Land Rover Defender 110: Audio Upgrade

Land Rover Defender 110: Audio Upgrade

About the Project

The iconic Land Rover Defender has been around for decades.

It has been the mainstay of farmers and the army for much of that time.


The newest version is an entirely different vehicle and is magnificent in many ways… But, the classic Defender still holds a special place in many people’s hearts. Its simplicity means that servicing, repairs, and upgrades are extremely straightforward.

The whole industry has grown up around doing just that, keeping these classics on the road.


The audio performance and concessions to comfort were never high on the designer’s priority list, so the finished vehicle is still noisy with a less than adequate sound system.


Speaker Solution for the Defender

Fortunately, there are solutions for both these problems that can transform the interior acoustics.


The first step is to insulate the vehicle adding sound deadening material and thermal treatments, which reduces road noise and keeps the heat in.



The car will be much quieter and the thermal insulation will ensure a cool vehicle in summer and most importantly right now, a warmer one in winter! Whether you choose to do this or not we can dramatically improve the audio performance. And, that does not even mean changing the original Land Rover radio. 

We can change it if required, even for a full-size touch screen carrying out a double din dash conversion but if you want to keep the original look then that is fine.


One of my favourite front speaker upgrades is the Focal ES100K component set. This diminutive speaker and tweeter fit perfectly in the original locations. It’s easily one of the best 4-inch speakers available today.


The only issue with the Focal speakers is that they like plenty of power so unless an amplifier is to be used, they are not ideal. The standard rear speakers are housed on either side of the rear tailgate door and again are 4-inch units. That is not so bad in the 90 Defender, but it means that they are a long way back in the 110.


This means that they are difficult to integrate into the front sound stage and are an important asset in the Defender because of their large interior space.


My solution here is to mount the rear speakers in the rear side door cards. These doors were never designed for this so it requires the building of shaped, vinyl-covered collars to suit. However, the great advantage is that I can use 6.5-inch speakers and I usually choose the Hertz MPX165 coaxial.


Defender Subwoofers

Although the Defender 110 is a large vehicle fitting a subwoofer can be problematic. There is no room under the front seats, the rear seats fold up and the load space does not lend itself to extra boxes in the way.

The best solution I have found is to use the under-cubby box enclosure from MudStuff and install the Eton USB8. This solution only raises the cubby by about 4 inches and provides ample room for the sub, keeping it safe.

This powerful sub solution keeps the low frequencies in the front of the vehicle which really helps keep the overall image and staging in the front where it belongs.


The essential part of this system is the amplifier and here I usually recommend the Audison AP4.9Bit. This amplifier has plenty of power to drive this speaker system and most importantly contains a powerful digital signal processor.


This processor means that I can carefully tune the audio output to compensate for the unusual speaker locations and challenging acoustic environment that is the Defender. The sophisticated software and my tuning capabilities mean that I can achieve a superb sound in this vehicle. The amplifier is compact enough to locate under the driver’s seat. Keeping it safe from whatever conditions you find yourself in.


The overall result is a massive upgrade from the tinny original regardless of whether you change the original radio/CD.

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