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Back to back test - Bose v standard

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Amchlolor, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    Just parked by Bose equipped car next to the other '04 A3 we have here,with the standard set-up.
    We both have the same concert II single CD head units.

    I used the same tracks in each car (Win-you've got the power and Talking Heads-Once in a lifetime) in each car.

    It's pretty much what I expected.
    At low to medium-high volumes (anything up to around 12) the standard set-up offers much much better bass response,but with poorer top-end and seperation and a generally 'muddier' sound.

    Anything over 12 ,the Bose wins hands down as the standard set-up is starting to distort.Obviously the Bose speakers just need driven harder to work.

    Ultimate winner though ?
    '02 Golf fitted with a Pioneer headunit,powering all the standard speakers,plus a small Kenwood amp and Kenwood 6 x 9 speakers in the back shelf (proper sound shelf bought from ICE dealer).
    That set up cost him around £500ish,but blows either A3 away at any volume.
    #1
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  3. JaminBen
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    JaminBen Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    That's soooo sad !! It truly ticks me off!!!

    I spent a fortune on this system, hoping it would be out of this world... Don't take me wrong, I think it's good, but I know it should be better for the price asked. My one consolation is that I can fiddle with it via MMI, which I like a lot...

    So the question becomes: can we easily upgrade the sound of our Bose systems?
    #2
  4. shresh
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    shresh Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    Jamin - what do you mean by MMI?

    I'm seriously considering changing the tweeters. Since reading another thread on this, I've noticed the tweeters to be pretty harsh to the ear a lot more!
    #3
  5. Eeef
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    Eeef Lord of War

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    Nooooooooooo.

    Just upgrading the head unit was a nightmare due to Audis fantastic multiplexed wiring (CANBUS)
    All osrts of adaptors and filters to get half decent sound from it.

    It would essentially involve a rewire of the audi system.
    #4
  6. miketweed
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    miketweed Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    But the BOSE is only £355 extra, what do you expect? It's bound not to be as good as a boo-yakka aftermarket system.

    If people wanted to suffer garish bad-boy flashing-light space-ship head units, they'd have gone aftermarket and spent ages pulling the car to bits to fit it.

    I just think it should be judged more fairly for what it is - just a pleasing amount of extra capability, a cool brand name - and the benefit of original fitment. That's what I expected and thats what it is.

    IMHO
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  7. JaminBen
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    JaminBen Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    I just think it should be judged more fairly for what it is - just a pleasing amount of extra capability, a cool brand name - and the benefit of original fitment. That's what I expected and thats what it is.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    The voice of reason has spoken... and I have to agree.

    MMI stands for Multi-Media Interface, and is Audi's name for the Navigation/Audio/Video interface that is used with the 6.5" screen. It's pretty cool by me, and I'm very happy with it!
    #6
  8. Cupramax
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    Cupramax Uber pimp meister

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    It's just a pity that manufacturers seem to have no hifi enthusiasts working in their design departments. With the equipment available these days anyone with half an ounce of knowledge could create something far better than the BOSE setup. But on the other hand the only manufacturers I've heard with OEM kit thats better than Audi is Volvo & SAAB. Alpine are heavily envolved with OEM kit as well now but never badge the gear that goes into Jags/Rover 75's etc...
    #7
  9. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    My MD's TT has a Sony minidisc headunit driving the BOSE set-up.It sounds pretty good and,in his words,infinitely better than the standard head unit.
    The dealer that did the fit did have a bit of a nightmare getting it going properly,but his was the first they'd done (couple of years ago).
    They stated the headunit is the problem,not the speakers.
    According to them,full bass and treble on the Audi headunit is only halfway on most aftermarket headunits.Whether that's true or not,I don't know,but I'be no reason to disbelieve them.
    Not all aftermarket headunits are 'garish bad-boy flashing-light space-ship' jobs either.
    You can get some classy headunits no problem.
    The Audi headunit does look a bit 'old school' anyway.
    A headunit change is on the cards for me in the future.
    #8
  10. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    It's just a pity that manufacturers seem to have no hifi enthusiasts working in their design departments. With the equipment available these days anyone with half an ounce of knowledge could create something far better than the BOSE setup. But on the other hand the only manufacturers I've heard with OEM kit thats better than Audi is Volvo & SAAB. Alpine are heavily envolved with OEM kit as well now but never badge the gear that goes into Jags/Rover 75's etc...

