Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK. - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

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Old 08-15-2008   #1
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Default Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

I've decided that I'm going to make the trip and hump it out to Tulsa for this competition. I've done some smaller local competitions but nothing like this; this is the real deal. So I need some help getting my system ready for the competition. Just tidying up stuff that could help with points in the long run. Here are the point categories that I'll be judged by....
http://www.soundoff.org/07sqrules.htm

I believe I'll be in the Beginner Consumer SQ class with my setup. My setup is pretty basic but is setup well and sounds good IMHO; it's listed below. Judging from the pictures I've got, can you guys give me some critical comments about where I should straighten some stuff up? What areas are often overlooked when preparing for something like this? From an install perspective; where can I improve?

Optima Yellow top secured and openly vented.
4ga wiring fused 8" from the battery and secured
Eclipse 8445
ED NINe.5 amp in the trunk (clean wires and terminated well)
Focal 165V1's. Stock locations with tweeters in the stock sail panels. Looks stock.
Tang Band 6.5" subs in 1 cube sealed attached to the rear deck.
No wires to be seen.....anywhere

Here are pictures of everything....







Last edited by ItalynStylion; 08-15-2008 at 08:55 AM..
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Old 08-15-2008   #2
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

For those lazy to click the clink....rules.



Quote:
IV. VERIFICATION JUDGING CRITERIA (5 points max)


A USACI competitor’s vehicle shall be inspected by the Verification judge to ensure that the vehicle and audio meets the Basic Requirements as outlined under USACI General Rules. If, in the judge’s opinion, the vehicle or system does not meet all of these Basic Requirements, the judge may bring it to the Head Judge’s attention, and by the Head Judge’s decision, the competitor may be disqualified from the event. The competitor’s entry fee may be refunded if it is not a Regional or Final event.

A. POWER SOURCE DESIGN

Battery(ies) Mounted Securely (0 to 3) - Every battery in the vehicle should be secured. A battery that is mounted securely should not allow the base of the battery freedom of movement in any plane of motion. A battery that will not move at all will warrant a 3. A battery that moves slightly but less than one inch in any direction will warrant a 2. A battery moves more than on inch but is secured as to not be deemed hazardous will warrant 1. All other will be awarded 0.

Battery(ies) Properly Vented (0 or 3) - Every battery in the vehicle should be properly vented to outside air. The buildup of poisonous and explosive gases given off while a lead acid battery is charging can be very dangerous. If A battery is mounted in an open engine compartment or ventilated by a forced air ventilation system with the output completely capable of moving the gases to the outside of the vehicle it will be awarded full points. Totally enclosing batteries in a open engine compartment defeats the purpose for ventilation therefore not allowing maximum points to be awarded to the competitor. The alarm battery backup will NOT be scored in this section. “Bat Cap” and other slow discharge type devices will be considered batteries and must be vented like a battery.

Upgraded Battery System (0 or 3)- Any aftermarket battery upgrade over the OEM rating will be considered sufficient and be awarded full points. USACI recommends the battery system be improved to exceed the peak current demands of the audio system but this is not required.. This can be accomplished by simply upgrading the factory battery and retaining a single battery system for a low wattage audio system. One or more auxiliary batteries are suggested for a higher wattage audio system. Multiple batteries will always be considered upgraded even if factory batteries are used. The minimum amount of suggested battery current (measured in amperes according to a battery’s cranking amps rating) would be detailed in Appendix B.

Upgraded Charging System (0 or 3) - Any aftermarket alternator upgrade over the OEM rating will be considered sufficient provided the charging lead has been upgraded to match the alternators output. A high output rewind of the stock alternator will also be considered sufficient for full points. A valid receipt is required to show proof of such a rewind. USACI recommends the charging system be improved to exceed the peak current demands of the audio system. More than one aftermarket high output alternator would be suggested for a high wattage audio system. (See Appendix C.) Example: If a vehicle with a 250 watt system were equipped from the factory with a 60 amp alternator, a 70 amp alternator would be considered adequate for points but a larger upgrade would be suggested for optimum system performance. It is the competitor’s responsibility to supply the proof of stock alternator value and upgrade in order to receive full points in this category.

Creativity of Power Source (0 - 5)- Points will be awarded for a power source design that exhibits creativity. Creativity is considered any ideas that are out of the ordinary based on other vehicles at the same event. Because the overall caliber of competitors may vary, the number of creativity points awarded to the same design may also vary to some extent. Maximum points will only be awarded to the most creative installations at any given event. The creativity of all aspects of the power source will be considered, including equipment, design, and application.

B. Wiring

Power Source (0 or 3) - Each power wire, which is connected to the positive terminal of a battery, must be fused within 18 wire inches (including all connectors, wire and protection devices) of the battery and before the wire passes through any metal. This measurement will be taken from the center of the positive battery post and terminate at the output of the fuse or a manual reset circuit breaker. Being properly fused consists of using a manual reset circuit breaker or a fuse of the proper rating. Either should have a current rating less than that of the components, including connecting wire, to which it is supplying power, to include at the positive post of multiple batteries connected together. Automatic reset circuit breakers are not acceptable. Also each fuse must maintain moderate accessibility. These rules normally apply to any circuit that supplies power to the audio system, but may also apply to a stock power lead which is deemed to be unsafe. Note: The gauge of wire being protected will decide proper fuse rating. System values will not be used to determine proper fusing values on batteries.

SIGNAL SOURCE (0 or 3) All power wires and signal wires extending to or from the signal source and processors must be routed and terminated in an orderly fashion. All wires should be secured at regular intervals (every six inches or less to achieve maximum points.) so as to prevent irregular movement. Each power connection should be solid, free of fraying strands, and protected from accidental shorting. Signal wires should be routed away from power wires to prevent radiated noise. All wires should be routed away from separately moving parts of the vehicle. Finally, all signal source and processor wiring should be out of sight from a normal seated position.

