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2006 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics & vids

Hi guys,

As some of you know we have been super busy lately, a few big projects has taken on lives of their own and when this beautiful 2006 SL55 AMG rolled off the trailer from TX, we know that to get it finished in a timely manner befitting our own standards, we needed some help.

So a few quick calls and msgs brought Mr. Micah Williams, owner of Sonus Car Audio of Clarksville, TN to our doorsteps for a 3 day assistance session. Micah is one of the most well respected installers and fabricators in our industry and frequently goes on training sessions around the country teaching build techniques. Watching him at work is truly amazing, i have never seen anyone work at the pace he does while maintaining a very high level of quality. He was solely responsible for the fabrication of the custom headunit bezel, and built the foundation for the subwoofer enclosure, which was later adjusted, augmented and finished by Joey.

In the end, this turned out to be one of my favorite builds of my career, and it was truly sad to see it go. :)

lets gets started with the goals, which were pretty specific:

1. Achieve a nice level of SQ yet still maintain a clean cosmetic appearance. this mostly focuses on the Dynaudio Esotar2 tweeter the customer supplied, which needed some thinking to fit without looking too bulky and obtrusive.

2. build a subwoofer enclosure replacing the entire back "seat" area that on first glance, appears OEM, yet can really resonate with the audience when they realize what has been built and fitted in place.

3. maintain a fully function trunk with as much usability as possible.

so its a study in contrast, cool and custom on the interior, very simple and sturdy in the trunk :)

lets get started.

lets first take a look at the car, both in its top up and top down form:













the signal starts with a customer supplied Alpine S920HD double din all-in-one nav headunit. and right off the bat, we see on of my favorite parts of the build...the custom fabricated trim bezel for the HU. Micah made it out of acrylic and abs, featuring factory matching black texture finish and silver trim lines...virtually everyone we showed it to did not realize its not a OEM piece until we pointed it out :)



a few small touches is the alpine BT mic with its mounting holder trimmed down secured next to the rear view mirror mount housing, and I fabricated a small panel in the ashtray which houses the mosconi remote bass knob, a switch that enables him to view the rear view camera at any time (a customer request) and a separate LED soldered to the mosconi knob to light up when the amp is on.





here are some fab pics of the headunit, since Micah did it, I may be misinterpreting some of the pics :)

first the face was taken off the OEM headunit and a template was flush trimmed to its shape:







next similar pieces were cut out of acrylic and using a verticle routing technique, Micah fabricated the new bezel matching the curvature of the oem headunit:











here are the separate pieces of the dash kit, which snaps together with magnets. it is then test fitted to the dash:





the pieces were then painted black and silver, and here they are before final assembly in the dash:





meanwhile, i fabricated some mounting brackets for the unit, and secured it to the dash at the proper location and orientation. note the acrlic spacer blocks that hold the bezel at its optimal location:





this is a quick shot of the trim plate i made for the astray, with the knob, switch and led:



next comes the front stage. The customer supplied us with a set of Dynaudio Esotar2 two way component sets. first up is the 6.5" midbass. here is the oem mounting cup, one taken apart and drivers removed, one still intact:



the bottom portion ws then trimmed and cut where needed to allow for fitment of the dynaudio drivers, while STP sound proofing dampers were added where possible to prevent resonance. some "simpliciflock" self adhesive cloth tape was added to the top edge of the speaker to prevent buzzing as well.







the top portion of the oem mounting cups were modified to accept the new speakers:



then i shifted my attention to the doors, first new 12 gauge wires were run into the door:



the outter door panel received its share of blackhole Tile blocks:





and the modified mounting cups, with the dyn driver, was bolted back in place via oem hardware:





and the backside of the door card received a layer of STP damper:



the process was the repeated on the passenger side:











 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

as mentioned before, the tweeter presented a big challenge as far as balancing sound with how its going to look. i look at various mounting angles and dash pod versus a pillar and also spoke with Dynaudio america about how it would affect sound. in the end, i decided on a semi off axis angle that clears the instrument cluster shroud and presents as small of a obtrusion as possible. I also made a pressed grille with a silver trim ring to accent the piece and also serve to make the tweeter pod look smaller visually. I also throught about doing the grille entirely out of press mesh so it would not affect the dispersion pattern at all, but in the end, it wouldnt have looked right and i personally did not hear much of a difference with the grille on or off, nor did any difference pop up on the RTA. :)

so here they are, finished in factory matching vinyl:















