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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Because there are so many threads on ipod or other upgrades, here is my counter.

I run a stereo at home that costs almost as much as the car. I find the Auditorium upgrade to be neck and neck with most high quality car installations. And bear in mind that no car stereo is ever going to be right. The fact is that balance is wrong for any one seat in the car. Stereo means sitting on one corner of an equilateral triangle with the two speakers at the other corners. All car stereos are flawed against that basic fact.

What I did to make the software end of the system work is to burn a set of 80 minute CDs of music I like. That means when I put one CD into the unit I get 80 minutes - one hour and 20 minutes - of uninterrupted high quality music. Depending on the disc I might scramble the sequence or not.

As for the pathological need to use ipod. Why don't you drive your car and stop worrying about seeing the tune printed on the screen? If you are actually driving the car, your eyes should be on the road, and your ears on the exhaust note. And if you don't know what you are listening to without seeing it printed on a screen, are you deaf?

So If you have Auditorium system, there is no need to upgrade. Just burn CDs you like.
 

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This is a joke right?

Well utlimately it is each to his own I guess.

IMO - The A200 system is one the worst sound systems I have ever heard - it is truly unuseable. If you really think this POS sounds as good as a $50K home system than I would put forth (without malice) there is something seriously wrong at home - I suggest you get a sound consultant to help you.

I don't mean to be dismissive but the A200 sounds BAD by any measure. I have been an audiophile of sorts for 25 years and I too have a pretty soild home system (Sonus Faber Guarneris with McIntosh tube electronics and a room optimized by Rives). The system in most rental cars is beter than the A200 and there is no comparison whatsoever to my home set up. The system in my Infiniti (24 bit burr brown DAC with Bose electronics and JBL speakers) is light years better than the A200 but again is not even remotely close to the home set up.

The A200 is loud but it is also harsh, metallic and bright with no staging, warmth or depth - I have never used it since I bought the car.

I would suggest that you look at the posts by one of the girls on here (I can't remember her handle but I am sure you could find it if your did a search). She dissambled the speakers ans replaced them and the OEM quality was self evident by her photos - that is to say abysmal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Flash? Staging - In a car?

You don't know what staging is. You missed my whole point.

There is no need to be insulting. Contemplate the possibility that you are tone deaf.
 

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I too agree with the fact that the A200 is nothing to write home about. The wife's M35 and Audi A4 are far superior to this system.
 

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Auditorium stereo is great...

Because there are so many threads on ipod or other upgrades, here is my counter.

I run a stereo at home that costs almost as much as the car. I find the Auditorium upgrade to be neck and neck with most high quality car installations. And bear in mind that no car stereo is ever going to be right. The fact is that balance is wrong for any one seat in the car. Stereo means sitting on one corner of an equilateral triangle with the two speakers at the other corners. All car stereos are flawed against that basic fact.

So If you have Auditorium system, there is no need to upgrade. Just burn CDs you like.
Well utlimately it is each to his own I guess.

I don't mean to be dismissive but the A200 sounds BAD by any measure. I have been an audiophile of sorts for 25 years and I too have a pretty soild home system (Sonus Faber Guarneris with McIntosh tube electronics and a room optimized by Rives). The system in most rental cars is beter than the A200 and there is no comparison whatsoever to my home set up. The system in my Infiniti (24 bit burr brown DAC with Bose electronics and JBL speakers) is light years better than the A200 but again is not even remotely close to the home set up.

The A200 is loud but it is also harsh, metallic and bright with no staging, warmth or depth - I have never used it since I bought the car.

I would suggest that you look at the posts by one of the girls on here (I can't remember her handle but I am sure you could find it if your did a search). She dissambled the speakers ans replaced them and the OEM quality was self evident by her photos - that is to say abysmal.
Gents,

I too enjoy some fairly good quality hi-fi at home.

The sound system in my Coupe was never top of my priorities, but I noted when I first drove the car that the sound was indeed a bit disappointing - I had to check I actually have the Auditorium upgrade (I do).

However, I really haven't made much effort to adjust and try to optimize it - I'm too busy enjoying the car to worry too much - but I haven't dismissed the possibility of doing so to get a reasonable sound.

Bottom line is I tend to see both the points made above; yes, the Auditorium has underwhelmed me but if anyone out there can confirm it can be tweaked then I'm all ears (no pun intended). This is a topic I will be interested to hear opinions on.

Dave
 

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You don't know what staging is. You missed my whole point.

There is no need to be insulting. Contemplate the possibility that you are tone deaf.
Well, again it is personal opinion but I must stress that there was no insult intended - I apologize - I should have worded my post differenty.

But, perhaps you are right and maybe I am really tone deaf. The odd part is that every person that has ever heard my car system has provided the exact same feedback - all unsolicited.

