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Thread: Greetings from Whitledge Designs!

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    Junior Member Whitledge Designs's Avatar
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    Greetings from Whitledge Designs!

    Greetings fellow MobileSoundScience.com members!

    I’m delighted to join MobileSoundScience.com, by way of special invitation from the Forum Team, as an “MSS Authorized Vendor”. As an Authorized Vendor, I will be sharing information with the MSS membership about the specialized services and one-of-a-kind products Whitledge Designs offers.

    I’d like to start by sharing with you a bit about my background and accomplishments. My personal demonstration vehicle, affectionately named the “Magic Bus”, which I entirely designed and built, made the cover of the abso!ute sound® magazine as "The World's Best Car Stereo" (Dec. 2008, Issue 188, pp. 50-56) even before it was finished! To my knowledge, the Magic Bus’ audio system is the only mobile audio system in the world to ever be fully reviewed by Robert Harley, world-renowned author and reviewer, and the first car stereo system to be fully reviewed in the 36-year history of the abso!ute sound® magazine. The 3-1/2-page article contains an introduction and sidebar by Mr. Harley that describes my system as "revelatory", and "the ultimate". Mr. Harley concluded his review with, "The Magic Bus sounded like a high-end home system - and a very good one at that.".

    The Magic Bus recently appeared in the abso!ute sound® magazine for a second, unprecedented time, as part of T.H.E. Show Newport Beach show report (Sept. 2011, Issue 215, p. 28). Robert Harley listened to the finished Magic Bus, and wrote,

    Jon Whitledge showed the latest incarnation of his “Magic Bus,” a van that houses what I called “The world’s best car stereo” when I heard it five years ago. Since then, Whitledge has taken the system to an entirely new level of performance. The design, construction, passion, and dedication that went into the Magic Bus are unprecedented, and it showed in the sound quality. The system had effortless dynamics, very high resolution of low-level detail, tremendous timbral fidelity, and threw a soundstage that rivaled that of a well-set-up home system.

    Jim Merod, renowned writer/reviewer and recording engineer (visit www.blueportjazz.com), proclaimed,

    JON WHITLEDGE has put together a Mobile Audio Concert Hall that surpasses any such car- or van-housed sonic enclave I've experienced previously. The interior architecture of Jon's design is gorgeous. His sound is unimaginably ferocious, detailed, and engaging. I suspect it takes a sort of genius of commitment to such work -- or an absolute nut case obsessively devoted to mobile music fidelity -- to craft such a peripatetic audiophile carnival. With Jon Whitledge's art, it makes no difference whatsoever, since once you step inside his hyper-emotional world (with its daring musical insulation from earth's madness) you, too, become an audio nut happily removed from anything that does not romp and sing or rock and roll.

    The sonic attributes recognized and appreciated by Robert Harley and Jim Merod were directly attributable to the audio system voicing performed by Steve McCormack, legendary audio component designer (http://www.smcaudio.com).

    With this sort of unprecedented publicity, the Magic Bus is considered by many to be a mobile audio system without rival (please visit www.whitledgedesigns.com). The Magic Bus' audio system, installed in a Mercedes Sprinter van, was designed purely for sound quality, and comprises of nine loudspeaker transducers powered by 4,620 Watts! The audio system is fully active and entirely controlled by 96 kHz-24 bit digital signal processing. As most audiophiles know, audio systems are only as good as the room in which they are installed. The scientifically designed and computer-optimized acoustics inside the Magic Bus takes mobile audio listening to a new height. It features 54 acoustically functional panels, suede-covered headliners, acoustically functional window valances and draperies, and custom carpeting. The total weight of the audio system, its infrastructure, and the acoustical treatments exceeds 3,100 pounds!

    Furthermore, the Magic Bus is the only audio system in the world (to my knowledge) that is extensively autographed by Grammy award-winning, and otherwise famous and talented musicians. To date, I've acquired more than 200 musicians' autographs.

