Posted on

Audio as Entertainment Takes Real Homework

People Studying

Floyd Toole, retired acoustical and psychoacoustical research scientist, author and public speaker, wrote:

Audio is entertainment, but doing it well may require some homework. Understanding how it works may make the result even more pleasurable.

Likely you have spent much time reading, searching for reviews, inquiring for opinions and recommendations, about audio system upgrades before you found your way to this article. We’re extremely blessed to exist in a time of human history in which we have more information available in seconds at our fingertips than ever. Have you put together an audio system? Was it good? Were you able to reach for greatness?

I believe we all need a good way to tune out distractions. I believe we all share common connections with audio, with music in particular, as entertainment. Most people who value Audio as Entertainment settle for mediocrity. We watch shows and movies with TV speakers. We play music through tiny speakers inside our phones. We settle for what’s given to us by default. That’s not what you deserve.

Distractions keep us from paying full attention to things that really matter. Pressing a button and almost magically getting a song to snap into our world, to uplift our spirits, to inspire us to sing and dance, that’s great stuff. It’s enough to calm down stress for a while and help us re-focus and ramp up the energy. 

When I founded Rubyserv in January, 2016, I wrote out the mission statement as follows:

Rubyserv helps you plan and acquire your vehicle sound system, convenience and safety upgrades. We know you spend a lot of time on the road, and we want to make it a more enjoyable experience. Through a logical approach built on a foundation of experience and training, Rubyserv will guide you through your projects. Big or small, we will make it happen together.

I reflect on this now with a renewed focus on education, on studying, and of teaching. Your time on the road doesn’t have to be so tiring and aggravating. You can have the understanding to work on the audio system, or to find a true professional to work on it for you, and have a smile light up your face every time you drive. 

Let’s crank up the volume and get to that homework!

Barry Schanz

Posted on

Explanation of Installation of CDT Audio 2″ Pod Accent Fill Mid-Tweeters

It seems that installing additional speakers without cutting, drilling, or otherwise modifying the interior of your vehicle is very important to maintain the resale value.

Filling the interior with rich, detailed and beautiful stereo sound, for one seat or multiple seats, is more easily accomplished by carefully integrating these speaker pods into your existing sound system.

CDT Audio ES-020iPod
CDT Audio ES-020iPod
ES-020iPod Custom Colors
ES-020iPod Custom Colors
Add $25 for Blue, White, or Red
Add $20 for Aluminum Bezel
CDT Audio 2" mid-tweeter Pod and flush mount options
CDT Audio 2″ mid-tweeter Pod and flush mount options

How To Mount the Pods Without Cutting or Drilling

Auto Body Panel Tape – BEST FOR HORIZONTAL SURFACES due to weight of the aluminum pods

Prepare surfaces with 3M™ Automotive Adhesion Promoter

3M Auto Super Strength Molding Tape
3M Auto Super Strength Molding Tape

Consider where and how to route the speaker wires before committing to the installation position and location.

CDT Audio Pods on Door Panel
CDT Audio Pods on Door Panel
Posted on

I Challenge You To Explore New Music

You crave music in your life. It’s your soundtrack, one of your passions, a stress relief trigger, an aid for grieving. A source of relief, of joy.

I want you to sign up for Tidal music streaming today. There are links below to listen and sign up right on your browser. I also want you to browse this list of special song selections and spend some of your valuable and precious time listening to them.

Every track, album or playlist here was recommended in the Revelation Audio group on Facebook.

If you find even just one song selection here that touches you emotionally please help Rubyserv by sharing this post on social media right now. 