On a related note, your comment that I "don't know what staging is" because it is in a car is not shared by one of the most respected audio reviewers in the world - Michael Fremer of Stereophile. In the April 2005 issue, he reviewed the ML Lexus system and noted that "Both front and rear passengers will experience remarkably stable, focused, three dimensional soundstaging: one created above and beyond the dashboard and the other almost miraculously thanks to the proprietary digital signal processing, just behind the front seats".

I don't recall anyone ever making that comment about the A200.

http://issuu.com/gerry666/docs/stereophile.magazine.may.2005/33
 

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iPod vs. CD's

With an iPod you can scroll through songs and find what you feel like at the moment, select specific playlists for the drive, and you have literally THOUSANDS of songs to choose from. I can do all that safely, or more often than not, my wife in the passenger seat plays DJ.

CD's can't.

Nolo contendere. :cool:
 

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Flash,

I don't even have the A200. I don't believe the coupe guys can know how truly bad the stereo is in the Spyders. Once past 40 mph, the wind and road noise (top up or down) totally overwhelm speaker volume. A battery operated boom box tuned to an AM station, sitting on the passenger seat, would have better quality and volume than my stock system.

Thanks goodness this car isn't my DD. ;)
 

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I think it is all relative - my 02 CC had the basic sound system and there can be no doubt, as recorded in other threads, it was very poor in terms of sound quality (and that the radio reception was woeful).

I have heard other factory upgrades (e.g. Bose in Audi) and also found the quality of the sound to be rather poor - guess that's why there is a market for custom installations.

My GS has the auditorium upgrade and ,as someone who has spent money on custom ICE installations in the past, I am relieved to note that I find it "acceptable", at least to the point where I don't feel the need to have someone carve-up the trim and replace the system.

If you really demand an attempt at "audiophile quality" music in a car you need a very quiet car and plenty of cash to throw at a custom installation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Still like the Auditorium...

I started this post because I feel that the remarks regarding the Auditorium stereo are overdone. I still feel that way. I think prospective owners should at least know that the stereo opinion may be that of a vocal subgroup, or at least give it a chance before you assume it is wrong.

To Big Foot's point about playing nice, I agree, but if you are posting that the stereo is a "POS," and I have seen a lot of that beyond this thread, then try to be more specific about your complaint. Big Foot, what do you think about that?

I did have the opportunity of running my stereo without the Auditorium amplifier and I did find the result to be less satisfactory, but serviceable. I was happy to have the amplifier back. If you do not have the Auditorium system, you might want to consider that as an upgrade.

With respect to iPod, it is often noted that iPod files are compressed more than, and suffer a loss of fidelity compared to, CDs. If you rip the tracks from CD and have selected "lossless" formats, then this problem can be mitigated. Otherwise it seems strange to argue for an upgraded stereo which will be connected to a downgraded source.

I like my 80 minute CDs, and I still think it is a great idea for anyone who does not care to get into the hassles of aftermarket stereos.

As for the staging, Stereophile is not the last word for me. They frequently offer opinions that do not mesh with my own. My experience on cars systems, including Maserati, is that multiple speaker systems create an unnatural experience. I thought the original Bose audio system in Nissan with the four coaxial drivers, one in each door and two in the back lid, was as good as almost anything I have heard since.
 

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If your ever in Atlanta, come by and i'll let you here a set of $5000.00 Focal car speakers, I can guarantee you'll change your mind. As far as staging goes, digital processing, time correction, etc. can take care of all that. There are alot of factory systems that sound descent, but most sound like crap once you crank the volume due to bass compensation circuits, speed dependent volume, auto equalization, etc.. High volume (high speed driving, loud exhaust, etc.) is where aftermarket equipment is far superior. Not to mention all the extra features of aftermarket equipment.
 

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if you are posting that the stereo is a "POS," and I have seen a lot of that beyond this thread, then try to be more specific about your complaint
You are of course right Coupe - generalizations are not very helpfull, however, like BCube stated, the stereo in the Spyder is unbelievably bad (hence my assessment that it is a POS). The specific issue is that it sounds flat (no depth) and sterile (way too much glare and HF energy even if the bass is up and treble attenuated). Personnally, I cannot listen to it at any reasonable volume that is required to overcome wind, road and exhaust noise without my ears quickly becoming very sore and even ringing. It sounds like a very cheap, very low quality (but very loud) home system set up in a concrete room without carpets or furniture.

I really do not think going to a higher resolution source will remedy any of these problems - in fact my experience is that they tend to make tonal imbalance problems far worse because they contain more detail and HF content.

Trying to turn this thread in to something more productive - Has anyone had luck leaving the A200 electronics intact but changing to higher quality speakers (like Focals)?
 

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To keep cost down, we do add amplifiers and upgrade speakers to existing source units. This takes care of alot of the high volume problems, although most of our customers prefer to change out the whole system to gain better features and tunability of the aftermarket equipment, and it can also be done tastefully to maintain a factory appearance.
 

