Sound System Upgrade for Sprinters

I like good sound – not loud necessarily, but clean and smooth. It was a top priority for me to upgrade the stock Sprinter sound system to something that did hurt my ears. And so I set out to build a system I could enjoy. I equipped my 2013 Sprinter 170 with a good balance of quality sound and affordability – nice equipment from reputable brands, and with an emphasis on ease of use with key features like:

  • Backup Camera compatible
  • iPod/iPhone/smartphone compatibility
  • Bluetooth friendly
  • Pre-outs for amplifiers
  • Independent control of speakers and subwoofers
  • A nice sized display

Sprinter In-Dash Car Stereo

Your Sprinter head unit (aka. in-dash car stereo) options will be determined to a large degree by the factory setup – is it a single DIN unit, or a double DIN unit.

I my case had 5 speakers (not 13 speakers) with a small little storage pocket beneath the factory head unit. I was able to go with either a single DIN unit or double DIN unit. I opted for the double unit to take advantage of a larger display for the backup camera I was about to install, and I like larger displays.

My choice was a Pioneer SPH-DA210 – here are it’s specs:

  • 7-inch touch screen (800×480 WVGA resolution)
  • Many Android and iOS apps
  • Bluetooth hands-free calling
  • Bluetooth audio streaming
  • DVD/CD player supports physical media
  • USB pigtail with 5V/1A power output, making it useful for charging devices
  • HDMI connection, 2 RCA audio outputs, a video input for a backup camera, and a standard wire harness connection
  • Port for Pioneer’s USB/iPod cable

Amplifying the Sprinter

For those who appreciate good clean sound, it’s understood that a car stereo amplifier will allow your in-dash stereo (head unit) to deliver quality sound, and loud if that’s what you’re looking for.

I favor placing amps in spots that require minimal to no modification. So I looked for an amplifier that would fit nicely under my driver seat.

One of the advantages of placing the amp here is that this is also where the main fuse and power will be connected os it’s all in one nice spot, and all hidden nicely under my seat without major mods.

I opted for the X700-5 amplifier from Kenwood, with its 14″x 8″ footprint. Despite it’s small size, it delivers some nice quality sound and it’s very well priced. I set it up to send 300 watts to the subwoofer, and 40 watts to each of the door speakers and 6×9 speakers.

Subwoofer

This is a family vehicle, and we all like music. I opted for a smaller subwoofer that will fit under the passenger seat, yet still provide a fair amount of bass without rattling the windows, or anything else. My choice was a plywood box enclosed and carpeted 8″ subwoofer fromJL Audio (model 8W3v3-4). Big punch in a small package.

Door Speakers

I really splurged on the door speakers, opting for some JL Audio 5 1/4″ component speakers with separate tweeters and crossovers. These combined with the new subwoofer made for a nice full sound despite the large volume of the cab. I placed these in the factory location in the door and they fit nicely, and deliver good sound.

Rear Speakers

I fabricated up a couple of plywood boxes that I carpeted, and mounted to the seat pedestal of the drivers and passenger seats. These speakers are 6x9s aimed at the rear passenger seat. These make it so my passengers can hear the music as well. I opted for some quality Boston Acoustics speakers here. I believe these are the SE953 model speakers.

The Results

The results of these upgrades is a nice clean sound system in the Sprinter, that does feel drowned out or overly tinny despite the huge cargo area. It’s a crisp, reasonably full sound profile that I can adjust as needed for different types of music. The backup camera integrated nicely, and takes over the screen when I shift into reverse. I can easily connect a smartphone or iPod into the system via Bluetooth, or thru a hard wire connection. And all of the gear fits nicely in existing spaces. Overall, I’m pleased with how this has sound system has turned out.

A Note on Sound Insulation

I should point out that before we finished our sound system upgrade for the Sprinter, we went through an extensive sound insulation (soundproofing) project to cover every cavity on every wall, floor, and ceiling with a sound insulation product similar to Dynamat. That set us up to minimize road noise, and creaks and squeaks, and to deliver better interior sound from our sound system project. You can find our post explaining what we did here – Sprinter Sound Insulation project.

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Ken Clark

Ken Clark

Ken is skilled with his hands, and has experience in construction married with a love for all things automotive handed down from his mechanic father. He balances practicality with affordability generally fabricating everything from scratch.
Ken Clark

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