Rubyserv rectangular logo 159x50

Carmen Gomes Sings the Blues

DEMO Playlist

Amazing Grace Vincent Belanger
Inga Litimor Reza e iRagazzi
Takes Two To Tango Karin Plato
World Without End A.A. Bondy
New Favorite Alison Krauss
Just Like a Woman Charlotte Gainsbourg
Please Read the Letter Robert Plant
Tears In Heaven Eric Clapton
Concertino for Xylophone: Presto Linda Maxey
Mussorgsky: A Night on the Bare Mountain – Orch. Nicolai Rimsky-KorsakovThe Boston Pops Orchestra
Real Good Friend Greg Brown
Just A Little Lovin’ Shelby Lynne



Support Vulfpeck on their page at

Barry Schanz

Posted on

When Simple Becomes Complicated

3rd Gen Ram Front Speakers

I’ve written hundreds of proposals over the last 7 years for people with one big problem in common:


Audio systems are simple to me, as they should be for someone who’s been around them in various shapes and forms since I was a child. The parts on this sound system lay-up, for example, flow together like a recipe for a course in a fine dining experience. Nothing is in excess, everything has a purpose and “seasoning” is available to the client.

3rd Gen Ram Front Speakers
3rd Gen Ram Truck Front Speakers


This calls for a case study:

K.M. wrote in asking about the possible effects of upgrading just two speakers out of six in his 2015 Chevrolet Silverado. He wants to change the recipe but it’s nice if you get it right in one shot, would you agree? 

I recently purchases a Kicker VSS system for my 2015 Chevy Silverado (non-Bose) truck.  Link is here:

I spoke with a rep from Stillwater, and he said that the DSP/amp in this system is actually 50watts X 4 @ 2 ohm (or 30 x 4 at 4 ohm).  Hence, I was looking for a good set of 2 ohm replacement speakers.  My question revolves around the current factory door speakers.  In the 2015 Silverado, the door/dash are actually a pair of components – a 6×9 woofer in the door and a mid-tweet in the dash.  Am I correct in assuming the factory door speakers in this GM truck are most likely 4 ohm?  If I replace the woofers in the doors with CDT 2 ohm mid-woofer drivers, keeping the factory mid-tweeters (which may be 4 ohm) do I risk losing output?  

The quick approach to this to get something changed out today is to match the new speakers(the mid-woofers in the doors) to the ohms(impedance) of the factory door speakers. 2 ohms to 2 ohms, 4 ohms to 4 ohms. 


Kicker PSICRE14 for 2014-2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab/GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab with base audio, or 2015-2017 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 Crew Cab & GMC Sierra 2500/3500 Crew Cab with base audio
Kicker PSICRE14

Unless you just want to try something different and risk spoiling the recipe. Which you could. After all it’s not a lot of time or money. The DSP means electronic signal manipulation. It’s digital wizardry to make factory installed speakers sound better, and as I’ve heard personally it works surprisingly well. Bravo to Kicker.

This consultation is proceeding now by e-mail. How do I approach a simple-yet-complicated question by e-mail? This could be you I’m replying to next.

Barry from Rubyserv. I was forwarded the message below, which you sent to CDT Audio’s support department.

I am writing you to provide you with a consultation. To be sure I am not wasting your time let me ask you, if Rubyserv(and CDT Audio) could fix one thing with your vehicle’s sound system what would it be? If we could show you a solution that would handle this fully would you be willing to look at a customized package?

Barry Schanz

Posted on

Installing 2″ Mid-Tweeters Into Dash Speaker Covers

If voices and instruments in your vehicle sound dull and lifeless, you need the right transformation. 


CDT Audio 2 inch plastic bezel installation

2 Inch Speaker in Factory Grille

If there is no other speaker changed in the car at the same time you will need something extra to control the range and balance.


Option 1:
169.99 with a limited time promo offer of 119.99 today
Includes two 2″ speakers featuring a cast plastic/fiberglass frame with the locking ring fastener method
2 crossovers
1 volume control knob
CDT Audio HD-2X
Option 2:
Includes two 2″ speakers featuring a black anodized aluminum bezel for a premium fit and finish
2 crossovers
1 volume control knob 
2 Inch Speaker with Aluminum Bezel Mounting Demonstration

Demonstration of mounting method for 2″ aluminum bezel mid-tweeters
2-1/4″ cutout
Secure to panel with studs, washers and nuts

Rubyserv CDT Audio Factory Direct Web Shop

Posted on

Rubyserv Approved Demo Song List 1

A demo song list is mandatory for any serious music lover. If I asked you what you want to listen to today you can probably think of a song, a singer or band, or maybe a radio station. You immediately can tell “That’s the right sound” when you play it on a good set of headphones, on your hifi home system, or on a proper car audio system.

