Car Audio SPL Sound Off Championships Come to Cities Across Canada

The Canadian consumer electronics retail chain Future Shop is again bringing the Canadian SPL (Sound Pressure Level) Championships to locations across Canada this summer.

This is the third consecutive year for the national competition, with over 700 competitors getting involved each year. The competition is straightforward: contestants are divided into 5 different categories, based on the number of subwoofers they have in their car, the audio output of their sound system is measured, and the loudest one wins!

This year, the Canadian SPL 2003 Championship will make 19 stops throughout the summer. Championships have already been held in Toronto and Ottawa, and the next event takes place in Montreal, at the Marche Central Future Shop, on Saturday, June 14. Regional finals take place in the East in Mississauga, Ontario on July 19th; and in the West in Richmond, British Columbia on September 13.

Trophies are awarded at each event to the first, second and third place finisher in each category and there are thousands of dollars in products and prizes to be won from great brand names like Rockford Fosgate, Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, MTX, JVC, Infinity, Stinger and others.

The events include fun interactive games for spectators and various displays featuring the latest in cool car audio, video and security systems for cars from some of Canada’s top brands in the business.

For competitors interested in putting their car to the test at one of these events, pre-registration is recommended and is available now in the car audio department at any Future Shop location in Canada.

Additional Championship Event Locations and Dates

June 14
Montreal SPL Championship
Marche Central Future Shop

June 21
Quebec City SPL Championship
Fleur De Lys Future Shop

July 5
Halifax SPL Championship
Halifax Future Shop

July 19
Toronto SPL Finals
Heartland Future Shop

August 2
Calgary SPL Championship
Shawnessy Future Shop

August 16
Edmonton SPL Championship
Edmonton West Future Shop

August 30
Winnipeg SPL Championship
St. James Future Shop

September 6
Kelowna SPL Championship
Kelowna Future Shop

September 1
Vancouver SPL Finals
Lansdowne Future Shop

Audi and Volkswagen Will Offer PhatNoise Digital Car Audio System as New Car Option

Audi and Volkswagen have emerged as the first automobile manufacturers to offer a digital media player as an option for all their new vehicles.

The PhatNoise® Digital Car Audio System, PhatBox™, is the first factory-approved, high-capacity digital music player that is fully integrated with Volkswagen and Audi cars. It provides 20 GB of storage (on removable DMS cartridges) for MP3, Audible and other formats of encoded audio files.

Beginning this month, more than 250 Audi and 600 Volkswagen dealerships across the U.S. will be offering new car buyers the option of having the dealer-installed PhatBox, which has a suggested retail price of $795 (US). The product is also available as an upgrade for most current Audi and Volkswagen owners.

PhatBox is currently available from PhatNoise as a 3rd-party add-on for numerous car models by Ford, Mercury, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Ferrari and Acura, as well as Volkswagon and Audi. It is also branded as the Kenwood CX-910 Music Keg.

The PhatNoise system is a digital music player that installs and operates very much like a CD changer. The system has a 20 GB hard drive that is able to store thousands of tracks, or up to 500 complete CDs.

The system also includes the PhatNoise Music Manager software and a USB 2.0 cradle for fast, easy organization and transfer of music from PCs or audio CDs onto a palm-sized portable digital media storage cartridge (DMS). The cartridge is then inserted into the trunk-mounted player for instant access to thousands of music tracks simply by turning on the vehicle sound system.

Because the system operates in a manner similar to a CD player, the user controls the system through the existing CD controls on their car stereo. An on-board voice-enabled music search lets users browse their music tracks by artist, album or genre for easy access to thousands of tracks while driving so they never have to take their eyes off the road to find their favorite song.

“We have brought the automobile, music and technology industries together all at once to extend the digital distribution of music into cars,” said Sharon Graves, Chief Executive Officer of PhatNoise.

“For the first time, consumers will be able to use a hard drive-based platform to move music off the PC and enjoy it in the car in a fully integrated way, bringing a seamless digital entertainment experience into their vehicles.”

The PhatBox overcomes long-standing barriers to introducing new technology and new content into the car by integrating directly with both the factory sound system and with the digital environment of the PC and the Internet.

The PhatNoise system also employs a solid digital rights management system that aims to make the PhatBox an attractive opportunity for digital music distribution by music labels.

