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Discussion Starter #1
Thinking how to upgrade the audio in terms of amp, speakers, and sub. Avoiding ordering the proprietary and usually disappointing Bose. First Chevy and first EV, so appreciate thoughts on this. Looking for a balance of preserving cargo and interior space, decent quality sound - not top end - but with bass and something to make the commuting more tolerable.
 

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Welcome to the forum! I'm not one for modifying a vehicle so I can't help you in the audio department. The stock speakers can't be that bad, can it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you! Looking forward to this first EV as a lifelong car lover! Every one of my vehicles has had tasteful, and fairly extensive modifications, all with an OEM or OEM+ look. Have redesigned and built front and rear bumpers, track parts, etc. But not for the commuter. I've "only" done engine mods and better tires for the car the Bolt will replace, a VW GTI. Yes, there is plenty of anxiety about how I'll fair in no season low rolling resistance tires, no sport/lowered suspension, or AWD. But first things first! How are the tunes going to sound?? : ) Anything beyond elevator music at low volumes generally requires a better amp and subwoofer of some sort for me. Wonder what's under that trunk floor.... looks like there's plenty of space in there without the (hopefully, future) AWD module and motor behind the battery...
 

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If you lift up the cargo area floor, it looks like you get and extra 3 inches or depth for cargo? Hard to judge from a picture and it should still be there even in an AWD variant.

From the sounds of your past mod experience, I'm sure you'll be able to easily install a new set of premium speakers in there.
 

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Maybe go with a false floor setup ?? Should be able to get some nice sound out of some shallow mounts and call it day ? Retain space and still have some bump in your trunk lol
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, I'm thinking one (or two) of the (relatively weak) slim powered subs meant for tight spaces, under seats, etc. Some are only about 2.5" in depth, to mount on the rear seat back or the back of the hatch floor. Looking more for cargo space than boom boom, but definitely some natural bass and some ability to handle tha beats, in conjunction with some decent separates up front. Will be looking for an especially efficient and slim line amplifier.
 

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Danger...

Yeah, I'm thinking one (or two) of the (relatively weak) slim powered subs meant for tight spaces, under seats, etc. Some are only about 2.5" in depth, to mount on the rear seat back or the back of the hatch floor. Looking more for cargo space than boom boom, but definitely some natural bass and some ability to handle tha beats, in conjunction with some decent separates up front. Will be looking for an especially efficient and slim line amplifier.
I initially used an underseat sub in my Ford C-Max and it was awful. There was way too much midbass thanks to factory equalization, and by the time you lowered the crossover point to where it wasn't a problem, you'd gone lower than the tiny underseat box was capable of playing!

Ultimately my setup ended up like this: an Audison Bit Ten sound processor to remove factory EQ and substitute my own EQ (it also gave me line-out for a sub), an amp for the four speakers, an amp for the sub, two pairs of JL Audio component speakers (level 5 I think? nice ones), dynamat in the doors, and a Pioneer pancake sub & enclosure in the back.

Does it sound good? Yes, especially after a year of obsessive EQ tweaking. Does it sound good enough to justify my total expense? Absofreakinglutely not.

If I had to do it again, I'd buy the upgraded factory stereo option, and leave it the heck alone other than perhaps to add a powered sub like a Bazooka, Infinity BassLink, or JL Audio MicroSub.

All that said, I'm curious to see how deep the Bolt's trunk well is, and whether the Bose system includes a sub.
 

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Haven't had any experience with underseat subs to be honest, but I have heard the slim pioneer sub and it was fairly decent. That being said, to get a clean setup with a clean output, the price is usually unjustifiable lol, it's always a major hit that you wish you didn't take but you did anyways.

The depth of the trunk and space available is really what's going to make the difference. Maybe something like an oem audio plus setup in the corner or something ?

