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Audio Advice for an '03 w/Bose


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I would not classify myself as an audio aficionado, but I have never been pleased with the audio in my 2003 C2 Cab. The midrange always seems too loud, not a lot of treble & bass (almost no sparkle to the music and not a lot of richness).

My ‘03 has the Bose upgrade with a standard Becker head (I guess it is a 320). Although the radio manual talks about sound presets (like Classical, Jazz, etc.) these never show up on my display. I only have treble & bass controls -- and these don't seem to make the music sound much better. Also, even if I set them, two or three trips later, if I check them, I often find that they have been reset to “0”--no adjustment. (...especially if I have gone back and forth between radio & CD).

At one point, I took it to the dealer (it is still under full warranty) because the radio was not turning on, or would spontaneously turn itself on & off. They said the amp was bad & replaced it--which cured the operational symptoms.

With the engine off or at slow speeds, it's not too bad. On the road with tire noise (even with top or or with the hard top on), I can turn it up, it gets loud, but is never very rich sounding.

I took it back to the dealer who said that sitting with the engine off, you could hear plenty of bass--so the amp was working. They also said that with the Bose upgrade, it eliminates the sound presets (e.g., Classical) and just replaces them with treble & bass controls—as most of the sound shaping is supposed to be done by the speakers. So, everything (in their opinion) was working correctly.

- Am I expecting too much? Does this sound normal for a stock system?

- I think the system probably has the fiber optic connections which makes upgrades a big deal--having to replace both the head and the amp. Is that so?

Thanks.

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I wander if your audio pilot (think its called that) is playing up, as its only when you have the ambient noise that it is supposed to 'suppress'?? Maybe its compensating too much and thats what is happening. I had a Bose on my Boxster (now my 996TT) but always sounded quite good (with top down) all the way well past a ton! Obviously not with standing wind noise around your ears!!

What kind of bass/treble you got dialed in??

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You flew RF5's? Wow. I have some time in A4's...

As far as audio, I'm no expert either. But I would guess any audio shop will recommend upgrading both head unit and speakers. Before going that far, since you're not an afficianado, I would replace the speakers only for starters. I'd start with just the door and dash speakers and see if that gets you the clearer sound I think your seeking. MB Quart and DynAudio are two high end brands that I would strongly recommend. A stereo shop can help with the install and speaker selection.

My 2 cents...

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I would not classify myself as an audio aficionado, but I have never been pleased with the audio in my 2003 C2 Cab. The midrange always seems too loud, not a lot of treble & bass (almost no sparkle to the music and not a lot of richness).

<snip>

- I think the system probably has the fiber optic connections which makes upgrades a big deal--having to replace both the head and the amp. Is that so?

Thanks.

No highs? No lows? It must be BOSE!

:P

I can't speak specifically on the Bose system in the 996, as I'm new to the P-cars, but in general what you're describing is classic Bose: They sound “ok” at rest, but fall down in real-world conditions. My guess is the fault lies with the huge amount of equalization they typically use in their systems.

The problem you'll face (or at least with every other Bose I've encountered) is that they use ultra-low impedance speakers, so you can add all the speakers to the list of things you'll have to replace if you want to exorcise Dr. Bose’s demons from your car.

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I had an 03 cab also and ended up changing the whole bose system. Rick Reus has 3 great systems for that car. www.reusaudio.com He is a nice guy and very knowledgeable. He has done 1000s of 911s. If you don't want to go that route, just accept it for what it is. Or you could get a 997. The bose in that car is pretty good. Even Rick Rues thinks so. Good luck.

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I wander if your audio pilot (think its called that) is playing up, as its only when you have the ambient noise that it is supposed to 'suppress'??

I didn't know that this year had an ambient noise adjustment. No mention of it in the manual.

What kind of bass/treble you got dialed in??

Since the adjustments seem to affect the midrange as much as the actual high's & low's, I've left the treble at 0 and the bass at +3.

I think the radio in my Ford Ranger sounds better than this one. Albeit, the Ranger doesn't generate as much tire noise from our rough roads here.

For what it's worth, I'm not against upgrading, but it would be nice to confirm that the current system is actually working correctly before I start considering alternatives.

Edited by RF5BPilot
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I wander if your audio pilot (think its called that) is playing up, as its only when you have the ambient noise that it is supposed to 'suppress'??

I didn't know that this year had an ambient noise adjustment. No mention of it in the manual.

