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W204 Third Party Component Speaker Upgrade

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W204 Third Party Component Speaker Upgrade

 
Old 02-26-2011, 09:05 AM
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The Infinity's 2 ohm impedance is one factor, the other being their high efficiency (93 dB for 1 watt input). The two factors combined have the following consequences: The 2 ohm impedance lets the Audio 20 unit produce 40 watts RMS per channel (160 watts total), and each speaker with 40 watts with 93 dB/1 watt can produce 110 db. Combined the 4 speakers can produce 116 dB. However, on average, music volume is 10db less that its peaks, so that's 106 db listening level. Not rock concert loud but adequate for a noisy car environment.
Rounding things out with a compact self-amplifed subwoofer (Boss Bass600, 900 or 1200) balances the low bass a 6 inch speaker fails to produce.
Now, as for sound accuracy, the Infinitys are superb. Both my sons, each with a 3-series and the Harman Kardon system, think that the sound in the W204 is fantastic, more accurate and cleaner. However, HK specifically tailors both the equalization and time-delay for the W204 and the 3-series using sophisticated measuring equipment and electronics. The sound in the back seat of their 3's is truly astounding, it is hard to achieve these levels of SPL (sound pressure level, dB) and accuracy in the home, which is generally a terrible acoustic environment. I need to take some time to do a critical listening session in my own C300, to give the most honest opinion.
The sound of the Infinity speakers with the subwoofer, (IMO) is far superior to the B&O system in the SLS, which has highs which sound too thin and tinny, and slightly distorted bass. Unfortunately, no W204s in Mexico are available with the HK system for comparison, except for, in theory, the C63, but I have yet to see one. All C300s and C350 come in one monolithic equipment and options level.
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Old 03-05-2011, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Imageboi View Post
Is there a reason everyone chose the infinity speakers?? is it cause of the 2 ohm impedence??
Anything was better than the stock speakers. I went with the Infinity speakers because of the fit & finish install Akadan had posted. All the parts that came with the Infinity speakers could not have fit any more perfect. The install could not have been easier and IMP the best alternative to replacing the rears without having to take the whole door aport. His using the existing speakers as a housing/spacer was ingenious. I did the same exact install for the front as well.
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:22 AM
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Just had the chance to drive 13 hours and do a good listen to the Infinity Kappa 60.9 front 6032si rear with Boss Bass600 selfpowered sub. In a word: FANTASTIC. For those who werent lucky enough to get the Harman Kardon system, this is the best $ you could ever spend on your car. (And just a reminder from all of us who truly love music, bass is never the main act!).
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Acapulco Bill View Post
Just had the chance to drive 13 hours and do a good listen to the Infinity Kappa 60.9 front 6032si rear with Boss Bass600 selfpowered sub. In a word: FANTASTIC. For those who werent lucky enough to get the Harman Kardon system, this is the best $ you could ever spend on your car. (And just a reminder from all of us who truly love music, bass is never the main act!).
I could not agree more! Just curious to what your settings are on the Parametric EQ?
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ICON 1 View Post
I could not agree more! Just curious to what your settings are on the Parametric EQ?
I would like to know as well.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:55 AM
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@ICON 1 & jl9j: The Audio20 parametric equalizer, as set from the factory, has a bump between 2000 and 2500 Hz (to compensate for the lack of response in the tweeter and woofer in their crossover point) and then about a 6 dB shelf increase below 100 hz to boost the bass (with a wide Q, meaning the boost covers two octaves). With the Infinity´s, definitely eliminate the 2-2.5k Hz bump, it makes the midrange unnatural to me, so I set that band (Band 2) back to ¨0¨.
As for further adjustments, lacking a 1/3 octave spectrum analyzer and a calibrated mic, I find the BALANCE is just fine removing the above midrange bump, and the radio tone control set to "0" in the treble, and +1 or +2 in the bass.
As for absolute flatness of the frequency response that the parametric equalizer can help to correct, I will just have to wait for a chance to play around with an analyzer, maybe there is software for the Macbook Pro and then all that is needed is a reasonably accurate mic and perhaps a preamp.
I hope that whomever installed your Infinity speakers put the crossover control at ¨0 dB" (NOT -6 dB as this will put a resistor in series with the tweeter reducing the power available to it by 75%).
There are many opinions about what sounds¨good¨, and I am sure every reader of this thread will have their own. However, it is surprising how many music lovers have never actually heard an audiophile-quality (meaning flat-response and distortion-free) system. As a reference, one should take a couple of their favorite CDs to an audio retailer that has on demonstration a large Martin Logan or Klipsch system (better yet, both, as they are on opposite technological ends of the loudspeaker spectrum), and give a listen. If you like what you hear, then try and duplicate that experience in your W204.
Although all of this is just visceral pleasure... some of the performances which moved my soul the most came from old, scratchy records played on a cheap, portable record player with a couple of pennies taped to the tone arm to hold it down!
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:03 PM
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do all models have the parametric eq??? think mine is the base model.... if so then how do you access the parametric eq?? also are you listening to your music thru cds or thru the ipod?? my biggest rant about the car is the crappy ipod setup for the car... but looks like i'll be doing the infinity upgrade soon too... i got a local wholesaler that is a friend so no problems on price..
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:36 AM
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@ImageX: To access engineering menu push and hold Hang up, 1 and # on the command unit (faceplate with buttons & knob). The base Audio20 has the parametric equalizar, I nam unsure about the MM Command. The iPod setup, if you have the iPod integration kit, make sure that:
1.- you set the iPod volume to "8" and the EQ to "POP"
2.- that you have an in-line iPod amplifier that gives about as 12dB gain so it is equal to the CD output.
3.- That aforementioned iPod Amplifier is sourced from GERMANY and NOT from CHINA, the Chinese-sourced iPod amplifiers have 6dB less gain, and worse, 30% distortion!!!!!!!