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I have to say that I am with Flash on this one. I had a coupe with the Auditorium for 2 years and for what was a £1000 upgrade it was truly shocking. It had no depth at all, poor uncontrolled bass, bright mid range and treble that was simply impossible to listen to at remotely high volumes for any length of time, I simply couldn't believe how bad it was. Whilst I am no audiophile I do enjoy well balanced and resolved sound and this certainly wasn't it. My home system is modest by the standards of Flash (Myriad and Monitor Audios) but frankly I do not see how a sensible comparison could be made.

As my car was a daily driver I decided to see what would happen if I replaced the fronts with a set of Morel components and couldn't believe the difference. The Morels had good staging and were very accomplished at giving a clean neutral mid-range and integrated treble. They didn't have masses of bass but that is in a large part due to the mounting constraints, but it was certainly adequate and light years ahead of the OEM. They did show up deficiencies in the amp but in general I was happy with the overall improvement. I would have replaced the rear shelf speakers with something better had it been easy to access them but as it was I frankly couldn't face all the hassle.

Coupe, the audio in the 4200 Masers has long been considered dreadful, standard or Auditorium, which is why we are all surprised to read your comments. Could it be that the speakers in your system have been swapped out for something better? Otherwise I am at a loss to understand. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Interesting. How Much Were The Morels?

I appreciate your perspective.

For whatever it is worth, my reference system is Accuphase DP-67 CD with Bryston 7B monoblocks and Thiel CS 3.6 speakers. I love that and some people do not. So maybe it is just personal.

I said the Auditorium system is "great" and perhaps there was some confusion; it is not the equal of my home stereo. However it is not "bad" in my opinion. On the contrary it is very good as far as I am concerned. About as good as the Bose system in my 2002 Maxima and better than the JBL system in my Sienna. Also I do not perceive a better result in my friends' German vehicles or other factory systems, except that it is not as good as the Bose system I had in my 1991 Maxima. Having said that, I will assume if you want to put several thousand dollars into an upgrade you can do better.

The 1,000 GBP is high for the Auditorium option compared to what I paid. I pulled out my 04 sticker and it listed for 820 USD. But I bought it off the lot so it really was about 664 USD. Even at today's exchange rate the GBP price is nearly twice as much. Sorry. I commented above that I had the Auditorium amp out due to a problem with it and I can tell you that it was easily worth 664 USD as an upgrade.

I described the base system as serviceable, by which I mean that I would and did use it. If someone is unhappy with the base system, I still recommend they listen to the Auditorium in another car, get a price for it, and compare that with the price of an aftermarket solution.

I think your proposed change to the speakers might result in improvement. I would even consider it myself. How much were the Morels? If you could provide the exact model number it would save anyone looking to go that way some time.
 

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So how do we fix it?

So here's the question: Knowing that the Auditorium system isn't the best OEM system going (but certainly not the worst either), what are the best NIT settings to optimize it?

Now I know sound is a personal preference, your mileage may vary, etc., but I'm curious how other drivers have set up their systems. Coupe - what are the best settings? Flash - what are least shitty? :D

Best -
 

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Auditorium stereo is great...

I'm with BillWolk on this one - the consensus is that the Auditorium upgrade is not exactly great. OK, as I said above I don't disagree with that.
But what I'm interested in hearing from the forum and what would make this really valuable as a thread is what has been done to improve the existing system (short of replacing it of course). Some have already provided that kind of feedback - keep it coming, more of the same please! :) Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
How to use the Auditorium System

Audio Settings

Bass and treble: Flat.
Balance: Alone, slightly to right. With sensitive passenger, center.
Speed Dependent Volume: Middle. This feature adds the most benefit in stop and go situations. I find it is good for city driving. It doesn't matter on highway trips.

Sources

If you have an FM station that you like, FM is a great option. That is tough for popular music which is heavy on the commercials. For jazz and classical there are often great programs available. If you want to check on your area, use the following:

http://www.radio-locator.com/cgi-bin/home

CD: As I said, burning 80 minute CDs minimizes the need to futz with the player while driving. I make some CDs based on artist, and some based on genre. So I get in the car and pick either "Jazz Vocals" or "Ella Fitzgerald." Because many of my trips do not last 80 minutes, I will often play the disc in random order to avoid listening to the same first 10 tracks.
 

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So here's the question: Knowing that the Auditorium system isn't the best OEM system going (but certainly not the worst either), what are the best NIT settings to optimize it?

Now I know sound is a personal preference, your mileage may vary, etc., but I'm curious how other drivers have set up their systems. Coupe - what are the best settings? Flash - what are least shitty? :D

Best -
The "least shitty" for me is balance neutral, bass up a bit, treble down a lot, and volume low.
 
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