A client from here in Fargo dropped in at the Audio Garage to inquire about upgrading his 2014 Audi S8 audio system. The car came from the factory with Bose amplifiers and speakers. As is common, it lacked detail and clarity on the top end and a solid foundation with good bass on the bottom. We talked with the client about his goals for the upgrade. The client comes from the electronics industry, so he had a good understanding of how different components work. After several additional e-mail exchanges and phone calls, we finalized a plan to upgrade his Audi S8 audio.
OEM System Integration
The first challenge in upgrading any so-called premium audio system is to find an audio signal for the new processor and amplifiers. We combined the inputs from the front speakers and the factory subwoofer into an AudioControl DM-810 processor. This processor not only let us combine the signals, but the spectrum analyzer in the software was beneficial in making sure we had the entire audio frequency range covered.
We chose two amplifiers to power the new system. A Rockford Power Series T600-4 will power the front and rear speakers while a T1000-1 is assigned to the subwoofer. The T600-4 is rated to produce 100 watts per channel,but can produce almost 40% more than that during dynamic music passages.
A fundamental requirement for the upgrade was to make the new system look as factory as possible. To achieve this, our team created a new amp rack that sits between the factory floor panel and the battery underneath. The amp rack is made from wood and fiberglass-impregnated cloth to form a clean pan in which the amps sit.
We mounted the AudioControl processor underneath the amps and added several cooling fans to ensure the system would be reliable at all times. We also added a 10-Farad Rockford Fosgate RFC10HB stiffening capacitor to the underside of the amp rack. This cap smooths power delivery to the amps and reduces distortion and high volume levels.
Infinity Perfect Speaker Upgrade
We replaced the front speakers with a set of Infinity Perfect 600 three-way speakers in the front of the vehicle and another set of Perfect 600 two-way components in the rear, and made mounting adapters for the speakers to locate them perfectly in the factory locations. The tweeters for the front speakers are in the dash, also the factory locations.
To reinforce the speaker upgrade, we treated most of the interior of the vehicle with Dynamat Xtreme sound deadening and Dynaliner to act as a thermal barrier. In all, we added almost 100 square feet of deadening to reduce the volume in the interior.
After much discussion, the customer agreed to our plan for adding a custom subwoofer enclosure to the rear passenger corner of the trunk. The enclosure is the only visible part of the system. Of course, that means it had to look amazing!
We taped off the corner of the trunk and began laying down the first of seven layers of resin-coated fiberglass mat. Once the rear of the enclosure was rock-solid, we cut a front mounting baffle for the Rockford Fosgate T1D412 subwoofer. This Power Series subwoofer will have no problem with the 1,000 watts of power the T1000-1 can provide.
The face of the enclosure is finished in carpet that matches the trunk interior. Our fabrication team created a custom grille that sits flush with the face of the enclosure. The icing on the proverbial cake was a small Rockford logo at the bottom of the grille – just for a little extra style.
Audi R8 Audio System Tuning and Delivery
Once the installation was complete and the system was up and running, it was time to tune it. Using our AudioControl RTA, we adjusted the signal delay and output levels to create a stable and focused soundstage across the front of the vehicle. Some massaging of the frequency response added another level of realism and detail. The client loves the new system. It provides the realism, tonality and visceral impact he was looking for.
If you are looking to upgrade your sound system, drop by the Audio Garage today or send us an e-mail.