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Never done any audio upgrade in my life, help please :)

Discussion in 'In-Car Entertainment' started by HenrikMeister, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. HenrikMeister
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    HenrikMeister Member

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    [Sep 30, 2013]
    So I have an Audi A3 8p 2004, which has the standard concert system (not bose) HU is also a concert 2. Today I have installed an AUX whilst still having the original player. What my question is, I still want to have the original hu, and want to upgrade the sub and maybe the door speakers. But i am not sure what to buy, what sub is going to fit, what is compatible and how to set it up. Do someone here have any noob guide?
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  3. dualmono21
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    dualmono21 Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 1, 2013]
    unfortunatly the original sub isnt upto much ... so nobody makes a direct replacement for the unit
    the only real way to replace the subwoofer is to replace it as a whole (amplifier ,subwoofer and enclosure )
    if done properly it wil improve the sound quite considerably
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  4. AK47UK
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    AK47UK Active Member

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    [Oct 1, 2013]
    Any reason for wanting to stick with the original headunit? There are aftermarket HUs made specifically for the A3 so they fit perfectly and if you want you can have a 7'' touch screen, GPS, bluetooth etc.

    I have ordered the one that's on Xtrons website but you can get them on ebay for £300 new or one seller puts up a couple of refurbs each week and I just picked one up for £200. The refurb only has 45 days warranty but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a new unit tbh.

    The way it usually works is the headunit has RCA outputs, this is a 2 socket cable which feeds your amp with the audio signal. The amp has a direct 12v feed to your battery, there will be a fuse under your bonnet to protect you if something went wrong. The amp will be earthed to a point in your boot. There will be one further wire called a remote wire that goes from the headunit to the amp, this tells the amp when to switch on.

    The amp will then have twin sets of connections which go to speakers, a positive and negative to each speaker. A 2 channel amp for example will have 4 speaker connections. You might be able to get a 4 channel amp where 2 channels are bridgeable so the power for 2 channels goes into one and this will power your sub whilst the remaining 2 channels power your new front speakers.

    Unless you were on a very low budget you would never use your headunit to amp your speakers, you would use a separate amp as described. You could have a sub box in your boot, I haven't looked at stealth boxes yet for the A3 but I built my own stealthbox out of fibreglass for my Focus.

    If you have any questions then just send me a message as this is one area where I can be of use, even if I am a little rusty as my last install was over 2 years ago but I have done quite a few in my time for me and my mates.
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  5. HenrikMeister
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    HenrikMeister Member

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    [Oct 1, 2013]
    Thanks for the reply!
    I want to OEM as possible, since I have 1 DIN i can't do so much, in the otherhand if i had 2 DIN i would go with a big aftermarket screen. I am not sure what the concert 2 HU is compatible off. So to have a better, bigger sub I need to upgrade the amp? Budget is no problem, i dont want to waste my money on a system that costs alot, i just want a better system.
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  6. AK47UK
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    AK47UK Active Member

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    [Oct 1, 2013]
    If you want a screen then you could get a single DIN motorised touch screen headunit, my first car (Ford Fiesta) had one of these. Do you have a photo of your current system? I am new to Audi but will try to help you as much as I can.

    Usually OEM and aftermarket headunits only output tiny figures like 50w peak power, that is nothing when it comes to bass. I find 200RMS to be a decent power for a sub but the power figures aren't everything, brand is massive as quality will vary. Do you want big bass or just enough to make the sound richer? I like punchy bass so use 10'' subs usually, 12'' can resonate more (in my experience).

    Due to the poor output figures an amp is recommended.

    If you want to keep your HU then I am not sure how you can get RCA output to a dedicated amp, if you go aftermarket then this is easy.

    Best see what size speakers your car takes in the front and the depth as you may need low profile speakers or mdf baffles to hold the speaker the right distance in front of the door for you. Also are you happy to have a sub box in your boot or are you after something hidden like OEM?

    Are you good with wiring and routing the cables under your plastic trim or did you want to avoid this? It can take some time and care, some cars I have wired up were nightmares.

