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What Audio System Have You Installed?

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by PNH80, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    After reading the current thread on here regarding good and bad points about BOSE or more to the point....Quality of the stock head units:

    For those of you who have upgraded, what have you upgraded to? I've been happy with the Symphony/BOSE so far, it looks good and suits the dash layout of the car so i'm wary about changing it for an aftermarket set up.

    I've spec'd BOSE in my next car but i've stuck with the standard Concert HU. I'd definitely be interested in getting a superior HU installed but not at the expense of it looking an eyesore!

    So if any of you chaps have got photos of your upgraded units, recommendations etc i'd be most grateful as i know bugger all about ICE set-ups.

    (I know there is an ICE forum but it's very specific and i'm more interested in how units look in the A3 style dash.)

    Thanks in advance!

    Paul.
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  2. WolvesPhil
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    WolvesPhil Member

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    I am also interested in knowing this, I have specced BOSE in the car that I have just ordered but have not really seen any custom HU's in an A3. Have always used Kenwood in the past but only with standard speakers...
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  3. Gti Jazz Blue
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    Gti Jazz Blue Active Member

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    Well here is my Alpine HU using the Audi OEM adapter trim :

    [​IMG]

    Paul
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  4. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    Cheers Paul, See this is my concern....I'm sure the Alpine sounds a million times better than the concert HU but it definitely stands out! I'm not looking for the HU to look 'stock' but i'd like it to compliment the interior.
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  5. Gti Jazz Blue
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    Gti Jazz Blue Active Member

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    Then you are probably looking for a Becker or Blaupunkt unit with the Audi OEM trim.

    To be honest it looks better in the flesh than a flash photo.

    One thing to bear in mind, you will probably loose the track / station display in the DIS. I was very disapointed to find out that the Alpine Canbus interface doesn't include a display option (when it is released in September).

    Paul
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  6. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    Just been browsing online (productive day obviously) and there are some nice double height, touch screen units around...Same height as a symphony/concert unit i'm assuming? (please correct me if i'm wrong!) Instead of the usual flip out touch screens, the hole in the dash is just filled with a touch screen. Could look quite cool.

    Example of a Sony unit:

    [​IMG]
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  7. jamiekip
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    jamiekip Guest

    that could look smart
    #7
  8. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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  9. SteveTDCi
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    SteveTDCi Active Member

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    If you search talk audio then you will find a post on the W505, that has the blackbird dock, if you don't want the sat nav dock you can go for the W502 @ £579. There are some good JVC units out there for £370 and the Kenwood looks like it would blend in well.

    AS for sounds, i've not done mine yet, i'm still picking the bits up but ...

    HU TBC
    Amp DLS CA51 5 channel, running comps active
    Speakers Front, TBC possibly CDT, Crystal or Rainbow
    Rear, factory run from HU faded almost completly out
    Sub run of DLS, possibly JL 10" in factory location
    extras, ipod connectivity and dynamat
    #9
  10. Gti Jazz Blue
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    Gti Jazz Blue Active Member

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    Beware that the rears are powered from the rear in a stock and Bose setup so you are going to have to run speaker cables to the rear.

    To be honest I wouldn't bother with rear fill - I haven't. I did try a pair of 7" subs running IB in the 3 door rear speaker locations, but wasn't happy with the result so now run a 10" JL in a sealed box in the boot.

    Paul
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  11. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    I thought units such as that Alpine etc with built in DVD, MP3 so on, at between £600-£800 were expensive but when you look at them compared to the RNS-E they're a bargain! And no doubt a class apart performance wise.
    Not to mention the added bonus of removal come resale time.
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  12. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    This is the sort of look i'm going for: (A Golf interior is the closest i could find but it seems to match in quite well, doesn't look too aftermarket)

    [​IMG]
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  13. Kontraband
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    Kontraband Active Member

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    I had the concert... or symphony... whatever the hell its called with standard supply.... sounded pretty average... was ok.

    I stuck the RNS-E in an theres a lot better base in the music and overall the sounds are much better. I dont think theres much to the standard kit.
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  14. SteveTDCi
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    SteveTDCi Active Member

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    I only want the rears for when I have passengers and yes i'd need to pay someone to run it, LM Audio have quoted and will get the job.
    #14
  15. Kev_M5KPL
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    Kev_M5KPL Member

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    i have

    [​IMG]

    2x

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    all powered by 0 guage cable with 2x alpine mono amps and 2 x rockford fosgate p4004 amps.
    #15
  16. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    Well, here's a good one i found.... I think this actually looks better than RNS-E. It sits flush in the dash with no knobs and buttons. Pretty sweet i think...

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. WolvesPhil
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    WolvesPhil Member

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    What models that one then it does look pretty good - will this connect into a factory fitted bose setup
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  18. magnus911
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    magnus911 R8GGA

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    I'm sorry but it just doesn't!
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  19. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    Don;t get me wrong, i wouldn't fit it to my car...The only thing which lets it down is the buttons/bezel because they don't match the design of the rest of the interior. That Kenwood isn't the best example but it's the only photo in an A3 i could find!
    I prefer the look of just having a flush 7" touch screen without all the knobs and buttons.
    If i can find a system which has a more OEM looking surround and buttons i'll buy one.
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  20. mac1403
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    mac1403 Member

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    If you are not after a 7" screen and just want a standard looking HU, the Becker matches our interiors very nice. I know this is on an A4, but you get the idea. Has all the funtionality eg, sat, integrated phone, wap etc.
    [​IMG]
    #20
  21. dunk
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    dunk Member

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    in my past audis, i have always found that the speakers / amps are so rubbish that theres no point in changing the head, however keeping the oem head and changing the speakers and amps IS worth doing - oem look/function but 10x better sound.

    in my 8l s3 i had an andymac stealth sub, oem rns-d satnav and front components with rear coaxials driven by an alpine 5 channel amp - the sound was fantastic - ok it wasnt going to win any audio competitions but for everyday use it was a great investment.

    my b5 rs4 had a similar setup with wheel well stealth sub and rainbow front components, rear coaxials (alpine) driven by a single alpine 5 channel amp from the rns-e satnav - and again compared to the standard bose it was fantastic.

    i will be doing the same for my 8P a3 with a 30L reflex stealth sub in the wheel well.
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  22. Issac Hunt
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    Issac Hunt Active Member

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    I'm thinking along similar lines for my A4, I want to keep the RNS-E but I want an increase in sound quality. I have toyed with the idea of retro-fitting the BOSE system but I think I will investigate the option of aftermarket amps/speakers also.
    #22
  23. Jay.Ing
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    Jay.Ing Member

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    Heres Mine!
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]
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  24. c8hau
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    c8hau Member

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    The only thing I don't like about aftermarket is losing the display between the clocks as shown in that last pic, maybe I am too fussy!
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  25. dunk
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    dunk Member

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    the bose is pretty rubbish compared to any decent install.

    front components eg rainbow, focal etc will give the biggest improvement along with installing a decent amp and small hidden sub so you dont lose the oem look or boot space with a huge sub box.

    JL subs will usually run in a 15-25L box for the 8" units and can be hidden in the cubby holes or the wheel well (use an inflater aerosol instead)
    #25
  26. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yep, Dunk is absolutely right, just changing the HU on a Bose system won't give you any improvement in sound, just better features over & above what the stock HU had.
    #26
  27. Boydie
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    Boydie Guest

    Mine:

    Diamond sub
    genesis amps
    audiocontrol EQL
    Focal Components
    Becker Head unit

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #27
  28. N8
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    N8 Kowalski Details

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    Audi installed something called 'Bose' on mine. Sounds alright too :blow:
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  29. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    I want to change the concert head unit for a few reasons....

    Multimedia units (e.g. high end Pioneer's i've looked at) have sat nav, DVD, CD, internal hard drive for MP3's, maps etc...Too many features to list really. And they're a bit cheaper than RNS-E, bigger screen, more functions, technically just superior.

    BUT.... I'm not installing an aftermarket unit at the expense of ruining the dash. Some of the double din facia's look crap quality. Can you get brushed aluminium ones maybe?? Not seen them myself.

    I don't agree at all that upgrading the head unit won't improve the sound through BOSE. That's almost impossible. Your end product, no matter how good your speakers are will only ever be as good as your source. E.g. Buying a 52 inch full HD Plasma TV and only watching a terrestrial analogue signal through it.... You're getting little benefit.
    Some might not like BOSE but i have no complaints so far. It's a nice looking factory set up in my opinion and does the job.
    If, after i've upgraded the head unit i wasn't happy i'd look at installing a small sub (maybe a tube) in the boot and maybe upgrade the tweeters but i'd still keep the BOSE drivers. Don't want to go mad though, it's not like i spend my life in the car!
    #29
  30. SteveTDCi
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    SteveTDCi Active Member

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    You wouldn't be able to change the tweeters on there own, the crosovers would be different, you would have to change the speakers, but then I don't think the BOSE amp would run them for a start they wouldn't give enough power to run a decent set of components and I think BOSE stuff is 2 ohm.
    #30
  31. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The tweeters on the Bose system aren't Bose they are the same Nokia crap used on the non Bose. They don't use a crossover just an inline capacitor to filter the high frequencies, so you can just change the tweeters.
    The Bose drivers are indeed 2 ohm, but the impedance of the tweeters is irrelevant as:
    1. they are tweeters,
    2. they're not Bose.

