CLK Cab audio

Aswall

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Jul 16, 2003
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537
Location
South Yorkshire
Car
CLS 350
Hi guys
First post here, having sold my 3 series and just taken delivery of a CLK 240 cab I was pointed in the direction of this site by another member of www.bm3w.co.uk.

Overall I'm really happy with the car, especially with this weather :D but have one glaring problem (apart from the rather "sedate" performance and that is the audio. I was unable to test drive a car as I had to order blind before the car was launched, but did test drive a 3 series cab and while the sound was not quite as good as the tin top it was perfectly acceptable. The sound in the CLK though is appalling and a major disappointment. It has an Audio 10 CD with a changer (no COMAND) and, as far as I can tell, 6 speakers all in the doors. So what's the best upgrade route? I don't want to spend a fortune and do want to keep the steering wheel controls so I guess my options are limited. Will improving the speakers help or is the Audio 10 just a poor unit? I will replace the head unit if I can keep the steering wheel controls. What make is the Audio 10? The unit looks rather low tech (Becker?) but the cd changer looks like a standard Alpine with a Mercedes logo on it.

Grateful for any suggestions

Cheers
Andy
 

fuzzer

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alpine do an adaptor for their headunits so you can continue to use youre steering wheel controls.

Headunit is made by becker. I actually think its quite good. Suppose its just what im used to.
 

hash

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oxford
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Audi A8 08 with lots of toys & volvo XC90
hi, change the speakers decent set will do wonders, the audio 10 is not a bad system

cheers

kenny
 
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Aswall

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Jul 16, 2003
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CLS 350
Thanks. As a first step I'll replace the speakers and see how I go then, any recommendations? I might see if I can get a subwoofer (small one 'cos of the boot size) to fit firing through the panel between the 2 rear seats

It sounds like it's a car thing then if the audio 10 is generally well regarded. In the cab (roof up or down) it has no treble, sounding muffled, and the bass is missing with only very low frequencies getting through and vibrating the doors and glovebox. This has the effect of masking other frequencies and no amount of playing with the bass and treble controls will give an acceptable sound. Is there anywhere I can find instructions to remove the various parts of trim hiding the speakers?
 

RichardM

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Essex
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2011 CLS350 CDI
Any pics of your car?

I've been in a few 3 series of different ages including the latest model and I've always thought the stereo's are terrible in them, muffled and no bass.
 
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Aswall

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South Yorkshire
Car
CLS 350
The sound in my 3 was excellent, though it did have the 10 speaker upgrade. Muffled with no bass (apart from very low freq) is how I'd describe the sound in the CLK.

I will go and read the FAQ to see how I post pics - I'll be back : )
 

Paul Grainger

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Dec 15, 2002
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372
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UK
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SL55, Porsche 996 C2 convertible
The audio quality in my CLK Cab is excellent. I have previously owned a BMW 320i and a 525i - the CLK sound quality is actually better than in either of the two BM's. My 320 BM was fitted with a (factory fit) blaupunkt head unit, the 525 had a 'bmw special' audio system. Both of these were OK - but nothing exceptional. The speaker setup in the CLK is better laid out than most for a two door car, the bass unit provides solid bottom end.

Could you have a fault in your system? A duff speaker or speakers? I removed an Audio 10 to fit Comand, the Audio 10, although a fairly 'basic' spec unit, is certainly of good quality with good flat frequency response over the full audio range.

Go to a dealer, listen to another CLK audio system & compare it to yours.

Paul G
 
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Aswall

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CLS 350
I had the ideal opportunity to do this as a neighbour was keen on test driving one, so I went along for the ride. The sound quality was just as bad with no treble and if anything the bass was worse. If it was up loud enough to be heard it just created a deep booming hum which masked all the rest. The salesman agreed that the sound in the cab was quite poor but said "that's not what these are about is it?". Well excuse me but if I pay nearly £37k I expect it to be pretty good in all areas. He also said that the sound is much improved with COMAND - is this true?

