27 November 2009|
If you are like most enthusiasts years of pounding bass have likely made an impact on your hearing. Not to the point where you need a hearing aid or everything needs to be yelled at you, but in my case it definitely ain’t what it used to be. Not that I care, since all that loud music meant good times over the years and I have no regrets. What I could have improved upon was some of the sound quality I listened to over the years, but sometimes it just isn’t possible in the dozens of cars I’ve owned or the hundreds of home audio components either. There are many audiophiles out there who are so picky about their sound, the projects they put together produce mind-bending results, this Florida-based Audi A5 notwithstanding. With a sinister all black appearance, deep tints and some fresh oversized wheels, this A5 S-Line certainly looks the part. To get noticed, owner Zach Moskowitz decided that the looks and the factory Bang & Olufsen audio system were not cutting it. Fortunately, Moskowitz had already alerted Zach Abass and Danny Camacho at Blvd Customs of St. Petersburg, Florida and let them know to prepare for the A5 project even before he bought it.
Moskowitz had discovered Blvd Customs when he finally got fed up with the stock audio system in his old Lexus IS 250, and had been quite pleased with the results. When the crew at Blvd Customs got a hold of the car they transferred the project over to Cory Jansen for some appearance upgrades. “Cory was great. He spent a lot of time going over what the goal was for the car, and then narrowing down options,” says Moskowitz. “He had actually found some Vossen wheels that I really liked, so after settling on sizes and everything, we ordered them up.” The Vossen VVS078’s stood out from the crowd since they were 20x10.5-inch for the back and 20x9-inch for the front. Then Toyo Proxes 4 Z-rated rubber was mated with the Vossens in the form of 295/25R20 on the drive wheels and 255/35R20 up front. Final finishing touches were applied as Blvd’s wheelman Dave Ridenour painted the hubs and calipers black - leaving the S-Line logo intact!
Moskowitz then turned his attention to the interior along with Abass and Camacho. “Zach came to us on his IS 250 because he wanted a higher level of sound quality than he’d previously been able to get,” Abass says. “We’d accomplished that, but this car was even nicer than the Lexus, so I wanted to raise the bar. We went into the sound-room, and I played his previous speakers – which weren’t slouches by any measure – for him, then switched over to the Hertz Mille speakers.”
With the battery already in the trunk, Camacho ran Stinger wiring up to the seatback, where more Stinger gear and interconnects handle fusing and distribution duties. From the stock amp in the left-hand corner, more copper was labeled and run to the Audison BitOne’s eventual location, for conversion into the JL RCA’s that would feed the amplifiers. Camacho turned his attention to the subs, and loaded the pair of JL 10W3v3’s into a sealed enclosure, firing up through the stock speaker openings in the rear deck. Camacho inverted the subs in the box and angled them some so that the drivers themselves would be visible through the window he had planned.
Beneath the enclosure live a JL Audio 300/4v2 and a 500/1v2 amps, which are mounted horizontally and in a slight V. Sitting in the hollow of the center of the V, just above the amps, is the Audison BitOne. Camacho subtly lit the sub enclosure with strategically placed red LED’s, and similarly treated the amps and processor which are visible through the Audi logo cut-out.
Behind the scenes, Camacho extensively applied Stinger Roadkill to the inner and outer skins of the doors in preparation for the Hertz Mille 6.5-inch speakers. He then placed four Orca Design Black Hole Tiles behind each one. The aluminum –ringed grill for the stock tweeter on the sail panel was removed to accommodate the larger Signature series ML280 tweeter. Back speakers went in to the stock side panels, and took the form of Hertz HiEnergy 6.5-inch coaxials. Using stock locations adds a big hurdle to sound quality, especially with the asymmetric dash at the tweeter locations. The BitOne offers a lot of adjustability to tune around the challenges and there are presets with stronger rear and meatier bass for when Moskowitz wants it, but he can hit a button and he’s back to the more linear, tea sippin’ mode.
Moskowitz sums up the experience as “the team at Blvd really hit the target! I had a great experience with Zach and Danny on my last car, and Cory added to that this time around. Sonically, they really impressed me with the ability to put real, true sounding music in the Lexus, instead of just a stereo. People are amazed at how it sounds, and love the trunk treatment. Even with stock speaker locations, the car was very well received by (SQ judge) Sacha Perai at Spring Break Nationals.” With no performance upgrades, the car is still a work in progress we’ll have to check back in with Moskowitz after phase 2 is complete.
Owner: Zach Moskowitz
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Vehicle: 2009 Audi A5
WHEELS, TIRES, BRAKES
Vossen VVS078 wheels; 20x10.5-inch (f), 20x9-inch (r)
Toyo Proxes 4 tires; 255/35R20 (f), 295/25R20 (r)
AUDIO / MULTIMEDIA
Stinger 2ga wiring
Stinger distribution block
JL Audio RCAs
JL Audio 10W3v3 10-inch subs x2
JL Audio 300/4v2
JL Audio 500/1v2 x2
Red LEDs with Audi logo cut-out.
Stinger Roadkill sound deadener
Hertz Mille 6.5-inch
Orca Design Black Hole Tiles x4
Hertz Mille Signature series ML280 tweeter x2
Hertz Mille MLK1600 6.5-inch coaxial x2
Hertz HiEnergy HXC160 rear x2