Audio upgrade reasonably happy

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robdmarsh

Active Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
82
Location
Oxford
Car
2017 w205 220d estate AMG line
Hi guys
So I've finished my audio upgrade (for now) on my 2017 w205 estate. First I got a Kicker Key 200.4 amp and DSP fitted and then replaced the door speakers and tweeters with Ground Zero GZCS 100MB and I'm quite happy with the results but not ecstatic. All told I spent £940 including fitting. I went with the Kicker Key as I'd read very complementary things about it, especially how great the DSP technology is at enhancing the sound tailor made to your car. This does have an effect and does seem to improve sound stage and make performers appear to be coming from behind the dash rather than either side of you. One car audio fitter though said he thought I could be overloading the amp running four door speakers and a 6 inch woofer from this at 50wpc. He recommended Audison sr 4.300at 80wpc. The Ground Zero speakers again were an improvement but not blowing me away. I think maybe the weak point now in the system is the single OEM woofer in the passenger foot well.

I'm wondering how much others have spent on improving the standard audio systems in their cars and if they think replacing woofers or adding a sub (I'm not really a bass head) is a must. I'm not bothered about Apple car play or Android auto as a head unit as I use an ipod classic as a source.
 
You should be looking at adding a sub in the boot.
Makes a world of a difference.
Have you had the DSP properly tuned?
 
You should be looking at adding a sub in the boot.
Makes a world of a difference.
Have you had the DSP properly tuned?
Yes the DSP has been properly tuned. And I think that from that point of view the sound is pretty good. In my w204 I have a sub in the boot (the HK upgrade system) and yes this also sounds pretty good. I'm going to sell that car and the sound system is definitely a plus selling point so I'm reluctant to take it out. The Ground Zeros are good speakers so I suppose the obvious upgrade would be a woofer from them in the footwell. Do you have an upgraded sound system in your car?
 
We have upgraded a number of W/s 205's with and without Burmester.

Speaker selection is key. Blam are excellent as are Morel. Focal too.
 
We have upgraded a number of W/s 205's with and without Burmester.

Speaker selection is key. Blam are excellent as are Morel. Focal too.
Interesting. So have you heard of Ground Zero? Neither of the car audio people I went to could source Morel to fit my w205. What do you think the next step would be for me to up the SQ even further? Upgrade the woofers or install a sub in the boot?
 
Now that I'm about to move on my w204 with the upgraded Harmon Kardon stereo with sub, I'm sorry to have to say that the sound on this system is better than the upgrades I've done in my w205 (Kicker Key DSP and amp, Ground Zero door speakers). I've seen the HK upgrades on Mercs been criticised in various places but I think this criticism is unjustified or at least on my 2013 C class. Overall, the sound is pretty good with nice punchy mids, a fair amount of detail and and the "logic 7" surround sound works well. The £1k of upgrades I made in my w204 sounds bland in comparison although the DSP does do a better job of recreating a sound stage. With hindsight I wish I'd gone for the Audison amp at 80wpc instead of the rather weedy Kicker Key.:(
 
I have an Audison Prima APbit8.9 Amp in my A238 Cabriolet, running Blam front door speakers, Vibe front woofers and the factory rear speakers.
I thought it was pretty good until I added a sub in the boot (my old Phase linear Aliante in a small box), powered by an old Vibe bass amp. The difference is very noticeable. The 8inch footwell woofers try their best. but really need the sub in an enclosure to bring it all together.

I now need to tune the dsp properly, to get it all to blend together better.
 
I have an Audison Prima APbit8.9 Amp in my A238 Cabriolet, running Blam front door speakers, Vibe front woofers and the factory rear speakers.
I thought it was pretty good until I added a sub in the boot (my old Phase linear Aliante in a small box), powered by an old Vibe bass amp. The difference is very noticeable. The 8inch footwell woofers try their best. but really need the sub in an enclosure to bring it all together.

I now need to tune the dsp properly, to get it all to blend together better.
Hi CabriChap thanks for your feedback. I think that Audison makes good kit and I kind of regret not getting the sr 4.300 instead of the Kicker Key. I think I'll go for a sub one day for this car as you say I think a sub can bring the sound together.
 
Now that I'm about to move on my w204 with the upgraded Harmon Kardon stereo with sub, I'm sorry to have to say that the sound on this system is better than the upgrades I've done in my w205 (Kicker Key DSP and amp, Ground Zero door speakers). I've seen the HK upgrades on Mercs been criticised in various places but I think this criticism is unjustified or at least on my 2013 C class. Overall, the sound is pretty good with nice punchy mids, a fair amount of detail and and the "logic 7" surround sound works well. The £1k of upgrades I made in my w204 sounds bland in comparison although the DSP does do a better job of recreating a sound stage. With hindsight I wish I'd gone for the Audison amp at 80wpc instead of the rather weedy Kicker Key.:(
Comand Online did my 212. First upgrade was a hidden sub in the boot. That fllled out the missing lower frequencies. Then Morels and dynamat in the doors.

I was missing the HK system in my previous 211

V happy with the 212 now.
 
Have the two types of crucial panel damping been added ?

Screenshot_20240306_072042_Chrome.jpg
 
I have a W205 coupe with Burmester. Despite a lot of reviews, the system is really quite poor and the sound is muddy and harsh.

I fitted a full set of Blam speakers (except the Center) including footwell woofers and its improved somewhat but it’s clear I could do with a DSP now.

I am weighing up a Musway or Match-Up 8 or 9 channel as they offer a cable to connect directly between the Burmester amp…. I’m just not sure I want to spend another £800 on a DSP when I can listen to the V8.