Getting out of your comfort zone and trusting another’s list of reference songs is a great exercise. The list below was compiled by Barry Schanz in 2014-2015. 

Opeth – The Drapery Falls

Dave Matthews Band – Ants Marching

Meshuggah – Bleed

Mastodon – Oblivion

Imogen Heap – Headlock

Radiohead – Bodysnatchers

Radiohead – House of Cards

Radiohead – Airbag

Peeping Tom – Five Seconds

Tool – The Grudge

Dust Brothers (Fight Club OST) – Raymond K Hessel

Posted on

I Got More Than I Expected

It can be an unwelcome surprise to order something online and not get exactly what you expected. That was Dan Blacktowhite’s* experience with a Zapco limited production Z-LX amplifier. Open the previous part of this story in a new tab with this heading:

I Didn’t Get What I Paid For

If you haven’t read Part 1, the short version is Zapco had updated components inside the Z-LX amplifiers without making an announcement. On June 9 the Zapco official Facebook page posted the following:

Zapco Facebook update Electrolytic Capacitors
Zapco Electrolytic Capacitors FB update

Critical to the development of Zapco products is a continuous search for new technologies and better components to enhance sonic performance. Our engineers are audio guys, with years of experience in amplifier design, but also in car audio competition as both participants and judges in IASCA and USACi in the US and Europe and in CAN (Car Audio Nationals) in Italy.
Components are evaluated first on the relative specifications, and if they look good, they are evaluated in listening tests.
All parts are initially tested to verify the reliability of published specifications, but final choices are based on actual tested data and the listening tests.
There are many factories In the market producing electrolytic capacitors, some old and well known, some new and un-known. We look at, and we test, them all.
We continuously look for any better components that comes along, since it is impossible to improve without change.

Testing by our engineers showed the new Zapco capacitors to be superior to what we have been using in the past as below:

1) Higher operating temperature: Up to 105℃ instead of 85℃ (only Panasonic matched that value)
2) Better capacitance tolerance than the others: -10%~+20% instead of -20%~+20% (tighter tolerance is higher quality)
3) ESR and dissipation factors are the same in all
4) Max Ripple: better value than Elna capacitors, similar the other two
5) Max leakage current: same in declared values, but much lower in actual testing
6) Endurance the same (1000 hours) except the Panasonic that is 5000 hours. Note: the value of the endurance is with capacitor at the maximum rated data: ie. temperature, voltage, ripple current, etc.. In with normal use the average endurance is up to 5 times more
7) The new Zapco capacitors are little smaller than all but the Nichicon.
The superior numbers demanded further consideration, and after the listening tests we decided to make the change on all future Z-series LX production.

For more on capacitors and the actual numbers on these caps, see here

Zapco products sold by Rubyserv are shipped directly to you from Zapco’s warehouse. We are unable to guarantee that your Z-LX amplifiers purchased now will have the updated capacitors. However, we are committed to delivering maximum value in our products and services. We hope this information assists you in making a decision, whether that includes Rubyserv in your life or not. 


Shop Top Tier SQ Amplifiers at Rubyserv

Zapco Z-150.6LX at Rubyserv 1

Posted on

What Music Are You Listening To?

We asked one of our customers what music he’s listening to. Jovan, from Southern California, shared his current favorites. Listen and enjoy!

    Text 701-620-1124 with your first and last name and 3 (or more) artists.

Posted on

I Didn’t Get What I Paid For

All I know is I paid for this amp knowing it had those good parts in it only to find it did not. Zapco better have an explanation.



Dan Blacktowhite(alias) is a car audio enthusiast. He works hard to have some extra funds to be able to support his hobby with nice things. He has good taste in equipment with a bit of an adventurous streak, and he seeks out the best. This was his reaction after opening his new Zapco Z-150.6LX 40th Anniversary series amplifier and finding an unexpected surprise. 