As for the lousy and complicated system (besides distracting and dangerous) for selecting tunes through your speedo display (the UMI was supposed to improve this, but te UMI has its faults, too), it is highly recommended to create PLAYLISTS of your favorites, and then just "set it and forget it" and drive enjoyably listening to the great sound the Infinity Kappa 60.9 and 6032si speakers with added subwoofer will make. (You got them already, right?)

Last edited by Acapulco Bill; 03-07-2011 at 10:37 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:27 PM
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wow i think you just fixed my rants about the ipod connector.. didnt realize the ipod connector was turned down that low.. have to try that out in a second.. they should have a sticky about the ipod low volume problem.. thanks bill..

oh also i dont have the infinity speakers yet... getting them today

Originally Posted by Acapulco Bill View Post
@ImageX: To access engineering menu push and hold Hang up, 1 and # on the command unit (faceplate with buttons & knob). The base Audio20 has the parametric equalizar, I nam unsure about the MM Command. The iPod setup, if you have the iPod integration kit, make sure that:
1.- you set the iPod volume to "8" and the EQ to "POP"
2.- that you have an in-line iPod amplifier that gives about as 12dB gain so it is equal to the CD output.
3.- That aforementioned iPod Amplifier is sourced from GERMANY and NOT from CHINA, the Chinese-sourced iPod amplifiers have 6dB less gain, and worse, 30% distortion!!!!!!!

As for the lousy and complicated system (besides distracting and dangerous) for selecting tunes through your speedo display (the UMI was supposed to improve this, but te UMI has its faults, too), it is highly recommended to create PLAYLISTS of your favorites, and then just "set it and forget it" and drive enjoyably listening to the great sound the Infinity Kappa 60.9 and 6032si speakers with added subwoofer will make. (You got them already, right?)
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:46 PM
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Forgot to mention that in the radio control window, where you get AUX to work for the iPod connector, make sure you have the Aux volume on BOOST. This will give the exact same volume level (and hopefully quality if you record your iPod with Apple lossless encoded tunes) as from a regular CD. The audio quality is nearly indistinguishable, a real feat seeing that the Audio20 converts the iPod analog output to digital, and then back to analog for the amplified output.

