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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

I have a 2006 SLK55 AMG and recently both of my door speakers blew. I've looked in past pages but could not find any discussions on my topic.

My car is at 73,000 miles and I intend on keeping my car "forever"....I could just replace the Harmon Kardon door speakers but I'd like a better sound and system. So, I am considering placing Focal 165 KRX2 woofer/tweeter speakers in both doors and upgrading my amp to a JL audio RD900 75 W/ch or the like. I'm no expert so I am wondering if there is anything special about HK's surround sound system or it would be accomplished with any other high end speakers/amplifier in its stead.

I am not overly concerned about the Comand console being replaced but do wonder if I should consider it. I was also wondering if I should replace the other 7 speakers with appropriately sized Focal speakers or just replace the door speakers and let the JL amp drive the HK surround speaker to save money. Or maybe also the front speakers as well?

Has anyone here ever changed the speakers? Or the amplifier?

I would greatly appreciate any feedback on any such changes fellow SLK owners have done or opinions on what I am/might considering.

Thanks so much.
 

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I replaced the Comand with a Seicane head unit and replaced the gateway with a 6 channel power amp. The subwoofers are independently wired so channel 5 & 6 feed these. Since each pair of channels can be independently adjusted by the power amp, I can set the subwoofers, front and rear to give a perfect distribution of sound. The original front speakers give good sound but I have upgraded the rear units to slightly larger. Dashboard and service menus still appear functional although I have never messed with the service menu in dyno mode.

Maya ~ Tapatalk
 

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I have the Harmon Kardon system with Logic 7 and 6 disk CD changer. The system has great sound, the radio captures all the stations I want, and the Weather Band Radio is very useful. I'd never change it. Its look and function fit the character of the vehicle. To add some more usefulness to my car, I bought a new Garmin Drive 61 off EBay.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I replaced the Comand with a Seicane head unit and replaced the gateway with a 6 channel power amp. The subwoofers are independently wired so channel 5 & 6 feed these. Since each pair of channels can be independently adjusted by the power amp, I can set the subwoofers, front and rear to give a perfect distribution of sound. The original front speakers give good sound but I have upgraded the rear units to slightly larger. Dashboard and service menus still appear functional although I have never messed with the service menu in dyno mode.

Maya ~ Tapatalk
Thanks for your replies guys.

Can I add a new amplifier without removing the Gateway for use in tandem?

I want to leave the Comand system and dash display as is.

osi- I have the Entertainment package. As far as the 4 factory rear speakers, are they 3"? What size rear speakers did you upgrade to.

Thank you!

*On Edit: I researched about the Gateway. If I remove it then it seems that the Comand system and Comand head unit display won't work. while I don't use navigation, telephone microphone. I'd want to maintain the cycling ability of settings on my steering wheel and the readouts(FM/Sirius channel, base/treable/balance visuals on my head unit display...Can I add a new amplifier without removing the Gateway? If not, my only option might be to replace the blown door speakers(woofer).

If interested, this link takes you mercedes medic and describes the Gateway in detail:
 

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Yes, I had the full fat all singing logic too. To use an aftermarket amp you would need an optical decoder to translate digital to analogue. I guess this is doable? Most of the aftermarket head units offer a decoder to send the signal to the gateway so I don't see why it couldn't work the other way around. The speakers I substituted were not massively expensive. I will see if I can find the original invoice for these next week. They are slightly larger but much larger magnets.

Maya ~ Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, I had the full fat all singing logic too. To use an aftermarket amp you would need an optical decoder to translate digital to analogue. I guess this is doable? Most of the aftermarket head units offer a decoder to send the signal to the gateway so I don't see why it couldn't work the other way around. The speakers I substituted were not massively expensive. I will see if I can find the original invoice for these next week. They are slightly larger but much larger magnets.

Maya ~ Tapatalk
Thanks!

Seems like the simplest thing for me certainly would be a new amp that ran through the gateway or the other way around. If possible...Then just replace speakers. I'll likely try and find a local installer for advice and service on installation.
I'll try and figure out which speakers to buy after I see what rear speakers you went with.

I've looked all over my owners manual and online, trying to find out the power ratings of the Gateway. How many watts per channel. And the power rating of the speakers.
 

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Well the simple and cheap thing would be to replace the blown doorspeaker with a new one ordered at the dealer.

If you want to replace the whole set (radio+amp+speakers) that’s possible to of course. I would not bother replacing the rear speakers, just the doorspeakers and the 2 tweeters with either a 2 or 3 way system. The new JL audio amp can go on the spot of the HK amp.

If you remove the Comand you can still reset the service indicator by means of the steering wheel buttons.
 

