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My wife (Angie) just got her a 2013 Lexus ES350 for her daily ride. I have to admit it is a pretty nice car even if I don't get to drive it much. Although we have both been a little bit underwhelmed with the car, as the Kia Optima she sold to our friends out features the ES in several areas, but the Kia does lack the comfort and ride of the ES. Anyway, she got what she wanted, as a wife should, right? :whistling:

Over the years I have pretty much always done our installs (with a little help from my friends) and the installs have all been in my own vehicle, never in hers. We have talked about putting her a system in her car every time she gets one, but we never do. Well this time she is going to get one... Lord willing of course.

The ES came with a Mark Levinson system. It was not planned, the ML system just happen to be part of a package. It boast 15 speakers and 8-900 watts (don't remember the exact power). It sounds okay for a factory system. Okay... it doesn't really sound okay, it is very weak. I am surprised that Harman would even put the Mark Levinson name on this system. I would have thought it would be much much better than it is. To be fair though, talk radio sounds pretty good on it... just don't play any music with any bass ... and be ready for a major lack of mid-bass... and some brittle harshness in the high end. Yeah, I am being overly critical. There are probably thousands upon thousands that would be perfectly happy with this system, but myself nor my wife care for it. I am mainly referring to the speakers and the power amp. The head unit is fine. It has the Nav, Apps, Bluetooth, USB, XM Radio, CD, DVD, etc.

I decided that I was not going to take a chance on tearing this car apart and messing something up. I also don't have the time nor the willpower to make it happen. So I went on a quest to find the best installer in the southeast to do this install. I hit up Erin H (member here at HTS and bikinpunk at DIYMA forum, where he is a moderator). Erin is one of those guys that just plain knows a lot about car audio and he knows who is who in the car audio world... and I knew he would know who to recommend. He gave me a couple of names, but the one that he seemed to be the highest on... and the one that impressed me the most after talking with him is Steve Cook of AudioX in Florence, AL. It just so happens that we have one of the best installers in the world right here in little ole Alabama. I know everything always thinks "National Champions of College Football" when they hear "Alabama" (uhhh ... Roll Tide Roll), but we have a "World Champion" in our mist as well.

Steve is the 2009 MECA World Champion for the Modex class. He won the 2009 World Finals Soundfest "SQ Best of Show". He is also the 2010 Alabama Champion in Sound Quality LeagueModex SQ. He has been competing in SPL contests for quite a number of years... and lays claim as a World Champ in dB Drag Racing (18), IASCA (5) and USACi (3). He is the only World Cup winner who is an SQL World Champ. Simply put... he has some serious credentials.

It took me 4.5 hours to drive from Luverne, AL to Florence, AL ... just to take this car up there to let him and his right hand man (DJ) do this install. Like I said... I wanted the best doing this, so I was willing to make it happen if it took driving it to Texas (or wherever). I drove up early Tuesday morning, dropped the car off and have rented a car for the week. That's pretty serious business, but I have a LOT of faith in Steve and his crew at AudioX and am putting my trust in these guys to make it happen for us. No doubt she'll have a better sounding system than I could have ever installed for her. For that matter... it will better than anything I have ever installed in my own vehicle, cause I can't even begin to tune like Steve can tune.

How else do you make a woman happy for her anniversary (this weekend - April 7 :bigsmile: ... 29 years).

After discussing with Steve what we wanted, this will be more on the SQL side than SPL, although I am sure this will have plenty of SPL with the sub and amp planned... and no doubt it will be a heap better than the ML system.

Steve came up with the following, which I believe will make for an awesome system.

Zapco DSP-Z8 Processor
JL Audio 10W6v3 Sub - powered by a JL Audio XD600/1
Morel Virtus 603 3-Way Component Speakers - powered by a JL Audio XD600/6 (Active)


I remember installing a W6v2 in my truck way back when... with a Kicker 600.1 amp. That sub was awesome to the bone... and JL has really improved these subs with the v3. It ought to be quite impressive to say the least.

