Upgrading the factory stereo
As with any fully integrated factory system, upgrading the stereo is tricky business. It can be done, but I hope you learn from my mistakes.
I don't have the Auditorium system. I began my stereo upgrade by rather innocently changing out the mid bass and tweeter drivers in the front doors with MB Quart units. Having done this sort of thing many times before, albiet not recently, I was very confident in my ability to do it right. Well, the entire system stopped working a couple of weeks after my upgrade. I couldn't imagine that a simple speaker upgrade could be responsible. Well, I'm afraid speaker compatibility technology has gone beyond me. It turns out that the separate crossover employed by the MB Quarts were, "Fooling," the factory amp into thinking there were twice as many speakers in the front, which was causing it to turn off. I'm told that the NIT unit is parceled with the factory amplifier, so it is unclear whether the NIT was damaged also (The NIT is the hardware that drives the InfoCentre's functions). The end result was that the factory amp was unable to drive just about any quality after-market product. If you saw the quality of the drivers in my non-Auditorium equipped car, you would understand that anybody with audiophile tendencies could never be happy!
Given this dilemma, I had an aftermarket stereo installer, recommended by the dealer, install a 6 channel JL Audio amplifier. They took the low level signal from the NIT/Amp module (located under the center arm rest) and rewired the system to the new amp and speakers. We kept the MB's in the doors, and upgraded the 5& 1/4's on the rear parcel shelf to coaxial Alpine drivers. We left the rear left and right panel speakers alone. Finally, I added an Infinity Basslink powered subwoofer in the trunk to carry some of the low end that the stock system doesn't naturally create because of the lack of a suitable enclosure. The sound is a significant improvement over the stock system, with much more stereo separation and, "Musicality," if that makes any sense to you.
The cost of the upgrade was about $1,500.00 including the MB's I put in. It was not without headache. The NIT module is very sensitive from what I'm told. The installers, despite routinely working on cars costing multiples of what ours does, sliced the black lower upholstered panel on the rear passenger side and chipped the burl trim piece (which must come off to get any panel off the car). They stand by their work, and the new parts are on their way, no questions asked. I suppose if this type of work is going to be performed, in small places by big people, this sort of thing can happen. On balance, I'm very happy that I decided to do the upgrade, because going backwards and re-installing the factory speakers just seemed wrong. Keep in mind, I am an avocational musician, enjoy a reference quality sound system at home, and have a home recording studio. Thus, I approach these things with a bit more, shall we say, "Enthusiasm," than others.
Feel free to contact me should you have any additional questions.