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4,981 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As many of you know, I tend to prefer building daily driven cars that focused on sound quality, stealth and daily usability. But trying to keep everything hidden and low profile brings with it some it is kinda nice once in a while to do a show car build that opens up some possibilities for new techniques that i have been wanting to try.

This is just such a project. The vehicle is a brand new BMW M4 with all the bells and whistles. In the short time that the owner (a former customer who had the IS-F show car i did a coupla years ago) has had it, hes already gotten it to be well on its way as a showstopper. Unlike many of the show car builds out there, I always try to maximize the sound quality factor in them, because it is my belief that a truely top notch show car should be top notch from all aspects, looks fantastic, performs great, and sound excellent.

To that end, the great folks at Orcadesign stepped up and helped sponsor the project. So a big thanks goes out to Nalaka, Duane, Jacob, Nick, and Alan who provided all the support during their well as Ken of MusicarNW for his endless knowledge of BMWs....and of course, my favorite sales rep in the whole world, Scott for helping to set it all up. Joey, Jesse and I all had parts in building this car, so it was truly a team project.

The goals for this car was pretty specific, though the customer gave me complete carte blanche to design whatever i wanted.

1. To achieve a nice level of sound quality and showcase some new products from Illusion Audio and Mosconi in the process, namely the Mosconi D2 mini amps and the Illusion Carbon C3cx

2. To complement the carbon/light weight theme of the car (car came with a CF roof and other bits and the customer has done a bit more, and will be adding even more carbon accents down the road. So unlike some of our other show car projects with big amps and subs, this one will be quite minimalistic interms of equipment.

3. create a showy presentation in the trunk that is classy and elegant, like the rest of the car

so, lets get started.

first, lets take a look at the car, which is very pretty imo. notice the CF roof, the front and rear diffuser, and the accents around the window trim:

one of the unique things about hte new mosconi D2 DSP amps, is that via a small BT dongle called the MOS-BTS, you can stream super high resolution music directly from your phone or talet onto it. for this car, since we are taking the stock MOST optical signal, the dongle isnt really a big deal. However, we wanted to show case the technology, so we got it.

Thus, when streaming, you would need a controller to get you master volume. Since this feature will really only be showcased when the car is sitting at an expo or show, we decided to integrated the mosconi RC Mini dsp controller into the center arm rest, so it wont stand out in an otherwise clean and detailed interior. JOey fabriated a mounting solution that houses the controller in the stock panel which used to house the oem USB and aux input panel. The stock panel was reshaped and the plug relocated to make room for the RC-mini:

a coupla quick build pics of the panel. here you see joey mesuring the new panel, which is carefully routered out to fit the oem piece and the RC mini, and then filler built up to form a smooth transition:

then i did the final painting and mounting of the pieces, before plugging it back into the car:

the front stage for the build is a combination of the Gladen Audio OEM fitment underseat BMW woofers and the newly released Illusion Audio C3cx point source drivers. Jesse, our resident BMW expert, performed the installation of the Gladen woofers.

first, the stock underseat enclosure was removed from the car, the old useless oem woofers taken out,a nd the entire inside of hte enclosure was sound proofed with CLD damper:

the underside of the enclosure also got some foam, to help reduce metal on plastic buzzing at high volumes:

the Gladen woofers were then wired up and intalled using oem hardware:

and then the enclosure was dropped back into the car, wired up and secured:

then a felt pad that came with the gladen kit was applied to help separate it from the top grille:

and the stock top grille reinstalled:

the same procedure was then repeated on the passenger side:

moving onto the illusion C3CX. unlike virtually every other late model bmw we have done, this project was not limited by stealthiness and thus, oem locations. as such, we were free to mount the illusion audio point source into a more ideal this case, in the A pillars.

Joey and I discussed the project and wanted to put in a little something extra into the presentation of the pillars, and what he came up with is really cool. unfortuantely, with the car not having a sun roof, the interior is quite dark so it was hard to get good pictures of what they look like...but in real life, i think the accents really does pop!

so here they are, as you can see, the c3cxs are mounted pretty on axis, about 20-25 degrees off axis, but the really cool part is the single piece trim that is sit into the pillars. it extends up to near the top, and then swoops down and frames the illusion point source. I did the upholstery and wrapping of the pieces while joey did the entire build on them. i think the CF trim really works well with the carbon cone of the c3cx, along with the CF accents elsewhere in the car.