 

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Haven't had any experience with underseat subs to be honest, but I have heard the slim pioneer sub and it was fairly decent. That being said, to get a clean setup with a clean output, the price is usually unjustifiable lol, it's always a major hit that you wish you didn't take but you did anyways.

The depth of the trunk and space available is really what's going to make the difference. Maybe something like an oem audio plus setup in the corner or something ?

Since all I care for is sound quality along with just wanting to hear detailed bass, going for something like this shallow mount subwoofer from Pioneer might be it for me:





That along with upgrading the speakers and tweeters in the door should help for overall bass while maintaining quality.

No sound competition setup here :D
 

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Replacing the existing speakers and tweeters is going to be the more economical choice for a better sound, feel like extreme sound mod costs too much to be worth it unless you plan to sell a car for profit.
 

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Extreme sound mods unfortunately won't even increase the value of the car at all, it'll probably decrease the value cause you were tampering with it lol

But in terms of speakers and tweeter changes, I'm all for Focal. Having experience with those products, they are mind blasting, even they're entry level line of products. Just need a decent amp to run them.
 

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If you do a basic setup it won't cost or lose you anything, you just wont get anything for it once ready to sell the car.

But most people I know yank any subwoofer and amps they add and keep it for their next vehicle.

On that point about replacing the speakers and tweeters, does anyone here have recommendations?
 

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Learn from my mistake: don't start with speakers.

Replacing the existing speakers and tweeters is going to be the more economical choice for a better sound, feel like extreme sound mod costs too much to be worth it unless you plan to sell a car for profit.
Twenty years ago, you'd start with the speakers, but today it's the opposite. Manufacturers no longer install 1-way 3" paper speakers. The speakers in any mid-level factory stereo today (e.g. the unbranded systems with separate tweeters and good-size woofers but no external amp or sub---like you'd find on an "SE" or "LT1" type model) don't sound bad, are rated for 25 watts or so, and are matched with a factory EQ curve specifically for those exact speakers.

So listen to my car audio shop, like I should have done, and upgrade progressively in the following order. Start with a small digital amp on the factory speakers for better clarity and dynamic range. Not enough? Add a powered sub for more bass.

Not enough? Only then upgrade the door speakers. But understand you may be in for another $800 if you do, in order to buy & install & tune a sound processor, because many factory stereos are now equalized for the factory speakers and any other speakers in that system are going to sound peculiar unless you can compensate. You also want the powered sub and the amp already in place because many aftermarket speakers today actually have LESS bass than factory speakers, since aftermarket manufacturers assume you're using a sub; and are less efficient than factory speakers and so require an amp for acceptable performance.

Granted, if you're leasing and want the car to appear untouched, it's tempting to start by replacing the door speakers and hoping for the best, as I initially did...but learn from me, because that turned out to be a terrible idea.
 

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I ended up going with Focal K2 series speakers in my doors with an amp and had great results.. Granted it costed me approximately $1200. Loved it either way. It's all about quality and knowing which speakers you're going with and what amp pairs well. Tweeters, Mids, Mid-drivers, etc. Having the right components that work with each other and you'll get a good setup. Throwing anything that fits in there, then you will run into issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I did not order the audio upgrade, planning to replace the stock system. Talking with the most experienced guy at the best car audio shop around, the advice I got was actually to start with replacing nothing, but adding dynamat or other sound dampening first. Adds about 6#/door for dynamat (I'm considering other lighter options). Quite fair advice coming from someone whose business revolves around selling and installing car audio components. He knows that I won't tolerate a system without some type of sub but it was good advice for many here whose music isn't as bass heavy. Some efficient speakers driven by a small class D amp and my sub would be next. Trying to figure out if there's any more efficient amp setup than a digital class D amp for not siphoning off any more range than necessary, if anyone has any ideas?