AMPLIFIERS (0 or 3) All power wires and signal wires extending to or from the signal source and processors must be routed and terminated in an orderly fashion. All wires should be secured at regular intervals so as to prevent irregular movement. (every six inches or less to achieve maximum points.) Each power connection should be solid, free of fraying strands, and protected from accidental shorting. Signal wires should be routed away from power wires to prevent radiated noise. All wires should be routed away from separately moving parts of the vehicle. Finally, all signal source and processor wiring should be out of sight from a normal seated position.

Power Wires Properly Protected (0 - 5) - The wires that connect the power source components to one another and to the audio system should be protected from their environment. In a non-hostile environment, such as in an interior compartment or in the engine compartment away from all heat sources (at least a few inches), wire loom will be considered sufficient protection and awarded maximum points. However, in high heat areas or underneath the vehicle, better protection will be required. In these cases, metal or rigid plastic conduit will be considered sufficient and full points awarded. A grommet must be used at any point where a power wire passes through metal or any conductive material. Loom, or other suitable material, will be required when the wire passes through any abrasive material. Common sense will be used when evaluating and scoring this category!

Power Wires Properly Terminated (0 - 5) - Good wire termination techniques should be used, especially to connect the power source components. Each termination should be very solid and free of any fraying strands or corrosion. A termination should have some form of protection, such as heat shrink tubing, to protect it from corrosion. Also, each termination along the twelve-volt positive lead must have adequate protection to prevent accidental shorting to ground. A crimped or mechanical termination that has also been soldered and then protected by a sheath that completely covers the termination will be awarded maximum points!

Power Wires Run Neatly, Safely, and Securely (0 - 10) - All wires which connect the power source components to one another and the audio system must be routed in an orderly fashion away from all potentially damaging parts of the vehicle. Any separately moving portion of the vehicle should be avoided as well as excessive heat sources (such as the engine’s exhaust system) All wiring should be secured at regular intervals (every six inches or less to achieve maximum points.) as necessary to prevent it from irregular movement. Other engine compartment wiring which is especially dangerous or unappealing may also be included in this category.

Creativity of Power Source and Wiring (0 - 10) - Points will be awarded for a power source design that exhibits creativity. Creativity is considered any ideas that are out of the ordinary based on all competitors at any given event. Because the overall caliber of competitors may vary, the number of creativity points awarded to the same design may also vary to some extent. Maximum points will only be awarded to the most creative installations. The creativity of all aspects of the power source will be considered, including equipment, design, and application.

D. SIGNAL SOURCE AND PROCESSORS

Equipment Properly Mounted (0 - 5) - The signal source components and any additional processors, such as equalizers, crossovers, and enhancement devices, must be firmly mounted to the vehicle. The component’s mounting should not allow irregular movement of the component in any plane of motion. If a component is mounted to a normally moving portion of the vehicle, then that particular portion of the vehicle will be inspected for irregular movement. Normally moving portions of the components, such as motorized faces or detachable faces, should be examined with slight force. Additionally, any source unit or processors mounted using a drywall type screw will be considered improperly mounted and will be awarded minimum points in this category.

Equipment Maintains Theme of Installation (0 - 5) - Each signal source or processor component should be mounted in an orderly fashion that is consistent with its surroundings. Great care should be taken to ensure that each component’s mounting is free of visual imperfections. There is no set guideline stating that the component should appear to be either stock or highlighted. A competitor may choose to highlight one portion of the vehicle while another remains stealth. Consideration will be given in this matter and points may not be deducted. This division will be defined as front of vehicle (“B” pillar forward) and read of vehicle (“B”pillar rear). In cases of vehicle with a trunk, the interior will be considered one theme are and he trunk another.

Normally Used Equipment Easily Accessible (0 - 5) - Any components that require adjustment or access during the normal operation of the system should be within comfortable reach when seated in the driver’s position. This does not include components that are normally adjusted only when installed or inspected. Components with visual displays should also be within comfortable driver’s view at or near dash level. Compact Disc changers, which by design are intended for trunk mount, need not be within reach of the driver but should be easily accessible otherwise. Also, extensive unlabeled operating components should also be avoided.

Signal Source and/or Processor Wires Run Neatly, Safely, and Securely (0 - 10) -

All power wires and signal wires extending to or from the signal source and processors must be routed and terminated in an orderly fashion. All wires should be secured at regular intervals (every six inches or less to achieve maximum points) so as to prevent irregular movement. Each power connection should be solid, free of fraying strands, and protected from accidental shorting. A crimped or mechanical termination that has also been soldered and then protected by a sheath that completely covers the termination may be awarded maximum points! Signal wires should be routed away from power wires to prevent radiated noise. All wires should be routed away from separately moving parts of the vehicle. Finally, all signal source and processor wiring should be out of sight from a normal seated position.

Creativity of Signal Source and Processors (0 - 10) - Points will be awarded for a signal source and processors installation that exhibits creativity. Creativity is considered any ideas that are out of the ordinary based on other vehicles at the same event. Because the overall caliber of competitors may vary, the number of creativity points awarded to the same installation may also vary to some extent. Maximum points will only be awarded to the most creative installations.

E. SPEAKERS

Speakers Properly Mounted (0 - 5) - All speakers in the vehicle should be securely mounted so that no irregular movement is allowed. This will include the actual driver and/or panel that the driver is mounted to. Any speaker mounted with a drywall type screw will be considered improperly mounted and will be awarded minimum points in this category. Pan head or equivalent will be required to obtain maximum points.

