View Full Version : Thinking of speaker upgrades. Input on some specs?

11-20-11, 12:43 AM
So, as nice as the Bose system sounds (premium system with navigation), I'm feeling more and more like it's missing a bit of the very low end notes as well as the crisp high notes. The mod bug is biting hard, and I'm thinking of upgrading the speakers and possibly adding a subwoofer. I wanted to make sure I get my specs straight before I do though.

I know the front doors house 8" speaker which only hit the lower frequencies, but does anyone know how high they go. If they don't go above 500hz but go low I was thinking of 8" subwoofers; but if the go above 1000hz and don't go below 100 hz I'd have to look into mid-range woofers. Also, does anyone know the size of all 3 of the front dash speaker and the size of the speaker in the center console. I think the rear doors house full-range 5 1/4" speakers, I was thinking of installing component sets as a replacement and put the tweeters right in front of the door panel's leather pad to raise the soundstage a bit; no sense for tweeters blowing at your ankles. I know the subwoofer in the back is 10", but what's the size of the tweeters on each side, 2 3/4"? I know one member built a custom sealed box for the sub location and put an aftermarket sub in, anyone else do this? Any blueprints of the enclosure (I know there is a thread floating around, but angles and sizes would be awesome)?

Any info is valuable. I know I cant switch out the head unit, and I don't really want to get into swapping the stock amp with an aftermarket, especially since the system is pretty good for stock, yet I feel that some aftermarket speakers would really bring it to the next level. I'd really appreciate any info, past experiences, or tricks. Thank you.

11-22-11, 07:37 PM
IMO you either stick with Bose and just add a sub.....couple easy ways to do that....or change out the whole system. Bose speakers run on different ohms than normal speakers and not sure it is really possible to keep some of the stock Bose and add some others.

11-22-11, 10:43 PM
I wouldn't keep any Bose speakers, just the amp and the headunit. All door, rear deck, and dash speakers would be swapped. This would be done to improve the clarity of the highs, which it does lack at around 16-20k hz , as well as the lows, 20-60 hz (went from owning a car with a custom infinity system with 2 amplifier and 2 12" subwoofers setup with an amplifier of its own to the STS; I've personally designed and installed that system - super loud while crystal clear). A simple speaker swap can do wonders to a sound system. I'm just hoping someone has info in reguards to size of speakers, RMS per channel, ohms per speaker, etc. Anything helps. I truly think this is something that quite a few people on the forum should be aware of, especially if the common choices are stock or entire do-over.

11-23-11, 09:46 PM
Sizes have been posted; try doing some searches.

I think the Bose setup uses very low impedance ~ 1.5 Ohm. I can't recall anyone reporting success keeping the Bose heead-end and replacing the OEM speakers. The various components are designed as a system; starting over would be far easier than building onto the system without all the specs. Neither amp nor speakers are designed for flat frequency response; rather they are designed to work together to do so.

For better or worse, Bose systems are usually a superior designs using inexpensive components. It's very tempting to substitute higher quality components. Usually, the end result is worse sound. Ask an acoustic engineer.

11-23-11, 10:54 PM
IMO, a JBL MS-8 and an aftermarket Sub-amp/sub is going to give you the results I think you are looking for.

Simply replacing speakers does not do much to improve your "sound quality". Your speakers freq response, aftermarket or stock, is mostly determined by its environment and not its actual capabilities. Also, the crossover points are controlled within the Bose amplifier so any speaker connected to it is only going to play the freq's that "Bose" wants them to play. Aftermarket speakers that are placed in factory locations and amplified with aftermarket amps can play louder without distortion but wont necessarily sound better.

The MS-8 will defeat the Bose crossover points and give you full control of your speakers. It will also give you more power to drive the factory speakers and it also has an incredible sound processor. Your sound stage will be lifted up to the dashboard and the detail will be greatly improved. Another advantage you get out of this set up is that it is extremely easy to add aftermarket equipment once an MS-8 is in place.

