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As long time car audio enthusiasts, many of lament the fact that quite a few of the old school car audio brands have gone away...most of them remain in the graveyard for all eternity, worse yet, some of them get brought back to life as a skeleton of its former self, floosing the same logo but sans any of the original performance capabilities.

One such brand for me was Illusion Audio...the first time i heard some Illusion speakers was bout 12 years ago...i liked them enough that i purchase my own set of comps and sub...i enjoyed them a lot but after a very short amount of time...due to budgetary concerns as a starving grad students, i had to sell them off. then, a few years later, i heard that the company had went under and that was it...

So...when i learned that ORCA design was bringin the Illusion name back, i was both excited and nervous...deep down, i know that ORCA wouldnt do anything half assed, but still, would it live up to originals and would they still feature the same front motor design that they are known for?

almost two years ago, i saw the prototypes at CES, and some of my fears were calmed, they looked great, still had the front mounted motor, and i was assured that additional improvements had been taken into the design. for me, if I had wished for something out of my original set, it was a bit more midbass output and a bit more output and extension of the sub.

Then, a few months ago, i had a chance to sample the first of the Illusion releases, the top of the line C12 XL sub...truth be told, i was BLOWN AWAY, they are perhaps the best combo SQ and SPL subs i ahve ever heard...but still, they were not the "real" thing, they didnt have the trademark front magnet.

so after a few more months of waiting and anticipating, i finally got my hands on a full Carbon (top of the line) set to play with...

purely out of coincidence, the car that i chose to do my first all illusion build was perfectly suited for them...a brand spanking new 2012 MKVI GTI...

there are two reaons why the new Gti is perfect.

1. there is VERY little clearance behind the oem midbass location. a plastic frame limits mounting depth severely, and you cannot cut it on the account that it is also the anchoring point for the window track. there is also very little space between the metal door panel and the grill on the plastic door card. what this means is that with most good aftermarket midbasses, you are kinda stuck between a rock and a hard space, space it enough to clear the basket behind the speaker, and you risk hitting the surround against the plastic door grille. i believe there are a few members who have experienced this very problem. a cheap shallow midbass can work, but they hardly have the performance we are all looking for.

2. the spare tire well in late model VWs is a donut shaped, with a raised center section. this again limits the depth of the subwoofer. if i wanted to build a fake floor with no raising of the oem height, the entire subwoofer, both mounting depth, AND thickness of the flange and the excursion of the surround, has to be around 4.5" or so...now, if you think about it, most flat subs are still 3.5" or so deep, add thickness of flange and excursion of the surround, you are talking about close to 4.5-5" of total space. that works but since the SI BM is no longer avaiable, i have found the output and extension of most flat subs to be lacking...this is why i normally would do a side mounted box in this car.

Well, as you will see, Illusion Audio is the perfect answer to both of those issues.

so lets get started...

Goals:

1. Achieve a good level of SQ, this is a daily driver, but will compete occasionally at a few events around the area.

2. maintain a low key look inside the cabin

3. build a fully stealth fake floor with zero space taken up, durable but have a lil flash to highlight the products.

lets get started.

First is the car...almost brand new :)







Becuase the car came with the OEM nav, we decided to retain it.



as it turns out, i didnt even need to recode the headunit becuase it came with the Dynaudio system, the OEM setting is sending out a low level flat signal to the amp....

so here is what the output signal looks like, as you can see pretty flat:



to ensure that there is volume dependent equalization, here are plots of the signal at various volumes, as you can see, pretty consistent, aside from a 18khz bump at VERY low volumes (7 on the OEM setting)



I took apart a Mosconi remote bass controller and mounted the knob in one of the blank knockout panels infront of the shifter



Becuase the car uses a Mosconi 6to8 DSP processor, all tuning can be dune at the front seat using a Bluetooth connected laptop:



Now, onto the front stage. the Illusion midabass is installed in the oem lower door location.

first, two pairs of 16 gauge wires are run into the doors. in the new Gti this is a simple task by going underneath the stock molex plug. The reason i ran 2 16 guage instead of the single 14 guage i have going back to the amp is that they are eaiser to snake through and doubling them up would more than account for the differences in gauge.



knowing from past experience, i focused the sound proofing around the area of the midbass driver:



Then i fabricated two spacer baffles for the Illusion drivers, and coated them with truck bedliner to protect them against the elements. as you can see, they are just 1/2" MDF...anyone with a MKVI VW would know how crazy this is :)



these baffles were then secured tot he door:



Now before mounting the speaker, let us take a closer look at the Illusion Carbon C6 component set. It is beautifully made, craftsmanship is superior than the old ones from memory, pay special attention to the tweeter, whcih features a material i have never seen before in a car audio speaker...a combination of copper and beryllium...quite cool!











