I first joined Diyma back in January after spending countless hours failing to diagnose my engine noise in one of my first installs. Car audio was just a small hobby of mine, and all I wanted was for my car to sound a little bit nicer. I was apprehensive about making an account and posting for the first time, but the feedback I received really helped me out and got me started on the path that I'm on today. I'm still learning everyday from the wealth of information on diyma and try to contribute as much as I can in return.
Around May I decided to change careers and pursue car audio. I had the amazing opportunity to apprentice at the best car audio shop in my city (Musicar Northwest) for about 2 months over the summer. I learned something new every day from the informative, helpful, and extremely skilled mentors there. Unfortunately, I was struggling to be productive for the company, given my lack of experience, so I was eventually let go of. Nevertheless, being exposed to such a high level early on has set the standard that I will strive to reach one day.
Here is my build log thread, which is the culmination of what I've learned from Diyma and Musicar over the past several months. All the work shown here was done in my driveway. This build log would be twice as long if I included all the failing/experimentation that I did. I've only used a router once or twice before this so I was learning as I was building. All pics were taken with my Galaxy S7 and Note 9. Hope you guys enjoy and feel free to ask me anything in the comments or PM me.
Build is in a 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid:
Total Build Time: Approximately 300-400 hours
Table of Contents
1) Equipment list
2) iPad Pro integration
3) Door modification and Midrange/Tweeter mounting
4) Grill cover fabrication
5) Passenger Footwell Subwoofer Enclosure
6) Helix Director Mounting
7) Overall system picture
8) Things that don't have pictures
9) Tuning and Measurements
10) Subjective review
11) Future Plans
1) Equipment list
Source unit = iPad Pro 12.9". Mainly using Spotify and some 24bit FLAC in VLC Media Player
Processor = Helix DSP Pro MKII with Helix Director Remote
Midrange and Midbass Amp = Alpine PDX-F6 (150W RMS x 4)
Tweeter and Rear Amp = Alpine PDX-F4 (100W RMS x 4)
Subwoofer Amp = Alpine PDX-M6 (600W RMS x 1)
Tweeters = Audiofrog GB10
Midrange = Audiofrog GB25
Midbass = Audiofrog GB60
Rears = Audiofrog GS62 coaxial
Subwoofer = Audiofrog GB10D4
2) iPad Pro Integration
Factory radio and climate controls:
This was my first attempt at mounting the iPad. This was a simple floating mount with magnets. I ran with this style for many months until I decided to integrate the iPad into the dash itself. Let the cutting begin!
I pulled out the climate controls and factory radio, then cut the rectangular opening just large enough to overlap the iPad. Body filler was used to bridge the empty space between the dash and the iPad. Unfortunately, I began cutting up my dash before I ever had the idea to start a build log, so the only picture I had was the end result of attempt number 2:
I moved the climate controls into my center console storage tray. This involved me lengthening the wiring harness through the center console. This took 160 ft of primary wire and 82 solder joints. Thankfully it worked perfectly and helped me learn how each wire communicates with the climate control brain in the car.
My second attempt at mounting was an improvement, but I was still looking for more of a factory fit and finish. I decided to expand the opening slightly and realign the edges to be parallel with the iPad screen. I then began fabricating a trim bezel, starting with thinly routed strips of 1/8 inch acrylic:
I taped off the iPad and secured the acrylic in place:
I bridged the gap between the face of the iPad and the dash with Rage Gold body filler:
I then heat bent additional strips of acrylic to match the curves of the unevenly shaped dash and secured them in place. This was one of the main reasons I chose to use acrylic over MDF (it is also much less prone to snapping in half when thin):
Filled the gap again:
Used a piece of 0.22inch acrylic as the bottom wall to close off the rectangular frame into shape:
Time to finish and SAND for a hours on end:
Wrapping the side panel pieces in factory matching leather vinyl:
Rough test fit:
Taped off the bottom edge to fill in the large gap:
Smoothed, sanded, and painted the filler piece. Now there is a flat surface for the bezel to rest on:
After hours of sanding and finishing, the final product:
The steering wheel controls were integrated into the iPad by programming different resistance values as keystrokes on a USB keyboard module. The module was connected to the iPad using the USB Camera Connector kit from Apple. This gave me volume up/down, Track forward/back, Play/Pause, Mute, and Home button. This also allowed me to use the Helix HEC USB addon and connect my iPad directly to my Helix DSP via USB.
Here I cleaned up the wiring behind the iPad, wrapping most wires in TESA cloth tape and hiding them away:
Looks like there's TONS of room for a sealed enclosure for a dedicated 6.5in midbass driver in the future when I experiment with center channel upmixing/surround. Measures about 15in x 8in x 8in. Not having a double din radio or climate control module really frees up the space in there.
More in the next post.