Upgrading the Defender
The Land Rover Defender is a true British classic design. Although, now sadly out of production, the longevity of the Defender means that they will be on (and off) our roads for a great many years to come.
It’s design hasn’t changed much in its 70 years and, despite continuous improvements to comfort the audio, performance has always been poor. A relatively noisy environment coupled with small speakers has always meant the sound in the Defender has a lot left to be desired!
As Macclesfield in Cheshire is a fairly rural community there are a lot of these vehicles about as you can imagine and over the years I have developed an audio upgrade package which is powerful and discreet.
The first challenge is the speaker size. Being only 10 cm without modification means that the bass performance is limited. Step forward JL Audio! As the undisputed leaders in subwoofer design, JL Audio are perfectly placed to design speakers that have a much better bass response. This is not to say that a 4 inch speaker can replace a subwoofer but JL Audio’s expertise means that you will get a massive improvement over the stock speaker.
To bring the bass response up to the required standard we need to fit in a subwoofer. The irony is that although the Defender is a large utility vehicle, there is almost nowhere to discreetly install a sub box without compromising useful space. JL Audio is here to the rescue, again, with their amazing sub, the 6w3.
This astonishing unit is a true 6 inch subwoofer. It is optimized for a tiny enclosure of just 0.125 cu ft. I have developed a carpet trimmed speaker box that will fit just under the roll cage bar behind the front seat. One can be used but for best results we recommend one either side to create an effective 12 inch sub. This allows for a much smoother performance and really blends with the music.
So now we have a sub we are going to need an amplifier. Again, space is limited but fortunately there is room under the driver’s seat for a compact unit. It makes no sense to just amplify the sub so we always install a multi-channel unit to power sub and speakers.
Here we must address the acoustic issues in the vehicle because of the speaker layout and the rather boxy interior of the Defender the sound staging is challenging to say the least. It is essential to install some sort of signal processor or regardless of the quality of the installed equipment, the sound stage will be poor.
I now always use the Audison Prima AP9Bit amplifier. This amazing unit has a full digital signal processor coupled to a powerful 8 channel amplifier in a very compact chassis.
This amplifier can be configured in any way I need depending on the complexity of the installed system. In the Defender it can be a 5 or 6 way for one or two subs. I can then configure the signal processor for the car acoustics and the personal musical tastes of the owner. The software is very powerful, providing full spectrum equalization on every channel with very fine time alignment available to place the sound stage where it needs to be.
As a musician I can appreciate the subtleties of sound and this software allows me to bring out the finer details of the music even in a challenging environment like the Land Rover Defender. I am often challenged by owners who say you can’t get a good sound in a Defender but I guarantee that I can. I have installed many of these systems now, both for private individuals and for local dealerships, the feedback is always the same, that they just can’t believe how good this sounds. One customer even came back to tell me that the sound was better than in his Bentley GT!
It is true that the kit described above is extremely good but without the ability to carefully tune it the results would be average at best. That is where I can make the biggest difference, my experience and exacting standards mean that this great equipment can be enjoyed to its true potential and I feel that this is true value.
Whatever you own, Land Rover, Lamborghini, Lotus or any other car with a challenging audio performance I can make it better, give Tim a call on 01625 432707 or email email@example.com to start your journey to better sound