At one point, Steve Meade’s insane Chevy Tahoe audio car was the world’s most famous sound system on wheels. Check out this archive feature to find out why.

First featured in 2016. Words by Adam Rayner, Photos by Conor Surdi.

Hardcore bass heads know his name. Yet Steve Meade was stoked when we sent top snapper Connor Surdi through the sky to photograph the modified Tahoe that changed his life. That’s not an overstatement either! This single SUV made him into a bigger YouTuber than Top Gear, for years.

We met him two CES-es ago and at last managed to pin him down with an interview on camera about his utterly bonkers Chevy. Nothing will ever catch up with this…

Chevy Tahoe Audio Car

Chevy Tahoe Steve Meade aerial shot

The Sound System Set-Up

A Pioneer head unit acts as an extra source, but an Apple Mac mini with a 10.2 inch touchscreen is the main music provider in this kitted-out Chevy SUV. Steve uses a fibre optic TosLink Digital feed to stuff sounds into the Rockford Fosgate 360.3 processor. This has been out for around a year and offers a 31-band EQ for every speaker in the car as well as full digital signal processing (DSP).

As for the bass, this Tahoe has 30 speakers and four 18-inch SMD Ascendant Audio V1 subwoofers, which Steve was about to change to the V2 when we interviewed him. Then there’s the mids and highs. All supplied by Rockford Fosgate, there are 12 tweeters, ten 6.5-inch midranges and a couple of four-inch midranges. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a couple of eight inchers too, all divided up between the front doors! One set of comps is in the rear doors, while another set lives in some Q-Logic kick-panel pods. Finally, 11 Rockford Fosgate power amplifiers create 30,000 watts.

That’s a lot to get your head around so, feel free to take a minute – we’ll be waiting for you below when you catch up!

Chevy Tahoe ICE interior wheel

The Party Piece

This Tahoe’s most headline-grabbing features are the suitcase-sized pair of Rockford Fosgate T2500-1bdCP power amplifiers used PER WOOFER! That’s EIGHT monstrous amps to drive four dustbin lids of hellacious bass. These are rated at, yes, 2.5KW each, and the ‘CP’ means Constant Power. So, Steve has a true 20Kw of solid bass. Always.

Meade-san has a Rockford-Fosgate T1000.4 running all the 6.5s. An old one with LED meters. Another runs the eights in the doors and thanks to the Tahoe’s absurd headroom, there are A-pillar mounted one-off special four-inchers onboard too. In addition to that, there’s a 600.2 running five sets of the T1 separates tweeters. The sixth pair of tweeters is an, erm, ‘two-off’ set, made just for Steve by Rockford. He over-ground the flanges of the first set of ‘one-offs’.

Chevy Tahoe 350a SMG Alternators

Woofer & Amp Upgrades

There have been a series of awesome subwoofers and amps in the Tahoe box. Two Rockford Fosgate Power HX2 18s on four RF BD1500s were first. Then RE MT 18s were needed for the mad power. First two, then four. Steve ran those on eight of the BD1500s. Then, four Fi BTL 18s on 0.7 Ohm coils did their duty, running on the surfboard-sized RF T4000.1bds.

The full rebuild happened in 2009 and Fi’s new BTLs went in, with the Ascendant Audio SMD V1s following later. Steve has had an adhesive friendship with Scott Atwell for years, culminating in a parallel career move to join Ascendant Audio. Thus, Steve got the first set of Ascendant’s new products each time they dropped. Plus, as an added bonus, this connection also resulted in his name getting printed on the dome of the V1.

Chevy Tahoe Audio ICE

Destructive Bass

The complexity of bass frequencies, woodwork and air puffing in and out of ports, is one of the reasons why many of us adore car audio. Steve Meade’s enclosure takes all of the thousands of watts of power and square inches of woofer cones and pushes it all out of a big square port in the back. Normally this is pressure loaded against the rear tailgate. Hilariously however, if you open the tailgate, run some lows and hold stuff in that port, whatever you place there tends not to remain in one piece…

Chevy Tahoe Steve Meade Audio ICE boot

Steve has videos of people trying to hold onto a CD or a glass, which shatters (search for ‘Outrageous acts of science’ on t’interweb). There are large packets of potato chips (I mean crisps) and somewhat sacrilegiously to me, a magazine, all being totally ‘bassed’ to smithereens and flung about the workshop in pieces on his epic videos. If you’ve not seen them yet, click here.

OWNER: Steve Meade
TECH SPEC: Chevrolet Tahoe Audio Car


Pioneer DEH-P7000BT headunit; Apple 320GB Mac mini; 60GB iPod Classic; iPhone; 10.4 LCD TFTin touchscreen; Rockford Fosgate 360.3 EQ/Cossover; 2x Rockford Fosgate T-1000.4AD (4x250w RMS), 1x T-600.2 (2x300W RMS); 8x RF T-2500.1BDCP (1x 2,500w RMS at any impedance); 4x18in SMD Ascendant Audio V2 subwoofers; 12x 1.75in T1 tweeters; 10x 6.5in midranges; 2x 4in midranges; 2x 8in in the front doors; 28x runs of 2/0 & 1/0 AWG power cables to heavy-duty copper busbars to connect to the power amplifiers; 10x super-duty 80lb weight XS Power D3100 batteries (one in the engine bay and nine in the back); 4x Mechman SMD- spec 375 Amperes alternators.


26in U2 55 rims; 10in wide; with Pirelli P Zero 295/25×26 tyres; 6-piston Wilwood brakes with 16 inch discs up front and 4-piston on 14.5 inch discs at the rear; RideTech Air suspension and Titanium shocks. DJM upper and lower control arms, McGaughys 2in drop spindles at the front, Spohn Performance upper and lower control arms to the rear plus Spohn adjustable panhard bar.


Roy Devore $10k paint job at Autobody Workshop in Sacramento; black base with a custom red pearl called ‘Meade Cherry’.


Graphite/grey two-tone custom leather interior by Katzkin.


Mapped 5.3ltr V8; K&N cold air intake and air filter and Granatelli mass air flow sensor.


MASSIVE thanks to Andy Hefft of Rockford Europe who made the feature happen by flying our snapper across states to Meadeville, Sacramento. To Rockford USA’s top folks, who have supported Steve’s Tahoe for ever.