but i will just let the pictures do the talking:

some build pics of the pillar...the first part is pretty simple, and joey did not take any pics of that...but its similar to other pillars we have done. a ring baffle was cut, aimed and attached, and then instead of using mold cloth, he used floral foam to make the shape of the pods and then glassed to it...after that dried, he carved out the foam and sanded smooth the shape.

this is when the fun really started. here you see the illusion point source speakers in place, tapped off, and a piece plexi strip ton top, and a plexi ring sitting ontop fot he speaker was joined by some fiberglass:

once that was removed and trimmed to the desired shape, joey built up the sides of the pod that surrounds the trim piece so it would sit flush into the channel. he then sanded the whole thing smooth as well after applying more filler:

the trim pieces are secured using two studs and nuts from the back side, here you see them basically fiished, and primed:

and then, a final test fit into the now smooth pillar pods:

I then took over from here and did some final fine sanding and trimming, and this is what the pieces looked like before upholstery:

i wrapped the pillars with black vinyl, and used the same Avery CF wrap that the customer has on the exterior window frames to wrap the plexi/fiberglass trim pieces. i also prewired the C3cx, and here they are after upholstery:

the c3cxs were then installed:

and the trim pieces bolted in place, forming the complete pillar:

CLD damper was applied on the inside and backside of the pillars as well...and now, they are ready to go back into the car:

before we go further, lets take a quick gander at the new illusion audio c3cxs...i have been waiting for these babies a long time :) and they are really cool. the ability to do a high quality pointsource really opens up some doors for installation integration...infact, i may be looking to add these in my own car, despite only having enough amplifier channels for a two with apoint source, running them passive isnt a big problem :)

so here they are, being unboxed, note the bi-amp capable crossovers, the great build quality and cosmetics. in this car, they are truly active, so they didnt utilize the passives...but yeah, really neat stuff...the little tweeter with its copper colored dome really stands out as well!

more on how they perform at the end of the thread :)

4,981 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Re: Carbon SQ: 15' BMW M4 Show Car Build with Porduct Reviews: Mosconi/Gladen - Illus

so...back to the is the wiring bundle i added that tavels from the front to the back of the car...ziptied to the factory bundle every few inches. and where there is a factory conduit holding the cables, such as near the door opening, i removed the conduit, ziptied the new bundle, and reinstalled the conduit:

once the wiring bundle reached the trunk threshold, i stopped and worked on the wiring from the oem amp location.

so here is the oem amp housing...that little guy next to the main amp is the engine noise synthesizer amp...and has to be retained...though i have no idea why bmw (or any other manufacturer) really has to resort to this gimmick. sadly, as is the case with the newest generation of bmws, the stock equipment really, IMO, has taken a downward step in quality...whcih is good news for us i guess hahaha.

so the stop amp was removed, and in its place, i bolted on a new vinyled platform plate:

the Mobridge DA2 MOST optical preamp was then secured in place:

and the whole assembly reinstalled back into the car and wired up:

from that point, the rca and remote turn wires were bundled up, ziptied to the factory bundle, and ran up front to meet hte bundle that comes from the front of the car:

and here you see the front and rear bundles coming together at the front edge of the trunk:

a stock conduit there was removed, and the new bundles were ziptied to the factory bundle, and then the conduit reinstalled:

on the passenger side, the power cable also received the same treatment:

the last piece of the interior puzzle was to sound proof the rear deck with CLD damper, since there was a really nice and plus oem foam baffle sitting on top, there was no need for additional foam barriers:


4,981 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Re: Carbon SQ: 15' BMW M4 Show Car Build with Porduct Reviews: Mosconi/Gladen - Illus

so thats it...time to move onto the trunk ! :)

for this car, i was not limited by having to keep the trunk usable or stealthy...and after looking at the general shape of the trunk, i decided that a true fake floor wouldnt quite look right, since the car has no real spare tire well and everthing has to be raised up.

So instead, i decided on a raised power module look in the center of the floor. stacked chamfering is a technique i have been wanting to try for a long time...basically, it involves stacking multiple pieces of wood and create a very deep slanted surface in them. this is more complex than you think, becuase there is no 2" tall chamfer bit, so instead, you have to put the slant onto the bottom piece of wood, then carefully reduce the next layer so it matches with the top edge of the first piece, and then reduce from there, thus forming a continuous edge.

this car, for the first time, i wasnt limited by depth so i decided to fully utilize this technique. i also wanted to create a shape that is unique and frames the minimal equipment we are using.

