A client from the Minneapolis area contacted Sweet Sounds for help with his 2015 Cadillac Escalade audio system project. We worked with this client about 20 years ago when he lived in the Mankato area, and he was always thrilled with the previous results. He’s had several systems installed elsewhere since we last saw him, but none of them excited him. This time, he wanted something that would sound amazing and that he could be proud of for his Cadillac. After some research, he decided that it would be worth the trip to Sweet Sounds to get exactly what he was after.
Preliminary Meeting and System Design
The project started with the client visiting us in November 2017. We talked about his goals for the system and invited him to listen to one of our demo vehicles. For builds like this, we take the time to qualify the customer’s expectations carefully to ensure we design, construct and deliver exactly what they expect. After explaining the different levels of realism that can be achieved with proper component selection and DSP tuning while focusing on staging and imaging, we had a clear vision of what the client was hoping to achieve.
As we are extremely busy through the heart of winter with remote car starters, the client agreed to let us spend some time researching the best way to integrate a premium audio system into his Cadillac and let things calm down in the shop so we could give his project the focus it deserved. During that time we provided him with three quotes, arranged in a good, better and best configuration to let him choose the performance and budget he wanted.
Cadillac Escalade Audio System Design
Our plan for the Escalade was to keep the interior looking as close to factory as possible while providing an amazingly accurate and detailed audio system that had enough power to play any music at high volumes without distortion. A carefully integrated amp rack and subwoofer enclosure would combine styling cues from the interior for a classy look that suited this premium SUV.
As you can see from the photos, our shop is neat and tidy. Clients appreciate the time we put into keeping things organized. With the cost of luxury vehicles extending into the six-figure range, this is the level of professionalism and service those clients expect. Before we started, we protected the high-traffic areas of the vehicle with painters tape to prevent nicks and scratches.
Focal Flax Front Stage
We began the project by installing a Focal PS165F3 three-way component set in the front of the vehicle. We mounted the tweeters in the door sail panel. Next, we mounted the 3-inch midrange drivers on the dash. The area behind the speaker is quite large, so we used Stinger Roadkill sound damping material to create an enclosure in the open space.
Finally, it was time to install the 6.5-inch woofers in the doors of the Escalade. A key to the performance of any speaker is to ensure it is mounted securely. Using flimsy 1/16″ plastic speaker adapters just doesn’t cut it when it comes to this level. Instead, we created a custom mounting baffle using three layers of acrylic plastic. The speaker is bolted to the assembly, and the assembly is bolted to the door and sealed with a strip of closed-cell foam tape. As part of our Sound Enhancement Package, we added several layers of Roadkill damping material to the doors and a set of Fast Rings acoustic coupling rings around the door speakers.
Nav-TV Source Unit Integration
We used a NAV-TV NTV-Kit838 M650-GM MOST fiber optic integration module to extract an audio signal from the factory radio so everything in the dashboard looks and works just the same as before. This module provides us with a clean, unprocessed preamp output signal from the factory source unit. This M650-GM interface also converts the bass EQ control on the factory radio into a remote subwoofer level control so the client can fine-tune the balance of his system from the driver seat. We also added a NAV-TV NTV-Kit495 Video In Motion interface that allows the user to enable the navigation system while the vehicle is driven.
Subwoofer Enclosure and Amp Rack
We designed a premium subwoofer enclosure for the rear of the vehicle to house a pair of Focal SUBP30F 12-inch subwoofers. We opted for a down-firing vented design that would give the client excellent efficiency for those times when he wants to crank up the bass.
We integrated an amp rack into the enclosure to serve as a home for the Focal FDP6.900 and FDP1.900 amplifiers and a Mosconi DSP6TO8 Pro processor. We wrapped the body of the enclosure in a classy gray vinyl that matches the interior of the vehicle. We added an H-shaped accent piece that is wrapped in perforated vinyl that matches the inserts on the seats. A subtle red accent ring around the six-channel amp adds some style without looking gaudy. The Sweet Sounds logo at the bottom of the amp rack is the combination of a piece of 1/8-inch black acrylic with 1/8-inch thick mirrored acrylic lettering on top cut by a CNC laser.
As you can see, all of the wiring is neat and tidy around the amps so that the vehicle won’t buzz or rattle while it’s being driven. We created a cutout on the rear passenger side of the amp rack trim panel to provide access to the power folding seat switches. Finally, we trimmed the rear of the enclosure with a carpeted panel to give everything a clean appearance when the rear seats are down.
Cadillac Escalade Audio System Tuning
The last but probably the most critical step was to use our AudioControl RTA to configure the Mosconi processor and oscilloscope to set up the Focal amplifiers. The processor provides crossovers, equalization, signal delay and level-matching capabilities for each speaker in the system. Once set properly, the sound appears to come from a phantom soundstage that spans the width of the dash. As important as the equipment is, our team has decades of experience tuning and optimizing mobile audio systems. Each staff member has invested a great deal of time honing his critical listening skills. This experience allows us to design, configure and calibrate sound systems quickly and efficiently, producing amazingly realistic results.
Premium Security System
To protect his investment, we added a custom security system that features a Compustar FT-7300A control module and a Blade-AL interface module. Control for the security system is provided by the factory key fob to keep everything streamlined. We added several additional sirens and sensors to upgrade the performance of the system. Of course, we keep the location and details of those devices confidential to maximize their benefit.
Cadillac Audio System Upgrade Delivery
After several weeks of fabrication and tuning, it was finally time to return this luxury SUV to its owner. He was thrilled with the way the system looks and how it sounds. We let him listen to several of our demo tracks and showed him how the different instruments in the recording were reproduced accurately regarding placement laterally across the soundstage and were layered one in front of another. He was in awe of the realistic soundstage we achieved and was blown away by the entire project. Read first-hand the client’s thoughts on his upgrades via his Google review.
If you are in Minnesota and are looking for a premium audio system upgrade for your vehicle, take a drive to Mankato and visit our team at Sweet Sounds. We would be honored to work with you to design and install the stereo system of your dreams. For more information, give us a call at 507-345-8863 or send us an e-mail using our contact page.
Miguel rodriguez says
I know you guys worked on a 2015 cadillac escalade a few years ago I was just wondering if it was required to use a line out converter (LOC) to connect the subwoofer amplifier to the factory headunit. I am making a audio system build myself on the same suv. And couldn’t find any information on if it was needed. I’m am doing a subwoofer build. Thank you for your time.
Jeff Sweere says
A proper audio interface is highly recommended to get the best out of your system.