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stereo upgrade advice

19 December 2001
lee's summit mo 64064
some of you have already weighed in on this, so thanks. but i'm hoping to hear a lot more on what everyone has done with the lousy boses system.

id like to keep it as stock as possible. want good sound without sacrificing my kyds education. ie, under 2k would be good. want it to fit in the stock setup. keeping the main unit would be fine if the sound quality can be good. want bass without sacrificing room(im 6'1). i like to hear the mids and lows, don't like that screeching tinny sound.

do i want too much?
All you need to do is keep the stock Bose system, and get the amps fixed when they break down.

[This message has been edited by nsxtasy (edited 30 December 2001).]
I AM NOT A BOSE FAN! I hate it when people want to buy Bose (for the home)because it is a nice sound and the speakers are small! Toooo directional and the sound is not like you are there. In cars true sound is hard to do. True sound is not BOOMMM BOOM BASS. True sound is what a singer would sound like if he was standing 15 feet in frount of you...LIVE! Okay, but what has that got to do with the NSX Bose system? FAct is, it is pretty darn good. I have a Lexus LS430 with Mark Levenson Sound System and I would say it is the best car audio I have aever heard. I have an high end stereo system at home (krell, ML,Apogee Divas) and the sound is true and great. People (kids) are always saying I bet you can blast thenm out with these and let's here the bse! Truth is these statements have nothing to do with good, true stereo sound. My advice: keep the Bose in the NSX and spend the money of good CD's ..hey even get some for your kids. It might expand your taste in music?
With all due respect, not all music is overly 'natural' or acoustic. Much of today's popular music, such as pop, rap, hip-hop, electronica and techno is highly synthesized and will never sound like the singer is 15 ft. in front of you. It mostly definitely does require deep, extended bass production and benefits from brighter highs. Granted the demographics of NSX owners currently are older than a lot of other cars and this music may not be the type of music appreciated by most owners...yet. The age of NSX owners is dropping as nearly fully depreciated ones become cheaper than new Nissan sport utilities.

I, too, find Bose to be extremely overrated, but am amazed at the quality of the sound produced in my ten year old NSX. I did have a Bose system in RX-7 and found it to be laughable. That said, though, the factory NSX stereo does not even come close to the sound quality obtainable from a well-thought out aftermarket system. The dismissive often snide comments posted in reply to aftermarket stereo options have become rather trite. These forums do exist to disseminate information, do they not?

I would love to put an aftermarket system in the NSX, but do not wish to mar the factory appearance of the center console. Should a vendor decide to make a replacement console that matched the factory fit and finish but offered a standard DIN opening, I would readily purchase it.

And on musical taste - it is just that: taste. As in a personal opinion and therefore comments such as "better taste" or "worse taste" are entirely subjective and, frankly, pointlessly insulting and denigrating.
Please note that I am not a Bose fan either; its drawbacks with both sound quality and reliability are well-known. However, the fact is, the NSX sound system is neither easy nor inexpensive to upgrade. If you have "golden ears" so that your car stereo is a priority for you, and if you are willing to spend quite a bit of money to upgrade it, then by all means do so. Absent these two factors, though, it's easier and less expensive to leave it alone, and repair it when the inevitable breakdowns occur.

huckster, you have mail.
As in a personal opinion and therefore comments such as "better taste" or "worse taste" are entirely subjective and, frankly, pointlessly insulting and denigrating.[/B][/QUOTE]

Hey.. I am not insulting anyones taste.. I am infact saying that if you spend your money on more and varied music you will be exposed to may more flavors of music and they may taste good too! I love many types of music. If someones taste requires huge subwoofers in the trunk...GREAT..it's their car. I simply feel that on whole the NSX has a pretty darn good sound sytem. I have had three Ferraris and all had after market systems that stunk. But the whole point is that on whole the Honda engineers did a pretty darn good job in making the NSX a GREAT BALANCED Exotic car and that included a respectable stereo. Enjoy DRIVING your NSX with beautiful engine sound..wow. This car is for driving the sound system is a bonus.
My driver's side amplifier had malfunctioned and I was thinking that it would be a good time to upgrade my whole system. My motivation was that I had an OK home system (ProAc Response 2's, Audio Research LS1, then it's just downhill from there) and wanted a lot more out of my car stereo.

I considered Dali's Golden Ears system ($1600/1800 + $600 installation) but wanted to hear it again with my music before I committed. It does seem to be one of the cheaper alternatives. It seems this option closely matches all your criteria (retains stock head unit, ~$2000, better bass).

