*Does not count opponents in bye or forfeit rounds.
Xploded view: see how Sony Mobile pumped up Project Pro 5.0 with a pounding sound system
In the April '02 issue, we took Project Pro 5.0 to LaRocca's Performance in Old Bridge, N.J., for its last tuning session. Earlier computer alterations were put on hold so we could ship the pony to Motor City Auto Body in Newark, N.J., for its custom paintwork. Once the flanks flaunted America's colors, LaRocca and crew were able to coax a "safe" 526.1 horsepower out of the ProCharged, 342-inch Central Coast Mustang mill and that sounded pretty good to us. What didn't sound good was the stereo system that Project Pro 5.0 had.
As a matter of fact, we couldn't hear anything at all as none of the speakers was connected to the head unit, which in and of itself was a relic. Even though this horse was bred to run, it is still equipped with all of the convenience options that we have come to expect from a late-model Mustang, and the lack of a decent sound system was unacceptable. So before we gave the car away, we called Sony to see what its mobile division could offer our audio-phobic pony.
For more Information: New car audio speakers Carspearland.com
When we talked to Andrew Sivori, project marketing manager for Sony's Mobile Electronics group, we knew we met the right guy. Andrew has been reading MUSCLE MUSTANGS & FAST FORDS magazine forever and currently has three horses in his stable, one of which is a 10-second capable Real Street competitor. While he is quite the Mustang proponent, Andrew's real passion lies within car audio. We were both very eager to see what Sony could do with our giveaway car, so Project Pro 5.0 was dropped off at Sony's top-secret tech center where Andrew's crew of professional craftsmen contemplated the possibilities of our supercharged steed.
Pro 5.0's center console was home to a Sony XR 7200 AM/FM cassette receiver. It was state-of-the-art when the car was built 14 years ago, but the two-channel stereo is ancient by modern standards. While the crew was amazed that the 1988 unit was still intact, they begged us to donate it to the Sony History Archive. In return, we would receive one of Sony's brand new CDX-MP7O head units. This bedazzling piece allows the user to play standard compact discs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs in addition to MP3s. The deck also has XM satellite radio capabilities as well as CD changer controls, which will be utilized as Sony planned to throw in one of its CDX-T69 disc changers also. The new head unit was one of the easier components to install, but the speakers and amplifiers would prove to be a bit more interesting.
Sony's crew of talented artisans can build just about anything, but our truncated timetable restricted them as to what they could accomplish. With less than three weeks to devise, disassemble and develop Project Pro 5.0's system, the pressure was on. The aforementioned head unit was coupled with Sony XM-2150GSX and XM-475GSX amplifiers and two XS-L 1236 subwoofers, which were set in a custom enclosure. Two XS 5726 speakers and a set of XS-HF500G component speakers rounded out the line-up. In today's world of wild stereo creations, our system is relatively mild, but like the rest of the car, the components can be installed by someone with basic automotive knowledge and still provide exquisite results.
We had no intentions of blowing the roof off of Project Pro 5.0--we'll save that for another project--but a stereo that was comparable to the rest of the car's capabilities was deemed appropriate. Simple in design yet over the top in execution, we feel we accomplished this, and after this endeavor with Sony had come to a close, we're looking forward to working with them again. Sony's products offer great quality for a reasonable amount of money, and that's something any gearhead can understand.
The Sony stereo installation marks the final chapter in Project Pro 5.0's development with MUSCLE MUSTANGS & FAST FORDS magazine. Joe Giaimo of Pro 5.0 Shifters donated the 1988 Mustang GT, which as Emeril Lagasse would say, was taken to notches unknown with the help of ProCharger, Central Coast Mustang, Ground Pounder Products and a host of others. Less than a year later, there's over five hundred horsepower and more than 1500 watts of power available at the turn of the key.
Are you the lucky one who gets to drive it home? Look for entry forms in this issue and enter to win.
RELATED ARTICLE: You can see the wheels of imagination turning as the Sony Mobile team checks out Project Pro 5.0. Only the most svelte gymnast would be able to navigate the roll cage and get to the back seat, so we told the guys they could pitch it. This opened their options a bit and as it turned out, the seat area would be home to the new subwoofer enclosure. Although we would be adding quite a bit of weight to the car by installing this system, the excess is offset by the removal of the cumbersome back seat assembly, which weighs around 30 lbs.
When it comes to custom enclosures, the Sony crew uses the best materials. The box was built using cabinet-grade plywood.
After the backseat area was cleaned, measurements were taken for a custom speaker/ amplifier enclosure.
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Lead carpenter Tony Spinuzzi checks the fit of the enclosure prior to completing its construction.
Fiberglass resin and matting are formed to mimic the contour of the backseat area, thus blending the sculpture with its surroundings.