Anyway I'm taking it in to my local autoelectrician tomorrow to have my bluetooth kit and Road Pilot re-installed so I'm going to get them to have a look and tell me what my speaker options are. I hope that this will improve things, but if not I'll get one of the new Alpine units that can play MP3s as well as cds, as long as they can get it to work with the steering wheel controls.

Whatever I do I'll let you know

Andy
 

Nic S

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Jun 5, 2003
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Location
London
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W208 CLK230 Kompressor
There is much conjecture about what to do about the audio in the CLK. I suppose it all comes down to what you want out of your sound system.

The speakers fitted with the car are made by Nokia and are of less than average quality. I have a CLK230 (W208) which had as standard three speakers in each door, two of these acting as a front tweeter and mid bass combo. The rear speaker in the door is a small full range speaker. On the parcel shelf are two down firing 6" subs that are under powered.

The Bose system that comes as an optional extra is a bit of a rip off, considering what you get.

The Audio 10 CD player is a very basic unit.

All in all, if sound quality is not your highest priority, stick with the setup in the car. If you want to improve the sound I would first relace the head unit, then the door speakers, then add a sub, then add amps.

It will not be a cheap exercise, but the result will shit on the Bose option.

Firstly, replace the head unit. Alpine only makes car audio and it's head units are of very high quality. Get a unit with high output (4V or up) pre-amp out connections for future upgrades. May as well stick in an alpine CD changer while you're at it. Get the remote control adapter for the steering wheel controls and you're sorted.

Next, replace the door speakers. I currently have Kenwood dual mags which are ok. The tweeter holder is 25mm in diameter. When you fit a new tweeter, seal it in with a bit of silicone. This will prevent buzzing. The Front Mid-Bass speaker is a 17cm speaker. Audioleads do an adapter kit to mount any 17cm speaker to the door of the CLK. Finally the rear firing door speaker is a 10cm unit and will drop straight in. Get someone competent to fit the speakers with decent quality speaker cable. Use plenty of cable ties to make sure the leads do not rattle about. The Front component speakers have crossovers. Mount these inside the car and not in the doors. They are adjustable and you may want to get to them.

Sound proofing and rattles will always become an issue when uprating your sound. A car door is not made to be a speaker enclosure. A product called Brown Bread can be put onto the inside skin of the door. This will improve the sound quality from the speakers, reduce road noise and reduce buzzing from inside the door. A white plastic membrane is fitted as a dust/moisture protector over the inside of the door skin. This buzzes like crazy. Take it off and replace it with the Brown Bread.

A decent sub will improve the whole sound in your car. It will take the burden of the bass away from the smaller door speakers and give you a better range. First take out the subs that are already there. They are truly awful. If you have a provision for a ski hatch, remove the blanking cover. A sub in the boot will always work better with decent air flow. As far as subs go, there is a company that does stealth boxes for Mercedes. That is the way I'm going. In the short term, get a self powered sub and see how you go. Kicker make a decent 10" powered sub.

Lastly amps. A good amp is more about current than about power. US made amps have the best reputation, but Alpine make reasonable amps. Any amp is better than no amp, trust me. The cost of amps varies wildly. Phoenix Gold is a pretty reasonable choice.

There are a number of ways to get car sound equipment in expensively. Try Scenic Car Audio on the web. They offer a reasonable service

I'd be keen to find out what you're going to do.
 
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Aswall

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CLS 350
Wow Nic, that's what I call a detailed answer!

As my car is a cab it brings it's own set of problems, particularly no subs as no rear shelf. The sound is definitely worse than the coupe version but I realise that that's inevitable. I have been umming and ahhing over what to do about this as I have been looking into having COMAND retrofitted to the car. I have now finally been able to drive a cab with COMAND (and BOSE option) fitted and while the sound was a bit better than mine, it just wasn't good enough so I have decided to abandon that idea.

I agree about Alpine, it's a brand I have experience of and trust, and the clincher is that it seems to be the only manufacturer that makes headunits compatible with the steering wheel controls so I'm going to go for one of those. I don't have a ski flap but assume it isn't much of a job to remove the blanking cover between the seats so that a sub can fire through the gap. Interesting to hear what the speakers in the door are, I would have thought it would have made more sense for the rear door speakers to be for the lower frequencies and that could explain why the sound is so "muddy". Having good tweeters is essential to me as that top end "hihat" range is totally absent when listening to all types of music so I will follow your suggestions.

