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Rock The Bike

Turntabling while Cruising?

German Sound System with turntable.

Peter Eland of Velovision Magazine emailed me this photo of a sound system, taken at the Eurobike trade show a few weeks ago.

The custom fiberglass work is very clean, with the rounded corners, and trap doors. I also like the choice of speakers — the aluminum cones look very sleek and integrate well with the white cabinet. The design for the top surface is simple and looks very stable.

Is it stable enough for the needle on that turntable to stay in the groove out on the street? Or does it only work on the carpeted halls of the trade show? I’m very curious. Perhaps DJ Jojo can tell us if it’s possible to roll while turntabling. If you set the needle to the heaviest setting, perhaps?

Adding any instrument to a cruiser ride is a great way to take the creative potential higher. The turntable may not be the most practical choice, but since when is Soul Cycling about practicality? The iPod is practical, but isn’t itself very interactive.

This sound system also gives us a chance to talk about one of the hardest challenges in bicycle audio: form vs. function. The bicycle is such a beautiful, iconic form. As a designer, I want to compliment it, accentuate it, emulate its simplicity. But the demands of audio are such that we need large speaker cabinets in order to achieve good bass.

Bass is so critical to feeling the music in your body, which makes you want to move and dance. It makes you feel like you’re cruising ‘in the music’, not listening to music on your bike.

Reproducing good bass requires a resonating chamber. I can’t tell you how big because it depends on the size of the woofers you use and their electomagnetic properties. I use the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook as a guide. What makes this challenge harder is that bass gets lost in the street because you don’t have the walls of a room to reinforce it. It’s not enough to not scrimp on bass; you have to overcompensate.

Ultimately, this sound system, despite its professional execution, looks fairly blocky. Sometimes this is unavoidable, particularly if you want to have a powerful system. I think these guys could have done a little better to avoid their sound system dominating the bike. But maybe that’s not the aesthetic they were going for.

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