The amp rack is designed so that the Sony Xplod amplifiers will fit flush in the enclosure. This clean, wire-free look allows the beauty of the components to be admired.
Here, installer Jeff Teare completes the back side of the enclosure using fiberglass. This allows the box to conform to the interior and make use of all available air space.
The top of the enclosure will receive molded fiberglass panels, but the plywood offers a solid foundation to build on. The center portion will house the two Xplod amplifiers.
While Tony worked on the subwoofer box, Jeff Teare was constructing the custom door pods. Starting with a 0.25-inch plywood panel, Jeff builds up the pod with a mounting ring and uses plastic filler to solidify its shape.
PA Performance of Oley, Penn., supplied Project Pro 5.0 with a 130-amp alternator conversion kit. Even though our stereo system is relatively simple, we're still demanding quite a bit of power to run it, and our supercharged powerplant also needs the proper voltage to run efficiently. Thankfully Sony employee Marty Langan was kind enough to install it for us.
Tony checks for alignment and fit of the fiberglass covers before giving them the finishing touches.
The pods are then covered with fiberglass matting to produce a factory-formed look.
The subwoofer covers are nearly complete. Normally, Sony would sand and paint the panels, but since the clock was ticking, we opted to use matching vinyl upholstery to cover the enclosure.
Here the box has been covered, and the amplifiers are test fit. As mentioned before, the flush-mount design looks clean and it also provides an ample amount of air, which the amplifiers use for cooling.
The finished door panels complement the factory upholstery nicely, and house the new 5.25-inch component woofers. These are paired with 1-inch, aluminum dome tweeters that have been mounted in the factory dash pods. The XS-HF500G components utilize a 12db/octave crossover slope that allows the midrange woofers to expel sounds between 80-5000hz, and the dome tweeters to handle everything above that.
The rear speakers were exchanged for Xplod XS-5726 units, which are stock replacements. Nearly fourteen years have passed since the stock sound system was considered to be state-of-the-art, and current technology makes use of Sony's proprietary Highly Oriented Polyolefine composite material instead of paper for the woofer canes. This and other improvements have increased sound quality and reliability greatly.
The finished enclosure is a work of art. The vinyl matches the factory upholstery perfectly and the contrasting red (not evident in black and white) of the Sony Xplod components gives Project Pro 5.0 the kind of pizzazz a giveaway car needs. The 800-watt, 4-channel amp provides power to the component speakers as well as the rear mid-range speakers. The 760-watt amplifier is a two-channel unit dedicated to driving the two 12-inch subwoofers. Both amps use high-current MOSFET power supplies and gold-plated terminals for the best connections.
The Sony team also cleaned up Project Pro 5.0's hatch area, which had endured an abusive past. The rear carpet is part of the rear seat backs and since we were losing the seats, the rug had to go as well. Sony carpeted the spare tire well and then created a false floor to replace the piece of cardboard that Ford provided oh so many years ago.
Tony uses some fiberfill inside the speaker enclosure to provide the best environment for the subwoofers. All speakers in general have an optimum enclosure air volume that allows them to operate at their best, and when tight confines will not afford the proper amount of space, the fiberfill can be used to slow down the waves in the box, thus creating the effect of having more volume.
The difference is quite amazing. Here is Project Pro 5.0 before and after Sony Mobile worked its magic.
Many plastic pieces take a beating in a 4-year-old car and the rear speaker grilles were no exception. Sony used some fabric to cover them as they were not in the best shape.
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Other parts that were broken, busted or missing needed replacing and Delk Performance Parts of Murfreesboro, Tenn., came to the rescue. They supplied us with a console that possessed a working ashtray door, as well as kick panels. The Sony crew went ahead and did the replacement work for us. Thanks guys.
The centerpiece of our installation is the Sony CDX-MP70 head unit pictured on the left. This piece has more options than a Mercedes and will play just about any type of compact disc available. The faceplate is detachable and motorized, as it folds down to allow the CD drawer to extend. We were a little concerned that the drawer might not be accessible when the car is in any of the forward gears but as it turned out, there was plenty of clearance. G-Protection will keep the unit from skipping, even with all 526 horses pounding, and the high-resolution, liquid crystal display offers seven different colors. Dynamic Soundstage Organizer and a 7-band equalizer lets the user adjust the output of the Custom File'd and CD Text'd music selections. Front and rear preamplifier outputs as well as a low-pass subwoofer output allows the high-end unit to connect to the Xplod amplifiers without the use of converters. On the right is the venerable XR-7200, which was installed by the car's original owner. The cassette player features a pullout chassis for security and AM/FM capabilities. Wow.
Installation of the head unit was relatively simple as the console trim plate was already the correct size. Here Marty fits the stereo into position.