I decided to wait because I didn't want to make a costly mistake and wanted an MP3 head unit with a redesigned center console incorporating a video screen and other things. I swapped the amp today and will continue my research.

It's surprising how much more musical the door panel makes the speakers. I was reinstalling the speaker enclosure and listened to the stereo for a while without the door panel in place. It sounded like a very cheap desktop stereo.

I just drive around in my MR2 for a few days at a time to remind me how much better the stock NSX stereo is.

Oh my! I can't believe that some here actually thinks the NSX Bose sound system is reasonable sounding. In my opinion it is total garbage-- booming midbass, poor soundstage, nearly non-existent highs, poor detail, etc, etc. They're also quite fatiguing to listen to for an extended period of time. They don't sound much better than a good portable boombox. Clearly, Dr. Bose has no honor to allow his good name to be on such trash.

Spend some time listening to some really good transducers such as the Etymotic ER-4 earphones. I just purchased a set of these and have been listening to them at work for 3 to 4 hours straight without fatigue. They are incredably neutral sounding and detailed. It's like having a $20,000 set of loudspeakers in your pocket.

After work I hop in the NSX to go home only to become totally shocked at how terrible the Bose sounds in comparison to the Etymotics. The Bose sounds like an AM radio relative to those things. At this point I just turn the Bose off and drive home listening only to the engine-- the Bose are simply too painful to listen to for more than a few minutes.

Some good brands to replace the Bose...
Speakers: Dynaudio, Focal
Amps: Brax, Butler Audio
I think the NSX Bose sound system is perfectly reasonable sounding.

Keep in mind that ANY sound system in a car is going to be played in an environment where there is lots of road noise, engine noise, background noise, etc. So differences from one sound system to another will be masked far more than a typical living room environment. The car stereo salesman will deceive you by demonstrating one when the car is standing still and shut off - which is never how you would listen to it.

If you want to spend money on a great sound system, do it on your home system. In the car - especially a high-performance sports car with its lack of acoustical isolation - the money spent is wasted. You'll rarely if ever notice the difference on the road.
If someone is asking about upgrading the factory sound system, I expect they have already decided they are probably not happy with the factory system.

The key to doing a nice upgrade on a reasonable $2k or less budget without altering the look of the interior is to keep the factory head unit.

In my opinion, new quality speakers (and the amps required to drive them) make a world of difference from the everything-as-a-midtone factory Bose system.

You can do this for about $1500 using pretty high quality components, labor included. Some people like cutting holes in the trim to mount separates but I wouldn't recommend that at this level. Just keep it stock looking.

If you want to add a subwoofer it will make a difference but you start to get into more money. A good set of door speakers alone are a very nice upgrade and I think will get you where you are trying to go.
Originally posted by BB:

Some good brands to replace the Bose...
Speakers: Dynaudio, Focal
Amps: Brax, Butler Audio

Well said... In my Supra, I have Dynaudio MKII 240 fronts and cannot say enough about them. Butler Audio makes a fine amp, though I am using Xtant.

My tastes in music are really varied. I like everything from rap, to Michael Jackson, to Kenny G, back to Garth Brooks. The bottom line is, you CAN make a stereo system to cater to all of these diverse sounds. All of the equipment in my Supra was chosen because of excellent sound fidelity, AND the ability to "crank."
(With the exception of the Dynaudios)

I put Boston Audio Pros in the back for rear fill, but I have the amp running those speakers on a switch. Basically, when I want the stereo loud, I can turn the rear speakers on. Otherwise, it's just the Dynaudio front stage. For the sub I selected the new JL 12W7-- said by some to be the best subwoofer ever made, house or car. I wouldn't go that far, but it is a quantum leap in car audio technology. Excellent fidelity and the ability to blow your windows out, if you so choose. As I mentioned eariler, amps I chose Xtant. These stunning looking amps have a lot of head room, tuneability, and watts.

Head unit I went with the Alpine IVA-C800 TV. I went with Alpine because they're the best combination of sound and video.. I also installed the Alpine DVD and DVD Nav . (The DVD Nav is jaw dropping)

For the NSX and those who do not want to modify the consol, I would suggest buying the LCD monitor pod and putting something like an Alpine in that slot. I haven't looked at a real one, but I dare say from the pictures it could hold a flip up TV/deck (always keep it flipped up). If not, use a simple LCD monitor and hide the deck.. use Alpine's video outs and remote infrared eye to control the system. Basically, you'd control everything from the remote and see it all on screen. Good look in my opinion.

Dennis Walsh