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Thread: Stock Bose speaker system in a Mercedes E-430....to keep or not to keep?

  1. #1
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    Stock Bose speaker system in a Mercedes E-430....to keep or not to keep?

    Hi. I am looking to get a better stereo in my '01 Mercedes E-430. But I'm starting to wonder if replacing the stock bose speakers in the car is worth it. I had been listening to my Creative Nomad mp3 player, running it through a cheap cassette adaptor and started realizing just how unsatisfactory the sound quality was. I figured it was the Bose speakers. But after ditching the cassette adaptor and listing to the CD changer in the last couple days, I starting to think these speakers are just fine. In fact, the sound quality sounds pretty damn good with the CD changer. Seems it would really do me some good by simply replacing the stock head unit with an Alpine or Pioneer.

    What do you guys think? I've heard Bose is crappy in general, but that the speakers they put in Mercedes Benz are the higher end, quality ones.

    Do you feel it's worth spending over a grand replacing my stock speakers? The bummer about it is I'd have to replace the amp as well, due to some complicated speaker/amp connection. That would definitely increase the cost and I don't know if i can justify spending that much cash on speaker replacement and an amp. How much of an improvement would I hear if I keep the speakers and simply put in a nice Alpine HU?

    Also, would you recommend hooking a CarPC up with the stock Mercedes amp? Could it work?

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate Megalomaniac's Avatar
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    replace the BOSE. Look into Morel or DLS since your pockets are fairly deep. You shouldn't be disappointed. Maybe you'll get some more advice in a second

    Amp? You can try using the stock amp, if you're happy with the sound & output more power to you. A new amp should not disappoint you either. then again i dont know how the mercedes amps are setup.

    You should hear a very significant difference compared to stock stereo, especially if you set it up correctly.

    carPC to a mercedes, i cant help you there wish i could though.

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    Thanks bro. Looks like there's no way to avoid digging deep into those pockets I guess I should prepare to spend between $1500-$2500. Won't break the bank but damn, I sure hope it's worth it.

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    Usually the head unit and the speakers are tuned together in factory oem systems. I think that the best way to proceed is first to replace the head unit which will improve the sound but not very much because of the speakers that are adjusted for the initial head unit. Replacing the speakers and if it is necessary the amp will improve the sound a lot. Regarding the speakers the best thing is to hit the local stores and listen to as many as possible and choose what you like. Start first with a budget and work from there.
    Another approach is to use an interactive signal processor like the Rockford Fosgate 3SIXTY.1, I think Alpine is coming with one as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lxt_123 View Post
    Another approach is to use an interactive signal processor like the Rockford Fosgate 3SIXTY.1

    Thanks for the reply. What exactly is this for?

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    It will flatten the signal coming from your head unit reducing or getting rid of the factory "adjustments". I don't know if this unit is the best one, I've used it here as an example. There some other out there.

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate Felix509's Avatar
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    Remove the Whole Bose system, In my opinion.. I have had several Mercedes cars with Bose and I will tell you there is a Huge difference in upgrading to an aftermarket system..

    But if you are happy with your system's sound, there are a few products to integrate the iPods into the system using the changer controls to control the iPod.. I am not sure about using a nomad as they are not as popular and have not had interfaces developed.. I use a Nomad myself, so i know it is sometimes hard to find products to interface them..
    Ours is the age that is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to.

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  8. #8
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    It seems to me that your problem is the lousy tape adapter quality, not the speakers. If you are already satisfied with the sound system when listening to CD's then spending $1000 on speakers sounds a little silly in my opinion.

    If it were mine I would 1st look for an aux-in adapter for the factory head unit AND/OR tap-in to the CD-Changer audio wires. Unfortunately for you, your CD-Changer interfaces with your factory headunit using Fiber Optics. I don't think anything can be done there.

    2nd choice. Replace the factory headunit with an aftermarket one (Pioneer,Alpine, etc) and interface it to the factory BOSE amplifier. I have looked at the audio wiring diagram for your 2001 Benz E430 and this looks to be feasible. (diagram attached below). You should be aware that by losing the factory head unit, you also lose the factory CD-Changer.

    This job would require that you operate the factory head unit while measuring the wires on the rear of it. Along with the wiring diagram, you should be able to figure out the function of each wire. As long as there isn't any funny business with the low-level audio (balanced signals, turn-on signals sharing wires with the audio), you shouldn't have any trouble hooking it up to the pre-outs of an aftermarket head unit.

