Anthony is still young and clearly lives life to the full. He works in IT and dabbles in Cryptocurrency in his spare time!
On his gated driveway sit a heavily modified VTEC powered Mini and the two cars FOUR MASTER, Oxford Car Audio (OCA), has recommended I come and look at more closely. These are an Audi RS 6 with half and half two-tone black and white wrap and a blue SQ 5.
Everything about the RS 6 says “top of the range”. Despite coming with a Bose upgrade, Anthony felt it lacked bass. Although Anthony has an eclectic taste, he does like bass-heavy music and the lack of bass particularly at cruising speed was annoying enough for him to have OCA take a look and recommend a solution. He chose to leave the front end alone for the time being feeling that the Bose system was good enough for his personal taste.
The room underneath the boot floor is voluminous in this vehicle. Relocating the tool kit to a bespoke holder behind a removable side panel gave OCA just enough space for a tailored, sealed enclosure that only raised the boot floor a couple of centimetres.
Often, adding bass to a vehicle is not simply a case of throwing an off-the-shelf active sub at the problem. In this vehicle along with many modern vehicles, the manufacturer has implemented an active equaliser to help preserve the (apologies Anthony) less than adequate full-range speakers. This typically removes bass frequencies as the volume is increased.
OCA employed a very excellent AudioControl LC 2i to fix the issue. This is a small box that converts head unit signals to high quality pre-amp signals for onward processing or in this case, amplification. Within this box is a patented technology called Accubass that actually rebuilds bass signals.
OCA chose to install two Mille Legend ML 2500.3, 10” subwoofers in a custom enclosure. These are wired in parallel and are driven by a mightily impressive Audison Voce uno, single channel amplifier. The class AB amplifier will deliver up to 1500 watts RMS into 2 ohms making it almost the perfect match for the subwoofers which are rated at 700 watts continuous each.
Time for a listen. Clearly this car was calling out for some bass. The first track I reached for is “RITMO (Bad Boys For Life)” by Black Eyed Peas featuring J. Balvin. Bass articulation is very important in this track as the low bass line sits right in between a deep kick drum and Latin snare and tom lines. If there was any flabbiness in the bass, the whole track would sound a complete mess. Pleased to report that bass-wise the track worked really well. It reaches very low but remains tight and punchy even at the deepest depths.
Anthony’s SQ 5 was of particular interest to me, as it contains a complete system install incorporating four Audison VOCE amplifiers and four Mille Legend subwoofers. The front end features a Mille Legend 3-way system run actively with a 2-way set (MLK 1650.3) in the rear running passively. The whole array is kept under tight control with an Audison bit ONE HD processor. A bit DMI has been utilised to pick up the digital output from the head unit via the built-in MOST bus. Anthony streams mainly hi-res content from Amazon Music but felt that the final rendering from his phone would be the weak link. We have not tested Amazon content in anger yet and in any case, he is perfectly satisfied with this choice. I can report however that Tidal streams and renders extremely well from any mobile device. In this vehicle the entire signal chain from head unit to amplifiers is digital ensuring absolutely no degradation of signal, delivering incredibly accurate reproduction of whatever source you choose to use.
OCA was able to approach this installation in a much different way to that of the RS. This is a little more like the demo systems and show cars OCA has been called upon to carry out on behalf of audio companies in the past. Everything is on show and highlighted with discrete LED lighting.
The 3-way speaker system up front features 7” woofers. These drop almost straight in to the factory position and the additional cone area offers a surprising uplift in bass compared to the 6.5” Milles fitted in the rear. Due to the four subwoofers in the rear, lack of bass was never going to be a problem. The issue was always more likely to be one of integration and balance. The bit ONE HD is invaluable in this respect as signals have been delayed and phase adjusted to ensure that sub-bass impulses arrive at the driver’s ears at exactly the same time as the deep bass from the woofers in the front and rear. This is no mean feat.
The ML 280.3 tweeters sit in freshly made panels that fit over the wing mirror gubbins at the base of the A-pillars, while the ML 700.3, 3” midrange drivers sit in custom-made carbon mounts in the factory positions up on the dash. I have to say that this arrangement of tweeter and mid-range positions offers much more coherence than in the RS where the mids are situated a bit far from the tweeters and sit almost behind the door handles. Then again, in this car the speakers are much better and are amplified and tweaked via the bit ONE so no comparison really.
The whole install has been carried out to the highest standard. It always amazes me that utilising the skills of a top-class installer can offer a result that aesthetically improves a vehicle like this.
The system in this car is nothing short of astonishing. Huge thanks go to Anthony for investing significant time and money in this project and also to FOUR MASTER, Oxford Car Audio for doing a proper job!
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