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So over the years, i have had people point to me in the build logs that our projects arent really "simple"; and the truth of the matter is that from a purist perspective, they often are not, require a lot of complex fabrication and mounting locations. However, i still do firmly believe that our overall value is simplicity, in the sense that we often try to use a few components as we can (hence many single amp single sub systems with no rears) and the overall aesthetic theme is relatively simple and mostly hideable. We do deviate from this path from time to time with show car builds, but i think overall, thats where i see the simplicity moniker still holding true.

THIS, is probably an exception :D

Many of you probably know that i am a big subaru fan, having owned two consecutive legacy GTs...I have also performed quite a few builds on the previous generation impreza based cars...so ever since the newest generation WRX/STi came out, i have been itching to get my hands on one...if nothing else but for my love of the brand.

Luckily for me, a great customer approached us with his new WRX, and we were only too eager to get on board.

Also coinciding with this project, Mosconi has released their brand new Pico 2 amps, these are teeny tiny amplifiers that to most people, look like nothing more than a line driver or a summing module...infact, i think these are indeed residing in the same chassis as the tiny HLA-SUM summing modules. These amps are i believe a derivative of the Mosconi D2 amps that i have used with great success, and each little guy does 2x80 watts rms at 4ohms, and bridged, they will produce around 200 watts.

for more info on them, go here:

GLADEN PICO 2

they carry a retail price tag of $399, which isnt cheap for the power, however, it is inline with the D2 amps, and also, their teeny size allows for installation possiblities that is unmatched...fully active system powered by amps all in the glovebox, anyone? :)

THIS...is not one of those hidden builds. :D

My idea for this build was to use a bunch of them to run a fully active system with subs, but done in a layout that is only achievable due to their size....so they will be in full display, but hammer home the idea of how small they are.

Looking at pictures on websites, its really hard to get a good feeling of just how small they are, but i am going to try to show you. so lets first take a look at the pico 2.

so here it is, you will see that despite their size, they still have on board 80hz hi/lo crossover, real rca input jacks and speaker terminals that can be popped off for easy wiring. and yes, your eyes dont deceive you, the power/ground terminals are the same size as the speaker wires, which, like those found on the arc audio xdi-v2, is optimized for 16 gauge wire (14 gauge can fit but it would expose some raw wire at the end)...oh my how times of changed:







so to drive home just how small they are, here is one sitting next to my note 4, which absolutely dwarfs it in size...take your phone, and look at it, and then look at the picture, and you will realize just how ridiculously small they are. :)



so enough for the amps, lets get on with the goals of the build:

1. to achieve a nice level of sound quality utilizing stock locations

2. to create a completely stealthy install in the trunk that takes away zero cargo space

3. create a layout that highlights the uniqueness of the Pico 2 amps

lets get started. first a few pictures of the car. when the new wrx came out, i wasnt quite sure what i felt looking at the pics...and quite a few magazine reviewers were down on the looks. however, over time, it has really grown on me...to the poiint that now, i really do think it is a better, sportier looking car than the previous gen WRX... It also DRIVES better to me, the torque peak is far lower and makes you work less hard for the power...actually feels a lot more like my 5th gen LGT than the previous gen WRX. :)











it should be noted that the owner had previous isntalled a DIY system in there, and honestly, i wish 90 percent of the work we have seen by other shops looked as good...the wiring especially was done pretty neatly, to the point that i left most of the wiring in place, but removed what isnt needed, added new wires for the new system, and organized a few spots more with more zipties...so bravo to him for sure!

under the hood, i added a stinger 0 gauge fuse block, and as usual secured to one of our metal brackets welded to the battery tie down brace:



here is the bracket after it was made, and then with the stinger block bolted in:





the customer had already installed a pioneer 8000NEX double din unit, i kept that and basically cleaned up the wiring a little, and instead of a single usb cord coming out of the bottom of the dash, i gave him two USB ports next to the cig charger under the center console:





