Crutchfield gives the Stylin' Concepts Chevy Tahoe its own sound
A custom A/V install in a truck that can be yours
Matt Holliday was one of Crutchfield's ace car enthusiasts for several years. He brought a lifetime of knowledge and experience to our team. He has since left the company to join the family business and pursue other interests.
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When you've got style, people notice. But there are many sides to style. Whether it be a certain look, a signature sound, or just the way you carry yourself, it's all about being unique. So when Stylin' Concepts turned to Crutchfield to install a stereo in a brand new Chevy Tahoe, it had to be one of a kind.
The 2007 Chevy Tahoe is an impressive vehicle even in stock form, but Crutchfield and Stylin' Concepts set out to make a good thing better.
Stylin' Concepts has been delivering custom accessories and performance parts for SUVs and sport, off-road, and pickup trucks since the late 1980s. The company has grown from a regional retailer to a national dealer, and the products they offer and services they provide continue to grow. When Stylin' Concepts partnered with DJM Suspension to build a show-stopping Chevy Tahoe to give away to a lucky enthusiast, they knew Crutchfield was the place to go for a top-notch audio system.
Crutchfield installers Chris Caracofe, Josh Fix, and Jason Flowers took delivery of a mostly stock 2007 Chevy Tahoe, and decided that the best solution was to keep a clean, stock appearance on the interior, but still deliver a sound that screamed custom. Factory colors and materials were used throughout the installation to make it seem as if the truck could have rolled off the assembly line with the competition-grade stereo.
The end result is an audio/visual system that looks as if it could have come from the factory.
"With this project we wanted to do something that was simple and looked as if the system was an option from Chevy," said Chris. "We planned the system around the factory radio due to the OnStar® and factory steering wheel controls; we wanted them to be fully functional."
The factory stereo was left untouched to retain the use of the OnStar® system and steering-wheel controls.
In order to preserve the factory OnStar option and a stock look, Chris used a Rockford Fosgate 3SIXTY.2 factory stereo signal processor, which picks up the factory stereo's audio signal from the speaker wires. The 3SIXTY.2 cancels all the factory sound settings from the audio signal and lets the user adjust any of 153 bands of equalization, so Chris was able to tweak the sound for the best possible output. Everything is controlled from a Palm device with Bluetooth® capability, so when it came time for Chris to dial in the highs and lows, he could do it all from the sweet spot in the driver's seat. And when the new owner runs out of radio stations or CDs to enjoy, the 3SIXTY.2's auxiliary input lets him or her add another music source, like an iPod® or satellite radio.
The only hint from the driver's seat of this stereo's potential is the 3SIXTY.2's level control knob molded into the dash. The actual box is mounted under the rear seat (right) to keep it out of harm's way.
"This piece allows the audiophile to tweak to their heart's content," adds Chris. "It gives you six 5-volt preamp outputs, time alignment, low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass crossovers, and 153 bands of equalization, all without losing the factory head unit and more importantly, adds sound quality. We installed the 3SIXTY.2 under the rear seat and custom fabricated a place in the dash below the factory radio to install the level control knob for when you really want to bass it up."
The 3SIXTY.2 made it easy to add more power to the system in the form of three Rockford Fosgate Punch amplifiers. A 4-channel Punch P850.4 amp sends 100 watts to each of the speakers set in the cabin, while a pair of Punch P6001bd mono amps handle the power for the bass. Each P6001bd is pushing a Rockford Fosgate T212D4 Power Stage 2 12" subwoofer for bass that can go from tight to booming with the turn of a dial.
Two Rockford Fosgate P6001bd amps (left) and a Rockford Fosgate P850.4 amp give the stereo the extra juice it needs to power high-end speakers.
For mids and highs, Polk Signature Reference SR6500 component speakers were worked into the factory locations in the front and custom mounted in the rear doors. Chris went so far as to dye the rear tweeters to match the interior for a seamless look. The SR6500s offer realistic sound and clarity to keep up with the heavy-hitting bass coming from the back.
The Polk SR6500 component speakers fit nicely in the front factory speaker locations, and Chris and his team custom mounted a set in the rear doors for a full, rich sound.
When it came time to put everything together, Chris crafted a specially designed box to house all 3 amps and the 2 subs. While the box is designed with sound in mind, the appearance is truly a work of art. Chris notched and bent the wood to mold the enclosure for a smooth look, and hours of sanding and prep went into getting the lines just right. The end result is an enclosure that fits perfectly in the rear of the Tahoe. A lot of attention went into every detail to make sure the box had substance and style.
"The subs are located in a custom enclosure that is located in the rear of the vehicle behind the back seat," Chris said. "It was constructed using MDF, fiberglass, and bondo. Once constructed, we covered it using the OEM vinyl to keep the look as OEM as possible."
The custom box was designed for a perfect fit and perfect sound, while the integrated amp rack (below) keeps the wiring tucked away for a clean look.
Pop open the rear tailgate, and you're staring down the beefy subs. Flip down the rear seat, and you'll see the all-black Punch amps custom mounted and bathed in neon behind a flame-polished plexiglass sporting the Crutchfield logo. And everything fits like Chevy designed the Tahoe around the system.
After hours of sanding, the enclosure was wrapped in factory vinyl and set into its new home in the back of the Tahoe. Custom touches like the flame-etched Crutchfield logo (below) add style to an already impressive installation.
Once the sound side of the system was taken care of, Chris turned his attention to the visual entertainment. A pair of Vizualogic Video Headrest monitors with an integrated DVD player replaced the factory front headrests. Sound is broadcast through the stereo using an FM transmitter, or backseat passengers can enjoy movies privately thanks to a set of wireless headphones. There's even a connection for a game console under the front passenger seat.
The factory headrests were swapped for a pair of Vizualogic monitors with a built-in DVD player.
Once Chris had the A/V system squared away, the Tahoe was back to Stylin' Concepts for a full exterior makeover. A custom paint job and exterior accents makes the Chevy look as good as it sounds, and suspension and wheel upgrades give it a mean stance. Everything about the Stylin' Concepts Chevy Tahoe was built with performance in mind, from brakes to exhaust to a killer multimedia system.
Now that the Tahoe has its own style, you can make it yours. Stylin' Concepts is giving away this one-off Tahoe to a lucky truck lover. Simply visit stylinconcepts.com/wintahoe, fill out an entry form, and you've got a chance to grab the keys to this Chevy.
"Josh, Jason, and I worked on the vehicle between our regular scheduled appointments," said Chris. "They were really excited to be involved with such a project. I would say that all in all we had about 50 total man hours put into it. I had a great time doing this project and enjoyed working with all parties involved. I'm looking forward to the next one."
A lot of hard work and top-notch products went into giving this Tahoe a unique style. To make it yours, visit stylinconcepts.com and fill out an entry form.