A new client from Virginia contacted WSS Westminster Speed & Sound recently about a 2014 Ford Raptor audio upgrade. He had the top-of-the-line Sony audio system with the touchscreen navigation system. He loved his truck but did not like the sound quality of his stereo system at all. He had seen some of our build posts about Raptors we have done in the past and felt compelled to e-mail us. He explained that he lived in another state, but was impressed with the work we had done. Our team scheduled a phone meeting with the client to get to know him better and to understand his goals and aspirations for the truck. We exchanged multiple phone calls and e-mails until we came up with a few proposals for him. He picked the proposal he liked the best, and we set him up for an installation appointment.
This particular job was scheduled to take two days, so he dropped off his truck over the weekend at his convenience and picked it up a few days later when the work was done.
Ford introduced the Sony Audio system in 2009 in the F150 trucks, and it stayed relatively the same through 2014. The 2015 trucks are completely different stereo systems, and you can see one of our upgrades to it by clicking HERE.
The Factory Sony System Was In Need Of Some Serious Help
If you have ever listened to the Sony systems, they sound weak and anemic, almost lifeless. There are no dynamics to the music – it almost sounds muffled. The design of the system dictates that you keep the factory amplifier in the system, since the volume control is all done digitally inside the amplifier. The difficulty in keeping the factory amplifier is that it divides up the musical signal into three distinct parts; sub bass, midrange and treble. There is also significant equalization added to the musical signal and, if you keep that intact, the final product will sound lousy.
We Are Ford Raptor Audio Experts
WSS Westminster Speed & Sound has become known on the Internet for our Ford F150 and Ford Raptor audio upgrades, and we field lots of questions from clients all over the country who are struggling to get their audio upgrades to sound good. The vast majority of the time, is the problem is because the folks doing the installation used the wrong equipment, didn’t know how to interface to it properly or a combination of both.
Audison Bit10 Processor Cleans Up The Factory Audio Signal
With all that said, we chose the Audison Bit 10 processor for this build. It allowed us to properly sum the music back to a full-range signal and to de-equalize the musical signal. In simple terms, the Bit 10 gives us an unmodified musical signal just the way the sound engineer designed it. That gives us a good baseline for building our audio upgrade.
We mounted the processor underneath the center console, near the factory amplifier, and routed a USB cable to a convenient spot in case the processor ever needs future tuning via a laptop.
Factory Rear Speakers Provide Audio For Rear-Seat Passengers
In this vehicle, we were looking for a maximum sound-quality benefit for the dollar, so we left the factory rear speakers intact and playing through the Sony amplifier. When you are building an audio system for the front seat occupants, there is no reason to focus on rear speakers. In this build, the client simply sets the fader on the factory stereo all the way to the front for maximum sound quality. In the rare instances that rear seat passengers are in the vehicle and he wants low-level music all the way around, he simply sets the fader to the center position.
Hertz Speakers For Big Boost In Sound
For this Ford Raptor audio upgrade, we chose Hertz HSK 165 speakers to go up front, with the 6.5” woofer going in the stock location in the front door. Our install team made composite speaker adapters to securely mount the speakers in place and installed our FAST rings around the driver to seal the front side of the woofer to the door panel. The rings give the speakers better midbass by focusing all of the energy through the door panel. It is a simple upgrade for our clients that results in a noticeable increase in sound quality.
While the doors were apart, we installed Hushmat sound-damping material to eliminate any possibility of buzzing or rattling that may occur when you install high-performance speakers. It also quiets down the interior of the vehicle, which is another plus. In vehicles where we are looking for a maximum reduction in road noise, we treat the whole interior of the vehicle. If you click this link, you can see a vehicle that got the whole interior treated.
We installed 1” tweeters for the HSK165 package in the factory tweeter locations in the A-pillar of the vehicle. The client wanted to keep the interior looking as original as possible, and these speakers fit the bill perfectly.
JL Audio Stealthbox Fits Perfectly And Sounds Incredible
When it came time for bass, we opted for a JL Audio Stealthbox. This particular model uses the 13TW5 subwoofer, which has incredible detail coupled with great output. The Stealthbox is made of fiberglass and molded to fit perfectly underneath the driver’s side rear seat. The carpet is a great match for the factory Ford carpet. We bolted the enclosure securely into place, so there are no concerns about it moving around should an accident occur.
Single JL Audio Amplifier Powers Entire System
Now it was time to decide on amplification for the Ford Raptor audio upgrade. We went back to JL Audio, choosing the XD700/5v2 amplifier. It provides 75 watts of clean power to each of the woofers and tweeters up front and 300 watts of power to the subwoofer. In keeping with the original-look theme, we mounted the amplifier securely behind the rear passenger side seat on the back wall of the truck, completely hidden from view. We flushed a bass level adjustment knob into the dash to the right of the steering column, giving the client easy control over the total amount of bass in the music.
Final Tuning Perfects The Sound
Now that all of the equipment was installed, it was time for the fine-tuning. The Audison Bit 10 processor gave us dedicated controls over all five of the new speakers. We could adjust the crossover points, digital delay, 31 bands of equalization and output level for each speaker independently. In the hands of a good tuner, the results are extraordinary. Now, when you sit in the vehicle, the sound stages across the top of the dash, with vocals and instruments easily picked out when using a good recording. The music seems to come alive, and it immerses you in the song. You feel as if you are at your favorite concert with the bass solidly hitting you in the chest and lead singer right there in front of you.
We Take Extreme Measures To Protect Your Vehicle
As a side note, whenever a vehicle enters our install bay, we use protective seat covers, floor mats and steering wheel covers to protect it. We perform a detailed check-in procedure to ensure everything is in proper working order when we receive the vehicle. If we notice any abnormalities, we alert the customer. When we have finished the installation, we perform a detailed check-out procedure to make sure the vehicle leaves our bay in the same condition as we received it. In an instance like this, where the client does not live locally, we have a second person go over the vehicle just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. This is just one more way we try to separate ourselves from other shops.
Satisfied Client Is Thrilled With 2014 Ford Raptor Audio Upgrade
When we delivered the Raptor to the client, he was thrilled with the results. He loved how we kept the integrity of the truck intact, and couldn’t wait to crank it up. We watched the expression on his face as the first song started playing. The smile came almost immediately. When the first bass note hit and the subwoofer came alive, he got even more excited. We tried a few more of his tracks and then let him hear some of our music to reveal the nuances in the music that his new stereo could reproduce. He was blown away by all that he heard.
When the demo was completed, he instantly started talking about future upgrades to his Raptor. He said we did such a good job on his truck that he would be back for some performance work.
Hearing our clients express joy in their purchase is what drives us. We strive to improve our clients’ lives every day, whether it is with a sound quality upgrade or any of the other products we offer.
When you are in the market to upgrade the audio system in your vehicle, we invite you to contact us here. One of our team members will work one on one with you to find the best solution for your unique needs. Let us show you why Mobile Electronics magazine has named us one of the Top Retailers in the Nation year after year.