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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My ’09 S40 came with the High Performance audio system, which compared to any other vehicle we have owned over the last 40+ years has the best factory system. I had a full aftermarket system in my previous car which was better, but I still don’t consider the Volvo HP system terrible. Most of the cars we have owned have had truly terrible audio.

The S40 was my wife’s car since we purchased it new, but last year I inherited it. After spending some time on this forum learning more about the car, I read about the “hidden” equalizer settings and much to my delight, made the already not-terrible system sound all the better to my ears. It was at that point that I made the decision to move forward with an aftermarket subwoofer installation.

My goals for the subwoofer install were as follows;

1. Compliment the HP system but not overpower it (SQ > DB)
2. Occupy a minimum of space in the trunk
3. Stealthy box that provides protection to speaker and does not look out-of-place
4. A way to adequately secure the box but yet remain easy to remove

I initially considered a self-powered unit, especially since I had used the Infinity Basslink several times in the past and was happy with the results. I was considering the Rockford Fosgate Punch P300-10 which would fit neatly in the trunk against the rear seats, occupy little space and be easily removable. It would most likely have served my purposes perfectly but I decided to look around a bit more.

After spending an inordinate amount of time researching and considering my options, I opted for a component system comprised of the following;

1. Alpine MRV-M500 mono amp
2. Zenclosures Down Fire Shallow Mount Subwoofer Box
3. Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 12" Shallow Subwoofer

The Install

The Alpine amp was installed “upside-down” under the rear deck using 3/8” spacers as stand-offs. Its placement was favored to the left side to keep it as close as possible to the factory HP amp. I used the Alpine amp’s speaker-level harness to tie into the rear channel of the factory amp’s speaker output. As I usually do, I tapped into the factory harness by stripping about a quarter-inch of insulation from the factory wire I’m tapping (without cutting the conductor itself), strip about a half-inch of insulation off the wire I'm connecting to it and wrap it around the exposed conductor of the factory wire. I then solder the connection and wrap it with electrical tape. It’s a bit tedious but ensures a perfect, trouble-free connection every time.

I used a 4-gauge amp kit to run power to the Alpine from the battery, and grounded the amp in the trunk.

The Zenclosures box is designed for a JL Audio TS-SW3002S4 driver, which costs nearly as much as I have into the entire subwoofer system. Instead I used the Pioneer driver which is about one-quarter the cost and requires the same 11-3/4” cut-out as the JL Audi unit. Not just trying to “cheap-out” on the driver, the Pioneer was actually a better choice for my goals: its 4-ohm rating would draw less power from the amp (and less power from the car’s electrical system), has a high 93db efficiency rating (producing more than adequate db with 300 watts RMS) and a rated frequency response of 27 – 125 Hz.

The Results

Initial impressions are very positive in terms of meeting my expectations, especially when using good source files. The subwoofer system easily produces enough db to solidly fill in the missing bottom range of the factory HP system. The auto-on feature of the Alpine amp using the speaker-level harness works perfectly. With the amp wired to the rear channel and its gain and crossover settings adjusted to my liking, I can fine-tune the sub’s balance to the rest of the system from the driver’s seat with the fader function. More substantial adjustments can be made using the rear channel equalizer. Having the front channel (which dominates the sound inside the cabin) on its own equalizer also helps create a pleasing integration of the subwoofer.

The sealed down-firing enclosure and Pioneer 12-inch driver produces smooth and musical bass that does not rattle sheet metal. Yet, it solidly fills in the bottom frequencies with authority that can easily overpower the factory HP system if set to do so.

Physically, I very much like the way the box fits in the trunk, taking up little space and fully protecting the Pioneer driver. Covered in light gray material, it blends well with the trunk shades-of-gray color scheme. I am using a Southco Draw Latch to secure the box to the center child seat anchor, yet keeping it easy to remove if needed.

The amp is out of the way mounted under the deck and has plenty of air space around it to dissipate heat. Its adjustments are easy to get to if needed.

Considering the $425, I am quite pleased with the results.

Photos


The Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 installed in the Zenclosures box. Both the Pioneer and the JL Audio driver the box is made for use a larger-than-usual 11-5/8" cut-out.



View of the installation through the open trunk lid. The Alpine amp can be seen mounted under the deck. Not as obvious is the Southco Draw Latch that secures the box and holds it tight against the rear seat.



Close-up of the latch, which works perfectly for this use.
 

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Do you happen to have a picture of the wire that you soldered into and how you did it? This looks great, the box is also almost a perfect match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update

I purchased a trunk mat from FitMyCar.com and installed it today. The mat was made-to-order in Australia, ordered on Friday May 24 and arrived here in NH, U.S.A. today, Wednesday June 5.

The mat is the middle grade "Executive" version in light gray carpet with a gray border and stitching. It appears well made and looks great - I am quite pleased!




The sub itself is working out well. I've spent some time adjusting and blending its output with the S40's HP audio and have found a pleasing balance with the low-pass filter set to about 70 Hz. With the sub tied into the rear channel, using the fader on the HU works well to make minor adjustments in the sub's output. The gain is set on the amp to provide a pleasing balance on CDs with normal levels of bass with the fader centered. FM stations or sources with boomy bass require only a few notches of forward adjustment to tone-down the excessive bass. With the combination of high-quality source files and the addition of the subwoofer, the factory HP system sounds pretty good - good enough that I won't bother with any other upgrades to the system.

Of course everyone's tastes and expectations differ, but at least for me (having spent over 40 years listening to hi-fi audio and spending more money on equipment than I care to remember), it meets my car system expectations and allows me to enjoy my favorite music while on the road.
 
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