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Volvo's gear is top notch,if you upgrade to the dolby II system.
    Really really good.
    I test drove a Saab 93 sport saloon fitted with their best 13 speaker system and it was weak.
    Alpine do the systems in Jags as well,and they sound pretty good.
    Toyota's Avensis supposedly has an excellent system because the designer is really into state-of-the-art home hifi and wanted to replicate the sound,but who wants an Avensis...
    Lexus' have a great system as well.
    #9
  11. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    But the BOSE is only £355 extra, what do you expect?


    [/ QUOTE ]

    Have you heard BOSE's wave system ?
    Little wee radio/clock/CD thing ?
    We have one in the office.
    The sound is amazing.
    If BOSE can get sound like that out of a couple of tiny speakers housed in a small plastic box,I expected better from umpteen speakers in a car...

    In fact,one of those whacked onto the dash might sound better...
    I'll get back to you..

    Where's the nailgun... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/goofy.gif
    #10
  12. Cupramax
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    Cupramax Uber pimp meister

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    Lol, you've found the replacement for the /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/swear.gif centre speaker, glue a BOSE wave to the middle of the dash /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
    #11
  13. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    Where can I plug it in ???
    Visibility's a pig now..

    /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dancing.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/froggie_red.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif
    #12
  14. Japper
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    Japper Ibis S3 Fan Club

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Where can I plug it in ???
    Visibility's a pig now..

    /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dancing.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/froggie_red.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I've heard of 'thinking outside of the box' but that's pushing it a little too far bowfer /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh_roll.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif
    #13
  15. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]


    Ultimate winner though ?
    '02 Golf fitted with a Pioneer headunit,powering all the standard speakers,plus a small Kenwood amp and Kenwood 6 x 9 speakers in the back shelf (proper sound shelf bought from ICE dealer).
    That set up cost him around £500ish,but blows either A3 away at any volume.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    My thoughts exactly Bowfer! Anyone who is really interested in the sound of their car stereo would be well advised to have a custom shelf with decent 6x9s installed. BOSE is a nice bit of branding but will disappoint anyone looking for decent sound quality. This should not be confused with 12"subs and under-car lighting...

    Regarding the hashness of the standard tweeters, some of this is down to the passenger door tweeters - this will be more apparent the taller you are. Get them partially taped up.

    Also agree regarding the head unit - the bass and treble levels are very conservative compared with most standard set ups. However, this is no bad thing as at least your favourite music doesn't sound like it has been put through the "Radio 1 exciter" (ie all treble and bass, no mid range)

    One last thing - try to avoid the standard practice of setting your fader to 2 or 3 Rear - you lose the soundstage.
    #14
  16. marriedblonde
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    marriedblonde Moderator

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    [Apr 6, 2005]
    6x9's on the rear shelf? OMG how 90's is that!!!!!

    J.
    #15
  17. imported_TuffLittleUnit
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    imported_TuffLittleUnit Guest

    [Apr 6, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Volvo's gear is top notch,if you upgrade to the dolby II system

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Agree. I've currently got an S60 with the Dolby system in it and it is stunning. Unbelievable given the "old man" image of Volvo.

    The other real plus is that the Volvo is incredibly well insulated so although I regularly have the sound system pumping out electronica/house/techno it doesn't appear all chav from the outside. (Alright, I admit that when I see some middle-aged suit driving the same car as me I like to turn up the volume and be a bit crass just to /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/swear.gif them off that some "kid" is driving the same car and lowering the tone)

    I had a really embarrasing moment on a Sportback test drive where I'd racked the volume up on the Bose system finding it a much more rewarding experience >15. I got out of the car at a local shopping centre with the engine running and stereo still on (collecting the family) and was horrified to find that the music was almost as loud outside the car as it was inside. I felt so cheesy.

    This will take some getting used to when I swap the Volvo for a Sportback at the end of the month.
    #16
  18. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 7, 2005]
    Volvo and Lexus both also offer in-dash 6 disc changers as standard.

    Isn't it about time Lexus came out with a diesel ?

    Rear wheel drive,but not a BMW...

    mmmmmm.... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/groovy.gif
    #17
  19. cheechy
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    [Apr 7, 2005]
    LExus have a diesel coming out at the end of the year along with their new model line up - replacing the current IS200.

    175bhp and low co2 emissions.....

    Sounds good to me +++
    #18
  20. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 7, 2005]
    Very interesting,cheers for that.
    That'll be one to add the maybe list in a couple of years. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
    #19
  21. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 7, 2005]
    #20
  22. The Slug
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    The Slug Active Member VCDS Map User

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    [Apr 7, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]


    I used to own a Lexus IS200 and the sound system was rather good. I am pretty sure the speakers are also BOSE.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    "YEAH KNOW" !!

    lmfao /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cry.gif
    #21
  23. gizze
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    gizze Member

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    [Apr 7, 2005]
    I thought Volvo got Mark Levinson involved with their top in car audio gear? That is some seriously good kit in home hifi and home theater gear.

