Sound system

Overhead speakers in the front

As you can imagine, no road trip is any good without the appropriate soundtrack (and don’t come at me with “Life is Highway”). In order to have this sweet sweet sound, you must have the right sound system. Locally that means going to a place called Stereo-N-Dash. 

I ordered a Custom Sound bluetooth system from JBugs for two main reasons: 1. It would match the look of the bus; 2. It had Bluetooth and I have a ton of Spotify music. Plus I use Google Maps constantly, which isn’t easy to do while you’re driving stick. (Bonus: it has charging ports that can be routed into your glove box.)

The guys at Stereo-N-Dash were happy to help. They installed the stereo the best they could (which given how much the dash had been sliced to accommodate a CD player was pretty damn good). I bought two sets of speakers: a small pair for up front and an oval pair with more bass for under the bench seat. 

Why didn’t I go with kickers in the door? Because, in my experience, they get kicked. And VW doors are lightweight (and with new German door seals, they require a good slam to shut). I chased the wires up the windshield frame with one set diverting to the center of the front cabin and a set running to the back, then down to the floor, under the water tank and into the bench seat compartment. 

Now, when I took the bus in to Stereo-N-Dash the first time, Todd, a man of few words, said it would be difficult to get good sound in the bus—too much metal, too much road noise. After some sound deadening, insulation, real wood floors, a wooden ceiling and some good speakers, I have some pretty damn good sound. All the guys at the shop were impressed. 

For the front, I built a bezel with leftover wood from my ceiling project and installed a camplight. Pretty nifty. 

Pro tip: The bus is a long vehicle and the speaker placement is very atypical. Spend some time balancing the sound system with and without the engine running, so you know what sounds best. 

I get fuller sound and better bass with these oval speakers in the back.

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