Citroen Definitely Not A Citron!

For Rock music, simply beefing up the bass is never enough!

Citroen Definitely Not a Citron


When car makers “hot-up” a small hatchback, they think they bring everything to the model that the style-conscious customers could need. We think Chris Sharp could show them a thing or two!


Chris has spent all of his nine working years hard landscaping and in particular, building and repairing dry-stone walls. This can be gruelling work particularly around his North Yorkshire base where the weather can change quickly from sunny to horizontal precipitation. No wonder he has an absorbing hobby that keeps him mostly out of the extreme weather that he has to work in.


Chris is enjoying his third car currently. His Citroen C2 VTS is clearly his pride and joy and this is reflected in the immaculate finish both inside and out and the low stance offered by the air-ride system he has had installed. His first two cars were both modified and both had upgraded audio. Chris is a lover of classic rock music and I know from experience that this is one of the hardest genres to reproduce in a car. The mid-bass has to be very carefully handled as that is the area where most of the energy comes from. Unlike many other forms of high-energy music, engagement cannot necessarily be brought to bear by adding heavy bass. Factory systems are particularly poor in the mid-bass area and Chris has almost automatically replaced his head unit and speakers in his cars in order to improve matters. He generally went for Pioneer head units and speakers and added some sound deadening as common industry wisdom suggested that this was a good idea. In fact, this process will improve the standard system in a small car no end but as he learnt during the build of his VTS, there is so much more that can be done to optimise sonic performance. This time, he wanted something special.


It was his pursuit of audio excellence that took him to his local e, Car Radio Skipton for some advice – You can read about them in a FOUR MASTER focus elsewhere in this issue.


Chris spent a good time sat in their demonstration vehicles listening to music and of course to explanations of what makes them sound so good by the resident experts. He was so engaged that he made a number of return visits with his own music collection and spent some five hours over those visits just listening. Car Radio Skipton worked in partnership with Chris in specifying a system that would get the most out of the car and the resulting build quality and attention to detail in the final system is typical of this way of working.


Chris sites his mum as a major musical influence for him. “Growing up, the house was filled with rock music probably played from cassettes.” Chris tells me. “I was looking for a sound which would remind me of those years as every car I have ever listened to has come wildly short of the mark and we are talking about cassettes played through a nothing special system.” Continues Chris. “Certainly the previous cars I have owned have lacked in just about every area and sounded thin and flat and just boring really. I knew there must be someone out there who could help me but had no idea that the answer lay just four miles down the road from my home. I have belonged to a C2 Owners club for six years and even the forums I was visiting offered little conclusive help and so I knew I had to find my own way. Luckily, Car Radio Skipton was there for me.”


The system consists of Audison Voce 3-way speakers and a 10inch Audison Voce subwoofer. Chris chose to use Hertz HCP amplifiers rather than Audison Voce amplifiers. Chris expands on the reason; “during demonstrations it was explained that although the equipment is extremely important, the installation deserves a decent budget also. I didn't want to spend all of my money on equipment only to find I did not have enough left to have it installed correctly. Speaker positioning in particular was extremely important to me. It had been explained in no uncertain terms that for a high-quality system, full-range playing from the foot well around my ankles was just not going to cut it. I took the experts’ recommendation to try the Voce speaker set-up with a single Hertz HCP 4D four-channel amplifier to see how it performed. It was awesome from the off and we decided to go for two so that the whole system could be run actively and with more power. This meant we didn't need to find space for the Voce crossovers driving each speaker from an amplified channel and setting our own crossover points instead.”


The vehicle’s A-pillars have been radically altered to house the midrange speakers and tweeters. These areas contain the most critical positional information and the closer they sit compared to the ears of the listener, the better. The mids have been mounted into steel hemispheres, which because they form a sealed enclosure for the mids, perform more accurately. The woofers sit in the standard factory positions but have been angled upwards and the door panels have been “flocked” giving them a finish akin to velvet. This process involves blowing fibres at the surface of a panel coated with adhesive. It offers a fabulous look and is very durable.


The 10inch Voce subwoofer is housed in a custom fibreglass enclosure, which is bonded unobtrusively to the floor in the front passenger foot well. As sub-bass is non-directional, sonically it could have been equally mounted in the rear but Chris was keen to “show” the car which he also uses as his daily driver carrying his dry-stone walling tools with him. It was preferable that the subwoofer be fitted out of harms way.


A head unit from the Pioneer PRS range, the DEX-P99RS is used as a source unit. It was chosen not only because it plays discs superbly but also because of its comprehensive on-board processing which includes a dual 31-band equaliser, 4-way crossovers and time-alignment. Chris wanted to have a go at competing in the EMMA UK sound competition league and there are certain characteristics which need to be dialled in but he also wanted to fully enjoy his own music and so the system was tested and tweaked for many hours before settling on a setting which would satisfy an EMMA UK head judge but also bring the best out of Chris’ specific choice of music.


It seems to have worked as despite competing at just five of the seven national events last year, Chris ran out as the overwhelming league winner in the Advanced €4000 class picking up first place every time. Chris tells me that the system has really opened his ears to new music and he now enjoys listening to everything from Classical to urban music as well as his collection of classic rock.


I listened to three tracks in their entirety including: Agnes Obel ‘The Curse’, Bonnie Raitt ‘Thing Called Love’ and Michael Kiwanuka ‘Tell Me A Tale’. It seems a cliché to say that I heard things I hadn't heard before but in this case it is absolutely true. The strings on the first track were incredibly well balanced with the piano and vocal whilst Bonnie’s soaring slide guitar lifted me higher than the sky but the highlight for me was the Kiwanuka track with the drums sounding like a 50’s big band recording and strings and brass perfectly integrating to complete the big band illusion. “Stunning” is the only word for this system!


Chris should be congratulated on taking this install as far as he has.

The relationship he has built with Car Radio Skipton has made this system what it is, a triumph of a Citroen!


Top Five

Dire Straits – Money for nothing

Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer

John Murphy – Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor)

Adele – Rolling in the Deep

Metallica – Enter Sandman




1 X Audison AV 10 – 10inch subwoofer

2 X Audison AV 1.1 – Tweeter

2 X Audison AV 3.0 – 3inch mid-range speaker

2 X Audison AV 6.5 – 6.5inch woofer

2 X Hertz HCP 4D – Four-channel amplifier

Skinz sound deadening

Connection cables

Car Audio Upgrades Made Easy

Find out what our partner, The FOUR MASTER Network, can do to bring Hi-Fi quality to your car. Simply put some brief details into the form below.

Not ready for that yet? You can use the same form to book a demonstration at your home, place of work or with your local FOUR MASTER