“Getting our music to consumers in as many exciting new, secure platforms as possible is a major priority for EMI. A digital entertainment platform like PhatNoise, with a robust digital rights management system and designed exclusively for an automobile, is a perfect example,” said Adam Varon, vice president, EMI Music special markets.

EMI will offer selections by artists representing genres from jazz to current and classic rock, pre-loaded on the PhatBox. Owners who have the PhatBox installed in their vehicles will also receive a complementary one-month subscription to Audible, allowing them to download licensed best-selling audio books as well as content from media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and transfer it to their PhatBox for in-car listening.

PhatNoise Web Site

Elliot Scheiner Develops Signature 5.1 Surround Audio System With Panasonic for 2004 Japanese Luxury Vehicle

“Surround sound in cars is going to drive the market for DVD-Audio and 5.1 surround, the same way car systems did for the cassette and the CD,” says multiple Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Elliot Scheiner.

Mr. Scheiner is putting his words into action, by working with U.S. Panasonic (Southfield, MI) to develop an OEM car sound system that will appear in a Japanese luxury car for the 2004 model year (appearing September or October of this year).

“Surround sound in a vehicle sounds great,” Mr. Scheiner said with enthusiasm, speaking to a meeting of the Audio Engineering Society in Banff, Canada earlier this week. “When people hear it, they get it right away, they want it for their own car.”

Elliot Scheiner knows what he’s talking about. Over a 36-year career as a popular music engineer, producer and mixer, he has worked on releases by a who’s who of the music industry, including Steely Dan, Van Morrison, Sting, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and many more. He has won Grammy Awards for “Best Engineered Recording” twice, and received nearly 20 nonimations in all.

For the past three years, Mr. Scheiner has devoted himself almost exclusively to surround audio production and re-mixes, winning praise and awards for more than a dozen key titles including Queen’s A Night at the Opera, Faith Hill’s Cry, Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature, R.E.M.’s Document and Automatic for the People, and Beck’s Sea Change.

Panasonic announced its collaboration with Elliot Scheiner at the SAE World Congress in Detroit last week. Speaking in Banff, Mr. Scheiner indicated that the new in-car system will be a fully discrete 5.1 multichannel system – and that it will be branded with his name.

“Ours will be the first car surround system with true discrete multichannel,” explains Mr. Scheiner. “Mercedes is coming out with a DVD-Audio-based surround system [developed by Harman], but it isn’t true multichannel. It uses Logic7 [a proprietary Harman International DSP processing algorithm] to simulate 5.1 channels, after down-mixing the DVD-Audio to stereo.”

“It makes all the difference in the world,” he continues. “I demo’ed my system in Detroit for a couple of Mercedes execs, with one of the R.E.M. DVD-Audio’s, and then let them take the disc over and try it in their system. They came back and said – ‘hey it doesn’t sound the same at all, we can’t hear the voices in the back and all those details.’ ”

Mr. Scheiner says the specific car model that will offer his new signature surround audio system will not be announced until sometime in April at the earliest. However, reports that the car in question will be the new Honda Acura TL, and also indicates that other automakers are considering the system for their own luxury models.

More About Elliot Scheiner

Grundig Introduces New Car and Mobile Family Entertainment Systems for European Market

German consumer electronics maker Grundig is gearing up for the major European car and mobile entertainment show of the year, the Car & Sound show in the small town of Sinsheim, Germany (April 11-13, 2003) with several new car and mobile audio entertainment products.

Leading the way is the DVD 150 “infotainment center” which is available with various liquid crystal display (LCD) viewing options. The system handles a wide range of disc formats, including DVD-Video, CD, CD-R, CD-RW and MP3 CD. It also features an anti-shock system which allows for glitch-free playback of discs, regardless of whether the unit is mounted vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

The DVD 150 is aimed squarely at families on the road, with input connectors for a number of commonly-used games consoles, to help kids pass the time on long drives.

For the very best in mobile viewing, Grundig is offering the Rooftop RTFT700 as the top-of-the line display for the DVD 150. It offers a screen diagonal of 7 inches and a very high resolution of 1440 x 234 pixels. Films can be enjoyed in either 16:9 or 4:3 format. On the audio side, the RTFT700 has an infrared interface for cordless headphones, enabling passengers in the back seats to enjoy the entertainment without disturbing the driver.