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These are the replacement speakers for the rear.. Monacor SPH-30X/4 3 inch 4 ohm Kevlar Cone full range driver. The OEM units are really just tweeters and while the Monacors aren't exactly beefy, they do provide a more rounded full sound.


Maya ~ Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well the simple and cheap thing would be to replace the blown doorspeaker with a new one ordered at the dealer.

If you want to replace the whole set (radio+amp+speakers) that’s possible to of course. I would not bother replacing the rear speakers, just the doorspeakers and the 2 tweeters with either a 2 or 3 way system. The new JL audio amp can go on the spot of the HK amp.

If you remove the Comand you can still reset the service indicator by means of the steering wheel buttons.
Thank you Merc 55.

I got a quote to replace the door speakers from MB dealership. $300+ for each speaker + $300 installation. It was around $960. Maybe over $1,000...I thought that was ridiculous.

I am hoping to keep the Audio Gateway and daisy chain an amp either in front of or behind the Gateway as I'd like to keep the current head unit and it's display.

I sent a contact note to a local shop that exact question- asking if a JL Amp could be daisy chained with the Gateway so I can keep the Gateway and amplify with the JL. On their site they said they get a lot of requests to keep factory head units so they do a lot of factory integration work...That would be great.

I'm a bit confused on what you said. As far as "the JL can go in the spot of the HK amp". The HK amplification is contained within the Audio Gateway? Or is there a separate HK amp in addition to the Gateway?. I did not think there was..., I don't want to lose all the display readouts which will happen if I remove the Gateway..

In addition to the JL amp, I'm considering Focal or Hertz component lower door speakers and the replacing the small 1.5" speakers at the top front of the door. Maybe the center speaker as well

As far as the rear speakers, I'll get the shops opinion. Of course they'll want to sell me them but it has to make a lot of sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
These are the replacement speakers for the rear.. Monacor SPH-30X/4 3 inch 4 ohm Kevlar Cone full range driver. The OEM units are really just tweeters and while the Monacors aren't exactly beefy, they do provide a more rounded full sound.


Maya ~ Tapatalk
Thanks osi. You used that speaker for all 4 rear speakers? About $80/each. Not too bad.

As I said above, I'll look into the rear speakers too.... I guess a 6 channel amp would do the job for 11 speakers? Or need an 8 channel? Not sure I want to get a subwoofer. I just want nice, accurate sound at a reasonable volume. I don't like crankin' it......
 

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Hi PtoB. I'm really not sure why you would want to piggy back the HK gateway with a separate power amp. I removed my Gateway altogether and it made no difference to the system. The gateway is purely a power amp and despite the fancy name, there is no clever audio processing other than to feed the 11 speakers with power. As I said, due to the limitations of the early Camand head unit's, most replace that and keep the gateway for simplicity I guess. I had everything including the glovebox disc changer, the trunk loaded nav system, the iPod thing and even the Dension BT500 Bluetooth connector (which is all up for sale by the way). The sat nav, video, music and files are now stored on two postage stamp sized datacards and I have my glovebox back and more room in the trunk... But, that aside. I don't see the advantage of adding a power amp to the gateway. The Gateway has or 'had' in my case, a nice sound and ticks most of the boxes apart from controllability. Be aware also that the gateway distribution is complicated. The two subwoofers are stereo and if you connect these to a dedicated subwoofer amp you will only get mono (that's why I chose a 6 ch amp). I could find no left and right feed to the centre rear speakers so had to run an additional feed to one to create stereo and the dash speaker is mono! And lastly in answer to your Q, I actually only replaced the outer rear speakers due to size restrictions on the centre housing. Enlarging the outer speakers wasn't exactly hassle free but worth the effort. The centre speakers to me are less important since they really just fill the sound. The HK system has a great sound but also great potential if you're prepared to experiment!

Maya ~ Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi PtoB. I'm really not sure why you would want to piggy back the HK gateway with a separate power amp. I removed my Gateway altogether and it made no difference to the system. The gateway is purely a power amp and despite the fancy name, there is no clever audio processing other than to feed the 11 speakers with power. As I said, due to the limitations of the early Camand head unit's, most replace that and keep the gateway for simplicity I guess. I had everything including the glovebox disc changer, the trunk loaded nav system, the iPod thing and even the Dension BT500 Bluetooth connector (which is all up for sale by the way). The sat nav, video, music and files are now stored on two postage stamp sized datacards and I have my glovebox back and more room in the trunk... But, that aside. I don't see the advantage of adding a power amp to the gateway. The Gateway has or 'had' in my case, a nice sound and ticks most of the boxes apart from controllability. Be aware also that the gateway distribution is complicated. The two subwoofers are stereo and if you connect these to a dedicated subwoofer amp you will only get mono (that's why I chose a 6 ch amp). I could find no left and right feed to the centre rear speakers so had to run an additional feed to one to create stereo and the dash speaker is mono! And lastly in answer to your Q, I actually only replaced the outer rear speakers due to size restrictions on the centre housing. Enlarging the outer speakers wasn't exactly hassle free but worth the effort. The centre speakers to me are less important since they really just fill the sound. The HK system has a great sound but also great potential if you're prepared to experiment!

