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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I love my Volt, except for the Bose sound system, which I find to be crap. I want to upgrade it. I am looking for information on how to do that - there is a 12volt battery in the trunk area that I believe the sound system runs off of. Can I connect a better/more powerful amp to it? The amp I want to use has a max draw of 40 amps. Can that 12volt battery handle that? I heard that the battery is charged by an alternator in the transmission - is that true? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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The Bose is loud enough for me. Be sure to purchase a sound level meter so you keep the decibel level at safe levels when adding amplification. Tinnitus is a frustrating result of loud sound in my 20's, but it didn't show up for another 20 years. 10 years of hiss and ring in the ears is no fun. Since it gets louder as the car noise level increases, the EV operation of the Volt is amazingly quiet and reduces the problem. Another great reason to buy a Volt.

http://www.hearnet.com/aha_mov_folder/Listen Smart promo.mp4

Check with your Chevy dealer. The audio amplifier and subwoofer are near the 12 volt battery. The Chevy dealer should have information on modifications and what mods could affect the warranty. The area looks crowded. A power module cooling fan, battery current sensor, battery fuse block, and power module are next to the other three items. Leaving the existing items and mounting an amplifier in a visible location may be possible. Calling Bose and Chevy to discuss options would help them hear your feedback about your dissatisfaction. Could help them make changes for Gen 2 models.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
response

It's not just about loud. It's about quality. Every audiophile in the world knows Bose is crap.

I talked to Bose and the dealership but they are clueless. I really need to talk to a Volt engineer but that is easier said than done.

Anyone else know anything about this?
 

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I'm thinking you wouldn't be satisfied with just ripping the current amp and using it's power circuit, 'cause the fuse is too puny. But there are some spare spots in the fuse box back there, wired with 16 gauge.

See WOT's posting here on the capacities of the APM. The Volt doesn't have an alternator. It's got a honking big DC to DC converter that takes main power in and converts it down to 12 volts.

It's got a 175 amp capacity, so you should be good to go in that department.
 

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VoltSoundz, I strongly disagree that the Volt sound sytem is "crap" and I have to say so because your post could mislead people! I'm a life-long audiophile and electrical engineer with considerable experience recording critical live musical performances using professional-quality recording gear. I've auditioned the Volt's Bose system during two different Volt test drives and find it on a par with high-level premium factory surround-sound systems in current luxury cars ---and superior to most. Send an email to GM's Tony Posawatz and tell him I suggested you contact him directly (mention my name ---Phil Toney/nasaman---) and that I further suggested you take your Volt to your dealer with this problem. Why? Because there's definitely something wrong with your Bose system! ...Tony Pozawatz' email address is [email protected]
 

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I think this system is 30% smaller, 40% lighter, and uses 50% less current than another of their comparable systems (or vice versa on the percentages). Trade offs in everything but a large part of this car is about efficiency. "Equiv of 50lb mass savings" per video!

From another of my post:

Chevrolet Partners with Bose for Sound System in Chevrolet Volt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb-l5fgVPuc

"The Volt also will feature the debut of Bose's Energy Efficient Series sound system, delivering the clarity, accuracy and dynamic range that high-quality audio buyers expect.

Bose engineers focused on three areas of technology in designing the Energy Efficient Series: switching amplifiers, high motor force speakers and digital signal processing circuitry. Smaller, lighter amps use less energy and generate less heat, new speakers deliver the acoustical output of heavier speakers and proprietary digital control circuitry produces concert hall volume with half the energy."
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nasaman,

No offense, but if you think that Bose system is anywhere NEAR audiophile quality, then I don't even know how to respond to that. The thing has a 4" "woofer". 4 inches? Are you kidding me? How do they expect any true bass to come from a 4? I can fart out more bass than that system produces! And I am no "bass-head" with obnoxious 5000 watt boom systems.. I like my systems very well balanced. Plus, every audiophile in the world knows that Bose systems are garbage.

Yes, it is in line with most stock stereos, which are all crap if you have ever heard a real audiophile quality system.