Speakers Properly Protected (0 - 5)- All speakers in passenger areas of the vehicle must be properly protected from damage during the normal use of the vehicle. If a judge can touch the cone or surround of a speaker with his the blunt end of a ball point pen then that speaker it may considered only partially protected. No grill will be considered zero points. Such protection may include, but is not limited to, an expanded mesh grill, waffle grills and so on.

Speakers located in a trunk or hatch area (in vehicles with no rear seat, the area behind the “B” pillar will be considered hatch area) must be protected from damage. All speakers in theses areas should have grills with no more than 2 inched gap at any one point. Inverted dub woofers will be considered properly protected.

Speaker Wires Run Neatly, Safely, and Securely (0 - 10) All wires extending to the speakers should be routed in an orderly fashion away from separately moving portions of the vehicle. The speaker wires should be secured at regular intervals (every six inches or less to achieve maximum points) to prevent irregular movement. A grommet should be securely installed at any point where a speaker wire must pass through metal or other abrasive material. All speaker wires should be hidden from view in a normal seated position. Any speaker wires that must pass outside the vehicle, such as those extending into the doors, must be encased in a protective material, such as split loom or a rubber boot to achieve maximum points.. Each speaker wire should be terminated solidly without fraying stands. A crimped or mechanical termination that has also been soldered and then protected by a sheath that completely covers the termination may be awarded maximum points provided other areas in this section achieve maximum points. Photos may be necessary for maximum points. Common sense will be used when evaluating and scoring this category.

Speakers Maintain Theme of Installation (0 - 5) - Each speaker should be mounted in an orderly fashion which is consistent with its surroundings. Great care should be taken to ensure that each speaker’s mounting is free of visual imperfections. There is no set guideline stating that the speaker should appear to be either stock or highlighted, but it should be cosmetically integrated.

Complexity and Creativity of Speaker Installation (0 - 10) - The speaker installation will be awarded points based on the amount of effort put forth optimize speaker performance an mounting. This includes using basic techniques such as sound damping, mounting surface reinforcement, driver placement, complex speaker enclosures, etc. These efforts need not be unique, but should improve the speaker’s performance or appearance. Points will also be awarded for a speaker installation (including enclosures) which exhibits creativity. Creativity is considered any ideas that are out of the ordinary based on other vehicles at the same event.. Because the overall caliber of competitors may vary, the number of creativity points may also vary to some extent. A speaker installation that is highly complex may also be eligible for creativity points. Maximum points will only be awarded to the most creative and complex installations.

F. AMPLIFIERS

Note: If an audio system does not use any external amplifiers, but instead uses only a signal source or processor with a built-in amplifier, then the signal source or processor shall be considered an amplifier and will be evaluated accordingly.

Amplifier(s) Properly Mounted (0 - 5) - All amplifiers in the vehicle must be firmly mounted to the vehicle. The amplifier’s mounting should not allow irregular movement in any plane of motion (up, down or side to side). If an amplifier is mounted to a normally moving portion of the vehicle or installation (fold down seats, motorized amplifier racks, and etc.), then that particular portion shall be inspected for irregular movement. Additionally, any amplification device mounted using a “drywall” type screw will be considered improperly mounted and will receive minimum points in this category.

Amplifiers properly cooled

(a)Effectiveness (0 - 5) - This section will evaluate the effectiveness of the cooling system. The amp(s) should remain cool at all times (not too hot to touch), even during peak demand. Each amplifier in the vehicle must have adequate cooling or ventilation according to it’s size and location. All amplifiers, except those mounted in large open areas, will require a forced air cooling system, or better, to obtain maximum points in this category. Any amplifier(s) with functioning forced air cooling that move adequate air will receive full points. Creativity is not part of this category.

(b)Creative Cooling Application (0 - 5) - The designs applied to cool the amps will be considered in this section. Competitors that can demonstrate creative, effective and unique ideas to cool their amplifiers will be awarded points in this category.

Amplifier Wires Run Neatly, Safely, and Securely (0 - 10) - All power wires and signal wires extending to or from the amplifiers must be routed and terminated in an orderly fashion. All wires should be secured at regular intervals (a maximum of 6 inches to achieve maximum points) to prevent irregular movement. Each power connection should be solid, free of fraying strands, and protected from accidental shorting. A crimped or mechanical termination that has also been soldered and then protected by a sheath that completely covers the termination may be awarded maximum points provided other areas in this section achieve maximum points All wires should be routed so as not to interfere with the normal use of any surrounding areas. Lastly, each amplifier must retain all manufacturer input or output protection, including speaker lead fusing. If an amplifier is protected internally, an owner’s manual may be required to show proof of such protection. Photo’s maybe necessary for maximum points. Common sense will be used when evaluating and scoring this category.

Complexity and Creativity of Amplifier Installation (0 - 10) The amplifier installation will be awarded points based on the amount of effort put forth to optimize performance and appearance. This includes using ideas such as displaying amplifier wiring, stiffening capacitors, motorized amplifier racks, easy access for adjustment, special lighting, etc. These applications need not be unique, but should improve the amplifier’s performance and appearance. Points will also be awarded for an amplifier installation that exhibits creativity. Creativity is considered any ideas that are out of the ordinary based on other vehicles at the same event.. Because the overall caliber of competitors may vary, the number of creativity points awarded to the same installation may also vary to some extent. An amplifier installation that is highly complex may also be eligible for Creativity points. Maximum points will only be awarded to the most creative installations.

