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Electronics Stereo

Subwoofer Cable Management in Trunk

Last time I took signals off the subwoofer amp and test fitted 2 10" JL W0v3 woofers, and mounted the amp.

Subwoofers in a Mercedes
I painted the board with black enamel

Running the wires thru MB cable management

From the top of the trunk to get the signals and remote on, or from the trunk to bring power up, no matter how where you mount your amp you'll want to take advantage of MB cable management.

From the spare tire area into the ceiling in the forward right there is space for either a 4 gauge wire.  There also seems to be some provisioning for running potentially other wires into the cabin and perhaps forward.  In this case we will just unhook all the black pusher pins on the starboard side.  We will also need to unhook the two black pusher pins for the carpet.

At this point there should be three luggage tie downs to take off.  They pop off from the front using a plastic trim tool on each side.  Then are undone with a pretty big torq.  Please note it is very easy to cross thread these if you take the bolts all the way out please ensure they thread straight ahead when returning them into place or they may not seat completely and provide resistance.  Please note the general direction of all the luggage tie down tabs, as they stay the same in case you forget.

In my case I ran my negative to a ground on the right side, but in retrospect may have done it to the trunk as there seems to be an extra ground there.  I however decide to run it down the front right area and then taped it down then grounded to the areas on the starboard abaft area.

I ran up through this making sure not to hit anything that moves or articulates, like the trunk arms.

Was going to hit the wood with some black but maybe the red and moving some of the tape would be better. I taped the signal wire and the remote on from the subwoofer amp to the aftermarket subwoofer amp. I left the stock amp unplugged and taped it to the top.  I later painted the board and am considering adding a fuse further by the battery as well.

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Electronics Stereo

Mount an Amplifier in a Mercedes Benz CLS C218, W212

In the second part of my sub install in a Mercedes CLS or E class I mounted the amplifier.  I wish I had never done it this way but take this post as learning from some of my mistakes and use the benefit of my retrospect for your install. If you want to skip this part and read about cable management check out part 3.

I need a garage...

I mounted the amp to the ceiling of the trunk, before the trunk lid, on a black mount made out of some ridiculously hard material. Something so hard you can't really thread into it.  So if you are going to mount on this, which in retrospect I wouldn't, it is best to drill a hole and have either a metal fastener at the end, or maybe a slick bolt setup?

There is some room further "in" (fore) the trunk.  If you really want to mount on the ceiling I would do something here carefully with like 1/2" sheetmetal screws and perhaps some spaces depending on depth.  My amp was too big to mount here.

What I should have done in retrospect was mount the amp to a side fairing to the side of my subwoofer.  I would likely attach an amp fairing piece with the up to 2x10" subwoofers (2x10") with some sort of dampening between, like padded rubber washers, and another fairing for the other side of the subwoofer.  Both can be attached to load space loops near the back seats with strap ties.

Overall I wouldn't mount to the black thing again, or the ceiling as mentioned.  However I did and it was painful.  I used a 3/4" piece of MDF mounted to 4 screws with metal fasteners and 1/4" rubberized plastic spacers.  I mounted the amp to this and in retrospect i would have set the threaded inserts.  I thought the dude on youtube suggesting it was adding complexity but it would have been useful as holding the amp and drilling holes and then hand screwing the screws in so you don't strip them.

Started to pour.

The wiring I still have to work out. It started to pour so I didn't really even get a chance to clean up, not just ruining my prior car wash.

 

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Electronics Stereo

Add a Subwoofer: install a subwoofer on CLS C218 E W212

Adding a subwoofer can add to new sensation of frequencies factory drivers don't hit.  I went with 2 - ten inch jl audio 10w0v3.  While back in the 1990s the W0 I didn't pay much attention to, running a JL 18w6.  I enjoy the new w0v3 series.  The new 10w6 is what I would go with if money were of no issue.

