A while back, a client from McAlpin contacted us about getting a Ford Edge audio upgrade. He was not very impressed with the output and quality of sound from his factory audio system. We talked with him about some options, and then, after a few emails back and forth to narrow down the equipment, we setup an appointment for the work to be done.
Morel Speaker Upgrade
When the client came in we let him listen to a wide variety of speakers we have on display. Based off what he said his listening habits were, we expected he might be a fan of the Morel speakers, and we were right! After looking at the power he might be using, we narrowed the Morel selection down to the Tempo Ultra line. We would be using a set of 6.5″ components in the front, and 6.5″ coaxials in the rear.
The factory Ford Edge audio system uses a 5″x7″ speaker in the doors. To fit the new 6.5″ round speakers in their place, we used our CNC laser cutter to cut out 1/4″ acrylic plates to adapt the round speakers to the oval holes. The client wanted us to mount the component tweeters in the front pillars of vehicle. The front pillars are at a fairly steep angle in relation to the dashboard, so the tweeters would need to angle upward a bit. We accomplished this by taping off the pillars and then mounting the tweeters at the angles we wanted. We then used body filler to backfill the gaps. Once the filler had hardened, we sanded and shaped the tweeter pods and finished them with some black SEM paint.
Audio System Electronics
We had discussed a number of amplifier options with the client, but ultimately space was one of the biggest deciding factors. When it comes to small footprint amplifiers, the JL Audio Vxi lineup is our favorite. These amplifiers pack plenty of audio power and processing power in a small footprint. For this Ford Edge audio system, we would be using a 5-channel Vxi amplifier. We used a pair of stereo channels to power the front speakers, and a pair to power the rear. The mono channel of the amplifier would power the systems subwoofers. To interface the amplifier with the Ford factory radio, we use a Wavetech processor. The last bit of electronics to install was the DRC-205 controller for the JL Audio Vxi amplifier. This controller has three functions, to control the master volume of the system, to control the subwoofer volume, and allow selection of different DSP presets. We mounted the controller in a convenient spot right behind the shifter.
Custom Subwoofer Enclosure and Electronics Mounting
The most challenging part of this installation was the client’s request to keep all of the electronics and subwoofers below the factory rear floor panel. That might not be too much of a challenge, but he also wanted to retain the spare tire. So our goal was to fit two subwoofers, the amplifier, the component speaker crossovers, the integration processor and the spare tire, all in the tire well. In our initial discussions with the client we talked about using two JL Audio 8w3v3’s in the tire well area. Once we had the vehicle and started the layout and putting together measurements, we found that there was more room than we initially thought. We would actually have the space for two JL Audio 10tw1 subwoofers. The client was excited to hear the news and we began our building.
We started the fabrication with the mounting plate for the crossovers, amplifier and integration processor. This would be located in the frontmost part of the tire well. We elevated that piece slightly, so all of the wiring could route underneath it. With that plate in place and the spare tire mounted, we now had all of the physical boundaries for the two subwoofer enclosures.
Subwoofers require a somewhat specific amount of airspace in an enclosure to be able to perform to their maximum capability. We were going to be very close to the limit on the space we had, so we pulled a trick out of our hat to maximize the enclosure airspace. We built the enclosure pieces from 3/8″ MDF. We know what you are thinking, “that’s too thin”, you are right! Once the enclosures were constructed, however, we reinforced them with a few layers of fiberglass mat. This helped to strengthen the enclosures without taking away valuable airspace. The enclosures were designed to wrap around the spare tire. We added additional thicknesses of wood to the top of the enclosures to space the hatch floor off of the subwoofers. We finished off both the enclosures and the electronics plate with an automotive-grade black carpet.
Ford Edge Audio Upgrade Complete
Once the Ford Edge was reassembled, we went through the vehicle and vacuumed and wiped down all the panels we touched. We like to leave vehicles cleaner than they were brought to us! The last step of the installation was to tune the JL Audio Vxi amp processing. We used the TuN software to set the gain levels, adjust the time delay and set the equalization for all the channels. The result was a very dynamic system that had a surprising amount of bass. The client was thrilled with the results! If you are interested in upgrading the audio system of your vehicle, email us here, or stop by today!