G. ATTENTION TO DETAIL

In this section the Installation judge will evaluate the system on its overall appearance - little things may count a lot. Each compartment should be clean and free of imperfections. Fabric should be turned so that all grains will match, screw heads may be aligned, panels should fit snugly, color and texture of materials should blend, contours should flow smoothly, and etc.

Equipment detail (0 - 5) - Special attention is paid to consistency of product colors, trim, light, lettering, texture, and alignments.

Material detail (0 - 5) - Special attention is paid to the detail of materials, security, safety, or adaptability.

Application detail (0 - 5) - Special attention should be paid to the panel fit and finish, equipment should be mounted so that it is not inconsistent (mounted straight, level, flush) with the surrounding equipment. Additionally, speakers with logos may be aligned and/or facing the same direction to score maximum points in this category.

H. OVERALL INSTALLATION CREATIVITY

This category will be used to award points for creative installation techniques that directly affect the systems audio performance. Judges will not award points for items that were already considered for creativity points in other categories. No points will be awarded for items that are not directly installation related (i.e. custom wheels, custom paint, Etc....)

I. OVERALL SYSTEM

Overall cleanliness of vehicle (0 - 5) - A clean vehicle shows both respect for the judges and the competitor’s pride in the vehicle. Only a very clean vehicle will receive maximum points. Some allowances may be made for lack of cleanliness if the event is held during bad weather or with less than appropriate judging area conditions.

Overall security of system (0 - 5) - An audio system should be designed to deter and prevent theft. Components should be able to be disguised or hidden from a thief’s view from outside of the vehicle. Speaker grills, fake radio covers, and etc. may be used for disguises. Especially solid component mounting or tamper proof fasteners may also be considered as some theft prevention.

Ease of system maintenance (0 - 5) - A well-designed audio system should take into account the inevitable fact that each component will require repair or replacement, sooner or later. Each audio system component must be reasonably accessible for this reason. It should not require extended periods of time, in the judge’s opinion, to simply remove a component or reinstall it.

J. PRESENTATION

The competitor will have 7 minutes to completely present the vehicle to the installation judge. The competitor will have 2 points deducted from the presentation score after 7 minutes has expired. 1 point will be deducted for each additional minute up to 10 minutes. When 10 minutes has expired, the competitor will be “cut off” and judging will begin. During this 7-minute period the judge(s) will not be scoring the system, but will be very attentive to the competitor. The competitor should explain all parts of the audio system while showing their existence and function, if necessary. Photographs (or other form of media) of components or installation techniques which are not readily apparent, an audio system layout, and other diagrams (etc.) may help the competitor to more effectively present the audio system. Additional materials pertaining to the audio system may be available to the judges after the presentation period has expired.

The average score in this category shall be five points. Points may be deducted if, in the judge’s opinion, the competitor lacks a general knowledge or understanding of the audio system. While the competitor is allowed an assistant when making the presentation, the competitor only will be judged on knowledge and understanding of the system. If a competitor is unable to present the vehicle due to handicap or other extenuating circumstances, that competitor may appeal to the USACI Rules and Ethics board for a presentation exemption. If an exemption is awarded, the competitor who owns the vehicle MUST be with the vehicle while it is being judged. The competitor will be required to show the head judge and/or the event director the official exemption at every event.

VI. SOUND QUALITY JUDGING CRITERIA

A USACI competitor’s audio system’s sound quality will be judged according to the rules and guidelines in this section. Few points shall be awarded in a category if the system fails to meet the judging criteria for that category. Partial credit may be given if the system is nearly consistent with the judging criteria for that category. Maximum points shall only be awarded if the system completely meets or exceeds the criteria for that category.

The general rule for Sound Quality judging is to evaluate how well the audio system duplicates or recreates the original music performance. All musical information, including direct and reflected sound, must be recreated with accurate tonal balance. The musical information should also seem to come from the same direction and distance from the listener as in the original performance. When evaluating a very accurate audio system, the listener should be able to close his or her eyes and feel that they are actually experiencing a live performance.

A competitor will not be allowed any extra time to adjust the audio system for Sound Quality judging. A Sound Quality judge will only adjust the system’s volume and use such signal source playback functions such as fast forward and rewind or tracking. All other settings will be left untouched and should be preset.

Sound Quality software, a cassette tape or compact disc (other formats may not be available), will be provided by USACI and should not be substituted during the event. It is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure that the software is returned to the judging staff after Sound Quality judging is completed. If the software is not returned, the competitor will be considered disruptive to the event and appropriate action will be taken.

It shall be the Sound Quality judge’s responsibility to score the competitor’s audio system according to the following rules and guidelines to the best of this judge’s ability. It is the competitor’s responsibility to accept that the scores awarded by the judge are given in the competitor’s best interest as an honest evaluation of the audio system.

The competitor must present the sound quality judge a seating position that closely approximates the normal seated position while operating the vehicle. The sound quality judge must judge the vehicle seated in the seat placement presented by the competitor. If the judge feels that this position will not allow him or her to accurately score the vehicle or is unrealistic, the head judge will determine if the seating position is unrealistic. The sound quality judge may NOT adjust the seat or seating position to personal tastes.

Covering any portion of the vehicle so that it blocks or restricts the OEM view out of the vehicle for any judge judging the car is prohibited.

K. STAGING (50 points max)

The soundstage is an area containing all of the performers. The sound stage should have proper width, depth, and height direction. For a vehicle to receive maximum points in this category, it must accurately reproduce all components of the sound stage.