I am less sure about the sound deadening though. I have no doubt that you are right, even with the existing setup bits of trim vibrate, but reading about it here Sound deadening installation it sounds as if it could be a very expensive job due to the amount of labour, and I'm not confident about removing and refitting everything myself. I also have no experience of fitting speakers, amps and routing audio cable so I will have to entrust that to someone else as well.

I'm off to sunny St Lucia :bannana: with my daughter for a fortnight a week on Sunday so I will start on finding a reliable car stereo installer to do it when I get back (I've given up on the one I used to have my other gadgets fitted as they have changed hands and are now a bunch of idiots!). In the meantime I'll start selecting the kit I'm going to use. I know very little about head units so I'll follow your suggestion of looking for higher output pre-amp connecters and I'll check to see which Alpine units will be compatible. I'm hoping that the existing changer will be ok as it's an Alpine and looks identical to the one in my old BM, but if not I'll get the one that plays MP3s or look into getting a Phatnoise hard disk based thingy

Thanks for all the info Nic, I'll come back with a blow by blow account of what I decide to do and the results I get

Cheers
Andy
 

Nic S

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Jun 5, 2003
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Location
London
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W208 CLK230 Kompressor
It took me ages to get enough information from enough sources to get some perspective. In one camp is the COMAND set, whose back cataolgue of Barry Manilow must be truly impressive. In the other are the R&B freaks who think a judge of a good Hi-Fi has to do with whether your fillings vibrate or not. I think we are both somewher between these extremes.

I'm going to try and fit an amp this weekend. If insanity overtakes me, I'll also be uprating my speakers also. That will leave me with a set of Kenwood Dual Mags with no home. They are good quality speakers with some limitations. Now that I am obsessed, my budget limitations have somewhat changed. You might consider putting them in your CLK. Let me know before you begin changing your setup. I've found a number of good value suppliers that may save you a bit of cash.

Have a great time in St Lucia.
 

SilverSaloon

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doesnt your clk cab have a speaker (subwoofer) in the centre grille behind the rear seats (see grille under the rear armrest)? mine does which i suppose adds more bass
 

craigyb

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Audi A8 W12
My CLK 230 has a great sound, even with the factory speakers. I have changed the head unit to a panasonic top of the range mosfet unit and the sound is rich and deep.

I haven't noticed any clipping from the speakers, they seem well able to cope, I will check what speakers I have, but I'm sure they are not nokia's.

Craig
 

novaya_zemla

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Dec 28, 2004
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Can anyone update this thread? I am about to upgrade my speakers and would particularly like to know what people have replaced the rear seat SW with?
 

unit504

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Jun 1, 2006
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A **** heap
rear sub

i am looking into replacing the rear sub at this moment with something a little bass'ie will post pic once ive found something that fit in there nice!
 

stuw00d

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Mar 3, 2006
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Location
Kent
Hi all

Sorry to drag up such an old thread, but has anyone replaced the sub in a W208 convertible?

I will be replacing the standard Audio 10 headunit with a Kenwood unit soon, also keeping the factory steering controlls :bannana:, but at some point, I will be looking at upgrading the sub.

Does anyone know how to get to the sub? ie, is it accessed from the cab or the boot? Also, does it use any kind of enclosure?
Any ideas what size it is?

Thanks in advance.

Stuart
 

unit504

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876
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A **** heap
yup ive been down this road

the sub is accessed by taking out the rear seats

linky:
http://www.mbclub.co.uk/forums/electronics/68943-clk-audio-boot-install-2.html


:)



Hi all

Sorry to drag up such an old thread, but has anyone replaced the sub in a W208 convertible?

I will be replacing the standard Audio 10 headunit with a Kenwood unit soon, also keeping the factory steering controlls :bannana:, but at some point, I will be looking at upgrading the sub.

Does anyone know how to get to the sub? ie, is it accessed from the cab or the boot? Also, does it use any kind of enclosure?
Any ideas what size it is?

Thanks in advance.

Stuart
 
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