Maya ~ Tapatalk
Thank you for your explanation osi.

As far as why I'd like to piggyback the Gateway, it was because it seems that the Gateway provides the display unit with all the visuals (i.e. showing which radio/Sirius station was playing, giving the head unit the ability to acquire the Satellite signal and play Sirius, displaying the settings such as bass/treble, balance, weather stations etc. All the normal things the head unit does). You replaced the head unit which does a lot of what the Gateways did...I want to keep the factory head unit as the look of it fits with the look of the dash> Analogue.

Also, I thought the Gateway controlled the Comand system in the multifunction display behind and from the steering wheel. All those settings that you can cycle through with the steering wheel buttons. Are you saying that you extracted all those abilities the satellite navigation and put it on those 2 datacards? I don't care about navigation(I can use my cell or buy a Garmin device). The telephone? Use my cell. Keep in mind that I won't be doing the installation. I will be hiring an installer to do the work. I hope to learn as much as I can before hiring an installer.....

From mercedes medic:
Purpose of AGW (N93/1) Unit



What does the AGW unit do?
The AGW N93/1 is the brain of the audio system, it is the central audio interface within the MOST ( media oriented system transport). Control commands from different systems such as the COMAND, radio control panel or navigation unit are transmitted via the MOST ring to the AGW N93/1.
Here is a list of tasks performed by this unit.
  • Controls audio processing and signal received via the fiber optic ring.
  • Receives and processes the AM/AF signals.
  • Processes RDS signals. RDS stands for Radio Data System. It is data that is transmitted alongside audio and may include station name, artist info, song name.
  • Stores MOST central diagnostic settings.
  • Serves as the Audio Amplifier for the loudspeaker.
  • Sound processing and amplifying.


I did find an old thread where someone asked roughly the same question as my original question. The reply gave me the thought that the Gateway does more than only amplify.

2) Can anybody recommend an aftermarket amp to replace the MOST audio gateway? If I have a subwoofer, I'm assuming I should get a 5 channel amp. If not, I'm assuming that a 4 channel amp would do. It bums me to let the front central and rear central speakers go dead, so if anyone has a trick for keeping them live with a new amp, I am all ears. Of course, I'm looking for an amp that could fit under the passenger foot rest, where the old audio gateway was.

2 - Whatever suits your budget and sound tastes - I use Alpine personally. The AGW (Audio Gateway ) drives all 11 of the speakers currently in your car - there are no crossovers on the speakers as the AGW does all of that so you're going to need either a surround processor or additional crossovers to be able to drive the speakers correctly (unlike the cars with the more basic head units which have passive crossover components on the speakers). I'd look at some thing with 5 or 6 channels of amplification and do some rewiring if the speakers to end up with front left & right, rear left & right, centre and a dedicated sub channel with an extra sub in the boot (trunk).
There is plenty of room in the electronics bay under the passenger foot well for an amp or two.
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Sounds like the guy who responded replaced his cars head unit with an Alpine head unit.

The digital sound processor, surround processor and crossovers in the Gateway that this guy spelled out needs to replaced.


osi, did you buy a DSP and surround processor? You bought a new head unit so that does a lot of what the Gateway does for the OEM Head unit....I didn't read that you replaced your door speakers. I have to as they both blew. I likely will not be getting a subwoofer.

Is the navigation system even usable any more? Is there a reason to keep it in the car? Or is it vestigial like an appendix.

Sorry if my questions are redundant. I am still a little confused about the loss of the Gateway but will talk things over with the installer and hope I can trust his knowledge.

I appreciate all the opinions being given. Very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I found an interesting forum thread that discusses audio system changes. I need to reread it all many more times. While posted and updated since 2013, it may apply to my 2006 SLK.

PRIMER ON AUDIO/NAV SYSTEMS - GENERAL INFO, REPLACEMENT, UPGRADE, AND ENHANCEMENT



I would love to know the Power ratings of my Gateway amplification- Watts per channel and the Wattage handling of the Logic7 speakers. I can find online the current Logic7 info at the HK site but not the older one from my 2006.
 

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The original amp is rated at 380 watt. If you want to keep the radio then I would just replace the speaker. I found the stock speaker bass quality pretty good. Are you sure the speaker is fried? And not a channel on your HK amp? If you remove the speaker connector from the amp and use a AA penlight battery on the speaker leads you would hear a ‘tick’ from each speaker (unless it is blown). It can’t damage them.