What kind of bass/treble you got dialed in??

Since the adjustments seem to affect the midrange as much as the actual high's & low's, I've left the treble at 0 and the bass at +3.

I think the radio in my Ford Ranger sounds better than this one. Albeit, the Ranger doesn't generate as much tire noise from our rough roads here.

For what it's worth, I'm not against upgrading, but it would be nice to confirm that the current system is actually working correctly before I start considering alternatives.

I'm sure mines got the 'audio pilot' (2001 996TT), but i could be wrong, i'll check later........ I'm also sure my old 2002 Box S had it on the Bose (option) too?

I run Bass 0 and Treble +3 or +4 and NO "loudness" set. With that set up i have a deep bass sound and also hitting the subtle highs. I know what your saying about midrange, but mine doesnt seem to bad (not as good as a top aftermarket ofcourse), but for me and not wanting to start ripping my car apart, spending a fortune getting a decent system installed then not getting any money back for it when you sell the car, i'll stick with the Bose.....

As a matter if interest, is yours the same as mine, i assume so (speakers wise)?? I have two dash (2x2-way), two door (2x1-way), two rear panels (2x2way) and speaker box (2x1way/ported)

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I run Bass 0 and Treble +3 or +4 and NO "loudness" set.

There is no loudness option on my menus.

As a matter if interest, is yours the same as mine, i assume so (speakers wise)?? I have two dash (2x2-way), two door (2x1-way), two rear panels (2x2way) and speaker box (2x1way/ported)

That sounds like the same as mine, although I don't know where to find the "speaker box" (which I assume would be a subwoofer).

I had a longer drive yesterday and spent time fiddling with it some more. Found, oddly enough to me, that the radio sounded pretty good, but the CD's sounded flat. So, will try some different CD's--but that seems to be the main issue. (Previously, I have rarely listened to the radio.)

Edited by RF5BPilot
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My 03 cab has the subwoofer on the passenger side of the main tunnel (footwell). It all sounds horible when audiopilot is enabled - otherwise I think it sounds ok. I suggest you make sure audiopilot is off and check the sound settings for each individual source.

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I run Bass 0 and Treble +3 or +4 and NO "loudness" set.

There is no loudness option on my menus.

As a matter if interest, is yours the same as mine, i assume so (speakers wise)?? I have two dash (2x2-way), two door (2x1-way), two rear panels (2x2way) and speaker box (2x1way/ported)

That sounds like the same as mine, although I don't know where to find the "speaker box" (which I assume would be a subwoofer).

I had a longer drive yesterday and spent time fiddling with it some more. Found, oddly enough to me, that the radio sounded pretty good, but the CD's sounded flat. So, will try some different CD's--but that seems to be the main issue. (Previously, I have rarely listened to the radio.)

I forgot you have a cab, my sub is directly behind the rear seats and blends into the parcel shelf. Yours as said is under the front seat i believe? This will give rise to a different 'sound' too.

As mpikounis said, the head unit remembers the settings for each function, so you can set the radio different to CD. I have PCM 1, so posibly i have a 'loudness' function whereas the newer PCM 2 or standard head unit does not??

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well, just like said previously in earlier posts, the Bose system SUCKS in Porsches. and to be honest, the new 997 and 987c that have the bose system still sucks if you like to crank your music, or you if you like a very clear sound.

i work in a shop in San Diego California that deals mostly with these kind of cars and find that not really anyone is ever happy with the Bose system in these situations. What i would recommend is to replace not just the speakers but the amplifier as well.

What happens in a bose system is this.

Factory speakers are usually paper cone. Meaning they are extremely light weight and very efficient with little power (Usually around 20W/speaker). after market speakers can be made of one of many different polymers, plastics, kevlars, polyglass... and other materials. what this means is, they are not light weight, and require a substantial amount of more power (usually around 75W+/speaker). try imagining the difference between accelerating and stopping a sports car, and accelerating and stopping a fully loaded Semi-truck.

also, they usually have a midbass driver (6") that is not truely designed to give off low frequencies, but yet again, are extremely lightweight and efficient.

So, with all the said, replacing JUST your speakers will actually REDUCE sound quality. if you want better sound replace minimally the amp and speakers. or, if you are one of the many that want just better quality without going into that detail, just add a subwoofer in the cab. (if you want pictures or info, email me at JAudio@pacbell.net, or visit www.LaJollaAudio.com)

if you want to know what we have done in many many many Porsches that has worked for the last 26 years since we have been working on Porsches, Ferraris, Lambos, Bentleys and the sorts, you are also more than welcome to contact me.