Ughhh, I sound like a sales rep, witch makes sense because I am one but I donít even sell JBL

Charles Warren
11-23-11, 11:05 PM
i would say its an opinion on what you call a lack of bass, but my sts free air sub plays deep. if you wanna do something replace the sub with an acoustic elegance 15 or 12 and add some tweeters but dont try and replace a bose in there. free air subs get deep and have flat responses hint hint the sub in your car plays most notes with ease but if you want more outout then do the above


11-23-11, 11:46 PM
well, if i would replace with infinity speakers, the impudence would be close (they're usually 2 ohm). As for sound quality, I respect all the input, but I've installed 2-way and 3-way speakers as replacements for stock speakers before, and just having a devoted 1" tweeter in the aftermarket speaker vs, say, a full sized 2.75" or 3.5" speaker makes a difference in the highs. The sound processor looks interesting, but, for the price, Im a bit sceptical of how much of an improvement it's going to make. Any personal experience?

11-24-11, 02:50 AM
I work in the mobile electronics industry so my STS, and my other vehicles, are in a constant state of revolving stereo systems. My STS has had 17 different set ups in it in 2.5 years.

But you already have your mind made up so do as Nike does and Just Do It

Charles Warren
11-24-11, 09:36 AM
and i thought most oem bose speakers were .5 ohms

11-24-11, 12:02 PM
What do you have in the car now BJD210? How do you get around having to keep the stock stereo so you retain the personal car settings? I used to be heavy into mobile electronics but that was ten years ago.

11-24-11, 12:03 PM
I work in the mobile electronics industry so my STS, and my other vehicles, are in a constant state of revolving stereo systems. My STS has had 17 different set ups in it in 2.5 years.

But you already have your mind made up so do as Nike does and Just Do It

Amusing how some folks post a question asking for input, but at the same time have all the answers!

11-24-11, 01:29 PM
What do you have in the car now BJD210? How do you get around having to keep the stock stereo so you retain the personal car settings? I used to be heavy into mobile electronics but that was ten years ago.

Well, I am getting towards the end of my relationship with my current STS so the audio system has slowly become less and less elaborate. I have given up on aftermarket head units, I had done the relocation and I have had aftermarket heads in my dash but it is back to stock for now. I think the only reason I would pull the factory head unit again would be if I ever get around to flushing an iPad into the dash but that will probably have to wait for the next Cadillac.

Current speaker set up is Infinity Perfect components in all the doors and Infinity Kappa center channel. I am not a huge fan on them but they sound nice. Good enough to listen to but not so good that I feel the need to pull them out when I sell the car. The subwoofer is always changing but a JL 13W7 is back there more often than not. I am using the MS-8 that I mentioned prior to integrate into the factory head/amp. I have tried a few different integration pieces but the MS-8 is just perfect for our cars. I am using one of the powered channels of the MS-8 to drive the center speaker. The rest of the amplification is coming from a MTX TE1004 and TE1501.

11-24-11, 02:53 PM
^ Sounds like your the man to know this stuff. Do you think that the MS-8 unit would perform well with the stock amplifier in place? What size speakers did you install in your rear doors, front doors, and dashboard? Any speakers in the center console slot or the tweeter mounts by the rear sub? Any ideas on upgrading seat speakers? Leave the stock subwoofer?

Also, does the MS-8 have issues with the fact that we have a sub in the back and component subs in the front doors? I've read about BMW owners having issues with the unit when trying to balance their system because they had the rear subwoofer plus subwoofers under the driver and passenger seats. How easy is tapping into the stock wire harness, seems like you have to cut the stock wires since the MS-8 has an input harness and an output harness. I've done alot of trial and error runs with my old car's sound system before getting it to the point I left it at. This time around I'd like to nail it the first time around rather then putting together/taking apart loop; I'm a bit weary of tearing up the interior of this car. If the MS-8, aftermarket speakers all around, and a sub in the trunk (I'd stick with a single 12" Alpine Type R with an Alpine MRP-M500 or a Kenwood KAC-8104D; anymore and I'll never hear the end of interior rattles lol) is the way to go, I'll do it, cause I love music and I love a nice sound system. I just want to make sure I get my facts straight.

As for those who think I'm stubburn, the only thing I was stubburn about is upgrading the sound system. I'm sorry if my determination in raising the audio quality in my Cadillac offends anyone, but, if I wasn't sure I wanted to tweek my system I probably wouldn't have started this thread and taken up anyone's time. If replacing speakers didn't improve sound quality of the sound system, no one would be doing it; to think that a paper cone 1-way speaker built on a budget is as good as aftermarket 2-way or 3-way speakers with technologies to prevent cone flexing, overheating, distortion, or deterioration is, in my opinion, ignorant on the part of those who are willing to participate in this discussion. I'm all ears when it comes to advise, and openminded when it comes to the opinion of those who think this is the best system out there, but I know for damn sure that things can be improved to better fit my standads of audio quality and I'm simply hoping that some people have a similar vision and are willing to overcome simple challenges like low resistance and uncommon speaker sizes. From the lack of info on this forum on this subject, I'd say that this subject is well worth looking into.

