Mobile Edge in Lehighton has built a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta audio system to demonstrate just how good a car stereo system can sound.
When it was time to replace one of our existing demo vehicles, our team looked around for something that many of our clients could afford as well as a good platform to upgrade. As we dug deeper into four-door sedans on the market, the Jetta kept coming back onto our radar for its combination of German engineering and attractive price point. Once the car was in our possession, we immediately started the design process.
Jetta Audio System in Dash Stays Intact
First and foremost, we knew the factory Jetta stereo system in the dash had to stay intact. Every year, more and more functions of a vehicle are integrated into the original stereo system – and it looks great in the dash. If you are one of those people who think the in-dash stereo system has to be changed to get great sound, you really need to see a demo of this car. To improve sound quality, it takes a good digital sound processor (DSP), upgraded speakers and more power.
Audison BitOne to the Rescue
The first step in upgrading the audio was adding an Audison BitOne processor to the speaker outputs on the Jetta radio. Doing this gives us several benefits. First, we can remove any equalization VW adds to the music in their feeble attempt to make inexpensive speakers sound better. Once that is accomplished, we have a good basis from which to build.
Second, it allows us to use dedicated amplifier channels for the subwoofers, midbass and midrange/tweeter combination.
Third, we gain 31 bands of equalization for each of these amplifier channels, allowing us to fine-tune the output of each speaker set.
Fourth, we can digitally delay the sound from all the speakers, so it arrives at the perfect time. What that means to you is sound that stages beautifully across the dash instead of being biased toward the driver’s door.
Lastly, we have an almost infinitely adjustable crossover, allowing us to send the specific frequencies of sound to the speakers best equipped to reproduce them. The BitOne has an external controller called a DRC, and our team made a custom mount to position it in front of the shifter in a convenient spot for the driver.
Proper Sound Requires Sound Damping
For the front speakers, the first step was preparing the doors to handle this incredible improvement. We applied HushMat sound-damping to the inner door skin to reduce noise and vibration. We applied a second product from HushMat – Silencer Megabond, a closed cell foam – to the inside of the door panel. It lowers road noise in the higher-frequency range while eliminating any rattle or vibration from the improved woofers going in the door.
We also applied HushMat to the complete trunk area, including the trunk lid and rear deck. This step was to prevent any vibration that could result from the soon-to-be-installed subwoofer enclosure.
Mille Legend Speakers Create Beautiful Sound
At this point, it was time to install the front sound stage. We mounted Hertz Mille Legend ML1650.3 6.5” woofers in the front door on our in-house machined composite speaker plates. When the door panel is reinstalled, it looks completely original.
When it came time to install the Hertz ML700.3 3” midrange and ML280.3 tweeter, our installers decided to make a completely custom pod that attaches to the A-pillar. We covered the pod in a complementary material that matched the pillar and did the face of it in black vinyl to match the dash. Going this route allowed us to aim the speakers toward the driver and passenger, improving sound quality.
Mille 2500.3 Woofers Deliver Bass with Authority
If you want to recreate that live concert experience in your Jetta audio system, you need a subwoofer. It gives you the low-end bass that makes you feel immersed in the music.
For this build, we chose a pair of the Hertz ML2500.3 10” subwoofers. Our team designed and built a custom ported enclosure that fit beautifully underneath the rear deck. We made custom trim panels in a combination of red and black vinyl with grilles that we created in-house.
Audison AV5.1K Amplifier Makes it All Come Alive
The final piece of the puzzle is the Audison AV5.1K amplifier. It sends 70 watts to each midrange/tweeter combination, 140 watts to each woofer and a stunning 1,000 watts to the subwoofers.
Our fabricators kept the same theme that we started on the subwoofer enclosure and designed a false floor to hold the amp, processor and passive crossovers. We even designed a metal amp rack that hinges up, allowing the driver access to the spare tire, should the need ever arise. For a classy effect, we added red LED lighting accents to the subwoofer enclosure and amp rack, making the trunk look even more impressive.
Connection Wiring Carries All the Music
Our Connection brand handles all of the musical signal and power delivery, with custom harnesses loomed to length and covered in Tesa tape to mimic the look of the German harnesses already in the VW.
Of Course, It Got a Remote Starter
In typical Mobile Edge fashion, we installed a Compustar 2W1B two-way remote starter that confirms back to the remote once the Jetta starts. Yes, the Jetta has a manual transmission, and the remote works great. Ask us to show you how it works when you stop in.
You Gotta Come See and Hear this Car
In closing, we can write beautiful words about how beautiful this VW looks and how great it sounds, but the only way to know for sure is to experience it for yourself. We invite you to stop by Mobile Edge and hear our Jetta audio system for yourself. The BitOne processor is set up so you can hear the improvements by simply pushing the different presets on the DRC.
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Marc Nord says
I love your attention to detail Mitchell. I wish I lived closer so I could have you all install something SWEET in my Jetta 2017.
I’m wondering if you know any installers here in the Los Angeles area who would recommend?
kelvin taylor says
the speakers pods on the dash how much to make me some for my 16 jetta ?