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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I have a 2006 Quattroporte, I've had it about six months (yes, I love it!), and I'm looking to upgrade the audio system. I'd be interesting in any information anyone has about things which work and things which don't work.

When I'm done I want:

1) Better sound (speakers + amp)
2) iPod interface
3) bluetooth phone interface for Treo

I live in the Los Angeles area. Anyone who wants to talk about this, send me email. Thanks!
 

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The iPod \ bluetooth should be pretty straightforward, and any good shop will have a couple of options for you.

The component update is a bit harder. Keep in mind the stereo has a subwoofer under the passenger's feet, in the rear shelf, plus all the other speakers in the car.

What kind of audio upgrades are you looking to do? (ie. what do you want to change - more bass, more fill, cleaner, more adjustment, etc..?)

- Mark
 

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I'm delighted to read that you think the iPod interface will not present any problems. I've spoken to several car audio places in the L.A. area and they don't have good solutions. They've proposed FM modulators (sounds poor) and interfacing via the CD changer (loses the CD changer), and haven't proposed anything really clean (like the Next button on the wheel should advance the iPod to the next song in the current playlist). If you could tell me how you would interface an iPod, or who you know who can do this, that would be great.

Similarly for the bluetooth / phone interface, it seems like something every owner would want, but there doesn't seem a good solution. Ideally it would take over the speakers while you're on a call, and automatically revert to the previous source when you're not. Again, if you could tell me how you would do this, or who you know who can do this, I would be very appreciative. I have a Treo phone, by the way.

As far as the audio system, it really doesn't have high-end sound in my opinion. The bass is weak, vocals are not clear, and overall the system doesn't have enough power. I am not an expert but I know when I'm hearing a great system, and this is not it. For example I own a Lexus Coupe with a Nakamichi system which is far superior to the Maserati; if I could get my QP to sound like the Lexus, I would be happy. I don't know whether installing new speakers would be required, or a new amp, or both. The difficulty is that the system is so integrated with the nav system and the car setup options and everything that you can't just "swap in a new head unit", etc.

I feel sure this is a solved problem because I'm sure Maserati owners are demanding when it comes to audio (I understand Bono of U2 drives one, and I bet he is :) and they are probably willing to spend some money on upgrades, but I haven't been able to find anyone with experience.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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Bluetooth is something I have had installed in probably 10-15 QP's for customers. It depends on what kind of installation you want. They have been find with having a controller box mounted visibly, but if you wanted it hidden somewhere or integrated into the ashtray area for example, it would take a bit longer.

I don't know for sure how my guy sets it up, but it does go over the speakers, and essentially what you end up with is hooking your car up like you do a bluetooth headset, on the phone end.

I actually had a QP set up this last week with both satelite radio and an iPod.

There are a couple of ways to do the iPod. I think the FM modulated version, which is not over the air, rather its like a daisy chain connection through your FM antenna, would probably work. You still tune into a radio station to listen to the iPod, but the sound quality is far better than a real FM modulated OTA source. (Most satellite radio installs use this configuration)

I think on the audio side, your best bet if you want to do anything with upgrades, is probably starting with better speakers. I've worked on the subs in these cars, nothin more. I'm not sure if they use a BMW\Audi-esque amp on speaker design or one remote amp. I'm sure switching the stereo over to a five channel design shouldn't be too hard for a competent shop.

I'm surprised you're having trouble finding a shop in LA, since I've got two guys that have done these for me, and the only difference is what kind of install the customer wants. One guy will also interface the nav screen with a video ipod if you want.

Actually, there is a guy up here, runs a new shop called streamlineaudio. He knows a lot of the better installers in the country, and you might try giving him a shout. His name is Andre Mittelmark, and his store line is 952-944-3262. He may know someone to talk to.

- Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you so much for the info. I'll give Andre a call.

I agree it is weird that I haven't found anyone in L.A. - but I probably just haven't found them yet. On the other hand maybe I'll have to ship my car to Minneapolis :)
 

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progress update!

In case anyone else is interested, I have made some progress on upgrading the audio system in my Quattroporte.

First, I've spoken with the above-mentioned Andre Mittelmark (952-944-3262). He's a good guy located in the Minneapolis area, so if anyone is near that area and needs help, please call Andre.

Andre referred me to three companies closer to Los Angeles:
-- Benchmark Audio / Seattle - Derek (425-614-4100)
-- Signature Audio / Phoenix - David (480-922-8180)
-- La Jolla Car Audio / San Diego - Scott (858-581-6545)

I have spoken with each of these companies and they are all sending me proposals.

