Some people have very critical tastes in music. They demand the best quality both at home and in the car. A Philadelphia area audiophile recently did a search online to find a local Hertz and Audison dealer. He had listened to some other high end products at some other shops and now wanted to see what all the fuss was about with Hertz and Audison. Of course, he found Mobile Edge. After an email and a couple of phone calls, he decided to take the drive from the outskirts of Philadelphia to hear and see this great line of car audio for himself.
Bob met with him on a Saturday and they auditioned the variety of Hertz car audio speakers that we have on display. From the more cost friendly Energy (and now Dieci) series, all the way up to the MLK 2, Mobile Edge has most of the Hertz lineup on display. They spent a while listening to various types of music and the customer soon was entranced by the MLK 165 components. That was a done deal. MLK 165 components in the front. Because the rear speakers would not be amplified, the customer opted for the HCX165 coaxes in the back. Of course, all of these high end speakers would need and greatly benefit from sound deadening. Hushmat to the rescue!
Bob played the MLK165 speakers with several different series of amplifiers. The audition quickly turned to the LRX amplifiers. Bob explained the extreme cool factor with the LRX5.1K amplifier. This amplifier is the king of single amp installs. It is designed with sound quality at the absolute forefront. Power is rated at 50w x 2 for the highs, 150w x 2 for the mids and 1150w to the sub! Because we were planing on bi-amplifying the system, this amp was perfect. While not an inexpensive amplifier, the power, quality and configurability of it makes it an easy choice for a system like this (In fact, this amp will be used in the Mobile Edge demo vehicle).
This customer is not a bass head, but he certainly saw the need for a high quality “low” end to any system. The natural choice for the system was a Hertz HX sub. When it came time to decide between the 10 and the 12, the 10 won out because of the criteria to keep the system as low profile as possible. It looked like the Sub would fit perfectly in a custom fiberglassed enclosure in the rear passenger side of the hatch. The choice was made to use the HX250 subwoofer.
Connectivity and Power Supply
With a system of this quality, you don’t use cheap signal cables. The customer essentially left the decision to us and we chose the Audison Connection high end interconnects. They are extremely well made, twisted pair design cables that do a great job of passing the signal and rejecting the noise. For an amp this size, we needed some serious power. 1/0 gauge cable was used and the power supply was augmented with a 1.3 farad capacitor. Not only does the cap provide instant power during strong transients, but it also acts as a ripple filter on the power line. 1/0 ground cable was also used. Another cable was used to beef up the ground from the battery to the frame of the vehicle.
(Editor’s note: I’ll cover some of the high points of the install here, but you can get a lot more information by clicking on any of the pictures at the bottom of this post.)
The first day that the vehicle was in the bay, we went over final details and removed most of the interior panels. Bob ran the power and signal cables and mounted the capacitor next to the jack. The 1/o gauge was carefully routed through the firewall with a special grommet that we bought from a local auto parts store. We also beefed up the factory ground from the battery to the frame of the vehicle. This is a step that many shops ignore when doing high powered systems. Truth is, it is VERY important and can have a huge negative impact if not done.
The next day Nick arrived on the scene and took on the task of sound deadening. The doors in the Jeep use a special “pod” that houses the lock and window motors, wiring and the speaker. This had to be removed in order to get to the skin to apply the deadening. After some careful investigation, Nick and Bob removed the pod and Nick went to work installing the Hushmat. The midranges actually installed fairly easily in the doors once the pods were reinstalled. The tweeters found a home in the factory tweeter locations. All new wiring was run to the rear of the vehicle for future connection to the amp. After the speakers were installed in all four doors, Nick moved on to installing the Hushmat in the hatch and hatch door. Hushmat is a extremely effective deadener and is the exclusive brand of Mobile Edge.
Day three brought the biggest challenges. Nick began working on the custom box and Bob started wiring the amp. It became apparent to Bob that this amplifier was going to need some type of cooling. Being the creative fellow that he is, Bob fabricated a platform and vent for a crossflow pan and mounted it into the forward portion of the amp “enclosure” (actually the amp is mounted in the factory compartment that makes up the false floor of the hatch). The cooling worked like a charm. By the end of the day, Bob had the amp installed, the cooling system complete and the panels reinstalled.
While Bob was doing this, Nick was hard at work designing and creating the “facade” for the enclosure. The goal was to take up as little room in the hatch as possible. Nick accomplished this by building the enclosure into the passenger side of the hatch. He molded a facade for the box using the factory panel as a guide. This mold, along with the enclosure itself was wrapped in fleece and fiberglassed. After it was sanded down and test fit, it was carpeted. A perfect color match was not a priority of the customer so we did not go to the expense of ordering color matched carpet. Instead, we found a carpet that matched the interior of the door panels pretty close and used that. The end result was the box fits snugly, looks amazing and takes up very little space. Be sure to check out the pictures below for a better appreciation of this process!
The final day of installation was dedicated to tuning and cleaning up the vehicle. At Mobile Edge, we tune vehicles the right way. We don’t rely on our ears. We have specialized equipment that is necessary to correctly tune a system. The first thing that we do is use a test disc in conjunction with a polarity tester. This verifies that all speaker connections are in phase. Just one speaker out of phase can wreak havoc on a system. After that is verified, we move on to determining the undistorted output of the head unit. We do this with an oscilloscope. It is important to know the point at which the head unit distorts. We use this as a reference point for tuning the amp. Along with another special test disc, we move on to setting the gains on the amplifier. Many people think that a gain is a volume control to get more out of an amp. Nothing is further from the truth. The gain control is used to match the output of the head unit with the input of the amplifier. When set properly, you get better sound and help to protect the components from damage.
Bob spent a great deal of time properly tuning this system. It was all worth it. This system sounds absolutely incredible! The best part is, when you look at the vehicle, you don’t even know it is there.
Cleaning and Pickup
Bob thoroughly cleaned out the inside of the vehicle and washed it to get rid of any dust from the sanding and saw. At the end of the day, the customer arrived to pick up the vehicle. He was overwhelmed! While he had seen the pictures that we posted on Facebook, he had no idea what he was in store for when he sat down and listened to it. TIGHT bass.. CRISP highs and midrange that blended perfectly! He absolutely loved what he saw and what he heard! I do believe that Mobile Edge has earned another happy customer!
This is a quote that the customer posted on our Mobile Edge Facebook page the day after picking up his vehicle:
Wow, the system looks and sounds incredible, I really couldn’t be happier. Its clean, hidden, and packs huge SQ. They took my idea, gave me advice when needed, and made my dream system a reality. Truly, my best car audio experience, by far. None have come close. If you’re thinking about having them install something, maybe they are a little far from you, maybe you don’t know anybody that has had work done by them. Just do it! You wont regret it!