Audio

April 4, 2012

Spring Break Nationals 26- Through the eyes of Johnathan Demuth

entrance

Photography By: Johnathan Demuth & Tony Nguyen

It was clear upon arrival at SBN 26 that the event was indeed going to live up to its reputation as being the World’s Most Famous Sound off. I walked into the venue on Friday evening while the manufacturers and vendors were setting up their booths on the show floor. Taking a moment to glance around, I noticed that there were a large number of vendors in the spaces available at the event, and being my 14th time to the show, I must say that the exhibitors were setting up ahead of schedule as compared to previous years. This was a great sign, along with noticing the positive attitudes and outlook on the event to come over the following two days. Speaking with a good number of the vendors there, reassured me that each is seeing an increase in sales again and they are noticing growth in the12 volt industry.

Saturday morning at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center, the event opened at 10am to the public. Instantly, at about 10:15am, the entire show floor was flooded with spectators, enthusiasts and competitors. This year seemed to offer a new policy on the sound level ordinance, where in previous years exhibitors were asked to keep their vehicle stereo demos to a moderate decibel level, and this year seemed to be a free for all to “Crank ‘em if you got ‘em”. I noticed this while passing through the sea of vehicles all 150 to 160db capable, all playing a different song of choice, and it

69Slam

69 Slam Bus

was quite the experience to say the least. Vibrations throughout the entire building were reverberating in my bones as I watched a light snowing of black ceiling spray insulation fall from overhead. To a car audio guy, I couldn’t wish for anything better! I walked along the isles visiting the numerous vendors and old friends in the industry when I stumbled across a company named 69 Slam, a clothing company from Florida that displayed their products in a school Bus! Seeing a vendor like this at a car audio event only reinforces the fact that what we are trying to do with cross pollination of genres in our Driven Lifestyle Magazine is the correct pathway to growth. I met the East Coast Representative, Jodi Fisher, of 69 Slam and quickly knew that he was a fantastic person with a true vision and a great product being displayed at this event.

After trolling through the exhibitor Isles, I took a stroll down memory lane and visited the car stereo SPL competition lanes at this event. Being a 20 year car audio SPL competitor myself, I visited with old friends and new, all the while observing how today’s new breed of competitor differs from those that are veterans and have been doing this for a decade or more. The people, who know me, know that I am one to voice my opinion when I feel it really counts and I just so happen to feel the need now to comment on a trend I noticed with a good number of the “Veterans” of car audio competition. In observing one of the World’s loudest SPL competitors, I must say that I was quite disappointed in the lack luster approach to answering questions and how the individual handled meeting the fans that flocked over to the well known vehicle. I think if these Veterans would possibly remember where they started from, as that young boy that once had the spark that I had personally once seen in his own eyes, possibly a more friendly approach to the fans and enthusiasts would light a fire into a new face and competitor for the future generation? Just a thought……

As I moved on through the lanes, I noticed how the “new breed” enthusiasts and superstars of today’s competition world really interact well together. Many new faces on the scene are now owners and builders of the loudest vehicles as seen on YouTube and internet forums, and these guys were very enthusiastic to interact with the normal fans and enthusiasts visiting the event as spectators. It’s great to see interaction like this as it not only promotes growth, but reminds me of what the hobby is all about…… HAVING FUN!

Nite Glow Competition

Saturday evening was quickly upon us, as we visited the Tuner Jam area in anticipation of the “glow off” that is held each year. Being held inside the front area of the Ocean Center, many vehicles were present to show their glow. Cars, trucks, SUV’s, a boat and even children’s “powerwheels” were all lit up to display and compete for having the best overall lighting. There was an array of neon, led’s, strobe lights, TV’s and even smoke machines all doing their job showing off and showcasing some amazing vehicles and amazing car audio installations as well, a great way to bring the Saturday show to an end.

 

Sunday morning came bright and early for the competitors as they were competing and doing their elimination rounds at 8am sharp. With the event hosting IASCA, MECA and Db Drag Racing, there was much to do and things kicked off 2 full hours before the event doors opened to the public. In the lanes,

IASCA Bass Boxing

musical formats seemed to dominate the show over the SPL “One note wonders” that had been popular in previous years. Excitement and crowd appreciation was obvious with the Db Drag “Bass Race”, Meca “Drive By” and most notably with IASCA’s “Bass Boxing” format. It was obvious that it is much more fun and interactive for the competitor and spectator to compete with doors open and the music heard and felt with the system up. At one point, it almost seemed like the old “hay days” of car audio as I sat back and watched hundreds of fans swarm in close to see the top contenders do battle head to head. In comparison, over in the SPL competition with the one note “Burp”, I was shocked when a competitor achieved a SPL score of 180.4db, to win the World Finals round, and not one single person cheered, clapped or enjoyed the moment. Man, how the tides have changed with this quickly ever-evolving industry and hobby.

Bret Nelker

Bret Nelker's Isuzu Rodeo

After watching some of the SPL final runs, I went through the rear glass doors of the Ocean Center to the rear parking lot, where sound quality competitors had turned the rear parking lot into somewhat of a SQ Woodstock. There were probably 50 tents set up, each covering a show quality vehicle that was entered into the sound quality competition where the best of the best competitors bring their A game to the plate. The sound quality competition community seems to be very civilized, united together and best of all, quiet! It was so peaceful to not feel an earthquake of bass pounding into my skull, and this is coming from a bass head, but a bass head that had been through 2 full days of it! I was also very proud that a few of my friends had won championships and placed top 3 in their respective classes, even more proud that they had done so with my subwoofers that I offered from my company T3 Audio. Good times indeed.

John Marsh

John Marsh's Eclipse

So to sum it up, Spring Break Nationals 26 was one of the best yet. The event seemed to go smoothly for the most part, people had fun and I met up with old and new faces and made new friends and connections. Seems as though that is the reason for going in the first place, right? Kudos to Paul Papadeas for another great SBN and the entire staff he has that makes this show possible, for without an SBN, I am sure that the car audio industry just would not be as much FUN!



About the Author

avatar
Johnathan Demuth
Johnathan is a founder of Driven Lifestyle Magazine, as well as an enthusiast of all genres in the automotive and marine lifestyle. With over twenty three years in the automotive industry, he has been involved as a consumer, installer, fabricator, competitor, salesman, inventor, designer, global sourcing agent, local and worldwide business owner and most importantly a marketing specialist. He is truly driven by the automotive lifestyle that he lives daily. Starting in 1991 until 2003, he was a successful car audio installer and competitor, holding 8 World Championships and over 100 World Records in his day. In 2004 Johnathan switched his focus from enthusiast to manufacturer affiliate, still currently operating as a designer, consultant and sourcing agent for numerous car audio speaker brands; assisting them from concept stage to point of sale stage. At Driven Lifestyle Magazine, Johnathan will tackle marketing, advertising sales, photography, as well as some writing and creative design.




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