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Discussion Starter #1
I have an '07 with the Alpine head unit and at least alpine speaker covers.

It sounds as dead as everyone else describes.

Has anyone hooked up an amp instead of replacing the speakers? I see that lots of people say that Polks and Infinitys make a difference, but I wouldn't say my speakers sound bad when I run them at low volumes. It's just that once you tweak the settings to have a bit of bass, the amp rails out (massive distortion) right away. A different, more efficient speaker might help this, but why not spend the money on plenty of power?

So would I be better off with better speakers or a small amp? Not looking for anything crazy, just the general "less suckage." I'm tempted to run a wire in from a home theater receiver and see if it's power that is missing instead of bad speakers.

The only thing I don't like about the amp idea is the extra weight ;)
 

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Better speakers, it will make a big difference. If you get an amp won't you just be boosting the power into speakers that can't handle it?
 

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I did both at the same time- in large part because the head unit couldn't drive the a/d/s I am using up front. Used a older model Alpine for the rear (went to 6.5") in checking out speaker liked them much more then the Polks- both were in the $100 range. The '05 speakers (what I have) were pretty bad- so start off with the amp.

You may end up doing both- good speaker don't work well without decent clean power driving them...
 

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I assume the Alpine HU in the 07s is much better than the Blaupunkt HU that came in the 05-06s no?

First thing I did was swap out to Infinity Kappas, which made a big difference. Then I went and installed an Alpine IDA-X100 HU and I can turn up the volume far louder than I need without any issues. My next step was an amp, but I don't think I'm enough of an audiophile to justify it.
 

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...a proper subwoofer and enclosure can make a big difference in our cars, providing the bass extension which just isn't possible in the stock speaker locations and allowing them instead to be high-passed and avoid the awful distortion which otherwise creeps in all-too soon...

...have you checked out chuck risen's solution?..
 

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my audio set up consist of: JVC nav head unit, alpine amp, stock speakers, JL stealth box with JL 10w0 subwoofers

in a range from 1-10 the OEM lotus being about a 2 or 3

my setup would be about a 5 or 6...tops lol
 

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Speakers will make the biggest imrpovement between the 2 so definantly start there.

Keep the bass-treble settings flat, that's how you should have it. Turning the bass up can cause problems especially at higher levels.

I would get new speakers 1st. Infinity kappa's are great but it depends on what you like. They are on the bright side.... Go as big as you can!!

Then if you want more sound add a amp however that will not give you lots more low end.

If you think you are still lacking in the bass area add a small sub with a small amp. Or possibly buy a amp that can power all the speakers on 1 chassis.
 

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Its not the amp or the speakers...its the uninsulated metal box you are riding in. :D

Go try to listen to a stereo inside a large metal container...you'll think the stereo is terrible.
 

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This not being my first shindig I think you should first consider whether or not you really want your stereo to sound better. Stereos can be very exspensive and if your really want good sound you will need the following items (in decending order):

1. Speakers- I perfer MB Quartz Q-series but also like Rainbows and Focal just find that money-wise the Q's are a better value. This is first on my list because they will distort less at higher volume, making your whole system of higher value to you.

2. Head Unit- Depending on what unit you buy they provide more overall power to the entire system with a much cleaner sound. When picking a head unit consider whether or not they offer a 5.1 dolby digi sound processor to work in conjunction with the unit, and leading up to 4. I perfer Alpine units which usually offer higher powered units and more reliability IMO.

3. Amp- Why get better speakers if your not powering them? They will also sound clean and precise with this upgrade. I perfer Alpine because I perfer to keep most everything Alpine and they have small DIGITAL amps but I also like PPI. But I always over power slightly to prevent overheating. Go digital on everything.

4. 5.1 Dolby Digital- If you decide to go this far you will be a badass and probably perfer to listen to the stereo in your car vice your $10000 home stereo . IMO this provides sound that is realer than real if that is possible(sort of like how Blueray ruins porn, but in a good way :shrug:). This unit has the software to automatically adjust to the dimensions of your car and tune the system for you.

