This Sunday evening saw one of the best drives home from a weekend event I’ve ever had.
I’ve been doing this a little while and have attended hundreds, if not thousands of events. Every single over night event comes with an inevitable sinking feeling the next day, the dread of the drive home. Often 3 hours upwards in something that likes nothing more than hitting the ground when it feels like, pulling things out of the road and filling the inside of the car with tyre smoke. We love these things but I’m sure most of you can relate to the fact that its one of the last thing’s you want to be doing on a Sunday evening after a hard weekend away….
This weekend was different. Having taken this car to an event to display for live demonstrations on what we can deliver amongst eight other of our cars their simply couldn’t have been a better trip home. The 640d is an effortless comfortable GT car in my eyes, you get out of it feeling like you’ve not travelled at all. The smell of the interior, how quiet it is on the road the whole package works. This coupled with a system capable of the dynamic scale of a live performance led to me and my friend Mark adding another incredible road trip into the memory bank. The last being Our Liberty Walk M3 driving home through sunset on the Autobahn…
I could talk about this drive all day, the laughs, the singing, the smiles, the constant goosebumps, discovering new music, the fact that this is possibly the only place in the world you can utterly indulge in your own music at any volume at any given time and not disturb a single other person is priceless to me. Still high from it now I could bore you all day so onwards with the job in hand.
Since the first consultation on this car with it’s owner Kien, A young local business owner and father of two with a keen interest in cars and an eye for knowing exactly what he wants, I’ve been counting the days to this booking.
At first it was decided to hold off until January, get a few other priorities out of the way and then ease into this in the new year. Well, that went out of the window with the launch of our new site, Kien wisely took advantage of our opening discounts and chose to go for a higher level of kit than first discussed at a similar cost.
A revised kit list was on the cards, the brief to begin with was to keep everything hidden. With this in mind the equipment was specified accordingly.
Mosconi D2 80.6 DSP 6 channel amp with built in DSP and DSP output channel
Mosconi D2 1.500 – Monoblock slave from the DSP output of the latter
JL Audio TW5 – Shallow mount subwoofer
Gladen Audio 8″ under seat replacement midbass
Hybrid Audio L4se Carbon midrange
Hybrid Audio L1Pro R2 Tweeters
Mixture of Connections and Gladen cabling plus Skins sound deadening.
The day of the booking came around quickly, having just finished a set of infinite baffle midbass in another snazzy BMW the week before I’d been rather occupied to pass the time, I will blog about this soon. The car was brought in and the strip down was started. Just the rear side panels, boot floor, rear seat, front seats (the heaviest seats I have ever lifted out), Sill and kick panels, Door cards, Under dash, A pillars, Centre console and head unit.
Once stripped, strategically placed deadening started. There’s no denying 100% coverage will give you an advantage however I would deem it negligible when the cost is taken into consideration so panel deadening placed properly will give a fantastic result and save money for upgrades elsewhere.
The door cards were treated to Skinz panel deadening and Skinz thermo/acoustic liner to prevent the door cards from ringing and to add a bit of pressure to the fit so to cure any unwanted rattles.
I made mounts up for the doors to replicate the the footprint of the original speaker mounts meaning I could use the original bolt points, the inner diameter was then cut to that of the incredible Hybrid Audio L4 SE Carbon midrange. These were painted black with a rain guard fitted and then bolted up.
Once these were wrapped up it was onto the under seat fitting, the Gladen Audio 8″ midbass is designed to drop straight into the hole from the original speaker, there is no cutting or modifying involved however I did completely remove the factory enclosures to line the bottoms and panel deaden the insides and flat outer sides to try and give the ABS enclosure a much lower resonance.
In they go, I forgot to get a shot of them with the factory grills in place but trust me once they’re on other than the stellar midbass you wouldn’t know they’re there. You’ll have to excuse my photo’s over the next few shots, seems my auto ISO is going bananas.
With these in and sorted, it was time to put the worlds heaviest seats back in.. I’m talking HEAVY. VW T5 transporter seats with steel swivel base mounts have nothing on these, I’ve not a clue why or how but I nearly (nearly….) had to call a friend over!
The seats in, door cards on, front midbass done etc it was time for the pillars. I do it this way so that I can get the correct seating position for the aiming of the higher frequency drivers when they are to be mounted on a pillar or a sail panel.
These were stripped out, stripped of their cloth and then fabricated using wooden “D” rings and steel bar, unfortunately I didn’t get any shots of this, I rarely do as its quite a messy and intensive job so the camera gets tucked away and I just press on.
