View Full Version : Goodbye Driver's Den

07-22-2006, 11:37 AM
This is an ode to the death of "last good car audio shop in New Mexico".

Let me tell you a little story, so it all makes sense.

Nearly 20 years ago I began modifying, upgrading, and tweaking my car audio system. Back then, in the mid 80's not much after-market stuff was available, and what little there was remained far out of my reach due to me being very poor. I worked 40+ hours/week sometimes 2 jobs all through school to help supplement my family's below poverty-level income. But, I was able to keep a little of that for my own food, gas, and some toys. Some of it went to el cheapo' decks, and booster EQ's (to start). I loaded donated home audio speakers onto the back seat and spent countless hours stuffing, cutting, and tweaking to get it to sound a little better.

Then, years later and getting more serious about "real" car audio systems, with multiple amps, massive multi-channel active crossovers, good wiring, tuned enclosures, and decent speakers, I came across a shop called Driver's Den. I was in awe. The work they were doing with acrylic, fiberglass, and competition-level equipment and installs got me hooked big time. I'm sure I annoyed them a LOT, as a kid. I had no money, but spent all of my spare time talking to them and absorbing their knowledge and watching their installs. The late 80's and early 90's was the peak of car audio and competition interest and Driver's Den was the shop to beat. They were expensive, but worth it, if you had the money to burn. I couldn't afford their equipment at the time but I would dig through their "bargain bin" to see if there was anything I could pick up. One day I found a pair of Infinity 3.5" speakers that had been tossed from an install. They'd be perfect for my, then, '85 Toyota MR2's dash. I made Jim (the owner of Driver's Den) an offer and he said he'd do it as long as some day I would "actually pay full price for something there". I said "ok".

Well, time went on and I picked up a part-time job at a car audio shop to hone my skills. Did some outstanding installs and gained a lot of experience. After college I was able to get a good-paying job in computer technology and would only do installs on my own vehicles because, as every installer knows, installing for someone else may be fun, but it's a serious pain in the arse, and not worth the raw finger-tips unless there's good money flowin'. More time past, 4 vehicles later, and I have a kid/family, a busy work-schedule and a brand-new Montero Sport that I'm NOT particularly in love with.

Here's where Driver's Den fails me. From my previous vehicle I have an $800 Alpine CDA-7878 deck collecting dust in the garage. A couple years ago, I decide I want to put it in my new Montero Sport as a temporary install, until I move on to another vehicle. I don't have time to spare doing the install myself, but I have money, so I drop it off at the only car audio shop in Albuquerque that has stood the test of time and remained, as far as I knew, the only decent place around. Here's my chance to make good on my promise to Jim 15-years prior, and pay full-price for something there... a basic deck install. I tell them that "it's very important that I can return this bad boy to *stock* easily/plug-n-play, so PLEASE DO NOT CUT ANY FACTORY WIRES... AND IF YOU NEED TO, PLEASE CALL ME FIRST". Well, I get the truck back and all seems well. No call and no mention of cutting wires.

But, it sounds like **** on deck power, bypassing the factory 320W amp, so over the next 2 years, I build up the system myself (of course not using any factory wiring at all) to a pretty serious ~$5000+ and nearly 4k Watts. Last week I yank everything and decide I'm going to sell the truck. But, I need to return it to stock. When I get to the factory deck install....

OH SHIIIT! They cut nearly ALL the factory wires at the block going into the factory amp!!! Not only this, but they cut them too short to strip and re-connect easily. I call them up and tell them the situation. We make an appointment for me to let them fix their f'up and before hanging up the phone, the installer says "You know you're going to be paying our hourly rate for this right?" I about dropped the phone. They were charging me to FIX THEIR OWN SCREW-UP. But it was the whole ethic of the thing. Even if I paid them to fix their f'up, it still felt better to me than not.

It's all done now, but I promised myself that I'd talk about this experience on the web because the last of the "dinosaurs" is finally extinct. I will never use, nor recommend the shop that I've idolized for 2 decades, again. I apologize to the hundreds (maybe thousands) of people I've sent to Driver's Den. They are no longer a place I can endorse and more sadly, I know of no better places still around.

Sorry, Jim, your shop has become just another money-leeching, don't give a crap about reputation or the customer, desperate, and failing, car audio shop.

07-22-2006, 11:43 AM
We have a Driver Den here in Amarillo. Great people that work there. I hope I don't run into the same problem with them. I have always recommended them myself.

turn it up
07-22-2006, 12:32 PM
Man how hard is it to use some wire-taps? I hate shops who have no courtesy for customer's vehicle. and take no pride in their installation. Basic setup wtih external amp is like 4-5 wires to tap and save tons of headache down the road if you cut factory harness. I trust no one but myself too.

01-17-2007, 09:31 PM
Finally another car audio enthusiast besides myself from NM, Hi this is my first post on this forum but im a Gold memeber on other forums and i absolutely love car audio, so where was this store located at??

01-18-2007, 12:05 PM
Finally another car audio enthusiast besides myself from NM, Hi this is my first post on this forum but im a Gold memeber on other forums and i absolutely love car audio, so where was this store located at??

Albuquerque, Eubank @ Constitution (http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=8891384&ck=4087883940&tab=B2C&tcat=7843638&city=Albuquerque&state=NM&zip=87109-5166&uzip=87109&country=us&msa=0200&cs=9&ed=yO_x_a160Sy5zgWFsm4fqs4oGzKaQmIaJEM2EHYg4tgxq9_ j.d6JzAslYL..o_3x1fggGH9OSjo-&stat=:pos:0:regular:regT:2:fbT:0).