 

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back to the door, the midbass driver was then secured to the baffle:





and the back of t he door card recieved a combination of closed cell foam and deamplifer pro, to help decouple it from the metal door panel and quell resoanance around the speaker itself.



The process was then repeated on the passenger side:













Moving to the tweeters...after talking wtih Nick Wingate, i aimed the tweters about 20 degress away from off axis...they are molded into the A pillars and covered in black premium grill cloth, with a texture similar to OEM material. the OEM vents are still retained. I just LOVE staring at the copper dome all day :)









 

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onto the build pics of the pillars. first, i coated the oem pillar with resin, when it cured, it turns the grille cloth like covering of the oem pillar rock hard, hard enough for me to mold off of. then i cut out the rings for the tweeters, aimed them and attached them to the pillars:



then mold cloth was pulled, resin applied, allowed to cure and then a mixture of duraglass and resin was poured into the inside to render them almost solid:



next, body filler was applied and everyting sanded smooth and blended:



then, i painted them black so there is no color inconsistencies showing through the grille cloth:



and finally, i wrapped them with grille cloth, the tweeters were fitted, and grilles snapped back in...ready to go back into the car:





next comes some wiring pics of the bundle running from the front to the back...they kinda suck becuase in order to see them, i had to peel back the carpet with one hand while trying to shoot with a shaky hand in the other...but the point is to show the bundle ziptied to the factory looms throughout...and secured down where they transitions underneath the seat into the hatch area:





















moving onto the hatch...well, if the owner had given me his oem cargo mat, this would have been waht it would look like with it in place on a daily basis...but because he didnt, i had to steal this pic off the web :D

 

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beneath that, here is what you see. a fake floor at oem floor height, wrapped in grey carpet with two cutouts visible. you can tell the stock floor height was kept by the fact that the two hooks at the front corners of the hatch are still easily within reach.



Lift off the grilles and here is waht you see. three Mosconi Gladen One amps are at the front, from left to right, a 240.2 is bridged sending 700 watts to the subwoofer, the 120.2 powers the tweeters with 120 watts each, and a 240.2 sends 240 watts to each midbass.

Speaking of the sub, it is a single illusion audio Carbon C12 shallow. with its beautiful front motor! everything is trimmed in white vinyl matching the exterior of the car, and thre are two grille openings next to the sub...they are there purely to bring cosmetic balance to the overall look, as i felt a T shaped opening would look kind of odd. :)













Now lets take a closer look at the C12...again, the fit and finish is superb, overall mounting depth is around 3", and total including the top of the motor, means i can fit this sub with a grille in a total space of around 4.5-4.75"...this is what allowed me to do a fake floor in this car without raising the height one bit :)











now onto the build pics of the trunk...

first i cut out a panel that is the bottom part of the subbox. the center cutout mimics the opening of the spare tire well. i also laid on a layer of foam on the backside to prevent any vibrations against the metal floor:





i then built a wall of just .75", thought very small, this actually gives me an additional .2 cubic foot of air space to add to the space inside the well.



next, i sound proofed the entire well, and then taped it all up:





then, i laid the frame i just built ontop, and put down ten layers of fiberglass cloth, attaching itself to the frame at the top...forming a hybrid mdf/fiberglass enclosure bottom.

 

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once that was cured, i pulled it out of the car, and here is what it looks like:



the back end was sealed and on that surface went 10 more layers of glass:



