Mikey's Magical Merc.

Serial car audio upgrader Mikey invited us to see the latest in a long list of his vehicles to receive an audio upgrade. A Mercedes C63 AMG.

Mikey’s Magical Merc


Serial car audio upgrader Mikey invited us to see the latest in a long list of his vehicles to receive an audio upgrade. A Mercedes C63 AMG.


Sometimes, we get few clues about their musical interests when visiting car owners other than the fact that they have allowed us to listen to their cars. However, Mikey had his colours nailed firmly to the mast on this occasion. On arriving at his home and being invited in, I noticed a DAB radio modelled on the iconic Marshall guitar amplifier. Many other clues led me to believe Mikey was passionate about music. I initially missed the Denon Prime 4 DJ set-up in his living room! – This cries tolerant wife or bachelor to me. Mikey has a 15-year-old daughter, who was already dropping the car windows at age four without instruction so everyone could hear the music.


With just the gentlest of prompts, Mikey told me all about his childhood. He was born and raised in a small community called Sowerby Bridge near Halifax. It is at the confluence of the River Calder and River Ryburn, and I found that on Wikipedia, so it must be true. He now lives and works in Baildon, Shipley, just 25 minutes from Halifax.


He did not necessarily thrive at school, but at an early age, he realised he had a way with computers that had teachers asking him for help with the classroom BBC Micros. Strangely, this ability was innate as he had done no training. He was exposed to a PC proper at the age of 13, and he quickly found he could feel his way around IT and was intuitively good at solving problems.


At home, as a child, Mikey liked to take electrical items apart. This included audio equipment, and he became obsessed with wiring speakers together to make a more considerable noise. Sound and music already had him in its grips at age eight! He got to know a local DJ and often went with him to help out at gigs. By the age of 13, he was DJing himself. Mostly kid’s parties and even weddings. This continued throughout his formative years until the age of 23. He still enjoys jumping on the decks, but strictly for his own enjoyment. I know others who do this and find it an extremely fulfilling creative outlet, which can only be good!


Alongside DJ work, Mikey decided to pursue a career in IT and tech. A natural with technology, he found it easy to move into a job with a telecom networking company. In 2017, Mikey decided it was time to branch out. He set up his current company, Fullstack Software, which provides bespoke CRM and web app solutions, IT, and other digital products for companies in the UK. He still runs this, and it is evidently doing very well. He has a second business interest, PROLINK.IO, looking after data integration requirements.


Mikey loved 90’s dance music. Over the years, his taste has become more eclectic, taking him through Drum and Bass, Classic Chill (when working), anything Indie to classical. He will now listen to anything and has an open mind about music.


A self-confessed car enthusiast, Mikey’s previous vehicles include a Vauxhall Astra, Subaru Impreza, Audi TT and a Mini GP One, among others. Nearly all of his previous cars have had audio upgrades. Initially, he installed his own until he came across Jay Smith, who ran a company in Wakefield at the time. Jay is now the Proprietor at FOUR MASTER Prime Audio in Upton, West Yorkshire. Over the years, Mikey has come to trust Jay with all of his cars as he always goes the extra mile to deliver what he wants.


The Mercedes was no different. The brief was to create a reasonably discrete build, delivering great across-the-spectrum audio with particular attention to high frequencies and mighty lows! The brief did allow for some excellent A-pillar tweeter builds. Jay designed and built them to ensure they were right acoustically. They look like they were always meant to be there, which is the greatest compliment we can give.


The builds house a pair of Hertz Mille Legend ML 280 tweeters. These have a large (35mm) diameter diaphragm and will operate nicely at comparatively low frequencies. This helps with audio integration with the Hertz Mille Legend ML 1650 woofers. These are mounted low down in the front doors, and the lower frequency response of the tweeters enabled Jay to ensure that the tweeters sound more closely coupled to the woofers than they are.


Mikey wanted rear-seated passengers to have a great audio experience as well. To this end, a pair of Hertz Mille Pro MP 165P.3 component speakers sit in the factory positions in the rear doors.


Although largely discrete, the system advertises its system once the boot is opened. A large subwoofer enclosure featuring two Hertz Mille Pro MP 300 D4 12” subwoofers. These share air in the box. This is an excellent way to ensure that the bass is low and heavy.


Amplification comes from two mighty Hertz ML Power 5-channel amplifiers. Two 70-watt channels power the rears via the supplied passive crossovers. The front end is active with two channels dedicated to a tweeter each, while the woofers are driven by two bridged channels a piece. This leaves two 380-watt channels to drive a subwoofer each. As these share air, matching the two subwoofers is critical to ensure they equally share the load, but this offers little challenge for an installer of Jay’s experience.


A Hertz H8 Digital Signal Processor controls the whole system. This DSP features eight channels. Each channel features a 31-band graphic equaliser with time alignment. Linkwitz and Butterworth crossovers are also provided on each channel alongside a range of filters for fine-tuning the sound and optimising each speaker's performance.


Mikey wanted his car to reflect the sound he was used to with his home DJ set-up. Prominent high frequencies with the all-important trouser wobbling bass!


The first track we listened to was Dua Lipa’s “Be the One”. The version Mikey played us was a Netsky remix. This has quite a lot more going on than the original. Some of the sounds are quite different also. The intro guitar figure seemed to be underpinned by a slide guitar. Typically, the track explodes at 1:17. The bass becomes heavier once the drums kick in but remains tight and articulate. I could hear the rears, which added a club-style surround vibe as with other cars I have listened to recently.


Next up came “Leavemealone” by Fred Again. At the beginning, some extreme bass was rendered very well and demonstrated just how well Jay had controlled two mighty subs sharing air in a single enclosure. I have a very basic RTA app on my phone. This was showing bass activity at around 26 Hz!! – It certainly sounded very low. There were no discernible rattles or vibrations that once again added bonus points to Jay’s expertise!


“Still Don’t Know My Name” by Labrinth also registered some very low tones on my RTA App. A more subdued track which demonstrated the system’s ability to lay bare all of the content, making it easy pickings even for my aged ears!


“Rise” From Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for The Dark Knight Rises added much drama to the day. The orchestration is full-bodied, and the choral breakdown delivered a huge contrast at 1:02. It was a cold day on a damp and grey Yorkshire Moor, and this track warmed us somewhat!


For my reference, I had to put a tune on that I was familiar with. Sheryl Crow’s rendition of Bill Withers’ classic “Lonely Town, Lonely Street” offered a huge contrast to the, by no means unpleasant, bass-heavy fair we had auditioned up to now. A simple instrumental arrangement with cracking voices on top and a dynamic snare drum beat played incredibly well. This showed me that the system setup is highly versatile.


As well as listening, Mikey and I chatted about our listening habits, but unfortunately, all good things end. Mikey had to return to manipulating bits and bytes, and I had a long drive home. Without these two factors, we would have spent much longer in this magnificent car listening to all sorts of stuff!


Huge thanks to Mikey for allowing us to sit in his car. Great job, Jay of FOUR MASTER Prime, who installed a lot of equipment sensitively and expertly and got the most out of the products he had to work with!


Mikey's Top Five Tunes

Be The One - Dua Lipa

Leavemealone - Fred again..

Still Don't Know My Name - Labrinth

Rise - Hans Zimmer

Life Worth Living - Laurel


Contact FOUR MASTER Prime Audio: 07813 805 791

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