Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Sound System Modifications
Activate your inner audiophile with your Mercedes-Benz C-Class with these incredible sound system modifications.
This article applies to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class w204 (2007-2014).
One of the most popular ways to liven up the sound system in your Mercedes-Benz C-Class is through "state of the art" modifications. While many drivers opt for a new head unit, others still understand that to truly upgrade your vehicle's sound system, you'll want to include a set of high performance subwoofers, speakers and/or amplifiers. The cost to achieve all of these upgrades could prove costly when bundled together, which is why here you will find the best products on the market. Furthermore, this article will explain exactly what result each modification could help you to achieve. Whether you're looking for bigger and better sound quality or an ability to directly wire your iPod into your audio system, this article covers a wide range of audio system modifications to meet most of your needs.
The Best in Sound System Modifications
You have five main options to improve your vehicle's sound system: car audio head units, speakers, amplifiers (amps), subwoofers (subs), or iPod integration. Below will explain which of these modifications can help you to achieve the sound you want.
Aftermarket Head Unit
DIY Cost – $10-$1,000+
Professional Cost – $200-$2,000
Skill Level – Easy to moderate; it depends on the installation requirements of the head unit. Most installs can be done without a lot of tools or the need for professional knowledge.
This is the cheapest and easiest way to gain high quality sound, while streaming music from your cell phone or other hand-held device through your vehicle's speakers via an auxiliary or USB port. Newer head units promise more bells and whistles than your OEM head unit. Touch sensitive displays, satellite radio programming, and sleek physical controls allow for quick adjustments while reaching top speeds, making your morning commute or days on the track more lively.
Unfortunately, the OEM stereo integration as installed by Mercedes does make swapping in a traditional single DIN faceplate style head unit impossible. However, if you are dedicated to the best sound quality and power for your sound system, custom user interfaces can be made to fit. Recommended for its low cost and sound quality.
DIY Cost – $100-$1,000
Professional Cost – $300-$1,500
Skill Level – Easy to moderate; it depends on the model. Generally speaking, the setup process is as simple as unplugging your older OEM unit and installing your newer aftermarket components.
This is another cheap and easy way to achieve noticeable improvements in sound quality while on the road. Easy installation and beautiful product design makes a premium audio brand (such as Harmon-Kardon) a popular choice with C-Class owners, who value high quality sound without the usual fuss associated with installing premium quality, high performance speakers. The front and rear doors in the w204 offer sufficient room for large size speakers, including those that require double foam padding to reduce noise leakage or rattling while driving. Recommended its low cost and easy installation.
DIY Cost – $30-$4,000
Professional Cost – $150-$4,400
Skill Level – Easy to moderate; it depends on the unit. For a 4-channel unit, expect to have an easy set up; however, larger amps will need to be wired into your head unit.
This is one of those modifications that can be installed as a stand-alone upgrade; however, it is strongly encouraged to boost sound further with the help of a subwoofer. For a solid stock replacement amp, the Autotek 4-channel series is recommended. However, for those C-Class owners who require more power (40,000+ watts), amplifiers manufactured by Orion are recommended. Recommended for its stand-alone ability.
(Related Article: How to Install Amplifier - MBWorld.org)
DIY Cost – $10-$2,000
Professional Cost – $150-$2,200
Skill Level – Moderate; you'll need to be comfortable wiring the sub into an existing "hot" wire or to the battery. If you have other aftermarket components already installed, this is quite easy to do.
High quality subwoofers are not cheap, but they are an excellent upgrade option for drivers who value a more powerful and well-rounded sound than could be achieved through the use of speakers alone. The installation process can range from easy to complex; however, it is recommended sticking to some of the self-amplified enclosures that fit directly under a seat. These varieties will provide the bass you're looking for without breaking the bank, and, generally speaking, they are easy to setup. For more "oomph," it is recommended going with a custom, multi-sub enclosure. Recommended for its bass sound.
(Related Article: How to Install Subwoofer - MBWorld.org)
DIY Cost – $50-$100
Professional Cost – $100 for labor
Skill Level – Easy to moderate; some wiring knowledge is required, but not enough to make this a project strictly for professionals.
This is by far the cheapest sound system modification you can make to your C-Class. It is last on the list because, while adding iPod support to your vehicle will allow you to listen to music straight out of your phone and receive phone calls through your vehicle's speakers, it won't improve sound quality in any way. The most common option is to go with a new aftermarket stereo; however, there are a number of other aftermarket options available to you as well. It is recommended upgrading your radio to save money, and still seeing those sound improvements that you want! Recommended for its ability to listen to your phone's music and make phone calls.