I like 10" woofers a lot.  8" woofers are great for mid-bass. 12" subwoofers are loud.  15" and 18" subs hit hard low and lower.  While 10" subs to me sound pretty good for their size and they are easier to blend and smaller than 12" woofers.  I also like their tonality more than 12" woofers, and would likely choose only a much larger subwoofer if 10" wasn't useful (e.g. PA). In those cases I like sealed 18" woofers. They hit low and deep while retaining accuracy. Anyway back to the 10" woofers, they sound great in the car, and I could potentially see pairing them with 8" woofers too.  But I would go with dual 10" woofers and I did.

 While the CLS C218, similar to W212 stereo isn't bad for a starting base, I added dynamat and upgraded the once I upgraded the front drivers things really got going, later I installed crossovers, all of this of course was car audio foreplay, art.

There are a few things to note. One if you have harman kardon with the subwoofer amp n40/9, I tap that socket and leave it unplugged.  I opted to use two different tap styles to test both.  The first are long traditional ones,  you fit two uncut wires and the newer taps into just one wire and uses a spade connector for the second.  This spade connector style is shorter and the connection seems sturdier as the spade presents a structural resistance, so I would use this one.

I found two blacks.  One of which was wired into remote power on of the new amp.  The second two wires are for the RCA style signals.  White is positive and and I believe brown is negative but please reference the pictures.

I then ran a small run of wire from the small battery in the back, for the power on.  I installed two speaker cables out for a run to two 10w0v3 which are rated for approximately 330 watts.  I used my old hifonics hercules amp to provide 2 ohm outs for each sub a total of 750watts RMS.  I found in this setup about 9pm on the dial worked well in 2 channel mode to provide a smooth listening experience, and in 4 channel and logic mode to produce a party like experience with the woofer being fed both the 60 hz low pass and the 80 hz rear low pass signal.

At 11pm I found two channel in flat mode to provide a great but slightly overpowering experience. Maybe 10pm is a happy medium? Moving foward and summing up this original post, yes the old forum posts work.

Thanks a lot to all the mbworld members who helped make this work, posts like: https://mbworld.org/forums/cls-coupe-c218/749105-adding-subwoofer-amp.html

Read how I mounted the amp and routed the wires using MB Cable management.

 

Categories
Electronics Stereo

Adding Capacitors and Crossovers to Enhance Factory Speakers’ Sound

One of the ways manufactures can save on the total cost of an audio system is by cutting the costs of the crossovers.  As digital processing has evolved one might assume that factory wiring and amps would put out tightly controlled audio signals to each and every speaker independently.  However, that is not true for the vast majority of cars.  To see how I crafted the crossovers for the front door mid-woofers check out the mid-woofer upgrade post.

The drivers that are used in luxury cars are often numerous and of various non-standard sizes.  While upgrading the main playing drivers makes a lot of sense, the difficulty increases and return decreases greatly when we are discussing the rear surround for example.

Using this capacitor will make the factory center speaker sound cleaner. It should be mounted on the grey side.

In these cases, it makes a lot of sense to control the frequencies theses small drivers are getting fed.  So that when you turn up the volume, the sound remains clear and undistorted for longer. On the center channel I added two capacitors but upon reflection of the wiring diagram the center channel is not a summation of two speakers but one connector seems to be for SOS and Mercedes calling, and the other, it seems like right side is for the music.  I'll try to remove the left capacitor in the future to come back and check to see if that is the case.

To remove the front grid, you use a straight plastic pry tool. releasing 4 tabs near the you.  The windshield side is attached by lifting up and out.  Remove the front two connectors carefully. Once at the speaker pry gently on the center speaker and splice inline a 68mF capacitor on the right connector solid color.

Remember to always insulate any metal

For now I can say that with the volume all the way up, the front stock does not distort when paired with a 68mF capacitor.  It does sound a bit bright for my tastes, but I like bass, and with a subwoofer I'm sure it will sound good if I ever decide to go into logic 7 mode.