    An unprecedented series of articles about the Magic Bus, during its development, appeared Car Audio and Electronics magazine:

    How to Build an Audiophile Car Stereo System, Part 1 - Daily Drivers - Car Audio and Electronics

    How to Build an Audiophile Car Stereo System, Part 2 - Daily Drivers - Car Audio and Electronics

    How to Build an Audiophile Car Stereo System, Part 3 - Daily Drivers - Car Audio and Electronics


    How to Build an Audiophile Car Stereo System, part 4 - Install Logs - Car Audio and Electronics


    How to Build an Audiophile Car Stereo System, part 5 - Daily Drivers - Car Audio and Electronics


    How to Build an Audiophile Car Stereo System, part 6 - Daily Drivers - Car Audio and Electronics


    How to Build an Audiophile Car Stereo System, part 7 - Competition Cars - Car Audio and Electronics


    How to Build An Audiophile Car Stereo System, an Interview with Jon Whitledge - Show Cars - Car Audio and Electronics


    Recently, the Magic Bus was the topic of a press release at AllAboutJazz.com, the world’s leading and longest running jazz music website:

    Jon Whitledge's "Magic Bus" Appears In The September Issue Of "The Abso!ute Sound" Magazine!

    Not only has the Magic Bus acquired national and international recognition, it has also been featured in numerous San Diego publications.
    First, the Magic Bus appeared in the San Diego Reader:

    San Diego Reader | Magic Bus

    Second, San Diego City Beat published a story about the Magic Bus:

    The Magic Bus

    Third, the Del Mar Times published a story about the Magic Bus and me:

    http://www.delmartimes.net/2011/07/0...concert-hall’/

    Whitledge Designs and the Magic Bus epitomize:
    * Sharing the passion of audio, especially mobile audio
    * Innovative, unprecedented design, where form follows function
    * The ultimate in sound quality
    * The ultimate in craftsmanship
    * Simplicity and eloquence
    * The convergence of home and mobile audio
    * Passion for, and knowledge of, live music
    * The importance of musicians’ endorsements
    * Science and engineering serving the music

    Whitledge Designs is honored to be an “MSS Authorized Vendor” and thrilled to serve the prestigious Mobile Sound Science community.

    Warmest regards,

    Jon R. Whitledge
    Scientist, Engineer, Craftsman, Audiophile
    Whitledge Designs

    mobile: 858-395-3423
    text: 8583953423@vtext.com

    work email: jwhitledge@whitledgedesigns.com
    MobileMe email: jon_whitledge@mac.com
    home email: jonwhitledge@roadrunner.com

    website: www.whitledgedesigns.com

    facebook: Jon Whitledge | Facebook
    Designer and builder of the "Magic Bus", "The World's Best Car Stereo" ("the abs!olute sound®" magazine, Dec 2008, Issue 188)

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    Perhaps you could share some words about what kinds of lessons from your project could apply to cars that people drive daily, with their attendant reasonable expectations of fuel economy, performance, crashworthiness, appearance, etc.

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    Junior Member Whitledge Designs's Avatar
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    The Magic Bus is my only automobile and driven daily. It is used as my principal business vehicle for about 80% of my driving, and 20% for personal use, which includes trips to the grocery store, restaurants, dry cleaners, and the like. The Magic Bus is a durable, over-the-road vehicle that retains all of its safety and convenience functions. The spare tire is conveniently located in its stock factory location and is easily accessible, as is the jack and a selection of emergency tools provided by Mercedes-Benz. The Magic Bus is equipped with two armoires (which are not only practical but also acoustically functional) capable of carrying luggage and hanging fine clothing items.

    To preserve the structural integrity of the vehicle, no sheet metal was cut or modified, with the exception of a few small-diameter holes though which wires were routed. To preserve occupant safety, the front monitors were positioned to allow the front airbags to deploy with no obstruction whatsoever. And although the front monitors may seem rather large, they do not obstruct the driver’s view to any appreciable extent.

    To ensure crashworthiness, considerable measures were taken to secure heavy elements of the audio system. The armoires, for instance, were each anchored to the floor of the vehicle using 6 stainless steel M8 SHCSs (“socket head cap screws”). The subwoofer was mounted on 4 military-grade, fail-safe generator mounts using 4 stainless steel M12 SHCSs. The generator mounts were anchored to the floor of the vehicle with two ¼-inch thick steel reinforcing plates 6-inches wide x 24-inches long using 16 stainless steel M8 SHCSs. The pullout strength of the rivet nuts from the floor of the vehicle (greater than 3522 pounds, according to Marson), along with the tensile and shear strength of the stainless steel fasteners, provides for a substantial margin of safety in the event of an accident.

    The Magic Bus delivers surprising fuel economy, owing to its highly-efficient, turbo-charged, 2.7-liter 5-cylinder engine. For over 6 years and 72,000 miles, I’ve kept meticulous fuel economy records, which has shown the Magic Bus has averaged 19 +/- 1 (standard deviation) miles/gallon.

