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Project Supra Part 13 - Sony XAV-A1

Xplosive Sounds, Much Cooler Lights And More Blue! - Project Supra, Part 13

Pablo Mazlumian
Feb 1, 2006
Turp_0602_11_z+sony_xav_a1+lcd_screen Photo 1/1   |   Project Supra Part 13 - Sony XAV-A1

Previously, we saw a total transformation of Project Supra with a top-notch paint job from Shift Auto Body. The body wasn't completely finished at the time but we couldn't refrain from giving you a sneak peak. This month the body is finished and XR Creations got to work on the car's new Sony sound system.

Before we go there, however, there are some new additions you may or may not have noticed in the pictures. First off, we ordered a pair of '97 to '98 spec headlights from Champion Toyota in Houston, Texas. These guys have yet to fail us when it comes to factory equipment. Champion is like the mail-order center for Toyota owners when it comes to factory Toyota parts, and we highly recommend them. In addition to factory parts and equipment they also carry a full line of TRD racing products and apparel. Recently we ordered a set of the discontinued factory floor mats through them as well

Surely you noticed the blue seats. We almost went with all black as we love a real black interior. But for this car we just had to go that extra crazy mile-and it came out looking pretty good! Sparco's newer Siena seat provides a great compromise between performance and comfort. It is offered in red, black or blue. These seats aren't the lightest in the fleet but unlike Sparco's racing seats these recline and feature a quick-tilt mechanism. Still, with brackets included they give a 10 pound weight savings per seat when compared to the Supra's stockers.

Unlike most of the street performance seats out there, these seats are pretty soft and comfortable. If you require a little more stiffness and lateral support for those track days, Sparco's Monza or Torino seats might suit you better, while still offering full adjustability for the street.

I like the Sienas, especially for the price. Ultra high-density foam surrounds the seat's shell to reduce vibration transfer through the body, helping battle fatigue during high performance driving. Plus, they're extremely comfortable.

At $499 retail plus brackets, rails and hardware (add about $200 for all that) they're a pretty good bang for the buck, considering these seats are Italian-made, fully adjustable and tilting. Upon installation the seats sat a little higher than anticipated but at 5 feet 9 inches tall, I fit fine. You may want to modify the brackets to sit lower or have custom ones built if you are any taller.

Sony's Xplod Specialty Series has basically exploded onto the car scene with its sound systems. As the proud sponsor of the NHRA Sport Compact Racing Series, more and more of its components are showing up in import street, show and even some race cars. Sony also recently opened up its new 2,700 square foot Mobile Electronics Technology Center (METC) near San Diego, Calif., where it will be able to stay in better touch with the car audio market, provide better support for its dealers and perform in-house, high-end installations for its show vehicles.

Sony's Specialty Series components are placed in the higher end of the Xplod lineup, offering exquisite sound qualities at very affordable prices. Even though there weren't any particular replacement Sony speakers that fit the MKIV Supra that doesn't mean the components can't be made to fit. I ordered the sound system regardless and sent it to XR Creations-the guys that have been basically managing all of the Supra's sound and aesthetic upgrades-for a full install.

At the heart of the system lies Sony's XAV-A1. This unit is wonderful. It features a motorized 7-inch fast response touch screen QVGA monitor. It plays a multitude of media, including DVD, DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD, CD-R, CD-RW and MP3. The front Audio/Video input will hook up to a separate video component like a VCR or even a Sony Playstation. The unit is set up for subwoofer and preamp outputs and has an XM-ready dedicated input. It also comes with a wireless remote if you don't want to dirty up the screen with oily fingerprints.

The XAV-A1 is also adaptable to Sony's XT-V70 unilink TV module. That's right; this sucker will pick up basic channels so you can catch the football game or sitcom if you're running late to the TV set. Just be sure to pull off the road, for safety reasons. Besides, every Sony DVD receiver has a safety feature that won't let it work unless the car is at a complete stop. The XT-V70 TV Tuner is exclusive to and controlled only by the Sony XAV-A1, and retails for a few hundred bucks. The XAV-A1 itself costs more-a mere $1,400 retail. But with a 7-inch LCD monitor and all those features, you definitely get what you pay for, and then some.

If that's still a little steep, Sony also offers the CDX-M9900, which retails for $650. Although it has a much smaller screen, its 32,000-color TFT display will play back DVDs, and very clearly at that. I've actually had one in my BMW M3 and love it.

It isn't absolutely necessary to have an amplifier with the XAV-A1 because the unit has a built-in 50 watt x 4-channel amp. If you want to maximize the quality and volume of sound, however, you're going to need some amplified power. When looking at speakers and amplifiers, you want to pay attention to the RMS (Root Mean Squared) rating versus peak power, which is a measure of the amp's ability to provide smooth power over a continuous period of time. It's the more realistic measurement, which should be ideally similar between the powering amp and the receiving speaker, if not a little more on the amp side.

The Supra's new 4-ohm speakers are amplified through a couple of Specialty Series amplifiers. First, the quad-channel Specialty Series XM-SD46X amp powers the XS-D130SI separate component system up front-featuring separate woofers and tweeters separated by a crossover-which is rated at 40 watts RMS. The same amp also powers the rear two-way, 6.5-inch XS-S160CX speakers rated at 55 watts RMS. The amp pumps out 60 watts x 4 RMS into 4 ohms so it's plenty for these smaller speakers.

No sound system is complete without a sub. In the Supra's case, the twin XS-LD125P5 subwoofers are Sony's Specialty Series 12-inch subs rated at 400 watts RMS. For power Sony's largest amplifier was called in for duty. With 300 watts continuous into 4 ohms, it does the job fine and will move your hair if you crank it up enough. The amp features a 50-300Hz low pass filter and has a remote subwoofer level control knob for easy low bass adjustments from the cockpit. For anyone that has to know the peak power, this single amp has a 1,400 watt peak rating.

XR Creations did a nice job installing the amplifiers and subs in the trunk. Monster 4-gauge power cables power the amps and the RCA cables are two-channel standard, extra low noise. In order to not have the headlights go dim or the battery quickly drained by the sound system, a Lightning Audio capacitor with 1.0 Farad capacity sits underneath the trunk carpeting. This capacitor acts as a separate battery for the sound system so you don't drain the car battery. XR Creations were able to get the capacitor and cables for us while they were installing the system.

In the end, the trunk space is virtually lost but this car isn't a daily driver either. This installation was kept clean and simple. If more bling is what you're looking for, XR can make a speaker enclosure out of fiberglass and paint it to match your vehicle's color if you're willing to shell out the extra dough.

With the sound system finished and the interior near completion (we've got gauges to talk about) we're ready to move onto what real Supra gear heads want to see-power. The SP71-GTS turbocharger will be tested with pump 91 octane at a safe ignition and air/fuel level so we know what to expect everyday with this setup at the bare minimum, and without worry. Then for those high-octane, weekend days we'll add a few degrees of timing and psi to spice up the evening. Stay tuned

Sources

Stillen
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
800-891-1058
http://www.stillen.com
Sparco USA
Irvine, CA 92614
800-224-7223
http://www.sparcousa.com
Sony Mobile Electronics
Park Ridge, NJ 07656
www.sony.com
By Pablo Mazlumian
81 Articles

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