Art Truck and Music

Hi, I am Jeff, and I built the Art Truck for Krissy. This is how we added sound to the art truck to get attention.

Getting people to look up while walking down the street is hard enough, and cell phones make it even harder. We wanted a sound system that could work while driving or sitting still to get eyes up and on the truck and Krissy's art.

Design Criteria

  • While driving ~25mph in a downtown area, be loud enough for people to hear it, and look up before the truck has passed them.
  • Be reasonably waterproof in light rain, fog, or errant water sprinklers.
  • Be easily mounted and unmounted by one person.
  • Run off the inverter for the extra batteries for ~6-8 hours while running its lights.
  • Be able to connect via Bluetooth or hardwire.
  • Be able to use them at ground/ear level when at an event.

An Education in Audio

The in-motion part was the challenge. I found the math to model it out.

The math of audio while driving

This is when things got tricky. How do you map those distances to an audio system? Initially, I turned to the Burning Man forums and sound car engineers. But the folks I talked to were stumped by needing to be in motion at 25mph, and art cars crawl at 5mph on the playa.

Then I turned to our local Rock Lititz community:  (if you need a sound stage built for your 50K+ person venue, go to them; they are amazing.) In particular, I worked with Herb Suereth of STRAY | LIGHTS,SOUND & CREATIVE VISION . He was excellent and patient in explaining how hard of a challenge this was. Designs were coming in the $5K range, which was not in the budget.

It was time to pivot to simple and a call to Sweet Water and their fantastic staff; they are amazing in how well they support their customers. Working with them, we settled on a Mackie SRM212 V-Class 2000W 12-inch Powered Speaker.

Mounting The Speaker

It is simply two U hooks mounted on the roof, a ratchet strap to hold it down, and two plastic clips to hold the wire out of the way. I added rubber bumpers to the speaker to protect it and the roof and reduce vibration. It easily mounts forwards or backward.

Speaker mounted. Speaker side view 

Speaker front view

The sound is fantastic!

Krissy has used it in parades, tent shows, and street side. It covers all the needs. Is it perfect at 25mph? No, but it is good enough!

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