A client from Lake Oswego contacted Kingpin Car and Marine Audio about upgrading the stereo system in his 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro pickup truck. He liked how the radio worked, but was disappointed in how the system sounded. There was no real bass and no soundstage, and the midrange distorted easily when he turned up the volume. This performance is typical of most factory systems and especially this Tacoma stereo.
We sat the customer down in front of our new interactive audio display and let him listen to a few different system configurations. All the systems we design here at Kingpin are active. An active system means that we use a DSP processor and dedicated amplifier channels instead of passive crossovers to divide the signals going to each speaker. Active filtering gives us better power handling, better control over frequency response and the ability to apply a delay to the audio signal to help create a realistic soundstage.
With the customer happy with the products he had chosen, we scheduled an appointment to install and tune the system.
For the front of the vehicle, we used Hertz Mille Pro speakers. On the dash, we created a polymer plastic adapter for a set of MP25.3 Tetolon dome tweeters. The adapter bracket lets us mount the tweeter in place of the small factory midrange speaker.
For the door, we used a set of MP 165.3 woofers. Again, our fabricators created a set of mounting adapters to allow the 6.5-inch woofers to bolt into the factory speaker locations.
To maximize the performance of the speakers and to reduce the overall background noise level, we treated the doors, rear floor and the bottom of the rear wall of the truck with a layer of Ballistic sound-damping material. The damping adds mass to the metal so it is much harder for it to vibrate and thus transfers less noise into the vehicle. The layer of damping on the doors turns them into a small speaker enclosure and dramatically improves bass and midbass response from the new speakers, while improving clarity and efficiency.
Amplifier and Subwoofer Solution
The client chose a Hertz Dieci-series DS30.3 12-inch subwoofer. We constructed a custom enclosure that fit behind the left side of the rear seat. The subwoofer will receive up to 380 watts of power from the Hertz HDP5 5-channel amp that we mounted under the driver’s seat. The amp will produce up to 70 watts of power per channel for the front speakers.
DSP and Tuning
We installed an Audison bit Ten D processor in the truck and used it to integrate with the factory source unit. We measured the frequency response of the factory unit and then allowed the bit Ten D to flatten that curve to provide us with a smooth platform from which to start tuning. We always use our Audison bit Tune processor to make acoustic measurements of the vehicle from several different locations around the driver’s seat. The bit Tune provides us with equalization and time alignment settings we can enter into the bit Ten D to help optimize the frequency response of the system.
We finished up with a thorough listening session of the system to ensure that the performance met our expectations.
Bed Lighting Upgrade
We had recently found some very cool little work lights that are a perfect solution for pickup trucks. We mentioned them to the client, and he liked the idea of being able to see the bed of the truck better at night. We mounted the lights on the side of the bed and wired them to come on when the doors opened or when the work light is turned on.
Tacoma Stereo System Delivery
The client returned to Kingpin Car and Marine Audio in Wilsonville, OR, to pick up his truck and have a listen. The detail and clarity of the front speakers stunned the client. The bass from the single 12-inch subwoofer was clear and solid with good extension. He couldn’t believe how much information he had never been able to hear in songs he had listened to many times before.
If you are interested in bringing the audio system in your car or truck up to recording-studio quality, contact Kingpin to schedule a consultation here.