Last edited by Acapulco Bill; 03-07-2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: typos again
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:20 PM
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In the engineering mode I don't see the iPod volume section also there's a boost in the radio section?
Originally Posted by Acapulco Bill View Post
Forgot to mention that in the radio control window, where you get AUX to work for the iPod connector, make sure you have the Aux volume on BOOST. This will give the exact same volume level (and hopefully quality if you record your iPod with Apple lossless encoded tunes) as from a regular CD. The audio quality is nearly indistinguishable, a real feat seeing that the Audio20 converts the iPod analog output to digital, and then back to analog for the amplified output.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:40 PM
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There are some volume parameters in the Engineering section, which cover for instance your Bluetooth volume max and min, the audio section quieting based on velocity, etc.
However the BOOST is in the regular radio section controlled by the KNOB in the center.
Its in the Sound section of the Audio unit, get to Volume and make sure this is on "Boost" (not "Standard".)
Advice to some who think changing the MAX volume in the Engineering section will give you more... There are only 20 watts (RMS I hope) available into the stock 4 ohm speakers. When the amplifier section reaches that limit, in spite of the increase of MAX volume and in spite of manually increasing the volume further with the radio knob or the steering wheel controls, ONE WILL NOT GET MORE VOLUME.
THE REASON: the amplifier has a protection circuit, and instead of a "crowbar" type limiter (where the output transistors are current-limited and causes undesirable square-wave output, which damages speakers) it has a sophisticated "soft-clipping" circuit which keeps the output at its maximum, in spite of whatever volume settings you may have. You can try this at home, in the W204 rather, by turning up the volume until it starts sounding "fuzzy". Beyond this, no more increase of volume is possible.
If one wants to play the LOUDEST, get to this "fuzzy" point, then back off a little. That's all you are going to get. Of course with the Infinity´s 2 ohm impedance, this will mean 40 watts available, remembering that the AVERAGE dB levels are 10 dB below the 40 watt peaks (and at 1/10 the power, or around 4 watts continuous.)

