Audio: Speaker upgrade in a facelift R170 - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

General Modifications R170 Details that make your car different

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#1 Old 04-15-2017
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Audio: Speaker upgrade in a facelift R170

As is usual with any of the cars I've owned, I rapidly get rid of the stock speakers and add some better ones as I am usually disappointed with the clarity or response of stock speakers. That said, I've hung on to the SLK speakers longer than usual as, if I'm honest, they're actually not that bad!

But they're not quite good enough. Years ago I worked in the BBC'S Engineering Research Dept. and when I left I had been taught how to sit, listen and judge a set of speakers. This is both a blessing and a curse, as, while I can appreciate a good set of speakers, I can also hear anomalies in poor speaker systems or poor recordings. The standard SLK speakers are not bad but for me the soundstage is a bit low and the tweeters are not as detailed as I'd like. The bass is OK, but doesn't extend down as far as I'd like and it distorts when driven hard.

So. Having set out my stall, here's what I did:

Research - Stock system:
I started off by confirming the specs of the stock (non-Bose) speakers:
  • 2-way components fitted in the door
  • 6.5" / 16.5cm paper-cone woofer in a special enclosure with the door acting as a speaker box
  • 1.25" / 3.2cm mylar tweeter in a 36mm housing that fits into the door panel.
  • Crossover on tweeter is a 6.8uF bipolar capacitor which gives a gentle 6dB slope and a crossover frequency of approx. 5.8kHz (assuming the tweeter is 4ohm)

OEM part numbers:
Tweeter: A 170 820 15 02
Woofer: A 170 820 29 02

Tweeters.jpg
Stock - Front View 2.jpg

Wiring diagram:

2017-01-29_133533.jpg

Left Front Speaker Positive Wire (+): Green - goes to Green on speaker wire
Left Front Speaker Negative Wire (-): Brown/Green - goes to green/black on speaker wire
Right Front Speaker Positive Wire (+): Orange - goes to Green on speaker wire
Right Front Speaker Negative Wire (-): Brown/Orange - goes to green/black on speaker wire

Left Rear Speaker Positive Wire (+): Pink
Left Rear Speaker Negative Wire (-): Brown/Pink
Right Rear Speaker Positive Wire (+): White
Right Rear Speaker Negative Wire (-): Brown/White


Research - Replacement Options:
Having confirmed the stock speakers I'm able to put together a requirement for the replacement set. However, these days choosing a set of speakers is not easy even if you're experienced in car audio. In an ideal world you'd choose speakers by auditioning them. But these days the only place I could find to 'audition' speakers in the UK was my local Halfords store. While this is nice in theory it doesn't work as the speakers are mounted on boards, usually too far apart - or too high and you've very little control of source or of audio settings (volume / tone etc.) Also it's difficult to compare these speakers trying to sound good in the relatively huge environment of a Halfords store to when they might be fitted in your car.

As an alternative you could take your car in to a specialist and ask their opinion. I did this out of curiosity and took Silkie to a reputable car audio firm nearby. I was told 'Focal PS165 Sir. Best speaker around'. No opportunity to hear any alternatives because the guy managing the shop was too busy installing a head unit in a customer's car. He also proposed to charge me between £800-850 to install those Focals - complete with an amp with an integral small sub. Mmmm. How about "No" to that then.

Thirdly, you could ask your friends - but be honest - how many of your friends have upgraded systems in their cars? If you are lucky and someone with the same car as you has already upgraded you can at least see and hear what they've done.

But most of the time you end up looking on the Internet, reading reviews and then taking a bit of a chance and choosing a set with hopefully good reviews. After all the above, this was what I had to do and I began by planning my research.

First of all (and perhaps the most obvious), the speakers have to fit in the car as I don't want to have to alter the car more than I need to. This means choosing speakers that are similar in size to the stock system. So I looked at what others had installed in their SLKs - Focals, Infinity, JL Audio, Pioneer, Hertz and others - and began my search by looking at the models installed from these manufacturers. I recorded the size (particularly the depth of the woofer) as this should mean that the new speaker fits. Luckily in the R170 the woofer is mounted on a carrier that makes fitting easy, as we shall see. Then, as I carried on my research, I began to notice other makes and models being compared against each other so, more searching and more speaker choices got added to the list.

