A client from Gambrills contacted Westminster Speed and Sound about upgrading his 2013 Ford F-150 audio system. Over the years, we have become a shop that is well known for getting the Sony premium sound systems in modern Fords to sound good. This particular client found us by reading about a previous build post we did on a truck like this one.
True to our usual process, we got together with the client and his truck at our store, spending time on looking it over and exploring upgrade options together. After we had a good idea of what he was looking for, we worked up a solution catered to his individual needs. He liked our proposal, so we set a time to begin working on the vehicle.
Sony Throws a Wrench into Normal Upgrade Plans
This truck comes with the Sony upgraded audio system in it. While it doesn’t sound very “premium,” it does present some challenges to anyone who wants to improve it. Ford takes the musical signal and divides it up into multiple signal paths in the factory amplifier. They also add equalization to the music that is just plain horrible. Many people think they can just remove the Sony amp until they realize that the volume control is located inside the amp itself. What all this means to you is that a processor and a talented installer are needed to get a real sound improvement.
Audison to the Rescue
The good news here is an Audison Bit10 processor can solve all the problems created by Sony. It allows us to sum the musical signal back to a full-range sound and remove the added equalization. The end result is something that we can use to create sweet-sounding music.
The Bit10 also allows us to run this system in an active configuration, meaning each of the five of the new speakers will have its own dedicated amplifier channel. Even better, each channel gets 31 bands of equalization, adjustable crossovers, signal level and digital delay. When you combine all these fine-tuning capabilities, we can make something extraordinary out of something subpar.
The Audison processor gets mounted underneath the center console right near the factory amplifier.
Prepping the Doors Is the Next Step to Good Sound
When you want to have good sound from your front speakers, you need a solid mounting surface as well as a door panel that won’t rattle or vibrate. Our team installed HushMat damping material to the whole door skin, lowering road noise as well as improving sound quality. We made custom, in-house machined speaker mounts out of a composite material to hold the woofers properly in the front doors.
Front Speakers Are the Next Step for Good Sound
Now it was time to install the new front speakers. We chose a set of Hertz HSK165.4 components that use a 6.5” woofer and a 1” tweeter. The woofer gets mounted in the front doors, and the tweeter in the factory location in the A pillar. We reused the factory grilles, giving the F-150 a factory-looking appearance.
Bass Makes the Music Come Alive
If you think back to your favorite concert, chances are when the music got cranked up, it was as though you were part of it. Bass is the single biggest thing that gives us that emotional experience, and a car, truck or SUV is a great place to recreate incredible-sounding bass that you can hear and feel.
To get that sensation in this Ford, we installed a JL Audio Stealthbox underneath the rear seat. It is a unique enclosure that is perfectly matched to the vehicle from a cosmetic perspective. It gets bolted to the floor, so you know it will never move around. The enclosure itself is made of fiberglass, so it not only sounds great but also is molded to match the lines of the interior. Inside, it houses a JL Audio 13TW5v2 subwoofer that just sounds awesome, plain and simple. When you match it up with a great amplifier, the bass is hard-hitting and accurate while bringing out all the nuances in the music.
The JL Audio HD900/5 Amp Is the Engine that Drives Everything
The final piece of the puzzle is the amplifier. It’s what brings the music to life. The JL Audio HD900/5 amplifier we used in this truck sends 100 watts of clean power to each of the four front speakers, as well as 500 watts of power to the subwoofer. The design of the amp has multiple patents and comes in an extremely small chassis that fits underneath the passenger-side rear seat, tucked out of the way. We flushed a bass level control knob into the dash to the right of the steering wheel, giving the driver an easy way to control the overall output of the subwoofer.
Final Tuning Is What Brings It All Together
Having all this great equipment is nice, but unless you have a talented installer who knows how to tune a system, your money is wasted. Fortunately, the team at Westminster Speed and Sound has technicians who are well-versed in fine-tuning a car audio system, and have more than 50 years of combined experience. We have a simple thought process for this area: You paid good money for an audio upgrade, so you should get all the performance possible. We never cut corners, but take all the time needed to extract every last ounce of sound quality from your new system.
A Happy Client Makes for a Happy Team
What we didn’t tell you was that someone had tried to perform an audio upgrade on this truck before us and, to put it mildly, they bombed. When the client came to us, he had decided to give it one more try in upgrading the sound quality. As you can imagine, we were anxious to see how he liked it. Fortunately, he loved it! As we showed him the installation, he marveled at the fit and finish, but all he really wanted to do was hear it. When we cranked it up for the first time, he started grinning ear to ear. And that made our day.
When you are ready to upgrade the car audio system in your car, truck or SUV, contact us HERE at Westminster Speed and Sound in Westminster, Maryland. We can get together with you and your vehicle, and figure out the best solution for your needs. Let us show you why we are the Mid-Atlantic’s most-awarded mobile electronics retailer. Take a few minutes to watch this short video to learn more about our audio upgrades: