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To Bose or to not Bose

zack1uk Feb 15, 2008

  1. zack1uk

    zack1uk New Member


    I'm about to order my new company car, an Audi S3 5dr, and am in the process of deciding what options to go for. I'm hoping you guys could give me some advice.

    It seems that many of you are talking about replacing the Bose sound system. Therefore am I correct in assuming that it does not improve the sound quality significantly over the standard speakers. Or is it an improvment and worth buying, as my retrofit options are pretty limited as it is a lease hire car.

    Its a lease car so any modifications that will require permanent changes are out of the question (eg custom sub enclosures unless they can be removed at a later date without damage to the car, or they sont take up any room in the boot).

    If I dont get the Bose system, what are my options?
    Does the standard setup have an external amp that I could use some aftermarket speakers with?
    Can I swap out the speakers for aftermarket ones (particularly the sub) if I do choose the Bose system, or will any speaker changes make the Bose amp redundant. I've seen Andys sub enclosure and that seems like a brilliant solution, but can a new sub be run from the Bose amp?

    Sorry for the list of questions but I'm a little confused about the options to improve the sound as it seems from reading 12 + pages of the fiorums here that the standard set up has some strange wiring particularly for the sub and rears, whilst the Bose uses lower voltages.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers
  2. motorbikez

    motorbikez Active Member

    Personally I wouldn't bother with bose again yes its marginally better than standard sound system but not worth £355 more or whatever the option cost is now.
  3. Kontraband

    Kontraband Active Member

    I wouldnt bother with Bose in a lease car as your paying for it from someone else. You may as well pay for it yourself and fit it/unfit it. At least you get a return then...

    unless of course, you intend to buy the car at the end of the lease, but I doubt the lease company will give you a worthy figure in the current car climate.
  4. zack1uk

    zack1uk New Member

    Thanks for the swift responses.

    I'm not too fussed about the cost, as the company will pay something towards it, and as Audi are new to the firm, they are currently offering all sorts of extras at lower cost to entice people away from choosing mondeos and bmws.

    I guess to clarify my questions above:

    1, Is the standard set up adequate, if not how can it be improved.
    2, Is the Bose a significant improvment (based upon the answers above it looks like No is the answer to that).
    3, Which provides the best speakers and most flexible wiring loom should I want to further upgrade the install.

    I'm still tempted by one of AndyMac's sub boxes. I'm fairly confident that I could install an amp without making any permanent damage to the car or trim. And I would be happy to replace the front (and possibly rear) speakers. My main concern atm is the wiring looms. I'm reluctant to start stripping the seats, carpets and door sill covers etc out, in order to do a proper install.

    I've been doing some more reading up on these forums and it seems that possibly the best way forward for me might be:

    1, Standard set up (concert HU)
    2, Replace rear sub box and amp, and feed pre outs from existing wiring loom. Will require a power cable from the engine bay, I believe, but C'est la vie.
    3, Replace the tweeters in the front for better quality units (any reccomendations?), and then possibly the mids as well. I can't determine if these are fed from the amp in the rear or directly from the head unit - anyone know? Ideally I'd like to keep the low frequencies away from these front speakers, but I'm not sure if this is possible within the constraints of the existing loom.
  5. AndyMac

    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Just to point out my stealth sub is for the 8L chassis A3/S3.
    Non Bose
    Fronts run off the HU, rears & sub seperately amped

    All speakers & sub seperately amped

    Bose system is more difficult to upgrade, but easier to just add a sub to.

    Personally I'd go and try out a Bose equipped A3 before making a decision as it's a very emotive subject, some people love their Bose systems, some hate it. The newer A3 Bose upgrade is apparently an improvement on the old model. The old model A3 was just diabolical with or without Bose, Bose made it average at best, non Bose was the worst system I've heard in mid range hatchback. This was largely due to the speakers being mounted to the door cards, not mounted to the doors, and the fronts being feeble 4" units. The new A3 everything is mounted to the doors and can accomodate bigger drivers so a big improvement I suspect (never heard one so can't comment).
    I'd definately test drive one (on the motorway, not in the showroom) before committing either way.
  6. redbutcher

    redbutcher Member

    Definitely see if you can try both. My own car has Bose and I think it's great. I've got a car at the mo while mine is at the stealers and it doesn't have Bose and I dont think the sound is as 'full'. As AndyMac says it's an odd topic - some people love it, others hate it - a bit like Marmite!
  7. SimonP

    SimonP Member

    I've had an 8L S3 both with Bose and then my current one which I ordered without Bose and have gone after-market with one of AndyMac's most excellent subs and replacement speakers all round. The standard 8L system without Bose is utter garbage and not worth having. I felt that for the same money as the Bose upgrade option on an 8L you could get much better aftermarket.

    However, that's on the 8L. The new one may be better - we have Bose in the family A4 B6 Avant and it's good enough, it's not perfect, but a lot better than the setup in the old S3. It's good enough not to want to rip it out, which is a huge faff and made a pain in the backside by Audi's persisent use of non-standard wiring.

    The advice to listen to it first is well worth taking.

    I chose to go after market with my S3 as a) I own it and more relevant b) I intend to keep it for a long time. For a lease car I'd personally be tempted to stay with a factory fit, be it the standard system or Bose and leave after market alone.

    Hope that makes some sense, it's been a long day.
  8. zack1uk

    zack1uk New Member

    Many thanks, I will indeed try it out and see whats best.

    From reading here and many other forums it seems that the general concensus is that the Bose offers some improvment in clarity but is still lacking in the bass dept. It shouldn't be too difficult to add an active sub like the Infinity baselink to the Bose system, using the pre outs from the bose amp and a single power cable from the battery, so thats the way I'll probably go. I am correct in thinking that the bose amp just powers the front and rear speakers and that the sub itself is active so that I tap into an output from the amp to the sub (ie cables between amp and sub), or do I tap into the amp inputs (ie cables between HU and amp). This whole bose wiring thing seems to be somewhat strange.

    Thanks again.
  9. AndyMac

    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Just unplug the tupperware sub and tap straight into the red plug:

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