Secondly, any speaker set I chose has to play loud enough to work from a head unit in the car. No amplifier should be necessary. This means the speakers have to have a high sensitivity. So I added the sensitivity of each of the speakers on the list and rejected any speakers with less than 90dB sensitivity (this figure is a bit arbitrary but I've found with previous installs that a standard 50W / 22W RMS head unit will happily drive speakers with 90dB sensitivity to quite reasonable levels without struggling).

Thirdly, for me, the speakers need to be clear-sounding, well-defined with good bass extension and not fatiguing to listen to over long periods. To help me here I tried to pick the sonic character of the speakers from the reviews on the net and recorded that on the list too - I had to do this here because, as I've already said, I wasn't really able to audition all the speakers on the shortlist before buying.

After all this I ended up with the following:
Table.jpg

Regarding sonic character the opinions and reviews seem to show that:
  • Focals are more forward, detailed, bright and aggressive sounding. They can sometimes be tiring to listen to on long journeys
  • Morel, Rainbow & Hertz sound more laid back, mellow and warm and don't have the aggressive top end that Focals have.
  • The Focal PS165 and Access 165's are very clear and forward speakers with good soundstage and good mid bass but the tweeter is fatiguing to listen to. Not so good on a long journey.
  • The Rainbow Soundline (SL-C6.2) sound warm, clear and precise even with poor positioning in some cars. The tweeter is very detailed and the woofers will drop fairly deep. However, they can be difficult to drive well so will probably need an amplifier. (the Rainbows in my old BMW certainly improved greatly when they were driven by an amplifier)
  • Helix are good and favour vocal music
  • (from one review I read) Morel Tempo Ultras are much smoother and more refined than the Focals. Very clear tones, very clean instrument reproduction, excellent tweeter that's not too sharp or loud and the woofers provide more bass than expected so a sub may not be needed.

So for my tastes I looked away from the Focals and concentrated on the Morels and the Rainbows. I had Rainbows on my old BMW 530D and very nice they were too, but I chose the Morels because the bass is apparently better and they were quite a bit cheaper and may be easier to run initially from just the head unit.

Planning the Installation
Looking at the threads on the forum for other installs I saw that Mercedes have designed the speaker to use the door cavity to enhance the sound - but they'd left lots of maintenance holes in the doors to help repair and align windows for example. This doesn't help the speaker do its job. I therefore decided that I would help the new speaker with this by lining the inner door panel with Dynamat. (Dynamat is a 2mm butyl rubber sheet finished with an aluminium foil on one side and sticky adhesive on the other). By sticking it to your door you reduce or deaden the sound that comes through the door - and you seal up those maintenance holes thereby improving the 'box' that the speaker works in. Dynamat also helps reduce the road noise in the car too. Overall, this improves the bass response and clarity of the speaker and means the speakers are not competing with the road noise - a win/win in my book.

The next post will step through the installation with pictures.

Last edited by savcom; 04-16-2017 at 06:17 AM. Reason: Added OEM speaker wiring colours
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#2 Old 04-15-2017
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Installation

Having planned the installation as thoroughly as I could I gathered together all the tools and all the parts I needed.

The parts included:
  • A set of 16.5cm / 6.5" 2-way components
  • A pair of R170 speaker adapter pods (Connects2 CT25MC16)
  • Two replacement sail panels /door mirror triangles (not always needed but read on)
    OFFSIDE DOOR MIRROR TRIANGLE 170 725 02 11
    NEARSIDE DOOR MIRROR TRIANGLE 170 725 01 11
  • Enough Dynamat to cover the doors (3x 18"x32" sheets)
  • Double-sided tape & glue
  • Crimp connectors & tie-wraps/zip-ties

Tools needed:
  • Pozidrive screwdrivers
  • Plastic panel removal tools
  • Wire cutters and crimp tool
  • Stanley knife
  • Old pair of scissors (long-bladed)
  • Something to sit/kneel on
  • Coffee