The customer had also done a SUPERB job by integrating a bass knob for his previous amps in the knock out panel on the left side of the dash, i simply swapped it for the mosconi bass knob, but kept his KNOB in place as imo it is easier to grab and turn:



The customer also provided a set of Audio Frog GB60 and GB15 two way components, which he won with AF's rednose day fund drive. The tweeters went into the top of the dash locations, and i used the supplied hardware to mount the tweeters. however, with the tweeter grilles in place, it interfered with the grille, even with the bottom of the grille ground down to gain more clearance, so the tweeters were installed sans grille:





here they are, wired and then installed into the stock locations, and the factory grille placed back on:













at this point, eagle eyed readers may notice in the headunit pic that there is a dash mat in place. the customer supplied the dash mat for to try out. after the install was done, i did comparison tests, both by ear and on the rta to see what the difference is between the dash mat and no dash mat, as they go over the stock tweeter locations fully. and to my surprise, all the dash mat did was to attenuate the tweeters by about 3-4 db above 6000hz, but what it DID do, was to smooth out the frequency response quite a bit across the range of the tweeter response, most likely from reducing reflections...and as such, i decided to install his dash mat and simply bump up the gains a little on the tweeters to compensate.

moving onto the door speaker install. again, the customer had a previous install done, so there were some CLD on the outter door panel, and he had done a great job of running new speaker wires into the door:



so what i did was to add more blackhole tiles throughout the outer door panel:





and seal up the inner door panel with a combination of BAM XXXL, ballistik foam barrier and some STP black CLD around the speaker mounting locations



i also fabricated new mounting baffles for the audio frog gb60, and coated it with several layers of truck bedliner to protect them against the elements:





these spacers were then bolted to the door and the GB60 installed:







i then added a FAST ring to the speaker to better seal them against the door grille:





the outer door card also got an ample amount of CLD damper:



the same process was then repeated for the passenger side door:



















 

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Discussion Starter #2
next comes the wiring pics that show the bundles running from the front of the car to the rear...ziptied to oem bundles every few inches. again, the customer did great work to begin with, i simple added the new wires as needed, and some more zipties and organized things a bit better:

































the customer also fully sound proofed the rear deck with CLD and foam, and i did some more work around the third brake light.











here, i should note that this rear deck is the biggest rattle trap i have EVER seen in a car. virtually everything that could buzz and rattle did...even with all this sound proofing, i had to literally throw the kitchen sink on it...the rear deck at the back rattled a lot against the rear window, so i laid down a foam barrier at hte back, the third brake would buzz against the rear deck, so i created a thicker barrier around it with foam so it would kinda float just off the rear deck, all the baby anchor covers buzzed like mad, so i stuffed more foam in there. in the end, i had it under control, but it certainly require a ton of work...these all happened on the last day after the install was done, so didnt get any pics of it. :)
 

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so that is it for the interior, lets move onto the main attraction. the trunk. as mentioned, the goal was to create a completely stealthy and usable setup, but also one that highlights the unique attributes of the pico 2 amps.

so here is the view with everything covered up and the stock cargo mat in place, as you acn see, 100 percent oem:



remove the cargo mat, and you see a new fake floor, done in trunk liner, with a big center cutout covered by a vented grille:







pop off the cover and here is what you see. my idea behindt he design is two fold, one is to give the appearance that 8 tiny power modules is feeding a central pair of big subs, and the other one is to really emphasize how small the pico amps are by placing them right next to the sub enclousure.

so you see a well lined with graphite vinyl, inside, a sub enclosure rises out of the floor, and 4 pico amps are arrayed on each side, with wires coming out of the side walls of the well, and directly into the side wall of the enclosure. the two audiofrog GS10s reside in a sealed enclousre of about 1.75 cubic foot before driver displacement. on the amps, two pico amps power each sub, one amp on each coil, while the passenger side bank of pico amps run each front stage driver individually.

