It'll cost you about the same as an iPod, but it's so much cooler. Or obnoxious. Mike Kosco dreamed up a way to make his Hummer growl, as well as sing whatever nuggets that could be crammed into 256 megabytes, too. If you're driving around a Hummer with the Incredible Hulk on the hood, you should probably expect verbal abuse. That's just what happened to the San Clemente, California resident at a coffee shop when teenagers gave Kosco a good heckling over his airbrushed mural. Fast forward two years, and the Horntones system made its debut at CES in Las Vegas.
The system consists of a player, and amplifier and a speaker. It costs $250, and it's light years beyond the old musical horns of the late '70s that would play horrid renditions of songs without the gift of polyphony. The player has a control unit that can navigate through your themes and tones and the entire setup looks high quality and well-designed. There's a website where you can custom organize and configure your sounds and songs, and then load the file onto a thumb drive that you then use to transfer the goods to your FX-550 rig. If you've just got to have Rico Suave at the ready, units are available and shipping, and look for Horntones at SEMA.
check the press release after the jump
Pimp Your Honk With Horntones(TM)
Give Your Ride a Voice!
SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- "Go Ahead Punk ... Make My Day!" ... Imagine this familiar voice sounding out from under the hood of your ride; or you pull up in front of your girlfriend's house and announce your arrival with "I Got You Babe," or you are out on your boat and you press a button on your FX-550 - and all around you can hear the theme song from "Jaws." With Horntones the possibilities are endless.
The Horntones FX-550 System is the first mobile audio system that supplements the sound of a vehicle's horn function by sounding any MP3 audio clip. The FX-550 introduces a new dimension to the automotive customization aftermarket.
According to Horntones President Mike Kosco, "The brain-seed for this invention occurred at a coffee shop back in the summer of 2005, when a group of teenagers were heckling me about the Incredible Hulk that is airbrushed on the hood of my H1 Hummer. I thought to myself ... I wish I had a button I could push that would make my car growl!" Kosco continues, "Well, the Hummer now growls and makes hundreds of other sounds too, from simple voice clips to entire theme songs."
The FX-550 Horntones System is a three-piece system which includes the FX-550 Player, the AP-150 audio amplifier and the rugged SR-100 speaker.
The Horntones FX-550 Player can store 256 mega-bytes of tones and is simple to use. It has 9 preset buttons and 2 negative-trigger inputs for interfacing with other vehicle functions. Tones are organized into "Themes." Each Theme allows new tones to be assigned to the 9 buttons. Themes can be as varied as Horns, Tailgate Party, Concert, Car Show, Soccer, Carpool, Movies, Politics, Advertisements or whatever you like.
Adding new tones to the system is simple using a standard USB thumb (flash) drive. The company's website, http://www.horntones.com/, includes a "Virtual Player" that allows users to completely configure their FX-550 online and then simply save the resulting file to a USB thumb drive. The thumb drive is then brought to the FX-550, plugged-in and new tones and configuration settings are automatically loaded. The FX-550 does not require removal from the vehicle for tone updates.
Custom, user-authored tones can also be added to the FX-550 using the horntones.com "Virtual Player." Custom horntones can be created using any MP3 editing software.
Kosco added, "We first previewed Horntones at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year and were overwhelmed by the positive response." The Horntones FX-550 System will debut in October at the 2007 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.
Pricing and Availability
The Horntones FX-550 System is now shipping and can be purchased at http://www.horntones.com/. The cost of the FX-550 System is $250USD, plus shipping.