In the rear it looks like the easiest way to add cross overs is from the trunk amp.  I would look at the stock wiring diagram and find the surround left and right + output and inline splice a 68mF capacitor.  These 68mF capacitors should pass frequencies of ~600hz and above.  Protecting these small woofers from trying to play frequencies they cannot.  Which I guess would be some where close to 400hz but have not tested.

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Electronics Stereo

Upgrade Mid-Woofers in a Mercedes CLS 2011-2018 (likely others too)

After I upgraded the front woofers, added dynamat, upgraded the tweeters, it was time to tackle the mid-woofers.  I wanted something that would fit, match the sensitivity, and that was well controlled.

I choose the Memphis audio 2.75" mid-woofer which left a small gap (that should be remedied with some mounting options), but more importantly the depth fit.  The original have a depth of just less than 2" so the upgraded option must also have a depth of no more than 2" because of how it mounts against the 6.5" inner door card.

To control the frequency I used a capacitor of 68 microfarad (mF) paired wit an inductor of .1 mH.  The capacitor blocks bass frequencies that would overwhelm the small driver.  The inductor blocks the hi-frequencies which are handled by the tweeter.  The mid-woofer and tweeter share a common take off.  Whereas in the rear it seems the audio is routed to the mid-woofer then then to the tweeter.  I think that is for a different post though.

I bought more of the 68 mF capacitors to block bass or hi-pass frequencies the small factory center and rear surrounds cannot play.  While I am not going to upgrade these speakers I am going to add capacitors to them.

Later I am going to add .85 mH inductors on the front and rear woofers which will block high-frequencies from being played by the woofers.  This should help clean up the sound when the volume is turned up.  After all this next are the subwoofers!

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DIY Stereo

Upgrade Mercedes Tweeters in CLS

Previously, I purchased a set of speakers to fit into the front.  I was only able to ft the woofers at the time but it made a huge difference.  The dynaudio tweeters and mid did not fit.  The screen I previously upgraded but haven't yet done a video on.

Later I upgraded the MB CLS rear woofers and then added inductors to them but honestly it didn't make as big of a difference. The rear woofers cut over at 80hz, the front at 60hz.

With the upgraded front woofers, I decided it was time to take on the tweeters as they became muddy and distorted at higher volumes now that I've tamed some of the front & rear rattles.

Upgrade front tweeters in a Mercedes with Harmon Kardon

Upgrading the front tweeter is not difficult at all. You do not need to remove the door card, but you will need to add a capacitor inline to protect it.  I choose to use the capacitor from the JL C2 crossover which reduced the crossover frequency allowing the front tweeter to play approximately 2000hz deeper than the oem MB HK front tweeter.  Approximately 6500hz with 6 MFD mylar aftermarket cap acting as a 1st order crossover, so some sound down to 3250hz would be audible at -6db, vs  ~8500hz with 4.7MFD stock 1st over crossover, which could be heard again at 4250 at -6db.

Tweeter Upgrade in Mercedes CLS c218 w218

This actually helped staging quite a bit more than I thought it would.

I have a set of mids ordered for the front doors and the install is written up: upgrade mercedes mid woofers

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DIY Stereo

Reduce Bass Rattle from Rear of Mercedes CLS or E-Class

I really enjoy driving my CLS.  I do remember though the speakers would rattle, the doors would rattle; I drove over a rough patch of road and I thought to myself, "why did I trade in my avalon."  That is how bad the speakers and rattle were.

Slowly, piece by piece, door by door, I began to dynamat everything that rattled.  Dynamatting the front doors (and adding new woofers) paid out huge and completely stopped rattling that used to occur by the front arm rest.

I got to a point though when I didn't know what to do next.  I turned to the mbworld for suggestions.  I sound treated the rear grill, and later the area where the back up indicator lights are.  Both suggestions of mbworld.