I then coated the entire inside of the enclosure with heavy rubberized undercoating...why? well, it may help with resonance, but mostly, i was just bored waiting on a delivery and had a can laying around lol





this is waht it looks like from the bottom:



then this was test fitted in the car, and i also marked the spots where i will add the rivet nuts:



i then installed 3 1/4-20 rivet nuts per side whcih will hold down the entire structure solidly:





then i attached a top baffle to the enclosure, and started building spacers and supports for the sub and amps. the sub part i applied white vinyl:



i then mounted all the amps, the 6to8DSP, all the distrubtion and barrier strips, and prewired everything outside of the car. this leaves me less work bending over inside the hatch. all the cables are secrued every few inches with wiretie hold downs:





this is the flush mounting spacer piece for the subwoofer before and after vinyl:





this is the main cosmetic trim panel, before and after vinyl, andt hen with the mesh (with black carpet backing) attached:







this is the top floor main section after capeting, i forgot to take a picture of it in bare wood form:



here are the grilles before and after carpting:







and here are all the top floor piece together, after i dyed them slightly ligher to get it closer to the oem color. its not perfect but its a lil closer:



and finally, shots of all the wiring. also visible in the pics of the six bolts that seure the entire structure via those rivet nuts...each have its own lock washer and fender washer:





 

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so..thats it... the important question is...how do they sound?

one word: AWESOME!!!

Going into it, i was a bit worried about the metalic dome on the tweeter...to be honest i have never heard a set of metal dome tweeters i liked...but i can no longer claim that!

Right out of the box, the set can best be described as natural...there is NOT AN OUNCE OF HARSHNESS in it...to be honest, they remind me a lot of how my beloved Seas Lotus Reference sound out of the box, airy, smooth, realistic...without even much tuning. the midbass is nice and full of impact, a definite improvement compared to the orignals, with good natural extension down to 60hz in this car. midrange is nice and smooth, and the highs, again, the highs are just really really really nice and realistic...

its very odd because i stare at the shiny metal domes and i keep on thinking they should sound a certain way, but they dont sound like that at all.

i barely had an hour of tuning time on it and the stage is nice and high, good width, very good depth IMO, the center is stable but i need to play with it a lil more tomorrow to get it more focused...

the subwoofer ALSO IMPRESSED me a lot...it had really good extension, on the RTA it was flat down to literally 20hz in the car...with no real bumps and valleys...it was fast, blended really well with the music, and the output is no joke...infact, if no one told me what it was in there, i would have guessed a full sized decent output 10" at the very least...perhaps a jl 10w6 or IDQ10V3...it certainly does NOT sound like a shallow sub...

i played some old school hiphop and it ruffled my hair and shook the mirror without any straining and odd noises...and keeping in mind its taking a full 700 watts!

infact, i would say very low distortion seems to be a theme on both the C6 and the C12...just so controlled...

So keeping in mind these are just my initial impressions, i am already really really happy with these....with more playing time and expereince, i have a feeling they will become one of my new favorite go to products in future builds. their unique design really lends itself to the kind of build that i like to do...

I am really happy Illusion Audio is back, and i am ecstatic that for once, an old school brand is back even better than before!

Now, there are some unique design factors incorporated into these produts...but i am like an anti-techgeek, so i am not going to even attempt to explain them...i will have Nick come here and chime in on this thread...and explain why they sound so darn good! :)

infact, they the Illusion Audio stuff sounded so good that even Minion seemed to love it! :D



Cheers!

Bing
 

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Very nice as always. I'm planning the install for my mk6 and this will be a sticky for sure.

Love the data on the rns-315 too!
 

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Minion looks very happy with the results.It's how I felt when I hit 'refresh',good job as always.
 

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I like it and I like it allot. Love the Illusion Audio products look very nice very nice indeed.
 

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As always great build!!!! What's the price tag on these sets and how much power can they handle if you dont mind me asking.....


Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2
 

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As always great build!!!! What's the price tag on these sets and how much power can they handle if you dont mind me asking.....


Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2
Msrp on the c6 is arounf the 1k mark iirc..i forgot what the c12 is have to check.

Well as u know power.handling number is a bit arbitrary...but the set did well with the 240 on midbass and 120 on tweeter. The c12 definitly.handled the.700 without much of an issue.

But dont.quote me on this...nick aks mitsugrn would be better at answering that :)

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I717 using Tapatalk 2
 

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very nice install....

It is nice to see Illusion back in the game
 

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Although I've never heard of these before they do kinda stand out from the rest, the speakers appear to be made quite well, question though. Are Illusion products manufactured in America ? I don't recall seeing any statement about that thanks for any help and BTW a very good install :D
 

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Thanks for another great build Bing!!!
 

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I could see that sub finding itself in future up-front sub installs...... could be perfect for passenger footwell.... Great fit & finish once again..... Love the Mos amps.
 
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