Stealth Audio system(completed) - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

General Modifications R170 Details that make your car different

 9Likes
  • 3 Post By conleyjb
  • 2 Post By conleyjb
  • 4 Post By conleyjb
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
#1 Old 05-29-2015
Registered Users
 
conleyjb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Vehicle: 02 SLK 320 w/ AMG Sport package
Posts: 237
Country:
Chats: 0
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Thanks: 6
Thanked 32 Times in 20 Posts
(Thread Starter)
Stealth Audio system(completed)

Sometimes keeping it simply in the end is best.....


If any of you have seen my other post on my DIY audio upgrades knows, I tend to take things to the extreme when starting on a project. My little SLK has been no exception and over the last couple of years I have tried to tackle some rather extensive upgrades on my car, in particular ones revolving around the audio system.


After multiply attempts and several builds, rebuilds and the like. I have final finished “a system” in my car and I figured I would share it here for those who might be tempted to go down one of my previously highlighted paths. Long and short and the moral of my story… total rebuilds of a cars components, and custom apertures, pods and boxes… don’t necessarily make for the perfect system.



I’m not a stranger to custom audio and having started my career many, many moons ago as a salesman and part-time installer of car audio and I have built my share of systems. One thing I learned early on is that just b/c the factory installed something in a specific place, doesn’t always make it the best place for speakers. Usually the factory locations in a car are chosen as the lessor of many evils in the space available and through the design of a car and our listening pleasure is sacrificed for it.

This premise is why I started my upgrade in the first place, but after a while I realized that the amount of time and energy that went into creating such additions could better be spent elsewhere. In my case the energies I was able to finally refocus away from my audio build, were a significant factor in helping me land a new job which I start in a matter of weeks.

That all being said, the end result of my work and some insight into how I got there follows in pictures, but the design philosophy was simple; keep the install as simple as possible, make as few changes to the car as possible and if I did, it needed to have extremely high integrity both cosmetically and structurally and finally it had to sound as good as I could get while sticking to the previous criteria as well as not impacting the comfort or space for the driver and passenger. I also wanted to toss in some custom touches that my fellow SLK family would appreciate; some are so subtle that I doubt anyone without our cars would really notice.


Over the next couple of post I will highlight various parts of my installation.

curro101, 55russamg and kensolis like this.
conleyjb is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 05-29-2015
Registered Users
 
conleyjb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Vehicle: 02 SLK 320 w/ AMG Sport package
Posts: 237
Country:
Chats: 0
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Thanks: 6
Thanked 32 Times in 20 Posts
(Thread Starter)
Lightbulb

The first part of the project revolved around the installation of the head unit, or radio and the wring of the system. While the oem head unit looks best in the dash of our cars, my car didn’t come with one and the unit I had been using lacked certain options and features I wanted. So I sought a replacement that would offer me the features and options I needed to make a competent system but wouldn’t look to out of place in the car.





I started with the installation of a new wiring harness which would maintain all the factory connectors. I took my time and prepared the harness to insure when it was stuffed back in the dash that it would stay connected as well as to make sure it would fit in the limited space we have there. I also installed an aftermarket Bluetooth phone kit so I could make and take calls hands free.





As far as the installation and mounting of the head unit, there was really nothing special here other than I didn’t like the way it fit in the dash. As you can see in the picture above, like most aftermarket head units there is a bezel around it which fills in the space around the unit itself. So in an attempt to make this aftermarket radio look more stock I found a new dash panel online from a salvage car and actually shrunk the opening for the radio so I could do away with the cheap plastic bezel that this unit had. A very small change but as you see in these photos I think it makes a huge difference.










Next we will address the amplifiers and the wiring of the rest of the car, including power and speaker connections…..
curro101 and 55russamg like this.
conleyjb is offline  
#3 Old 05-29-2015
Registered Users
 
conleyjb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Vehicle: 02 SLK 320 w/ AMG Sport package
Posts: 237
Country:
Chats: 0
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Thanks: 6
Thanked 32 Times in 20 Posts
(Thread Starter)
The next part of the install was the amplifiers. Anyone whohas worked with an aftermarket stereo system knows that it is hard to find aplace to mount multiply amps that don’t either take away cargo space or takeaway leg room. I could have bought amps that would have specifically fit in asmall space; under the seats for example or behind, but I didn’t and with whatI had I did not want them to be visible, nor easily accessed for security reasons.





