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1990.08.DD - Car Audio Electronics - Axl Rose Rocks Out (Axl)

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1990.08.DD - Car Audio Electronics - Axl Rose Rocks Out (Axl) Empty 1990.08.DD - Car Audio Electronics - Axl Rose Rocks Out (Axl)

Post by Blackstar on Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:49 am

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Transcript:
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AXL ROSE’S BMW 325i
 
BY DOUG NEWCOMB
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAN ARSENAULT
 
Back in the mid-1980s, the members of Guns N’ Roses were just another group of scruffy, tattooed rockers struggling to make a name for themselves on Hollywood's Sunset Strip. With the release of their debut LP, Appetite For Destruction, in 1987 and the popularity of the hit single “Sweet Child O' Mine" nearly a year later, the band ascended to the top of the hard-rock heap.
 
With several million albums sold, the members of the band are reaping the benefits of hard work and dedication. Now they can afford some of the finer things in life, such as expensive cars with custom sound systems.
 
The group's flamboyant lead singer, W. Axl Rose, is a car audio freak from way back.
 
“When I was 17, I got my first car, but I went out and bought the car stereo first," he recalled. “Everybody had $150 tuners, and I went and bought a $600 Jensen right off the bat. And I had it in my house before I had it in the car, running off a converter; that was my home stereo."
 
Stereo Of The Stars
 
Rose's passion for quality car tunes has not diminished over the years. He just had his 1989 BMW 325i convertible outfitted with a state-of-the-art sound system by the experts at Electronic Entertainment in Los Angeles - but this time he bought the car first!
 
“[Axl] had his management call around to find a shop. Because we have strong connections to the music industry, he got referred t0 us," said Howard Becker, owner of Electronic Entertainment.
 
Becker bills his store, located just south of Holly-wood, as the "Car Stereo Store Of the Stars." And with good reason. He has built a solid rapport with music establishment. The day we went to look at Rose's car, installers were putting the finishing touches on rapper M.C. Hammer's Porche 930, and the parking lot was dotted with Rolls-Royces.
 
Healthy Dose Of Power
 
As you might expect, Rose likes to crank up the Beemer's audio system, so a healthy dose of amplifier power was required.
 
"[Howard] knows what my wants and needs are out of a stereo," Rose remarked. “Whether I’m going to play it on 10 or not, I want to know that I can. If I’m in a really good mood—or possibly really upset—I want it on 10 sometimes.
 
“If it’s not safe to hear it at a loud volume because traffic's really hectic, then it’s [turned] down," he added. "If I'm driving past buildings where everybody's going to complain that the volume's too loud, then sometimes I’ll turn it down. If I can push it all the way up to 10, I usually like that."
 
Six Linear Power amplifiers—three 2202s, two 952s, and one 452i—provide adequate power for Rose “to push it all the way up to 10." The three 2202s are stacked on the right side of the trunk, with the 452i on top.
 
Custom Circuitry
 
In the center of the trunk, mounted below the rear deck, two Linear Power 952s flank a Sony CDX-A100 CD changer. Attached to the left wall of the trunk is an aluminum box containing custom circuit boards that perform various functions: parametric equalization, signal routing, noise suppression, center-channel processing, muting, and more.
 
Electronic Entertainment's in-house engineer. Len Horowitz, designed and built this circuitry, Becker explained. Each car he works on is thoroughly analyzed, and a parametric equalization and noise-suppression system is tailored to it.
 
"This is really why we are so successful and why we take professional musicians—we're just finishing a job for Herbie Hancock-and get them so delighted," Becker said.
 
“Go Listen To Yours!"
 
Behind the rear seat are two 12-inch Pioneer subwoofer, each with its own passive crossover network. The output from these drivers passes through the BMW’s back seat.
 
"What I think is exceptional, in the 325i there's place to put the back speakers," Rose commented. “We were worried about how the bass would come through. We knew we were going to have to put the speakers going through the back seat. It came out very sweet.
 
"If someone complains about the bass," he added, I just say, 'Yeah, go listen to yours. I’m happy!’ ” Behind the factory perforations in the rear side panels are Star 4-inch midranges. Peerless K010BT 1-inch soft-dome tweeters were mounted beside each of them behind metal speaker grilles.
 
Installed in the for-ward area of each door are three CTS 4-inch woofers, another Peerless soft-dome tweeter, and one Foster rib-bon tweeter. Another CTS 1-inch woofer was mounted in the rear corner of each door. Each kick panel received a pair of the Star 1-inch midranges.
 
Center-Stage Vocals
 
For center-channel imaging, Becker employed an Eclipse center-channel speaker. It was secured to the BMW’s center console, just in front of the gear shift. According to Becker, custom-built circuitry in the trunk-mounted aluminum box separates vocals from the rest of the audio information.
 
