When we delve into the topic of mobile media, one vital consideration would be to work on a vehicle that possesses ample cabin space, for the sake of more customisation possibilities. Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPV) and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) will naturally serve as an installer’s favourite project platform, but they also have to get acquainted with other types of vehicles that might not be blessed with a great deal of interior capacity.
Hatchbacks, for example, might be tighter in width and length than MPVs and SUVs. However, they can be seen as fairly practical haulers too, with a huge rear boot opening and knock-down rear seats.
While the vehicle in question here might look like it has been tuned for tarmac burning activities, beneath the matte grey hue lies a dramatic transformation seldom associated with fettled MINIs. Aaron’s MINI Cooper S bucks the tuning trend by incorporating a noholds-barred In Car Entertainment (ICE) setup, certain to captivate the interest of even the most critical audiophile.
Cabin restrictions did not prevent Aaron from converting his hot hatch into a mobile piece of audio art. He MINI goes big on sound seeked advice from installers at Chuan Sing Auto Accessories, and since practicality did not weigh high up in his priorities, both parties decided to replace the rear seats and make way for a customised panel to house vital audio components.
To kick things off from the front, acting as the control panel for the entire system is Pioneer’s DEX-P99 headunit. Since MINIs come with factory fitted audio units, Aaron has this Pioneer system cleverly hidden just above the passenger’s glove compartment without distorting the vehicle’s retro interior theme. Although this headunit comes with a remote, controls had been synced so that functions can be assessed via the steering-mounted controls.
Flanking the headunit are front speakers from Focal, but this should still be considered as a hybrid mixture with the usage of 2-way WRC series and BE 3 inch mid-range speakers.
This set of speakers can be considered a rarity on local shores, but it is refreshing to notice more audiohpiles adding a new dimension to their preferred choices. The 6.5 inch midbass utilises a similar cone as the Berylliums, but the basket and spider follows the K2 power series. The tweeter employs the exact Berylliums too, which allows full potential to be realised without incurring more expenses.
Both mid-bass and midrange speakers are installed at the factory speakers location, while the tweeters are encased in custom aluminum pods situated on the A pillar, and angled towards the driver for optimal soundscape. In addition, an 8-inch Gladen Audio Single Voice Coil (SVC) woofer supplies the punchy beats from an enclosure under the glove compartment.
You might feel that the folks at Chuan Sing have done enough to impress, but they have more magic up their sleeves at the rear third of Aaron’s MINI. Pop open the boot and observe the attention to detail to assemble all four amplifiers without appearing cluttered. Taking the lead in the trunk will be a couple of Mosconi Zero 3 amplifiers. These two sets of Hi-End class A/B systems, each with power handling of 270 watts x 2 channel, powers the tweeters and mid-range.
The other two units of AS series 200.2 amplifiers drive the mid-bass and woofer with a raw power of 200 watts x 2 channel. A short spin in Aaron’s MINI was all it took to realise the potential of this hybrid setup. Vocals were reproduced with exact clarity, while the SVC woofer did well to replicate groovy tunes without distortion. To top it all off, the entire tuning process was done by Aaron himself.
We salute his dedication to In Car Entertainment, and hope that aspiring audiophiles can learn from Aaron’s hands-on approach!
MOSCONI ZERO 3 MOSCONI ZERO 3
HX 08 SQ
MOSCONI AS2–02 MOSCONI AS2–02
Text Gerald Yuen
Photos Peter Lee / Metamorphosis Production