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Cars with best factory stereo
Cars with best factory stereo
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Old 22nd January 2021, 01:35 AM   #1
TychoBrahe is offline TychoBrahe  United States
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Location: Nashville, TN
Default Cars with best factory stereo

I'm in the market for a new car. This is going to sound weird and maybe ill-advised, but I'm willing to let the quality of the car's factory stereo help determine what car I purchase.

For my past new vehicles, within months of purchase I've replaced the factory system and installed a new amp, Mini-DSP, speakers, Subwoofer. But I chose to leave the factory system in place because commonly, it's so tied in with the rest of the car (tire pressure, energy reports and gauges, GPS). In my last install, I used the Mini-DSP to try to correct for the factory unit's deficiencies (with mixed results).

In test driving cars, I find the factory systems to be, at most, adequate. And often they fatigue my ears quickly. I just want good or great sound (and loud is good as well - a quiet car noise level always helps immensely as well).

I'm at the age now where I'm a little tired and would just rather buy something that had a great stereo built-in that I could live with happily. I realize that one way to go would be to pay some local shop to install something for me. I'm keeping that in mind, but it would be more expensive than sticking with a great factory system (if such a thing exists).

Lastly, I've tried to research this myself but haven't had great luck. The best I can determine is that car manufacturers don't think a purchaser of a non-luxury car would enjoy quality non-fatiguing sound. Those are out of my range. I suppose something in the 30 grand (but not 40) range is my limit.

Anything come to mind? Maybe I'm asking too much (nothing exists in that price range)? The Mazda 3 seems to get good reviews for the 12 speaker Bose system, but I haven't had a chance to test drive it yet.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 02:04 AM   #2
bajjisw is offline bajjisw  United States
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I've been pleasantly surprised by the factory stereos of used lexus and bmw.

1997 lx 450
2006 330i - factory upgraded sound

Stating the obvious - Much different use cases

And yes, some gluing of speaker cones
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Old 22nd January 2021, 02:58 AM   #3
phase is offline phase  United States
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Iíll second what he said. ^^

Really havenít heard anything great, just not as offensive.
Iíve had some luck with hacking the head unit, and adding an amp, but itís a simple two channel system, no dsp or subs.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 03:56 AM   #4
Cal Weldon is offline Cal Weldon  Canada
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Cars with best factory stereo
An auto sound system is a collection of compromises so I can’t get on board with your way of thinking. Not only will it never sound as good as your dedicated listening environment, no other listening environment changes like your car does.

Windows open, windows closed, high speed or slow, downtown or country road, you can’t have it all.

One of the features I enjoy in both the Escape and the Edge are the equalizer and adjustable, speed dependent volume. I am sure most new cars offer this so use your smarts and pick the car that suits you best. The sound system will automatically sound better if you like your ride.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 12:22 PM   #5
miniman82 is offline miniman82  United States
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Itís far easier to add stereo equipment you like than replace an engine youíre unsatisfied with, or a drivers seat which causes you back pain...
Gear I use: Tektronix 475 Oscilloscope, Lambda LA-200 Power Supply, Rat Shack DMM, 100w homebrew resistive dummy load, 20 Years Experience as a Navy Aviation Electrician
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Old 23rd January 2021, 09:31 AM   #6
IceFyre13th is offline IceFyre13th  United States
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Location: AZ, you know where the car audio companies are.
I hate the Bose system in my Mazda 3.....buzzes and rattles to no end, and the Bose center point and Audio-pilot settings just make things worse.

Good news on the Bose system is the amp has all the BS Bose stuff in it and the signal lines going to it are differential. So its a relatively easy upgrade to aftermarket amps and speakers.

There is a whole write up on the wiring here:

2014-2018* Mazda 3 & Mazda 6 w/BOSE Full System Breakdown/Analysis | 2004 to 2020 Mazda 3 Forum and Mazdaspeed 3 Forums
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Old 23rd January 2021, 11:04 AM   #7
poldaaudio is offline poldaaudio
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Good luck with that. Modern car audio is almost universally bad. People these days are pretty f%$#ing stupid and all they need to find satisfaction in their car audio is that the bass is like fullie sik bro and totes devastatin. To satisfy the average retard, it just needs to go doong doong dong dong duurrrrrrppppp duuurrrrpppp doong doong doong doong doof doof doof, and the car makers deliberately tune their systems to deliver just that, thereby engineering a heap of s^%t.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 11:26 AM   #8
zerokelvin99 is offline zerokelvin99  United Kingdom
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If you want great audio in a car - go electric.

The reduction in noise floor can't be understated as a major driver in quality.

Otherwise, go for the biggest, heaviest most 'luxury' saloon and customise from there. They have the best NVH management to start with.
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Old 9th February 2021, 02:42 PM   #9
TychoBrahe is offline TychoBrahe  United States
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Location: Nashville, TN
I very much appreciate everyone's comments. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but the news is kind of depressing. Since I'm leaning toward a new car and can't afford luxury models, I think my best option might be to, here we go again, install new equipment to whatever car I purchase. Or hire a company to do it.

A darn shame that the majority don't value good sound while they drive. And they drive the sales. It's all about accessibility and connectivity now. Well hell, maybe they never cared. And I've never expected great sound due to the environment - just good sound. Though, you test drive a cars and it's bordering on poor and fatiguing.
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Old 9th February 2021, 03:12 PM   #10
mcandmar is offline mcandmar  Ireland
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Luxury car makers used to offer upgraded systems. I have a 1998 Jaguar XJR with the optional "premium" sound system by Harmon Kardon which is a four driver system with a dedicated amplifier, a sub woofer in rear parcel shelf, and two tweeters located on the A pillars. I am convinced whoever calibrated the system listened to classical music as it just sounds great, its permanently set to a local classical music radio station. .....i never used to listen to classical music until i bought this car
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