|Ultimate Tunes for the Ultimate A4
By: Steve Sherwood
What is the definition of a great car stereo? Crisp clean clarity? Nice deep bountiful base? No noticeable distortion? All of the above? Probably. This is a story of one interpretation of the quest for an excellent car entertainment package.
The stereo system featured in this article started out as the standard Alpine head unit found in a not-so-stock 97 A4 1.8 Quattro 5-speed owned by Simon Yiu of Precision Car Stereo in Mountain View, CA.
First off, the car itself has a TAP Stage III performance kit with a Scorpion cat-back exhaust. The current wheel/tire package is the 18X8" BBS RCs on 235/40/18 Dunlop SP8000s. The car also has H&R coilovers, clear corner lamps and side markers, 98 style red tail lights, white gauge faces, ABT shift knob, and window tint.
Since Simon has owned his own stereo shop for several years, he decided to embark on a multimedia adventure with his newly acquired Audi A4. This A4 is simply "loaded to the gills" with stereo equipment. Every speaker in the A4 was removed and replaced with much higher quality components. Power was enhanced from the standard unit to 1600 watts with this new hi-power version. The best part of it -- he can still use his spare tire in its normal spot, AND his golf clubs still fit well in the trunk of his car.
Listed below you will find the various components of the multimedia system and what the basic installation process was.
Head Unit/Climate Control Module
To make room for the double DIN head unit, the single DIN climate control was taken apart and moved to where the factory ashtray and cigarette lighter were originally housed. The piece surrounding the Eclipse 7301 double DIN head unit was hand fabricated out of plastic, bondo material, and wood. The piece surrounding the climate control module as made out of 1/8" fiberboard. Because of depth problems, the climate control unit was disassembled into two separate units, and the main circuit board was moved behind the glove compartment.
Front/Floor Speaker Enclosures
To accommodate the two 8" mid bass drivers on the front floorboards, a section of the factory carpet with padding was removed. Five layers of fiberglass resin was added along with a sheet of ¾" MDF on top. The two were then joined together with bondo material and two more coats of resin were applied. After a whole was cut for the 8" drivers, expanding foam was poured along all edges of the enclosure to ensure a good fit. Before the enclosure was covered with the factory floor material, an extra layer of resin was added around the edges for extra dampening. Custom breathable floormats were then added to protect the enclosure from everyday wear and tear.
Amplifier Rack and Rear Deck
To create a uniform look with the amplifier rack, two of the AG-250 amps are set on top of each other. The result is a one huge amp look.
The rear deck speakers were removed, and replaced with two 6 ½" two-way speakers and a pair of 4" aeroports. To avoid having the rear deck look too busy, bondo material was applied around the trim ring of the aeroports, and then they were covered by factory floor material for a simplified look.
Subenclosure and Equalizer Rack
The subwoofer enclosure holds two Alumapro 10" subwoofers in a four-chamber configuration. To eliminate all vibrations inside the trunk, the enclosure is ported through the A4's rear deck. The equalizer rack was made out of 3/4" MDF with black laminate. This rack holds two 30-band equalizers, two capacitors, along with the power distribution unit.
Extras to make the system complete
To handle all this power, an Optima Yellow Top deep cycle battery replaced the OEM battery. A TV tuner with external antenna was mounted in the rear section of the headliner for the stealth look. Lastly, to round out the multimedia system, a Clarion mobile video cassette player was mounted in the trunk.
How does it sound?
Words cannot express the sheer power of this unit. It puts out a total of 1600 watts of teeth jarring power. No buzzing, no distortion, no strange rattling sounds....just deep controllable bass. The quality of the TV tuner and videocassette player is excellent as well.
If it has any, the only disadvantages to having this system would be your empty wallet, and the slight weight gain of your car. The unit weighs approximately 225-250 extra pounds...for me...it is worth every penny of it.
If you want to see what you can do to your A4 then go see Simon. I am sure he can figure out something for you. By the way, this car will be on display at the NorCal Audi A4 / VW Passat Motorsport Exposition at Sears Point Raceway on June 5th. Don't forget to bring your ear plugs!
Simon's silver '97 A4 1.8TQM
Left rear shot of car
Side view of car
Crossovers and power supply (notice golf clubs)
Eclipse 7301 with FM stereo playing
Passenger side view of new console
Eclipse 7301 with video playing
Driver's side view of new console
New head unit installation progress photo
Speaker installation in floorboards, before/after
Zapco amps behind rear seats
View of rear deck, two speakers are hidden
Clean picture of trunk with video player/crossovers/power supply
Antenna installation in headliner