The Wall-O-Bass

[click on images to enlarge them]

the history

In 2004, Garry Springgay (then Rockford’s Senior Product Analyst) built a system in the RTTI classroom designed to showcase the performance of the all new Punch amplifier line.  This system consisted of (60) 10 inch Punch woofers mounted in inexpensive pre-fabricated enclosures and numerous full range speakers.  It appeared to be powered by four P5002 Punch amplifiers.  In typical Springgay fashion, when the demo was complete, he would show that only one amp was actually connected and powering all the speakers.  This was an incredibly powerful demonstration and was given to visitors of the Rockford campus.

At the rep council later that year, Ron Trout (then Brand Manager of Rockford Fosgate) transported this display to the auditorium at which he No Voodoo Lounge was speaking.  After his presentation was complete, he raised a video screen in the middle of the stage, and this incredible stack of speakers appeared.  He then proceeded to play all of these speakers from the smallest Punch amplifier available – the P2002.  The sales reps were awestruck.  After a difficult 2004, this was a turning point for Rockford Fosgate.

After learning of this demonstration, Chris Parvin (then Director of Rockford gmbh) and his team came up with a brilliant way of dispelling the myths and mis-information of car audio folklore in Europe – they called this the “No Voodoo Lounge”.  One of their over-the-top demonstrations was a version of the Springgay system.

"The Wall-O-Bass" is born

After the introduction of the T3002 power amplifier in 2005, Trout was determined to make this amp a super star because of the value it offered.  In addition, Tony Candela was incorporating it into his sales trainings and using the amplifier to perform wild demonstrations (powering household appliances from its speaker outputs, shorting its outputs at high volume, etc.) in an effort to showcase its capabilities.

Northern California sales rep Chris Heimburg had a territory wide retailer sales training scheduled for April of 2005.  He requested the rep council demo be part of this event.  As it was unfeasible to ship this, Candela devised a smaller version that he felt would be an even more powerful demonstration.  This demonstration involved using a single T3002 amplifier to power (20) speakers simultaneously – (4) full range speakers and (16) 12 inch woofers.  A simple passive crossover network allowed the T3002 to drive this (20) speaker system:

As Rockford owned Q-Logic at the time, the woofers were to be mounted in Q-Logic vented enclosures for maximum output.  This would prove far less expensive to ship.

WOB Heimburg TrainingCandela debuted this demonstration at Heimburg's training to a packed house of (60) people.  [Note that in the picture the enclosures are behind Bryan Schmitt of Mobile Solutions as he was also on-site performing a fabrication training.] Response to it was overwhelming and Candela spent an hour after the training answering questions in regards to how it was possible for this amplifier to drive so many speakers.  Based on the response, he decided to make this available to attending retailers as a display program.  The following morning, Candela and Heimburg collectively came up with a simple program that allowed this to be possible – Candela coined this informal display program The Wall-O-Bass.

Shortly thereafter, Candela and Trout were scheduled to make a whirlwind training tour through New England.  Rep principal John DeRose, of New England Marketing Group, got wind of this demonstration and insisted it came along for the ride.  For four days, twice a day, Candela, Trout, DeRose, and company set up and tore down this set-up at each retailer they did training at.  After hearing the demonstration, these retailers felt this would be a great tool for potential customers and several ordered all the parts required to build one in their store.  At a few stops, dealers spent an hour or two listening to their favorite material, marveling at the performance of this inexpensive amplifier.T3002 Challenge WOB

the T3002 Challenge

After the New England tour and the prep work involved in mounting the raw woofers in the Q-Logic enclosures, it was decided that a less labor intensive set-up was required.  To that end, (8) of the dual P1 12” Punch Loaded enclosure were called into action.  This set-up provided even higher output due to the additional port area and efficiency of the enclosures and it was debuted at the Pioneer Music show in May of 2005 as part of the T3002 Challenge.  This demonstration provided additional credence to the capabilities of the T3002 power amplifier.  Numerous dealers at this show purchased this display on the spot and it was obvious that a formal program was necessary.

The Wall-O-Bass becomes official

Soon after the T3002 Challenge, Candela developed a formal program for The Wall-O-Bass which was offered to the sales reps as an official retailer display program.  The program was designed to give Rockford Fosgate retailers the ability to easily provide their customers this same experience.  It was designed so that the retailer could have the system up and running in a single afternoon.  The program spelled out the specifics of power supply requirements, set-up, a wiring diagram, and three simple demonstrations.

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In its first month, Rockford’s sales reps placed over (100) The Wall-O-Bass displays in retailers around the nation making the program an overnight success.  Eventually, almost (400) The Wall-O-Bass systems would be placed in Rockford Fosgate retailers in its original iteration.  Rockford Fosgate retailers that were equipped with The Wall-O-Bass and versed in how to use it were a force to be reckoned with in their market place!

