Earlier in the year we upgraded the audio in a Ford Mustang 5.0 with a full Signature Build audio system. The system in the Mustang turned out so awesome that his wife wanted to upgrade her Explorer as well. Her 2018 Ford Explorer Sport (Code Name: Betty) got the same treatment as the Mustang did but, with less sub-stage to achieve similar results. Having nearly the same audio system added to an enclosed vehicle, like an Explorer as opposed to a soft top convertible, could prove to further enhance the audio experience for the listeners. Read on to see exactly what we did to upgrade this Explorer, Betty!
- AudioControl DM810 Digital Sound Processor
- AudioControl ACR-3 DSP Controller
- Audio Dynamics 700W 6-Channel Amplifier
- Audio Dynamics 600W Mono Amplifier
- Audio Dynamics 3300 Series 6.5” Component Speakers
- Audio Dynamics 3300 Series 3” Mid-Range Speakers
- Audio Dynamics 3300 Series 6.5” Coaxial Speakers
- Audio Dynamics 10” 2300 Series Subwoofer
- XS Power D4700 AGM Battery
- T-Spec Oxygen Free Copper Wiring
- T-Spec Fuse Holder & Distribution Block
- HushMat Auto Sound Deadener
- Stinger 6000 Series RCA Interconnects
- XKGlow LED Interior Lighting Kit
We replaced the front 2-way factory component speakers with a set of Audio Dynamics 3200 Series 6.5” component speakers and added a set of the 3200 Series 3” Mid-range speakers, converting the front speakers into a 3-way set. The Audio Dynamics tweeters were installed into the factory position in the front doors. For the rear speakers we chose the Audio Dynamics 3200 Series 6.5” coaxial speakers. HushMat sound deadener was installed on the inner and outer door skins, the rear hatch door and the spare tire well. We installed all the speakers using custom built LIS Audio speaker mount rings. The Stinger Fast Ring kits were used around the 6.5” speakers with the foam inserts on the backside of the driver. This is to help send the front wave through the door panel and cushion the back wave allowing it to dissipate more easily and reduce further vibration.
In order to retain the factory touchscreen as the sole media player for the new stereo system, we added the AudioControl DM810 Digital Sound Processor to integrate into and restore the audio signal. This allows for all 8 channels of audio output from the factory SONY amplifier to be properly rerouted to the correct speakers in the new system design. All the new front stage speakers are powered by a single Audio Dynamics MK700.6 amplifier. The tweeters and midbass speakers in the front doors are run through passive crossovers for proper signal separation while the mid-range and rear door speakers are run active. The D-pillar 3” speakers were deleted, and the signal was rerouted to the front door set of 3” mid-range speakers. The dash center channel speaker was also omitted, as it would no longer be possible to hear, and to reduce the chances of the speaker blowing when the stereo is played at higher volume levels.
The Audio Dynamics MK600.1 amplifier was all that was needed to power the new subwoofer. The factory 10” SONY subwoofer and enclosure were replaced by an Audio Dynamics 10” 2200 Series subwoofer in a custom LIS Audio form fit enclosure. All the electrical components are installed into the spare tire well mounted to a custom LIS Audio mount that bolts down using the factory spare tire mounting hole. Due to the Explorer being a newer vehicle which has adhered body panels, we decided to run two runs of 0 Gauge T-Spec Oxygen Free Copper wire, both Power and Ground, to the spare tire well for the new components. We used the T-Spec power side fuse holder and ground distribution block to disperse the wiring amongst the electrical components installed. The lead acid factory starting battery was upgraded to a XS Power D4700 Absorbed Glass Mat deep cycle battery, allowing plenty of electrical supply for the new system.
The new subwoofer enclosure was built into the same area the factory subwoofer was located. The main goals were to add a lot more bass to the full system while maintaining a factory “Ford” appearance. The enclosure was fiberglassed into the rear passenger hip in the hatch using LIS Audio custom fabrication techniques. The custom enclosure is made of mostly fiberglass and wood, to attempt to make it as light as possible while fitting to the rear hip area in the hatch. A metal washer was embedded into the rear of the enclosure wall to help relieve the tension a bolt and washer provide to help prevent the fiberglass from cracking or breaking when the enclosure is mounted. A ‘nut-sert’ was used in the metal behind the enclosure that takes a bolt and holds it in place securely.
The enclosure features a custom pressed grille that is removable due to the incorporation of neodymium magnets, for ease of access to the subwoofer, or for cleaning. We chose a grille strong enough to help protect the subwoofer from random objects that might be stored in the hatch area. You might also note that the third-row seats are still fully operational when it comes to the stow or upright positions. XKGlow LED lighting was used to accent the new subwoofer and was also integrated into the doors and front floorboards, replacing the factory lighting. The DSP controller and switch for the XKGlow kit were installed into the center console for ease of access while remaining “tucked away” when immediate access is not desired. The AudioControl ACR-3 controller can be used to simply lower and raise the level of bass in the stereo system, as it also operates switching between multiple preset tunes. The biggest differences between the Explorer and the Mustang system would be the custom fabrication performed and number of components in the sub-stage, which both still appear to be impressive in their own regards.
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Contact LIS Audio if you have any questions…
Call: (913) 912- 6990
631 A-Line Dr, Spring Hill, KS 66083, USA