5. Sub- If you do not have mids and highs I would not go this far and I personally consider anyone that does, gangstar. I perfer this to be the final step into a reality system. It makes me feel like I am stageside everytime that I get into my car. However, this is not accomplished without all the prior steps and includes a slight overpowering of the system so that the amps do not overheat. There is nothing worse than a portion of the system that overheats and takes you out of the moment. I don't overpower my cars with bass, I only add a reality eliment when purchasing the right sub. In the Elise's case one 10" in the awsome looking SC CF box.

Obviously you will probably need a cap, new battery (kinetik), and a few more items to keep your car from junking out on you if you do all this but IMO why start a project if you are not going to get the most out of it.
 

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Its not the amp or the speakers...its the uninsulated metal box you are riding in. :D

Go try to listen to a stereo inside a large metal container...you'll think the stereo is terrible.

Exactly. In any sound system, the room acoustic and speakers are 90%+ of what your ears experience. The Lotus interior is not quite the inside of a boxcar, but its small, reflective dimensions are too big to be headphones yet too small for, well, natural sound.

I prefer a decat and TopSpeed exhaust. Try getting THAT over the finest sound system! :eek:
 

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1. Speakers- I perfer MB Quartz Q-series but also like Rainbows and Focal just find that money-wise the Q's are a better value. This is first on my list because they will distort less at higher volume, making your whole system of higher value to you.
If you like very bright speakers MBQuart are definantly great stuff. I do not like speakers that bright thus I looked elsewhere even though I did listen to them. There are LOTS of great manufacturers out there, the best bet is to go listen to them due to the manufacturers having different ideas on how a speaker should sound. In addition to Infinity kappa's & kappa perfects I use Image Dynamics Chameleon speakers, awesome midbass!! Polk has always been one of my favorite companies & always heard great things from Rainbow & Focal. Just depends on the $$$ you have to spend.


2. Head Unit- Depending on what unit you buy they provide more overall power to the entire system with a much cleaner sound. When picking a head unit consider whether or not they offer a 5.1 dolby digi sound processor to work in conjunction with the unit, and leading up to 4. I perfer Alpine units which usually offer higher powered units and more reliability IMO.
If you get a external amp, the deck's power is pointless so do not worry about that. You need to worry about how many pre-outs the radio has & if it has sub controlls (that is if you plan on adding one). Also if you like HD Radio or Sirius-XM Radio. Another VERY important thing to look at is how the display looks if the top is off & the radio is getting direct sun. Definantly sucks when you cannot see the display at al due to glare

3. Amp- Why get better speakers if your not powering them? They will also sound clean and precise with this upgrade. I perfer Alpine because I perfer to keep most everything Alpine and they have small DIGITAL amps but I also like PPI. But I always over power slightly to prevent overheating. Go digital on everything.
Alpine amps have always been one of my least favorites, or I should say after I tried them a few times. They are always weak up top & their bass/midbass is also weak. If a Digital amp is what you want, there are other MUCH better options out there. I use old school Adcom amps in my cars..... then again my hatch has enough room for a 3ft amp :)


4. 5.1 Dolby Digital- If you decide to go this far you will be a badass and probably perfer to listen to the stereo in your car vice your $10000 home stereo . IMO this provides sound that is realer than real if that is possible(sort of like how Blueray ruins porn, but in a good way :shrug:). This unit has the software to automatically adjust to the dimensions of your car and tune the system for you.
You do not need 5.1 to get the software to time align the speakers.