An infinity light wasnt part of the original plan, but after the customer saw the jeep grand cherokee build, he wanted one as well.

so anyway, here is what it all looks like when you pop the trunk.

a center module piece rises out of the trunk floor, that has rounded over at the top. in it, you can several layerse with a center piece that frames around the single illision audio carbon c10 subwoofer, and two mosconi D2 amplifiers at the back. upfront, there is an infinity light that has an ///M emblem embedded in it.

around the inner piece is an outter boarder that frames it, with about a 3/4" gap in between. its a little bit hard to tell but the inner wall of the outer trim and the outer wall of the inner piece are each slanted at 11.5 degrees, in opposite directions. and embedded within each wall is a layer of 1/4" clouded plexi.

all the surfaces are finished in black vinyl, while the channel in between, and the top cover over the gear, is done in CF wrap.

kinda hard to describe it any further, so here are the pics :)

using a remote control, you can turn on the light and when that happens, the edge lit plexi layers and the infinity light comes up amber/orange, and create a pretty cool visual effect in the trunk:

the effect is even more dramatic in the dark, though my ****ty camera probably doesnt show it :D

in these pics you can better see the long chamfered edge on the inner and outer walls:

with the lighting controller i can also do pulse and fade in effects, to demo that, here is a quick youtube video:


4,981 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Re: Carbon SQ: 15' BMW M4 Show Car Build with Porduct Reviews: Mosconi/Gladen - Illus

so...lets do the build pics of the trunk...whcih basically involved a ton of layering, routing and wood :D

first, here is the stock floor stripped bare. i then laid down a layer of CLD damper:

then i sat down to create the initial template. believe it or not, everything else in the trunk, is in some way shape or form a routered derivative of this getting this one spot on was paramount:

this is the sealed enclosure that will house the illusion C10 subwoofer, roughly about .70 cubic foot. as you can see, the final product places the subwoofer roughly in the middle of the turnk, but the oem well is actually pretty far AFT of the center, so this is why the opening on the enclosure is pushed so far forward:

this is the main floor piece, with all the threaded inserts and cutouts made to acomodate all of the layers above it:

and then additional trimming was made, some more cutouts made to allow access to most of the stock fuses without having to remove the board, and then this was joined with the sub enclosure:

then, with Jesses help, we laid down the Avery CF wrap on top of it:

then, five rivet nuts was installed at key locations in the trunk, and they will bolt down the enclosure and main floor:

turning my attention back to the layers...first, here is the outter wall in barewood form. so basically, what happened is that the bottom pieces were chamfered first, then the plexi and the top piece was reduced to line up with the top edge of the chamfer, an additional piece of wood was match routered to that to provide something for the bearing to sit on, and then the top pieces are chamfered again. so once they stack together, they form a singular slanted wall. it sounds pretty basic but since each of these layers is a single sheet of wood, it was quite time consuming to say the least :D

once i driled all the pilot holes, i separated the layers, and in this case, its a layer of 1/2" mdf, a layer of clouded 1/4" acrylic, and a 1" layer of MDF that is two 1/2" glued together:

the wood pieces were then wrapped with vinyl:

and the whole stack bolted back together:

then a amber led strip was secured to the outeside of the plexi layer via tesa clear double sided tape:

and then black tape was out on the outerside to prevent light leaking into unwanted areas:

now here is the stack that forms the center panel...and basically, the same procedure was done... except unlike the outer layer, which can be bolted through the top into the main floor, this one had to be bolted from the bottom together, and then the whole structure bolted down to the floor...since there can be no visible bolt heads on the top.

so basically, on the bottom of the top layer, a whole bunch of knock in threaded inserts were installed, and then the pieces were bolted together:

once thats all together, a layer of amber led strip was attached on the inside:


4,981 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Re: Carbon SQ: 15' BMW M4 Show Car Build with Porduct Reviews: Mosconi/Gladen - Illus

next comes the infinity light, which follows the same concept i did in the grand cherokee. it consists of 6 total layers.