the bottom of the well is done in 3M Di-noc carbo fiber vinyl, since he has some CF trim on the inside, and just to offset the rest of the install a bit. :)

so here are the pictures:













a close up of one of the amps showing the wiring and cables:



the view from the interior with the seats flipped down:





and finally, three more pics of the trunk :)





 

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so onto the build pics of the trunk.

first the oem spare tire well removed, revealing a decent sized well:



this was then fully sound proofed, taped up, and 6 layers of fiberglass laid down:







when that cured, it was removed from the car:




it was then trimmed to the desired shape, and a top was added forming the bottom portion of the enclosure. the slot cut into is so i can grab onto the top baffle when positioning it before bonding the two:





and then, a bigger slot was cut into the enclosure to allow the GS10s to fit through:



the top portion of hte subbox was then attached:





and then the enclosure was topped, and front, rear and side supports secured to it, note various threaded inserts on the supports to bolt down the top well.







then the top of the enclosure was wrapped in vinyl, the top of the supports foamed up to prevent buzzing, and the subbox wired up. the mosconi 4to6dsp that controls the entire system was also wired up and installed at the same time. with the nature of this build, you can see that all the cables coming out of the dsp are Y adapters. :)









this was then installed into the car and wires coming from the of the car was hooked up via barrier strips upfront:





 

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the entire structure is secured to the car via a bolt that goes into the oem spare tire retention hole, and then the bolt was sealed with some 3M strip caulk to prevent air leakage:





these are the three pieces that make up the display well, before upholstery. note the holes drilled inthe side walls:









and her they are after upholstery, with the floor panel receiving 3M CF vinyl, while the other two pieces got graphite vinyl. the grommets are also inserted at this time:











these three pieces then are attached to each other via pre drilled holes, forming the finished well:





the pico2 amps are then secured in place again via pre drilled holes:



and then the entire set up was wired out side of the car, which took a few hours but was pretty enjoyable. with 8 individual amps, there was just a huge amount of cables and wires to keep track of, but the fact that the powr and ground wires were so thin helped. so here is the finished well from all angles:

















and here you see the speaker wires that are routed from the insside of the sub enclosure top trim and down the sides and under the well:



then, this entire well was placed into the car, and wired up. the four mounting bolts are hidden beneath two of the amps per side. wiring this up kinda sucked a bit more as it was hot and i had to fold myself inside the car, but in the end, i got it all done. note the crap load of rca cables on the passenger side...another side effect of running so many individual amps hahahah







all the wires terminate in a little moon shaped platform at the front of the amp rack. this was literally all the space i had, and i utlized almost every inch of it. on it are barrier strips for 8 pairs of speaker wires, and 8 pairs each of power and ground wires, along with the little fuse blocks that the pico amps come with, snapped together (the black array labled 1 through 8 on the driver side). it all ended up fitting, but barely :)







here are the top floor pieces, including the vented grille, before and after carpeting:













all the pieces were then dyed a little lighter to better match the oem carpet:



and finally, a shot of the sound proofed trunk lid:




so thats it...a build that is far from the simple path....and with the complexity of the wiring etc, i am unsure if i will do this again unless its at the requrest of the customer. I will probably utilize these amps in a manner more befitting their size, which means hiding them in places that normal amps cannot got.

so how did these little guys perform?

very good. for one thing, they dont lack in power at all. the two GS10s, with 400 watts onboard from each pair of amps, really was able to shake the interior, despite having no clear path in. it can actually shake the rear view mirror enough to cause it to move on its own with every beat. :) there was also a lot of headroom avaialable on the front stage. like the D2 amps, i really cant tell these are class D amps when playing music, much less tiny gadges that they are. the floor noise is slightly higher than the D2 amps, i would say more around the level of an Xdiv2, but really only audible when you pause the music with the car off. Thermal capability is a bit of an unknown. like other class D amps, they do tend to heat up quickly, however, what i noticed was that after almost an hour of high freq pink noise, followed by another 45 mins of listening during a tuning session, they got hot initially and then did not seem to heat up any more. even after the session, i was able to place my hand on the amps, it was hot and uncomfortable, but i can put my hand there without any fear of burning. so i think they are pretty good and at least as good as the D2 amps. :)

so how did the car sound?

