It's pretty safe to say that the Land Rover Defender as much as it is iconic is probably the worst sounding vehicle in the world in terms of car audio.
Now, that can be taken in one of two ways, a "glass half empty" guy wouldn't bother, it's a dirty old work tool at the end of the day, designed for trecking around fields, fords, mountains, you name it... Whereas a glass half full guy would more than likely consider it a blank canvas for some real work, it isn't exactly going to get worse, is it?
We spend a lot of time in our cars, even the guys who use 4x4's as a toy spend more time getting to where they're going to "play" than they do actually playing. So it figures (to me at least) that it should have something half decent to listen to on the move. This car gets used in anger as well as looking classy when called upon, it's not a mantle piece car and fits in the owners collection to do its job.
So how do they respond to sound upgrades?.. Actually, very well indeed. Here's how we set about this incredible new Bowler Motorsport Defender.
This was Simon's first project with us, he has an impressive collection of cars and a taste for decent sound. The brief for this one was to have a high end sound upgrade, DAB and an electric aerial. The conversation was had and we spec'd the system as such:
- Hertz Mille Legend 3 way
- Hertz Mille 8" Subwoofer
- Hertz HDP5 amplifier actively running the mids, tweeters and sub
- Hertz HDP4 bridged on midbass
- Audison Bit One
- Audison Connection silver and OFC cabling throughout
- Connections Distribution
- Pioneer DAB 1DIN head unit to fit oem dash aperture
With the Defender delivered the first part of the project undertaken was the sub box, at the same time the aerial was mounted in the factory location, a very specific electric aerial with a DAB/FM switchbox was installed to keep it multi purpose.
The subwoofer enclosure was a stacked design, shaped to fit snug behind the centre console and fire rearward. It needed to have the correct capacity yet not impose on the centre console or any function of the rear folding seats/front seat motion.
This style of building makes the baffle one infinite solid section, it's as strong as it can possibly be at this size and should allow for no loss of energy, a subwoofer's number one enemy. Gaskets were made the same shape and end plates were machine screwed in place with stainless hardware. The Hertz Mille 8" subwoofer is an incredible piece of kit, deserved of a top end box design.
With this built and fitted it was time to lift the seats out. Most of the space inside a defender is under the two front seats. Two large enclosures to mount all sorts of wonders. In this case the two amps, processor and the midbass drivers in the front section of each. The amps and processor are fan cooled as this is typically a sealed unit.
These two enclosures when deadened really help reinforce midbass. It requires cutting which some might shy away from but is a very "oem" finish once complete. The other option is to work the doors for midbass and create custom baffles but they can become quite imposing especially when moving in and out of the vehicle. I think given the nature of our 3-way upgrade this is the best option. The Defender from stock comes with a 4" under dash full range driver and a tweeter on the dash top with a high pass filter.
The midrange speakers were mounted in the standard locations although a custom baffle was made from ply to give them a strong mount. Not an ideal location however with the DSP power on tap from the Audison Bit One we manged to get them playing up high, the stage doesn't suffer.
Up top the dash was hollowed for the new Hertz Mille Legend tweeters, Again the DSP was used to control these and tame down HF based on the highly energetic shape of the Defenders interior and glass.
With the headunit and aerial installed it was time to play some tracks and get some tuning done. We don't go crazy when tuning on a brand new system, things change a lot in the first 50 hours, speakers bed in and the sound is completely different once this process is done.
The Defender has recently been back for a rear speaker installation whilst being tuned after plenty of use. It's now sounding super fast, clean and can play pretty loud. I particularly like rock music in this system, it has quite a strong/bold presentation.
It's re-delivered now, Simon's happy, we're happy. Great upgrade this in what was a terrible sounding truck.
Any questions or further info is welcomed via
- 01489 877987
Carl - Studio Incar
Here are some more pictures of the finished article.