This article deals with the area in the rear where the indicator lights are.  It is detached from the roof by pulling down by the glass, popping a clip on each side with straight downward force.  No pry tool is needed. Then this slides forward to release the part from the ceiling.

Inside you'll find a plastic part that is prone to resonate rattling, by this I mean if you tap it, it sounds hallow and perhaps a bit shaky.  There is a soft noise deadener applied,  carefully remove this part, apply the dynamat beneath it, and reattach the soft noise deadener with the dynamat backing to use as glue against the soft deadener.

I applied dynamat to this plastic part and to the areas that hold the clips in place.  Be careful not to plug the holes though. as their are fingers which slide through these holes.  I added a bit of dynamat above this plastic piece to the bare metal areas.  I tapped on each to see which "rang" or were hallow sounding and applied to those pieces.

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DIY Stereo

Eliminate Some Rattling from Rear Deck

Many Mercedes in the USA have a built in subwoofer in the rear deck. There is unfortunately a certain amount of rattle that occurs when the bass or volume is turned up.

I find this unpleasant, and go to great lengths to eliminate rattles. I've researched this a bit, and it seems some are caused by loose nuts in the trunk, some are from areas where the rear shade retracts. I found though a lot comes from the grill that goes over the subwoofer.

It's very easy to take out. Just a few tabs. It's a long piece of plastic with not much holding the tabs in place. I used dynamat on the back of all the tabs and along some of the longer areas without any musical output and along some of the sides.

It's a really nice DIY project that pays big dividends! I would also doubt they would even attempt to fix this at most MB dealerships.

Categories
Stereo

Add Dynamat to Mercedes Trunk

Adding dynamat sound deadener to the trunk of your mercedes can help cut down noise and make your subwoofer sound better.

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DIY Stereo

Replace Rear Door Speakers and Remove Rear Door Card in a C218

Replace Rear Door Speakers and Remove Rear Door Card in a C218 W218 X218 Mercedes.  I didn't see this video posted anywhere but it is different than the front from the outer card in.

Outer most door card no access panel, an additional screw, more wires to unhook versus the front.

rear door card dynamat c218

The front you can drill out the the rivets for the speaker itself.  In the rear you will have to destroy rear speaker, drill out the rivets from inside, and either fabricate, print, or reuse the old speaker as a mount.

You will need 2 star drivers, one recommended to be a swivel for the inside door handles.

Categories
Electronics Stereo

Upgrade Mercedes Stereo

Mercedes out of the factory in the USA come with fairly good stereos.  They can be upgraded but there are two different philosophies:

Theory of Constraints

Find the issues that hold back the factory system and address them.

Replace Front Woofers

Mercedes front woofer versus Aftermarket Dynaudio Woofer

In this method which, isn't a bad way to start.  The best things to address are the "front woofers" which Mercedes uses bigger 6.5-8" woofers in the front doors or footwell etc to provide strong mid-bass.  I would 100% recommend just upgrading the front woofers as a good way to start.  WoofersEtc sells Dynaudio woofers ala carte and you may just want to drop those in.

Add some dynamat and the factory system is instantly improved with just adding front woofers.

Replace Subwoofer

Unhook the factory subwoofer, do a bit of research on the wiring as you can likely tap it.  Add in subwoofers.  In this case 2x 8" or 2x 10" woofers are ideal to complement the factory setup.

Sum, Process, and Replace

Sum the signal, Process it, Put it out to a completely aftermarket system.

I say completely because at this point that is what you should do.  If you sum and leave a factory mid-woofer it isn't ideal. At this point you'd likely aim for high quality 4 speaker setup with subwoofers.  Take out every driver, replace them, in this method the way to really get the best results is to ensure everything is aftermarket matched.  Don't even leave a capacitor.

Add Dynamat

Which ever way you proceed, or even if you don't upgrade your audio system you may want to consider adding Dynamat.  Dynamat uses aluminum combined with butyl rubber to absorb and dampen resonate frequencies.  This can make a big impact and will be the source of an upcoming series.