very very good i would say. the AF drivers as usual, are exceedingly natural and smooth. the doors, after all that sound proofing, had a TON of impact and extension with ease. imaging and staging all were great after the dash mat. with a very solid center image, pillar to pillar depth, an depth that is right at the front edge of the windshield. despite all the issues with the rear deck rattles, the two GS subs did an awesome job of supplying a lot of smooth bass that have really good extension. just overall a really enjoyable car to listen to.

to summarize on the Pico2 amps...if someone showed me something like this a few years back, i would have just chuckled and say, nice paper weight. but over the past few years, amps have gotten smaller and smaller while maintaining a certain level of quality. So it is perhaps less surprising that these guys perform the way they do...but even with prior experience in using the latest small amps, almost all of them pale in comparison to the size factor of the pico2...i mean, the only other "amps" that i have seen that are int he same size category are booster amps meant to attach directly behind the radio..and those are not nearly the same performance level of these.

they arent cheap, and of course, they arent the same level of amps as say a big ole class AB like the mosconi AS or Zero line, but they can go in places that no other amps can and still pack a wallop...i think it would open the doors for those that dont want to sacrifice any space in their vehicles but still want great sound.

or in this case, to have the ability to create a truly unique look that is only obtainable presently, with the Mosconi Pico 2 :)

until next time,

Cheers~!

Bing
 

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Nice build, but honestly the amp selection makes zero sense to me, personally. 8 x $400 is $3,200 worth of amps???? It seems like the space was there and he could have gotten much better quality amps and more power for that kind of money. It's not like the way they were placed, they didn't take up a lot of space, so I don't get it.

The build is clean though.
 

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looks good....but for 3200 bucks....there is a lot of other amps I would have chosen as well....but I imagine this was a "we did it because we could build" and to try out a new product
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
yeah it is as mentioned, built as a show case for the pico 2 amps. and as mentioned also int he thread, it wont be the norm for them in the future :) i can say something about stereo separation but really it comes down as you say, we did it for the sake of it. :) and the fact that no other amps can give you this kind of overall aesthetic.

"read the part where i said "THIS....is not that kind of build" lol

i think you can probably make the same argument about the D2 amps, as watt for watt, they are virtually identical to these pico amps, and with similar quality internals. and its is very possible that an arc xdiv2 or similar amp can fit in the foot print taken up by 2 of the d2 amps for a lot less money, but hey, there is no end down that tunnel :)

Jerry what are you experiences and thoughts on these amps to compare to other amps in terms of quality? just curious. I personally dont feel these are inferior in quality to many of the leading class D full range amps out there, some of which arent that cheap watt for watt. :)
 

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oh another thing, the layout and to use these amps are for sure my idea, and as mentioned, i am not sure if i will do this kind of display again...however, to help the customer realize the idea, i did discount our costs heavily on this one particular build to the point that an install done with say something like arc xdiv2 would have costed him very similar. to me its not always about making money, sometimes, its cool to do something different and still offer the customer a unique experience....but i may be the minority when it comes to that way of thinking among shop owners. :)
 

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it's as if the internet has produced a new paradigm for demo possibility, with the build log views as important as the rankings of a competitor at a sound-off. I would expect that taking a loss on profits on the amps for the sake of idea generation may pay off for Bing later on when people decide "hey, a big build using tiny amps, the upshot of this is they must be quality, or else he wouldn't have done it" and it legitimizes the Pico2 in the minds of new customers, or at least, Mosconi consumers around the world.

getting people acclimated to the new, is not always easy and sometimes it takes a shot to the wallet but it looks to me like a winning bet, Bing has created an illusion, a targeted illusion of little bricks doing heavy labor, and it works for me.


good work guys, nice visual representation and I hope Mosconi can help absorb the costs of the hit taken on the retail end, since it's a positive for views in the most influential board/forum for sales of Mosconi product, probably in this country...
 