    Rather than change the head unit simply using the head units pre outs and hooking up a 2 channel amp and new speakers up front makes a world of difference, far more than changing the head unit and keeping the rest of the original kit.
    #22
  24. Mihnea_S4RS4
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    Mihnea_S4RS4 New Member

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    One question left unanswered probably because no one has asked it is:

    Why do Audi still fit a cassette player to the symphony, does anyone out there actually own a cassette anymore?
    #23
  25. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    Is Partridge to blame for Rover's demise ??
    #24
  26. Cupramax
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    Cupramax Uber pimp meister

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    One question left unanswered probably because no one has asked it is:

    Why do Audi still fit a cassette player to the symphony, does anyone out there actually own a cassette anymore?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    More to the point why the hell in 2005 cant we play MP3's on the HU without speding £2500 on Satnav!!! Its pathetic, I really cant understand why car manufacturers cant stay with technology especially as they farm all the ICE out to people like Blaupunkt and Matsushita who already have the technology.
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  27. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    Couldn't you just buy an aftermarket MP3 head unit for a few hundred pounds instead ?
    You'd probably get the added bonus of improved sound quality as well.

    My MD's TT proves aftermarket headunits can be used with Bose.
    #26
  28. gizze
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    gizze Member

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    But people want to keep the car looking stock.

    The Audi head units really should be able to play MP3's by now and display track names.
    #27
  29. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    Fair enough.
    MP3's go over my head a bit.
    #28
  30. JaminBen
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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    And I think therein lies the problem. No disrespect, Bowfer, but Audi probably figured that only 2% of their buyers would want to use MP3. Making a low-cost option for only a small percentage probably didn't pass the bean-counters' offices.

    I had never used MP3 before having this A3, but now I LOVE it!!
    #29
  31. Cupramax
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    Cupramax Uber pimp meister

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    Blimey, where have you been? I've used MP3 for at least 6 years now!!! All I'm saying is the techonolgy is so cheap now it would cost them nothing to integrate it...
    #30
  32. Cupramax
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    Cupramax Uber pimp meister

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    #31
  33. djoblong
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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    Why would you spend that on an mp3 player that is fixed to the car when you can get an ipod for £200 and a ice-link cable for about £50? That can be taken in and out of the car also....
    #32
  34. jungle
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    jungle Member

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    Surely MP3 + hifi = bad joke? MP3 is crappy quality compared to CD. I'm still waiting for Linn to release an in-car turntable for all my stereophonograms.
    #33
  35. Cupramax
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    Cupramax Uber pimp meister

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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Surely MP3 + hifi = bad joke? MP3 is crappy quality compared to CD.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    MP3 when ripped at 320kbps is CD quality. Using Lame encoder you would never know the difference.
    #34
  36. gizze
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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    The ipod sounds /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/swear.gif, well the digital-analogue decoder is /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/swear.gif in the ipod anyway, from reports I have heard once modded to give a digital out it isn't that bad.
    But the whole thing of not having to take the ipod in and out of teh car is appealing to alot of people, and also just to be able to stick a few cds in and have say 40 albums with artist name and track title come up on screen too is nice.
    I have an ipod and just can't get on with it, I take it on holiday and that is it really, the display is too small as it doesnt show enough of the title, by the time you get decent headphones on it there is not enough volume and the whole itunes thing frustrates me as I use an ibook in the evening, a desktop at work and have a main pc too. So just being able to drag and drop music onto an SD card is easier than faffing around with my ipod so it sits in the drawer. if I was younger and had more time I might get used to it, but I don't.
    #35
  37. ginner
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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    Djoblong where do you get an ice link for £50 I dont think they exist?
    #36
  38. imported_TuffLittleUnit
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    [Apr 8, 2005]
    gizze

    If the A3's gone are you walking everywhere? Sends shivers down my spine.
    #37
  39. celica
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    [Apr 9, 2005]
    this week i had a chance to do the same type of comparison as a friend had a brand new a3 with bose option as a courtesy car while his a4 was being serviced.My car has the standard setup as i did not think the bose was worth the extra when i bought it a year ago. All i can say is i made the right choice the standard setup has improved over time,the bass is much richer and the treble is ok if you increase the tone
    #38

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