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Audiophile grade car audio?

Discussion in 'Motors' started by AndreWright90, Apr 17, 2020.

  1. AndreWright90


    Joined: Oct 10, 2019

    Posts: 15

    Any audiophiles in this forum? I wonder how you guys treat car audio?
  2. Mr_Sukebe

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 23, 2002

    Posts: 9,016

    Location: London

    I hate the term as most self proclaimed are often full of it.
    So let me replace the title with "music enthusiast". Personally I consider the car audio environment such a mess, that I've done nothing in our BMW (just the stock system) and only changed the HU in my MX5. Both are normally used with only MP3, which I wouldn't give the time of day to with my home system, but is seemingly quite adequate in a noisy environment.
  3. hurfdurf


    Joined: Dec 17, 2009

    Posts: 8,727

    I’d like a bit more depth and clarity in my sock Z4 base system, but the idea of shelling out £500 on an amp and some component speakers for such marginal sound quality stings a bit, especially when I’m getting such conflicting advice from all the installers.
  4. kidloco


    Joined: Nov 3, 2003

    Posts: 4,639

    Location: Up-Holland

    I looked into improving the audio on my S5 as I wasn’t blown away by it. Took it to a well regarded specialist and they quoted over a grand add a decent sub, eq it add extra dampening etc. I didn’t bother in the end as unless you have a silent cabin I think you will get less than Stella performance for your cash.
  5. Scooby_WR1

    Wise Guy

    Joined: May 20, 2007

    Posts: 1,020

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    I have spent around £2k on the setup in my car and that's only a basic install.
  6. !bluetonic!


    Joined: Nov 17, 2005

    Posts: 2,624

    Location: Swindon, UK

    In the good old days, I spent £1500 on a Clarion CD head unit, speakers all round, sub woofer and wiring and installation.

    The Clarion head unit had no internal amp, so the amp was a 4.1 arrangement.

    And I look back and think what a waste of money.

    I've still got that head unit in my garage ready for an out of car installation for my garage.
  7. shauncr91


    Joined: Dec 28, 2007

    Posts: 11,418

    Location: Sheffield

    Paid a specialist (Source Sounds) to do the system in my Megane. Rainbow front door speakers/tweeters, Audison sub and a Hertz amp, sound deadening etc. Cost me about 1200 all in I think.

    I'm definitely not an audiophile but it's by far the best setup I've had in anything outside of a show car.
  8. Pyscho_Si

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Nov 30, 2002

    Posts: 2,039

    Location: Bolton

    I find my 17 speaker Mark Levinson audio system in my Lexus does the job.
  9. Yaayuh!


    Joined: Nov 5, 2010

    Posts: 19,912

    You can definitely improve on stock in most cases. However, there’s a line somewhere and there’s only so far you can go when you’re sitting off-centre in a noisy bean can.

    I personally, generally wouldn’t bother unless it’s utterly dire.
  10. blueacid


    Joined: May 28, 2007

    Posts: 612

    I'm a huge fan of the Bowers & Wilkins system in my Jag. Definitely one of the best car systems I've ever heard!
  11. Doobedoo


    Joined: Jul 24, 2016

    Posts: 2,606

    Location: South West

    Wouldn’t call myself an audiophile by any means but I guess it depends how good you car audio is out of the factory. In my case (Skoda vrs) the standard audio was pretty rubbish, so I replaced the head unit for an alpine, the door speaker with some hertz components, disconnected the rear speakers, amped the fronts applied some sound deadening and fitted a small sub in the boot.

    I brought nearly all of it second hand and probably spent between £5-600. The difference from standard is night and day.
  12. kona786


    Joined: Jun 25, 2007

    Posts: 17,289

    Location: Downtown

    I love the 12 speaker H/K factory specced system in my F56 Mini.

    I've always been into quality audio whatever the situation, however this is the first car of my own that has a premium sound system. It's a must have option going forward as it's at least been designed and sound dampened to a decent level.
  13. Bear


    Joined: Oct 24, 2002

    Posts: 12,514

    Location: Bucks and Edinburgh

    I agree, the one in my XJ was excellent. I didn’t think much of the HK system in my BMW 640d but the Burmester system in the MB E43 is very good.
  14. jpaul


    Joined: Mar 1, 2010

    Posts: 10,677

    most of the car systems are just putting lots of middling quality speakers all round the car, without giving control over delay (time of flight) for the listener position,
    or, access to a parametric equalizer,
    with those capabilities, which you can get, in an aftermarket alpine, or some Android HU's, you can get a better sound with fewer better quality speakers.

    In particular, I don't want an artificial surround sound creation ... maybe that sounded good when you had an 8-track mastered (genuinely?) cassette.
  15. Doobedoo


    Joined: Jul 24, 2016

    Posts: 2,606

    Location: South West

  16. Conscript


    Joined: Oct 18, 2004

    Posts: 9,407

    Location: Kent

    Funnily enough, I've done a few upgrades in my car over the past few months. I picked up a second hand Pioneer HU which was much better quality than the stock one, and I also bought some better front speakers/tweeters to compliment it. Added a bit of soundproofing to the doors when the speakers went in and that helped a lot with sound quality. Yesterday I ordered the Pioneer microphone so I can run the Auto EQ calibration which I'm told makes an even bigger improvement by setting up the speaker time delay properly.

    I'm by no means an audiophile, and I've always been of the opinion that a car isn't a great environment for quality sound anyway, but I wanted to improve the rather poor setup I have for the times I have to do long journeys. So far all of the above has cost me less than £400 and has made a big improvement, but I'd baulk at throwing any more money at upgrading as I think there'd be diminishing returns.
  17. Doobedoo


    Joined: Jul 24, 2016

    Posts: 2,606

    Location: South West

    It wasn’t the Pioneer DEH-80PRS was it?
  18. Spunkey


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 14,122

    Location: The land of milk & beans

    I have an E400, but I assume it's the same Burmester system and can also vouch that it's very, very good.
  19. IAmATeaf


    Joined: Apr 3, 2007

    Posts: 7,071

    Location: South of the Watford Gap!

    The HK system in my 3 series is pretty crap. It’s both dull and over bright and no matter of messing with the eq get its to anywhere near what sounds good to me.

    The best audio I’ve had in a car has to be the Bose system that was in my very old Honda Accord.
  20. Conscript


    Joined: Oct 18, 2004

    Posts: 9,407

    Location: Kent

    No, AVH-X5800DAB. I'd considered buying a Chinese Android headunit, but was concerned about reports that they could be quite slow when connecting to Bluetooth, something which already annoyed me about the stock unit.

    Headunits from established brands (Pioneer, Alpine, etc) were better, but also much more expensive. I then found this one for sale owners club, so I picked it up. The sound quality, interface, connectivity and touchscreen are all improved over the factory unit; the only thing it doesn't have is onboard satnav, but I always use my phone for that anyway. The only real downside is that the volume control is on +/- buttons rather than a rotary nob.