5. Sub- If you do not have mids and highs I would not go this far and I personally consider anyone that does, gangstar. I perfer this to be the final step into a reality system. It makes me feel like I am stageside everytime that I get into my car. However, this is not accomplished without all the prior steps and includes a slight overpowering of the system so that the amps do not overheat. There is nothing worse than a portion of the system that overheats and takes you out of the moment. I don't overpower my cars with bass, I only add a reality eliment when purchasing the right sub. In the Elise's case one 10" in the awsome looking SC CF box.
Not sure what overpowering has to do with amp temps staying cool. Power ratings to me are pointless. I am into SQ thus I do not own speakers that need massive power so power ratings of the speakers or amp I do not care about. Usually if a amp does overheat (sub amp usually easier) it's due to the amp clipping. The new Digital amps are cool..... they do not have the SQ of a good class A amp but are MUCH more effecient plus as you know a tiny chassis!!!!


Obviously you will probably need a cap, new battery (kinetik), and a few more items to keep your car from junking out on you if you do all this but IMO why start a project if you are not going to get the most out of it.
Caps are actually known to be a complete waiste of money. I purchased one back when they were suppose to be a necessity & they did help reduce the headlight dimming problem. I would think if effecient class D amps are being used, it might not be needed in a lotus but if a descent sized in-effecient class A or A/B amp is used, I would get one. Easier on the alternator :)

I sold electronics for several years, both home & car audio. None of my vehicles use Alpine. Their quality has gone way down over the years & some other companies offer better built product for many times less money. But it's all just personal preferance. Your best bet is if you want to upgrade your stereo to go play around with different decks from different manufacturers as well as listen to several speaker manufacturers. I would also stay away from the big chain stores, go to the smaller independant shops. They have much better equiptment & also better service :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just as an FYI, I had the passenger seat out this weekend, and it looks like there are some changes for 07's:

The speakers are Alpine "Type-E"'s. The PN for the rears is SPE-1302. They look reasonable enough. I'm guessing these would do better with more, clean power. They are technically 5.5" speakers, not 6+".

The rears have a pretty reasonable baffle built in to the foam. It's a dense, dark grey foam. Not sure if this has been there all along or not, but it's a molded cavity.

Didn't take the fronts apart, but I can see enough to see they are matching Alpines in a smaller size.
 

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Check out Jim Clayton's speaker rings for front speakers. Do a search for speaker rings. They are top quality.
 

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The problem as others have mentioned is that the acoustics are sub optimal.
There is too much noise as well as poor acoustics.

Adding more sound pressure is like putting on deoderant instead of taking shower.
Yeah it covers up the stink - but the stink is still there.

Some sound isolating earphones and an ipod would give you much better sound than speakers because they give you 20+ dB of noise suppression.
The Shure ones with the foam sleeve work well, and are a good way to go.

I measured the sound pressure level in my car and it was not overly quiet.
http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f3/holmz-skoolin-lesson-noise-spl-60235/

Of course you could put in a system just because you want to, but IMO it seems a bit of a waste for such a focussed car.

But to each his own.
Good luck with it, and take care of your hearing.
 

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So what are the recs. to upgrade from the POS Blaupunkt's in my '05 Elise....seems like Polk speakers and JL Stealthbox would do o.k.??
I'm not looking for a beatbox since I track the car....just something more bearable when I drive to work...
 

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I'd agree the acoustics are pretty bad in the Elise. Factor in that I spend a fair amount of time with the top off. Went with something decent- better speakers (bigger in back) and a 40W per channel Alpine amp. Spent under $500 for hardware. Sounds much better then stock and am fine with it.

The other cars went with MB Quart speakers, JL8w6 or a 10" Diamond sub driven by a couple of hundred watts from PPI amps. Wouldn't bother with anything close to that with the Elise.

Listen to the speakers your interested in, do so side by side if you can, go with what you like better.
 

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So what are the recs. to upgrade from the POS Blaupunkt's in my '05 Elise....seems like Polk speakers and JL Stealthbox would do o.k.??
I'm not looking for a beatbox since I track the car....just something more bearable when I drive to work...
if you dont want to use a sub woofer, i would just upgrade all four speaker and head unit, then go get a small light weight 4ch amp to power them, it should sound decent enough :up:
 

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Creative Car Audio and Motorsports in Santa Fe Springs, CA. 562 623 0777 ask for Ryan tell em i referred ya!
 
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