Preparation:
The first step is to disconnect the battery. Behind the door panels are two airbags and to be safe while working round them disconnect the battery and wait 30mins. Don't skip this.
Remove the inner door panels one at a time and lay them down somewhere safe. (I used this video as a guide)
You may need to re-glue some of the fixings as shown in the video. I recommend that you do this straight away so the glue dries thoroughly before you reassemble the door.
Two tips to make things easier:
  1. To release the door catch easily pull the cable outer back out of the moulding and ease the wire through the slot then undo the wire clip from the door handle
  2. If you can't undo the wire clip of the tweeter then unclip the tweeter from its housing.
Take off the felt and the plastic vapour barrier, remove the old woofer and you're left with this:
01-Before.jpg

Dynamat
I used @murat orhan's guidelines from @mrchris' thread on his new stereo installation to plan the Dynamat installation so please look there for more notes on the work needed.
To add to Murat's notes, I loosened the yellow door lock cable from the door and eased cables away from the door panel so I can ease the Dynamat under them and on to the door metalwork.
Here is my door after adding the Dynamat.
02-After.jpg

The tips I would add to Murat's notes are:
  • Be prepared to put the mat on in small manageable pieces so you can manipulate the sticky mat under the cables and onto the metal
  • Press the Dynamat firmly into place ideally with a small roller. If you use your fingers to press the mat down be careful. The aluminium foil on the edge of the mat cuts worse and deeper than any paper cut. Ask me how I know….
  • Overlap any mat that covers the holes in the door panel to improve the seal
  • If in the future you need to get access into the door void after doing this you can carefully trim the Dynamat back with a knife to restore the access - and then re-cover the slot with more Dynamat afterwards.
  • In retrospect, I think I should have put a square foot of Dynamat on the door outer skin

Having finished coating the door with Dynamat it's time to fit and connect the speakers. I carried out a dry run with all the components first. Just as well, as I had to alter my thinking a bit along the way:
  • Don't fold the Dynamat into the speaker hole. The adapter pods are a tight fit and won't fit if you have.
  • The speaker adapter holding the woofer is held to the door panel by three screws. I found that it flexes slightly when fitted so I modified it with a small piece of wood. Make sure the adapter pod is fully screwed home to properly support the woofer
Pic03.jpg Pic11.jpg
  • Put draught excluder around the top of the speaker adapters before mounting the woofers to ensure an air-tight seal in the adapter.
  • Don't do one screw fully up tight at a time. To spread the stresses during assembly work round the screws tightening each up a few turns at a time. When each are tight, go round each of them once more to ensure each are fully tightened.
I noticed that the Morel tweeters are quite large (28mm) so would not fit in the door tweeter position. I could have modified the door panel to make the tweeters fit but thought I'd move the tweeter to a new position on the mirror triangle or sail panels to try to raise the soundstage in the car. I drilled two holes in two new sail panels and mounted the tweeters there. The tweeters fit well in their new location and don't look out of place.
pic02.jpg Pic05.jpg
Rather than alter the wiring in the car I cut the old speaker cable off to connect the car wiring to the crossover. This made fitting and wiring the crossover easier. The tweeter connector was folded back and zip-tied out of the way. The crossover was stuck with heavy-duty double-sided foam tape to the flat area where the door hinge fits to the door.
Pic08.jpg Pic10.jpg

Last of all make sure each screw is tight, each connector is firm, each speaker is connected and each terminal screw on the crossover is tight.
Before I put the panels back on I connected the battery for a short time, turned the radio on and made sure both woofers worked and both tweeters worked. I also traced through the wiring to make sure that all the components were connected together properly - and, importantly, the same way on both sides (positive to positive, negative to negative etc.). Then, I disconnected the battery, waited 30 minutes again (that's when you need the coffee...) and re-assembled the door panel. Note here that the new tweeters need to be installed and left dangling during the assembly as you need the sail panel off the door to manoeuvre the door panel into position.
Top tip when putting the door catch cable on is to kind of slide the wire into place along the slot and then push the cable outer back into the moulding.
Pic04.jpg

Once the door is back together make sure it closes and opens as it should (in case you need to take the panel off again) and only then reconnect the battery.

