“It can’t be done.” That is the short answer customers often receive when what they are asking for does not have a cookie cutter solution. The reality is that, in most cases, what consumers are looking for can be done when you look outside the box. That is our philosophy at Mobile Edge when it comes to providing solutions that our clients want. And now, a client from Somerset, New Jersey is enjoying an incredible audio system in his 2013 Honda Accord. After receiving mixed signals on-line and from other retailers he gave us a call.
Taking Stock In This Honda Accord Audio System
The system the client had in mind had to rock, there was no question about that! He was also concerned with keeping all the features and functionality of the factory system. To go ahead with the system we had to be able to enhance the audio system without compromising the existing Navigation System, Bluetooth, Music Hard Drive, or changing how the driver interfaces with system. And one more thing: He didn’t want to change the appearance of the vehicle to achieve his goals. We specialize in this sort of thing. We did our homework and eagerly took on the project.
Initial Preparation and Investigation
The first thing we did was an initial vehicle check in:
- Verify the functionality of electrical systems
- Look over the car for issues inside and out
- Prep the car by applying protective floor mats, seat and steering wheel covers, and protective tape to any contact points
- Connect the car to an external power supply to maintain the charge on the battery
Once we were set to go, we located the factory amplifier and tested the inputs and outputs of the amp. Using an oscilloscope we verified where we would get the signal to drive this aftermarket Honda Accord audio system. Once this was done we moved on to address the “Active Noise Canceling” system that Honda uses to reduce road noise. Although this can be helpful with the factory system, it will create havoc with an aftermarket system. This module is located below the radio. Once we accessed the noise canceling module and made our necessary modification, we verified that the nothing else in the audio system or elsewhere was compromised by our changes. Success! With the noise canceling module no longer an issue, we moved on to the fun stuff.
Audison BitTen Handles Signal Processing and A Lot More!
We installed an Audison BitTen signal processor under the front passenger seat. This processor was connected to the factory radio’s output and the factory amp was removed. Using the BitTen, we can really dial in the system to the client’s taste with its on-board EQ and set the listening position by using the time alignment features. Commonly overlooked in high-end systems, time alignment allows an installer to digitally delay the audio signal to specific speakers and place the listener center stage.
Front Stage Speakers Replaced with Hertz HSK-165XL Components
Every great car audio system needs a great front stage. The front speakers in our Honda Accord audio system were upgraded to Hertz HSK165XL’s. With a little trimming we were able to install both the woofer and tweeter in the factory locations. While the door panels were off the front doors were also given a full Hushmat treatment to deaden the resonance of the metal and reduce road noise. Foam waveguides were also used around the front midbass driver to absorb the back sound wave and funnel the front wave through the stock speaker grill on the factory door panel. We call the combination of our waveguides and a Hushmat treatment our “Speaker Enhancement Package.” It makes a very big difference in sound quality.
Hertz HDP5 Amplifier Makes The Power In This Honda Accord Audio Upgrade
Under the driver seat we nestled a Hertz five channel HDP5 to power the system. Along with the amp, a 1 farad capacitor was added to keep a steady voltage to the amp when current demands peak during what we call “enthusiastic listening.” Leveling out the voltage not only helps the system sound better but will also prolong the life expectancy of the system’s amplifier.
Out of Sight / Out of Mind
Next we tackled the rear deck. The factory speakers and subwoofer were removed and replaced with Hertz Hi Energy HXC165. These coaxial speakers are a perfect complement to the front separates. The rear deck was also treated with Hushmat to damp the metal and reduce noise and rattles.
We custom fabricated an enclosure specific to the Hertz 10” flat sub and welded a steel mounting assembly to secure the woofer to the vehicle in the stock location. Once everything was test-fit, we carpeted the box in a matching trunk liner and bolted the box to the underside of the rear deck. Looking into the trunk, you would never know that this was an aftermarket subwoofer enclosure.
With all the components in place it was time to tune the system using the Audison BitTen, a real time analyzer, an oscilloscope and some other gadgets and software. Once the tuning was complete we ran the system through its paces, did the final reassembly and prepped the vehicle for delivery.
End Result? This is what our client had to say:
“Bob, Mike and the Mobile Edge team did an exceptional job with my 2013 Honda Accord. I kept my head unit and had an Audison BitTen installed with a Hertz amp and hi-energy speakers. Bob was very helpful with the product selection and the custom box for the new sub in the rear deck looks great. The sound is incredible and I would highly recommend Mobile Edge.”
We love it when we create raving fans! To learn more about Mobile Edge, we invite you to stop in and let us show you around. Our facility and way of doing things is very different from what you might be accustomed to. If you would like to get a taste of our facility now, please check out our Virtual Tour. Thanks for reading along.
(Editor’s note: Much of this article was contributed by Mobile Edge Technician, Michael Oechsner)