Position: Front to Rear (1 - 10) – The judge will evaluate where the front of the performer’s stage is located. Ideally, the front of the stage should appear to start well out in front of the listener and beyond the confines of the vehicle. An audio system that exhibits “rear stage” will appear to have most or all of the audio information originating from behind the listener with very little sound originating in front of the listener. This can be likened to listing to a live performance while sitting backwards in your chair. A vehicle that exhibits rear stage will receive minimum points.

Width (1 - 10) – The stage’s left and right boundaries will be evaluated in this category. The stage should appear to extend outside of the left and right confines of the vehicle. The stage should appear seamless from left to right with no noticeable holes or gaps. If the audio system lacks width, then the stage will sound as if all the performers are grouped closely near the center of the sound stage.

Height (1 – 10) – This section will evaluate how accurately the sound system recreates the proper stage height across the entire sound stage. The soundstage should appear to be at or near eye level for the listener, placed between the top of the dashboard and rear view mirror when in a normal seated position. Maximum points will only be awarded if all portions of the stage are at the proper height. If a sound stage varies in height from one area of the sound stage to another, an average of the best and worst stage height will be awarded. Example: Judging from the driver’s seat, the center and right placement appear to maintain the same relative vertical position but the left placement is considerably lower than the other portions of the stage. The center/right score (10) will be averaged with the left score (2) to arrive at the final score (6).

Depth (1 – 10) - When evaluating a sound field that has good depth recreation, it should be apparent that some of the performers are also closer to the listener than other performers. Using the baseline obtained in the “Position” section, the judge will evaluate how well the vehicle accurately reproduces the depth of the recording.

Balance L/R (1 – 10) – The stage should be balanced front to back, left to right, and top to bottom. It should not sound "right side heavy" or "thin on the left side" for example. It should sound consistently proportional throughout the stage area. A stage split front to rear (the left portion of the stage originating in front of the listener and the right portion originating behind the listener or visa versa) would score poorly in this category.



L. IMAGING (45 points max)

Imaging is the proper placement of the individual performers and/or instruments within the sound stage. The images on the sound stage may appear to be focused or diffused depending on the characteristics of the individual performer. These images should remain stable and not change location on the sound stage during the performance. The images should remain stable at all volumes and frequencies. Example: The lead vocals in a recording may be perceived as having a “tight and focused” image while a piano located toward the rear of the stage may have a “broad or diffused” image

Proper image separation is important to a well-balanced soundstage. Each image should originate from its own distinct location on the sound stage. No two images should appear to come from the exact same location. The sound stage should maintain seamless transitions from one image to the next and no gaps or missing musical information should be evident.

Left Position (1 - 8 points) Instruments and/or performers on the left side of the sound stage should be placed in the correct locations.

Left Focus (1 - 7 points) Images on the left side of the sound stage should be focused and well defined. The audio information from any given performer/instrument should come from an exact point on the sound stage.

Center Position (1 - 8 points) Instruments and/or performers at the center of the sound stage should be placed in the correct locations.

Center Focus (1 - 7 points) Images at the center of the sound stage should be focused and well defined. The audio information from any given performer/instrument should come from an exact point in the sound stage.

Right Position (1 - 8 points) Instruments and/or performers on the right side of the sound stage should be placed in the correct locations.

Right Focus (1 - 7 points) Images on the right side of the sound stage should be focused and well defined. The audio information from any given performer/instrument should come from an exact point in the sound stage.



M. AMBIENCE/SPATIAL REPRODUCTION (10 points max)

This section will score the system’s ability to accurately reproduce the spatial characteristics of the room that a musical track was recorded in. The audio system should give the sensation of being in a much larger space than that allowed by the confines of the vehicle. The audio system should be able to make the physical boundaries of the listening environment transparent.

Reproduction (1 - 5 points) - This section will score the system’s ability to accurately reproduce the spatial characteristics of the room that a musical track was recorded in.

Size of Space (1 - 5 points) - The audio system should give the sensation of being in a much larger space than that allowed by the confines of the vehicle.



N. DEFINITION AND CLARITY (65 points max)

A properly designed audio system should be capable of reproducing all audible frequency ranges with clarity and definition. An audio system should not add any unnatural coloration or distortion to the original recording. Instruments or vocalists from each frequency range should appear distinct and natural. There should be no additional resonance or harmonic overtones. Unnatural or “overly processed” sound is not desirable, as the music will lose warmth and realism.

Low Frequencies (1–5 Normal Volume) (1–5 Above Normal Volume) - This frequency range should not sound exaggerated in relation to the rest of the system but should blend with the other frequencies being reproduced. The musical notes should sound realistic and not have a noticeable rumble or unnatural sound. An audio system should also be able to reproduce the lowest frequencies accurately without distorting or “breaking up”. This frequency range includes the lower harmonics of the bass drum, bass synthesizer, pipe organs, etc. The system will be evaluated at normal and slightly above normal volume.

Mid-bass Frequencies (1–5 Normal Volume) (1–5 Above Normal Volume) Frequencies in this range should be realistically reproduced and balanced. The musical notes should be free of unnatural colorations or resonant sounds. The tones should sound realistic, accurate and precise. This frequency range includes lower vocals, snare drum, bass guitar, trombone, etc. The system will be evaluated at normal and slightly above normal volume.

Midrange Frequencies (1–5 Normal Volume) (1–5 Above Normal Volume) Frequencies in this range should be realistically reproduced and balanced. The musical notes should be free of unnatural colorations or resonant sounds. The tones should sound realistic, accurate and precise. Voices and instruments should sound rich and natural without being harsh, dull, compressed or distorted. The frequency range includes upper vocals, piano, guitar, keyboard, trumpet, etc. The system will be evaluated at normal and slightly above normal volume.