    "I don't agree at all that upgrading the head unit won't improve the sound through BOSE. That's almost impossible"
    Well you might not agree, but it is a fact not an opinion. Using your TV analogy, upgrading the source to HD, would have no effect on picture quality on a 10 year old tube. You are far better off using the stock Audi HU and upgrading the amps and speakers if you want an improvement in sound.
    People who have managed to improve the sound with a new HU is only down to the bypassing of the Bose flat EQ which you can achieve by cutting the earth wire on the Bose pin on the back of the HU.
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  32. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    I know what you're saying Andymac, every part of the system has a part to play and upgrading any of it will make a difference whether it be the HU or speaker set up. I'm sure you can see my point though that eventually the output quality will always be limited by the source signal. Not that i'm saying the Audi head units are bad by any means but i would have thought they're to a lesser standard than the BOSE it's connected to. Thats all i meant by it being impossible for a better head unit to NOT improve the sound. Thats how i see it anyway... Although i accept i could be wrong! You guys probably know you're ICE onions better than i do!

    My dilemma now is what sort of HU to go for. Get a multimedia unit which incorporates sat-nav or save some money and buy a quality head unit and a Garmin sat nav separately? At least i can remove the sat nav from the car that way...
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  33. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You'd think wouldn't you? Unfortunately the issue is with the Bose setup itself, it is tuned to work with a flat EQ from the Audi HU (which is made by Matsushita/Panasonic, nothing to do with Bose). So whatever the quality of the source, it has to go through the bizarre Bose EQ which is built into the Bose amps. So upgrading any element in isolation has little effect and can actually sound worse.
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  34. Gti Jazz Blue
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    Gti Jazz Blue Active Member

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    My 2005 Concert HU is made by Grundig, or so the warranty seals says.

    To sum up the Bose is a reasonable upgrade from the stock system, but will be way out-classed by a decent after market install.

    Paul
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  35. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    Cheers for that Andymac, i didn't actually realise that's how BOSE operated. So it doesn't work properly with an EQ in the headunit? That is a bit rubbish to be honest.
    I'll be upgrading the HU anyway and see where that leads. If i end up changing the whole lot then so be it.
    Could i utilise the same wiring set-up from the BOSE if i wanted to change the speakers/amp? Just to save ripping a load of panels off basically!
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  36. Gti Jazz Blue
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    Gti Jazz Blue Active Member

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    Only by a major modification at the Bose amp end of the loom, you could only use the signal and speaker cables as the power cable wouldn't be up to the job. You would also need to break into the looms at the doors to install any crossover as the stock tweeters only have a very basic cap to filter out un wanted lows.

    Not worth all of the work, just run new.

    I always keep my installs as reversable as possible, so that I have the option to restore the car if I don't get my asking price (or want to trade it at Audi). All I will need to restore mine back to the stock Bose is some new tweeter covers for the A pilars and some rivets to put the stock mids back in the front doors.

    Paul
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  37. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    See this is the thing...Whatever mods i do must be fully reversible wherever possible. I thought maybe i could change the BOSE for another power amp to allow the EQ in the HU to work properly.... But that could be more work than previously anticipated!

    Back to the drawing board?
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  38. SteveTDCi
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    SteveTDCi Active Member

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    Just buy a new amp + speakers and run new wires, enjoy the better sounds and then when you sell just connect the old stuff back up ( and fit the speakers etc ) thats what I intend to do.
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  39. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    Yeah to be fair you probably have a point. No one would know the car had been re-wired if done properly.
    I'll start off with the head unit as planned, then start asking a few professionals how much to wire in new speakers and a better, passive amplifier.
    Presuming i do that....Is it even worth speccing the car with BOSE in the first place? Or will the BOSE system provide better mounting locations for the amp and speakers??
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  40. PNH80
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    PNH80 Low life livin' the high life.

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    Well...Just visited a local audio/ICE specialist and discussed options.

    His general opinion (which is apparently common) is that BOSE is a bit of a con. The speakers and tweeters are NOT BOSE. They're the standard Nokia made units. It is only the amp and sub which are BOSE.

    So if you're speccing a new Audi the wise advice is to forget BOSE and spend your money on a nice amp and upgrade the speaker units in the front with a shallow subwoofer in the boot.
    Costs less and sounds a million times better....
    #40

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