A longtime client of Extreme Audio recently brought his new-to-him Audi A7 in for a custom stereo system upgrade. We’ve done audio systems in every vehicle this customer has owned for the last two decades. This time, the Bose audio system in the Audi didn’t deliver the performance he wanted in terms of clarity, detail, imaging or bass extension. After inspecting the vehicle, we put together an upgrade proposal that would keep the car looking original while delivering recording studio-quality sound.
Source Unit Integration and System Amplification
The first step in upgrading the stereo in the A7 was to connect with the factory infotainment system. We used a mObridge M1000-M-DA3 interface to extract a digital audio signal from the MOST 25 fiber-optic connection to the factory amplifier. We fed this TOSLINK digital output to the input of a JL Audio VX800/8i eight-channel amplifier. This amplifier also includes an advanced digital signal processor to configure and calibrate the audio system.
We used the eight channels of the amp to feed the front and rear speakers in the car and connected an ARC Audio KS125.2 BX2 Mini two-channel amp to the subwoofer output from the JL to power the upgraded sub in the trunk. The ARC and JL amplifiers are mounted to the factory amp rack in the back left corner of the trunk.
Audiofrog Speaker and Subwoofer Upgrades
We started the speaker upgrade by creating a new set of mounting brackets for a set of Audiofrog GB10 tweeters in the stock dash locations. We also constructed mounting spacers and adapters for a set of GB25 midrange drivers for the front doors. We always use plastics like expanded PVC for our speaker adapters as they will be impervious to damage from moisture that can get into the doors. To control the cost of the system, we left the stock woofers in their vented enclosure in the bottoms of the door and powered them with dedicated channels from the JL amp. With 75 watts of power, they performed just fine.
For rear speakers, we upgraded the tweeters in the rear doors with a set of the Audiofrog GB10oe 1-inch drivers and left the original woofers in place. The rear speakers aren’t set up to be loud but instead to provide a nice level of fill to make the listening space seem larger.
For bass, we removed the stock subwoofer enclosure from under the floor of the trunk and installed one of the Audiofrog GS8ND2 8-inch subwoofers in it. In addition, we added SoundShield damping material to the enclosure to prevent it from vibrating too much. Speaking of sound deadening, we added two full rolls of SoundShield’s original three-layer damping material to the vehicle. Not only does this product help to prevent buzzes and rattles, but it also reduces the noise level in the car so that it’s easier to hear the music.
System Calibration Delivers Studio Sound Quality
After we had all the equipment installed in the vehicle, our technicians set to work configuring the digital signal processor in the JL Audio amplifier. First we configured the crossovers to work with the speakers and their mounting locations, and then we adjusted each output equalizer to deliver a smooth sound response in the driver’s seat. The last step was to configure the signal delay settings to create a realistic soundstage that spans the vehicle’s width. In addition, we created a second configuration without the driver-seat-specific delay settings for times when there’s more than one person in the car. The client can switch between the presets using the DRC-205 that we mounted beside the shifter in the center console. This remote also lets him adjust the subwoofer’s output to suit the music he’s chosen.
We completed the installation and system calibration after less than a week. The client returned to Extreme Audio and immediately hopped into the vehicle for a listen. He was thrilled with the results. The system was crisp and clear while delivering amazing imaging and great bass. If you are interested in upgrading the sound system in your car or truck, drop by our location in Mechanicsville or Midlothian. You can also reach our team by phone or e-mail if you can’t make it to one of our stores during regular business hours.