the first, is a piece of 1/8" acrylic mirror:

next, a piece of painted black 1/4" acrylic ring to provide some spacing:

then a single piece of clear 1/8" acrylic that the M emblem will go on from the underside:

followed by a 1/8" clouded acrylic ring that has a slightly smaller cutout than the black rings:

this is topped by another piece of painted black 1/4" acrylic ring:

and finally, topped by a 1/8" acrylic TWO WAY mirror:

led strip was affixed to the outer edge in the middle:

the M emblem applied to the 1/8" clear acrylic and the lighting tested:

finally, here ist he top main floor cover before and after vinyl:

and the cover over the equipment before and after CF wrap:

and lets take a quick look at the two amps used in the build...both are identical in size. the one on the left is a D2 80.6 DSP, this cool little guy not only does a fully processed 80 watts x 6, but it basically has a 6to8DSP built into it wiht optical and digital input. it also has two extra rca outputs that are processed so you can link a subamp with it. the one on the right is a non dsp 150.2 that serves as the sub amp, powering the C10 with 450 watts rms, processed by the extra channels of the dsp.

this entire package can run a fully active 3 way front and sub and is simply tiny...lined up side by side, they are no more than 16 inches wide! by 5.6 inches long! that is smaller than anything out there that can be put together to do the same thing.

these are also discrete class D amps and not chip amps, so they promise a higher level of performance. and based on our experience with other discrete digital amps like the arc xdiv2, i have high hopes for them.

so here they are:

and finally, lets take a look at the wiring under the top you can imagine, it is very tightly packed in there with a three way active and sub system, lighting and distribution, but its all still neatly organized and secured:

so how does it sound?

lets mix that up with the reviews for the C3CX and the D2 amps...

because the other two pieces of gear we know well and they perform great as usual...the c10 sounds really good, has good impact and extension and handles the power no problem. the gladen underseats imo are the best midbass speakers that can go there, a ton of impact, no overhang, just really anchors the bass notes upfront and has no problem going up to mesh with the midranges.

first, the amps.

i will be frank, when we first decided to do the mosconi d2 dsp amps, i was a bit wearly. i am so used to much higher powered amps and this, being their first attempt at a true mini class D amp, gave me some worries about overall volume, headroom and floor noise.

granted, our excellent expereinces with the arc audio xdiv2 amps helped arrest some of those fears, but these thigns are even smaller AND the 80.6 has a full dsp built into it! and i mean, gosh, that thing is barely bigger than just the basic 6to8DSP!

so i am here to say that all my fears evaporated the minute i started tuning. quick frankly, these suckers didnt lack power or control at all! the entire car is REALLY dynamic, and the amps dont seem to struggle at all when pushed. no breaking up, no all of a sudden become harsh, just able to provide a ton of output even when cranked up.

sure, part of it perhaps the speakers we are using dont require a ton of power, but at the same time, i really couldnt tell a difference between these and the arc audio xdiv2 amps we use, which features almost twice the rated power and is quite a bit bigger.

floor noise is also almost none...infact, i may venture to say these are just a smidgeon quiter than the xdiv2s...but i am really splitting hairs here... and keeping in mind that when starting with a mobridge, we are getting a really pure signal.

but i mean seriously, i am really really impressed by them...i didnt have huge high hopes going in as i am quite a cynic, but came out on the other end a true believer.

now, i want to say that these are not a alternative to the xdiv2...they carry a much higher price/watt factor, and you will likely see us still using the 6to8 and arc 5 or 6 channel combo on our entry level sq builds.

but their sheer small size, and the integrated dsp means that these can go into builds that even the small arcs cannot.....and knowing that they can perform like this really adds to their appeal. i mean, we are talking that you can stash all the processing and amplification for a 3 way active system behind the dash of some cars :D

one last thing i want to mention is that my previous experience with integrate amps, the zapco dc reference units, ran quite with this tiny heatshink, i was also concerned about that as well. but again, to my surprise, even after 1.5 hrs of continuous high volume pink noise on all channels driven, i could still put my hand on them...where as with the old zapcos, i would only wanna do that if i wanted to feel that burning sensation.

so to sum up, they are tiny, light, seems to have a lot of power, is well controlled, low noise floor, dont run super hot, AND can have a dsp built into aside from the price tag and no gigantic 1kilo watt sub amps in the line up (yet), its hard to pick any more faults with them. i would whole heartedly recommend these, especially if you are looking to create a truly small footprinted install.

so...onto the c3cx.

unlike my weariness towards the tiny integrated dsp amps, i had really high expectations for these.

i first saw the prototypes a coupla years back when its was just in the formulation stages, and i am actually a big sucker for small high end pointsources. as i feel that they offer installation flexiblity (lets say the stock location fits a 3 but not a tweeter also), and tuning ease (as the sound all eminates from the same area) is very advantageous for us...but sadly, no one really built a 3" version before this that isnt an ultra widebander. most are 4" speakers and they are often way too big for pillars and or stock locations for my liking.

