headlight DRL Upgrade

METAIRIE, LA (01.13.2021) – Oracle Lighting has announced the launch of the new GT-R ColorSHIFT “Lightning Bolt” RGB+W headlight DRL upgrade for the Nissan GT-R (model years 2015-2021). Now available, the new kit has an MSRP of $199.95.

“Give your ride an attitude adjustment and stand out from the crowd with our Nissan GT-R ColorSHIFT RGB+W headlight DRL upgrade,” Justin Hartenstein, Oracle Lighting director of development. “Featuring our new high-performance RGB+W chips, this new kit allows you to utilize the existing DRL feature on your Nissan GT-R LED headlights and easily convert it to color-changing DRLs while maintaining a true white DRL.”

Click here to visit the GT-R ColorSHIFT product page.

These replacement boards feature Oracle Lighting’s traditional RGB ColorSHIFT technology along with an extra “True White LED” which makes pure white tones, giving the user a crisp white DRL and the ability to instantly switch over for 100 percent legal road driving. Unlike other lighting options, this gives you color-changing capabilities without giving up any of the original factory features.

“These DRL boards can make hundreds of different colors and dozens of patterns, giving you control of the brightness and even the speed of the patterns as well,” added Hartenstein. “This technology on the eye-catching ‘lightning bolt’-style headlight makes for a head-turning front-end on your Nissan GT-R…perfect for standing out in a crowd.”

Click here to visit the GT-R ColorSHIFT product page.

This add-on DRL kit is designed to be paired with one of Oracle Lighting’s many ColorSHIFT controller options. These options include LED controllers such as the popular BC1 which allows the user to control all the features conveniently through their Apple or Android smartphone with their free App.

The kit includes:

  • ColorSHIFT RGB+W DRL PCBs for driver and passenger side headlights
  • Constant current LED driver hubs with DRL trigger wires
  • Heavy-duty IP67 wiring adapters

For more info, visit www.oraclelights.com, call (800) 407-5776, or email info@oraclelights.com

The All-Digital CES 2021 Set to Showcase the Latest in Consumer Electronics and So Much More

SHREVEPORT, LA (01.12.2021) – The New Year 2021 is less than 2 weeks old. The COVID-19 Pandemic is raging and turmoil is raging in the Nation’s Capitol. That is reality.

With that backdrop, the virtual All-Digital CES 2021 is set to run from January 11th – 14th on screens around the world. Over the past several years 12volt industry participation has declined as a percentage of the overall CES experience in Las Vegas. Participation of traditional 12volt companies in this year’s All-Digital CES is seeing an acceleration of that trend.

Bright signs along the famous Las Vegas Strip let all know ‘We Miss You CES’ in this image from The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.

Headlines in the Las Vegas Review-Journal Newspaper speak to the impact the All-Digital CES 2021 is having on the City of Las Vegas and surrounding area. “Millions lost with CES Virtual show.” The 2021 CES was to showcase the new 1.4 million square foot LVCC West Hall with its $980 million price tag. “CES Hopes Virtual Event Unrepeated” is another headline in the newspaper. Those headlines are the harsh reality of the impact of the All-Digital CES2021.

In-Person CES hallways were filled in this 2019 event.

One article in the Review-Journal chronicles the impact of the no in-person CES 2021. “We Miss You CES” messages are visible on the huge digital signs on hotels along the Las Vegas Strip. Please clink this link to read the article and see the many “We Miss You CES” messages.

Almost everyone across the 12volt industry has very good memories from attending CES in Las Vegas. Some have vivid memories from Summer and Winter CES events in Chicago at the McCormick Center. The in-person CES experience is like no other. From The 12volt Central Studios we look forward to attending in-person CES events in the future. A big ‘Thank You’ to Las Vegas resident Robin McNeal, Nakamichi Car Audio National Sales Manager, who provided a heads up about the articles in the Las Vegas Review-Journal Newspaper.

Visit ces.tech for more.

KICKER Solo X Earns CES 2021 Innovation Award

STILLWATER, OK (01.12.2021) – Stillwater Designs today announced that it has been named a CES 2021 Innovation Awards honoree for the new KICKER Solo X L7X subwoofer. The announcement was made ahead of the first-ever, all-digital CES 2021, happening Jan. 11-14, 2021.