Edited by JAudio
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Actually the newer driver materials are not as heavy as paper cones. Reason being paper ones need to be of a thicker paper to keep cone distortions down as compared to kevlar, graphite etc.. Wattage rating of speakers is really not a priority one should worry about as much as frequency, sensitivity and distortion. Lower impedance usually requires more amperage thus heavy output stages of the amplifiers are needed. For instance, 4 ohm nominal speakers due to driver movement can actually be seen having less than 4 ohms under certain frequencies.

The reason better speakers need more power is usually they produce more bass, which requires more cone excursion and heavier magnets. Thicker materials can provide less distortion under longer excursions. Bose unfortunatley cannot produce the full audio spectrum with any authority due to there driver construction. Bose engineering concentrates more on imaging then actual overall delivery which is comprised of dynamics, frequency, low distotion across the full spectrum, and full frequency. Usually Bose drivers are too small to actully deliver the lower end hence the loss of the dynamics. Great on midrange!

An amp in itrself will not provide any better sound quality thru a marginal driver. So just the opposite should be done, replace the drivers first. Most after market drivers will work fine on a 20 watt amp. Most mobile audio speakers mniimul wattage to produce quality sound will fall within thecapability of a 20 watt amp. The amp is needed to drive the better quality speakers to higher levels. Which should allow less distortion at the higher levels. When you have an idea of the configuration you want, configured the crossovers then amp up providing a bass driver and adjust the crossover to match your acoustic environment.

The replacement of the drivers first will net you an improvement, on their own merit.

Edited by KevinMac
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When you have an idea of the configuration you want, configured the crossovers then amp up providing a bass driver and adjust the crossover to match your acoustic environment.

The replacement of the drivers first will net you an improvement, on their own merit.

I'm new here, just got my first Porsche a couple months ago (03 C2). I knew the sound would suck because all BOSE car systems do. But the car is sweet. When I read your decription on what to do Kevin, I thought I was at an old stomping ground of mine, the AVScience forum. I understand what you're saying here, but I imagine some others are cross-eyed after reading it!

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Actually the newer driver materials are not as heavy as paper cones. Reason being paper ones need to be of a thicker paper to keep cone distortions down as compared to kevlar, graphite etc.. Wattage rating of speakers is really not a priority one should worry about as much as frequency, sensitivity and distortion. Lower impedance usually requires more amperage thus heavy output stages of the amplifiers are needed. For instance, 4 ohm nominal speakers due to driver movement can actually be seen having less than 4 ohms under certain frequencies.

The reason better speakers need more power is usually they produce more bass, which requires more cone excursion and heavier magnets. Thicker materials can provide less distortion under longer excursions. Bose unfortunatley cannot produce the full audio spectrum with any authority due to there driver construction. Bose engineering concentrates more on imaging then actual overall delivery which is comprised of dynamics, frequency, low distotion across the full spectrum, and full frequency. Usually Bose drivers are too small to actully deliver the lower end hence the loss of the dynamics. Great on midrange!

An amp in itrself will not provide any better sound quality thru a marginal driver. So just the opposite should be done, replace the drivers first. Most after market drivers will work fine on a 20 watt amp. Most mobile audio speakers mniimul wattage to produce quality sound will fall within thecapability of a 20 watt amp. The amp is needed to drive the better quality speakers to higher levels. Which should allow less distortion at the higher levels. When you have an idea of the configuration you want, configured the crossovers then amp up providing a bass driver and adjust the crossover to match your acoustic environment.

The replacement of the drivers first will net you an improvement, on their own merit.

though this is true when using lower quality speakers (like X-treme), when you put a quality speaker in there, without changing the amplifier you are creating a weak link that keeps you below the factory system. Also, YES, the impedence makes a big difference. Bose speakers are usually around 2-3 ohms, after markets can get anywhere from 4-8 Ohms. what this means to those of you that change out the speakers and keep the factory amp, Volume will be reduced significantly.

changing out the speakers and not the amp is like this:

think about having a honda civic with the bone stock 1.6L motor, now, put that motor into your nice 996 body... yes, the car is more aero dynamic, and better drive train, but what does it mater if you still only have 135HP?

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