Welcome to the forum!

01-18-2007, 12:16 PM
doing chit yourself ftw!!!

02-03-2007, 06:15 AM
Kool wat up thanx, k then i should no where its at do u live in Albuquerque Hi Amplitude??

1 Hugh Jass
02-03-2007, 01:45 PM
We have a Driver Den here in Amarillo. Great people that work there. I hope I don't run into the same problem with them. I have always recommended them myself.

I was the Assistant Manager at Don's before Driver's Den bought it. I went to work at Dyer's for a while before he closed down.

04-02-2009, 11:57 PM
God your so right....there are NO good audio shops in ABQ, and I just found Driver's Den lol. Hope i can get a job there then maybe I can do something about this....very unlikely, but hey! I'll learn a lot :D

04-30-2009, 02:22 PM
I have been into car audio for a long time and have dealt with almost every car audio shop here in Albuquerque.

Back in the early 90's I used to get my Hollywood subs and MTX Blue thunders from West Coast Sound. I had them install a Sony CD player in my Nissan P/U and never went back cause I felt like the salesmen were all rude.

After that I found Audio Express "Home of the $1 installation". I used to get all my Lanzar amps and subs from there until they hacked the hell out of my mustang puttin in an Alpine headunit.

Then I moved on to Pro Audio. I found them while attending the annual Supernational show at the state fair grounds. I got all my Orion amps and subs from them and even worked for them for a couple of weeks until I found out that the deck he sold me was a referb and he didn't want to warranty the subs he sold and installed for me after they died a week into using them.

I also had some experience with Mesa Radio and like the owner very much but he had an employee there that used to compete in 96 with me and ended up screwing the owner and a lot of his friends. Other than that Mesa Radio is a good shop.

Then it was on to Drivers Den. My ex brother in law had gotten a system installed by them in his 92 Geo Storm and he ended up getting into Car Audio and Electronics with that car. He was the only person that I know who used to compete and after hearing his Eclipse/Infinity/MTX Blue Thunder system I was hooked. So I started to visit DD often and to make a long story short they built me a system that would help me qualify for the 1996 IACSA and USAC finals. I took first place in every NM event that year and placed no worse than 3rd out of state (AZ. TX. & CO.) I was also named rookie of the year by all of those that competed that year around New Mexico. I had a great relationship with jim and all the guys that have worked there over the years. During my season DD allowed me to take home many tools to help me work on my own systems. I canít tell you how many time I took home their RTA. My car audio addiction slowed down for the last 5 years due to my divorce. I just got a new to me truck and need some tunes so I googled DD to find the phone number and Jim answered. I told him who I was and he sounded happy to hear from me. I told him I needed an in dash monitor and he told me to drop by and he would see what he had for sale. I have never had a bad experience with DD with the exception of the high prices when I was younger and couldnít afford some of their stuff. I am going to DD for my lunch hour today to see what they have for me and catch up with some good friends......

04-30-2009, 07:52 PM
that *****. that was the best shop in abq

04-30-2009, 07:54 PM
they arent the best shop in new mexico though. mccain mobile audio here in farmington, is top 2. and audio EFX in hobbs is the other.\

tjbassmekanik. dude im sorry i never get back to yo on the DD prices. i always forget. im not sure on them i think its just reg. retail. :(

10-11-2009, 12:35 PM
Great install place over behind Baillos in Albuquerque. Its called premier sound and security. A guy named conrad is the shop owner and his prices and work are excellent. I brought in 2 type r's a box an amp and none of it was connected and i had no wire. he built me an amp rack. ran some 1/0 connected it all installed the subs carpeted the amp rack and did it all for $85. it was all done with quality. I would say that they are the only great install place left.

10-11-2009, 12:36 PM
but for selling stuff they only carry pioneer and alpine so that *****

The ///Man
10-29-2009, 12:28 AM
That used to be Baillos install shop and I think the manager started up his own place there. Pretty sure it's Conrad, and I've always heard great things. I had a friend who worked there for years, Javan, who is a top notch audio guy, so if he is a sign of their work, I would definitely say they know what's up.

11-21-2009, 01:28 AM
Good info to know.

11-21-2009, 01:38 AM
Yeah Conrad broke off from Baillos and is now running his own shop over there.. had them put in a HU for 2 friends... again great work.

09-08-2011, 12:28 PM
First things, first. Driver's Den has been installing high quality car audio in customer's cars since 1985. We have served hundreds of happy customers, since this post was written 6 years ago, and are alive and well.

It is really a shame that you didn't reach out directly. We can't fix your issues over the Internet.
If you call us and want your equipment re-installed there is going to a fee. We have to pay our installers and they do not work for free.
As far as the cutting of wires, this was never mentioned to me, that I can remember. Sorry, for that misunderstanding. Regardless, labor would apply to reinstallation.

We are sorry that you were not satisfied with the work you received. But next time, just call me.
We are here to help.
Jim Gooden - Owner, Driver's Den Albuquerque, NM

11-19-2011, 08:13 PM
I never dealt with Drivers Den.... However, Mike from Mesa Radio installed my Honda Accord system in 95. Soundstream Continuum, Clarion head unit, Clarion EQ/DSP, MB Quartz speakers and 3 10" JL Subs. One of the best systems in town at the time. Mike was always great and always treated me right!!!

11-19-2011, 08:50 PM
I think that good customer service is the only way a shop can stay in business now days with the internet and all.

thats a bummer.

11-19-2011, 08:51 PM
and then i realized that this was from 2006