GTV Sound System Upgrade
GTV Sound System Upgrade
It's a widely accepted fact that the factory fitted stereo that came with the GTV is, well, lacking to say the least. The standard speakers are very cheap items which struggle to produce any level of mid-bass let alone anything lower, and the piezo electric tweeters are somewhat harsh. The standard head units are also lack clarity and the combination of that lot leads to a pretty poor sound by anyone's standards.
The good news is that the system is easy to upgrade and is benefited by the inclusion of proper housings for component tweaters in the front door cards. I've recently been through a bit of an upgrade, nothing too fancy, but thought I would write this up guide style with some pics for those who are interested!
The Speaker Options
As standard there are 6 speakers mounted in the GTV. The front tweaters, the front mid-bass drivers (which are a slightly strange 5x7 size) and the rear 'dual cone' drivers (a very standard 6.5").
Perhaps the most common type of aftermarket speaker these days is the 'co-axial', which features a mid-bass driver and tweater in one unit. These represent a good option for car manufacturers who don't want to install seperate tweaters, but aren't really neccessary in our GTVs.
I would personally recommend you go for a component setup up front, with a basic 13cm driver and seperate tweater. This will provide the best clarity possible. IMO, if you fit co-axials as well as seperate tweaters you introduce too many treble frequencies into the mix which aren't neccessary and will only serve as interference to good sound quality. I used an old ish set of Kenwood components that weren't up to anything. You'll need to buy or make up adapters to fit the 13cm drivers in the doors but this is fairly easy to do. 13cm is about the most you will fit in here without modifying the door card itself as it is tight on both the height and more so, the depth! Just a note, go careful to mount the speaker back enough as the grills have some pretty heavy bracing on the inside which could easily foul the speaker. As long as the speakers are mounted behind the adapter this won't be a problem but watch out for it! This is also why I have sombe rubber pads mounted as you will see in the pics below...
At the back, I would suggest a simple 6.5" driver, again, not of the co-axial type. In a big saloon car with passengers in the back seats this setup might not work so well as the sound from the front tweaters would not travel well to the back of the car resulting in the back seat passengers hearing a bass heavy sound. This is not really relevent in the GTV due to (a) the small size of the cabin and (b) the fact that 99% of the time there won't be anyone trying to sit in what is effectively a well upholstered luggage area anyway! By plumping for a high quality, single cone driver we will be able to produce the best levels of clear bass which is what we want from those speakers. I picked up a set of Pioneer components and simply chose not to use the tweeters that came in the box. If you want to spend more money you can buy dedicated mid-bass drivers in this size but they tend to be rather expensive! I had to use some basic spacers again here to raise the speakers a little as they are much deeper than standard. I used simple nylon spacers / washers to do this which worked very effectively.
As a final point make sure you get everything wired up correctly and in-phase, if any of the speakers are out you'll loose all the base and quality. I spent some time looking and listening to this and found that on my car at least this was the case:
Speaker RH front - white/black(+) & red/black(-)
Speaker LH front - purple/black(+) & pink/black(-)
Tweaters front - blue/yellow(+) & light blue (-)
Speaker RH rear - orange/white(+) & orange(-)
Speaker LH rear - light blue/black(+) & light blue(-)
Now, this is different to what others have posted previously, but that isn't helped by the fact the manual only states the colours against terminals 1 or 2 and doesn't say which are which! I spent ages testing these out and I am certain the above is right for my car, but I wouldn't put it past Alfa to have made it different on different cars!
Anyway, with this setup you will get really good 'imaging' to the sound, it will be heard from in front of you which is far more natural, with deeper bass frequencies (which are less directional anyway) coming from the rear.
The Head Unit
Pick what you will here, the car will accept any single DIN ISO compatable head unit, so that's nearly everything on the market. I went for the Pioneer DEH-7100BT as it met all my feature requirements (built in Bluetooth hands free and iPod connectivity) but also because it features some nice audio options. You can apply high pass filters to the speakers (to stop them distorting from too low bass frequencies) and set a 7 channel equaliser. These options allow you to get the speakers set up really nicely, almost as well as using a seperate amp. The Pioneer also features a fairly powerful 50w MOSFET amplifier.
Well the sound is totally transformed, you could do something like this for less than £200 if sought out some bargains and even with a higher spec head unit you certainly don't need to spend a fortune. This system produces excellent clarity for a car stereo and good punchy levels of bass. IMO you don't really need a sub and the GTV isn't the best of cars for one anyway as the boot is small and fairly well isolated from the main cabin due to the chassis design - fuel tank etc. Good quality 6.5" drivers in the rear will produce ample depth for most people's requirements.
As Ramsay would say: Upgrade GTV stereo... done!
Last edited by ChrisH; 13-12-09 at 18:02.