High Frequencies (1–5 Normal Volume) (1–5 Above Normal Volume) Frequencies in this range should be realistically reproduced and balanced. The musical notes should be free of unnatural colorations or resonant sounds. The tones should sound realistic, accurate and precise. The frequency range includes drummer’s high hat, cymbal, upper flute, etc. The system will be evaluated at normal and slightly above normal volume.

Dynamics (1–5 Normal Volume) (1–5 Above Normal Volume) – Dynamics refer to the power of tones. The dynamic range of a recording is the extremes between loud and soft portions of the music. The audio system should be able to accurately reproduce the entire dynamic range of the recorded material without sounding harsh, compressed or distorted. The system will be evaluated at normal and slightly above normal volume

Tonal Balance (1–5 Normal Volume) (1–5 Above Normal Volume) – The audio system must reproduce the recorded audio information without exaggerating or minimizing a frequency or group of frequencies. If a competitor were to look at the audio system’s output on an RTA meter, there should be smooth band to band transitions across the entire measured frequency spectrum without any abrupt peaks or holes in the frequency response.

Environment (1 – 5) - The audio system should not add any sound that is not a part of the original sound recording. Sounds such a buzzing or rattling should not be caused by the audio system during evaluation. These sounds can be added due to improperly mounted speakers, loose panels or components. If no foreign sounds are heard during audio playback, maximum points will be awarded.



O. NOISE (15 points max)

Engine Noise (1 – 3) – The vehicle’s engine must be running and a current load must be placed on the charging system (i.e. headlights on and set to high beam, air conditioner operating, brake lights operated, etc). The judge will carefully listen for alternator whine, spark plug ticks and other noises induced by the vehicle’s electrical system. The judge should be careful to distinguish between actual alternator whine produced through the audio system and other similar noises that already exist while the engine is running. These noises may include those produced by turbo chargers, the bearings in high output alternators, and etc. By listening to the audio system both while the engine is running and while it is not, a proper evaluation of the noise source can be made.

Note: The engine should be OFF to properly evaluate the remaining noise categories.

Mechanical/Fans/Actuators (1 – 3) – This will evaluate noises other than those included in the recorded media while the audio system is playing and the engine is off.

Turn Off Noise (1 – 3) – All components in the system should power down silently. No clicks, buzzes, thumps or pops should be present when the system powers down.

Turn On Noise (1 – 3) – All components in the system should power up silently. No clicks, buzzes, thumps or pops should be present when the system powers up.

Noise Floor (1 – 3) – A system with an improperly set gain structure will exhibit a hiss or “static” sound at full volume playing the zero bit track. This section will be evaluated on the zero data track at full system volume. Be sure to turn the system volume down prior to removing the recorded media or changing tracks!

P. OVERALL SOUND QUALITY (10 points max)

The Sound Quality judge should evaluate the overall appeal of the audio system. None of the evaluations made for previous categories should have any bearing on this section. The average score for this section is five points. An audio system that does not create an overall comfortable sound field may receive a less than average score. However, an audio system that sounds good and would be pleasurable to listen to for extended periods of time will receive an above average score.



VII. SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL - SPL (Sanctioned Unlimited)

If a competitor chooses to use an SPL “podium”, he or she will be required to use the same brand equipment in the podium as is installed in the vehicle with the same output voltages. This will include all processors, head units and so on. Some examples would be:

Competitor A has 2 EQT’s, a PLD1 Line driver and Pioneer M900 in the vehicle. This competitor uses a Pioneer M-900 and PLD1 Line driver in the Podium. This would be allowable.

Competitor B has an EPX2, PA1 and Alpine 7919 in the vehicle. This competitor has a Alpine 7909, PLD1 and an EQX in the podium. This would not be allowed.

(All models and brand affiliations are used to clarify this rule)

The SPL meter should be set to display only Max SPL and adjusted to the correct SPL range before initiating the testing. All gain or loss filters should be bypassed or set to their neutral position.


Windows, doors, and etc. can be either open or closed during this test. Doors may not be slammed or fanned during testing.


The competitor will have a maximum of five minutes to make any adjustments to the audio system for this test. If the competitor is not ready for the test within the five-minute period, a minimum of ten points will be deducted. After the SPL meter has been placed and the competitor has loaded the software and readied the system, the competitor should signal the judge that he or she is ready for the test. The judge should then reset the SPL meter and ensure that all entrances are closed.


After the judge signals the competitor to begin the test, the competitor will play 30 (thirty) seconds of an official USACI SPL music track (no sine sweeps) in order to obtain a reading on the SPL meter. The music may not be restarted after judging begins. If the audio playback does not remain audible to the judge or if it is restarted (or repeated in any way) then ten points may be deducted from the competitor’s SPL score. The competitor may choose to stop the SPL testing at any time before the 30-second time limit has expired but the SPL judge must be able to audibly verify that the correct disk is being used during testing. The use of tone generators, doublers or any other device that externally (outside of the closed signal chain) generates or alters the frequencies that the system is playing during SPL testing is expressly prohibited and will result in disqualification with no refund. Any competitor generating sound pressure with anything other than the provided musical software or externally influencing the SPL measuring equipment will be immediately disqualified and the incident forwarded to the USACI Rules and Ethics committee for review. Competitors found to be intentionally attempting to violate the above rules may be banned from competition for a period not less than 1 year and not more than 100 years. The decision of the Rule & Ethics committee will be final.


If the competitor feels that he or she had a system malfunction during the SPL testing, he or she may elect to retest. If the competitor elects to retest, he or she will be given 2 minutes to correct any problem(s) and retest. The result of the second retest will be the competitor’s final score. The competitor cannot elect to take the “better of the two” for any reason.


