Thanks to the presence of the original loudspeakers in motorhomes, you can listen to music without having to turn the volume of the car radio all the way up. However, for better sound reproduction, you can benefit from Hi-Fi quality as in your living room, with the Alpine Adventure Audio system. Text: Olivier Langin
Until recently, the acoustic comfort of the driving position of a motorhome on the road was not there for listening to music in good conditions. However, with the progress made by van manufacturers to insulate the cabin from parasitic noise from the engine and running gear, it is now possible to listen to music without having to force the volume, especially since the set driving a van generates few sound reflections. And if we except the glazed surfaces, all the materials that make up the passenger compartment dampen sound waves and avoid harmful reflections. However, this favorable situation is not fully exploited by the original speakers installed on the Fiat Ducato. The tweeters which reproduce the treble are installed in the windscreen pillars and have a limited distribution. For their part, the woofers for bass sounds are installed in the cabin doors, and the sound is covered by the legs of the driver and passenger. In addition, the doors of the Fiat Ducato do not have internal soundproofing, which generates a significant noise of vibration of the interior door panel which, from the outside, can be a source of noise pollution for neighboring motorhomes. .
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A high quality audio installation
As you will have understood, this configuration is far from perfect for quality sound reproduction and, fortunately, there are solutions for having a quality installation. However, defining the components of an audio installation for a motorhome is not as easy as one might think. Many technical criteria must be taken into consideration, including the nominal power of the loudspeakers, the output power of the multimedia station, but also the frequency range of the devices or the diameter of the loudspeakers.
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Alpine adventure Audio, designed for the Fiat carrier
To answer all these questions, automotive audio specialist Alpine offers motorhome owners its Adventure Audio. This system incorporates innovative audio technologies to achieve the best sound quality
in a motorhome based on Fiat Ducato (X250 and X290) and in vehicles using the same platform, with three proposals: Companion, Crescendo and Concert.
The entry level: Companion
companion is the first level of audio comfort that includes the SPC-R100-DU radial speakers. They come with customized brackets for mounting on the dashboard, even in the presence of windshield blinds and without having to drill a hole in the dashboard. This radial loudspeaker, 12 cm in diameter and with a contained height, has a power of 180 W. It has 360-degree sound radiation and does not need a resonance box to diffuse the sound.
Crescendo: extra bass
Crescendo takes over the speakers from the Companion system and is complemented by the SWC-D84S subwoofer. Thanks to a specific design, this subwoofer with a power of 250 W is offered in compact dimensions and fits perfectly under the cup holder of the center console. This location allows a better diffusion of the bass sound. If the cup holder is not fitted as standard on the vehicle, it can be purchased from a Fiat dealership as an aftermarket fit.
Concert: one more amp
Finally, the Concert system uses the Companion and Crescendo components completed with the SWA-150KIT amplifier. It has a two-channel output with a unit power of 75 W for the speakers in the dashboard and the subwoofer. It easily installs behind the cup holder bracket. To simplify its use, it is equipped with a remote control which is installed at the level of the dashboard, this allows you to adjust the bass level according to your convenience. For greater sound reinforcement in the vehicle, it is possible to install a pair of additional loudspeakers.
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We test the Adventure
To better understand the importance of the quality of the on-board audio equipment, we were able to compare two vehicles equipped with the same Alpine INE-W611DC multimedia station, with an output power of 4 x 50 W. In this test, the multimedia station of the first vehicle was connected to the speaker system supplied by Fiat and, in the second vehicle, to that of the Alpine Adventure Audio system, Concert. Among the many technical features with which the station is equipped, we note in particular the digital X-Over which digitally divides the sound into low and high frequencies which are respectively intended for the woofer and the tweeter. This multimedia station also has all the settings for a sound environment according to the preferences of the user. Listening to the same music CD and at the same volume level, the sound reproduced in the vehicle equipped with the original speakers is certainly audible, but without relief, the details of the musical composition are passed over in silence and the bass does not vibrate.
Radio, music, podcast: another sound dimension
The same piece of music in Concert mode takes on another dimension. The dashboard tweeter creates an excellent soundstage in the cabin and greatly improves sound quality. Voices over the radio or a podcast are much clearer to listen to. For its part, the subwoofer gives more power and depth to the bass. By reproducing lower frequencies, the subwoofer balances the frequency response curve and achieves a more natural sound. Finally, the amplifier fully exploits the potential of the tweeters and the subwoofer by increasing the sound volume without increasing the distortion between the input and output signal. The loudspeakers, the subwoofer and the amplifier are respectively marketed at the price of 269 €, 379 € and 99 €. These different pieces of equipment can be connected to all commercially available multimedia and car radio stations.
Our opinion on the Alpine Aventure Audio system
With an original Fiat audio installation on a motorhome, you can listen to music playing on the radio or play a CD. And if the loudspeakers reproduce the essence of the musical message, they sacrifice the highest and lowest sounds. The Alpine Adventure Audio system, in its Concert version, reproduces the quietest passages above the background noise and emphasizes the bass at a level consistent with the dynamics of the recording. In addition, the sound reproduction is without distortion between the input signal and the output signal. The soundstage becomes more consistent, the spatialization more precise and the reproduction more realistic.
Thanks to Idylcar Camping-Cars de Touraine, in Véretz (37), for the provision of two vehicles used during this test and to the technical services of the importer Alpine for installation in the vehicles.