The end result however is a simple scalloped A pillar build trimmed with as close a match as i could find to the factory head lining trim and on axis with the driving position.
The front end is now complete, bar fitting a hard wired charge for the cars in built camera it’s time to start the boot work. Amongst all of the front speaker fitting I had already ran the seven lengths of cable needed to complete the runs down the car for this install, six of them being speaker cable and the other being the controller cable for the DSP/Amp. That may seem a lot but it’s nothing in comparison to systems of old.
These Mosconi D2 amplifiers have impressed me since the moment I took them out of the box, from their tiny footprint to their build quality and impressive specification they’ve been a dream to work with. High level signal sensing means there is no remote to have to find which can be rather tricky in cars of this nature, the DSP output channel and remote output from the control amp means the mono amp is completely taken care of in terms of signal and switching.
Priority source switching removes the need of physically having to switch the sources over on the controller, you simply start playing the source you want and the system detects its priority and switches for you seamlessly.
A rack was made using my typical design of a screwed top plate and bonded feet, this allows me to remove the top plate at any time for access underneath (Excuse the condition of the front of the amps in this shot, it just isn’t easy trying to keep them clean whilst working on them they’re strangely susceptible to finger marks, you’ll see as the post goes on they’re fine). This was then painted black and the amps were fitted like so –
While this was out and drying I started on the sub box, using JL Audio’s TW5. These guy’s know how to build a subwoofer. I over sized the box slightly to draw out a bit of low end, it has a sacrifice of power handling but the Mono amp and this speaker seem quite well matched. The sacrifice was worth making as it has had a fantastic end result in the bottom octaves, big warm bass yet still fast.
You’ll notice there is no part of this article that shows a removed ski hatch section like we would usually do in a car like this, It’s Kien’s preference to not have holes cut in the car which has to be respected so it was all a gamble on just how well this speaker can force its way through to the cabin which usually has a profound effect on bass and the timing of it with the front end. Efforts were made to remove sections of foam/panel covers etc to ease the transfer through to the cabin and it has worked very well. I do get the feeling however that we will have this back in the not too distant future for a ski hatch trim panel as we have a bit of a bass head on our hands.
The box was then PVA’d internally to stop any air escaping and left to dry. When dry it was bonded to the car, the amp rack was then bonded (separately) and left to dry. Whilst these were going off I made the various trim panels I had been designing in my head.. Firstly this amp cover section –
Then drew up the surround design master to route a few panels of plexi and ply from to form the design for this built, here is a shot of the finished master on a plexi panel being marked out for rough cutting and as ever I seem to be on the phone whilst doing it –
5 Different sections were made in this manner with a 45 chamfer on the top panel and then put through the router, the result came out really nicely –
At this point I wanted to just polish the end ply and leave it bare wood, however as brilliant as this would have looked in its own right it just would fit with this car and it’s subtleties. Chances are if you’ve read this from the beginning you’re wondering why this is even being done considering the brief was to keep the car with all hidden hardware.. Kien came to see me just as I was finishing of the subwoofer box (this was actually built before the amp rack etc) and turned the job on its head. “Actually, lets see what you can do as I would like to help out with business“.. A very rare quality.
With these word’s in mind it had to be good.
These panels were finished up, filled and sanded for trim –
Once trimmed and mounted together, the lights were fitted for the edge lighting and I was really impressed with the result. With this done the car was complete, it was time to fire the system up, jump in with my computer to make everything safe in terms of crossover points and then leave promptly to attend a show for the weekend where the car would be on display with us. Baring in mind it impressed people all weekend and this is all the setting up it had had. Some system’s just work right out of the box, some systems are a little tricky it’s just the way things go.
I enjoy every aspect of my job but it can be particularly trying at times, be that difficult people, tuning situations, time frames to make it to a deadline or simply to fit in with when the car can or cannot be collected or delivered.. However from the first brief on this job I had been looking forward to it and that didn’t go away the entire time it was here all the way through to this morning when I just sat in it outside work for a quick listen before it leaves today. You can get very attached to these things.
What an incredible project, with a decent personal approach and the correct selection of kit in the right car this job has come out near on flawless, I’m real happy with it but I don’t think I’ve ever not wanted to give a car back this much before.
Thanks for reading, Shares and comments as always are very welcome. Remember any of this kit is available here, it’s always worth giving me a call for advice if you’re thinking of taking a particular route or dropping me an email –
T – 01489877987
E – INFO@STUDIOINCAR.COM
Huge thank’s to Kien for being a grade A customer and to Nick Williams of WWW.NWVT.CO.UK for his usual great standards of photography, you can tell which ones he has shot!!
Shakey | Studio Incar