"What this processor does is take the vocals and allow them to come through the center channel," Becker explained. “On the dash is an on/off switch with a volume control. Of course, vocalists love it, because they’re listening to themselves and they’re evaluating their performances and how they’re coming across. We also put one of these in Michael Jackson's van," he added.
 
The Real Thing
 
In the stock radio location is a Sony 7400 cassette tuner that also controls the CD changer. "I mainly listen to the CD player,” Rose said.
 
“The cassette deck has been for listening when I come out of the studio; I’m using it for hearing tracks and mixes," he explained. "This morning we didn’t get out of the studio till nine in the morning. I'll get (the cassette) in the car and throw it in and see what I think of it driving around town. And then I’ll play it at home. But it's a lot easier for me to get a grip on how it's going to sound in the car."
 
During the photo shoot for this article, Rose reached into an inside pocket of his leather jacket and pulled out a cassette from a recent Guns N’ Roses recording session. He inserted it into the deck and out blared a new song called "Civil War."
 
Rose leaned his head down, listening intently. Afterward, he explained, "I hadn't listened to 'Civil War’ in the car yet and I wanted to hear that. Then he cranked up Faith No More's The Real Thing CD saying, "They're the only band I'm jealous of."
 
Electronic Extras
 
Besides the stereo sys-tem, Electronic Entertainment also installed an Alpine 8080 security system and an Alpine 9530 cellular phone in the Beemer. An Ora shark-fin cellular antenna on the trunk lid blends well with the car’s sleek black exterior. In addition, a K40 Sonaradar radar detector keeps Rose out of speed traps.
 
Becker designed the system, installer Lee Stewart performed the installation work, and Alfonzo Ortiz did all of the trim work and cosmetic details.
 
No Hassles
 
Can this seemingly mild-mannered Axl Rose behind the wheel of a conservative Yuppie mobile such as the BMW 325i be the same as the one screeching out “Welcome To The Jungle” on a million MTV screens across the country? Why the Beemer?
 
“I’ve driven a lot of cars and I've rented a lot of different cars, and I never really wanted to own a Beemer because of the stigma that goes along with it,” Rose explained.
 
“I get treated different in this car,” he added. “Little old ladies wave and stuff like that. I don’t get hassled in this.”
 
For a rocker who’s reached the top, that’s reason enough.
 
***
 
AXL ROSE
INTERVIEWED BV BILL NEILL
 
Do you use your car stereo on a professional basis or just for recreation?
 
I use it for listening to music for peace of mind, but also for listening to music at a loud volume—other people's records or my records—so that I can listen really closely to what’s going on in the song.
I spend a lot of time driving around listening to all kinds of songs in the car because it's such a close environment. It’s like you're right in the middle of it.
 
What kind of music do you like to listen to in the car?
 
Everything from Prank Sinatra to Todd Rundgren to Steely Dan. Every single day I listen to Steely Dan’s Decade because it just pushes me to work harder.
 
Where do you usually drive when you listen in the car?
 
It’s usually in LA and the (San Fernando) Valley and over Laurel Canyon [Blvd]. It's great to turn up the tunes and forget about the traffic. It's like my piece of mind is driving in the car.
 
Do you get recognized in the BMW when you drive?
 
I've done some work to it, but I've still kept it a bit conservative. I did the rims and had it lowered and put some racing tires and a rollbar on it, but I kept it a bit conservative so I'm not drawing attention.
Sometimes I get chased or followed, you know, and have to lose someone. The reason I decided to go with the rims and the tires was I was being chased by two girls in a Camaro and I had to take a corner really sharp and I kind of bit the curb.
 
Would you rather drive with passengers or alone?
 
I like to drive people around in the car, but I can listen to the music better when I'm by myself. When you have someone in the car, you start talking about this and that and my concentration is distracted from driving or from listening to the song.
If I start to feel like I'm listening to it too loud to pay attention to what's going on with weather conditions or traffic, I turn it down immediately. I have a clear driving record.
I turned my dad on to car stereo and how it works. I send him CDs I want him to listen to, and he sends me CDs. I turned my dad into a car stereo buff. It's actual-ly helped us get along and communicate better.
 
Anything else you want to say?
 
To the kids or anybody going to buy a car stereo: be really wary of someone trying to make a sale real quick.
If you're going to buy a car stereo, just be real careful and check out the place, and look around a lot and talk to people. Actually take some time—pick up Car Audio; pick up some magazine. Read a little bit so you know what you're dealing with.
Check a few places out. I'm not even saying, worry about the best deal price-wise. But worry about the best deal quality-wise with what you can afford.
Someone could be spending anywhere from 50 bucks to 20 grand on something. Just be careful and check a few places out and talk to some people with systems before you actually buy.

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Source of the images: katyaani, tumblr
Blackstar
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