When I was a kid, one of the first passions I remember having was the study and enjoyment of sound. I don’t mean music, though that was a large part of it, I mean sound in general. The vibration of air molecules caused by various objects and materials in various manners, with and without purpose or intent. This interest and passion led me to dive deep into the industry of car audio, where I strive to learn every aspect of sound reproduction and enjoy it to the fullest. Let’s discuss some of my experiences and thoughts to see if you can relate.

The year was 1992, I was 12 years old, I had just been gifted my first CD player. It was a bookshelf stereo with two separate speakers. I wanted this style of stereo because I have been noticing rack stereos with tower speakers and thought they would be really fun to play with. I was able to use this stereo to experiment with different speakers I would find at yard sales or in the basement of our house. At one point I dissected a Realistic horn tweeter I bought from Radio Shack for about $8.00. Upon inspection, I saw that the construction was rather simple. A copper disc over a magnet with a tiny cone attached to the disc. I wanted to replicate this with found parts on my own. I gathered a copper penny, a fridge magnet, and pieces of paper I’d fold into various cone shapes. I connected speaker wires from my stereo to the penny and immediately heard music, even when not mounted to a magnet or cone. It was faint but exhilarating. When I passed the penny over a magnet, the music got louder and more clear. This was one of the greatest discoveries of my life and allowed me to learn the relationship between electricity, magnetism, and mechanical energy in the form of acoustics.

Flashing forward a little, to 1993, Jurassic Park was my new favorite movie. So much so that I would try to copy the theme music on my keyboard. I have no natural musical talent, so it was a chore, but I was determined. I enjoyed the act of recreating a pleasant sound by ear. I played with the keyboard in this manner for a long time. It led me to be more aware of the sounds around me as well as distinguish individual sounds in music. After discovering Wu-Tang Clan, I started to write down notes to music as I listened to the songs over and over. I would then look for items around the house that I could use to recreate the sounds I heard. I started buying car audio subwoofers and amplifiers at this age and ended up with a subwoofer drum kit. I connected 12-inch subwoofers to the microphone input of a home audio receiver I bought at a yard sale for $7.00. I would tap on the subwoofer drum kit and listen to the sub box I had connected to the output play in reaction. It was a glorious moment and I loved making the wall vibrate every time I tapped the woofer cone.

My teen years were not spent at parties or dating girls, instead, I spent much of my time building different sub enclosures and positioning them around the house to study how sound was affected by position. One of my favorite setups was a pair of eight-inch Pioneer IMPP subs in a large ported box I made and placed in the corner of my bedroom which was on the 2nd floor back bedroom of our row home. I would play tonal sweeps of 10-20hz and walk around the house to feel the vibration in different rooms. Sitting at the top of the staircase was the best spot, probably because it acted as a port to the 1st floor. Of course, this all changed over to cars once I was allowed to experiment with my mom’s car at age 15, then my own car at age 16, and my car audio career took off from there.

To this day, when I listen to music, I pay close attention to the various sounds. 90s bass music is still one of my favorite genres. Bass 305 was a producer that often used the most pleasing sounds. There is an electronic click that just sounded great on any good tweeter setup. The bass notes were dynamic and interesting. Bass Mekanik is another favorite producer who created some of the classic sounds that my brain loves to hear. I would have long listening sessions with their albums on repeat just to enjoy the raw sounds. I would even change my car audio system to enhance the experience of certain songs I liked the most. I’ve heard people mock SPL competitors by saying no one drives around listening to test tones. Well, let me tell you that I actually have driven around listening to test tones and have developed a love for certain frequencies based on this. Do you have your own favorite frequencies?

As an adult, I feel that I have a decent understanding of acoustics. The life-long study of sound phenomena has helped me understand that many haunted house experiences and ghost “sightings” can be attributed to acoustics and psycho-acoustics. It’s enjoyable to know that the low-frequency vibration of eye jelly can induce hallucinations, standing waves can create pockets of cold air, and infrasound can cause nausea as well as move objects and open doors without a perceived cause. I love that sound has helped me to understand the world better. Sound has been a window into physics for me. The love of sound has opened me up to so much about the universe that it’s difficult to explain it all. This was all a little window into what sound has given to me and I hope you’ve felt a little of the same through your lives because sound is one of the most amazing phenomena in the universe.

Can you relate to any of these sentiments? I write based on my experiences and views of the topic at hand. I hope that there is a value there that others can benefit from. I have passion for what I do and I’ll use it to the best of my ability. Always think deeper and take in all you can from what you are experiencing in life, catalog it, and pull from it when it comes in handy. Dream, plan, build.

Eddie Lester

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1 comment

Alberti Alexander

Alberti Alexander

My 1st experience with Bass was a Jensen 10 self powered surround sound sub and a rocking 250 watt Sony stereo that was 5.1 and a 30 disc changer. I loved watching movies and playing music loud and the bass hits and vibrations would shake random objects around the whole house. I would also love to see and place the sub in different areas in the room to find the bass trap spot. Once I found out you could do that in a car I was more then hooked!! 😀

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