In December 2022, BestCarAudio.com and Sony launched a giveaway contest called the Sony 12 Days of Christmas. For 12 days in a row, we randomly selected one of our readers (who entered the contest) to win a Sony Mobile ES car audio product. The prizes varied from a set of speakers or an amplifier to a subwoofer system, with the grand prize being a complete Sony Mobile ES car audio system. Jane from Connecticut was the lucky winner of the grand prize. Sony put her in touch with the team at Speed of Sound Technologies in Milford, Connecticut, to complete the installation. In addition, Sony graciously paid for the installation – something unheard of in a contest like this.
Jane drives a relatively new Toyota Venza and asked if she could give the system to her daughter and have it installed in her 2004 Honda Pilot. The Pilot is a perfect platform for an upgrade like this. With the equipment sent to Speed of Sound, Jane’s daughter delivered the Pilot to the shop and met with Melinton Benavides, the owner of Speed of Sound, to discuss the installation.
Honda Pilot Radio Upgrade
The project started with removing the factory radio and speakers. The Speed of Sound team prepared a wire harness adapter and steering wheel control interface to allow the Sony XAV-9500ES multimedia receiver to work with the Honda wiring. Three pairs of twisted-pair interconnect cables were connected to the preamp outputs on the radio and run to the amplifier location behind the rear seat. Once the radio chassis was mounted in the dash, the massive 10.1-inch display was attached and adjusted to make it easy to see from the driver’s seat.
Sony Mobile ES Speaker Replacement
The next step in upgrading the sound system in the Pilot was to replace the speakers. Sony provided a set of 6.5-inch XS-162ES component speakers for the front doors and XS-160ES for the rear doors. The Speed of Sound team fabricated PVC plastic spacers for the speakers so they wouldn’t contact the window as it moves up and down. In addition, using plastic instead of wood ensures that the adapters won’t warp or rot if they get wet.
The tweeters from the component set are mounted at the forward edge of the door to provide smooth sound delivery through the vehicle. The Speed of Sound team ran wiring from the speakers to the passive crossover networks mounted securely inside the vehicle. This mounting location ensures that the crossovers won’t be damaged by water and makes them easily accessible for tweeter output level adjustments. The installation of the 6.5-inch coaxial XS-160ES speakers in the rear doors mimicked that of the front with PVC spacers.
Custom Sony Mobile ES Subwoofer Enclosure
The grand prize included two Sony XS-W124ES 12-inch subwoofers and an XM-5ES five-channel amplifier. The Speed of Sound team built a custom vented enclosure to house the subwoofers. The enclosure features dual slot-style vents tuned to 38 hertz to deliver a great kick. The Speed of Sound logo was engraved into a piece of acrylic and mounted in the trim work surrounding the vents. The enclosure was mounted securely to the trunk floor.
The five-channel amplifier is mounted on the rear of the enclosure and fed with an oxygen-free copper 4 AWG power wire connected to the battery. A fuse was added to the power wire at the battery to protect it and the vehicle from damage should the wiring be pinched during an accident. The remote level control for the subwoofer channel was mounted to the right of the steering column to make it easily accessible.
The Speed of Sound team wrapped up the project by setting the crossovers on the radio and adjusting the output of the amplifier using an oscilloscope to ensure that the system would play loudly without any unwanted noise.
Melinton personally delivered the vehicle to Jane’s family at their home and walked them through how to use the radio and connect their smartphone to use integration systems like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The family was thrilled to see the Sony upgrade and was stunned at how great the system sounded.
We wish to extend our thanks to Sony Car Audio for partnering with us for the 12 Days of Christmas giveaway. Many thanks to Melinton and his team at Speed of Sound in Milford for the tidy installation in the Honda Pilot. Finally, congratulations again to Jane on winning the grand prize.
If you want to learn more about the Sony Mobile ES products used in this installation, check out the Product Spotlights and Test Drive Reviews here on our website. If you live in the Milford area and want to upgrade your car audio system, contact the team at Speed of Sound. Be sure to tell them the gang at BestCarAudio.com sent you!