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Discussion Starter #1
My Volt came with stock (non-Bose) audio system. I had considered getting the Bose system, but after listening to it, I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with that so I stuck with the cheap system with the intention of upgrading the system with aftermarket components.

I've just ordered all of the components and I plan to start install after I get back from CES next week.

Morel Components - Front Speakers
Morel Coax - Rear Speakers
DC Audio 10" Sub - SubWoofer
JBL MS-8 - Sound Processor
JL Audio AD700/5 - Amplifier
Autonet Mobile CarFi - WiFi Hotspot, GPS
BlackBerry Remote Stereo Gateway - Bluetooth Audio Adapter

I like to primarily use Spotify to listen to online streaming music, so the Blackberry Stereo Gateway (It's not just for Blackberry's) will allow me to stream right to the head unit without having to plug in an audio cable everytime. I'm just going to use my phone (Motorola Android RAZR) for this right now, but I'm going to look at dedicating an Android Tablet for this as a next phase of this project.

The Autonet Mobile CarFi gives me a WiFi hotspot in the car, so I've got constant connectivity for any device in the car. It also has storage and a Home Sync application which automatically syncs all my mp3's from home to my car. (Full Disclosure: I work for Autonet Mobile). It also has some new and unannounced features that I can test. :)

The biggest challenge so far in choosing components was finding components that were small and fit into existing holes in the car. (and had reasonably low power consumption) I'm trying to do this with no visual impact on the interior of the car and have it look as stock as possible. I'm going to raise the cover that goes over the charging station/air compressor about 1" so that all the electronics will fit back there and the sub is going to go in that blank space between the 12V battery and the Lithium battery. (same place the Bose sub would have gone.) I'm going to have to build a box for that since that whole area seems prone to rattle, but it's going to be completely hidden.

I've enlisted the help of a local audio shop to do much of the installation and build the boxes. I never can seem to get door panels off and on without breaking at least one tab, so I'll let someone do it who has to replace it if they get it wrong. :)

I'm thinking/hoping that this is going to sound pretty good. Anyone see any issues?

I'll post some post-install pictures if all goes well.

-Doug
 

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Doug,

What I do not understand is how can one install a new sound system when the current radio's user interface is shared with other features such A/C, car settings, etc...

The last car I changed the sound system in was simple. Remove old radio install new one, but the radio's display, buttons where an all in one thing and not part of another system.

So I guess my question is if I buy a Volt with the bottom-of-the-line radio, can I swap the radio for one with more features?
 

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I would think that once you move from a smaller amplifier to a more powerful one and speakers that are less efficient and put out more bass, you're going to lose several miles per charge. Even the Bose system that came with my Volt sounds somewhat anemic to me at times but I know that I can't have powerful bass without sacrificing mileage.
 

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I would think that once you move from a smaller amplifier to a more powerful one and speakers that are less efficient and put out more bass, you're going to lose several miles per charge. Even the Bose system that came with my Volt sounds somewhat anemic to me at times but I know that I can't have powerful bass without sacrificing mileage.
Lots of things to worry about, like the integration with the center console, and whether the voltage surges from the base can damage the APM. I wouldn't worry about losing (much) range though...

The Volt uses 10 kWh to drive - in decent weather, the Volt uses ~250 Wh per mile. Even if a 1000 W amp were running wide open the whole time (you'd be deaf!) it'd only be four miles of range per hour of operation. (so maybe two miles of total range unless your in serious stop and go traffic or driving at golf cart speeds.)
 

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...The Volt uses 10 kWh to drive - in decent weather, the Volt uses ~250 Wh per mile. Even if a 1000 W amp were running wide open the whole time (you'd be deaf!) it'd only be four miles of range per hour of operation. (so maybe two miles of total range unless your in serious stop and go traffic or driving at golf cart speeds.)
The numbers don't lie. It's much less than I thought!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You're right. That's why I'm not changing the radio out. I'm using the stock radio and just changing out the speakers and amp. The JBL Audio Sound Processor will help tune the stock radio so it sounds a bit better.

I'd love to be able to change the radio out so that I could get the output of Spotify (song info, album art) right to the dash, but for the reasons you stated, it's just not practical. That's why the addition of an Android tablet is in my future. (I haven't figured out where to mount it yet)


Doug,

What I do not understand is how can one install a new sound system when the current radio's user interface is shared with other features such A/C, car settings, etc...

The last car I changed the sound system in was simple. Remove old radio install new one, but the radio's display, buttons where an all in one thing and not part of another system.