While personal safety is ultimately the competitor’s responsibility, hearing protection is required to be used by the competitor if he or she is inside of the vehicle during SPL testing. The competitor will be required to furnish their own hearing protection.


There is a 120 decibel maximum score (cap) for this test . The competitor’s score will be based on the SPL meter’s reading after the test track has been played. The competitor will receive his actual 30 second SPL score -100.


Note: Any ruling by the head judge is reversible only by a ruling of the rules and ethics board and only having been submitted by the petitioner in writing.


Vehicle Qualification
Please refer to the “Modified SPL” rules for specific microphone placement and vehicle interior modifications permitted.

VIII. SHOWMANSHIP AND BONUS POINTS

The competitor will be encouraged to display his or her vehicle for the spectators at all sanctioned USACI events. If the competitor chooses to display the vehicle, he or she will be required to have the vehicle on display for a period that will generally start at 1:00pm and conclude at 4:00pm to receive points in this category. The vehicle must be on display during this period unless it is in the judging lane. The head judge or event sponsor reserves the right to modify or omit this category due to inclement weather, space constraints or other reasons. Only the head judge, or another person designated by the head judge, will be judging this category. lease keep in mind that there may be space constraints that will not allow elaborate display areas to be set up. You will be informed by the head judge at the competitor’s meeting of the approximate amount of space allotted for each vehicle and display. If the competitor chooses not to display the vehicle, a score of zero will be awarded in this section. At any show other than a Regional or the World Finals, scoring in this category will 0 or 10. The location and length of time required satisfying this category would be determined by the event director and covered at the competitor’s meeting.

Display (0 or 10) - A competitor will earn 10 points in this section by simply opening the vehicle up for the spectators to look at. Typically, presenting the vehicle with all locations that have audio, or other, upgrades will be required. This will include, but is not limited to, the hood, passenger compartment, trunk and/or bed. Points will not be awarded, if in the judge’s opinion, the vehicle is not easily viewable by the spectators.

Creativity (0 - 10) - Creativity points may be awarded for display books, labeling or signs highlighting the audio system, using lighting to highlight audio components, video (or other media) detailing the vehicle and audio system and so on. You are encouraged to stay with the vehicle, while it is on display, as the judge may award creativity points by answering simple questions about the audio system while it is on display. Maximum points will only be awarded to the most creative and original displays. Creativity is considered any ideas that are out of the ordinary when compared with other competitor’s displays at that event. Because the overall caliber of competitors may vary from one event to another, the number of creativity points awarded to the same display may also vary to some extent. Maximum points will only be awarded to the most creative, informative and original displays.

Note: Creativity points will NOT be awarded without the basic display guidelines being met and points awarded in that category.

Note: Advanced Expert competitors will be required to display their vehicles for an extended period of time to satisfy the display category. The head judge or event director will discuss the display category with the Advanced Expert competitors at the event.

USACI Decal Bonus (0 or 5) - A competitor will be awarded 5 bonus points for prominently displaying an official USACI sticker on his or her vehicle.

USACI Membership Bonus (0 or 5) - A competitor will be awarded 5 bonus points for being a current USACI member. Each membership is good for 1 year from the time you join.
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Old 08-15-2008   #3
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

Double post...
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Old 08-15-2008   #4
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

This being your first regional competition be sure to have fun and take all the judge's scores and comments in good faith. Regional events are like the playoff events of major league sports. The competition is very tough. You might get some low scores in some areas but use them as constructive criticism to find areas of your install to improve on. In all have fun, show and demo your system off to everyone that walks buy, have fun, talk to other competitors (you might get some competition tips, install tips, and tuning advice from some of the top competitors in the nation), have fun, listen to as many other systems as possible, and have fun.

BTW, I have a silver on black '06 IS250.
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

Hi, Italyn.
The only thing I can see in those pics that might hurt you in competition is the lack of grommets on the amp rack and maybe grills for the subs.
The rest seems to be great.
By the way, I'll be in Tulsa thursday and Foos should be there friday.
I'll pm you my cell phone in case you need any help or another set of ears.

Jorge.

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Old 08-15-2008   #6
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Originally Posted by doitor View Post
Hi, Italyn.
The only thing I can see in those pics that might hurt you in competition is the lack of grommets on the amp rack and maybe grills for the subs.
The rest seems to be great.
By the way, I'll be in Tulsa thursday and Foos should be there friday.
I'll pm you my cell phone in case you need any help or another set of ears.

Jorge.
Sweet, sounds like a plan.

The amp rack is MDF but the holes are lined with carpet; do I still need a grommet? If I do, what could I use there?

I know that the subs don't have grills and Mir and I have talked about it. I'll be bringing him up with me when I go. I'm trying to come up with something creative/effective to put over them that wont block them from view but I've got almost no ideas.
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Old 08-15-2008   #7
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

I wish I could attend this...


Sorry to go OT, but does anyone think they'll be attending the MECA World Finals in Nashville Nov 8th? Doiter, I know you came last year...

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Old 08-15-2008   #8
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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do I still need a grommet? If I do, what could I use there?
starting on page 2:
http://www.knukonceptz.com/productMa...%20Accessories

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Old 08-15-2008   #9
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Hmmm, the holes I have in the amp rack are rectangular and wont work with that. Do you think I could use some type of sheet rubber?
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Old 08-15-2008   #10
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

ill never understand why anyone wants someone else to tell them how good their system is.?

if you love your bump, enjoy it.

driving 3 hours each way to be told your missing a grommet seems silly to me

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Old 08-15-2008   #11
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Sweet, sounds like a plan.

The amp rack is MDF but the holes are lined with carpet; do I still need a grommet? If I do, what could I use there?

