Kick Panels2017-11-03T12:54:54+00:00
Car Speaker Placement and Kickpanels

Car Audio Front Stage with Kick Panels

If you are really into car stereo not just into trunk rattling bass, you have probably heard the term “front stage.” Primarily known in the IASCA competition circuit, front stage is one of the most elusive and difficult criteria to achieve in a car audio system. Front Stage is considered by many as the ultimate goal in a custom car stereo system because power can not correct it, brands, equalization, neon, Plexiglas, LED, motorization, wire gauge, etc. The good front stage is a combination of equipment selection and installation. This ratio is 30% equipment selection and 70% installation and design.

So, what is a front stage?

Front Stage is a phenomenon that occurs when listening to a high-performance sound system at an equal distance from the speakers at the center position. In other words, the distance between you to the right speaker, you to left speaker and left speaker to right speaker is the same. Unlike BOSE definition of high fidelity – Good Front stage refers to an audiophile term used to describe when a sound system can replicate (resolve) the scenario (placement) of singer and instrument within a sound stage or studio. This usually means the singer or vocalist at the center, with the chorus behind, the drummer behind them, the bass to one side with lead guitar or keyboard to the other. A sound system with good front stage can place this sound at a physical location many times extending beyond the boundaries of a vehicle. Some world renowned competition vehicles like Richard Clarks famous Buick Grand National and others are known for placing the center stage 10 to 15 feet in front of the windshield when you close your eyes.

How do you achieve good “Front Stage” in a car

Based on this notion car makers have been fooling around trying to achieve this phenomenon by means on employing digital sound processors (DSP) in the case of Lexus, Infinity, and others with the placement of speakers in a different location, primarily the center of the dash and pillars. DSP is not the way to go (this is a joke)! While small time alignment is sometimes necessary to do to physical characteristics of the vehicle anything over 100 milliseconds is highly undesirable. The best way to achieve a consistent front stage is using speaker placement. The way to achieve this is using kick panel (a.k.a fiberglass speaker pods). In some cases, pillar mounted teeter and in even fewer cases the employment of a center channel speaker. Note that front stage refers to stereo playback, not DTS, 5.1 or 7.1 Dolby!

Summary of “Front Stage” in a car

The truth is that front stage requires a lot of planning and tuning, and something only 1 in 100 custom car stereo systems can achieve. In many cases requires replacing and equipment and mismatching brands and components. That of itself can be drama because many car audio enthusiast have pretty strong mindset about the brands they like and the sound they produce. ┬áSo whether you are planning to participate in the IASCA competition circuit or simply trying to achieve what your B&M or Martin Logan home speakers can do, come and see us for a free evaluation on how we can improve the front stage of your car’s sound system.