The New World Order of OEM Integration
Clearly, these new devices make the most sense for customers with vehicles with built-in ‘infotainment’ systems with integrated TFT/LCD screens. Sometimes these systems are more challenging for the installer because they carry audio signals around the vehicle using fiber-optic cables. If you’re lucky, the fiber-optic cable will terminate at an amplifier in an easy to access location (like the trunk). However, some new vehicles are taking the fiber-optic signal right to amplifiers located adjacent to individual speakers. Although there is more work wiring up this kind of set-up (since new analog wires need to be run), rest assured there will always be a “backdoor” around sophisticated fiber-optic systems until someone figures out how to make a 100 percent digital loudspeaker (and that is not happening anytime soon). The installer can always grab the analog signal at the speaker leads and route it back to one of these clever products... Let’s tap into these once-impossible infotainment head units and ring up the cash register!
First off is the AudioControl DQL-8 (MSRP $599.95). It is a digitally controlled processor for interfacing aftermarket amplifiers with factory installed audio systems. Flexibility is the key with the AudioControl DQL-8 or any of the active OEM integration devices. The DQL-8 features eight input channels so it can tackle any “active” system. It can accept signals up to 400-watts each, either full range or crossed over. If the installer needs to take signals going to a tweeter, midrange, woofer, and subwoofer, he or she can grab the signals, send them into the DQL-8, and then it can sum them together into a nice manageable stereo signal ready to be sent off to aftermarket amps. Additionally, the DQL-8 has an auxiliary input that can be activated by simply tapping the knob on the included dash-mounted volume control. This is really great for easily adding an iPod, satellite radio, or audio from a video system into the factory system. Moreover, a DSP processor allows for both parametric and graphic equalization controls for each output channel combined with its own internal crossover. Each output channel has completely programmable parametric controls. Additionally, AudioControl has added its famous precise, one-third octave spaced constant-Q equalization controls for a total of 140 equalization options. Think about it: When was the last time your shop busted out the old RTA meter to tune a system? Now, you can use it to tweak a factory head unit through the DQL-8 and get better sound quality! There are eight user selectable memory presets to make tweaking a pleasure and not a curse-fest trying to catalog changes on-the-fly. For customers who really think they would want to take advantage of tweaking in their driveway, AudioControl offers the optional Digital Dash Control (DDC) that can be installed in the front of the vehicle.