Having removed the factory Bose amplifier during a previous iteration of my build, I knew we had space below the passenger’s feet. In ourcars there is a cavity under the floor of the passenger side of the car that can serve to hold a variety of equipment.





In my case (in this final version at least), I choose to mount my Amplifiers here.





I made a custom rack molded off of the metal bracket and panel that Mercedes place in the floor to protect that equipment. I relocated a control module and installed two 4 Channel Amplifiers in this space, which are completely hidden from view when all is buttoned up. The amps are Hertz HCP-4D’s, the D denotes they are Digital amplifiers or class-D. While not as refined sounded as a class AB, or other amp. The technology in today’s class D amps have gotten better and they sound pretty good, not to mention do not get as hot as a regular transistor based amplifier, which is key in a space with so little ventilation.





The next big part of the install was the wiring and like the dash harness; I wanted to make sure that the wiring would hold up over time and meet or exceed the standards set forth by Mercedes Benz. Before I ran my speaker wire to the various locations I placed protective (and cosmetic) sleeving over each wire, shrink wrapped them and labeled them as well.





I also terminated each individual wire the same way, so that connection would be made easy. This all took a lot of time, but was worth it in the end.





Due to the generous space in the passenger footwell, I was able to set all my wiring up neatly. I created a series of wiring panels out of old hobby boxes and spade type wiring blocks.





Each connection was tightened down and labeled as well for fast and easy troubleshooting down the road





I also connected all my power here as well and took special care to make sure these connectors were tight and secure. No one wants a high amperage short under the floor of their car. Fires have been known to start that way.





Under the hood, I found a great place to make the battery connections that would ensure that stealth look I have been trying to accomplish this whole install.





In my next post I will tackle the doors midrange and A-pillar mounted tweeters.
conleyjb is offline  
 
#4 Old 05-30-2015
Registered Users
 
Swagman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Northampton, UK
Vehicle: 12' SLK55 AMG
Other Toys: 15' HYUNDAI SANTA FE
Posts: 917
Country:
Chats: 0
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Thanks: 77
Thanked 135 Times in 99 Posts
Garage
Fantastic, neat, clean, well planned install from the looks of it, can't wait for an update
Swagman is offline  
#5 Old 05-30-2015
Registered Users
 
conleyjb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Vehicle: 02 SLK 320 w/ AMG Sport package
Posts: 237
Country:
Chats: 0
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Thanks: 6
Thanked 32 Times in 20 Posts
(Thread Starter)
After getting all my wiring pulled and taken care of it wastime to move to the doors and the midrange speakers. After my last attempt tototal remake the door panels I decided that I was done with all that customwork and decided that I would go back to a similar configuration that we hadfrom the factory. Mercedes places a 6.5” mid and tweeter in the doors. Throughsome fabrication, I was able to make a new bracket to mount a set of 6.75-inch midrange drivers in the stock location.



Despite the fact that I have been a huge fan of MB Quartspeakers for over 25 years; in particular their older speakers made prior toabout 2002 while the company was still owned and manufactured equipment inGerman. I decided to try a new line of speakers which I have not tried before.CDT Audio is a California based company that makes speakers for audiophiles. I chose their HD Series which is nearly their top of the line.




With some finesse I was able to shoe horn their 6.75”midrange behind the stock grills using my custom made mounting brackets.




After getting the midrange speakers installed and playingmusic. I moved to the tweeters, in this case I was using a modular set from thesame company (CDT) which comes with three tweeters in the same box. The premisebehind the three tweeters is that you get three different materials to experimentwith as far as sound; a silk done tweeter, an aluminum dome and a titaniumdome. Each with its own unique sound characteristic can be swapped in and outin seconds. (I am still experimenting trying to decide which of them my favorite is.




To find the best place to mount the tweeters I took them and did some experimenting. Since the majority of the sound that I will hear willcome from these speakers, I want to get the best “imagining” and response thatI could out of them. Using double sided tape, I tried them in multiplylocations before settling on the A-pillars. This location gave me the beststereo separation and height and due to the speakers I was usingcharacteristics (unlike most tweeters that play above 3,000 to 4,000 Hz, theCDT’s play down to 1,250 Hz). I was able to cross them over very low, which nearly eliminates any sound shift by having the mid and tweeter so far apart.