My experience in doing what HotPotato suggested above (adding a sub to the "upgraded" factory system in hopes of not overspending) in my current GTI that the Bolt will replace has been that I wished I'd spent a bit more up front. I know there are some nice factory upgraded systems out there, but all my experiences to date with Bose and Dynaudio factory systems were complete letdowns. Adding a small sub to the dynaudio in the GTI for example wasn't enough bass and particularly disappointing overall with the dollars spent on the factory "upgrade" as the weak "upgraded" amp and proprietary setup runs out of musical steam constantly. Embarrassingly poor sound. Feels like money wasted on a compromise. 7 years of weak music has its own cost!

The Bolt has some nice interior room, but is narrower along the lines of a Honda Fit, compared to my squatter GTI. Kids have golf bags and other equipment that may require keeping as much "width" in the trunk as possible to lie them down sideways, into the little "indents" on the side of the hatch. That's why I wasn't planning on further narrowing the hatch by doing an OEM plus sub into the corner. Still thinking about replacing the hatch floor with a more space efficient rectangular trunk well than the no spare tire circular well...fortunately the car audio place has a machine shop!
 

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It would be cool to see someone start off with dynamat and give their feedback from what that does with the stock setup and then work incrementally up to upgrading the speakers and tweeters, then an amp and sub.
 

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It would be cool to see someone start off with dynamat and give their feedback from what that does with the stock setup and then work incrementally up to upgrading the speakers and tweeters, then an amp and sub.
Yeah. I dynamatted my doors, partly in the vain hope that the overactive midbass was just door resonance, but nope; in my case it was a waste of money. But every car is different.
 

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I did not order the audio upgrade, planning to replace the stock system. Talking with the most experienced guy at the best car audio shop around, the advice I got was actually to start with replacing nothing, but adding dynamat or other sound dampening first. Adds about 6#/door for dynamat (I'm considering other lighter options). Quite fair advice coming from someone whose business revolves around selling and installing car audio components. He knows that I won't tolerate a system without some type of sub but it was good advice for many here whose music isn't as bass heavy. Some efficient speakers driven by a small class D amp and my sub would be next. Trying to figure out if there's any more efficient amp setup than a digital class D amp for not siphoning off any more range than necessary, if anyone has any ideas?

My experience in doing what HotPotato suggested above (adding a sub to the "upgraded" factory system in hopes of not overspending) in my current GTI that the Bolt will replace has been that I wished I'd spent a bit more up front. I know there are some nice factory upgraded systems out there, but all my experiences to date with Bose and Dynaudio factory systems were complete letdowns. Adding a small sub to the dynaudio in the GTI for example wasn't enough bass and particularly disappointing overall with the dollars spent on the factory "upgrade" as the weak "upgraded" amp and proprietary setup runs out of musical steam constantly. Embarrassingly poor sound. Feels like money wasted on a compromise. 7 years of weak music has its own cost!

The Bolt has some nice interior room, but is narrower along the lines of a Honda Fit, compared to my squatter GTI. Kids have golf bags and other equipment that may require keeping as much "width" in the trunk as possible to lie them down sideways, into the little "indents" on the side of the hatch. That's why I wasn't planning on further narrowing the hatch by doing an OEM plus sub into the corner. Still thinking about replacing the hatch floor with a more space efficient rectangular trunk well than the no spare tire circular well...fortunately the car audio place has a machine shop!
There's a lightweight dynamat option called "Dynamat Superlite" 30% lighter 30% thinner

http://www.dynamat.com/automotive-and-transportation/car-audio/superlite/
 

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I'm thinking of putting a 10" low profile sub in the cargo well, with an amp. Replace the plastic cargo well cover with a wood one, where I've cut an 8 or 10" hole and attached a grill for sound pressure venting. Reviewers are saying the well is around 8" deep.

Either that or a custom ported enclosure, side firing, and tucked to one side of the cargo area.
 

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I test drove the Bolt with the Bose system, and it was pretty good (as someone fairly critical of audio systems) - I have zero desire to upgrade to something aftermarket (and decrease resale value and increase rattles).
 
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