I know that the subs don't have grills and Mir and I have talked about it. I'll be bringing him up with me when I go. I'm trying to come up with something creative/effective to put over them that wont block them from view but I've got almost no ideas.
Yes, you would still need grommets.
I also have the ones Bikinpunk put the link to.
Put any grill just to tell the judge they are protected.
Intro SQ has very basic rules, but instead get the intermediate consumer or the advances and see how your install would do in the higher classes.
Try to build for the higher classes.

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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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ill never understand why anyone wants someone else to tell them how good their system is.?

if you love your bump, enjoy it.

driving 3 hours each way to be told your missing a grommet seems silly to me
I think it's a bit more than that.

I've only been to a couple events but I go to hang out with other guys who share the hobby; it's very rare to meet anyone local who does and these events are great for finding/meeting those who do.

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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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I wish I could attend this...


Sorry to go OT, but does anyone think they'll be attending the MECA World Finals in Nashville Nov 8th? Doiter, I know you came last year...
Not this year.
The weekend after that is USACi's Finals in Omaha, Nebraska.

Jorge.

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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Hmmm, the holes I have in the amp rack are rectangular and wont work with that. Do you think I could use some type of sheet rubber?
you mean you've already slotted out a section for all the wires to pass through?

hmmm. in that case, would foam tape work? Not sure what the requirements are for wires being passed individually (ie: have their own hole rather than share a large 'hole')

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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Not this year.
The weekend after that is USACi's Finals in Omaha, Nebraska.

Jorge.




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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Originally Posted by bikinpunk View Post
you mean you've already slotted out a section for all the wires to pass through?

hmmm. in that case, would foam tape work? Not sure what the requirements are for wires being passed individually (ie: have their own hole rather than share a large 'hole')
That's what I'm wondering.
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

Doitor-I Have not competed this year. So maybe you can chime in.

I would either loom or flextech those wires coming throught the amp floor and heat shrink the ends.

Might also cover your front door grills in grill cloth. You will be fine with them uncovered as they are right now but I would cover them in grill cloth.IMO

Only other tip I could recommend is go over your presentation make sure its smooth and decide how you plan to present if its front to back, back to front. Have someone time you make sure you have it it the alloted time. Also that you cover all the stuff you really feel you want to point out about your system.

Good luck and have fun.

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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Doitor-I Have not competed this year. So maybe you can chime in.

I would either loom or flextech those wires coming throught the amp floor and heat shrink the ends.

Might also cover your front door grills in grill cloth. You will be fine with them uncovered as they are right now but I would cover them in grill cloth.IMO
I agree. Especially with the grill cloth idea; if for nothing else than stealth looks.

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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Originally Posted by ItalynStylion View Post
Sweet, sounds like a plan.

The amp rack is MDF but the holes are lined with carpet; do I still need a grommet? If I do, what could I use there?

I know that the subs don't have grills and Mir and I have talked about it. I'll be bringing him up with me when I go. I'm trying to come up with something creative/effective to put over them that wont block them from view but I've got almost no ideas.
Good luck to you!
Kinda sucks needing a grill on the the the subs. Had no idea their were so many rules. Not very creative but, waffle grills if you can find some in time.
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Old 08-15-2008   #20
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

a build log may help yer presentation a bit too.
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Old 08-15-2008   #21
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Doitor-I Have not competed this year. So maybe you can chime in.

I would either loom or flextech those wires coming throught the amp floor and heat shrink the ends.

Might also cover your front door grills in grill cloth. You will be fine with them uncovered as they are right now but I would cover them in grill cloth.IMO

Only other tip I could recommend is go over your presentation make sure its smooth and decide how you plan to present if its front to back, back to front. Have someone time you make sure you have it it the alloted time. Also that you cover all the stuff you really feel you want to point out about your system.

Good luck and have fun.
Thank you for the advice.

I will definitely plan out my presentation now that you mention it. I will probably start at the front and work my way back since the subs are the most impressive/unique thing about my system.

Why would I need to cover the front speaker grills? They are the stock ones that came on the car. You can see the Focal midbass in the picture because it's taken with a flash but it's much harder to see in real life. I was under the impression that as long as he cant touch the cone with a ball point pen you are awarded full points.
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Old 08-15-2008   #22
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

If I made some covers that hid the ends of the amp and the wires would that benefit me?
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Old 08-15-2008   #23
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

Yes.IMO However, I would recommend that you have a build log book full of pics.

I think working front to back on your car with the unique sub set-up is excellent. Those subs are things you want to point out that make your car different than the others.

You are fine and will get full points with just the grills. The grill cloth just adds a little touch and shows a little attention to detail that's all.IMO

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Old 08-15-2008   #24
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

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Yes.IMO However, I would recommend that you have a build log book full of pics.

I think working front to back on your car with the unique sub set-up is excellent. Those subs are things you want to point out that make your car different than the others.

You are fine and will get full points with just the grills. The grill cloth just adds a little touch and shows a little attention to detail that's all.IMO
I absolutely have all the pics from building/installing everything. I even have pictures of the elaborate use of deadener (thanks to ANT) throughout the whole car too. I've deadened everything....I'll start putting together a work log.
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Default Re: Getting ready for USACI regionals in Tulsa, OK.

Log book showing every detail except for the secerets is a must.

Practice your presentation as well. There is a 7 minute time limit.
When I competed most judges said that they didn't really care about time...they would rather I explain the details.

Just ask your presentation judges if they are going to hold you to the 7 min rule.

Practice it while timing yourself. Use your pictures and the vehicle itself.

In my opinion the grills on the front doors kind of give it an integrated look I think that cloth on them would take away from that.
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