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Wall-O-Bass version 2 (WOB_V2)

By now, The Wall-O-Bass was simply known as Wall-O-Bass. Wall-O-Bass went from being an informal program to a formal program so quickly, there was certainly room for improvement.  Specifically, it needed to be easier to set-up correctly and it needed excellent POP to accompany it.  Rockford’s marketing department designed excellent, easy to assemble POP that provided the retailer the flexibility of setting up the display numerous ways - in a corner, against a wall, or even free-standing . . . indoors or out.  In addition, the passive crossover network was now fully assembled in house and included with the kit. This totally eliminated the problem of incorrect gauge of wiring used and / or wiring the system incorrectly.  WOB_V2 was debuted at SEMA in 2006 and became a formal display program in 2007.

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Wall-O-Bass variants

T15kw WOB

Occasionally, something comes along that influences many other things.  Wall-O-Bass was one such thing.  When Rockford showed the world the incredible T15kw power amplifier at CES in 2006, a proper demonstration was in order.  No pair of speakers and pair of woofers would be able to adequately convey the capabilities of this 15,000 watt monster!  Instead, a variant of the Wall-O-Bass was called into action – the T15kw WOB.  This version had (60) P3 12 inch woofers driven by one half of the amplifier and (12) pair of 6x9 inch three way speakers driven by the other half.  Demonstrations were given in the Rockford Fosgate booth every half an hour to a standing room only crowd.  The T15kw and Wall-O-Bass were a match made in heaven!

T15kw demo at CES 2006The Buzz Shop T15kw ExperienceThe Buzz Shop T15kw Experience 2

The T15kw WOB was such a hit, that upon hearing the T15kw demo at CES, the very first dealer to order a T15kw amplifier (Buzz Nielson of The Buzz Shop in Pocatello, ID) decided that is exactly how he wanted to display it in his store.  And that’s just what they did.  This proved to be an excellent attraction for them that people traveled a great distance to experience!

the T15kw Tour

After CES, it was decided that the T15kw would make appearances at select shows around the country and the Wall-O-Bass would accompany it.  As the part of the CES display that housed the 6x9” speakers was not portable, Candela requested that Q-Logic make special enclosures that were identical to the subwoofer enclosures to house (2) pairs of 6x9” speakers.  A very limited number of these enclosures were made, maybe a dozen in total.  The first stop on this tour was the M.E.R.A. Knowledgefest retailer event in Nashville, TN, after which vendor display guidelines were re-written as a result!

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Other appearances were made at the the Spring Break Nationals, in Daytona Beach, FL, the Texas Heatwave in Austin, TX, and the Funkmaster Flex show in Ocean City, MD.  T15kw designer Anthony D’Amore attended each event and gave all the demonstrations in person.  After the flat-wall approach at M.E.R.A., the system would be set up in an arc at all other events to increase it's stability and further increase its output capability.

T15kw in Austin, TX at the Texas Heatwave

These demos are still raved about to this day by those that experienced it.  This system was capable of projecting quite a distance and sounded clear at more than 500 feet.  The T15kw tour was discontinued after 2006 due to the freight expense, set-up and tear down time, and personnel required.

the WOB_32

In the beginning of 2006, the WOB_32 would make its first appearance at Ultimate Electronics in Phoenix, AZ (the Ahwatukee location WOB32 at Aspen Sound 2WOB32 at Aspen Soundspecifically) as part of their new “Ultimate Ride” campaign for mobile electronics.  Ultimate Electronics gave Rockford Fosgate a dedicated sound room and this system was a part of it.  Candela designed a system with twice the cone coverage of the standard Wall-O-Bass.  It was powered by (2) amplifiers:

In this small room, this system was capable of very high sound pressure levels and provided potential customers with a great Rockford Fosgate experience.  Unfortunately, Ultimate Electronics decided not to install these in all of their stores due to space requirements.

the WOB_36

This was a smaller, more easily set-up version than the T15kw WOB that still provided BIG IMPACT for shows.  It debuted at the Texas Heatwave in July of 2007.  Word had gotten around about the prior year's T15kw WOB, and friends brought friends to this show to see it. Although, the WOB_36 wasn't capable of the same output level, people were still amazed. It was powered by (4) of the all new Power T600-2 amplifiers, roughly one sixth of the power of the T15kw. It was configured as follows:

TX Heatwave WOBThe Buzz Shop IF WOB36Set-up time was reduced substantially as two modules that had been prior used for sales training were used to power the speakers. Each module had a DIN sized source unit, processor, pair of T600-2 amplifiers, and power supply. Still, improvements were still in order as the transports in the AM/FM/CD players in these modules were typically damaged in transit.

Shortly thereafter, The Buzz Shop built a second store in Idaho Falls, ID. When building this store, they designed a room that would be dedicated just for the Wall-O-Bass. Since their Pocatallo, ID store already had the T15kw WOB, owner Buzz Nielson was looking for something a little more compact but still capable of delivering a BIG experience to their customers. Since the WOB_36 worked so well at the Texas Heatwave, it seemed to be a perfect fit. It debuted at this store's grand opening. Candela was able to attend the grand opening in September of 2007 and gave demos in the room every chance possible.

