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Greg Seman's 2000 Cadillac Escalade

Greg Seman has always wanted to put a killer sound system in one of his vehicles, but never had the time or opportunity to do his vision justice. But when he bought his 2000 Cadillac Escalade, he knew the time was right: the luxury SUV's large, open cargo area is ideally suited for a custom audio installation. With a lot of hard work and ingenuity (and a fair amount of MDF), Greg has put together a system that would make any Escalade owner drool!

Escalade Think it looks good from outside? Wait til you see the inside!

The signal chain starts in the dash with Pioneer's DEH-P7500MP head unit. This model is often seen in vehicles on the car show circuit thanks to the flashy, customizable OEL display. The receiver's built-in CD changer controls allowed Greg to add multi-disc capability with the Pioneer CDX-P680 6-disc changer.

Escalade Pioneer's DEH-P7500MP has taken up residence in the dash.

While the ?7500MP does produce a hefty 22 watts per channel of MOSFET-fueled power, Greg's not using its built-in amplifier to power his speakers. Instead, he's taking advantage of its three sets of 4-volt preamp outputs to feed the audio signal to a pair of 4-channel US acoustics amplifiers. These solidly-built amps carry a three-year warranty (a great value for the money) and, most importantly, their multi-channel design offers a lot of flexibility. The USB-4065 handles the mids and highs, while the USB-4085 takes care of the bass. The crossovers on both amps are continuously variable, so Greg can dial in exactly the sound he wants.

Escalade
The amp rack sports a super-clean layout.

The mids and highs in Greg's system are handled by a set of Polk db6750 components in the front doors, Kicker 6-3/4" coaxials in the rear doors, and Kenwood 4"x10"s in the cargo area, all (except for the Polk tweeters) mounted in the Escalade's factory locations. The Polk tweeters are flush-mounted above the woofers in the door panels, and positioned for optimal stereo imaging. The component system's crossovers are mounted alongside the amplifiers on the custom-built amp rack in back. The front left and right channels of the USB-4065 amp power the Polk components, while the rear left and right channels power the Kickers and Kenwoods.

Escalade
The Polk components are sitting pretty in the front doors, with Kicker and Kenwood coaxials comin' at ya from behind.

With three sets of full-range speaker systems, the mids and highs in this system are well taken care of. To push the lows, Greg selected a pair of MTX Thunder6000 T6124A 12" subs. Each sub is driven with 240 watts RMS courtesy of the USB-4085 (it's bridged to operate in two-channel mode).

Escalade
Custom carpet and grilles finish off the hand-built sub box.

Greg wanted to showcase his gear, but needed be able to hide it while the car was parked. So, he built a custom enclosure for the subs, which also doubles as the amp rack. It nestles snugly in the rear cargo area, and really shows off the amps, subs, and Polk crossovers beautifully. He then carpeted a piece of wood to "bridge the gap" between the stock cargo cover and the back seats, hiding his handiwork entirely and making this Escalade the perfect combination of show-car and stereo stealth-mobile!

Escalade
Left: the sub box/amp rack combo in all its glory.
Right: When stealth is required, Greg's customized cargo cover hides the goods from view.

This Escalade system is a shining example of how imagination and hard work can combine in a killer car audio system. Greg, you've done some awesome work; thanks for letting us take a look!

Update! Greg recently added a Lightning Audio 1-farad capacitor to the system. Car batteries can be slow to deliver the kind of power an amp needs (especially a subwoofer amp). A capacitor like this one can help eliminate that problem by storing reserve power and then delivering it lightning-fast when the amp needs it most. Greg found an available space on his custom-built amp rack, mounted the capacitor securely in place, and hooked it up with heavy-gauge power and ground cables. Looks great!

Escalade
The finishing touch: a 1-farad capacitor from Lightning Audio.
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