I’d like to take a couple of minutes to praise and publically thank all the good people who have participated in our Sound Quality League contests these past 22 years. This includes the Competitors, Teams, Judges, R&E Members, Retail Members, Manufacturer Members, and Fans. What we do with our vehicles and equipment is extraordinary, I believe, as we pursue the purest, most realistic music re-creations, enjoyed as we roll down the road. When people hear the amazing systems we create, they are impressed – blown away. If they had access and could sit in the vehicles to experience what we experience…..for some it would be a life-changing experience (much the same as it was for us).
I’d like to provide some info and insight into where we are today, 22 years into the program. There is a significant amount of misinformation, rumors, untruths, slander, and libel and we try to counter this bad mojo with reason, transparancy, and the truth.
The objective for SQL contestants is to participate and learn during the season to get ready for Finals – The Big Show – at the end of the season to determine our World Champions. The many local and regional shows before Finals are part of the indoctrination, education and socialization, needed to compete at the highest level. Tonality and Staging/Imaging are the main criteria for determining the most realistic and accurate systems.
MECA SQL focuses on 7 Sound Quality classes based on complexity of design. That’s it, other than Master which is “Manufacturer” class, and an elective class for those who want the challenge of sound quality competition at the highest level. It is a time-proven, logical, refined, installation-based way of fairly grouping vehicles with similar builds. Other people and organizations conceptualize and practice other classification methods. Some do attempt to separate Professional and Consumer Competitors, and that is the source of much discussion because of gray areas and questionable class assignments. MECA does not separate Pros and Consumers. We have done it in the past, and moved on when we determined that performance in the lanes was equally successful for all, at the highest levels, no matter their employment or equipment sourcing contacts. This is our way and it is a fair contest format.
There are some in the car audio community who do not understand or appreciate what we do. There are some who do not like our methods for scoring and determining the Champions. There are some who express that we do not do a good job, or at least, not good enough for them. There are some that make it more personal and do not like individuals that participate in the program. We can’t please everyone although we really do try, and we realize we will always have detractors and apostates. MECA is not perfect and does not claim to be perfect in any manner. But, we, Judges and R&E Members, genuinely care about doing a good job and bringing a sense of value and respect to the Competitors and Contests.
There are genuine superstars in our Sound Quality League, repeat Champions, Champions, and those who have not achieved Champion status, yet, who know and understand what the Judges are listening for. Every sport has stand-outs – winners – who excel at what they do, and they set the bar for others, and demonstrate what can be done. In the past people like Alma Gates, Mark Eldrige, David Hogan, Steve Cook, Kirk Proffitt, Matt Daly, Matt Roberts, Coy Hudnall, and Rick Washabaugh, for examples, were Champions who were admired and advanced the sport. They dominated their classes for years, and moved on to the Hall of Fame. New people have come in and taken up the gauntlet and advanced our sport. We have incredible people like that in our club right now, members who are very serious about enjoying and sharing music at the most competitive level. You need to meet them and hear their systems before they retire.
If you consider yourself part of the car audio community, then these are your Champions, no matter what brand, team, or other alliance you hold dear. These are your Champions and should be celebrated by the Mobile Electronics Industry and all who value what sound quality contests are all about. You should want to meet these people and take advantage of the knowledge and listening sessions they can provide.
As we begin a new year with sincere hopes for better times, please, when it comes to our SQL, participate if your heart is into it. You will get a lot of support and you will have a better sounding system at the end of the season. For all who profess a love of car audio, please take time to sit and listen to the best sounding vehicles available at our events. Almost all of our competitors will have no problem sharing their systems with you, after the Judge has completed his/her job, and you need to hear what our best scoring and sounding systems really sound like.
MECA was created in 1999 to bring the car audio community together. We want to do positive things for all car audio enthusiasts and professionals. We invite those who have not competed in a while to give this another chance. We are proactively working to bring new blood into the SQL contests, especially reaching out to younger people through our Retail Member network. With industry support, specifically the Manufacturers, we can continue to engage and encourage music lovers to enhance their vehicles with high-performance car audio gear.
We’re moving forward and want to unify the SQL community. Sincere thanks to those who have contributed and support our Sound Quality League.