some build pics of the pillars:

first the factory material was stripped of the pillars and the entire piece sanded:



then mounting rings were fabricated with low heat plastic side walls for flsh mounting of the grille:



the baffles were then aimed and attached to the pillars, mold cloth pulled, resin applied, allowed to cure and then reinforced from the inside with a duraglass/resin mixture:







when that hardened, filler was applied and the entire shape sanded smooth. while the inside of the pod received its share of STP damper:







next, the pods were wrapped in factory matching vinyl:









with Joey's guidance, i then made my first press jig to fabricate the grilles: which is a piece of pressed metal mesh and two 1/4" mdf rings, rabbeted and chamfered:









the rings and mesh were then painted silver and black, and bonded together



here is a shot of the tweeter pods without the grilles in place, visually they appear a lot bigger:





and finally, a shot of the front portion of the car:





with a mosconi 6to8DSP running the show, all tuning can be done from the front seat via a BT enabled laptop:



i also wired up an alpine rear view camera plate supplied by the customer:





the cable enters the trunk, the opening sealed off with strip caulk, and then is ziptied to the factory wire bundle all the way down into the trunk, tucked into factory channels where ever possible, and a lil bit of slack left to enable the room mechanism to fold over the cable without pinching it:









 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

moving onto the main attraction of the build. the customers instructions for me was the sub enclosure will blend into the car, but when people realize what it is, they will say "WOW!" and with the combined skillset of Micah and Joey, i think they really pulled it off.

Here is the normal view with the seats all the way back, you see the entire area between the side quater panels have been replaced with a new enclosure rack. it features factory matching black vinyl with silver accents, a mercedes emblem is in the middle while a swooping arch shape is present at the top.









pulled the seats fully forward and the entire glory of the structure greats you. to get good bass response out of a convertible, we went with a downward firing design. two Illusion Audio C10XL subs reside behind two pressed and silver trimmed grilles towards the bottom of the structure. and the entire shape compliments the oem interior with its blend of black and silver trim. no more words, i will let the pics do the talking :)





























onto the build process of the enclosure, once again, since i did not work on this part, i may be miss interpreting some of the pics, but i am sure Joey can fill in the blanks and correct the mistakes :)

first up is a foundation support platform for everything, it is secured to the car via four big rivet nuts and two more beams at the top corners, one side has a cutout to allow access to the factory fuse panel:





next comes the pretty complicated enclosure itself. the idea is to keep as much rearward travel as possible so a stack of rings were mated together and mounts the sub, it is the most forward portion of the entire structure and by being low, it gives the seats more room to recline:















next, the enclosure was test fitted in the vehicle, and side pieces were added to allow attachment to the foundation board beneath:











next, the outter trim panel startd to come together, with the lower vent grilles being first priority. here you see the openings cutout with its own acrylic trim rings, routered so that they would press fit into the opening once vinyl was applied. a press was then made and used to fabricate the grilles:



















 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

next, the opening trim was blended into the panel itself:





then the panel was reinforced with fibeglass and test fitted to the subbox:





the arches were then made using a popsicle technique and filler:









and all the pieces test fitted to the car:



at this stage Micah went home and Joey continued where he left off. the sides were extended and blended to fit the factory side trim panels:



and he created a few new trims that will be painted silver to break the lines of the structure:



Micah left us a nice note on the panel :)



here is the trim piece that will be spaced around the mercedes emblem durin fabrication, as well as some final adjustments:





these are the pieces that will be painted silver, after fabrication and primer:





some final sanding and finishing of the main trim panel, you can see where magnets were used to hold the various silver trim pieces in place, magnets also holds the mesh in place infront of the subs:











tuning his attention back to the sub enclosure, Joey blended the rings in and sprayed the front edge with primer, followed by a coat of silver. this would allow for a nice smooth silver shape peaking out from behind the grille. the dual illusion audio subs were then mounted via thread inserts.













the box is a common chamber sealed design of i would say 1.75ish cubfeet.

then, the foundation board was trimmed with some black carpet so no bare wood would show through, and a cover board was made to go over the opening and prevent anything from falling into the factory fuse panel below. it attaches with both pressure and magnets:









the finished enclosure was then bolted in place in the car:





and the main trim panel wrapped in black vinyl:









the panel was then secured to the car and enclosure:







and the rest of the trim pieces wrapped and painted and secured to the vehicle:











it should be noted that our original design called for the middle part of the rack to be trimmed in tan, but the material was not a 100 percent perfect match and to me, because the rear portion of the car did not have any tan to begin with, we decided to do the entire thing in black, and IMO, it is the better look. though a 100 percent oem matching tan would have worked as well :)

here is a pic of the tan layout before we changed it :)