The stock 20 cm woofer is part of an assembly. I think you got quoted for the whole thing with bracket and mid as well. It would be sad if just the woofer costs $300,- if you can get a hold of the partnumber of the single speaker that would help.

Mind you that you would reduce the woofer surface by 32% replacing the 8” by a 16,5cm. I you don’t ad a subwoofer it will affect the bass somewhat. Maybe just replace the woofers with aftermarket is a bit cheaper. Adding a amp next to the HK does not make much sense. Unless maybe an additional sub amp taking the signal of the doorwoofers with a high level input or high-low converter. If you want to add a sub that is.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
The original amp is rated at 380 watt. If you want to keep the radio then I would just replace the speaker. I found the stock speaker bass quality pretty good. Are you sure the speaker is fried? And not a channel on your HK amp? If you remove the speaker connector from the amp and use a AA penlight battery on the speaker leads you would hear a ‘tick’ from each speaker (unless it is blown). It can’t damage them.

The stock 20 cm woofer is part of an assembly. I think you got quoted for the whole thing with bracket and mid as well. It would be sad if just the woofer costs $300,- if you can get a hold of the partnumber of the single speaker that would help.

Mind you that you would reduce the woofer surface by 32% replacing the 8” by a 16,5cm. I you don’t ad a subwoofer it will affect the bass somewhat. Maybe just replace the woofers with aftermarket is a bit cheaper. Adding a amp next to the HK does not make much sense. Unless maybe an additional sub amp taking the signal of the doorwoofers with a high level input or high-low converter. If you want to add a sub that is.
Thank you Merc55!

I brought the car into the dealership. I've been working with the same Service Manager since 2008 when I bought the car used. I asked her to check to see if the speakers got loose from the harnesses. She took me into the garage and some techs gathered round and BOTH door speakers were blown. They all said "no doubt". They didn't clarify about the midrange speaker and I didn't ask.

I've been driving with the bass all the way down for 1 year+(lazy) so the woofers would not make that buzzing sound. I used to crank the stereo up to 11 so I'm not surprised. But I don't nowadays.

Thank you for setting me straight on the woofer size. I took a flashlight and looked. The inside third of the woofer goes beyond the grill.. So, the speakers are actually subwoofers. Is the midrange speaker separate from the subwoofer. I thought they might be connected by a wire like component speakers are...

I need to look at 8" subwoofers. I imagine some companies 8" subs are more responsive than the stock Harman Kardon's.

I sent a text to my service rep( not manager) and asked him for the speaker part # so maybe I can order them and find a place to install them. I emailed Harman Kardon with my car details to see if they could recommend any of the brands they represent (HK,JBL,Infinity) "higher end"speakers....I really would like though to get upgraded speakers if it helps with better sound. But subwoofers don't need to be high end. It's the other midrange and tweeters that might....

If the original amp was rated at 380 watts, do you happen to know what is the wattage sent to the door speakers as that might limit the door speakers I can get...... I was considering the inline amp so I could get better sound at lower volumes. I think I am complicating things.

Again, thank you so much Merc55. I've been in left field with all of this. If I merely need to buy 2 new 8" subwoofers(and 2 4"? midrange speakers) it simplifies everything. Maybe it's worth looking into getting 3 new front speakers as well. The 2 smaller ones at the top front of the door are tweeters and the center front speaker which I think is a 3"speaker might be a 2 way.
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I'm looking at Crutchfield to see what's out there speaker-wise. Each speaker has wattage ratings. Nominal and peak. If the Gateway has 380 watts power, is that divided by 11 so each speaker gets around 35 watts? Or can it vary. The current HK Gateway is rated 830 watts....That's why I was considering if it was possible to add some amplification to my cars Gateway.
 

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Yes, I have all the multifunction displays without either the Comand or HK Gateway. My media and nav maps are on 128gb USB SD cards since my Comand replacement is an Android device with absolutely everything I need which made my NTG1 look prehistoric! (See my other posts on this). I think you will need the real boffins on here to confirm just what else the Gateway does apart from power the speakers. I guess you could remove and bridge the fibre optic ring from the Gateway and see what works?

Maya ~ Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I just found something interesting and relevant. I am in the middle of it but he starts by saying that he upgraded with an amp with his Gateway remaining and added only door speakers.

It's for 2007-2012 S & CL CLASS.

Hopefully 2006 SLK's can do it too...Taken from the Benzworld article I linked above:

 

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Discussion Starter #19
The article is exciting and what I will try to do. He had an Audison Prima 8.9 amp installed in line after the Gateway and a sub amp... He replaced the rear door speakers too. There was a tricky installation but after it was all done, he felt that he didn't need to change the speakers. I am psyched.
 
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