The car audio community is saddened by the loss of legendary SPL competitor Alma Gates. SPL is the dark side of car audio where competitors pit their specialized vehicles designed only for one thing- to get loud. Engine output is severely diminished due to alternator draw going up exponentially. Vehicles can have banks of a dozen or so marine-sized batteries, and half-a-dozen alternators is not uncommon.
Perhaps one of the most prolific figures in the SPL world who acted as an ambassador of the sport was Alma. Her original Bronco system featured 46 (yes forty-six!) 10″ subwoofers. From there, different iterations from different manufacturers all led to one goal- have fun and promote loud!
The unexpected thing about Alma was she was a retired schoolteacher who started in her sixties. Donning her signature grey hair she quickly became known as the Boomin’ Grandma. Although soft spoken, all she needed to do was twist the volume knob on The Beast for instant respect.
One time I had the pleasure of taking Alma to dinner for some Jewish soul food at Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side. As hard hitting as a pastrami sandwich can be from Katz’s, it had nothing on The Beast. RIP Alma. We hope the afterlife is always running at 14.4 volts.