At WSS Westminster Speed and Sound, the F150 sound system upgrade is a standard project. We have many clients who own F150’s. They come to our facility and immediately tell us “I absolutely hate the sound of my stereo.” Hate is a strong word… But we can understand why, after hearing the atrocious sound quality of the Ford factory installed speakers. Even purchasing the factory “upgraded” Sony stereo system does not get you very far.
Crofton Client Brings Us a Raptor
We recently had a client bring us a 2013 F150 from Crofton, MD. This F150 was special… It was a Raptor! To say we were excited to work on this truck is an enormous understatement. The Ford F150 Raptor is quite possibly the coolest truck to ever drive off the assembly line. Rated at 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque, the big bore 6.2L V8 motor is just one aspect that we love. It also has 11.2” front and 12.1” rear suspension travel, along with the rest of the suspension built to handle the most unforgiving terrain a truck can set its tires on. Ford also added features to the Raptor like hill descent control, rugged skid plate protection, and an off-road-ready exterior package. They also added some extra strength components, such as unique cast aluminum control arms. Needless to say, the Ford Raptor is a monster.
Just like the rest of the Ford F150’s out there, the sound system in this Raptor is pretty poor. Since it had the Sony package it had more output than the base model Ford stereo, but it still could not perform on a level that would be acceptable in this cool of a truck. We did a nice stereo in a Platinum F150 not too long ago that also had the Sony package. We already knew the sky was the limit with the stereo in this truck, even leaving the original radio in the dash. The existing unit had everything the client wanted already, so rather than waste money on replacing it we used his budget in areas that would be more beneficial and give him the highest return on his investment. Integrating a complete stereo to an existing factory radio is becoming more and more prevalent now.
Interfacing With The F150 Factory Radio
In order to effectively install our components using the factory radio we used an Audio Control LCQ1. This integration device gives a full 6 channels of high quality signal to run amplifiers. It also incorporates an equalizer so we were able to fine tune the stereo with exceptional precision. To top it off, the LCQ1 also has Audio Control’s patent pending AccuBass technology built into it. The AccuBass is designed to restore bass at higher volumes that is lost due to the equalization curves in the factory radio and/or amplifiers. This issue is called “bass roll-off.” As you turn the volume up on many OEM head units, the bass is cut back to protect the low quality factory speakers at higher output levels. We don’t ever want that to happen! The Audio Control piece fixed this issue seamlessly, and gave us a phenomenal output signal to work with.
JL Audio Supplies The Power
Now that we had a clean and powerful signal, we chose the JL Audio HD amplifiers for this Raptor. Specifically, the HD600.4 and HD750.1. The HD amplifiers are designed to produce maximum output using minimal space. These amps are also stack-able, so we were able to custom fabricate an amp rack holding both amplifiers under the passenger side rear seat. We carpeted the cover for the amps so that it looked like a factory option. Along with the amps, we also installed a bass knob next to the steering column in a convenient location.
German Maestro To The Rescue
The next step in this Raptor project was to select the parts that these HD amplifiers would be energizing. We gave the client a full demonstration of many speakers and carefully selected the best match for his taste in music as well as his budget. The speakers we chose were German Maestro Epic components for the front, and German Maestro Concept coax’s for the rear locations. The combination of the Epics and Concepts in this vehicle produced a dynamic and powerful sound. Being powered by an HD amp, the speakers will now keep up in output for when the Raptor is sailing across rugged terrain with the windows down! The only thing missing was the bass!
Stealthbox Lives Up To It’s Name
We wanted to add bass to the stereo of this Raptor, but we knew we couldn’t sacrifice a lot of storage space. We also knew whatever enclosure we installed needed to be bolted to the vehicle and essentially bullet proof since this vehicle would be driven hard on many types of terrain. The solution was not hard to find. JL Audio manufactures a Stealthbox specifically designed for the acoustic environment of the F150 cabin. This enclosure holds a 13TW5 subwoofer under the driver’s side rear seat. The 13TW5 is the result of years of research and development in revolutionary thin-woofer technology. The subwoofer is 13.5” in diameter and only a minute 2.5” deep. In the past, a subwoofer of that size physically could not reproduce any real bass. That fact has been proven wrong by the 13TW5. The downward-firing enclosure in this Ford F150 Raptor produced the kind of bass you would not believe, after seeing the Stealthbox and knowing it was only one subwoofer! It filled the truck with the perfect amount of bass to compliment the sound of the stereo. As with most any subwoofer, it also restored the lost lower octaves of music that could not be reproduced by just the speakers alone.
Hushmat Removes The Rattles, Breaks The Waves
To make sure we were able to deliver the full potential of this sound system upgrade to the clients ears, we had one more thing to do. We also installed Hushmat damping materials in all four doors, along with their new product called Wave Breaker. Hushmat Ultra Damping helps to reduce any annoying resonations and vibrations in the doors that would take away from the integrity of this high quality stereo we were creating. Wave Breaker is a new micro-cellular technology also made by Hushmat. It is installed behind the speaker inside the door. Since the speaker is moving in and out constantly it produces waves of sound that exit the rear of the speaker and bounce around inside the door, also hitting the back of the speaker. This negatively “colors” the sound produced by the speaker and interferes with its performance potential. The Wave Breaker absorbs and diffuses the back waves of the speakers, eliminating this issue.
End Result……. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!
To unknowing eyes, we had never even touched this Ford F150 Raptor! We, and this particular client, were very pleased with how well the stereo performed with the factory radio still in the dash and very little equipment visible inside the truck. The team here at WSS was excited to work on this truck and even MORE excited to deliver the finished product to its owner. When it comes to Ford F150’s, we love that the factory stereo is poor and low quality in such a nice truck… Because we love working on them! If you have an F150 of ANY trim level it would be our pleasure to give you a full demonstration of exactly how your stereo could perform. We will take the time to show you in person what your stereo is missing. Send us an email, give us a call, or stop by our top notch facility at your convenience!
For more information, give us a call at 410-857-5300, EMAIL US, or just stop in and allow us to show you around!