Last edited by Acapulco Bill; 03-07-2011 at 06:42 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:36 PM
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hmmm alot of the options your describing arent available in the engineering section like you described.. is it perhaps i'm needing a update??
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:52 PM
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I will have to take snapshots, these are hard-ROM features (not updatable) in the Audio20, and there are many, many options in the Engineering section.
The BOOST is in the standard radio Sound section.
Will post more detailed info later. Does some kind of manual exist for the features in the Engineering section?
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Old 03-08-2011, 02:59 PM
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ok sounds good... thanks again..
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Old 03-08-2011, 04:38 PM
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If i remember correctly not all audio 20 systems have the "boost" option, to get it i think you have to have the Ipod integration kit installed. I only have the AUX port, and do not have the boost option. I also have a 08 c300 if that makes a difference.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:55 PM
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I have the Navigation MM package and I dont have any options. Wish I did I would like to change some EQ settings.
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Old 03-08-2011, 11:38 PM
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If you have the MM package but not the Harman Kardon system, it is moot to try and equalize the stock speakers, they will only distort worse. I frankly have no idea if the MM + Nav has the parametric equalizer section in the audio head, only know about the base Audio 20 unit (can somebody clarify this please?). In any case replacing the stock speakers with high-quality high-efficiency units will give a tremendous gain in accuracy and volume, and have not seen the need to change their (flat) equalization. (see my posts above).
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:58 AM
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mine has the ipod intergration kit but yea i dont see any boost options just the standard treble and bass options..
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Old 03-09-2011, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Imageboi View Post
mine has the ipod intergration kit but yea i dont see any boost options just the standard treble and bass options..
Take your car in to the dealer to have your software updated. The new one has a boost option.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:58 AM
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@Sagar350z & Imageboi: Here is the location of BOOST. My W204 was German manufactured in August 2009. The last image is of the MB part numbers corresponding to this particular Audio20 Headunit.
I will start another thread about the amazing stuff thats in the Engineering section, anyone have a manual for this in PDF?
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jctevere View Post
Take your car in to the dealer to have your software updated. The new one has a boost option.
I had asked the dealer about the software upgrade and he stated that it is only applicable to 2010 models and above. I have a 2009 and they told me the software cannot be upgraded.
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:30 PM
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This may mean than pre-2010 (or pre-part number in post above) Audio20 headunits do not have the 4-band parametric equalizer, which is probably integrated into the audio control chip, and is quite a technological feat in itself, e.g. not upgradeable by software.
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Acapulco Bill View Post
@ICON 1 & jl9j: The Audio20 parametric equalizer, as set from the factory, has a bump between 2000 and 2500 Hz (to compensate for the lack of response in the tweeter and woofer in their crossover point) and then about a 6 dB shelf increase below 100 hz to boost the bass (with a wide Q, meaning the boost covers two octaves). With the Infinity´s, definitely eliminate the 2-2.5k Hz bump, it makes the midrange unnatural to me, so I set that band (Band 2) back to ¨0¨.
As for further adjustments, lacking a 1/3 octave spectrum analyzer and a calibrated mic, I find the BALANCE is just fine removing the above midrange bump, and the radio tone control set to "0" in the treble, and +1 or +2 in the bass.
As for absolute flatness of the frequency response that the parametric equalizer can help to correct, I will just have to wait for a chance to play around with an analyzer, maybe there is software for the Macbook Pro and then all that is needed is a reasonably accurate mic and perhaps a preamp.
I hope that whomever installed your Infinity speakers put the crossover control at ¨0 dB" (NOT -6 dB as this will put a resistor in series with the tweeter reducing the power available to it by 75%).
There are many opinions about what sounds¨good¨, and I am sure every reader of this thread will have their own. However, it is surprising how many music lovers have never actually heard an audiophile-quality (meaning flat-response and distortion-free) system. As a reference, one should take a couple of their favorite CDs to an audio retailer that has on demonstration a large Martin Logan or Klipsch system (better yet, both, as they are on opposite technological ends of the loudspeaker spectrum), and give a listen. If you like what you hear, then try and duplicate that experience in your W204.
Although all of this is just visceral pleasure... some of the performances which moved my soul the most came from old, scratchy records played on a cheap, portable record player with a couple of pennies taped to the tone arm to hold it down!
Thanks for the advise. Are you a sound engineer? Seems you are quite knowledgable on this subject matter. I have been playing with the PE settings for sometime and finally have the sound to my preference (which I have posted). The highs maybe a slightly high (slight emphasis on the "S" sound in the vocals) but everything else I am happy with. It is amazing how much more intruments you can hear in the music being played. Even with Pandora or any of the other streamers on my iphone the clarity of these speakers are amazing.

By the way I did the install myself and yes the settings on the crossovers was left on '0'.
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:47 PM
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@ICON 1: Actually I am a symphony orchestra conductor by profession (Philadelphia), but also had a recording studio, did professional live sound (Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, rock concerts etc) and was a sound engineering consultant on some recordings sponsored by the UN. That was a lifetime ago. But yes I do know a bit about sound, speakers and their electronics.
Now living in Acapulco, I still conduct a great symphony orchestra, and also in Europe occasionally. I was promised the HK system in my C300, however NO W204 except the C63 comes with that system in Mexico. I refused to drive my C300 Sport for 7 months until I fixed many problems with the Audio20, the speakers and the stupid Chinese iPod amplifier.
Now that all is as well as it can be, and with the addition of a self-amplified subwoofer, the sound is fabulously good.
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