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Loved my 2015 wrx but traded it in for a truck in the end. You're not kidding about the rear deck, thing was a PAIN to get quiet, especially with 2 15's ib. Also the rear view mirror tends to rattle like crazy, I ended up putting silicon on it to help. If the owner is interested, I still have my COBB AccessPort I can sell ;)

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Sick sick sick man, i saw in old car audio long time ago where dude used 8 rf mono Amps and the Sony processor for tuning and he said his channel,separation was awesome! Always wanted to try this . These amps might make that dream come true. But damn they $$$ build is so sick man nice nice job.
 

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Loved my 2015 wrx but traded it in for a truck in the end. You're not kidding about the rear deck, thing was a PAIN to get quiet, especially with 2 15's ib. Also the rear view mirror tends to rattle like crazy, I ended up putting silicon on it to help. If the owner is interested, I still have my COBB AccessPort I can sell ;)

Sent from my SM-G928T using Tapatalk
My wife's 07 Forester XT Limited (which I'd still be driving if it were a manual), basically a WRX with a boxey wagon body.. Love that thing. But dang it's a rattle buzz trap and buggy galore.. Gotta fix a known-issue engine light that's some crap sensor flipping out. Man if that thing were a stick, I'd have it on STi springs, cat-back'd, cold-air'd, hopped up, tuned up, liquored up and lacquered down quick! Hehe. But yeah I noticed instantly as buzzy as my Honda is, the Subie was/is quite noisy.
 

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yeah it is as mentioned, built as a show case for the pico 2 amps. and as mentioned also int he thread, it wont be the norm for them in the future :) i can say something about stereo separation but really it comes down as you say, we did it for the sake of it. :) and the fact that no other amps can give you this kind of overall aesthetic.

"read the part where i said "THIS....is not that kind of build" lol

i think you can probably make the same argument about the D2 amps, as watt for watt, they are virtually identical to these pico amps, and with similar quality internals. and its is very possible that an arc xdiv2 or similar amp can fit in the foot print taken up by 2 of the d2 amps for a lot less money, but hey, there is no end down that tunnel :)

Jerry what are you experiences and thoughts on these amps to compare to other amps in terms of quality? just curious. I personally dont feel these are inferior in quality to many of the leading class D full range amps out there, some of which arent that cheap watt for watt. :)
I didn't see anywhere where you stated that this was built as a showcase or showcar or demo car, just that you weren't hiding the amps. I guess I missed that part. I just saw $400 and 8 amps the thought, holy shit, that's $3,200!

I am not a Mosconi dealer, so I have no experience with these amps. At $2/watt at 4ohm bridged @ 14.4volts, they seem really expensive compared to many other Class D amps (or other amps in general). For instance, ARC Audio SE amps are cheaper $/watt, much bigger yes, but the quality of the SE amps I could guarantee are much higher. For Class D, ARC XDi, that you mentioned, are a much better value. However, if you need to use as these new Mosconi are intended, probably nothing can beat their size.

Again great build. Not knocking it at all, and now the purpose makes more sense, just initially a little shocked at the msrp of the amps x number of amps used.
 

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I didn't see anywhere where you stated that this was built as a showcase or showcar or demo car, just that you weren't hiding the amps. I guess I missed that part. I just saw $400 and 8 amps the thought, holy shit, that's $3,200!

I am not a Mosconi dealer, so I have no experience with these amps. At $2/watt at 4ohm bridged @ 14.4volts, they seem really expensive compared to many other Class D amps (or other amps in general). For instance, ARC Audio SE amps are cheaper $/watt, much bigger yes, but the quality of the SE amps I could guarantee are much higher. For Class D, ARC XDi, that you mentioned, are a much better value. However, if you need to use as these new Mosconi are intended, probably nothing can beat their size.