I used a cross over frequency of about 1250 Hz with a 24dBslop on the tweeters and the mids in the doors slightly overlap that and arecrossed over at 1600 Hz with an 18 dB slope.






The last part of my door/a-pillar install was to do an OEMtweeter delete; since I wasn’t using the factory tweeter location in the door Iwanted to do something special that only those in the know would recognize; sort of a special touch.




Using a second pair of door handle surrounds I had (againoff a salvaged car) I fiberglassed in the hole from the stock tweeters andsanded and smoothed them out. Next I wrapped them in the same brushed aluminumvinyl I have used throughout the car. I am looking for some sort of Mercedeslogo’d badge or something that might look nice there. I am actually thinking ofbuying a pair of small lapel pins (the same ones you’d put on the lapel of a suit or shirt and placing them forward of the handle.



In my next post I will tackle the subwoofer system and finishup the wiring of the system. For now here are a couple of shots of the amp rackand what one sees when they get into the car.




conleyjb is offline  
#6 Old 05-31-2015
Registered Users
 
yuri's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Birmingham ,England
Vehicle: 2012 250cdi
Other Toys: 2012 E250 cab
Posts: 239
Country:
Chats: 0
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Thanks: 15
Thanked 21 Times in 18 Posts
looking good , but i would of been tempted to mount a sub-woofer in passenger foot well and the amps under the seats ..cdt make some awesome subs that work in tiny sealed enclosures.. looking forward to more pics ......
yuri is offline  
#7 Old 05-31-2015
Registered Users
 
conleyjb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Vehicle: 02 SLK 320 w/ AMG Sport package
Posts: 237
Country:
Chats: 0
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Thanks: 6
Thanked 32 Times in 20 Posts
(Thread Starter)
Do you mean something like this...





I went that route originally and placed the amps behind each seat in custom pods, but tore it all out after I realized that to get more than .35 cubic feet of airspace out of that area, I had to loose (or rather the passenger) leg room. It was marginal though, only about 2 inches (3 with the amp pods behind the seat), but my passenger felt it was uncomfortable to ride with the dimensions leg room and being that she tends to get her way. I acknowledged her request to find another way.




The speaker was as ingle Hybrid Audio Technology I6SW (6.5 Inch subwoofer) by itself an amazing little woofer, in pairs they are down right amazing for what they are and more than any sane person would ever need.




I ended buying three of them with the intent of doing three of them wired together, but was unwilling to invest any more in equipment and my current amps wouldn't handle the impedance load of three, so I used two of them in the spare tire well. I am happy with them, but have a Hertz Audio 10-inch which I have built a similar sized enclosure and am experimenting with it... in my next project update I will post some pictures of that build and discuss my findings as to whether I like the two 6.5-inchers or the single 10.
conleyjb is offline  
#8 Old 05-31-2015
Registered Users
 
yuri's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Birmingham ,England
Vehicle: 2012 250cdi
Other Toys: 2012 E250 cab
Posts: 239
Country:
Chats: 0
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Thanks: 15
Thanked 21 Times in 18 Posts
Looking forward to more updates ,, I just recently bought a r172 and I can't decide if I want to install a full new setup as the audio 20 is not as bad as I expected . I actually found out how to enter the engineers mode and its allowed me to adjust cross- over frequentices and has parametric em that I have been tuning with .. If only it had time alignment
yuri is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  Lower Navigation
Go Back   Mercedes Benz SLK Forum > Mercedes Benz R170 SLK Class Cars > General Modifications R170

Bookmarks

Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Upload your files to MEGAUPLOAD
Upload your images to ImageShack

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Mercedes Benz SLK Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Add audio input on R170 Alpine CM1910 atlakehaven SLK R170 class DIY 4 05-26-2019 03:44 PM
DIY Audio: Custom Speaker panels (doors) conleyjb SLK R170 class DIY 34 04-19-2016 02:19 PM
Best after market amp to replace Audio Gateway rlaborie General Modifications R171 3 06-02-2015 09:36 AM
DIY Audio: SLK “Stealth” Stereo install conleyjb SLK R170 class DIY 25 04-21-2015 06:53 AM
Mercedes UCI - Universal Consumer Interface DansSlk SLK R171 General Discussion 152 09-01-2008 10:08 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Clubs, Garage Plus vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.