12v Case Study: High Fidelity in a Volkswagen Golf R
The single Audison Voce AV 5.1k amplifier runs the entire system. “It’s a complete high-fidelity system solution for a front stage and a sub,” commented Handcrafted’s Kowantez. The 5.1k is a truly staggered power amplifier with two topologies at play. It provides 75w x 2 at 4 ohms for the “A” channels, which run in a Class A configuration. Class A is regarded as a highly pure amplification topology for excellent sound reproduction. Since the drawback of Class A is that it’s more inefficient than Class AB, the remaining “B” and “Sub” channels of the 5.1k run in the Class AB mode, delivering 140w x 2 and 600w x 1 at 4 ohms respectively. With space concerns, retailers are looking for amplifier solutions that sound great and don’t take much space. So-called ‘micro amps’ popular for UTVs and motorcycles are another alternative, but these often fail to deliver the same fidelity as customers expect in a closed cabin with full digital delivery to the amplifier. “The AV 5.1k is a great amplifier that shows how multiple channels and topologies can combine to provide a single-footprint solution that is still very high fidelity,” remarked Phillips.
The amplifier, bit Play HD and bit One all reside in a compact housing in the hatch area, leaving plenty of usable trunk space. They are built in a custom-welded metal rack under which the vehicle’s air ride suspension tank resides. The electronics are all trimmed out with view windows and color-contrasted trim rings to highlight the install. Servicing the system connections, power fuses or air ride valves is easily done by folding down the rear seat.
Phillips and Kowanetz decided on Audison’s top-of-the-line Voce speakers for the mid and high frequencies. In Italian, Voce means “Voice,” and it’s a nod to the realism intended to be conveyed by that fully digital signal path coupled to Class A channels on the high frequencies where the human ear is most likely to hear that difference. “The main challenge was to get the perfect imaging for the front stage in this Full DA system. With this, we designed and built a sound bar housing the Audison Voce AV 1.1 and AV 3.0 drivers driven off of the Class A channels through a premium passive crossover network,” commented Phillips. After fabrication and careful positioning of the speakers, Kowanetz and his team wrapped the sound bar in factory-matched vinyl to look like a factory upgrade. “Many people can’t tell that the front stage sound bar is an aftermarket addition because it appears as if it belongs there,” added Kowanetz.