    One of the most remarkable aspects of the Magic Bus is the attention paid to interior acoustics. No other mobile audio system, to my knowledge, contains 54 acoustical treatments (34 Helmholtz absorbers and 20 binary amplitude diffusers) designed to maximize the performance of its intentionally large internal volume. Because of these innovations, the Magic Bus possesses interior acoustics vastly superior to conventional automobiles (and essentially compliant with standards set forth by the ITU for studios), proven by data I’ve previously published (see How to Build An Audiophile Car Stereo System, an Interview with Jon Whitledge - Show Cars - Car Audio and Electronics).

    In terms of performance, the Magic Bus possesses acceptable acceleration and braking, although I would not characterize the vehicle as “nimble” by any means. By anyone’s measure, it is a large and heavy vehicle. As such, it is bit more difficult to drive than conventional automobiles, especially in high winds. Nonetheless, it is ideally suited for long trips and easily cruises down the highway at 65 or 70 miles per hour. For those who are curious, it is computer-limited to a top speed of 86 miles per hour.

    I consider the Magic Bus to be the ultimate demonstration vehicle – it combines every-day practicality and safety with high-performance audio in ways that surpass all other vehicles.

    - Jon
    Designer and builder of the "Magic Bus", "The World's Best Car Stereo" ("the abs!olute sound®" magazine, Dec 2008, Issue 188)

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    Tester Extraordinaire ErinH's Avatar
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    Welcome, Jon!

    Glad to see you over here. I've used your build log as reference to what is possible if someone takes the time to apply some science to their build rather than tossing speakers in the doors and wondering why it doesn't work. Regardless of how one may feel about the gear you've used or the manner in which you've used it, the fact that you've presented such empirical evidence to supplement the decisions you've made is stellar to me. That's not me kissing ass. I do appreciate the level of education you've attempted to bring via your log.

    Take care,
    Erin
    Your ears: The best tools you have... and they're free, too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitledge Designs View Post
    The Magic Bus is my only automobile and driven daily.
    Most people aren't going to drive a bread van, especially one that's has all of the extra mass yours does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitledge Designs View Post
    In terms of performance, the Magic Bus possesses acceptable acceleration and braking, although I would not characterize the vehicle as “nimble” by any means.
    For some of us, I'd guess more than most, "nimble" is a necessary quality in an automobile.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitledge Designs View Post
    II consider the Magic Bus to be the ultimate demonstration vehicle – it combines every-day practicality and safety with high-performance audio in ways that surpass all other vehicles.
    Be that as it may (I have no grounds - or reason - to take a position on that issue) the fact remains that what appeals to most people is not turning a breadvan into some demonstration video but practical techniques for enhancing the quality of audio reproduction in a car (that's car, not lorry/SUV, delivery vehicle, etc.) that we may actually want to drive. So my earlier question remains unanswered. To wit, it was as follows:

    "Perhaps you could share some words about what kinds of lessons from your project could apply to cars that people drive daily, with their attendant reasonable expectations of fuel economy, performance, crashworthiness, appearance, etc."

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    Junior Member Whitledge Designs's Avatar
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    Dear DS-21,

    I completely understand if my vehicle choice does not resonate with your own preference for a vehicle. However, by not choosing a Sprinter van you are forfeiting numerous sonic advantages, which I’ve scientifically documented.

    When I publish information about my work, it is the responsibility of the reader to determine the extent to which my designs contribute value to their own work. I leave it to the reader to extract what they will from my publications. Have you read all of my publications? There are many with “normal” automobiles that have read my publications and successfully incorporated some of my design ideas and fabrication techniques into their own work. These individuals frequently call me or write to me expressing their gratitude.

    It’s funny to me that you take the liberty to describe the Magic Bus as a vehicle that does not appeal to most, especially when you’ve never seen or heard it. If it were truly unappealing to most, how can you explain why I’m swamped by home and car audio enthusiasts every time I exhibit?

    If you are implying that my work holds no value to you, I’m fine with that. If that’s the case, perhaps you feel your design and fabrication skills are superior to mine. Perhaps you would like to share with me your academic and industrial credentials, and pictures of your current mobile audio system, so that I can learn from you. Then, someday, I’d like to hear your car.

