A new client from Midlothian, Virginia, came to Extreme Audio to have his 2012 Ford F150 stereo system upgraded. The client has owned aftermarket audio systems in the past, so he had a good idea of what he was after. We had a look at his truck and discussed his goal for the upgrade, and where he was willing to allocate space for the new equipment. After auditioning several different products in our showroom, we scheduled an appointment to do the install.
Source Unit Interface
The factory radio in the F-150 is a bit complicated to replace. Regarding overall system performance, it adds a lot of expense for minimal return on investment. Choosing better speakers and subwoofers and a more powerful amplifier represents a greater improvement in performance. Armed with this knowledge, the client agreed that we would leave the factory radio in the dash, then use a premium signal processor to extract audio from it.
We started by removing the door panels and center console from the truck. With the console out, we had access to the wiring from the factory amplifier. We measured the frequency response of the amp output to ensure we had the entire audio spectrum covered. We fed the audio signal to a JL Audio FiX-82 integration processor. The Fix-82 removes any signal equalization that is included in the factory amplifier and provides an output for the Arc Audio XDi 1100.5 amplifier.
We installed ceramic load resistors on the outputs of the factory amplifier to compensate for the resonant effect of the Class D amplifier output filter components. These resistors ensure the system will be hiss-free and have flat frequency response.
We mounted the amplifier and the FiX-82 on a carpeted panel that was attached to the back wall of the truck. This location made running power and speaker wires easy. The XDi 1100.5 is a five-channel amplifier that can produce 150 watts per channel to the four front speakers and 500 watts for the subwoofer channel. As we only had a single input from the FiX-82 processor, we installed the remote subwoofer level control in a storage pocket in the dash for easy adjustment.
We mounted the passive crossover networks for the JL Audio C5-650 front speakers under the center console. The JL Audio tweeter fit perfectly behind the factory mesh grille. The original speaker in the door is 6×8-inch, so we made an adapter plate to mount the 6.5-inch speaker out of expanded PVC. Lots of shops use wood, and some are smart enough to paint the wood to help seal it. We always use plastic for our speaker adapters to ensure they will never be damaged when water gets on them inside the door. The client opted for our premium speaker installation, which includes HushMat sound-deadening and Fast Rings foam spacers.
We installed a set of JL Audio C2-570x speakers in the factory locations in the rear doors. We turned the level down a bit on the rear speakers so the truck has a well anchored front stage, but still has enough sound in case someone is in the back seat.
The client wanted good, solid bass in his truck. We chose a pair of JL Audio 10TW1-4 10-inch drivers and constructed a small, sealed enclosure for them that would sit under the passenger side rear seat. We added braces to the side panels of the enclosure to ensure it wouldn’t buzz or vibrate and color the sound. The end panels for the enclosure suspend the subwoofers above the floor, so the output of the subs fires forward from under the seat. The enclosure was wrapped in black carpet to match the interior.
Client Thrilled By F150 Stereo Upgrade
When the client returned to Extreme Audio, he was excited to hear his system for the first time. He hopped in and cued up some of his favorite music. The system played loud and was crystal-clear. To say that he was thrilled would be an understatement. The fact that the system is essentially invisible made it even more impressive.
If you are in the Richmond, Virginia, area and are looking for an audio system upgrade for your car or truck, feel free to drop by our Midlothian or Mechanicsville location. You can also contact us here.