Test everything:
  • Do both windows go up and down?
  • Do the mirror controls and indicators (face lift cars) work?
  • Do the doors both lock and unlock?
  • Can you open the doors from the inside and from the outside?
  • Does the stereo work? Both channels? Highs and lows?
  • (And a reminder - align the steering after starting the car to clear the BAS error light)
We now have assembly complete. Next we move to testing the speakers. But before then, go for a drive with the stereo off. You should notice that the car is quieter - at least in terms of road noise. I was so impressed with how quiet the car had become that I am now working myself up to taking the rear carpet off and repeating the Dynamat exercise on the rear bulkhead.

Last edited by savcom; 04-16-2017 at 07:49 AM.
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#3 Old 04-15-2017
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Listening Tests and Tweaking

So hopefully you've installed the speakers and gone out for a drive. The car's quieter and the music sounds good, so all is well. But what if you want to get the absolute best from your system? If you do, you may be pleased to know that there is still a little more you can do on top of it all and I hope this post can help you get started with this and introduce you to what's involved in a formal listening test.

Perhaps not surprisingly a whole industry has grown up around formal listening complete with products, competitions, discussions - and a lot of hype and mystery . Hopefully this post will strip away the hype and give you the confidence to tackle this yourself with the satisfaction of getting the most from your new speakers and system. But there's no rush. New speakers will need to bed in before they sound at their best (a bit like you used to have to run a car in for the first few thousand miles) Allow about 10-20 hours use to bed the speakers in and get them sounding their best (good excuse to go for a drive. Or two. Or three). Then you can think about tweaking your system to make it sound 'right' in the rather restrictive environment that is the inside of an SLK.

To do this in Silkie I compiled a few tracks on a USB stick to allow me to listen. Really listen. The playlist and reasons for the tracks are attached and I'll look at this later on, but first I'll outline the process in case this is new to you or you don't know where to start.
  • Make up a selection of music you know and know well and add other tracks you may not know so well (see my notes and playlist below)
  • Try and choose quiet tracks, vocal tracks (male and female), instrumental tracks and busy tracks so you can see how the speakers cope with different types of music.
  • Old music can be especially revealing even today - some of the tracks I use are 20 to 50 years old!
  • Speech can be very revealing - good quality podcasts or studio radio programs are best here.
  • Play music that is as high a quality as possible (use a lossless format or use 256kbps MP3 files or better).
  • Don't use Bluetooth for the tests. It's not good enough quality. Instead use a USB stick, an iPod or a CD as the source.
  • Initially set the audio controls for a 'flat' response - tone controls at zero and any equaliser set 'flat' or disabled.
Listen carefully at a reasonable volume. Listen for:
  • Good bass, with the drums kicking in and keeping their sound separate from the bass notes of a bass guitar or synthesiser. With the right music drums should sound punchy, not loose.
  • Clear vocals so you can hear the words
  • Detail in the music (such as picked notes on a guitar, cymbals that ring rather than tizz. Piano notes that sound right.
  • On quiet pieces listen for studio noises (fingers on strings, squeaky seats, breathing - even the reverb of the studio itself)
  • In your well-known songs do you hear things you've not heard before?
If you think it necessary to tweak or make adjustments to the sound (a little more bass here - less treble there) make small adjustments at a time and re-listen. Most modern head units will have a basic equaliser and you should make most of your adjustments on this rather than with the tone controls as the adjustments will likely remain set once you've made them and are happy with the sound. You can always play with the tone controls separately to suit the mood when you're driving.

I mentioned above that you can also use unfamiliar music as a way of listening too. If you look online (as I did) for lists of test tracks that others use you can usually see why the tracks were chosen and I've attached a few lists of test tracks I used with this information together with the source of the list:

__________________________________________________ ______________
BMWBlog Test Tracks Listening Notes

Dire Straits - Money for Nothing
Mark Knopfler’s opening guitar riff is one of the most famous of all time and that, and the ensuing drum intro, can test the quality of any sound system. There are also some great background vocals by Sting, and listening for the clarity of them can tests the merits of the speakers.

Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
With old-school, James Brown style funk, great brass instruments and catchy lyrics, Uptown Funk can test all levels of your speakers. There’s a lot going on in this song so if you’re able to pick everything out, then you’re listening on good speakers.

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
A true rock and roll ballad, Bohemian Rhapsody is filled with great instrumentals and even lyrics. Listen for Freddie Mercury’s timeless vocals and for the hard-hitting end to the song. A great system can make this truly classic song really come alive.

