This award winning and publicized Audi A3 is famous all over Europe - still today many people (even young people who never had a chance to hear it live) remember and come asking.
In 1998, I was competing in Germany and Europe with a Milbert BAM-235 amplifier in my 1997 Audi A3 and became German champion as well as 3rd on the Eurofinals. The car was featured in Car & Hifi Magazine as well [pages below, with English translation].
The group of people that built it was the "FuldaGaeng" - also well known all over Europe. The name was given by our competitors and friends during the competition seasons 1998 and 1999 due to our location: Fulda, Germany. We always attended with 2 to 4 cars, every one successful.
We have steadfastly maintained our mission: Competition is not only for winning and promoting products, but also for meeting people and enjoying shared interests and time. We have nothing to do with the Car-Audio-Industry and always have undertaken car-hifi and competition as a hobby.
I would never have had the idea to build this car without having Klaus Methner as a friend and mentor.
—Christian Korbel, Feb 2011
Car & HiFi article: German - English translation:
Da guckste in die Rohre...
The headline is a German terminus, directly translated: "there you look into the tube" -- unexpected and surprising?
High End in an 1997 Audi A3
With tube amplification, fullrange-speakers and the sub up front in the dash board, this car audio system carries you off to the 7th sound-heaven.
In this special feature, we introduce you to the Audi A3 of our reader Christian Koerbel. Together with his friends Andreas Hartung und Dirk Diegelmann (nowadays, including Ralf Koehl, a group well known in the competition scene as the legendary "FuldaGaeng") they have each spent approximately 600 working - better said hobby - hours to realize the idea of a truly uncommon Car-Hifi-system.
The heart of the system beats, better said glows, in the shape of the stereo-tube-amplifier (Milbert BAM-235) behind the rear seats of the A3. Not really cheap and in a car-environment...the amp was installed into a suspended steel cage. Vibrations are minimized and it shields against electromagnetic influences. The amp powers 4" fullrange speakers installed into enclosures in the kick panels.
Only for sound quality competitions RTA-measurement, 2 Audio Control EQT's are utilized to generate a perfect flat response curve, for everyday driving and of course for our the listening test, they are bypassed.
Talking about sound quality competition: Christian Koerbel won with this car the German Championship in Pro 150 as well as 3rd place on the Eurofinals. Congratulations!
The lower frequencies are amplified by a Zapco Z100MVX Mono-Sub-Amplifier with built in active crossover powering a Cerwin Vega Vega 8 Subwoofer installed to the dash-board. The "bass up front installation" requires a higher effort, but as a result you get integration of sound avoiding phase problems and different delay-times from the outset (see also page 58, Smart).
Let's go the whole hog! Since smallest inaccuracies in voltage may blur small details in the music-reproduction, not only an auxiliary battery with high grade battery isolator is used, but also a Brax Power Capacitor for each amplifier and even the Nakamichi CD-Tuner as well as the Phoenix gold pre-amplifier. Also installed is the highest grade wiring and fusing (Monster Cable) with lowest resistances.
Furthermore, care was taken of mechanical influences and resonances by applying damping to the body where necessary. The woofer is installed to the enclosure via a special machined aluminium bracket for perfect fit and strong mounting.
And how does it sound?
It sounds detailed, brilliant, homogenous, smooth. The list could be longer. But to be honest: The system plays with a fascinating precision through all frequency ranges, every smallest detail is presented accurately. The subwoofer integrates perfectly with the full range drivers. The location in the dashboard as well as the high quality Cerwin Vega sub just adds to the whole. Staging and Ambiance are really good, no question about that. But, nobody is perfect, there is possibly some potential in the imaging.
Extraordinarily good, period. Absolute High End, but even better; however, we just can not award more than 100 of 100 points for musicality.