A client with a new Mercedes C400 contacted Kingpin Car & Marine Audio about upgrading the audio system in his vehicle, as well as adding a custom-installed laser and radar detector. In usual Kingpin fashion, we scheduled a time for the client to stop by our facility with his vehicle so we could get to know him better and look over the Mercedes together. When he arrived, one of our team spent significant time with him on exploring different options and upgrades, listening intently as he went over his goals for the vehicle.
When we finished looking over the C400, we spent time with the client in our state-of-the-art showroom, listening to different equipment and seeing which items he liked the best. Once we were done talking audio, we turned our attention to the radar system and listened as he told us how and where he drove his vehicle. At the end of the consultation, we worked up a proposal that he liked, so we set a time for him to drop off the vehicle.
Addressing The Correct Issues
In many newer vehicles, the stereo system in the dash can’t be changed, and this Mercedes is a prime example of that fact. Here at Kingpin, we rarely suggest upgrading the in-dash stereo system unless there is a glaring need, since it is not the weak link in the stereo system. What makes the improvement in a modern vehicle are more power, better speakers and, in some cases, adding a processor. This particular client was looking for three major things in his audio upgrade: better clarity, increased output and really good bass.
We began by upgrading the three-way speaker package in the front of the vehicle. In the floors, we replaced the weak factory woofers with a pair of Hertz Mille ML1800 7” woofers in the factory locations, using in-house machined speaker adapters.
The factory midranges also left a lot to be desired, so we used one of our favorite speakers, the Audison AV3 3” midrange, in the factory locations. As with the woofers, we machined custom speaker plates to mount them securely in the original Mercedes locations and reused the factory grilles, making for a completely stock appearance.
The final piece to the puzzle upfront was a pair of Hertz Mille series 1.1” tweeters known as the ML280 series. They give a sweet-sounding top end to the music that will bring a smile to the face of any audiophile. Just as with the other speakers upfront, we made custom adapters to mount in the stock locations.
Bring In The Bass!
Once we handled the sound upfront, we turned our attention to getting the client some great-sounding bass. We installed two Hertz HX300D 12” subwoofers in a custom ported enclosure in the trunk, using our 2015 Kingpin Limited Edition trunk panel. It combines unique styling elements, including color upholstery materials, custom-pressed grilles and LED accent lighting. When you look at the finished product, it gives the trunk a wow factor while still keeping the classy look required of a Mercedes vehicle.
At this point, we needed power, and lots of it. Since the client wanted a system that jams, we turned to Exile Audio, selecting a pair of their Javelin five-channel amplifiers. We took the fifth channel of both amplifiers, which was 800 watts in each, and sent it to each sub, resulting in 1,600 watts of clean power for the subs. One of the Javelin amps had the front four channels bridged to 300 watts x 2, and we used it for the front woofers, giving the car incredible detail and impact in the mid-bass. The remaining amplifier sends 100 watts to each midrange and tweeter upfront, resulting in 1,000 watts of total power on the front speakers.
Having this kind of power means the client can achieve concert-level volume any time he chooses, plus never be concerned about distortion since he will never run out of power. The team at Kingpin hid the amplifiers in an easy-to-access location because we were looking to keep the vast majority of the cargo space intact. For the finishing touch, we installed a bass-level control knob in front of the cup holders in the center console.
Keeping It On The Down Low
Once the stereo system was completely tuned, we turned our attention to the custom-installed laser and radar detector. We chose a K40 RL360i system for its combination of front and rear radar sensors as well as its overall performance. We mounted the sensors securely to custom-machined mounts behind the front grille and behind the rear bumper in locations designed to maximize sensitivity.
Covering All Bases
Among the things we love about the K40 systems are the infinite customization options for them, and nowhere is that more evident than their laser defusers. In this vehicle, we used a pair of G5 defusers upfront, mounted in strategic locations that gave the sensors a clear view of the road ahead. In the rear of the vehicle, we installed a single G5 defuser in a license plate frame, making for a discreet but functional location.
Inside the vehicle, we flushed the controller beside the bass-level control knob in front of the cup holders, making for a factory-looking fit and finish. We mounted the interior speaker that announces any threat securely in a hidden location that we chose to optimize the output potential so the client would always be able to hear it clearly.
At the end of any install, when the client comes to pick up his vehicle, we always get nervous. It must be the artist side in us coming out. Would he like our work? How about the sound?
Mercedes C400 Audio Build Wows!
All of our nervousness was put to rest the instant we showed this job to him the first time. He was blown away by the fit and finish of our work and, when we cranked it up for the first time, he loved it. We knew he was going to start looking for excuses to drive his car so he could listen to the awesome sound system.
Contact Us Today
When you are ready to upgrade the audio system in your vehicle or add a custom-installed laser and radar detector, we invite you to contact us HERE at Kingpin Car & Marine Audio of Portland. Let us show you why Mobile Electronics magazine named us the Top Retailer in the Nation as well as a Top Installer in the Nation.