In the spring of 2018, I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon hanging out with Bing Xu from Simplicity in Sound in Milpitas, California. Aside from talking shop about car audio stuff, he offered to let me listen to the sound system in his 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 S wagon. It was amazing! The imaging was detailed, the tonal balance was excellent, and the integration was absolutely stunning. Then he told me to take the car for a drive and where to drop the hammer on the heavily tuned twin-turbo V8. If the dashcam footage still exists, there will be evidence of curses spoken as the beast rocketed to 70 miles an hour faster than any car or truck I’ve ever been in or driven. It’s not often I consider a performance and audio system package perfect in every way – but this pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Fast-forward to the end of 2021. Bing had the opportunity to purchase a 2021 AMG E63 S model in Polar White. There were rumors that this might be one of the last wagons Mercedes-Benz would bring to North America and more talks that it might be one of the last bi-turbo V8 cars. The used car market was hot, so Bing didn’t take too much of a hit on the 2014 E63 S, making the decision easier.
Mercedes Wagon – Take Two!
Bing had his friends at 68 Auto Detail in Milpitas wrap the car in 3M Scotchgard Pro Series matte paint protection film and install ceramic window tint on the windows as soon as he took delivery of the new wagon. Next, he installed an Escort Redline 360C radar detector under the rear-view mirror using a custom bracket that he designed and that his friend Cary cut out of acrylic using a CNC laser. Lastly, he integrated a Momento M6 dashcam system into the vehicle to ensure that everything around the car would be recorded.
Mercedes-Benz E63 S Audio System Design
Aside from having a goal of impeccable integration and exceptional performance, Bing wanted to reduce the weight added to this vehicle compared to the previous car. For this system, he had a target of about 75 pounds. Simplicity in Sound is recognized globally for its stunning false-floor and spare-tire-well audio system installations. This particular AMG wagon has no spare tire, so there was no massive well for multiple subwoofers, amplifiers and processors. The lack of space wasn’t a roadblock but simply an opportunity to think differently about component selection and system design.
The first step was to integrate new front-stage speakers into the car. He chose the Morel Carbon Elate MM3 3.5-inch midrange drivers and MT 450 tweeters. Both speakers drop into the stock locations with minimal fuss. He used real fasteners to secure the mids instead of the rubber grommets used with the OE speakers. Bing wanted a midrange driver that would play as low as possible while still sounding excellent. The MM3 is crossed over at 150 Hz, so the vocals stay up on the dash at all times.
Bing selected a set of Focal ISUB MBZ 2 8-inch Mercedes-specific speakers for midbass duties. Focal makes these woofers with brackets that bolt directly into the original equipment firewall locations. Bing drilled holes in the plastic plate that blocks the speaker on the passenger side and added sound deadening to nearby electronic modules. During Bing’s investigation into the vehicle wiring, he noted that the factory speaker wires were 14-gauge copper. This wire size is more than adequate, so he used them instead of making additional runs. The only wiring he had to add was a pair of 18-AWG wires for the tweeters. All the speakers have Molex connectors on the wiring for quick removal should he need to access any part of the vehicle for service or maintenance.
E63 S Wagon Subwoofer and Amp Rack
Turning his attention to the trunk, Bing was finally done agonizing over what components he’d use to optimize the system’s performance, given the limited space in the back. The final subwoofer choice was to use a single 12-inch Illusion Audio C12XL in a sealed enclosure. As you can see from the photos, the construction of the enclosure required some creative craftsmanship to optimize the available air volume for the driver.
A trio of Mosconi Pro amplifiers and a pair of Mosconi Pico Series amps power the audio system in the big bad Benz. A pair of the Pro 4/10 amplifiers powers the tweeters and midrange drivers along with the firewall woofers and rear door speakers with 120 watts per small driver and 160 watts on the 2-ohm woofers. Bing chose a Pro 2/10 over the Pro 1/10 for bass duties as the Illusion Audio subwoofer is only available in a dual-2-ohm configuration. In addition, one Pico2 amp powers the stock center-channel speaker while the second Pico2 powers the rear fill speakers in the back of the vehicle.
The Benz’s stock amplifier receives the radio’s audio signal using a fiber optic MOST 150 connection. Bing used a mObridge interface to extract an analog audio signal from the original equipment radio and feed it into a Mosconi 8to12 Aerospace DSP signal processor. He also added an AMAS96k streaming module as a second audio input option. The DSP processor takes care of all the signal routing, filtering, delays and equalization for the 12 speakers in the system.
If you go back and look closely at the photo of the radar detector and dashcam, you might notice a small knob on the trim behind the rear-view mirror. This is a PAC LC-1 remote level controller that Bing disassembled and mounted to allow for fine subwoofer level adjustments.
The False Floor Master Strikes Again
The heart of the trunk project is the subwoofer enclosure mentioned above. The enclosure is mounted to the vehicle using stock fastener locations and heavy-duty steel brackets. A trim piece comprising five layers gives the false floor a classy and cool look. Bing integrated RGB LED lighting, panels wrapped in white vinyl and painted panels to provide the installation with depth and character. The perimeter and center trim panels are wrapped in Alcantara and are designed to mimic the engine cover of the potent V8 under the hood. A panel wrapped in black vinyl with mesh vents conceals the wiring while providing quick access to all of the hardware for adjustments. Finally, a carpeted cover was made to go over that panel for those times when he wants to carry cargo or luggage on one of his many family adventures around the state.
Bing spent more than 300 hours on the project over one month to bring this latest demo vehicle for Simplicity in Sound to life. He wants to thank ORCA Design (the distributor of Focal, Mosconi and Illusion Audio), Morel and mObridge for their product support. He also wanted to thank his friend Scott Baughman from RPM Marketing, his installer Jesse Lucero and Joey Knapp for their help in making this project come to life.
If you’re in the Milpitas or San Francisco area and happen to see Bing and his Benz at a car show or meet, be sure to ask for a demonstration of the audio system in his 2021 E63 S wagon. If you are looking for a similar audio system upgrade for your car or truck, you can learn more about Simplicity in Sound by visiting their Facebook page.