The Rooftop RTFT700 has a super-flat design that allows it to fold away unobtrusively into the roof of the car when not in use.

The new Grundig DVD 150 infotainment centre is available from specialist dealers in Europe at a recommended retail price of € 499 (approx. $500 US). The Rooftop RTFT700 will be priced at € 799 ($800 US).

Grundig will also offer lower-priced display options for the DVD 150, with screen sizes of 5 inches (TFT 500, € 349), 5.6 inches (TFT 560, € 399) and 7 inches(TFT 700, € 749).

Grundig CarCine

The new Grundig CarCine 560 and 700 systems are complete, self-contained, portable entertainment centres you can take with you anywhere.

CarCine systems come in a bag that houses the player unit, with a high-resolution TFT monitor and a pair of speakers mounted in the flap of the bag (5.6-inch diagonal display for the CarCine 560, 7-inch diagonal for CarCine 700).

In the car, you power the system from a cigarette lighter socket. The CarCine can be fitted securely behind a seat using a simple belt system, with the monitor fastened to the head restraint. In a hotel room (or at the office), the system plugs into a standard electrical outlet.

Like the DVD 150 car-mounted system, the CarCine portables can handle DVD-Video, CD, CD-R, CD-RW and MP3 CD discs, and they have game console connectors. Illuminated buttons let you access all of the system functions easily in the dark of a car interior at night.

In addition to the two built-in speakers beside the screen, the CarCine has audio outputs to connect directly to an existing car sound system. Both models also have connection sockets for separate headphones, so that passengers can listen in the car and not disturb drivers or distract them from the surrounding traffic.

European pricing for the Grundig CarCine 560 is € 899 ($900 US), while the CarCine 700 will be available for € 1299 ($1300 US).

Digital Radio On the Road – Allixx DAB

Rounding out the new line of Grundig car audio systems is the Allixx DAB, a digital radio with built-in DAB receiver.

The digital radio network is expected to grow in Germany and throughout Europe for the next few years, and DAB reception will become an essential feature of car radios, according to Grundig.

The Grundig Allixx DAB guarantees high-quality, interference-free radio reception with a sound quality comparable to that of a CD. Even out of the reception range of a digital radio broadcaster, the Allixx DAB has no problems. Its sophisticated control software allows it to switch between digital radio and FM so quickly that it is imperceptible to the listener, and automatically switches back to the digital medium when the reception improves again.

The Allixx also has an RDS system, standard on all Grundig car radios, to provide the best possible FM reception by automatically switching to the strongest available frequencies.

For digital radio station that support the function, the Allixx DAB can also show PAD (program associated data) such as traffic information or news from around the world, on a large two-line dot matrix display, optionally illuminated in blue or white.

The Allixx DAB also includes a built-in CD player that handles conventional CD, CD-R and CD-RW discs, even on very bumpy rides. It can show CD text in its display when it’s available. The unit power speakers with 4 x 50 Watts of amplification.

The Allixx DAB will sell in Europe at a recommended retail price of € 649 ($650 US).

Pioneer’s New 2003 Car Audio Head Units Feature D4Q Digital Tuners, MP3 and WMA Support

Pioneer GB’s Car Audio Division has launched a new range of auto sound head units for the UK market.

The new line-up of CD tuners includes 6 models (DEH-1500R, DEH-P2500R, DEH-P3500MP, DEH-P4500R, DEH-P5500MP and DEH-P6500R), packed with the latest high-tech digital technology and state-of-the-art audio features.

Pioneer's new top-of-the-line DEH-P6500R in-dash tuner offers advanced sound-enhancing technology and IP-Bus expansion options

A key component of the new models is Pioneer’s ‘Digital For Quality’ D4Q tuner, the company’s first digital AM/FM tuner, which it says provides new clarity in radio reception.

Other highlights of the 2003 models include exceptional in-dash display features, and playback of various digital music formats such as MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA).

The new Pioneer DEH-P5500MP tuner offers both MP3 and WMA audio file playback, as well as a large multi-colour display

“Our 2003 CD tuner line-up represents Pioneer’s commitment to providing drivers with high performance CD tuners featuring superior audio capabilities,” says Martin Fuller, Product Manager, Car Audio Division, Pioneer GB Limited.

