A client from Portland contacted Kingpin Car and Marine Audio about installing a security system in his 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. While we were discussing the options for security, he inquired about an upgrade to the stereo system. Subaru stereo systems from the factory are well known for having pretty bad sound systems. We suggested a new set of speakers and an amplifier to bring the system to life. The client liked our plan, so we provided an estimate to do the work.
We asked the customer about how and where he used the car. He said that he went to some car shows with the car, but never got really serious about an audio system because he wanted to keep the weight of the car as low as possible to keep from detracting from the performance of the vehicle.
Next, the client showed us his trunk. He had an upgraded fuel system with components mounted on the back of the rear seats. He had relocated the battery to the rear of the vehicle to help distribute weight more evenly for improved handling. He also had a small subwoofer enclosure in the trunk, which explained why he needed better front speakers and an amplifier. It was functional, but far from pretty. In fact, the client admitted that he was somewhat embarrassed to open the trunk at a show.
The Upgrade Plan
We proposed that we build custom trim panels for the trunk and finish them in vinyl with pressed mesh grilles to keep the upgraded equipment visible. We would also construct a new subwoofer enclosure. We promised that the weight penalty would be minimal if there were any at all. We reworked the quote and, with his approval, set to work.
Front Stage Speakers.
We created speaker mounting adapters for a set of Audison Prima series speakers in the doors. We used a sheet of polymer plastic to make the adapters so there would be no chance of them failing due to exposure to water. Dynamat sound deadening and foam speaker rings focused all the sound into the interior.
After installing the midrange in the door, we turned to the task of mounting the tweeters. We have a stealth mounting approach that we use often. This approach places the tweeter at the very base of the A-pillar, and we cover it with black grille cloth. Unless you know the car well, you can barely tell that it is there.
Trunk Trim Panels
Our plan was to make the trunk of the Impreza the focal point of the Subaru stereo system. We started by removing his existing subwoofer enclosure and weighing it. It came in at about 28 lbs. Our goal was to create an entire trunk without exceeding that weight. We used birch panels and reinforced them with fiberglass to add strength. With the pressed mesh inserts and vinyl-covered access and trim panels in place, and the installation of a new shallow subwoofer, the whole trunk weighed just slightly less than the old enclosure.
We installed LED lighting to highlight the DeatschWerks fuel filters and surge tank.
Since the client occasionally goes camping, we finished the trunk floor with a removable carpeted panel. He can store detailing supplies in the floor at shows, and the materials are tough enough to handle his camping gear.
Subaru Stereo Tuning
We wrapped up the installation with a thorough tuning, using our oscilloscope to maximize the performance of the client’s amplifiers. We also used our Audison bit Tune audio analyzer to ensure that the output of each speaker would blend seamlessly with the rest for smooth, natural performance from the Subaru stereo system.
The client returned to pick up his car and see the build for the first time. Every aspect of the installation exceeded his wildest dreams. He had never really thought about owning a vehicle with a custom trunk, but was more than excited to be able to show it off to his fellow car enthusiasts.
If you are thinking about even a modest upgrade to your mobile audio system, then give Kingpin Car and Marine Audio a call or contact us here. We would be happy to schedule a consultation to look at your vehicle and assess your needs.