Back in the 1990s, companies toyed with the idea of an on-board system that could play movies in car. With that, the first LCD screen for cars made its first appearance here, and along with it came a conversion kit to modify the CD changer so that it could play VCDs. (Remember those?)
Fast-forward to the present and every hi-fi brand has at least one head unit that can play back a wide variety of video formats (DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, MPEG, etc.), either through an in-built or an external LCD screen. Multimedia hi-fi systems that are able to play music and movies are now very commonplace, and they are extremely popular with owners of MPVs who happen to have kids in tow.
The owner of this Honda Odyssey, for example, also has a Mini Cooper parked for the occasional jaunt around town with the wife. But when it comes to hauling the whole family, it’s the Honda to the fray. Spacious and comfortable, it is the perfect adult mover (note: adult).
Space is not as much a concern as providing ample entertainment to keep his children happy and, most importantly, quiet. The kids need something that will arrest and hold their attention. The solution was simple, according to Eddie from Aeon Customs – a home cinema system had to be installed. And he was not talking about one or two LCD screens and a couple of measly speakers.
How do five LCD screens, two power-packed amps, a booming subwoofer and no less than eight speakers grab you? Vibe’s top-of-the-line component speakers were chosen for this set-up, and these were mated to two Alpine amplifies, one Alpine multimedia head unit equipped with a retractable LCD screen, which served as the main source unit, and, last but not least, the Alpine PXA-H701 multichannel audio processor.
The factory-fitted head unit is connected to the Alpine head unit via the aux-in, and now functions only as a CD changer, while the steering wheel-mounted buttons are able to control the volume as well as select the source and track.
An iPod video cable, which allows the connection of an iPod unit, is also attached to the Alpine head unit, thereby providing another video and music source from which to choose.
The front set-up is fully “active” – that is, one channel from the amp powers one speaker. Comprising a set of Vibe Black Air 6 component speaker system connected to a four-channel Alpine PDX-4.150 amp with 150 watts of juice per channel, this combo emits the sweetest of vocals and the punchiest of mid-range frequencies.
Another Alpine PDX-4.150 amp powers the rear set-up, which is made up of a set of Vibe Black Air 6 (passive, as in one channel powers a mid/tweeter combo), as well one boxed Vibe Space 8 subwoofer that is cleverly located in a customised centre console located between the front seats. This set-up complements the active front set-up by supplying the much-needed bass, which is punchy and tight, as well as the rear surround field.
Four Sony XVM-B62 LCD screens, each measuring 6.2 inches, are the final pieces of the puzzle. They are mounted on the front and middle headrests so that everyone can watch movies without having to move their seats around.
Rounding off the set-up is full soundproofing provided by Dynamat Xtreme on the roof, floor and door (two layers), as well as an additional layer of Tac Mac on the roof, and an additional layer of Xtremeliner on the floor.
A set-up such as this is great for big families with kids, but it does not come cheap (estimated $15,000). Still, you cannot put a price tag on peace of mind, and the knowledge that every trip from now on – no matter how long or short – will never be filled with cries and screams of protests.
+ HEAD UNIT
Alpine IVA-D106E mobile media station
Alpine PXA-H701 multichannel audio processor
2 x Vibe Black Air 6 component speaker system
Vibe Space 8 boxed subwoofer
2 x Alpine PDX-4.150 four-channel amplifier
4 x Sony XVM-B62 LCD screens
iPod video cable
Dynamat Xtreme soundproofing mats
Dynamat Xtremeliner soundproofing mats
Tac Mac soundproofing mats