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Thread: Stereo Upgrade...Gotta Have It!

  1. #1
    Z8 Novice daveg1's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    Stereo Upgrade...Gotta Have It!

    Greetings all you Lucky Z8 Owners-
    I think the stereo is so bad in this car, that it drives me nuts. I have tried all the adjustment tips I could find which help a little but the sound is crap and I am no audiophile. Is this just my car or do you guys agree?
    My '01 M5 is superb compared to this and there is no upgrade there. Anyway, I couldn't get the search to work on the forum, but the point is I need suggestions for a really good upgrade. I really don't want to tear the car apart and custom build stuff if it can be avoided, I was hoping someone out there has had a good upgrade experience and can share the wisdom. All your input will be gratefully appreciated. Thanks. dave g

  2. #2

    you are not wrong....

    the quality of the sound system is one of the biggest disappointments on our car.
    I have followed these instructions to get the best out of the OEM set up, and I have certainly noticed it is a far better CD system than it is a radio, but I think the very best upgrade for sonic pleasure may well be the Eisenmann exhaust.

    I'm sure you followed the stereo upgrade link on the site, and also you may be aware that many of the cars I saw in Munich at the Z8 Club had a very slick Alpine head unit which incorporated at GPS Nav system, and also gave really great sound. That leads me to believe that the real weakness is in the head unit, not the whole system, but I'm not sure about that as I'm one of those odd chaps who always keeps the top down and the stereo off so I can hear the motor, the tires and the wind!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #3
    Z8 Novice daveg1's Avatar
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    Thanks, Mac

    I see your point, but I drive the car a fair amount...like today, and it is 35 degrees out. So on the way to work, the sound system would be a plus as the top is not down. And of course the evening trip home will be even cooler on average so ....
    Anyhow, I think I will investigate the Alpine options you mentioned though I would prefer to avoid head unit change. Like things stock looking, at least. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Sport Button On - DSC Off mollyshark's Avatar
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    Oh yes, I agree. It is tolerable CD, but radio is not even close to acceptable. I've written it off pretty much, but there are days when the weather is warm, not hot, and I want to hit country roads and just GO for a while. Would be nice to have cruising music. But then again I don't want to do ANYTHING that hurts the stock look of the car. Am interested in some alternative ideas.

  5. #5

    I feel the same about not messing with the stock radio....

    as I do like it's clean and simple style, and also think it is nicer to keep the car visually stock. I was quite surprised to see that the folks in Germany didn't seem as concerned, they just wanted it to work right, and by coincidence several of them had chosen this unit which doesn't seem to appear in Alpine's US website.

    I rode in two different cars on the 140 odd mile drive we did from Munich into the Alps and back, and both had this head unit with no other mods, and it was amazing how good it sounded, it really was a huge improvement over stock, so I'd say the head unit is the real issue, and also explains why the radio is so poor while the CD player, which is a separate unit, is so much better.

    I always think that car radios date really quickly, like computers, so a changed out unit like this one will look even worse in 10 years times, and it isn't really a joy to behold as it is. I think the best thing to do is find a really good stereo guy (not Al & Ed's!) and have him take a look at changing the amp/preamp units.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  6. #6
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    Whew! That's ugly! (IMHO) I can't imagine anyone putting THAT in the Z8 under any circumstances short of the threat of death. It probably works great but ... whew!

    I think a major part of the problem is the radio antenna and it's location. On long trips to So. California, I can receive a certain local station 150 miles west of PHX in my Z3, whereas I lose the same station around 90 miles in the Z8. I've also noticed that when the radio signal gets weak, EMI can be heard through the radio when using the turn signals. Has anyone else experienced that? Try it.

  7. #7

    Yes, I did indeed....

    when driving out of LA I notice that the radios in my Cayanne, GT3 & Pegah's Rover all remain in range far longer than the Z8's. However I tend to select my discs for each long drive, and use the CD player until I get off the freeways onto the backroads, when the top goes down, and the radio goes off!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  8. #8
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Just install the IceLink: iPod and you will not have to ....

    worry about being out of radio range. With up to 10,000 songs storage you can have your whole music library there if you want on a single playlist and if you set it on shuffle, you will not ever listen to the same song twice for your whole trip!!

    IMHO, it has the same (or better) sound as your CD player as you can adjust the sound quality digitally with the equalizer settings on your computer, thereby fine tuning each individual song. I have adjusted my songs / playlists that I use for the Z8 so as to optimize the sound inside the Z8 and I think it sounds GREAT ... top up or top down.

    However, I definitely AGREE with Andrew that I rarely use any audio with the top down, as I too prefer to listen to the melody eminating from the Eisenmann Exhaust!

    z8doc