It turns out there are ways to connect an iPod digitally to the head unit, it is NOT necessary to use an FM modulator. This results in better sound quality. One way is to connect via the TV interface in the head unit; since American versions of the QP don't have TVs, this isn't normally used, but it does have full audio and video capability for connecting virtually anything.

{ It is apparently possible to interface a different navigation system, Sirius or XM radio, a backup camera, etc. all via this interface... }

There are also off-the-shelf solutions for bluetooth phone connections. These typically interrupt sound to the speakers and substitute sound from the phone, which can be done without affecting the head unit.

As far as improving the sound quality, the first thing to do is to replace all the speakers. It isn't clear yet whether I'm going to add any speakers, or just substitute higher quality speakers in the factory locations. The locations are pretty good - including a subwoofer in the back deck - so it might not be necessary to add any new ones. Next, it is possible to use a new amplifier between the head unit and the speakers. This preserves the head unit as the source of all audio, which is both good (retains all the functionality, like steering wheel volume control) and bad (some of the poor sound quality is because of the head unit). Bypassing the head unit entirely is apparently also possible, but convoluted, and I probably won't do that.

Anyway please stay tuned for more - I am still at the talking / proposal stage, but I am encouraged that there are knowledgeable people out there who understand what to do. We all know the Maserati is a fantastic car for driving, apparently it can be a great car for listening, too :)
 

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I forgot to look at how old this was, but i just want to let you know that i have done one 3 times... Long story, but he kept wanting more vs, him going with it all at once like I wanted.

Anyways to do an audio input on the tv input, you will be very disappointed, it sounds very bad. The head unit is a simple piece to intgrate into since it is a BlauPunkt unit and has 4 channels out with a flat response on all four channels. even at max volume.

Everything we did in the vehicle was made so that it would go back to stock. that meant no cutting anything. the subwoofer mount is suspended from the rear deck via a tubular steel frame, also the CD Changer and electronics also. no holes were cut or steel drilled. Yes it sucks to remove the rear deck, be prepared to spend some time on that! Audio can be spliced in on the CD changer, just record 0 bits on a cdand insert it into disc 1, play disc one and use a toggle to switch the input into the factory unit. It would of meant designing a wire harness for it ( we don't cut the factory wires) and really wasn't worth our time seeing we used a Rockford Fosgate 360.2 anyways for a processor (didn't really need that either, but the customer is gadget freak) it has an aux in with a remote volume control.

All in all here is the list of mods

Activated the video input
bypassed the can bus interface into the factory unit to display video while in motion
added sirius
iPod
Bluetooth
6-Disc DVD changer
Alpine PDX amplifiers
MB Quart speakers
JL audio sub
K-40 Radar detector Laser defuser
Simonized
clear ventureshield custom bra


Anyways the factory system sounds horrid, we scrapped everything, the amp has microphone inputs that no matter what shapes the signal according to the cabin noise... and it sounds like crap

Everything i read from Maserati and Bose about the system make it sound like it was so great, and use of lightweight materials. Geuss what? we added about 80 lbs to the vehicle and it still hauls arse!

We had some stipulations from the begining. As he needs his LV travel bag to go in the trunk, car cover, and if he wants to put his golf clubs in... he can

The vehicle was trashed when we got it, So we detailed it also.

Here is the link to some pics from my website:

http://www.esotericsoundandperformance.com/index.php?set_albumName=album33&option=com_gallery&Itemid=&include=view_album.php

the write up of it is on the home page of the gallery section.


Also since then I merged with a Benz and Porsche dealer, So I work out of the dealership. Any questions feel free to contact me. Jim Shields 440.716.2720 x 5013. I am usually there, but I have several vehicles that need to out of production by the end of the week so leave a message.
 

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I further want to state that the Factory Navigation is hideous... it is like a 1990 version...

If he keeps the vehicle next year we wil change the LCD screen out in the unit, reverse RGB it, and interface an Alpine screen in the factory unit. Allowing us to have touchscreen capability for all aftermarket options, and being able to switch back to the factory screens to view the factory information. And then the Alpine Navigation goes in.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jim thank you very much for the information. I will definitely give you a call. I'm in the information gathering stage as you can see and more information is very helpful, especially your note that the TV interface does not yield good audio quality. Talk to you soon!
 

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No problem. Honest opinion of the install that we did though? I can take cticism :) I rather hear it from Maserati owners And as the trunk goes, sure i wish I could of done things differently, but that damn bag had to go in it:rolleyes:
 
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