“The New Standard” Hyundai Sonata

Nov 6, 2020

The Hyundai Sonata was originally designed as an economical commuter vehicle that you can drive comfortably for long journeys. With that being said this vehicle was brought to us from Florida to overhaul the factory sound system as it fell short on the long journey up the East Coast. After long discussions with our client he made it clear that he is extremely passionate about audio and wanted a sound system that was leaps and bounds above anything he had ever heard before. The main focus for this build was to ensure the interior cabin remained as factory looking as possible, but then wow him when the trunk is revealed.

To achieve that perfect high-end soundstage, we started with Morel’s all new Elate Carbon Pro 3-way component set up for the front stage. This kit includes the all new Alto tweeters, a 3.5” Carbon midranges and 6.5” Carbon woofers. To adhere with the request of keeping the factory appearance we made custom panels to discreetly accommodate the new speakers. We started by modifying the factory housing to accommodate the new 3.5” carbon midrange speaker. We then completely rebuilt the factory dash trim panels including a black acrylic bezel. Pressing our own speaker grilles gave the final touch of the factory appearance.

The factory sail panels in the front doors were built out and painted to appear like they were installed by the manufacturer. These speaker pods house the new Morel Alto tweeters and are aimed to give us near perfect staging. Pressed grills and acrylic were used again to mimic the dash mounted midrange speakers.

The front stage wouldn’t be complete without Morels Elate Carbon 6 Inch woofer. The inner and outer door panels were heavily treated with Hushmat sound dampening to reduce vibration and seal the door cavity. Custom baffles were fabricated to ensure perfect fitment for the new mid bass drivers. All the speaker baffles utilize factory mounting locations. The mid-bass that these speakers produced was simply astonishing! The rear stage was treated with the same amount of Hushmat sound dampener as the front. A set of Morels Virtus Nano carbon coaxial speakers were installed in the rear doors to fill out the sound for rear passengers. These speakers are extremely versatile and fit in almost every door no matter the depth constraints.

To keep with the theme of a factory stealth system the factory Hyundai radio was kept intact. Integration into the factory radio was made possible by using of the latest Audison Bit One HD Virtuoso sound processor. This gave us the latest and most advanced Digital Sound Processing currently available for the car audio industry. The Audison’s controller was neatly integrated into the center console by molding it into the factory coin holder. This gave our client easy access to control the volume of the subwoofers, different tuning presets and input selections on the processor.

With Maryland not being the state where this vehicle resides, we designed the trunk layout to be completely accessible to our client. Folding down the rear seats reveals the fusing, secondary battery, distribution for the five amplifiers and the Audison processor. All neatly displayed behind the custom plexiglass panel with Blue LED backlighting. Which gives a small hint for what’s to come for the trunk design.

When we went to discuss some ideas for the trunk design. Our client stopped us, “All I ask is keep it clean, make it glow, have fun with it ……Surprise Me!”

We knew going into this audio build that we wanted to showcase the extremely rare Soundigital GaN (Gallium Nitride) Amplifiers. So rare, that only 200 examples of these amplifiers were made available to the public worldwide. We used three of these amplifiers, one for each pair of speakers for the front stage. These amplifiers provide 150 watts to each individual speaker with crystal clear audio, even at near maximum output. Since these amplifiers have such a small footprint and far less weight than most high-end amplifiers, we were given the opportunity to mount them to the trunk lid. The factory trunk lid panel was modified and molded to accommodate the amplifiers. Aluminum, white and clear acrylic were used to showcase a window for the amplifiers. The amplifiers were then illuminated with Blue LED lighting.

We modeled the subwoofer enclosure to mimic a similar design to the trunk lid. The lower bass response was made possible by using a dual subwoofer setup. Two JL Audio 12w3 subwoofers were housed in a custom ported enclosure. The subwoofers were powered by the Soundigital 1200.1 EVO amplifier. Taking cues from the exterior color of the vehicle we used the same white and clear acrylic and aluminum to showcase the subwoofer enclosure. Blue LED lighting illuminates the entire enclosure with the trunk lid. This allowed it to all flow together. To ensure no factory features were lost the spare tire remained fully accessible and there is still ample trunk space to fit a golf bag or some luggage.

The only way to describe the end result to this sound system is it’s truly amazing. The imaging and detail of the Morel Elate Carbon speakers paired with the Soundigital GaN amplifiers will make the hairs on your arms stand straight up. The pluck of a guitar or fingers running down the length of a piano will send chills up and down your spine. The sound of a kick drum hits you right in the chest thanks to the two 12” JL Audio subwoofers. This Sonata now has a sound system that will make the longer journeys seem so much shorter.

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