So if I tap a 500 watt amp into the battery in the back, will everything still work fine? Will it reduce my range? Approximately how much?

And here is the next big question - does the stock head unit lower the bass when you turn up the volume, as many stock stereos do, so you don't blow up the crappy speakers that come in the car?

Thanks
 

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Yah - Im with Nasaman here, I am a lifelong modder - and have had VERY high end audio equiptment in the past. I have won car audio competitions and know a ton about the scene. After hearing the Volt factory audio system I can say it is by far the best OEM stereo I have ever heard in my life. If you are concerned about the 4" woofer, I have a friend with a 6" sub that can put out some extremely high quality bass.

If you want to upgrade your system that's cool and i respect that - but I truly dont think that I would classify this audio system as "Crap" becasue it is certainly not.
 

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Although I don't consider Bose to be "the best", I do believe that they do a very good job at producing "high fidelity" sound with smaller drivers with natural audio range thats not too "bright" in the high range or unnaturally shaking in the low range. The Volt uses electricity very efficiently and thats why GM chose Bose to Specially design an even more efficient sound system for the Volt. You clearly did not do your homework before buying your Volt. This sound system is proprietary and should not be altered IMHO. I would suggest that you use an Ipod cranked up and spare the rest of us. Thx.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I did not start this thread to debate if the stock system is high quality or not. I am very happy for those of you who like the system. To my ears, it's crap. Plain and simple. Sure, at low volume, it sounds ok. But when it's turned up, I can clearly hear the cheapness and lightness of the speakers. Same with the amp. The lack of any sub-bass. The lack of any balls. Compared to the sound system in my last car, it sounds like a cheap toy. Chevy should know by now that Americans like to modify their cars, and that some of us like high end sound systems. I've accepted that I can't change the head unit because the whole car is tied in to it. But I should be able to change the amp and speakers and add a sub. So could we pretty please keep this thread to discussing the mods and their effect on the car, and not the fidelity of bose equipment? Thanks.
 

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Nick D,

Good advice! I cannot tell you how many jobs we hve gotten rehabilitating Corvette electrical systems where stereo shops have hacked them up installing "better" sound systems. Better to shoot oneself in the foot than to start doing same with a car as complicated as a Volt IMHO.
 

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@voltsoundz,

I'm sure there are engineers on the board somewhere that comment how much extra power the types of equipment you are considering will consume from the battery.
Two other concerns (other than power consumption/reduced range)
1. Heat output from the amps. I've never seen (felt) an after-market amp that didn't get quite warm - at least none that were powering subs. This will preclude more A/C usage/further reduction in battery range
2. Space - Where are you going to put anything? Have you found spare space to fit anything larger? (or are you sacrificing limited trunk-space for a box?)

Please advise as I'm content with the overall quality of the system other than lows. When I play my AiC I want to feel it, not just hear it.

If lows are your primary concern, this may be of use 4 years from now (I leased, so Volt 2.0 should have this feature)
http://wot.motortrend.com/bass-glass-rear-window-subwoofer-revealed-magna-33087.html

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
D-Fiant,

The JL Audio Class D amp I am looking at is incredibly efficient and makes almost no heat so that is not an issue. And it's so small I can mount it on the sub or even where the tire inflator goes.

Again, Chevrolet should know by now that Americans like modifying their cars, including and especially the sound systems, don't you think?

Cheers
 

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VoltSoundz,

My last car was a STi with no sound system - so I had to put everything in... so I do understand the modfy need/desire.

However, on this car, I came to the conclusion pre-purchase (lease) that my mods would only extend to range-extending items like tinting the windows with 91% IR reflecting tint so that I could minimize A/C usage as much as possible to save battery range. Even if I owned the car, I'd be nervous of upsetting the balance GM set with this... i.e., why would they have gone to the trouble of using low weight/low-power (branded and thus more expensive) components if it didn't serve to increase the desired effect of this car - that to drive on battery as much as possible.

