Audio upgrade options - A4 (B5) 1998
I have searched the forum archives and hope you can answer some questions for me?
I am after some advice wrt upgrading/ changing the Concert Tape unit in my A4. It is suffering from the usual volume problem, but of more of a concern is the lack of a CD player. I am after a single CD, in dash unit so am not after a boot or glovebox changer.
I would really like to keep the unit an Audi item for looks and DIS*, but may consider aftermarket audio:
Symphony CD/Tape/Radio from late model B5 - from what I understand I would require the facelift centre console, and climate control HU. Any other things I would need to know?
Concert II CD - Unit from TT or A8? Night Illumination mod required. CAN-BUS Emulator required. Would this then a) cure the 1 hour power down issue and b) *"feed" the DIS?
What HU, Facia adaptors for a "factory" kind of look? Also what happens with the rear amped speakers?
Your advice will be much appreciated. Thanks
Thanks Icenutter! That Becker system looks pretty good, though a fair bit more in quality than I was looking for for the Audi. I will bear it in mind for my other car
First choice would be an Audi CD player from another model. Any One have advice if I am to go down this route.
Don't think you can get a Concert2 that'll fit the dash of a B5 A4. The later models all have a slightly profiled fascia to fit flush to the car they were designed for, so may need to be modified for the B5 dash.
To fit a Symphony would be a major job & cost more than a decent aftermarket HU, I would imagine, with no guarantee that the volume problem wouldn't occur again (although I don't think Symphony's suffered like the Concerts).
Personally I would go aftermarket. Audi HU's are all garbage, so it would be good money after bad. £300 will get you a a DAB radio with mp3 CD support and much better quality. No contest really when you consider £100 will only get you a replacement Concert1, + £80 for a CD changer, or £120 for a Concert2 that won't fit properly and £60 for a CANBUS emulator.
If I do go down the aftermarket route, what else do I need to consider? I understand that the rear speakers are powered by a 20w amp; I guess I would have to remove this and wire the speakers directly to an ISO connector or is there a suitable adaptor for this?
You'll need a fascia adapter and an antenna amp (about £20 total). The front speaker harness is on a standard ISO connector but is only wired for the fronts, so to avoid chopping anything you need to buy a male & female ISO speaker harness (£4.99) and chop the rears and connect them to the new speaker cable, with the fronts plugging into the Audi front speaker harness.
Do any of the aftermarket HU's have any capability to display info in DIS, llike the OEM units do? Do aftermarket HU's have any kind of "data" output - I guess it would be a case of converting the signal to something the DIS could understand?
Blaupunkt do an adapter for their HU's but it's rather an expensive luxury (about £60) and you won't even notice the display is not there.
Well I have finally decided to go down the route of a decent aftermarket HU (Becker) rather than spending a shed load on OEM. I wouldn't be happy you know...
What I do need to know is what ancilliries I should be getting to complete the upgrade. The aerial amplifier I have seen is a Maystar unit; is this any good? What other connectors should I be buying or avoiding? Any pereferences for facia adaptors?
I will be ditching the amp and wiring the rear speakers to the HU. Can anyone tell me approx how much speaker cable I will need, and where the cable is routed.
Is there anything else I need to know? Thanks muchly.
You'll need about 8m in total to be safe, just stuff it under the trim panels unless you want to remove everything. The other connectors you'll need are as per previous post above.
All the antenna adpter is doing is providing a 12v feed to the Audi aerial amp so quality isn't really an issue.
One last thing I need to clarify...
I am a touch confused about what adaptor to use to get it all working. The following item looks like it is designed to enable the current rear amp/ speaker to be retained:
When ditching the rear amp setup, do I use this adaptor and what "changes" will I need to make?
I see that there are a couple of types of radio adaptor/amp; I am assuming that I need the "fakra" type connection on my 1998 car?
If you're ditching the crappy Audi amp then you don't need any specific adapters. That linklshows the adapter that allows you to retain the signal to the rear Audi amp, so is not needed.
If the Becker has a standard ISO speaker connection on the back & you don't want to cut the Audi front speaker loom then you'll need both a male & female speaker harness (£2.99 each from Maplins or ICe dealer).
Plug the male end into the existing brown Audi front speaker connector and the female end into the new HU. Pair up the 4 middle wires i.e. take each one on the male side and connect it to the corresponding one on the female side. You will be left with 4 spare wires on the male side that you don't need, and 4 spare wires on the female side which you can connect to the new speaker cable running to the rears.
Thanks for that Andy, should be able to get it all fitted and working in one go.
Just a couple more questions. With regards to wiring the rear speakers to the HU, I am a bit lost on what speaker harness to get. Is it something like this:
Will I need to mess aboout with power feeds to the HU (I have a non-Canbus B5) or is the wiring present? I think the following thread has confused me a touch, which looks to be for a canbus vehicle:
more wiring questions
Hopefully the Becker HU will arrive before Friday so I can make a day of it!!
This one is the one you want, then just chop the 2 outside pairs and use these to connect the new rear speaker cable.
The wiring is present on the B5 you may just need to swap perm live and ignition switched live as Audi wire them back to front. The HU will work but not retain any presets. If this happens then you need to swap the yellow and red wires over.
I have been using another car for the past few months so never got round to installing the Becker unit properly. This is now long overdue, so have a few more questions:
Swapping the permanent and switched live feeds on the ISO extension loom. Is it OK to cut and swap the wires as one is visibly thicker than the other? I dont want to risk overloading the thinner wire.
Radio amplifier. The connector looks like it should plug into the empty pin on ISO block to get a power feed for the amplifier. Can't seem to figure out how to do this without destroying the connector. Is it possible to add/ swap round the pins in an ISO block?
Finnally, any sugestions for replacement speakers? Any improvement on the OEM speakers will be welcome, but I am on a budget now so won't be streching to the high end stuff.
I've picked up a 96 A4 Avant 2.6 SE and installed my alpine 9850ri with out any ISO adaptors. I've got the same level sound to all speakers in the car... so I'm assuming the crappy amp thing came in at a certain date ?
I've also got an amp antenna but FM reception is still crap, any suggestions/clues ?
Is anyone able to answer the above points?
Originally Posted by mal79
Yes, the thicker wire is for ignition on live, so you're more likely to overload the circuit by not swapping them over as at the moment you've got the thinner wire powering the HU and the thick one just providing the perm live to retain memory presets.
The blue wire on the aerial amp needs to connect to the power antenna lead on the Becker, this should simply be a flying blue lead coming off the HU.
Thanks for that Andy!
Originally Posted by AndyMac
As you may recall, I wanted to retain the existing Audi wiring and "correct" the wires in a modified ISO loom extension. Looking back at the thread, I have been confusing myself trying to do the power and aeriel amp all through this adaptor.
So to confirm, I use the ISO loom extension to run the rear speakers, connect the aerial amp to the blue power antena lead on the HU.
Where do I swap over the switched and permanent power wires?
Depends, if the new HU has it's own adapter then just cut the yellow & red wires and swap them over. If the HU just has an ISO power socket straight into the HU then you'd need to buy a male & female ISO power adapter and swap the 2 wires on that to avoid cutting the Audi wiring.