Spent 6.70 lakh on my Maruti Baleno RS for an audio upgrade

it's hard to put sound into words, but this setup makes you feel so connected to the music. I simply love it, the tuning made a HUGE difference.

BHPian ROG_AK recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The quest for better audio is something I'm sure most of us yearn for, me being no exception to that. Although I wouldn't classify myself as a hard-core audiophile, I do enjoy good clean audio. This led me on a journey to fulfil my desires and in the end finally say 'I'm done with audio.'

It all started back in 2018 when the first set of upgrades was done (more details can be found here). Just to summarize the changes:

  • 3M damping on all 4 doors
  • Polk Audio DB6501 components in the front
  • Polk Audio DB522 coaxial in the rear
  • Pioneer GM-A6704 4-channel amplifier
  • Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 12" shallow mount subwoofer in an enclosed box
  • Stock HU

In this setup, the front components were driven by the amp while the rear was powered by the HU. The other 2 channels on the amp were bridged to power the subwoofer. Stock wiring was retained, and no high-low converter was used.

I had no clue about car audio installation during this time and relied on the installer completely. As it turned out, the installer was absolute trash (something I found out later)

Although it was much better than stock, it just didn't sound right. The highs were tinny, mids muddled with vocals and the sub could be heard but not felt. It was also just not playing some of the lower frequencies. The audio also used to cut off now and then, while people in the rear complained that the bass was overpowering and couldn't hear the music clearly.

I ran with the setup for a while and tried to find a proper installer in the meantime, someone whom I can really trust to get things done and not just do it for the money. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon an old high school friend who is in the auto industry. Jackpot! I didn't have to worry about getting cheated and ripped off for anything related to cars anymore!! I spoke to him at length about car audio and he got an expert (Raghu) along to help. The first step was to assess the damage:

Removing the so-called 3M damping. The only useful thing is those metal plate:

The crossovers were placed inside the door. This explains why the audio used to cut off, it got wet. Luckily nothing shorted:

Tapping the wire:

Well, it was time to start fixing things. First up, damping! The plan was to damp all 4 doors and the boot. Raghu was meticulous with his process and took about an entire working day to get it done. He decided to use Dr Artex Iridum medium with a thickness of 2.0mm. The damping was done on the interior and exterior of the door, it took about 12 sheets:

Damping inside:

Damping inside the boot lid:

Damping outside:

Damping outside the boot lid:

During this process, we realized that the rear speakers (DB522) were only 5.25" and it would be better to have 6.5" speakers instead (another noob thing I did not realize during the initial installation). This is probably why the rear fill was lacking. They had to be replaced and were done so by the Polk DB651, which should complement the front perfectly.

The smaller 5.25" DB522:

Replaced by the proper 6.5" DB651:

Right, with the speakers and damping sorted, things should sound better. It did, the sound was clearer and had better separation. It still didn't feel balanced though, it's hard to put into words but it felt lacking. Raghu suggested replacing the HU with a Pioneer one, I wasn't ready to shell out so much (at the time) and I wanted to maintain the stock look. The next best thing would be a DSP according to him, my idea of a high-low converter was swiftly dismissed by the claims that it would not help much in terms of SQ. DSP it is then! We decided to add the Pioneer DEQ-S1000A to help fine-tune the sound and improve the overall SQ. A consequence of this would be that all 4 channels of the AMP are needed for the speakers and the sub is left out in the cold. A mono block was needed and came in the form of the JBL Club 5501 and it would also run off the DSP.

A bit of extra wiring was needed running from the DSP to the AMPs. The speaker wires were not changed and didn't need to be, according to Raghu. The previous installer had cut the main harness to the HU and that also needed fixing. A tedious and time-consuming process.


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