Audio Upgrade . . ?

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by ET4, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. ET4

    ET4 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I'm so disappointed at the car audio in my car it saddens me . . .

    My 2000 W202 estate has the 'Audio 10' (Alpine) cd player and bog standard speakers.

    Is the original Bose upgrade worth seeking out to retro fit? . .

    Or . . do i go down the route I was planning and upgrade the head unit and have custom fit speakers?

    My upgrade choice at the moment is Blaupunkt Hamburg MP68 (for the hands free bluetooth) head unit and either Rainbow or Focal speakers that are original fit. To be honest I've had good Pioneer and Infinity in the past..

    I want quality sound over volume.


    Any help guys???

    Cheers
     
  2. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler MB Club Veteran

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    We have a Becker Mexico in the ML which looks very OEM, and even has an MB illumination setting to match MB dashboard illumination. Also have red for VW.

    Made a massive difference to sound quality over Audio 10, which I wasn't expecting, and so didn't change the speakers in the end.
     
  3. bolide

    bolide Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Audio quality from a Becker blows everything else out of the water

    Nick Froome
    www.w124.co.uk
     
  4. FunkyFez

    FunkyFez Member

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    I've recently upgraded the sound system on my W202.
    You tend to find that upgrading the headunit on standard speakers will make make a minor noticable difference, but in for a penny in for a pound.
    I upgraded to an Alpine iDA-X100 headunit that has a build in iPod dock and also the facility to upgrade for Bluetooth. It's not overly cheap, but everything can be controlled from 1 interface, it also has variable backlight colours that can be adjusted to suit your dash colour.
    On the speaker front, it's a case of you get what you pay for. You can make cheaper, lower wattage speakers sound 'meatier' by introducing an amp, but a decent headunit with good output will help alot.
    Rainbow and Focal are both excellent brands (i've come across a set of 17cm Rainbow components for £6,499.99!).
    I went down the Infinity Kappa Route.

    Check out www.caraudiosecurity.com

    Not only is this a site with a huge selection, they are also cheap as chips.

    Not had any experience of Bose in a car, so cannot comment, but if their car audio is half as good as their iPod dock, you won't go far wrong.
     
  5. A210AMG

    A210AMG MB Club Veteran

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  6. prc

    prc Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I can vouch for the rainbow speakers...Did upgrade to the OE replacements from rainbow and they are much beter than stock.
    Of all the installs I've seen, 2 that really caught my eye:

    - a becker + amp + focal speakers in my mechanics w202 (not sure of model but one with built in GPS). Very stock look + perfect light color match + excellent sound.

    - a Nakamichi installed in a friends 3 series BMW. Same as above, but unit eats up to 6 CDs into DIN mount headunit..:eek::D
     
  7. vijilants

    vijilants Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    For the Bose upgrade, you will have to source the loom etc for it. Simply not worth the hasstle.

    Ditch the audio10 as they sound lousy and replace with any decent make...Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood, etc. (Could never understand why MB packed the car out with 8 speakers and then put such a poor head end into it)

    Personally I went with Alpine and it made a massive difference.

    Also it would be worth upgrading the speakers in the W202 aswell as they are also fairly useless.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  8. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    I have a Becker Traffic Pro High Speed in our W210, really nice sounding system, lots of detail but it has a really, really warm sound to it.
    It is also a single din nav unit with superb routing, great if you sort of know the way there as you don't have to pull nav unit out.

    I also have a Audison SRx3 amp to put in but this is now fine so don't think I will bother.

    This is all with the stock speakers, in the W210 they are pretty good, not sure if they are similar in the W202??
    But they need to be driven properly, the amps in the Audio 10 are pretty poxy.

    So upgrade head unit first, then speakers if needed is my advice.


    Be careful what you add, they all sound very different.

    If you like a bright, quite lively sound then go for Alpine, Pioneer, Clarion or Kenwood units, if you prefer warmer then the Becker or Nakamichi will give you that.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    ET4

    ET4 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Did you replace the tweeters in the dash as well with Infinity? were they component units, and what's the bass like from the 4" units? I've had Infinities before in my last Honda they were 6x9 though.
     
  10. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    I think the most important thing to decide is what sound you like??

    I just put a system together using Genesis amplification, Aliante Subs, Rainbow Profi speakers and tried various head units.
    Becker Inianapolis head unit, quite neautral but more towards warm, with a nice sound stage and some nice features while looking stock.

    Then swapped to a Nakamichi CD500, really nice warm sound with shed loads of detail, and looked pretty stock.

    Then decided to go for the new Alpine 9887r as it had proper EQing and time alignment. Although it was very detailed and you could get the vocalist up on the centre of the bonnet with the instruments coming out from around them, the whole thing was too processed and sharp for me.



    The pre amp, in others words head unit will make the sound change.

    The amp, which could be in the head unit, will increase volume, or look at it this way. Your stereo at home alsways sounds bets at 1am, you have it on quarter volume instead of half way so you are not pushing it to the point where it starts to struggle, so it never sounds shrill and the soundstage is massive. This is why you want a powerful amp, not always to go louder but so it sounds refined at the level you want to listen to it at.

    Speakers will just let more of the info through, upgrade the speakers without sorting out what you are putting through them is a false economy.

    So head unit first and then see if you even need to do the speakers.


    Some guy in the states won a sound quality comp using $20k worth of electronics, but the speakers were the factory fitted ones, that was in a W211. Just shows what really makes the difference.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  11. FunkyFez

    FunkyFez Member

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    Tweeters are also Infinity, it was a component kit that i plumped for as it has a separate cross-over network.

    Don't get much in the way of base out of the 4" Infinity's in the rear doors, they are there to fill in the hole left by removing OE.

    As the whole system runs off 2 separate amps it puts base, treble and midrange sounds to where it is needed, therefore the smaller speakers are never overloaded.

    6x9's are a good compromise speaker if you want alot of noise in a confined space, but they can sometimes trip up by trying to do too many things at once.

    Dedicated separates are definately the way to go if it's sound quality you're after.
     
  12. IanA2

    IanA2 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Becker Indianapolis Pro here. V good!!
     
  13. crisc204

    crisc204 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    hi,

    if you enjoy your sound and have home audio/cinema kit you may well get more from fitting a power amp than the average chap or chappette.
    (as gIzzE suggested above)

    to give you a rough idea of cost have a look at the www.carstereosecurity.com site mentioned above they are local to me i use them alot for myself and my customers and 99% of the time very good to deal with and quite knowledgeable. (no,i'm not in there employ either!:D )

    if you need any pointers also have a look on www.talkaudio.co.uk
    I'm a forum member on there as well as several others from mbclub, there is a vast amount of knowledge on that site and most everyone's helpful.

    although like most things its down to personal preference, imho, for their price bracket there is very little that can match rainbow's 265 slx deluxe component speakers, for sound quality. they should be around £130ish

    again ihmo rainbow, dls, hertz, and morel all offer quality audio speakers markedly better than the mainstream brands in there budget+1 ranges

    also as mentioned above genesis amp's even there budget profile range are extremely good.

    head units can get quite dear, especially the Nakamichi's which are near the top of the tree. i dont favour alpine as i find there sound to shrill for me as well
    there's a pioneer for £200 with bluetooth which should sound nice and if you catch the audio bug http://caraudiosecurity.com/shop/product/products_id/8304.html is very good and is probably my next buy!

    after looking through the audio goodies decide on your budget allowing for reasonable % deviation and stick to it! car audio is a slippery financial slope once/if you get into it....

    all imho of course and just my 2p, actually its a bit long so 10pence worth!
     
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