The Box that Rocks

After the 2007 Texas Heatwave, it was decided that set up and tear down was far too time consuming even with this smaller system.  After The Box that RocksThe Box that Rocks 2working several more shows and setting up impromptu Wall-O-Bass set ups with whatever was on hand, a better solution was in order.  That solution would consist of:

Each module was designed so that it would easily stack on top of the other.  Connecting the modules together was totally plug and play.  This would provide all the power that any set-up or show would require, allowed the flexibility to power nearly any conceivable speaker configuration, and was totally portable.  Trout and Candela spent several days constructing it and it became known internally as The Box that Rocks – a name that Rockford used many years ago for their loaded speaker enclosures.

The Box that Rocks debuted in conjunction with a WOB_32 at Aspen Sound in Spokane, WA (pictured above) at the second Power Challenge event hosted at their store in the fall of 2007.  It was a home run . . . with everyone but the local authorities that is.  The DJ that was hired to work the event plugged right in to the on-board mixer and commented that he never sounded better in over 15 years of DJing.  The WOB_32 and Box that Rocks made numerous event appearances over the next year and continues to do so.

the WOB_64

For CES in 2008 in Las Vegas, NV, Rockford pulled out all the stops and put on what may be one of the most memorable CES parties of all time..  Rockford reserved the Hugh Hefner Villa at the top of the brand new Palms tower to host the party.  The Wall-O-Bass and The Box that Rocks were called into action to provide a Rockford Fosgate experience that nobody that attended would forget.  This time, the woofer count would grow to 64 in the effort of making a BIG impression.  The DJs that were hired simply could not believe how good they sounded or how loud the system could play – it was audible at the taxi stand on the opposite side of the complex some thirty four floors down!  The system played from 9PM to 1PM each night at one click under maximum.  Needless to say, this made a big impression!

Video of the WOB_64 by the DJ on night two of the Rockford CES 2008 Party

Mardis Gras WOB64 floatThe WOB_64 and The Box that Rocks made a few more appearances together, most notably on a float in the parade at Mardis Gras in 2008.  In conjunction with retailer Mobile One of New Orleans, LA, Ron Trout, Greg Cobbs (Director of Rockford’s RTTI department), and sales reps from New Age Marketing, spent a day setting up this float.  The float had half of the sub enclosures on each side and a 6x9" speaker enclsoure pointing each direction. This proved to be a big hit and people reported that they could hear it for a half an hour or more before they could finally see it!  Finally, the WOB_64 made an appearance at a lavish party thrown by Mitsubishi Motors, also in 2008. Although this was a radically different crowd and setting than typical, the WOB_64 made a BIG impression and The Box that Rocks provided the DJ all the power and flexibility he could have ever asked for.

other derivatives

The Wall-O-Bass proved to be such a great sales tool, that retailers, sales reps, and international distributors all had a hand in their version of it.  Following are a few of the countless examples.

Shimeks - Anchorage, AK

After a Rockford Fosgate training conducted by Candela in the middle of 2005, and hearing stories about the informal program called Wall-O-Bass, this retailer took it upon themselves to up the ante.  They designed a display from scratch to showcase the Rockford Fosgate brand.  This display consisted of a single T3002 amplifier powering (72) P2 10 inch Punch Woofers and a single P2002 amplifier powering (2) pair of coaxial speakers.  They built three giant custom vented enclosures that each housed (24) woofers – these took up an entire wall in their sound room.  Shimeks WOB72Shimeks Award

Shortly thereafter, they added a single T30001bd amplifier that could be electronically switched in place of the T3002 amplifier to get a substantial output gain.  As pictures of their display starting making the rounds, many other retailers were inspired by their efforts and followed in suit with their own displays.  In November of 2005, Candela, Trout, and Rob Wempe (then Rockford’s National Sales Manager) took a trip to Anchorage to see it in person and give them an award for their efforts. Pictured from left to right are Rob Wempe, James "Sparky" Hunt, Ron Trout, Trevor Johnson, and Tony Candela. Sparky and Trevor were the masterminds behind the display.

Bone Crusher - Eminent HiFi, Rexburg, ID

After installing the regular Wall-O-Bass in their show room and getting the normal lift in sales that came along with it, Eminent HiFi came up with the idea to build a portable version. Owner Joey Schultz, brother Jonny, and team designed this portable version from the word go to be more like an amusement park ride than an audio demonstration. They purchased a brand new RV and rebuilt it to make room for an audio system consisting of 4,000 watts of power, (30) 12 inch woofers, and numerous coaxial speakers. It was designed to be taken to any number of local events in an effort to immerse people in the experience.  This RV is called Bone Crusher and they claim it to be the world’s loudest!

Video of Bone Crusher

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Wall-O-Bass became part of the brand culture of Rockford Fosgate in a very short time.  Thanks to Garry Springgay, Ron Trout, Chris Parvin, Chris Heimburg, John DeRose, Anthony D’Amore, and the incredible marketing department at Rockford Fosgate for their contributions and input.  Special thanks to Rockford Fosgate sales reps, international distributors, and retailers, for embracing it!