I'm not saying I'm opposed to your idea - it's your car and you can paint it like the "General Lee" if you want to! This is "America, "[email protected]%$ Yeah", do whatever floats your boat/whatever makes you happy. (Just don't expect GM to help out on this one!) GM likely didn't design this car with any mods in mind as they probably (accurately) figured that most owners of this car would be "range-weenies" (Like I've turned into with this thing) and not want to sacrifice range at any cost.

Best of luck all the same,
 

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As a lifelong modifier, I understand your desire to improve on the Volt's sound system, despite not hearing it for myself, yet.

Focusing on the bass, I agree a class D amplifier is your best choice. My recommendation would be to experiment with a small, portable sub to locate the area in the vehicle that provides the most cabin gain. Usually with hatch style sedans that's in the hatch area, but not always. The flip side of cabin gain of course is cabin attenuation, those locations should be avoided for obvious reasons regardless of how convenient they may be.

In short, a well located small sub with a power-matched class D amplifier may ultimately be more satisfying than a poorly located big sub powered by a monster amplifier. Since the Volt itself is all about efficiency, this approach is harmonious with the mission and should provide you with more than enough bass.

Good luck, keep us posted, and congratulations on driving a Volt, I'm green with envy.
 

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It's getting ever more difficult to "replace" the stereo in modern vehicles as they've tied them into the CAN network and are used for all sorts of jobs other than audio.In the Volt's case this even includes the center stack display (controlled by the radio assembly) So you couldn't just remove the Volt's stereo without a serious loss of functionality and of course then there's the myriad of DTCs and warning messages I'm afraid.

Your best bet if you DEAD serious on putting a different high-end receiver and/or something with better SQ and more power than what's supplied stock (I'm not much of a Bose fan myself except for maybe vintage 901s lol) would be a "stand-alone" system with a hidden/remote head so you could leave the stock system intact for the most part.Perhaps then just leaving a single speaker mounted somewhere for things like Onstar, chimes,warnings, and other Volt "sounds"

At least then you'd be able to listen to YOUR music YOUR way.

If it's just the bass you wish to improve, you might be able to ditch the factory sub enclosure and mount your own amp/sub combo or even just bigger & better drivers in teh rear positions for improved mid-bass.

To do this I guess you COULD use an amp that accepts speaker level inputs and just take over the L/R rears with a separate crossover network. I dont think you'd want to use single channel the sub output in this case as the Volt's Bose amp contains all of the signal processing and you'd obviously be better off mircrophone tuning your mid-bass response by manually trimming your active crossover.

Might work.
If you want to give it a go I could help out with schematics and such.
(with no implied assertions of how this might affect your warranty coverage for your infortainment or electrical systems of course)
HTH
WopOnTour
 

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I dont think you'd want to use single channel the sub output in this case as the Volt's Bose amp contains all of the signal processing and you'd obviously be better off mircrophone tuning your mid-bass response by manually trimming your active crossover.
That's done in the amp??!? I'd expect signal processing and cabin equalization to be done in the head unit (or near it). I don't think anyone's suggesting replacing the receiver/head unit, just the amp.

Is the amp so smart that it's on the CAN? Most the ones I've seen are "input here, fixed gain there, output over there" kind of mindless beasts.

Is the feed between the head unit and the amp digital or analog? I'd kinda assumed the latter, but I'm starting to see the wisdom of the former.

If it's digital, is it standardized?

And I always liked my maggies better than my last girlfriend's dad's 901s :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nah, the head unit is good enough. The weakness is in the amps and speakers. I figure I'll replace the speakers with Focal KR2's, which even blown up probably sound better than the Bose's, and get a class D JL audio amp to power a new small sub and the Focals. Seems simple enough, right? I just wonder if there's anything that could damage the car... or void the warranty... or suck too much power out of the 12 volt battery... or anything else I am not thinking of.

When you say the bose amp does all the signal processing, does that mean that the head unit is putting out a flat signal? That would be AWESOME. As mentioned earlier, most stock head units nowadays EQ the signal to lower the bass at higher volume levels so you don't blow the crappy cheap speakers.. but if its done in the bose amp in the Volt, and I replace the amp, then that would be much more conducive to a high end system!
 
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