The owner of this somewhat rare 2003 Toyota MR2 Spyder contacted the team at Vibe Car Audio in Red Deer, Alberta, to inquire about upgrading the audio system. After talking with the client about her listening preferences, they inspected the vehicle to determine the best solution to meet her goal. Their proposal mixed a technology upgrade in the form of a new Kenwood eXcelon-Series multimedia receiver with a premium DSP-equipped amplifier, new speakers and a healthy dose of sound deadening. Most importantly, nothing in the vehicle would be modified in a way that prevented it from being returned to its original condition. The client loved the plan and scheduled an appointment to have the installation completed.
Toyota MR2 Spyder Sound Deadening
When the MR2 arrived at Vibe Car Audio, the sales team handed it over to Christopher Labonte, one of their outstanding technicians. Christopher started the project by removing the seats, carpet, center console and interior door trim panels from the car to install three tubes of SoundShield Slim sound deadening material. The goal of the deadening installation was to help reduce drivetrain, exhaust and tire noise in the vehicle so that the audio system would be clearer and the ride would be more comfortable. As you can see, Christopher treated the floor, firewall, interior and exterior door skins and door trim panels with Slim to make this little roadster as quiet as possible.
Premium Head Unit and Amplifier Upgrade
The next step was to run a four-AWG power cable from the battery to the storage pocket behind the driver’s seat to power the new JL Audio VXi-Series amplifier. Christopher also ran a pair of EFX interconnect cables from the dash and speaker wire from the amp to power the door speaker set.
The stock radio was removed to make way for a Kenwood eXcelon DMX706S Digital Media Receiver. This new radio features a 6.95-touchscreen display and includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
The preamp output of the radio feeds a JL Audio VX700/5i five-channel amplifier. The amplifier is mounted to an expanded PVC mounting panel that’s bolted into the storage compartment behind the driver’s seat. The four main channels of the JL amp are rated to produce up to 75 watts of power. Christopher used the built-in digital signal processor to divide the audio frequencies from the radio to dedicate one pair of channels to the tweeters and the other to drive the woofers from a set of Focal PS 165F 6.5-inch component speakers. The woofers are mounted in the stock door locations using custom expanded PVC adapters, and the tweeters are in the stock locations at the top of the door. The subwoofer channel isn’t currently in use, but the client plans to add that upgrade shortly.
Christopher mounted a JL Audio DRC205 remote level control in the dash of the MR2. Scott Haseniuk, the Installation Manager at Vibe Car Audio, configured the software in the VXi amp so the remote would function as a level control for that pending subwoofer solution and as a master volume control for the sound system. While connected to the DSP software, he configured the signal delay and crossover settings for the woofers and tweeters. Finally, Scott used the shop’s AudioControl real-time audio analyzer to calibrate each speaker’s output so that the system will produce a virtual soundstage that spans the vehicle’s width and delivers smooth and natural frequency response.
Alberta’s Car Audio Upgrade Experts
After several days of work, Christopher and Scott had this amazing little MR2 Spyder upgraded and ready to go back to the client. She was thrilled with how organized the installation was and loved the sound of the new audio system. She commented that the doors closed with a solid thud rather than sounding tinny. If you’re interested in upgrading your car’s comfort and audio system performance, drop by Vibe Car Audio in Red Deer, Alberta, to learn more about the SoundShield, Kenwood, JL Audio and Focal options available for your car, truck or SUV.