| Images courtesy of Oxford Car Audio, Antony Kinnear and Ben Armstrong |
Earlier this year, following Round 1 of the EMMA UK competition, we caught up with Antony Kinnear – a car audio enthusiast committed to pushing himself and his car to the limit. Here’s what Antony had to say about his build, how he got interested in modifications, and his future plans…
Connects2: Hi Antony, I hope you’re well. Firstly could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What was your first car, and how did you get involved in car audio modification?
Antony Kinnear: I started with car audio in the same place as most people, with a plug in and play EDGE active bass enclosure from Halfords, haha. That was almost five years back now and it has kinda grown a fair bit from there.
My first fully custom system was a single Alpine Type R with Alpine Type R front components. I built a false floor and everything so it looked neat in the boot. However, the same as when you chase more BHP, audio is just the same as you’re constantly always chasing more DB and quality, so the system has grown a substantial amount since three to four years back.
C2: We caught up with you at Round 1 of the 2017 EMMA UK competition where you did superbly well with your MG ZR. Why was the MG your vehicle of choice and do you have any prior experience with these sorts of competitions?
AK: I had no prior experience and the MG ZR around 4 years back was my daily driver, but the decision was made to turn it into a mad audio car after I attended EMMA Round 1 back in 2014. The car turned out to be very ideal as I wanted to do a large portion of the build myself, and luckily the car is really straightforward to strip to a bare shell and put back together again.
So I stripped it back to a bare shell and rebuilt it from the ground up with audio in mind, laying down cables, sound deadening, removing bits which would cause rattle or re-vibrations etc. This helped ensure the car was the best possible environment for a big car audio install.
As an added bonus the car is extremely cheap for parts. I broke a fair amount whilst taking it all apart and putting it back together again a few times over, so it was handy to be able to get replacements of this for next to nothing from the local scrap yard.
Another reason for sticking with the MG ZR is that I had never really seen a British car done before within the audio scene let alone a MG ZR, so I thought it would be a bit of a breath of fresh air from the usual German cars you see dominating the scene.
C2: Run us through your process for modifying your car. Which components, products and services did you use?
So I did all the wiring, sound deadening, system design, system tuning and setup all myself
I had Oxford Car Audio do the boot build and ipad dash install, as they had a lot of previous experience with the other Alpine demo cars, so it just made perfect sense to go to them for this part of the build, not to mention they give a cracking customer service.
I utilised both Oxford Car Audio and Car Audio Security for the equipment such as amps, speakers, batteries etc as they both had cracking prices and a good relationship with Alpine.
The products I choose were as follows:
- 2x Alpine PDX M12 mono amps
- 2x Alpine PDX F6 4 channel amps
- 2x Alpine Type R 12 inch woofers
- Alpine Type R SPR60C 6.5 inch components
- Alpine Type R SPR50 5.25 inch co-ax
- Alpine PXA-H800 Processor
- 2X Stinger SPV70 Batteries
- 1X Stinger SPV44 Battery
I got unique and difficult to get products such as the SMD Gauges and tuning equipment from BLADE ICE, as its one of the only places in the UK where you can get products like that. I went to Tom Crown at CROWNS CUSTOMS for a custom made alternator solution, he was fantastic and managed to cram a monster 250 amp alternator onto the little K-series engine. I had an amazing security system for the car supplied and fitted by Car Audio Security. At the end of the day they are the best in the business when it comes to security systems.
C2: What was your experience of the day like? Did it meet your expectations, or did it throw you any challenges you weren’t expecting?
It was a lot different being in the competition as opposed to being a spectator like I had been for the previous 2-3 years and it gave me a completely different perspective on the event.
The most challenging part was resisting the urge of giving lots of demos, as I ideally needed to conserve the battery power for when I was being judged, however with the big crowds and like minded individuals around, I found myself constantly playing a lot more songs than I should have, but I didn’t mind as it was a ton of fun to experience such a large number of individuals seeing the build for the first time.
C2: EMMA are renowned for giving entrants tips on how to improve their system for future competitions. Did they recommend anything in particular to you, and are you going to implement any of it for Round 2?
The staff at EMMA were LOVELY!
They were very helpful and I found the feedback sheets to be very detailed – they even went as far to leave bullet points with things to do to ensure maximum marks next time.
I’ve already booked a day or two to work on the car alongside Oxford Car Audio, so we can go through the feedback sheet and get maximum marks for Round 2.
(Maximum install points where achieved for Round 2, so the 2 days at Oxford Car Audio were successful)
C2: What are your plans for the future? Will you be continuing to modify your MG, or do you think you’ll begin a fresh project in a new car to tackle other categories aside from SQ?
This round, I competed in SQ, SQ-Loud, ESPL 4 Woofer, Multimedia and EMMA Racing. So I managed to get a good exposure to all the different categories available.
I manged to bag 1st place for SQ- Loud, 2nd Place for SQ and, 3rd Place for EMMA Racing which are fantastic results!
I’ll focus on the SPL side of things for the following rounds as there is still room for me to improve my SPL scores, which directly impacts my SQ-Loud and EMMA Racing scores.
Will also be doing some minor amendments to the SQ side of things to help push my scores higher in the hope to achieve a 1st place.
(This was achieved at Round 2 as I achieved 1st place for SQ)
I’ll be continuing with the MG. I spent about 2-3 years on it so far making the shell as good as it can be for getting great results, so its a solid base to work with. My overall goal is to make a fantastic all rounder that can do all 3 categories (SQ, SQ-LOUD, SPL) to an enjoyable level
C2: Thanks for the information Anthony and we wish all the best with your season. To conclude, do you have any advice for our readers who are interested in getting start with modifying their own car?
Do lots of research as there is plenty of myths out there in car audio.
Come down to the events and don’t be afraid to start a conversation with experienced individuals at the show, we love talking audio with people and it feels great when we are able to help via sharing our experience and knowledge with others.
Don’t ever forget that a car audio system is about 10-20% what speakers and amps you have the other 80% is install. You could have the most expensive and badass speakers on the planet, but if your install is pants then it will never sound good.