so when this finally came out, i couldnt wait to try it. and with this car not being limited by stealthiness or stock locations, we can really put them in a more ideal location and aiming angle and see what they can do.

so incase you are wondering if this is somehow a paid advertisement for illusion, let me tell you this. i just ordered a set of replacement grilles for the dash top of my own car, and i a planning on molding a set of c3cxs into them to replace my beloved morel piccolos! its not saying the piccolos arent good, but the abilityt go from 300hz up on top of the dash versus 2200hz is simply wonderful...and, with it being a true point source, i can wire them passively and tune as a single driver without having to add another set of amp channels. if anyone knows how much i love morels and the piccolos, i think you will know that i truly mean what i am about to say about these.

since i am by no means an expert on sq, i followed nick wingates instructions and crossed them at 325hz at 12db slopes,on the rta, when took the filter down just to see what they can do, they seem to be some what comfortable down to 250hz or so...nick is can give you guys the downlow on his recommendation, but at a shallow 12db slope, they were able to go down to 250hz anyway.

so like any new speaker i get to play with, my number one step is also to just set a basic xover and listen to them without any kind of additional tuning. and i have say, even without the gains adjusted right (obviously the mid and tweet getting 80 watts each need to have the gains set differently), its hard to find another set of speakers that sounded this natural out of the box. its detailed but not harsh, and the midrange has a lot of resolution and control...all before ANY eq being applied to them!

these wer also really easy to dial in as the point source nature of them meant i didnt have to maike a lot more adjustments after i tuned the tweeter and mid separately.

its just really really balanced sounding. the midrange is controlled, even at high volumes, no distortion, no break up. the rest of the sound can be best described as natural and smooth yet never lacking in sparkle or detail when the music calls for it.

the car imaged really really well even with no dash pod, center is dead smack in the middle of the dash, and rarely moved. width is pillar to pillar, height is halfway between the rear view mirror and the dash with no rainbowing really. and depth is decent, though the shape of the car's dash may limite it to within the reals of the windshield.

this may sound weird, but since i love the morel piccolo so much, but this to me sounds very similar except it can do this all the way down to 300hz and beyond.

small size, easy to tune, can handle high volume, and super smooth and natural...this is truely what i am looking for in a 3" point source...and you can bet that you will see more of these puppies in our builds in the near future.

so thats it...once again, i feel thankful for all the great people at orca and our rep scott for helping with this gear, but the best service wont mean too much if the gear under performs...and quite frankly, i have yet to be let down by them and this is perhaps my favorite new gear install of all time....this is far away, imo, the best sounding late model bme build we have done from start to finish. could it be even better if you stock a bunch of mosconi zeros and class As in there and molded a door pod etc etc? perhaops, but then again, it wouldnt anything w'd call light weight, and i couldnt have been able to pull off the same cosmetic look in the trunk.

bravo guys!


Premium Member
9,212 Posts
Very cool. Nice to get some feedback on the C3CX and the D2 amps.

6 Posts
Great as always.

Scott was just at my shop yesterday with these little Illusion C3CX's. Awesome read as I was wondering how they did at modest volumes.

163 Posts
This is one badass bmw build. Saw the video on YouTube yesterday and was wondering when a thread was made for this particular masterpiece. Loved the 3D effect of the M logo in the truck and CF accents in the A pillars. Im sure it sounds as outclass as it looks. Way to go SiS :)

849 Posts
Bing, Joey, Jesse,
Awesome job on the build! Was waiting to see a build with the D2s and this one did not disappoint. Also glad to see the C3CXs as well.....

The thick chamfered stack is really cool. You guys pulled it off great! It's a great look for this show car.

One quick question: why not use the Mobridge DA1 instead since the D2s have an optical in?

4,981 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Bing, Joey, Jesse,
Awesome job on the build! Was waiting to see a build with the D2s and this one did not disappoint. Also glad to see the C3CXs as well.....

The thick chamfered stack is really cool. You guys pulled it off great! It's a great look for this show car.

One quick question: why not use the Mobridge DA1 instead since the D2s have an optical in?

good question shin john, honestly, this may have to do more with my inherent distrust of optical to optical on different equipment than anything else.

i know that analog will always work, everytime, where as i have seen and experience issues with digital on digital when there isnt a 100 percent compatibility in the "handshake" of the two since then, i ve always gone the analog route...

but i suppose its prolly time to give the DA I a try sometime :)

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