“As more consumers expect pure and precise radio signals and choose to store music digitally, Pioneer is expanding its product offerings with the latest sound enhancing technology and high-tech digital features, such as D4Q, MP3 playback and WMA.”

Digital For Quality

Pioneer’s entire 2003 line-up of in-car CD tuners features D4Q which refers to ‘digital for quality.’ D4Q combines an analog front end with digital processing that delivers crisp, clear radio reception.

Key features of D4Q tuner technology:

  • Superior sensitivity, ensuring the weakest of signals can be received
  • Low multipath noise, enabling signal differentiation and selection in high signal reflection areas, such as cities and mountains
  • High resistance to interference, detecting adjacent signals and/or interference and effectively tuning them out before any undesirable noises can be heard
  • A smooth RDS network following, safeguarding the signal from changing stations whilst seamlessly switching signals where appropriate


The DEH-1500R is the most affordable CD tuner in the new range. In addition to the D4Q tuner, this unit is equipped with an outstanding sound system incorporating Pioneer’s EEQ Easy Equaliser system offering a host of equaliser controls that can be custom tailored by the driver ensuring quality sound. If that wasn’t enough, drivers can crank up the volume using the 4x45W amplifier.


The DEH-P2500R is a sophisticated CD tuner with D4Q tuning, a built-in MOSFET amplifier offering unrivalled audio quality and Pioneer’s EEQ system. An IP-Bus connection opens up a wealth of entertainment options for passengers – allowing the addition of the latest in-car items such as a DVD player or TV tuner. Drivers also have the added bonus of digitally expanding their music collection as the tuner can easily be connected to a portable MiniDisc or MP3 player.


The DEH-P3500MP transforms the car into a mobile multimedia centre, allowing drivers to take even more of their favourite music on the road thanks to a built-in MP3 player. Multiple IP-Bus controls allow users to customise their entertainment centre by adding a DVD player, TV tuner or multi-CD player. Excellent sound quality is guaranteed through a MOSFET 50W power amplifier, EEQ and two RCA pre-outs, which allow the connection of amplifiers and speakers for the ultimate sound experience. The stylish front panel design and pure white colour LED display add the finishing touch.


The DEH-P4500R is an outstanding, multifunction CD tuner giving the driver total control over the sound system. Two RCA pre-outs are bundled with the tuner, enabling users to custom tune speakers and amps, while EEQ is coupled with LPF/HPF to offer precision tuning and EQ-EX allows the driver to instantly accentuate the equaliser curves simply at the touch of a button. Additionally, the large multi-colour LCD display with its striking design, combined with Pioneer’s ever popular pop-out rotary volume, gives this tuner a sleek and eye catching look.


The DEH-P5500MP offers compatibility with both MP3 playback and WMA providing a superb array of music options, important features for the digitally minded driver. Besides the D4Q, drivers can rest assured that the sound experience will be at its greatest with EEQ+ precision tuning featuring LPH/HPF (Low Pass Filter/High Pass Filter), Direct Sub Drive and EQ-EX built into the tuner. Similar to the DEH-P4500R, a large multi-colour display with an integrated volume control is also included. This product is also available in a sleek black finish, with red key illumination, as the DEH-P5530MP.


The DEH-P6500R is a superior tuner loaded with features offering extraordinary sound enhancing technology and a white and blue display panel with multimedia functionality. The Easy Equaliser (EEQ+) coupled with the EQ-EX ensures sound is delivered perfectly whilst the Auto Sound Leveliser (ASL) compensates against any exterior noise from the road. In addition, the D4Q tuner provides prefect, crisp AM/FM reception under the most demanding driving conditions. The Organic Electroluminescent (OEL) display provides excellent visibility through a wide viewing angle and a Direct Key Operation mode guides the driver through various ‘key’ functions at the touch of a button. The display’s smart functionality also includes multiple entertainment features, such as screen savers and unique 3D visuals. Multiple IP-Bus connections are also included and allow users to expand their in-car entertainment experience with a DVD player, DAB tuner or TV tuner.

Pioneer GB Web Site