Steve Meade’s insane Chevy Tahoe is the most famous audio system on wheels on the planet. And here’s why…
Hardcore bass heads know his name. Yet Steve Meade was stoked when we sent top snapper Connor Surdi through the sky to photograph the install that changed his life and made him a bigger YouTuber than Top Gear – for years.
I met him two CESes ago and at last nailed him with an interview on camera about the legend that is The Most Famous Car Audio System The World Will Ever See. Nothing will ever catch up with this…
A Pioneer headunit acts as an extra source but an Apple Mac mini with a 10.2 inch touchscreen is the main music provider. 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). To start with the bass, the Tahoe has 30 speakers. Four 18in SMD Ascendant Audio V1 subwoofers, which were about to be changed to the V2 when we interviewed him. Then there’s the mids and highs. All by Rockford Fosgate, 12 tweeters, 10 6.5-inch midranges and a couple of four-inch midranges and then a couple of eight inchers, all divided up between the front doors. One set of comps is in the rear doors, another set live in Q-Logic kick-panel pods. And 11 Rockford Fosgate power amplifiers create 30,000 watts.
The Legend In Their Own Time monsters 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 with absurd headroom, the A-pillar mounted one-off special four-inchers. All Power Series, there’s a 600.2 running five sets of the T1 separates tweeters. The sixth pair of tweeters is an, erm, ‘two-off’ set that were made just for Steve by Rockford. He over-ground the flanges of the first set of ‘one-offs’.
WOOFER & AMPS UPGRADE PATH
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. These were run on eight of those BD1500s. Then, four Fi BTL 18s on 0.7 Ohm coils did duty and Steve ran them 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 and moved with him to Ascendant Audio and thus got the first set of their new products each time and this also resulted in his name getting on the dome of the V1.
DESTROYING SHIT WITH BASS
The complexity of bass frequencies, woodwork and air puffing in and out of ports, is one of the reasons I 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, it generally dies.
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. Go check out Steve Meade’s Youtube Channel.
OWNER: STEVE MEADE
TECH SPEC: CHEVY TAHOE
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.
Words Adam Rayner Photos Conor Surdi