12-25-11, 05:21 PM
Okay, well, either no one has any input on the subject, interest, or everyone thinks im a douche. Either one is fine. I've been doing some research and wanted to share what I found:

Based on Acura forums, Audi S4 forums, and Cadillac CTS forums (on this board), it appears that the bose speakers have an impudence of 2 ohms, which makes infinity speakers a perfect replacement. Based on multiple installs, Infinity speakers (I assume JBL GTO series would work too, as they are 2 ohms as well) seem to produce crisper highs and tend to be even louder then BOSE speakers, as their sensitivity is higher (91-93 db); most of them also have a 3db boost switch. The CTS forum even has a how-to on installing new speaker, but the specific example won't work on our cars as our speaker sizes and door panels are a bit different; the concept remains the same however.
Based on some insights online, the speakers are indeed the weakest part of stock audio systems, as the amplifiers and head units usually put out relatively clean signal due to the nature of their operation. The speakers, however, depending on materials and configuration, can put out very muddy signal (for example, a paper cone 1-way speaker is nowhere near as rigid and precise as a woven 3-way speaker).
A clean sweep test helped one of the members determine that the BOSE system usually crosses over woofers to mid-range at around 100hz, and mid-range to highs at around 6khz. This can help determine what speakers are applicable. Bass blockers and low-pass crossovers can always be installed in-line before the aftermarket components for insurance (some tweeters even come with them built-in).

I researched sizes, and here is what I have so far:

Front Doors - 8" Subwoofers

Rear Doors - 5 1/4 Full-Range

Center Console Rear Tweeter - 3.5" Full Range

Center Dashboard - ?

Side Speakers Dashboard - ?

Rear Deck Tweeters - ?

Rear Deck Subwoofer - 10"

My idea of upgrading would be to upgrade all the dash speakers, rear door speakers (to component 5 1/4 with tweeters mounted right in front of leather panel for a raised sound stage), and the center console rear speaker; a 12" Alpine Type R would be put in an angled sealed box in the trunk (stock sub left untouched for balanced mid-bass in the back). Then, depending on the sound quality, I'd look into replacing rear deck tweeters, front door subwoofers, and maybe even the seat tweeters.

12-25-11, 05:29 PM
From www.metraonline.com for replacement parts, not sure how accurate...

Standard Bose

Front 1------------6.5-----4
Front Tweeters-----3------3
Center 1-----------4-------3
Rear 1------------6.5-----3.5
Subwoofer 1------12-------5

Studio Surround Sound Bose

Front 1----------6.5------4
Front 2-----------3-------3
Front Tweeters---2-------2
Center 1----------4-------3
Center 2----------4-------3
Rear 1-----------6.5-----3.5
Rear 2------------3-------4
Subwoofer 1------12------5

12-25-11, 05:54 PM
That chart seems to be off. The front door woofers are def 8" (they are all over ebay), and the rear woofer is definitely 10", according to some members that retrofit aftermarket woofers in the stock location. I'd be weary of following that guide.

12-25-11, 06:27 PM
That chart seems to be off. The front door woofers are def 8" (they are all over ebay), and the rear woofer is definitely 10", according to some members that retrofit aftermarket woofers in the stock location. I'd be weary of following that guide.

I edited my post. That's what showed up from www.metraonline.com for replacement parts..

12-25-11, 07:11 PM
Well, here's the list of speakers and their relative price. Not sure how many 4" vs 3.5" are needed as the dash speaker sizes are still up in the air, but looks like for around $500 all the interior speakers can be upgraded, which isn't bad, considering there is 15 of them ( I won't be upgrading the stock sub)

2 Kicker CVT82 subs: $140 - front doors
Infinity 5030cs: $100 - rear doors
Infinity Reference 4032cf: $60 - dash? center console?
Infinity Reference 3032cf: $50 - dash? center console?
Infinity Reference 1031T: $45 - seats

BTW has anyone had experience taking out the seat speakers? I'm assuming that the top grill pops right off but would hate to snap it and have to take the seat apart to pay for a new mount. Does the grill itself come off or is it the grill with the plastic bezel? Thanks.