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Discussion Starter #1
I just had the audio upgraded in my Lotus Elise.

I changed the head unit for a Clarion FZ501, which is a nightmare to operate. Has no buttons, just a mushroom button that does ALL the functions if you angle it and press in or not the exact way it says in the manual. Ridiculous. I didn't know before I ordered it, but it has neither a removable faceplate, nor a CD player. USB stick or iPod which only connects through the front USB port on the face. What the hell did I do. Anyways, done now.

I had an amp placed in the trunk, which is a Clarion 250 RMS - mated to a Kenwood Exelon 10" at about 300 RMS. Now here's the funny part. I took it to the audio guys, and I told them to fit a box in the footwell. So when I went to pick up the car, guess what I found? A BASSWORX standard off-the-shelf sub box turned speaker-side-up and crammed in the footwell.

How amusing. I will admit, it fits perfectly although leaves no room for a passenger's feet, and is removable in a second. It also stays put under hard acceleration and doesn't show much if you peek through the window. But it looks like crap. If anyone wants the name and number of the install place (Montreal) to stay away from them, let me know and I'll PM it.

As for the sound, it's unreal. It pounds so loud, I nearly knocked myself unconscious. Too much bass. Like being wacked in the head with a bat. I can't deny they delivered what they promised, but what an ugly solution. I might have to buy one of those stealthboxes and start over.

As a final thing, they pulled the passenger airbag panel off and "neglected" to tell me. So as I was driving home, I hit a small pothole and it flew off, but still anchored by these two canvas straps. I called the guy back, nonconfrontational (how I didn't drive back there and just lay into them is a mystery when I think back) and asked him calmly if there were clips or glue. "Glue" he tells me. "Just put some superglue on the four corners."

Sigh. So guys, there are clips there, right? Does anyone know?
 

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Sorry to hear it.

But a few things:

- did you know the shop? Why did you go there?

- have they done Elises before? I know there may not be many in Montreal, but I would want to work with a shop that did the cars.

- Sorry but this forum has guinea pigged soooo many options. For me, it was an easy choice to use the products that are tried and true.

That includes:

- Sub - JL Stealthbox. If you can't/don't do the Chuck Risen sub, then the JL is THE solution. Why mess with anything else? Others have had good results with Bazookas too.

- Speakers - lots of different choices (5 1/2 up front with rings, etc). Many people go JL C2s. I went JLs in back, Focals up front.

- Amp - the tried and true is the Alpine PDX5.

- Head unit - sorry but did you research it first? If it's that hard to use surely other people have felt the same way? I like the Kenwood stuff. I have an Excelon double din (custom with nav) in mine - LOVE it! I just ordered this for my Moke.

The lpod is hidden INSIDE the head unit. Pretty slick. $84. Sony DSX-100

 

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That's a bummer man. Well, you can toss the head unit (throw it on Craigslist or eBay, you'll get most of your money back) and put in a head unit with remote iPod/AuxIn that you can run through the dash and into the under-dash storage area (that's what I do.) Or SwingLo's head unit suggestion is also pretty trick. Doing this part of the install yourself is actually pretty easy, the only exception being the wiring harness they may have used - you'll have to figure out what/how to undo theirs and re-do using a new head unit if you go that route.

Order replacement clips for the airbag cover and reinstall them correctly - I'd hate to get in an accident and have the airbag malfunction, causing injury to the passenger and exposing you to personal liability for it.

I can't recommend Chuck Risen's solution enough, though it is a tad on the expensive side. Still, takes up no usable space, looks and sounds perfect. You should be able to get out from under the components you don't want pretty easily since they are basically brand new.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for all the advice guys.

I tried last year to find someone to do the install. I went with one place originally, and they needed a few weeks before starting. I was impatient and went to another place, which left the car out overnight in an abandoned lot in a warehouse area despite me pleading with him not to do that because it was rare, not easily replaceable if stolen, etc. He kept promising me he was bring it in that evening, I would up going there late at night and using my spare key to drive it home.

These guys, they came with average recommendations, and they said they've worked on a Lotus Elise before, no problems. Live and learn I guess.

For the head unit, I didn't research much, to be honest. We picked it out of a catalogue - it looked perfect: remote, ipod connect, bluetooth with hidden mic, USB port, nice interface. There was no warning that there was no CD player and a Youtube vid on it made it look simple to use.

I think this is another case of total amateur hour in Montreal. I have very few good things to say about people in this city. Mediocrity seems to be the norm around here when it comes to pride of work.
 

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Gamera The Atomic Turtle
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Sorry to hear it.

But a few things:

- did you know the shop? Why did you go there?

- have they done Elises before? I know there may not be many in Montreal, but I would want to work with a shop that did the cars.

- Sorry but this forum has guinea pigged soooo many options. For me, it was an easy choice to use the products that are tried and true.

That includes:

- Sub - JL Stealthbox. If you can't/don't do the Chuck Risen sub, then the JL is THE solution. Why mess with anything else? Others have had good results with Bazookas too.

- Speakers - lots of different choices (5 1/2 up front with rings, etc). Many people go JL C2s. I went JLs in back, Focals up front.

- Amp - the tried and true is the Alpine PDX5.

- Head unit - sorry but did you research it first? If it's that hard to use surely other people have felt the same way? I like the Kenwood stuff. I have an Excelon double din (custom with nav) in mine - LOVE it! I just ordered this for my Moke.