Again great build. Not knocking it at all, and now the purpose makes more sense, just initially a little shocked at the msrp of the amps x number of amps used.
haha, i guess in my mind, when i say that the goal was to highlight the unique attributes of the pico amps, i meant that the reason i used them in this build was to create something unique becuase of their size. no worries.

as for dollar per watt. yeah as i mentioned a coupla times in the thread, cheap they are not, and imo, it is for sure their sheer size that warrants their price....and for many people who have plenty of room, there isnt much point to use them, but more and more, we get requests to do builds that take away little or not space, including the spare tire...and thats where these guys can really come in handy. :) but in looking at the SE line as you mentioned, there is a pretty big descrepancy in dolar per watt, with the 4100 being at 2.5 bucks per watt, while the 2150 is a bit less than 2 per.

oh and the other more expensive class D amps, i was mostly thinking of amps like the jl HD, which is for sure above the 1 to 1 ratio, where as most class D designs are well below that.

again, its the size factor for sure...and while i know i can build the same install with other amps that carry a smaller price tag, i really dont think any of them will achieve the same kind of look that we were going for in this hehe...kinda makes most people do a double take when they see it in person. :)

i think when something offers something TRULY unique, something tangible, the first comer to market will likely be pretty expensive. and its easy to say, well yeah, its just tiny...so what? but the truth is, for some, it may mean a lot...the same can be said of high end speakers that you and I both sell....what REALLY makes a esotar or a utopia be three way really worth that much more than something else...and why is ultimo or dyn sub that expensive when you look at other badass subs...but such a thing is hard to answer.
 

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Loved my 2015 wrx but traded it in for a truck in the end. You're not kidding about the rear deck, thing was a PAIN to get quiet, especially with 2 15's ib. Also the rear view mirror tends to rattle like crazy, I ended up putting silicon on it to help. If the owner is interested, I still have my COBB AccessPort I can sell ;)

Sent from my SM-G928T using Tapatalk
hes on here, i am sure he should get it...which version AP do you have?

Chris, you see this? get it!

yeah ditto on the rear view mirror...can you post what exactly you did to quiet that down? i usually dont touch the rattly mirrors...but maybe he an do something himself on it.

sad to hear you sold it though...i was hoping back then you would be our first current gen WRX :D
 

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My wife's 07 Forester XT Limited (which I'd still be driving if it were a manual), basically a WRX with a boxey wagon body.. Love that thing. But dang it's a rattle buzz trap and buggy galore.. Gotta fix a known-issue engine light that's some crap sensor flipping out. Man if that thing were a stick, I'd have it on STi springs, cat-back'd, cold-air'd, hopped up, tuned up, liquored up and lacquered down quick! Hehe. But yeah I noticed instantly as buzzy as my Honda is, the Subie was/is quite noisy.
odd enough, my 05 LGT wagon had so little sound proofing in it but had virtually zero rattles, this despite having a sun roof that extended all the way to the rear seat AND opened fully...had the car for 7 years, never had much of an issue.

my 2010 lgt on the other hand, have way more sound proofing in it, and have way more rattle, mainly the dome light, the mirror, the sun visor, the sunroof, etc...

i blame toyota's purchase of half of subaru for this! :D
 

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That's a beautiful install Bing! Loved the way the amp rack has turned out. Fantastic job!

Getting my hands on a few Pico as well later this month, so was a promising read. Good to read that you liked them as well. We seem to have similar tastes for brands like Morel, Mosconi etc. If you do happen to get your hands on Flux Audio, do try them out as well. If you love Morel, you will definitely love the Flux.

And totally agree with you! Sometimes, just to try new stuff we have on our hands, we too offer the clients a "hard to say no offer" so that they get something at a good price and we get first hand experience to test the products so that we can plan our future builds.

It's usually a constant worry as an installer if one should stick to a formula that has worked successfully in the past or try a different combo of equipment, add something new into the mix. When it all pans out just the way you planned it, it's worth all the headaches. Can imagine how hard it must have been to crouch into that boot and wire the whole thing up. All that hard work has definitely paid off.
 
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