The Eagles - Hotel California (live Acoustic)
The song is a classic and fantastic, but the best version for speaker testing is the live version from the “When Hell Freezes Over”. The incredible guitar intro and bongos that lead into the song make it the best song for testing all levels of sound. Plus it sounds magnificent.

The Who - Baba O'Riley
With the fantastic, fast paced intro that moves from left to right, and the introduction of all of the different instruments, Baba O’Riley is one of the best songs to test the fidelity of speakers. Listen for the intro movement and for each instrument as they are introduced throughout the song.

__________________________________________________ ______________
GM Engineer Test Tracks Listening Notes

Alicia Keys - No One
Listen for clarity in Alicia's vocals and spacious background sound.

Joan Baez - Diamonds and Rust (original)
Listen for strong vocals, and for the instruments to be set across a wide sound stage

Johnny Cash - Bird on a wire
Listen for the clarity in Johnny's distinctive voice, and his guitar to sound natural and free of any coloration.

Lilo & Stitch - He Mele No Lilo
Listen for the ambience and staging as the children's chorus is offset by powerful bass.

Norah Jones - Don't Know Why
Listen for Norah's voice to sound natural, and centered in front of you.

Radiohead - Packt like sardines in a crushd tin box
Listen for the punch from the percussive bass, and the ring of the steel drums.

The Eagles Hotel California (live Acoustic)
Listen for the clarity and dynamic range during the opening guitar solo, and of course the powerful drum beat.

__________________________________________________ ______________
Livewire Test Tracks Listening Notes

Dennis Kamakahi and David Kamakahi - 'Ulili E from the album OHANA (Family)
slack key guitar and ukulele behind two, rich male voices.

Holly Cole - Train Song - Live 1995
deep bass notes, tinkly dancing percussion is a great test of high-frequency performance and stereo imaging.

Olive - Falling
This is a harsh-sounding recording if you're listening to the mids and treble but the synthesizer bass line is powerful and punchy, dropping way down to a deep note

Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3: "Organ Symphony"
This may be the best deep-bass test ever. Not the booming, headache-inducing, hip-hop or heavy rock type of bass but the subtle, beautiful bass emitted by a massive pipe organ, with its deepest notes reaching way down at 16 Hz. Mind your woofer!

Toto - Rosanna
Dense mix packs the audio spectrum! Quickest test for tonal balance is accurate or not. Just 30 seconds of "Rosanna" will tell you whether a product is good or bad

Trilok Gurtu - Living Magic 1991- track n°3 Once I Wished a Tree Upside Down
no better way to test stereo soundstaging and envelopment. Listen for the sounds of chimes will seem to swirl around and even materialize right in front of you

Wale Ft. Sam Dew - Love/Hate Thing
Most hip-hop mixes are too elemental to tell you much about a system but Wale and Sam Dew make an exception with the song. Both have smooth voices that shouldn't sound rough. But the best part is the background vocals repeating the phrase, "Keep giving me love."
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Looks good and I'll be curious to hear your comments. I don't understand why you wouldn't use a separate power amplifier though. They are pretty inexpensive and will give you plenty of headroom. Also, are you planning on using a sub as well? Have you thought about a three way crossover?
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Originally Posted by Mn car guy View Post
Looks good and I'll be curious to hear your comments. I don't understand why you wouldn't use a separate power amplifier though. They are pretty inexpensive and will give you plenty of headroom. Also, are you planning on using a sub as well? Have you thought about a three way crossover?
I have a Genesis Profile 2 waiting to be used - but it's a bit big for the footwell position so I may need to re-think that and look for something else. However I really haven't had the time to do this with everything else I've had to do this year (for example I upgraded the speakers in February - and I'm only now able to write about it!). Plus many people will not want to be bothered with the hassle of adding an amplifier and a sensitive speaker will probably do them just fine.

At this stage no sub. The Morels go down pretty well and unless I can pop two decent subs in the rear speaker positions there really isn't any point. None of the under-seat subs you can add will give me enough bass to make them worth while. I'd get as much by boosting 40-50Hz a bit in the equaliser and letting the Morels do their stuff. If I do go for rear subs then the head unit I have has subwoofer outputs so it will be an easy fit!