    3rd. If the above sounds a little complicated, you might want to try an FM modulator. This device connects directly to the antenna connection on the rear of the factory head unit. It won't be as good as a direct aux-in connection, but it should be a lot better than a (lousy) tape adapter.

    Here is the audio wiring diagram for you 2001 Mercedes Benz E430.
    01benzE430withAMP.pdf

    I would definitely suggest keeping as much of the factory system as possible to keep unnecessary costs down. If you can't hook up to the factory amp, I would suggest using an aftermarket amp with the factory speakers.

    I hope some of this is helpful.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by walky_talky20 View Post
    It seems to me that your problem is the lousy tape adapter quality, not the speakers. If you are already satisfied with the sound system when listening to CD's then spending $1000 on speakers sounds a little silly in my opinion.

    If it were mine I would 1st look for an aux-in adapter for the factory head unit AND/OR tap-in to the CD-Changer audio wires. Unfortunately for you, your CD-Changer interfaces with your factory headunit using Fiber Optics. I don't think anything can be done there.

    2nd choice. Replace the factory headunit with an aftermarket one (Pioneer,Alpine, etc) and interface it to the factory BOSE amplifier. I have looked at the audio wiring diagram for your 2001 Benz E430 and this looks to be feasible. (diagram attached below). You should be aware that by losing the factory head unit, you also lose the factory CD-Changer.

    This job would require that you operate the factory head unit while measuring the wires on the rear of it. Along with the wiring diagram, you should be able to figure out the function of each wire. As long as there isn't any funny business with the low-level audio (balanced signals, turn-on signals sharing wires with the audio), you shouldn't have any trouble hooking it up to the pre-outs of an aftermarket head unit.

    3rd. If the above sounds a little complicated, you might want to try an FM modulator. This device connects directly to the antenna connection on the rear of the factory head unit. It won't be as good as a direct aux-in connection, but it should be a lot better than a (lousy) tape adapter.

    Here is the audio wiring diagram for you 2001 Mercedes Benz E430.
    01benzE430withAMP.pdf

    I would definitely suggest keeping as much of the factory system as possible to keep unnecessary costs down. If you can't hook up to the factory amp, I would suggest using an aftermarket amp with the factory speakers.

    I hope some of this is helpful.
    Thanks a bunch guys It's really appreciated

    Walky.... very informative advice. Been listening to some more CDs on the freeway and to me the sound really is satisfactory. I can really see it improving with a new HU and I especially have my eye on the new Alpine iDA-X001. Keep in mind guys, that I won't be installing anything myself, I've got a local shop in mind. The guy there says there'd be no problem replacing the HU with the new iDA-X001 and i can keep everything else factory.

    New HU and installation all for the under $600. Compare that with the cost of new speakers and an amp and we'd get way past the $1500 mark. Not to mention the fact that they'd have to pretty much maim my interior and I seriously doubt it'd look as good as it does now.

    But this is all conjecture. I'm still debating and would like to get more replies in favor of or against.

    Quote Originally Posted by Felix509 View Post
    Remove the Whole Bose system, In my opinion.. I have had several Mercedes cars with Bose and I will tell you there is a Huge difference in upgrading to an aftermarket system..
    Felix can I ask what year and model Merc you've owned?

    iPod integration is something I thought about at first but 'eh...the limited HDD space is a real turnoff. To that end, does anyone know if A)The iDA-X001 reads standard 3.5" USB drives and B)Reads FLAC files?

    If so, grabbing a 500GB USB HD would seem pretty darn beneficial. If it doesn't read FLAC I'll rip my collection to wav

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate Felix509's Avatar
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    I have had a 1999 CLK with a bose sytem and now have a 1997 SL500..

    The CLK system was replaced with the regular CD player, amps, and speakers that fit in stealth like, think i was using some Focak 7K2 7" and Rainbow tweeters.

    The SL500 Was supposedly the top end Bose system of the time, although it is before they went with fiber through out.

    Had a 190 way back, cannot remember what kind of stock stereo it had..

    Here is a place i was looking into for my interface before i decided to do an all out Computer system:

    NUCLEUS

    I am not sure if it fits your application or not, they are very helpful if you call or email them..

    Laters
    Ours is the age that is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to.

    ___________________________________
    Current SYSTEM
    AMD64X2 2.5
    Xenarc
    ZAPCO DSP-6
    ARCAUDIO SE Amps
    Rainbow Profi CS365 & Profi Vanadium 12"

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