I think I’m gonna get a Blam center speaker and hope it improves things further.
 
Serious question. Are there many people that can really justify big sums being spent on car audio improvements in what is essentially a noisy environment anyway? I get it in a quiet house, but in an car where the sound levels constantly vary (exception made in top-end cars where extreme effort is made from factory) HK/BM with better speakers yes, but £1K plus?

(Disclosure - my hearing is not great anyway and I wear hearing aids)
 
Serious question. Are there many people that can really justify big sums being spent on car audio improvements in what is essentially a noisy environment anyway? I get it in a quiet house, but in an car where the sound levels constantly vary (exception made in top-end cars where extreme effort is made from factory) HK/BM with better speakers yes, but £1K plus?

(Disclosure - my hearing is not great anyway and I wear hearing aids)
I get your point about only going so far with in car audio improvements with it being an inherently noisy environment with limited acoustic properties etc. But I think the key is balance and my current set-up is missing a fullness to the sound which I think a sub-woofer can bring. Just done the school run in my w204 with the HK factory upgrade. I wouldn't describe the sound as anything like high end but it is very satisfying but it does sound balanced and full.
 
Comand Online did my 212. First upgrade was a hidden sub in the boot. That fllled out the missing lower frequencies. Then Morels and dynamat in the doors.

I was missing the HK system in my previous 211

V happy with the 212 now.
Can I ask you how much was your outlay for the hidden sub including fitting. It's definitely not something I would attempt to do myself.;)
 
Have the two types of crucial panel damping been added ?

View attachment 154079
The guy that fitted my Ground Zero door speakers said that this kind of panel damping installation was not necessary as the speakers are not large and don't create much in the way of reverberations.
 
I saw this a while ago. Might be of interest…

All too much hassle for me. The so-called ‘Burmester’ system in our S205 is ok for us. It’s not the best system I’ve heard nor is it the worst. As far as I can tell the system is actually made by Harman Kardon. It’s certainly not made by Burmester any more than the central dashboard clock on the AMG models is made by IWC. Just branding exercise like the AMG Line thing.
 
Serious question. Are there many people that can really justify big sums being spent on car audio improvements in what is essentially a noisy environment anyway? I get it in a quiet house, but in an car where the sound levels constantly vary (exception made in top-end cars where extreme effort is made from factory) HK/BM with better speakers yes, but £1K plus?

(Disclosure - my hearing is not great anyway and I wear hearing aids)
Completely agree......
 
Serious question. Are there many people that can really justify big sums being spent on car audio improvements in what is essentially a noisy environment anyway? I get it in a quiet house, but in an car where the sound levels constantly vary (exception made in top-end cars where extreme effort is made from factory) HK/BM with better speakers yes, but £1K plus?

(Disclosure - my hearing is not great anyway and I wear hearing aids)

To each his own - £1k is a set of tyres, a service or ~8 tanks of fuel. It's a lot of money but if you've paid a fair whack for an AMG (even used) then comparitively it's not total insanity.

If you're listening to talksport on AM, or even DAB (notoriously poor quality) then it's pointless.

I have upgraded the audio system in all of my cars although each iteration has been slightly scaled back in how far I went, mainly due to not having the time these days to completely remove doorpanels, spend hours installing sound deadening material.

I said I wasn't going to bother with the C63 but the system to me is such a let down I couldn't stand it any longer.

I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile, and binned all my hi-fi separates years ago (which I do regret somewhat now) but do take a lot of enjoyment in listening to a decent sounding system even in a noisy environment.

So, I didn't re-cable the speakers in the C63, but looked to get the most improvement for the least effort. I settled on a full Blam speaker install because I don't want a sub in the boot in this car. I do have a concealed one in my other vehicle but I don't want the hassle of starting to run power cables in the boot etc.


Overall, it's an improvement, but desperately needs a DSP IMO. The three band setting on the 'Burmester' EQ doesn't work well enough to reduce the harshness. At least for the time being I can listen to things more loudly and clearly, which covers the squeaking interior of the W205 :D
 
To each his own - £1k is a set of tyres, a service or ~8 tanks of fuel. It's a lot of money but if you've paid a fair whack for an AMG (even used) then comparitively it's not total insanity.

If you're listening to talksport on AM, or even DAB (notoriously poor quality) then it's pointless.

I have upgraded the audio system in all of my cars although each iteration has been slightly scaled back in how far I went, mainly due to not having the time these days to completely remove doorpanels, spend hours installing sound deadening material.

I said I wasn't going to bother with the C63 but the system to me is such a let down I couldn't stand it any longer.

I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile, and binned all my hi-fi separates years ago (which I do regret somewhat now) but do take a lot of enjoyment in listening to a decent sounding system even in a noisy environment.

So, I didn't re-cable the speakers in the C63, but looked to get the most improvement for the least effort. I settled on a full Blam speaker install because I don't want a sub in the boot in this car. I do have a concealed one in my other vehicle but I don't want the hassle of starting to run power cables in the boot etc.


Overall, it's an improvement, but desperately needs a DSP IMO. The three band setting on the 'Burmester' EQ doesn't work well enough to reduce the harshness. At least for the time being I can listen to things more loudly and clearly, which covers the squeaking interior of the W205 :D
When you say full Blam speaker install with no sub did you replace the woofers in the foot wells? I think this could be a weak link in my current system. I have just got front door replacement speakers so far (4 inch drivers plus tweeters) and I think my car only has one factory fitted speaker in the passenger well.
 

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