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Savcom,

I'm impressed! I like how you did the doors. I put some 4 inch Infinitys in the front (had to modify the housing) and 6.5 inch Kicker CS65s in the rear. I installed a Nano BX4 amplifier in place of the Bose. I didn't dynamat the doors like you did, and I decided to go a different route than you in the rear:

I turned the Kicker's around, orienting them the way speakers are supposed to be oriented, and then I used the amp (and the trunk) to push more bass to those speakers. I also supplemented the bass with a permanently mounted, compact, powered subwoofer in the trunk. It is the perfect size to sit under the convertible curtain.

The rear speakers provide a nice mid-high to low range while the subwoofer backfills the lows with even lower sounds while not drowning out the higher ranges. The subwoofer bass sounds distinct from the tones coming out of the speaker. I like the way mine sounds, but I do wonder how much the dynamat would have helped. I know it wouldn't have hurt!

Have you put your tests on a Spotify or Pandora playlist? Can't wait to try them!

Maybe one day if I get bored....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mightycpa View Post
Have you put your tests on a Spotify or Pandora playlist? Can't wait to try them!
Now there's a thought! I've my own personal playlist to do but I had to go out before completing it, so maybe tomorrow. There's also a reddit thread with some great tracks and another from headfi.org. If nothing else these open your minds to new music!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mightycpa View Post
I put some 4 inch Infinitys in the front (had to modify the housing) and 6.5 inch Kicker CS65s in the rear. I installed a Nano BX4 amplifier in place of the Bose.
I turned the Kicker's around, orienting them the way speakers are supposed to be oriented, and then I used the amp (and the trunk) to push more bass to those speakers.

I also supplemented the bass with a permanently mounted, compact, powered subwoofer in the trunk. It is the perfect size to sit under the convertible curtain.
Nice approach - and I've heard good things about the Nano BX4. I need the boot space so won't put a sub in the boot - but there's a good chance I'll get some decent subs behind the seats when the time is right.

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#8 Old 04-16-2017
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Nice write up and I wish I had your motivation. As for your test music, pretty cool stuff. Pretty unusual to see Trilok show up on a MB thread. I saw him live about 20 years ago with John Mc trio and was completely blown away. I do think you should ad some Steely Dan to your list as much of it is the gold standard of recording. As a musician and recording guy, here is a tip. For mid and upper frequency clarity, listen to the hats. When they are correct, everything else sounds great (well everything above 150).

P.S. Streaming in general and spotify in particular are fine for casual listening but if you're serious, it really sounds like crap.
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I do think you should ad some Steely Dan to your list as much of it is the gold standard of recording.
My own list is in preparation - and it does include Steely Dan. Just need to top-and-tail it and get it out there.

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As a musician and recording guy, here is a tip. For mid and upper frequency clarity, listen to the hats. When they are correct, everything else sounds great (well everything above 150).
Good tip! Thanks

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P.S. Streaming in general and spotify in particular are fine for casual listening but if you're serious, it really sounds like crap.
Totally agree - but it's a way of getting people to know the tracks that are well recorded - and then they should get hold of high-quality versions for themselves.

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#10 Old 04-16-2017
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Before I had my first convertible, my brother had a Leyland Mini Moke.

Roof down, it was a car you step into, THEN sit down!
Roof up, it was like a leaky tent, on top of a pallet, and looked like it.

But regarding listening to music in a convertible top down, he said it was not so much listening to a song, but being reminded of it.

I commend your pursuit of quality, and the back roads of Surrey would be a wonderful place to cruise top in the boot and music playing. In my city traffic sometimes I can't hear my choice of music over the duff-duff of the car in the next lane, as we trckle along in peak hour.
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#11 Old 04-17-2017
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I don't understand why you wouldn't use a separate power amplifier though. They are pretty inexpensive and will give you plenty of headroom.
I had a spare couple of hours this afternoon and played with a bit of wood and the Genesis. It fits! So I've added an amplifier. Details below.

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Before I had my first convertible, my brother had a Leyland Mini Moke.

Roof down, it was a car you step into, THEN sit down!
Roof up, it was like a leaky tent, on top of a pallet, and looked like it.

But regarding listening to music in a convertible top down, he said it was not so much listening to a song, but being reminded of it.

