Kia Aura

Sportage With a Different Vibe

Kia Aura – Sportage with a Different Vibe


The Korean car manufacturer already had an interesting industrial background before entering the automotive industry in 1957. Now a rapidly growing brand in the UK, this subsidiary of Hyundai ranges some really nice vehicles. We got to sit in a Sportage with a significantly upgraded audio system. Read all about it below!


Mohammad Ali is now a support worker in Leicester. He lives with his wife, Amina and his 15-year-old daughter and looks content with life. Previously, he has been involved in many jobs and careers before choosing care as his preferred employment.


Mohammad has travelled extensively throughout Africa and Europe and lived close to the India/Afghanistan border for eight years. Born in Birmingham, he spent his formative years in Weymouth. Music was not necessarily prevalent during his early life, but at 15, he snuck off to see a punk band, The Cult Maniax. To say the experience was life-changing is an understatement. He attributes his dedication to music to that moment. The excitement of seeing a high-energy punk band in a cramped venue helped to shape him. Mohammad was also caught up by the anti-establishment messages within punk music and remained a staunch fan. He felt that latterly, his punk friends and idols drifted away from their early anarchistic ethos and as a result, he drifted from the genre.


He came across a band called Trouble Funk at Glastonbury festival in the 80’s, taking him toward the early hip-hop genre. Officially at the forefront of the Washington D.C. Go-Go movement, Trouble Funk still exists. They have been sampled by many of their contemporaries and still perform sold-out shows worldwide! Eventually, he felt that hip-hop became overtaken by lyrics inspired by Bentleys, women in bikinis and other lifestyle symbols, which were at odds with the original pithy social comment that influenced many great hip-hop artists. Mohammad used to run a Facebook group dedicated to UK hip-hop fans but has left this alone for some years due to his disillusionment with how the original movement changed.


Mohammad listens to those early influences but has developed a broader musical taste.


Eventually, Mohammad came to settle in Leicester. At this point, his love of music took over his car! His first car audio system was from Alpine. It gave him a taste for what was possible, and his last car, a Skoda, featured a large boot build incorporating a couple of subwoofers supplemented by American amps and speakers. This boot build still sits in his living room!


When Mohammad changed cars, he wanted to freshen up his sounds and visited several companies in his area who purported to carry out the kind of work he was after. However, after speaking to around ten companies, he discovered FOUR MASTER Cartronics. “They were very welcoming and keen to explain recent developments in the car audio industry. Unlike the other companies I visited, they also had a demonstration vehicle that they were happy to allow me to listen to.” Mohammad tells us.


Proprietor Nilesh took the lead when selecting the equipment for the Kia. By this time, he already had Mohammad’s trust and confidence that he would be sold what he needed rather than what was in the stockroom!


Still favouring big bass, the system includes two Hertz Mille Pro MPBX 300 S2 subwoofers in enclosures. These can be mounted so that the subwoofers fire upwards or downwards. After some experimentation, it was decided that firing downward was the way to go! An Audison SR 1.500 V2 powers the subwoofers. This compact class D amplifier produces up to 1000 watts RMS into 1ohm. This enabled FOUR MASTER Cartronics to wire the two 2ohm subwoofers in parallel. As a result, the bass is BIG!


Despite a passion for bass, Mohammad also wanted to experience clarity and precision in the higher frequencies. Nilesh suggested Audison Voce speakers. These are the most underrated speakers available in the Audison range and, even after ten years, remain a firm favourite with us here at Driving Sounds. The front speakers are the Audison Voce AV K6 2-way component pair. These are mounted in the standard factory positions. Mohammad needed some convincing as the tweeters do not produce a directional sound, and he was confident he could place them behind the air vents at the top of the dashboard. This is a testament to both the tweeters' performance and their set-up in this vehicle.


A pair of Audison Voce AV X6.5 2-way coaxial speakers are mounted in the standard positions in the rear doors. They are used to provide a bit of rear-fill and offer rear-seated passengers a similar experience to those sitting in the front seats. These coaxials sound very good. I have a pair in my home hi-fi set up.


The voce speakers are driven by an Audison Prima AP F 8.9 bit amplifier. This is an eight-channel amplifier with potent digital signal processing (DSP) on each channel, plus an extra DSP channel for the subwoofers. The astute amongst you will have done the maths and learned that the amplifier has two spare power channels. These were doubled up with another pair to drive the front woofers. Lower frequencies require more power than tweeters as the cone size needs to be kept under close control, and power equates to control and not necessarily volume.


The two amplifiers are built into an area underneath the boot floor. This keeps them nicely out of the way, and on occasion, when the subwoofers are removed to free up load space, absolutely no clues are visible as to what lies inside!


Being a passionate music fan, Mohammad had several tracks he wanted to play for us. He plays everything through his iPhone from Apple Music. He does this via USB rather than Bluetooth, which is the best way for an iPhone as its Bluetooth DAC is very poor and will result in a compressed sound. We chatted about using Tidal, which sounds streets better, particularly in the mid-range, and pays the artist up to three times more per stream. However, he is fully invested in Apple Music and has an enormous music library, which would be long-winded and potentially costly to transfer across.


We first listened to KLF’s “America No More”. This was taken from a 12” B-side that appears on Solid State Logik 2.


The track itself begins with a lot of sounds of war. As well as gunfire and missiles, a helicopter zooms all over the sound stage. It sounded horribly real, and the accompanying commentary made the whole piece incredibly impactful. As a piece, it demonstrated the system’s ability to unpick complex soundscapes and render individual sounds from what could quickly become a jumbled mess of noise on a lesser system.


I selected a track by a female Jazz guitar player and musician that I have recently been listening to. Her name is Rosie Frater-Taylor.  We listened to a track called “Give & Take” from the recently released Featherweight album. I lowered the subs quite a bit for this track as I knew the recording would not have as much going on in this area. Any elements previously understated in previous tracks were evident in spades. The mid-range punched, the high-frequencies sang, the guitar and ghost vocal were crystal clear, and the whole track moved rhythmically from phrase to phrase. Given more time, I would have thrown several other tracks at the system, but I knew Mohammad had generously given much of his time already and was due at work!


The system is an absolute peach, and I suspect it would work just as well with many different kinds of music.


We want to thank FOUR MASTER Cartronics, Mohammad for his time, Amina for the fabulous Samosas, and for citing “My Daddy Was A Bank Robber” by The Clash as her favourite track!

Car Audio Upgrades Made Easy

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