A client from Vancouver recently visited Ralph’s Radio to discuss options for a 2009 Mercedes ML63 alarm system and stereo upgrade. The factory-installed stereo system didn’t meet his expectations for clarity or volume capability, and the radio lacked the communication and entertainment features he wanted. After inspecting the vehicle and auditioning several products in our showroom, we created an audio upgrade package that would breathe new life into the vehicle and offer the protection he wanted.
Radio with Smartphone Integration
We started the project by installing a Pioneer AVIC-7201NEX 7-inch touchscreen multimedia receiver in the dash of the SUV. This new radio includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. The client can use the Siri voice recognition built into his iPhone to make phone calls, send text messages or choose the music he wants to hear.
We added a HyperGear UFO wireless charging pad to the storage tray under the climate controls. All the customer has to do is place his iPhone X in the storage compartment and it will start to charge automatically.
Mercedes-Benz SUV Speaker Upgrade
The next step in enhancing the sound system in this SUV was to replace the front and rear speakers with Focal ES 165 KX2 6.5-inch components. Our fabrication team created a set of acrylic adapters to mount the woofers in the factory speaker locations in the doors. We use plastics instead of wood because plastic won’t swell or get moldy when wet.
While we had the doors apart, we added a layer of SoundSkins damping material to the door. This deadening material reduces the level of window and road noise that is transferred into the vehicle. Sealing the openings in the inner door skin improves the performance of the new Focal speakers.
Custom Subwoofer System
Part of the requirement for this audio system upgrade was to dramatically improve the low-frequency performance of the sound system. We removed the plastic subwoofer enclosure from the driver’s side of the cargo area and used fiberglass to create the body of a new enclosure. Once the fiberglass had cured, our team created a front panel out of medium-density fibreboard and bonded it to the fiberglass body using long-strand fiberglass body filler. We finished the face of the enclosure in dark gray vinyl before installing an Audison APS 10D 10-inch subwoofer.
Next, we cut an opening into the factory trim panel and attached a custom grille fabricated from MDF and perforated metal mesh. The trim panel is held in place with the factory fasteners and doesn’t take up any storage room in the cargo area.
Focal System Amplifiers
The client chose three Focal FPX amplifiers to power the system. The front and rear door components are fed by a pair of FPX4800 amplifiers, and the subwoofer is fed by a matching FPX11000 subwoofer amp. We used power and speaker wire from Audison Connection to install the amps in the vehicle and ensure efficient power delivery from the battery and to the speakers.
Mercedes ML63 Alarm System
To protect the vehicle, we installed a Compustar alarm system that consists of an FT-7300A-CONT control module and a Prime 901 RF-2W901-SS remote control kit. The remotes include an LCD screen and provide two-way communication with the vehicle. When the client presses the door lock button, an icon on the remote lets him know when the command has been received and executed. Likewise, if the alarm system is triggered, the remote vibrates and beeps to let him know something is wrong.
ML63 Audio System Tuning and Delivery
With the equipment installed, the last step was for our team to fine-tune the crossovers and level controls on the amplifier to maximize the performance of the new speakers in the vehicle. The client loved the new technology in the Pioneer head unit and was amazed at how great the new Focal speakers and Audison subwoofer sound. We finished by demonstrating how to use the Mercedes ML63 alarm system. If you are interested in upgrading the audio system in your vehicle, drop by Ralph’s Radio in Vancouver or Victoria and speak to a member of our team. Alternatively, send us an e-mail using our contact page, and we can schedule a personalized consultation.