I really miss the quality after market audio I had in my GTV (Alpine head, 5x7" Infinity components, 6.5" Kenwood custom fits, 6 disc boot changer).
Well it's time for an upgrade. We're talking serious hi-fi, people.
I've done my research, and spent saturday morning with the guys at Sextons (Wandsworth Town). They have fitted various kit into at least 3 of our previous cars including my Golf Gti II. Each time they have advised well and provided good service and excellent fitting. To give you an idea of their trustworthiness, the workshop on saturday contained a Porche, a new Merc sports and one of those fast new Volvo estate things.
Now, like you I assume, I didn't want to risk messing up my lovely Brera's Blue & Me, steering wheel controls or spoiling the console appearance. The solution is a signal processor. This is a little box fitted behind the dash which takes the existing signal which normally goes to the door speakers, unites it and cleans it to provide a high-quality signal. Now we can plug in any amount of equipment without spoiling a single thing from the OEM factory install.
The signal processor feeds an amp mounted in one of the boot recesses (out of sight for security) and covered in matching carpet if desired. The amp is going to be an Audison 4 channel - serious quality.
The first two amp channels will feed a set of new-model Hertz Energy components (which are based on the £1200
Mille speaker design). 6.5" woofers in the doors with 20mm Neodymium tweeters in the dash. Crossovers will remove any cancelling signals. Sound dampening materials fitted to the door inners prevent waves bouncing off the door and back into the cabin, interfering with the speaker output.
Audison and Hertz are actually different parts of the same company. Audison have specialized in amps for many years and Hertz have specialized in speakers. They are seriously good quality, but like Alfas, you don't get many in this country because they are Italian and there are few dealers - sound familiar?
Sextons recommend the Hertz speakers above their same-price alternatives (Alpine, Kenwood) because they say the sound quality is streets ahead of the equivalent manufacturers at the same price. As they're not taking any more money out of me, I'm inclined to believe them (oh yes I have checked the prices)...
Finally the last two amp channels will be merged, fed through a dash-mounted control knob, and finally put through to an 8" Hertz Energy sub in the boot. Now, I don't believe in subs. I always thought they were for Garys in Novas trying to pull girls with Croydon smiles on a saturday night in Essex whilst nauseating all the other poor road users (sorry for all the stereotypes, just trying to communicate a point). I'm not really into bass, I love rich mids and trebles. However, Sextons are trying to convince me that a sub improves sound quality by freeing the door woofers to deal with the mid-range (voice etc) alone. They tune the amp to stop the low frequency signals to the door woofers to do this, and let the sub handle the low freqs. If I don't like all the bass I have my dash mounted volume knob to turn it down.
Why an 8" sub? Firstly I'm not into deep booming bass. Secondly, the smaller the sub, the more accurate the sound reproduction; smaller cones move quickly and hence provide accurate reproduction. Bigger cones (12"/15") move slowly and reproduce sound less accurately, though they can make that big boom sound (which I don't like). The 8" woofer should give a punchy sound. It attaches by Velcro to the other side boot recess, so I can take it out for really big loads for which I drop the rear seats.
The sound quality in this custom set up should be fantastic. It should far exceed the Bose factory option, which I gather most people already like. She's going in tomorrow morning for a full day's fitting and amp tuning. Can't wait!!
Has anyone else carried out/considered a serious after market upgrade? How did it turn out? Any advice before she goes in tomorrow?