I commend your pursuit of quality, and the back roads of Surrey would be a wonderful place to cruise top in the boot and music playing. In my city traffic sometimes I can't hear my choice of music over the duff-duff of the car in the next lane, as we trckle along in peak hour.
Heh - MIni moke. Now that takes me back!

I am totally with you, @Pictor but many of my miles are on my own and with the roof up. In those situations I can quite happily enjoy music as I mosey along with the rest of the traffic on the roads - particularly on motorways/highways when there's lots of traffic.

If the roof's down and I'm on back roads however then I agree, it's totally different.

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#12 Old 04-17-2017
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I tried my old faithful amplifier in the Bose amplifier position this afternoon and with a bit of spacing I found that it fitted raised at one end and resting on the transmission control unit on the other.

The amplifier is a Genesis Profile 2 amplifier - quite old, 75W RMS but reckoned to be one of the best sounding amps around - even now.

Amp-3.jpg

I can get the earth and signal cables up and to the right of the footwell so they get to the back on the head unit but I was not sure about getting the power cable to the battery. Turns out this was much easier than I anticipated:

In the footwell is a multi-holed rubber bung:
Amp-2.jpg

This goes through to the engine compartment and comes out under the battery. So, after taking the battery out - and the mounting plate for the battery, this bung is viewable under the battery mount (here with one of the smaller bungs remioved and my red power wire inserted:
Amp-4.jpg

Thread through the cable, re-fit the battery plate - and the battery - and then add the power lead to the battery positive terminal (without the fuse fitted, naturally) and tidy up so the fuse is readily available and doesn't rattle about
Amp-6.jpg

It got dark at this point so I'll finish off tomorrow night.
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Last edited by savcom; 04-17-2017 at 03:38 PM. Reason: Screwed up the pictures, so put that right.
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#13 Old 04-18-2017
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With the monster power cord for juice, that 75W amp can double as a foot warmer for your passenger !

Thanks for the photos, it's nice to know an easy location for passing wires through the dash lower panel.
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#14 Old 04-19-2017
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So the amplifier is in and fitted. Bought myself a short ISO male-to-female lead from Halfords and used that to cut into the speaker loom so the car wiring and the head unit wiring are untouched. The speaker leads from the amp are now connected to the car loom for the speakers in the doors, whereas the head unit speaker leads are disconnected. I then wired a twin RCA lead between the head unit's RCA front out sockets and the amplifier, took the footwell side panel off to expose ground W29/2 (as this is where the Bose amp is grounded) and connected the ground wire from my amp.

That was it! Had to jiggle the amp and plate about to get it to re-fit; re-laid the carpet and job done. Initial impressions are (as expected!) an improved sound - even over just the head unit driving the speakers - but the proof of the pudding will be a long drive on my own. Scotland here we come!
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With the monster power cord for juice, that 75W amp can double as a foot warmer for your passenger !

Thanks for the photos, it's nice to know an easy location for passing wires through the dash lower panel.
Ditto...

Power and earth cables are often overlooked.... (the amp has since been changed to one of the Class D ones, but the cables remain the same!)
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#16 Old 01-15-2019
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Thumbs up Excellent Thread

Thank you for taking the time to share this Excellent & very informative thread.
I'm currently looking to upgrading my speakers after swapping the standard (None Bose) head unit for an aftermarket with hands free function, as the standard speakers are well past their best & although the hands free sounds ok the music sound quality leaves a lot to be desired.
The Information and advice will come in very handy in not only the installation but also deciding which components to select, you've also left me with the dilemma of rear speakers hadn't actually thought about it before but I'm sure there are none fitted to my car so might be time to fix that while I'm at it.


Thanks again for all your advice
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#17 Old 01-24-2019
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Thank you for taking the time to share this Excellent & very informative thread.
You're most welcome, @Des-Autos

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you've also left me with the dilemma of rear speakers hadn't actually thought about it before but I'm sure there are none fitted to my car so might be time to fix that while I'm at it.
If it's any consolation, I've never felt the need to add more bass by adding rear speakers. Once amplified the Morels are very very good at reaching plenty low enough for my sort of listening. I can tweak the bottom registers on the head end equaliser to extend the response and all is good.
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