What did Zapco set up as the expectation?

Zapco ZLX Internals - Rubyserv

Open an LX amp and you’ll find Elna Silmic II RFS caps and Nichicon KZ caps, designed specifically for high end home audio use. The Op-amps in the LX amplifiers are all Analog Devices OP275…

Did Dan get ripped off?

John Borges, Director of Sales & Marketing at Zapco, responded after comments began piling up after several days of speculation.

John Borges

First: I HATE SURPRISES. I was highly tweaked to discover yesterday that a change was made that I wasn’t expecting until the new version of the LX came out. But don’t panic! Listen to the amps!
I committed when we first brought out the new Z series in 2012 to continue searching new ways to make every run sound better than the last.

I spent 3 months over there with the Italians last year working on the new DSP and the next version of the LX amplifiers. We did a lot of testing on caps, op-amps, and other things to see how they affected SQ and noise. When I left we had pretty much settled on some new caps, replacing the OP275s with a new TI op-amp, as well as some changes that I can’t share at this time.

Since then I’ve been consumed on the new DSP and wasn’t aware that they decided to make a change in the current LX. But that change is consistent with the commitment we made in 2012. A new run of amps and an opportunity available to make improvements and they did it.

I will get you more info on the Caps and other items shortly. But we will continue to make changes as we find new ways to put better sound quality and reliability into our products.

I sincerely apologize for the lack of communication. Our marketing and communication have never been very good and it is certainly past time to correct that.

But again: Listen to the amps!

Thank you,

Rubyserv is proud to offer Zapco car audio products, including the full Z-LX line-up of amplifiers. You will be delivered current models, always.

Shop Top Tier SQ Amplifiers at Rubyserv

Zapco Z-150.6LX at Rubyserv 1

Posted on

Car Audio SAQ – Should Ask Questions

questions Tony Robbins quote

Should Ask Questions

I’ve listed some questions I think people ought to be asking car audio experts. 

Q: Is speaker replacement on my new vehicle necessary to get the sound improvements I want?

A: Most times the answer to this is “yes”. 

As some car makers push the limits with more and more speakers in their premium audio packages, it does naturally get more complicated to decide how to proceed. Call Rubyserv at 701-620-1124.

 premium audio package example


Q: I want more bass, but do I need to lose all my cargo space?

A: Bass is still the most popular part of car audio that people are drawn to, the go-to first upgrade, and for many people louder = better. The myth that bigger = louder still lives on, but a lot of work can be done with a less massive subwoofer put into a better engineered and constructed(ie. more efficient) enclosure.

Let’s break this down into 2 simple cases. Sealed or ported.

Case #1 The Sealed Subwoofer Enclosure: Sealed enclosures are the easiest to design and build. If space is really tight we will probably have you run a sealed enclosure. It generally is more costly to try to get significant bass out of sealed subwoofers as compared to case #2, the ported subwoofer. Power(amplifier watts) and number of subwoofers must go up rapidly to get louder.

Case #2 The Ported Subwoofer Enclosure: The port and the subwoofer split the job of making sound. Watt for watt, this is the best bang for your buck. The space required is larger than a sealed enclosure. All ported enclosures need to be designed carefully to make the speaker sound a certain way. 

Ported subwoofer enclosure
10″ Subwoofer in a ported enclosure


Q: Is there something else I need to do while I have the car apart?

 Q: Will I need to upgrade the charging system?

A: The alternator powers the vehicle when the engine is running. The battery supplies power to start the engine. There are several large gauge wires that are responsible for carrying power throughout the vehicle to fuse panels and other central areas of distribution.


There are special charging system testers that some shops will have. At minimum a shop should be able to test with a volt meter if your alternator and battery are good. If you can get a computerized diagnosis with a printout that’s even better.

Learn More: How To: Size Your Audio System To Your Electrical System

Facebook | Rubyservsales
YouTube | Rubyserv