A client recently dropped by California Car Sounds and Tint in Campbell to talk about upgrading the audio system in his classic 1971 Chevy C10 pickup truck. Our store exhibits at the Saratoga Classic & Cool Car Show each year, and the client has seen us there several times over the past few years. He had been impressed with the work we had on display, so he decided to drop by the store for some help making the stereo in his truck sound fuller and richer. After inspecting the truck and auditioning several products in our showroom, we put together a simple system design that would deliver on all counts.
Classic Chevy Kick Panels
The project started with the removal of the existing speakers and plastic kick panel pods from the truck. Our plan was to install a set of Morel Virtus Nano 602 components in their place. Aside from the fact that these speakers sound amazing, their claim to fame is that the woofer needs only 0.67 inch of mounting depth. Most speakers need 2 to 3 inches.
The Nano 602 component set includes a pair of the aforementioned shallow-mount 6.5 mid-woofers, a pair of Morel’s legendary 1.1-inch Acuflex tweeters and a set of matching MXR passive crossover networks.
Our fabrication team set to work creating a set of custom mounting panels from two layers of MDF. The upper panel is contoured to follow the edge of the carpet and floor and the speaker mounting location. We wrapped the panel in a black vinyl so that it would blend with the interior. This shallow mounting-depth requirement meant that we didn’t need to cut into the metal behind the speakers in order for them to work properly.
The tweeter from the set is mounted just above the midrange, and we used the angled surface mounting bracket from the kit to put the tweeter on-axis with the listening position. Having the tweeters pointing directly at the listener improves high-frequency performance for a more realistic listening experience.
Under-seat Subwoofer and Amplifier
The next step was to install an Alpine PWD-X5 amplified subwoofer under the seat to give the system the impact and extension the client wanted. There are a lot of powered shallow subwoofer solutions on the market, but very few of them include an amp for the front speakers and even fewer include a full digital signal processor. The processor allows us to set the crossover points, adjust the output levels, configure signal delays for each speaker and fine-tune the frequency response of the system.
The PWD-X5 enclosure has a footprint of 13 13/16 by 9 11/16 inches and stands a mere 3 3/16 inches tall. The built-in amplifier can provide up to 165 watts to the integrated 8-inch subwoofer while delivering 25 watts to as many as four speakers. We used one pair of channels for the mid-woofers and the other pair of channels for the tweeters so we’d have complete control over the output of every driver in the system.
Once all the equipment was installed and connected to the twin-shaft Retrosound radio in the dash of the truck, our team set to work adjusting the signal processor. We started by setting the crossovers and configuring the signal delays for each driver in the system. Next, we used our real-time analyzer (RTA) microphone to measure the frequency response of the system. Once we had that information, we adjusted the 10-band parametric equalizer to deliver smooth and natural sound.
The result is a listening experience that is similar to a home stereo or recording studio. The music spans the width of the dash and offers accurate and detailed placement of each instrument. The output of the subwoofer blends seamlessly with the component speakers in the doors to give the system a rich and warm overall balance.
San Jose’s Mobile Audio Experts
The client was blown away by the improvement in the sound in the truck and was thrilled that he had come to us for help. If you live in the San Jose area and want to improve the audio system in your classic car or truck, drop by California Car Sounds and Tint in Campbell or send us an e-mail using our contact page.