The more I think about writing new posts, the more it dawns on me the range of cars I get to work on and the kit that goes into each one is usually different each time unless I find that something works very well inside a particular platform then why change it? It's not like good sound is ever going to stop sounding good because a different piece of kit is available.
Which gets me thinking again and more on topic with this project. I have never worked on a Nissan GTR, I've never installed a WIFI streaming (or "casting") Android device whilst integrating the, unbeknown to me at the time, almost impossible Nissan factory infotainment system and having them work conveniently. It's one thing to strap all these things to any old car and have them "work" in the loosest sense of the term, it's another to have both input systems two button presses apart.
A lot of people ask me if its scary starting a project on a car that you have no experience with. Truth be told it can be daunting at first, however I don't think there are a specific set of rules that change from one brand to another or one league to another. With the right practices I think anything will come apart and go back together so maybe it'll take slightly longer than it would with a cheaply made or older car but it'll get done regardless. Scary? Not really. Going at it with a clear and open mind is probably more fitting in these situations. With that said It's not the type of thing you'll want to start at 4.30 on a Friday afternoon.
Anyway, onward with telling you about this 600+hp stage one Litchfield tuned R35, it's somewhat tormented owner, Chris and the project in hand.
From the outset Chris has done nothing but study, search, question, change his mind, ask again, study more. You get the picture. To say Chris wants to know how something is going to work, how will it end up, how it will look and so on is an understatement. Our 65 deep email thread is testament to that. Now, although this may sound like a complaint from my part, it's anything but. I encourage interaction, a welcome challenge every now and again is healthy. If we don't ask we don't get, if we don't study we don't know.
Most of the planning that went toward this project was to get from point A to point B in an efficient manner, utilising some of Chris' own down time (his honeymoon) took care of the booking logistics, but a lot more went into the system itself. Chris from the outset was a big fan of Audisons Full DA system, being a big fan of electronic music, it's production and its reproduction it was very important that this system retained all of that of our usual digital systems in terms of clarity and accuracy, so we knew where we were headed for the amplification and processing. - Audison AV 5.1K and Audison Bit ten D.
Speakers were decided on early on, Audison Voce 6.5" 2 way components. These always had a question mark next to them as they were an unknown to both of us in terms of fitting into a GTR.
We've got this.. The 6.5 went onto a custom baffle on a fully deadened and thermo-acoustic lined door. The tweeter went behind the standard trim cover, it put up a little struggle and I had to remove the front grill bar but it went. These were wired actively to allow time/phase/EQ amongst others on each driver.
Next up on the "Wonder what to do here?" list, the subwoofer. It was always on the cards we would use Hertz awesome new 8" Mille Legend and try and get two of them behind the factory Bose cover. The original Bose design is actually superb, although the drivers are shit and the baffle is plastic. An IB deign sealing front to back through a large aperture behind the original baffle is something that needs to be revisited by me, there is scope for a large format driver with minimal power but loads of cone for that real fat wafty bass line, quite similar to my M5. Going off track... It was decided after our original plan to use two in a clam-shell design we'd opt for a single driver in a box Chris purchased from a fellow GTR fan and we'll "go from there".. Quite well built, I made a couple of small mods and in it went.
You'll have noticed sound deadening featuring quite heavily in the past few pictures. Comprehensive deadening was the very first part of the brief. For the "BUT ITS A GTR" crowd, Chris doesn't care for that, 20/30kg of deadening spread evenly across the cars floor pan pulls its own weight in its upgrade to road noise dispersion, to which this car suffers. A lot.
I'm not a cutter either, it's just a very tricky car to get access to certain parts. More so the centre console and the source output of the factory system is completely buried. Here's an action shot when it was actually more together by far than it was when I eventually gained access to the signal loom I needed to get a full range 2 ch stereo signal. Chris supplied a loom from the same gentlemen the box came from, a very simple T off of the front left and right signal which I can feed to our processor for de-equalisation.
The car was wired for three way front end future proofing, there are plans for potential future upgrades. The processor whilst working in the cabin was mounted in a void underneath the passenger seat, once level matched you don't need access to this cool running piece of kit, everything you need to do with it is worked via its own software on USB which was fitted in the glovebox.
Excuse the phone shot.
Then we were onto the serious business.. The one that caused the head scratching, studying, emailing... Many a question was asked.. How can we have an Android tab? Have it play via the new system? Via digital optical playing tracks from the likes of Tidal and power amp? At full resolution and keep it in such a manner that A, works with the car, B, Aesthetically works C, Doesn't get you arrested every time you lift it up to change track?
Now I'm not going to take any credit away from myself here as it was difficult to do and difficult to keep it in one place but I'd be lying if i said that my incredible idea of where to mount this tablet wasn't helped along by the fact that the width of the OE cup holder was +/- 0.5mm within spec of the width of the playing screen of the supplied Avus Tablet. I couldn't get hold of Chris as he was off mountaineering in Vietnam (Its possible..) so I emailed him instead as I didn't have express permission (something you definitely need from this guy) to make this mod, and I just couldn't contain myself as it looked incredible and falls under hand when sat in the car.
I mocked it up for my email
As with anything, this mock up took me around 15 minutes, getting it into the car and working would turn out to be a different story. After all, the car isn't lazy, keeping this tab in place under load and braking was a must, I'm not going to go into all the borings but it took a while, it's strong and perfectly straight.
This tab, unless there is some app that escapes me, only has access to the screen via a fixed home/lock screen button on the side, this button was to be concealed due to the nature of the mount so something needed coming up with. A hole was drilled, a button was made and all was right again. I left the tip of the button slightly rough as it is on the opposite side to the driver which makes it easier to locate. The tab is mounted upside down and the screen is locked in this rotation.
When sourced to Optical Input on the processor controller (DRC) the tablet plays seamlessly via wifi into the processor and then out via Cat5e cable to the Audison Voce AV 5.1k Amplifier.
The DRC was mounted in front of the shifter as this controls one of two points of digital volume control, this can be controlled via the tablet or DRC.
The 5.1k isn't a shy size, so this was relegated to the boot, the only piece of kit in this installation actually to make it into the boot. The amp rack was made and as usual bonded to the deadened floor pan, then a surround was made from a stack design and finished with vinyl-Alcantara-vinyl topped off with hardened glass. Chris asked when collected "Is it part of a tool box or something you have re-trimmed, it looks too manufactured to be hand made" which I shamefully but quietly took as a great compliment.
Chris collection of the car couldn't have gone better, we spent around 6 hours on the hand over and other discussions based around his real love, his Polo G40 which should give you a decent judgement of his humble character. He's worked hard to buy his dream car, but he's built his G40 himself over time and it's obvious which one he's precious about. It was obvious to me just how happy a customer I had on my hands when Chris couldn't stop laughing/smiling, reaching for the volume control.
Side note - When I started writing this blog post I was listening to A Tribe Called Quest (still am actually) and wrote a track title in the header, its staying now as it strangely apt.
Job well done. Here are some complete shots from the project:
One last shot with the man himself.... I'm not sure if he knew I was taking this.
Massive thanks to Chris for the support, and thanks to anyone who got this far through the post.
Cheers, Shakey - Studio Incar