eventsbartrans.gif (671 bytes)

eventshead.gif (2216 bytes)

What do judges look for? 
Only years of experience will tell you this


...and, teamROCS


Read through the following list, chances are there is at least one thing in here you have not thought of.  Take the ideas listed below and consider how they affect / can be employed into your own install. 

If you have any thing to add, please submit it.


  • Mounting Integrity
    • Materials: Use metal, yea its hard to work with, well not really, think about it, get some aluminum stock, drill and rivet, rivets aren't magical, it just takes a special (inexpensive) tool, and a lot of your time.  Build frames to hold your equipment, keeping your install lightweight, with vehicle performance in mind will impress a judge, especially if its done correctly.

    Alan Ward, TR #059

    • Fasteners:  Avoid common drywall screws at ALL costs, using some type of special or hard to find fastener will not only add some security to you system, but will also be that little something extra that the judge is looking for.

Alan Ward, TR #059

  • Cosmetic Integration
    • Materials: If it all possible, (and it is) pick 1 or 2 materials at most and stick with them !  These are the materials that make up the general appearance of your interior, examples may be: blue vynal and red vynal or woodgrain and tweed.  Glass usually would not count as a material, nor would mirrors, unless of course you use them extensively.  With this in mind be sure and take advantage of both.

      Alan Ward, TR #059

    • Themes: this past weekend a had a judge something that actually made sense, wow!  :)  he noted that all of my speakers were mounted in a different material, the subs in wood grain, the rear fill in velvet, and my doors in marble (I have 3 materials a top to bottom theme consisting of velvet above the window line, marble and woodgrain below) he noted that the "electronics bay, amp racks etc could be done in one material, and the speakers in another.  Using my truck as an example, I have a theme, but its not consistent in all viewpoints=> for example: All of my amps are in marble, the doors are marble simple so I can have some of it near the very front of the vehicle, same reason the subs are in woodgrain, I needed some woodgrain in the center to balance out.  However, it is entirely obvious, that the subs and components don't match, at all !! so how do you work out a balance? simple.  do the system first, then proceed to modify the trim in order to *balance* out the interior.

    Alan Ward, TR #059

  • Wire:
    • Wire loom:  use wire loom every where ! !  Don't hesitate to look around for a color that goes well with the 2nd, color of you car, the highlights.   Where the loom comes into close contact with other wires, use a larger wire loom, or wire ties to bundle them neatly together, take care to keep all of the wires parallel and not in a random vortex crossing and twisting around each other.

      Alan Ward, TR #059

    • Connections:  Be sure to solder all of your speaker wire to the speakers. This is what all judges have, told me in the past, and this is what I have always done for the best possible connection to my speakers. Obviously, you can't show this to them, so be sure to include pictures of it in your photo book. Also, solder subs if possible. Many of today's subs use push terminals or the like so this is not possible, but if they use the regular male spades, solder the subs too. ... while your at it solder ALL connections in the vehicle, take pictures.

      Jon Dailey, TR #071

  • Cleanliness
    • Detail your car:  As if it was going to be in the show, while exterior and interior cleanliness is only worth a few points.  they add up.

    Alan Ward, TR #059

  • Tonal Accuracy
    • Close your eyes, listen to your system.  Where are the vocals?  Where are the cymbals?  Where are the guitars? The fiddles?   Adjust your system accordingly.

    Alan Ward, TR #059

  • Complexity of install
    • Mirrors:  So you have an amp rack, wires must enter the rack, and exit, most of the time this will take place through a baffle of some sort.  Why not use a mirror? Cutting mirrored glass is difficult, drilling holes in it is even harder, now try fitting it into your install, be sure and use rubber grommets, and take pictures showing the wire loom taking over after it has passed through the mirrored baffle.

      Alan Ward, TR #059

    • Small compartments, doors:  If there is a section of your install that is hidden and a picture just does not do justice, yet, putting in a viewing window will throw of your cosmetics, its time for a hidden door.  the more hidden it is, the more surprised the judge will be when you open it for him exposing a distribution block, or something of that sort.  the only thing in your system that should EVERY be inaccessible is a solid length of wire.  all connections should be easy to get to, without removal of more than a cosmetic cover.

    Alan Ward, TR #059

  • Competitor Presentation
    • Remember if they're a judge they probably know or can see what's in your car. Spend more time telling them what you did in your car and how you made it better, instead of spending time on what it is... Like "I have upgraded my battery with an optima yellow top bought from so and so, with a Streetwise battery post to Streetwire power cable"... As a judge that kind of gets old to hear the brand names...
      You can gain more points if you just told them that you upgraded your battery, and how you mounted it, and why. That goes on for the rest of your system. You or your installer built it now tell them why and how. Be proud and get those points that you deserve....    

      Brian Morris, TR#060

    • Time limits:  Know what your going to say ahead of time, much like a test, you might make a simple flow chart to study.  Know where your going with your presentation try not to jump around, avoid pointing things out that are entirely obvious, (there are my brand X subs)  be sure and point out things that are not.   such as (here is the enclosure I built, out of some material its 1.5 cubic feet, I like deeper extended bass,  etc etc.)

    Alan Ward, TR #059

    • Displays:  make displays, such as a system diagram, covered in plexi, and framed in the dominant material used in your car.

      Alan Ward, TR #059

    • An install book. This can be one of the most important things to have for the juges to look at. Many judges, both sound quality and install, will take a bit of time while inside your car (without you) to brouse thru this book, should you have one. In it, you should include pictures of whatever you can, system diagrams, alarm diagrams, install theme, install reasoing, etc... you get the point. If a judge has a question, and he's sitting in your car, the book can be a handy refrence for him/her, making that judge a happier judge! And we all like happy judges, because happy ones give you good scores. Also, for the book iteslf look into using something like a nice 3-ring binder, perhaps one you can put a nice coverpage on. Also look into using a presentation-type program, like Power Point or something, to make your pages nice and neat. And, a scanner and a good printer works wonders for making excellent looking presentation books.

      jon, tR # 117

    • open up your car and show it off!   Don't come to a show and pull a no show! there's no better way to show that you think your car is the greatest thing since sex than to show it off.showing it off does two things .it inspires and impresses others to try car audio and it gets you prepped for judging you should have a fun and informative 5-min presentation by the time you run the lanes . No judge likes a bored competitor




Submit it here, new items you would like to add / would like to see on this page.  Keep your comments brief, leave the end open to mix with the readers own thoughts and ideas

Your Name, and e-mail

Member # (if a member)

Your Home Page

Section to add to


    Sponsored by River Oaks Car Stereo in Houston
    The World Famous
    And hosted by