March 19, 2009
| by Steven Castle
Some guys have man caves. Todd Whitworth has a whole man barn—a 16,000-square-foot car barn, to be exact. It’s filled with his car collection, which features classic muscle cars such as a 1969 Camaro Z28 and a 2008 Aston Martin DB9 convertible.
The car barn can also be filled with music—and “filled” may be an understatement.
“I want the music so loud I can feel it,” says Whitworth. “I collect cars, and as a stress reliever I go to my car barn, crank the music as loud as I can and wax my cars. No matter what happens with my work, that drowns out everything else. It’s my escape.”
Filling the voluminous space of the barn with sound and satisfying Whitworth’s ear-bleed demands was no small feat for electronics specialists I.C.E. Systems of Winston-Salem, N.C. In fact, Whitworth blew out several fine consumer-grade speakers before I.C.E. realized he needed a professional-grade system in the car barn.
Whitworth cranks the sound for hours at a time at about 120 decibels, explains installer Jon Ottati of I.C.E. Systems, and the soft-dome tweeters of many speakers aren’t built for that kind of punishment. “They just heat up and pop,” says Ottati.
So I.C.E. installed six JBL Pro concert models with 12-to-15-inch woofers and compression horn tweeters, along with a pair of dual 18-inch JBL subwoofers. To top it off, they rolled in two massive Velodyne Digital Drive 1812 Signature Edition subwoofers. These half-fridge-size subs each have an 18-inch driver for the lowest frequencies and a 12-inch driver for upper bass sounds, plus on-board parametric equalization and enough amplification for punch-in-the-gut bass.
The JBLs are driven by three Crown amplifiers: the 5,000-watt XLS5000D drives the two JBL subwoofer enclosures, while the 600-watt XLS602D handles the two front channels and the 800-watt XLS802 pushes the surround speakers.
A DBX audio processor, Cary preamplifier, Escient CD management system and Samsung Blu-ray player also having starring roles. And a Sharp 65-inch 1080p LCD HDTV is front and center to show concerts on Blu-ray Disc or DVD.
One might think this powerful 6,000-watt-plus system is set up in a surround-sound array, but it actually plays in good-ol’ two-channel stereo, with considerable subwoofer accompaniment. And that’s fine for Whitworth, who uses this system almost exclusively to listen to music and concert discs.
“And when I put on a football game, it sounds like you’re there. … People go in and stand in front of the subwoofers, and their clothes are flapping,” he says.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates