Friday, May 9, 2008


Music, Music and more Music! I may not be an audiophile, I may not remember the lyrics to the songs, I may not even recall the names of songs I know; but believe it or not, I love my music. Brought up in a house where we always had the best music affordable. Growing up listening to Cliff Richard and Abba, on LPs and later, tapes, I have always been close to music since time immemorial. Later in hostel, it would be my walkman with the new taste of nu-metal band Limp Bizkit and the spanish rhythms of Enrique Iglesias, and then when I finally reached IIT, the doors to beautiful world of music were actually opened to me. Maturing from Backstreet Boys to Pink Floyd in the first year, to Metallica in the second, back to Floyd in the third and finally, the world of Blues, 'stoned immaculate'! This thirst for good music kept on with time, enjoying genre after another, with the latest milestone being House and Trance.

As promised in the last post, today I write about the In Car Entertainment (ICE) in, obviously, my car. The hunt for beautiful music in my car began even before I bought my car. Now, I come from a backgraound where spending anything more than INR 5000 on a car audio system was a luxury and believe me or not, we have a had a tape player in the car for INR 250!! As long as you enjoy it, it is worth it, that's what I believe. With no specific budget in mind, I started looking online for options, primarily on Team-BHP, which has an exclusive ICE section. Well, to put it mildly, I was aghast when I saw the setups. The budget for most would start from INR 10000 and going up to lacs. Now, this is something I had to hear before I could believe it. To be honest, I had never heard anything close to this expensive in a car before.

So, there it began, as with everything, my Excel was opened and a table comparing each and every component across some of the members' setups and the price of each was jotted down to make a quick compare. My ICE vocabulary before this started with Pioneer and ended with Sony, with JBL more of an exclamation mark! Now, I heard of names I never knew existed, brands like 'Illusion Audio', 'Ground Zero', 'Infinity', 'Image Dynamics', 'Hertz' and what not! I just didn't know what to expect from which brand; the only image I had of these brands was from hearsay. On the forum, the most popular seemed to be JBL, and lots of cars being JBLifyed on the "Sound Off and Show Off" section. Surprisingly, one thing I noticed was that amongst the Pune TBhp members, Illusion Audio was a popular brand. After this extensive research on the forum, now it was time for an audition!

In the meanwhile, based on some more discussions on the forum, I had already ordered the Alpine 9883 from Crutchfield and a friend was picking it for me to India. Also, the rear coaxials, not as important as the front components, were bought secondhand from another member in Bangalore.

So I meet Kiran, Suhail, Shrivz and Karl for the first time at Shisha Cafe, ABC Farms in Pune. Have a beer and a quick bite. I won't hesitate to say that I was anxious to check out the ICE in their cars. So later, we head to Shrivz' house, where parked are his Baleno, Kiran's Palio and Suhail's ex-Zen. I couldn't audition Shrivz' JBL ICE setup as there was some problem with his Head Unit (HU). The next turn in Kiran's car and my decision is final in 20 mins flat. This music was mindblowing. I had never heard music this good. The bass was very tight, the sound perfect, not too shrill but not too laidback either. I knew this had to be it!

So there it was:
My final ICE setup decided with the help of Kiran:
Head Unit: Alpine 9883 (Already bought)
Front Components: Illusion Audio EL 6.1
Rear Coaxials: Alpine Type-S SPS-690A (Already bought)
Subwoofer Ground Zero GZTW 30T
Amplifier for Comps and Rear Coax: Ground Zero GZTA4.120MK2
Amplifier for Subwoofer: Panasonic CY-PA2003U
Wiring: Ichibahn IKIT8 + Ground Zero RCA
Damping: Noise Kill

A rough estimate for the above ran upto to INR 53850! *gulp*
The first thought was do it in 2 stages, as and when the finances allow. But on the other hand, I am not really the one to wait for something like this. Lady luck shines on me, and I meet Amey for the first time the same evening. He is planning to upgrade to Illusion Lucents and GZ Radioactive Subwoofer. Hallelujah! The deal is struck immediately and I am the owner of a 2 month old Illusion Electra 6.1 and Ground Zero (GZ) GZTW 30T Sub, and at a nice price too! Sorry Suhail! So, finally, a few calls are made to B&T (Ajay) and a fine saturday was reserved for the Pune guys at Boom, Bandra (Bombay) - my install, Amey's upgrade and the instantaneous Suhail upgrade! The plans for the Panasonic Amp is shelved as of now.
So we drive down to Bombay early in the morning on the fateful day; I am too excited not to show! :) After the 3 hour drive, work finally begins on the car around noon. The workers at Boom were very professional, with excellent workmanship and tiny things given all the attention to minute details. Excellent. After a long day and lots of hard work, the ICE setup is ready finally!
How does it sound? A description I had written on the forum:
"Now, coming to the music, to be honest, before my install, the only setups I had heard of were Kiran's and Amey's. The song I heard on Kiran's install was "Hotel California". So, this had to be the first song on mine too.When the song begins, you realise that the Electras are beautiful, very clear, very precise. The clarity is mindblowing. You can hear every instrument separately. The guitars, the "chik-chik"..and then the drums roll in. Till now, you wouldn't acknowledge about the presence of the sub but then, the bass hits you. Tight bass,not messing with the clarity of the components, rather gelling very well with them. There are no rattles or any erroneous noises coming in from anywhere. The music is awesome. In simple words, I feel I have never heard music this good!"
Good enough for you? Not for me. Remember the Sub amp we left out?
Fastforward couple of months: I get a better deal on the Kenwood KCA-7203 2-channel amp belting out 500W RMS. Now we are talking! A long story cut short, the amp is installed some 3 months after it was bought, and tuned another month later (Day before!).
My ICE setup is complete. Well, I am greedy and I am already thinking about an HU upgrade to Alpine 9887 and maybe an EL12 Sub when it comes out and the rears to Illusion EL693s! My, why am I like this? Don't I like seeing my bank account burgeoning? Naaah! I like my music better! :)


Yogesh Babbar May 9, 2008 at 2:39 PM  

Hey GP, I do not think I saw ur name on the profile of the blogger, but I like to believe it is you. I was thinking on buying a DSLR (or may be a semi pro) to feed my imcipient capturing desires.
I would like to have ur research and database of knowledge on my side.

and nice to read u.


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