The CES Innovation Awards program is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products across 28 product categories. An elite panel of industry judges, including members of the media, designers and engineers reviewed submissions based on innovation, engineering and functionality, aesthetic and design.

“We’re very happy to win the Innovations award,” said Steve Irby, KICKER’s Founder and President. “This is a radically improved version of the original Solo X, and to be recognized for the amount of work and creativity we’ve put into making it a reality feels really good.”

A ground-up reimagining of the legendary Solo X, the 2021 iteration was designed to set high standards in a subwoofer’s mechanical excursion, musicality, thermal management and reliability. Offered in 10-, 12-, and 15-inch versions, each Solo X will share a 2,000-watt RMS power rating. KICKER’s SoloX has not yet been assigned an MSRP, and will begin shipping later this spring.

For the past four years, KICKER has researched and experimented with concepts surrounding an extreme subwoofer, while re-introducing the brand to the competition circuit by sponsoring major competitions like the Unified Finals, USACi Finals and Midwest SPL Finals.

“The concept of the new Solo X is to take it to the next level,” Irby said. “It is designed with very tight tolerances. It has more power, more stroke, more Xmax, and still has a field-replaceable cone. The new design allows the Solo X to be extremely loud, but also be extremely musical.”

The no-glue reconing system uses a unique surround compression system and bolt-on spider landing, and is designed specifically to make speaker repair possible in only a few minutes time.

The CES 2021 Innovation Awards honorees, including product descriptions and photos, can be found at CES.tech/innovation. Additional honorees will be revealed during CES 2021.

Visit kicker.com for more.

AudioControl Welcomes Ashley Kay as Director of Customer and Technical Services

SEATTLE, WA (01.12.2021) – AudioControl has appointed Ashley Kay as Director of Customer and Technical Services. Ashley brings a wealth of experience in support services management from the professional A/V market, and will leverage that skillset to accommodate the continued growth of the AudioControl brand that includes critical new product introductions slated for 2021.

Ashley Kay, Director of Customer and Technical Services

Ashley joins an award-winning customer service culture at AudioControl, recognized for providing dealers with the tools they need to succeed quickly and efficiently. Service and support has been a top priority at AudioControl for over four decades. Using superior components and maintaining tight control over in-house engineering, manufacturing and testing practices, AudioControl has established a reputation for the highest levels of product reliability as well as best-in-class service and support for both dealers and end users.

“I am excited to welcome Ashley to the AudioControl team and look forward to leveraging her experience and leadership skills as part of our customer service and technical support initiatives going forward,” explained AudioControl CEO Alex Camara. “It is imperative that we continue to set the standard for unparalleled service and support as we unveil key new products this year and beyond.”

Visit audiocontrol.com for more.

The KICKER AMA ArenaCross Series Raced into the 2021 Season

STARKVILLE, MS (01.11.2021) – The Kicker AMA ArenaCross was Livin’ Loud at the Mississippi State University Horse Park Arena in Starkville MS on Friday and Saturday evenings January 8th and 9th.

The KICKER Tent was set up in the lobby of the Horse Park Arena in Starkville, MS.

A KICKER tent, showcasing the company’s wide selection of products for PowerSports, Marine, Automotive and LifeStyle, was set up in the lobby for enthusiasts to see as they entered and exited the arena both days.

Racers on the track in Starkville.

Lorin Morrell, maddog_media, was on site as a Brand Ambassador for KICKER. “Both days were filled with a lot of activity. The floor of the arena was set for riders to show their skills against the clock with amateurs running in the day. Top amateurs raced again in the evening followed by the pros. In light of COVID-19 mandates, with masks and social distancing in place, attendees in the stands were enthusiastic as they watched riders on the track fly and heard the bikes rev.”

KICKER, as a leading 12volt brand, participates in multiple national circuits to put their products in front a broad audience of consumers.

Riders are off and racing as the KICKER AMA Arena Series 2021 got under way.

The next event on the KICKER AMA ArenaCross Series is set for January 15th and 16th at the Mallet Event Center and Arena in Levelland, TX outside Lubbock.

Visit kicker.com and arenacrossusa.com for more.