 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

moving onto the trunk, which is going to be a bit anticlimatic compared to the interior. but the customers request was very simple, keep it basic, simple and clean, and retain as much trunk space as possible. since we had to fit 3 mosconi zero3 amps, the dsp, and all the wiring into a relatively small space, it required a lil bit of planning.

here is the finalized result, first wtih the cover in place, as you can see, still a fully usable trunk, he lost only about 2" of height from stock:





lift off the cover and you see the three mosconi zero3 amps in a stairs configuration underneath. the top one powers the subs with 1800 watts, the middle one sends 200 plus watts to each midbass, while the bottom one powers the tweeters with the same amount of power. each amp is on its own platform with wiring neatly organized,not evident in the first pics is a LED lighting strip, tied into the factory trunk light, that casts a white glow on the amps with the trunk open. simple functional and space saving :)













this shot in darker conditions shows the lighting:



here are some quick build pics of the trunk. first, rivet nuts were installed into the floor and a foundation board bolted down at the correct height and orientation:





next, i built the amp rack, which when finished, appears to be very enclosed and suffocating, but in reality is quite open and allows the amps to vent fully:

as you can see, the sides have been notched out so the side air inlets of the amps are exposed, the front is fully open to not only aid in air flow, but also allow the second amp to slide in. there is also an opening on the back for an additional fan for added air circulation. I took these steps because i figure TX can get quite hot in the summer! :)





these are the two platforms that house the top two amps, as can see, the area above the fans of the amp below it has been cutout to further aid airflow, and it allows me to reach the bottom middle amp's mounting holes





next, the outter walls was vinyled, and the amps installed in a methodical fashion:







here is the completed amp rack/power module with all its attachments and trimmings,. you can see the mosconi 6to8 processor on the passenger side, along with a barrier strip for all the wiring, while the power distribution section is on the passenger side. a fan with its relay sits at the front...quite a lot of stuff in a compact (albiet heavy) space :)























here is the top floor and grille cover before and after carpeting:











and finally, three shots of the amp rack wired and secured in the car:







so thats it...looking back, i truly love how this project turned out...and it sounds quite good as well, width is decent, pillar to pillar with height halfway up the windshield. midbass impact is SUPERB with a nice amount of detail at the top end. the bass response is simply incredible...so much output and extension even with the top down! most definitely the best sounding convertible i have ever been involved with...
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

so i leave you with more pics shot with joey's SLR camera, as well as a few videos.

video 1: we also added a remote start feature to this car using a compustar data controller, it allows RS from the factory key fob:


video 2: this is basically a quick video tour of the build:


Video 3: this is kinda funny. during the build we realized the factory strut that holds the arm rest cover up was totally worn and non functional. so we ordered a new one as a surprise gesture for him. due to a lot of details on the sellers end, we did not get the strut in until 15 minutes before the customer was due to land in SJC to get the car! so Joey and I did a very fast removal and reinstall of the subwoofer enclosure. it showcases just how servicable the structure is despite its fancy appearance. the video is sped up but the entire process took around 16 minutes :)

























thats all folks :) next up, GT-R ;)
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

Ya know, there was a time when I looked at your builds and thought, "I could pull that off". And then I see something like this and I realize what true art is all about.

Unbelievable!
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

I am digin the hell out of this Bing, the sub box is beyond sexy!
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

Absolutely top class work you guys. You did an amazing job on this and it looks OEM.
Again, wonderful work and thank you for sharing.
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

That is SWEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!! Absolute ART!!!
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

TOP NOTCH ..Looking around the shop threw the pics I can see $300k+ worth of cars...That's got to feel good walking into the shop in the morning seeing the fleet of high end cars parked in the shop ..Keep it up guys.
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

Simply Amazing! Great work! I need to meet up with Micah!
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

Best one yet!! You guys have out done yourselves this time.
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

Absolutely gorgeous. My favorite one done by SIS to date.
 

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Re: 2005 SL55 AMG - Dynaudio, Mosconi, Illusion - a Sonus / SIS joint :) 200+ pics &

beautiful. the sub enclosure is amazing. really love the pressed grill detail.
 
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