    - Jon
    Designer and builder of the "Magic Bus", "The World's Best Car Stereo" ("the abs!olute sound®" magazine, Dec 2008, Issue 188)

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    Junior Member Whitledge Designs's Avatar
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    Hi Erin!

    Thanks for the kind words. I hope someday you'll be able to hear the Magic Bus.

    - Jon
    Designer and builder of the "Magic Bus", "The World's Best Car Stereo" ("the abs!olute sound®" magazine, Dec 2008, Issue 188)

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    So being such a practical vehicle choice, do you strap the kids to the roof when heading off to the beach or the likes? I am being completely serious because I only see 2 seats.

    Also, I am curious as to why you chose such a flawed playback method as "stereo" for the basis of a demo vehicle. Surely with all the studying you have done over 7+ years I would have assumed you came across other more suitable playback methods that would work better with the environment of the vehicle, and give you a better platform to start from.

    Do you know the basic requirements for "stereo" playback and if so how have you achieved those basic requirements in an automobile?

    There are many other things that make me go :hmmmm: (like starting with 8" woofers used for subwoofers in a large vehicle space), but then again my simple practical cost effective mind probably won't understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitledge Designs View Post
    I completely understand if my vehicle choice does not resonate with your own preference for a vehicle. However, by not choosing a Sprinter van you are forfeiting numerous sonic advantages, which I’ve scientifically documented.
    And you are forfeiting numerous sonic advantages by not using a Winnebago, or for that matter a tractor trailer.

    Bigger spaces have the potential to sound better. Really nothing new there.

    And if you want to talk about science, what is your measurement procedure? Aren't you just cherry-picking a single-point measurement with your FR curves? I don't see any indications of spatial averaging, which is really required to get an accurate picture (See Geddes and Blind in JAES). (Or of especially high measurement resolution.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitledge Designs View Post
    It’s funny to me that you take the liberty to describe the Magic Bus as a vehicle that does not appeal to most, especially when you’ve never seen or heard it. If it were truly unappealing to most, how can you explain why I’m swamped by home and car audio enthusiasts every time I exhibit?
    That really has no bearing on my point one way or the other. People used swamp P.T. Barnum's freak shows, too, but no reasonable person would conclude from such a fact that the spectators wanted to be Siamese twins, etc.

    Looking at various car-fi fora, it strikes me that the Dodge Sprinter isn't exactly catching up with BMW 1er and 3er, Subaru Imprezas, GTIs, and so on as vehicles people want to buy, and then later upgrade the listening experience. I also don't see Sprinters around much, except occasionally in FedEx livery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whitledge Designs View Post
    If you are implying that my work holds no value to you, I’m fine with that.
    I made no such statement. I merely asked you if you had any take-away points that people may apply in cars they either currently have or may aspire to at some point. A question I've now asked you three times, but which you seem either not competent to answer, or unwilling to answer. Why?
    Last edited by DS-21; 09-06-2011 at 12:21 PM. Reason: language harsher than intended in penultimate sentence

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    Obviously you guys haven't read the links on how to build an audiophile car system that he provided. I haven't read it all yet but a good part... in regards to DS-21's concerns, there is a lot of information in there that one can put to use for one's regular car and I beleive he did answer your question just not with specific examples in this thread as they are already in the articles he posted. It's already all there.

    IMO it's not about it beeing in his van, it's about the whole process he used that can be used, by anyone, for every environment really, he just chose parameters of compromise different then most. So he prioritised his descision on the audio system, what's wrong with that? Many do the same with different sets of compromises such as small 2 seat roadsters for example. One might be great for audio, for hauling family members, hauling stuff, others might be better suited for off road or sporty handling and driving experience, each bringing their own set of compromises to the table.

    He elaborates on a few things like why he chose sealed instead or ported and talks about things we have often read about here but perhaps with a bit more detail and actual data behind it. for instance, we all want to have a speaker that can reproduce the entire human voice range, he posts what the range is and then explains his speaker choices to fit his requirement. I def like that he went with bigger drivers, in our "community" we thrive for the same thing but try and get the range and output from tiny 3 inch drivers.. would that be another compromise?

    It's all compromises.

    Durwood: he does say "...IASCA’s competition CD contains musical information in a two-channel stereo format. Fortunately, this is the format I believe best reproduces music..."

    I do think expansion in this is a good starting point for an interesting debate.
    Last edited by AAAAAAA; 09-06-2011 at 10:48 AM.

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