The lpod is hidden INSIDE the head unit. Pretty slick. $84. Sony DSX-100

That IS some cool shift! Will it handle an old ipod 3G? (I bought it new, first 30 gig mp3 player - $500 @ Circuit City. Early adopter, on the bleeding edge. Funny.)
 

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To be honest, I wish I had a head unit that just took a simple USB stick instead of CDs, of which I don't have any anymore. I'm thinking of pulling my McIntosh MX406.

I wish iPods would play WMAs. All my music is in that format and the sound quality is better with WMA Pro.
 

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That IS some cool shift! Will it handle an old ipod 3G? (I bought it new, first 30 gig mp3 player - $500 @ Circuit City. Early adopter, on the bleeding edge. Funny.)
Yeah, it's trick as hell.

My Moke is FULLY open - no where to store anything, so I hid my old nano in there and done. No cds, no nothing!

Moke should be done in 3 weeks which means stereo then. I'll let you know how it sounds. Good news is that that head unit is only $84.

Really cool idea. I'll probably only use if for iPod anyway, oh and AM radio for Bears games. The British Car Show is ALWAYS the Sunday of NFL opening day.
 

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To be honest, I wish I had a head unit that just took a simple USB stick instead of CDs, of which I don't have any anymore. I'm thinking of pulling my McIntosh MX406.

I wish iPods would play WMAs. All my music is in that format and the sound quality is better with WMA Pro.
There are a lot of options these days for USB in. even the sony shown above. anyway good luck with your upgrades.
 

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Also you need to order the airbag clips. My install was done in Boston by Richard Inferrera and he was intelligent enough to order them.
Rich's does some badass work.
Op- sorry to hear about your issues. I went through the same with my noble
Unfortunately a co-worker of mine must have got one of his 1st day trainees installing his system.. Different car (different *class* of car altogether - Oldsmobile... Eek) but they had the alarm brain installed in the center console where you could actually see it poking out, all the wires were run fairly tight through holes drilled in sheetmetal.. Some cube-shaped crap sub box in the middle of the trunk.. Yikes. Even the Nakamichi deck wasn't very well installed, in a generic dash kit. That was some years ago now, and they probably save the "better" guys to work on the Lotuses and Lamborghinis. :)

As we were re-installing / fixing everything I remember thinking "wow, I do better work than Rich's Car Tunes!" LOL I did enjoy visiting the shop and seeing the cool custom work they were doing, I think they were custom-making fiberglass seat shells that day, first time I'd seen a 5-gallon bucket of resin.
 

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Thanks for all the advice guys.




For the head unit, I didn't research much, to be honest. We picked it out of a catalogue - it looked perfect: remote, ipod connect, bluetooth with hidden mic, USB port, nice interface. There was no warning that there was no CD player and a Youtube vid on it made it look simple to use.
Hi MTLDean,

Just referring to your statement "no warning", I don't believe a company needs to warn someone a feature is not included. As long as it states what it does. Buyer beware!

But I was surprised the shop didn't mention this though.

IMHO, I don't get the upper end sound systems in these cars. My reasons;

1. The car is noisey acting against your sound quality
2. Not much space to fit subs, amps, etc
3. Adds significant weight to a car that lives on lightness
4. Adding sound deadening to improve sound adds weight
5. No place to store CDs unless you go MP3/Ipod etc.

I did upgrade my unit from the standard Alpine to another Alpine one fitted with Bluetooth for phone use (as it is illegal to hold or talk on a phone whilst driving in my state country). The standard speakers and new Alpine unit produces okay sound, nothing spectacular but acceptable for modern cars. Your could also upgrade (swap like for like) the standard speakers for better ones to give a even better sound with very little wieght change. I wouldn't go much further than this for the reasons stated above.

Although this is my opinion I do appreciate that we all own our cars and can do whatever we want with them.
So if super sound floats your boat, go for it!!

I just personal spend my sound money on my Home theatre system. I think I get better bang for buck + good movie/CD sound.

Hope you get your fitment probs sorted
 

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There are a ton of things going against our cars for stereos, but....

The system I had put in mine is not over the top and not crazy expensive, but it may be the best sounding system I've ever had:

- Alpine PDX5 amp - the one many people here have.
- JL Stealthbox - a given
- 6.5" JL C2 rear speakers
- 4" focal fronts with 1" separate tweeter - a custom upgrade
- Kenwood 6960 double din head unit with $100 Panasonic backup camera.

Sounds AWESOME.

My advice is to have a good stereo shop do a custom tune - the amp, the sub, etc. They knew all the settings and got it sounding perfect. Pay them for an hour of their time.
 

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Here are photos of my install at Rich's. They did a good, clean job, but I had to pay through the nose for it. If there had been any issues at the price I paid, I would have gone king kong on them :)

https://picasaweb.google.com/109617192573608580004/LotusAudio

One thing Rich's and AlphaCars (in Boxborough MA) have in common though is they've both done work for me (audio and mechanical, respectively) that was relatively high priced, but 100% free of any issues whatsoever.
 

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Speaking of making good sound work in these cars, some have suggested strategic sound dampening gives a lot of bang for relatively little weight. I haven't done it yet myself but plan to. I'll let you know how it turns out.
 

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