A long-time customer brought his new truck to Audio Designs and Custom Graphics for 2015 Ford F150 audio system upgrade. We have built more than 15 audio systems for this customer, so we understood his expectations – excellent sound quality, great bass and the ability to get LOUD! He looked at some of the latest products we carry, and we came up with a plan to build something awesome for him.
Audison Processor For Seamless Integration
The customer wanted to keep his factory radio, so we used an Audison Bit Ten D for precise system configuration and tuning. Newer Ford audio systems present several challenges for aftermarket upgrades. The factory amplifier will turn off if it does not detect that speakers are connected to it. We overcame that by adding resistors to the speaker outputs of the amp before connecting them to the processor.
In addition, Ford injects a “rumble” sound into the audio path to increase the perception of power when the truck is driving. The sound changes pitch in relation to engine speed. We bypassed this feature since it becomes overbearing when you add high-power amplifiers and efficient speakers. It also makes the truck seem quieter, so the customer would be able to better enjoy his new stereo.
Knowing that the factory audio amplifier includes crossovers and equalization, we measured the frequency response of each amplifier output. This allowed us to select the correct outputs to connect to the Bit Ten D so it would be able to pull together a full-frequency signal to drive the new system.
Hertz Speakers For Big Improvement In Sound
The customer chose Hertz Dieci DSK170.3 components to serve as his front speakers. We mounted the woofer from the set in the stock door location on an expanded PVC plastic adapter that we made. We use expanded PVC because it is rigid, and won’t swell and deform like wood does if it gets wet. We mounted the tweeters from the set on small PVC plates in the dash location. We also installed a set of Hertz Dieci DCX165.3 speakers in the rear doors on another set of custom-expanded PVC adapter plates.
Custom Tuned Enclosure For Audiomobile Subwoofer
We created a ported enclosure for an Audiomobile GTS-2110 10-inch subwoofer that fits neatly under the bottom of the rear seat. Once we had cut the end panels of the enclosure, we made a dozen copies of the one with the slot vent opening. This allowed us to experiment with different enclosure tuning frequencies by adding or subtracting these copied panels. The panel additions use the Stack Fab process that we use in so many of our enclosures. It was incredible to hear the difference that adding length to the vent made. We settled for a nice balance of low-frequency extension and output. We were able to measure the tuning using our SMD IM-SG Impedance Meter.
We created the enclosure and mounting plate designs in our CAD system and cut the majority of the panels on our CNC router. Because we always save the design files for any work we do, we have made the mounting plates and enclosure available for purchase on our website. We even have a version of the front speaker mounting plates that is designed to work with a three-way speaker set. Click here to get all the details.
Audison Processor Digital Controller
We mounted an Audison DRC remote control for the Bit Ten D on a flat panel to the left of the steering column. The DRC allows the customer to select between two system tuning presets and adjust the subwoofer level control built into the Bit Ten D processor.
Tuning For Optimal Sound Quality
We started the system tuning by allowing the Bit Ten D to flatten the factory equalization curve and establish a level playing field upon which we could start our configuration. We set the gain controls on the Phoenix Gold Elite.5 amplifier with our oscilloscope, then used our bit Tune to help set the time alignment and equalization settings for the five outputs of the Bit Ten D. As we mentioned, the customer can use the DRC mounted in the front of the vehicle to choose between two different tunes. A reference curve that sounds great will improve any music, and a second tune will provide some more bass and highs for when the customer wants to have a little more fun.
Ford F150 Audio System Delivered To Thrilled Client
When the customer returned to Audio Designs and Custom Graphics, he was thrilled with the results. The system played nice and loud, and was crystal-clear all the time. He loved the way the bass sounded. The imaging, thanks to the Bit Ten D, was great – all the music seemed to come from the windshield, even the sub!
If you are interested in an audio system upgrade and are in the Jacksonville, Florida, area, why not drop by? We’d be happy to have a look at your vehicle and design a system that meets your performance goals and budget.
For more information, contact us here.