    I am trying to suggest changes that will give you a really good system, they are far from OEM as a lot of work is involved.
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  7. HenrikMeister
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    HenrikMeister Member

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    [Oct 1, 2013]
    Mine looks excactly like this:
    [​IMG][/url]
    Problem of having those motorized HU in the A3 is that it will block the AC, cup holder etc.
    According to the user manual, it says that my car has a 4x20 watt + 40 watt subwoofer
    And possible connections, 195 watts. Honestly I dont understand this :p
    The car has currently, and OEM a hidden sub in the boot side wall. I dont mind having a sub-box in the boot, but it cant be too big :noway:
    Routing cables is ALWAYS a nightmare, but to have a good setup you just have to tame it.
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  8. HenrikMeister
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    HenrikMeister Member

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    [Oct 1, 2013]
    And yes, I like more kick from the bass. Love it!
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  9. AK47UK
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    AK47UK Active Member

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    [Oct 2, 2013]
    Ok now we are getting somewhere :)

    With the single DIN motorised you can still use it when it's closed so that might be a consideration for you, have it open when you want satnav etc and closed when you don't. If not you could just use a decent single DIN HU, something like an Alpine, Kenwood etc. should suffice. If you are good at fibreglassing you might find you can mod your dash to allow a separate display but this is a huge job and takes ages to perfect so I wouldn't recommend it. You may be able to replace your sunvisor with an LCD model but obviously it's not convenient looking up all the time.

    If you are happy to wire it up and take time doing it then we are in business, it's very rewarding once you succeed. So you are looking for a route from the back of your HU to the boot, from your battery to the boot, from the boot to the doorcards.

    Usually you would route down the side of the car under the floor trim, ideally the RCA cable will not run alongside the power cable but if you have decent cables it should be shielded. Sometimes the RCA and remote cable can be run down the middle of the car to the boot.

    To get the speaker cables into your doorcards you can hopefully use the rubber conduit already in place. You might have to drill out your original speakers if they use rivets and then bolt your new ones in their place. I like to use waterproofing on the rear of the speakers, something like this:
    Phonocar 4/927 Rain Stop

    A sub box like this should be stealth so you will not lose boot space:
    Audi A3 8L 96-03 Custom Fit MDF 8" Sub Box Subwoofer Enclosure Bass | eBay

    I am not sure how good they are and what 8'' subs are around but it should add depth to the music, I know some installs put 8'' subs under the front seats. If you want more bass then you will probably have to settle for a standard 10-12'' sub box which will take up boot space...
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  10. HenrikMeister
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    HenrikMeister Member

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    [Oct 3, 2013]
    I'm thinking of doing a single DIN to Double DIN conversion: DIY:Single to Double Din Conversion for Audi A3 but pretty scared of the results, considering my lack of hand skills :readit:
    It's always snowing and raining here in Norway, so the rain stop is a good investment, no doubt!
    I found this online, and it would fit my A3 8P (Not 8L since thats the 1st generation, aka the link you've sent :friends:)
    [​IMG]
    Result:
    [​IMG]
    Very stealthy indeed!
    This would fit an 8" sub, which is just perfect.
    So these are the things I have to do:
    1. Converting DD from D
    2. Buy a big *** screen
    3. Buy subwoofer, and maybe upgrading the door speakers
    4. cables etc.
    5. enjoy!

    This will be a fun project, if I succeed!
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  11. AK47UK
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    AK47UK Active Member

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    [Oct 3, 2013]
    You also need an amp ;)

    The double DIN conversion looks very smart, a job to take your time with though.

    I am now considering making myself another custom fibreglass stealthbox for my A3. I have no idea where I will find the time to do it but it will be better quality than MDF and I can have it completely hidden. I will mull it over a bit more and see if I have any fibreglass left over from last time!
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  12. dualmono21
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    dualmono21 Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 3, 2013]
    beware the pre-fab sub boxes i have seen have been extremely poor quality and little better than the standard plastic box
    to do it properly ...build your own its not difficult

    forget the equipment you are going to use , get the installation correct , this will make more differance than anything else
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  13. easy going Si
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    easy going Si Member

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    [Mar 2, 2014]
    Hi yer what do you need ?? I specialise in cabling and power wiring and at the mo working on the stereo of my audi a4 b7
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