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Discussion Starter #1
I know it's a loaded question and probably too subjective to truly answer but has anyone out there had the chance to compare the standard audio system to the upgraded Bose system? Is the sound quality really improved enough to go for the added expense? I listen to a varied mix of music from 70's rock to punk to bluegrass and jazz to classical and I like a system that can handle a wide range of styles. It all depends on my mood and my mood improves when the music sounds full and clear!

I'm wondering if any of you are experienced?
 

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I "hear" the Gen 2 Bose upgrade is better than the Gen 1 with Bose. I do not know from personal experience as I have a Gen 1 with Bose and it's "ok"--but the subwoofer really doesn't add much low-end depth.

I test-drove a Gen 2 (no Bose) and the stereo was adequate--I would say just slightly less than my Gen 1 with Bose.

I would bring your music with you on a test drive so you can do a realistic comparison among systems.
 

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Unless you are a classical music aficionado or compare them side by side, most of the time the road noise (and open windows when weather is nice) will make it tough to notice any difference. I have Bose, and I can't really say "wow, that sounds great" without a frame of reference. I can tell the difference between music playing through the Aux Jack vs Bluetooth from the same phone. The aux Jack has better tonal qualities and Bluetooth must have some losses due to digitizations and transmission over the air. Similarly. XM sounds better than FM which sounds a whole lot better than AM. Most people upgrade their stereo systems with 3rd party systems to get deep pounding bass. Well, even though the Bose system has a subwoofer hidden somewhere, it's not heart pounding. It's nothing like the days I was sporting a pair of bazooka bass tubes in the back of my Toyota Supra as a college student. I recall blasting Run DMC and a memorable look of shock from a crowd of African Americans when they saw a car full of Asian Americans.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. Yeah I'm not wanting to relive my misspent youth either I just like a full range sound. The gen1 Bose system was more designed for energy savings than sound it seems. It's good to hear that it improved in the gen2. I keep thinking I'd like to get a high rez portable player like a pono but it's not much use if the car speakers can't reproduce the range of sound.
 

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Really? The Bose subwoofer in my Gen 1 makes the rear view mirror vibrate. That's with my phone plugged in and 256kb files.
 

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We have the Bose system on our 2011, but not on the 2014. To me, the Bose sounds better, however my hearing isn't great, too many years around load equipment, guns, motorcycles, etc.
 

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I have a Gen1 Volt with the 2012 Bose system, so obviously I'm not in a position to comment on either Bolt system.

I'm happy with what I have, but as a general rule I wouldn't spend too much on upgrading a car sound system. Although I love my music, when I'm driving my head goes somewhere else and I hardly hear what's coming through the speakers. My general advice would be to take the extra money and spend it on your home system. That kind of cash goes a long way in a decent audio shop and you get more opportunity to enjoy it at home.
 

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Unless it's required as part of an upgrade for something else you want, such as required for navigation in the Gen1 Volt, maybe skip it. Depending on what the cost is for the upgrade to get just the Bose system, it might be possible to take your car to an audio shop and have the speakers upgraded and sub installed for less than the upgrade cost. I believe on the Gen 1 it was about $600 for the Bose system which would buy a lot of speaker upgrades. Unfortunately with so many cars today having the head unit so significantly integrated into the rest of the car there aren't many upgrade options for replacement if that happens to be the case for the Bolt.
 

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I like my Bolt's Bose system. Then again I listen exclusively to Classical and AM Talk Radio.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I have a 2017 Volt-- and if you make the *assumption* that it's comparable, I'd pass.

I wouldn't necessarily call myself an audiophile, but I'm close enough that I can tell the difference in quality gear, and I found the stock stereo actually sounds better in some situations. I only bought it bc it was part of every Premier version I came across.
 

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I can't speak for the Bolt's Bose system, however, I can comment from a Volt perspective as these are the vehicles that I've owned recently:

2012 Volt with Bose - OK sound, bass was audible, but not deep or loud
2014 ELR with Bose - Fantastic, had a sub in rear deck, thumped well - cranked it up!
2014 Volt no Bose - Sound was not very good, zero bass - listened to more talk radio
2017 Volt with Bose - Fantastic, has sub in trunk on passenger side, deep bass and loud. I listen to the music loud again! Yay!
 

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I have a 2017 Volt-- and if you make the *assumption* that it's comparable, I'd pass.
Just realized this is in the Bolt forum (I replied from the "new posts" section). Yeah, I would absolutely NOT really on Volt-owner experiences to make a decision. Completely different vehicles and--I would imagine--internal acoustics and cost decisions for sound systems.
 

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Being a Volt owner myself is the part of reason why I asked! LOL
I'm also a Volt owner who conteplated the bose upgrade. I'm very happy with my decision to bump up becuase I'm upgrading from an ICE suv with really crappy stock sound system. I feel like it totally makes my daily drive so much more enjoyable.

With that said, i did sit in an LT Bolt with stock sound system about a month ago to see if might work for my family as we may need another car within the next year. I did crank the stereo to see how it sounded and i was pleasantly surprised. For my purposes, I think it would be fine but then again I'm not an audiophile but do enjoy clean, full sound.

If you have the money, then i'd say go for the upgrade. Good luck.
 

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I "hear" the Gen 2 Bose upgrade is better than the Gen 1 with Bose. I do not know from personal experience as I have a Gen 1 with Bose and it's "ok"--but the subwoofer really doesn't add much low-end depth.

I test-drove a Gen 2 (no Bose) and the stereo was adequate--I would say just slightly less than my Gen 1 with Bose.

I would bring your music with you on a test drive so you can do a realistic comparison among systems.
I have a Gen1 Volt (2015) and Bolt, both fully loaded included Bose speakers.
The sound system in the Bolt is definitely better sounding.

I drive the Volt most days, and my husband drives the Bolt. I drive the Bolt only on weekends usually when we are together, and the better audio is always fairly noticeable for me even on compressed Sirius XM classical audio channels.

I could not comment about subwoofer, I don't know if it actually ever comes on for what I listen to, not sure how the equalizing is done. But both lows and highs sound better in the Bolt, to me.

I drove the Bolt today for a few hours and heard a slight bit of hiss at medium high volume. I think likely because it was an old recording of Christoph Eschenbach on piano, and he is already fairly old. The date of the recording was not stated. I can't remember which Mozart piece he was playing specifically. Ie. noise was likely at the source, not in the audio system.

Have not done comparisons between lossles audio and lossy from the USB drive. WMA lossless works . I can hear the difference between lossly and lossless on a friend's very expensive audio system - I can pick the uncompressed version every time in blind test ... Tough to do that in a car while driving, though ;) Maybe in the rear seat with someone in the passenger seat changing between files.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks. That's good to hear. The fact that you can tell the hiss you hear is from the recording speaks volumes as to how well the system reproduces sound. I think I'll get it. I'm also glad to hear it is improved over the gen1 Volt. I was always disappointed with the Bose system in my car.
 
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