So I guess my question is if I buy a Volt with the bottom-of-the-line radio, can I swap the radio for one with more features?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The Volt uses 10 kWh to drive - in decent weather, the Volt uses ~250 Wh per mile. Even if a 1000 W amp were running wide open the whole time (you'd be deaf!) it'd only be four miles of range per hour of operation. (so maybe two miles of total range unless your in serious stop and go traffic or driving at golf cart speeds.)
The surges should hit the 12V Aux battery and not the APM, so while that might shorten the life of that Aux battery a bit, I'm OK with that as long as the APM isn't affected.

I probably won't be using a continuous 1000W of sound very often, but sometimes it's nice. :)
 

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When I had my driver's window replaced this week, the glass guy had the door panel off in like a minute. He said it's very similar to the Cruze.

I'm glad I have a lease so that I'm not tempted to do all the fun stuff you are planning to do.

There's got to be a way to stabilize the rear hatch area so the equipment doesn't rattle.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here's a link to how the final install looks.

http://i1062.photobucket.com/albums/t497/treedrugwar/2012-02-13_09-00-29_638.jpg

I ended up having to raise the rear deck about 3 inches so that I could fit everything underneath it. I also switched to a 12" Pioneer subwoofer that wasn't quite as deep as the DC Audio one. The JBL Audio Sound Processor was a huuuuge pain to get set up and sounding half way decent. In retrospect, I'd probably skip that next time and a better digital amp that would let me tune things in a similar way.

Next step is getting the tablet installed. I've got the Samsung Galley 7 tablet. Not sure where it's going to go yet.
 

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Volt Audio System Upgrade

Hi Treedrugwar,

I am a new Volt owner and I'm in the same boat that you were in deciding the audio upgrade. I did not think of raising the rear cargo floor to mount all of the equipment there, what a great idea! I don't know if it is possible, but it would be great to see the actual installation if possible....the photo that is shown is just the new floor of the cargo area....can you lift the floor and post a picture so I can see all of that stuff you've got under there?

Thanks in advance!
 

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I would think that once you move from a smaller amplifier to a more powerful one and speakers that are less efficient and put out more bass, you're going to lose several miles per charge. Even the Bose system that came with my Volt sounds somewhat anemic to me at times but I know that I can't have powerful bass without sacrificing mileage.
Not gonna happen, I've been driving around with my upgraded stereo (900 watt potential) for months, no change in range.
 

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Rubley,

I've been reading your threads as well as treedrugwar's for the past couple of hours and it's given me some real food for thought and hopeful optimism about upgrading my system with an efficient set-up that will fit in this tiny area.

I can't remember if you changed-out your speakers though...I have the stock non-Bose stereo and it's only good for listening to news stations. I was looking at the Focal KRX2's or the 165KR's, or the DLS Nordica 6.2's. Also, I was under the impression that the class D amps are noisier than A/B's, but I could be wrong, but I understand they are more efficient, which may just be the compromise you need to go with here. Anyway, some great info here, and it's much appreciated for new Volt owners like myself, but I just want to match some decent speakers with the amp (or just not mismatch them), and make sure that if I go with Focals that are 2 ohm, the amp is compatible with them.

Thanks again for the great reading!
 

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Rubley,

I've been reading your threads as well as treedrugwar's for the past couple of hours and it's given me some real food for thought and hopeful optimism about upgrading my system with an efficient set-up that will fit in this tiny area.

I can't remember if you changed-out your speakers though...I have the stock non-Bose stereo and it's only good for listening to news stations. I was looking at the Focal KRX2's or the 165KR's, or the DLS Nordica 6.2's. Also, I was under the impression that the class D amps are noisier than A/B's, but I could be wrong, but I understand they are more efficient, which may just be the compromise you need to go with here. Anyway, some great info here, and it's much appreciated for new Volt owners like myself, but I just want to match some decent speakers with the amp (or just not mismatch them), and make sure that if I go with Focals that are 2 ohm, the amp is compatible with them.

Thanks again for the great reading!
Unfortunately I don't know anything about the stock stereo, I've never even heard one, but replacing factory speakers is always going to be an upgrade :) I didn't replace the Bose speakers, mainly out of laziness, and the fact that they measure just fine on my spectrum analyzer. I don't have any hands-on experience with Focal or DLS, the Focal speakers look good on paper. The Nordica uses a soft dome tweeter, which typically have lower distortion than metal dome tweeters.

Class D amps have a different type of noise, but they use techniques to push the noise up into the ultrasonic region and then use a low pass filter on the output so you never hear it.
 

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It baffles me why you'd go to such trouble to upgrade the speakers and amp, and then listen to overly compressed sources!

Then again, I read that kids these days brought up on MP3 don't like the sound of uncompressed music. It's a shame, really.
 

