2020 Kia Forte Audio System Upgrade
A longtime client, Dan, brought us his 2020 Kia Forte to have a sound quality intended audio system installed. We have done his last four vehicles. Dan competes in MECA car audio, SQL division. The goal is to build and tune a system that sounds like there is a live performance on the dash of the vehicle.Starting front to back, we upgraded the big three with zero gauge Stinger power and ground wire. This allows more current flow to all of the stereo components, improving your electrical system by ensuring more consistent voltage. All visible wiring was wrapped in TechFlex for added protection. We passed through the firewall on the driver side and used a water tight grommet to ensure that no water would leak into the cab. From there, the power wire was zip-tied to the factory wiring and ran back to the trunk.
The same technique was used on the passenger side for the three pairs of Stinger 9000 series RCAs. We ended up swapping the factory radio with a Pioneer DMH-WT76NEX 9 inch, floating display radio utilizing a Metra kit and harness to retain steering wheel controls and the reverse camera. We even retained the factory USB port for USB or phone music playback and charging.
Custom A-pillars were fabricated to house the JL Audio C7-100CT tweeter and the C7-350CM component driver. Acrylic templates w/ gloss black inserts were made by Car Audio Fabrications.
The pillars were wrapped and stitched in factory-matched materials. Sound Dampening and a small amount of polyfill stuffing was applied behind the panel to prevent sound resonance. Then into the car they go!
Stinger X Sound Dampening was used on both front doors. Two layers on the outer door shield, a one layer in the inner door shield (what the speaker mounts to) and a layer of Overkill foam on the door panel itself. Sound Dampening material eliminates road noise, panel vibrations, squeaks and rattles. This ensures that the listener is hearing the full potential of the speaker Without any limitations. And to top it off, Stinger Fast Rings were installed with the JL Audio C7-650CW to ensure that all sound was being forced out into the cab of of the vehicle.
In this Dan's previous vehicle, he had three JL Audio 8W3's subwoofers in a sealed enclosure. Sticking with the same woofers, we wanted to build the enclosure firing into the cab of the vehicle but keep the same angle/ tilt of the seat passthrough visible when folded down. AJ, our installer, constructed a panel that did exactly that while still being able to utilize the rear seats. We planned to line the woofers in a row, straight across.
After testing fitment, the box was removed from the vehicle then prepped, painted and wrapped in a factory matched vinyl. Then back into the vehicle.
Wrapped between the front panel and the box are two runs of XK Glow Fiber Optic lighting. These are color changing LEDs controlled by a smartphone app via Bluetooth.
After the trunk was fully sound deadened, AJ then began to fabricate the panels for the trunk. Creating a flat panel behind the box and another panel the fit into the wheel well provides us with a foundation to work off of.
With have multiple amplifiers in a small cavity, we wanted to ensure that they would receive proper ventilation. When designing the trunk floor/ amp cover, we used 3/4 inch MDF to line the outer edge as a spacer near the end of the left and right wheel well to provide airflow within the cavity below.
The JL Audio VX800/8i was mounted on a pedestal with the intention of a hole being made on the top cover. This allows the amplifier to be visible when the cover is down. The HD750/1 was planned to go beneath the VXi amplifier. The floor was then put on piano hinges making the amplifiers easily accessible and easy to show off, of course.
All panels were then removed, painted and prepped to be wrapped in vinyl. In addition to the two amplifiers under the cover panel, a Stinger Electronics SPP1200 auxiliary battery was mounted with an isolator inline. Three Stinger X linkable fused distribution block were mounted to the left of the battery. One fuse blocks was between the isolator and second battery. The other two were after the second battery to the amplifiers, fused according the manufacture specifications. XK Glow lighting was then added to illuminate the amplifier rack.
All panels were wrapped in vehicle matched vinyl to keep the factory look/ theme of the build.
Additional lighting was added underneath the rear deck to illuminate the trunk. The Factory flooring was trimmed to fit the new floor length. This allows the customer to still utilize the trunk without damaging the vinyl and VXi amplifier.
XK Glow lighting was installed on the exterior of the vehicle. LED strips were installed around the entire perimeter to ensure the most light coverage. A strip was also added behind the front grille to illuminate the honeycomb pattern on the factory Kia front grille.
The interior was outfitted with lights as well. XK Glow LED lights were added underneath the dash and front seats to illuminate as much as the floor as possible. All controlled by the same, dual-zoned Bluetooth controller that XK Glow offers.
The controller and main power switch for the lights were mounted within the center console compartment. In order to pair with said controller, it needs to be exposed. The mobile device must touch the controller on initial setup. The controller has dual zone light outputs, allowing the control of exterior and interior lights independently all from the smartphone app.
An installation like this has a lot of behind the scenes work. From extensive research to meetings with the customer, it is a team effort and could have not happened if it wasn't for the hard work of Adam, AJ, Nick and Sondralee.
Thank you for the opportunity Dan! Enjoy!
- Dan Arndt
"This is the 4th full system install that Custom Audio has put into one of my vehicles and it is hands down the absolute best looking and sounding set-up to date. Sondralee, Nick, Adam, and AJ knocked this out of the planet. The small, subtle details, of how they matched the interior of the vehicle along with all of the beauty and trim pieces is absolutely stunning. The compliments I've received at car audio competition shows to getting my oil changed are phenomenal.