In our busy daily lives, the majority of our music-enjoying time happens while in the car. The best way to truly enjoy your music is with a high quality stereo system so you can appreciate all the highs and lows it has to offer. This brings us to this chapter of Project FearleSS where we install the hi-fi JL Audio system into our Impala.
With all of the high quality stereo equipment JL Audio has to offer, it’s now very easy to get professional sounding results with even the most basic of installations. We knew that with all of the cruising we plan on doing with Project FearleSS we wanted to have plenty of bass, but we didn’t want to fill the entire trunk with audio equipment. Luckily JL’s 5-channel amplifier is plenty powerful enough to drive all of the midrange speakers and the dual 12-inch subwoofers in our entire system. Most people might wonder if 1 amp could really give you all the highs and especially all the lows that you want and the answer is a definitive YES!
We didn’t want to cut into our doors for the from component speakers so we decided to make custom kick panels so we could hide them a little better and so we could aim them at the passengers for optimum sound quality. For the rear midrange we installed 6x9s in the factory locations but mounted from underneath so they’d be out of sight under the package tray upholstery. We knew we wanted plenty of bass so dual 12-inch subwoofers in a custom made sealed box built to manufacturer’s specs would provide ample bottom-end notes. After everything was made and installed, it was all upholstered to blend in perfectly with the factory look of the interior.
For the head unit location we knew we wanted it to be easily accessible so we could reach for it on our long cruises. Another additional factor was that we had already installed the new Air Conditioning system in our ride and needed a spot to place the new controller so it too was within arm’s-reach. So we decided to make a new custom sheet metal panel that would incorporate the controller and the head unit in the factory location. We also wanted to still utilize the factory dash bezel without having to cut it up. The stock orientation of the heater controls used to be at the top of the panel, but for our new setup switching them seemed to work out better for what we had. After fabricating it all up, the panel was body-worked and painted to match the dash so it would all blend together without looking out of place. We are now ready to cruise in style while enjoying our favorite tunes because let’s be honest, it doesn’t get much better than that!!
We decided to install the front 6.5″ JL Audio midrange speakers in custom-made kick panels. We started off with 1/4″ medium density fiberboard MDF as a solid base for the panels.
Next we made speaker-mounting rings with the MDF in order to build a frame for our ensuing fiberglass work. We then sat in the car and mocked up the speakers next to the panels to determine the proper placement area and angle for sound and visual impact. Once that was established we cut the panels and mounted the rings accordingly.
Now that we know the speaker rings are in the correct position, we stapled fleece over the transition areas from the panel to the rings. After trimming the excess away we mixed up some resin and hardener and brushed it onto the fleece to lock it all into place.
Since the new Pioneer head unit wouldn’t fit into the stock location and since we have a new AC and heater control, we decided to make a custom sheet metal panel in order to mount both of them in the stock area of the dash cluster. We also move the controller to the bottom and the head unit to the top since it fit and looked better with what we were installing than the factory positions which was the opposite.
We had the new custom panel body worked and painted to match perfectly with the factory look and feel of the original dashboard. Now controlling the incredible JL Audio sound system is available at the driver’s fingertips and it looks good which is always important.
In order to add the ever-important bass beats we decided to go with 2 JL Audio 12″ subwoofers. These subs provide more than enough boom for any and all music that you’d want to play. We had to make a custom box in order to house our subs and we based the dimensions of the box off of the air space volume parameters that are specific to the subwoofers. The sub box also provided a mounting area in the trunk to place the 5-channel JL Audio amplifier which provides more than enough juice to power our whole entire stereo system, including the 2 booming 12″ subs!