Here’s the thing: diesel engines made in 1989 were really, really loud. I don’t have a lot to compare the volume level of our engine to, but at top speed (142km/h) you really have to raise your voice to chat with the person in the passenger seat.
Whoever designed the dashboard of the Fiat Ducato – at least this model – did not take this into account when deciding how much space to allow for car speakers, because they allowed about 26cm width x 18cm height x 6cm depth.
So around the same time as changing the stereo, I took out the original speakers, measured them and set about searching the internet for the best possible replacements available. A week later the new speakers – which were the same size but considerably more sturdy-looking – arrived. They sounded much better and it was henceforth possible to listen to music when we were driving on the motorway.
Almost a year later, and with our second big trip just a couple of weeks away, I decided to search for an alternative solution. Whilst it’s true that we were able to listen to music when driving in fifth gear, we weren’t always sure which music it was that we were listening to. Playing with the EQ settings helped, but the sound was still shit, and our one attempt to listen to an audio book was an absolute failure.
I considered cutting a slice out of the dashboard to provide more space, but decided that I didn’t want to irreversibly change the interior of the van that drastically. The only other option was to mount speakers on the outside of the speaker grills, which – ridiculous as it may sound – is exactly what I set about doing this evening. It makes more sense that you might think: there’s so much legroom in the front seats, that it really is feasible.
I settled on a set of Behringer 1C Monitor speakers and have just finished mounting these in the front of the car. And to my own great surprise, it works! Now we just have to try listening to music at top speed and see it makes a difference.
I bloody hope so.