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It baffles me why you'd go to such trouble to upgrade the speakers and amp, and then listen to overly compressed sources!

Then again, I read that kids these days brought up on MP3 don't like the sound of uncompressed music. It's a shame, really.
I am a fan of uncompressed music, and I listen to CD's often - I wish you could copy lossless audio to the internal hard drive.

When it comes to upgrading the Volt, its because of seriously bad engineering on the part of Bose. The Bose amp sends full range sound to the doors even though it has a subwoofer reproducing low frequencies, thats why people complain about the doors rattling when they turn it up. The Bose amp also seems to have a large (possibly +12 dB) bass boost built-in right around the same frequency the whole car resonates at, somewhere around 50-60 Hz. So, because of the problems, a modified Volt will sound better even when playing MP3's :)
 

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Unfortunately I don't know anything about the stock stereo, I've never even heard one, but replacing factory speakers is always going to be an upgrade :) I didn't replace the Bose speakers, mainly out of laziness, and the fact that they measure just fine on my spectrum analyzer. I don't have any hands-on experience with Focal or DLS, the Focal speakers look good on paper. The Nordica uses a soft dome tweeter, which typically have lower distortion than metal dome tweeters.

Class D amps have a different type of noise, but they use techniques to push the noise up into the ultrasonic region and then use a low pass filter on the output so you never hear it.


Yea, the stock stereo is pretty vanilla-sounding, and I'm just used to a better system and cleaner music with some type of decent sound stage. I drive a lot and I'm a musician, so I like clean music with good mid-range and clean but not overpowering highs.

I was going to put my 8 year-old old school Focal Utopias in this, which sounded great in the past 3 Impalas I had. Unfortunately, I one of the voice coils blew in one of the mids, and since I can't replace it (can't find it anywhere due to it's age...not even on ebay), I need to spring for some new speakers.

I was going to go with the new Focal Kevlars (165 KR2 or KRX2) since I really liked my old Utopias, but several people (including Focal) recommended that I stay away from them with a class D amp, and suggested highly that I go with the typical A/B class amp or I'd be very disappointed. Additionally, I was powering the Utopias with an Alpine MRVF-540, and the amp still works fine, but I'm afraid it's just not for this car (where would I put it...on the roof!?). I also had a small sub, an Infinity Bass Link, which was just fine for my ears just to fill in what was missing in the low register musically.

So, long story even longer, I'm now shopping for a different type of system all together. As it stands today, I think I'm going with the DLS Gothia components, as I've heard good things about DLS and their smooth midrange character, the Alpine XD (either the XD600/6 or the 700/5, have not decided yet), and either the JBL MS-8 or Alpine PXE-H-xxx series signal processor. I stopped at 2 Chevy dealers on the way home today to try to get a look at a Volt with an upgraded Bose system just to see how the sub was mounted/situated, but the 2 dealers did not even have a single Volt on the lot! It may have been you who previously posted a 6 x 9 Tang Band W69 sub, which might just do the trick...I just wanted to actually see how the thing was mounted before buying it.
 

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I stopped at 2 Chevy dealers on the way home today to try to get a look at a Volt with an upgraded Bose system just to see how the sub was mounted/situated, but the 2 dealers did not even have a single Volt on the lot! It may have been you who previously posted a 6 x 9 Tang Band W69 sub, which might just do the trick...I just wanted to actually see how the thing was mounted before buying it.
You'd need some tools, the sub is under the cargo floor. Its a plastic box about the size of a 12V battery that has some flanges molded into it that attach to embedded bolts in the floor. The Bose Amp mounts on top of it, here is an auction for one http://www.ebay.com/itm/2011-12-CHEVY-VOLT-SUBWOOFER-SPEAKER-W-BOSE-AMPLIFIER-AMP-20760438-20760437-/230761964311?pt=Car_Audio_Video&hash=item35ba7c2317&vxp=mtr#ht_1513wt_1396
 

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You'd need some tools, the sub is under the cargo floor. Its a plastic box about the size of a 12V battery that has some flanges molded into it that attach to embedded bolts in the floor. The Bose Amp mounts on top of it, here is an auction for one http://www.ebay.com/itm/2011-12-CHEVY-VOLT-SUBWOOFER-SPEAKER-W-BOSE-AMPLIFIER-AMP-20760438-20760437-/230761964311?pt=Car_Audio_Video&hash=item35ba7c2317&vxp=mtr#ht_1513wt_1396


Ahh...I see said the blind man. I'll unbolt it tomorrow under daylight and see what else will fit there...maybe that 6 x 9 model. http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=264-837&FTR=

Thanks!
 
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