They plan to add some Roadkill/Dynamat type sound deadening material to the doors and trunk area. Tentative plans are to mount the mid-bass in the door, midrange in the factory dash location where the 3.5" coaxial is located... and custom form the tweeter in the pillars. In the back they will remove the factory sub and do something with the 10W6 sub back there... keeping the enclosure under the rear deck so the we don't take up any more trunk space than necessary. They plan to do an amp rack and mount the amps and processor in the trunk as well. We wanted everything to be inconspicuous as possible.

I left my camera with DJ and asked him to be sure and take some install pics for us, so hopefully I will have some to share with you guys. I will no doubt have some of the finished install to share with you.
 

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I'll guess you'll park it in the garage. It's sad how many punks like to rip people off I'm sure your aware of that. I drive a wrangler and don't lock it so I don't have to replace my windows it's stock stereo is pretty bad but no one wants it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey Brandon... our garage is occupied by our dedicated home theater room. All we have is a carport now. However, we live way out in the country, down a graveled dirt road... and our driveway is 1/4 mile long back to our house, with gatorhogs all over the place. They would scare the daylights out of any thief. lol ... Seriously though, we don't worry about it too much where we are. A thief would definitely have to be pretty brave to come down our long driveway with all these guns we have here... an arsenal of weapons will be waiting on them, not to mention a couple of super mean dogs that would tear the skin off of them. Bring it on... if the gatorhogs and dogs don't get them, the shotgun and .45 will. :bigsmile:

Already got some pics Glen... on their way in a few.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here are some pics Steve sent me today... first day of basically tearing down the car and getting the wires ran and tapped into the factory amp. I am thinking the next to the last photo is sound deadening material in the door. It is a bit too close up to tell, but DJ did mention deadening the outer skin of the door.

Look at that door speaker... gargantuan. Looks like a 10" speaker. For there to be hardly any mid-bass in that factory system surprises me, especially with that large of a door speaker. This is from merely sticking an amp in there and not attempting to level match the system. You got these door speaker sunk way down low with the sound getting absorbed up by the carpet, seats, clothing, etc.... while the dash speakers are bouncing off the windshield in super speed mode. Plain an simple... a very poorly designed system.
















 

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Discussion Starter #6
They have torn my car apart, poked a big hole in my a-pillar and deformed it.

 

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I'm sure your wife will appreciate the upgrade when it's finished. I also think she'd be a bit concerned if she was watching someone tear apart her new car. When I had my audio system upgraded and remote start/alarm installed on my brand new truck I couldn't even bear watching.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you want, you can pay me to rip the car apart! :paddle::bigsmile:
I bet you could too, but she might rip me apart for letting you rip it apart. I am running and hiding. :yes:

I'm sure your wife will appreciate the upgrade when it's finished. I also think she'd be a bit concerned if she was watching someone tear apart her new car. When I had my audio system upgraded and remote start/alarm installed on my brand new truck I couldn't even bear watching.
I did show her a few of these pics but she did not seem too concerned. I think she understands I took it to a professional for a reason. There are not many people I would trust with my wife's car, especially a new one like this.

Check out what I did to my 09 Sonata: http://www.snapbug.ws/caraudio.html
 

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awesome progress. :)

Steve is one of the few people who I always recommend without question. Not only is he a world class installer, he's a world class tuner and has world class ears. The guy is a machine.
 

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Yes, you're definitely in good hands with Steve. Can't wait to see the finished product and hear your report on the performance upgrade, Sonnie.
 

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Manville, didn't know you posted here. Nice to see you. :)

Sonnie, make sure you tell Steve to have his truck out together when you pick up your car so you can hear it.

Well... On second thought, maybe you shouldn't. It'll ruin you on any systems you hear in the future. Lol.
 

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Looks like it will have a great system for sure. I use JL for subs and amps in my car and boat and love them.
 

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Very clean looking and it would appear plenty of power. I can see why you traveled so far to have the work done.
 

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Steve sent me a picture of that last night and a series of texts stating how great your car sounds and how he likes it more than his truck. So, watch out. You may wind up getting a truck back instead of the Lexus. lol.
 
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