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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently upgraded my factory Sound Package Plus sound system in my '08 987 and thought I would share what I did in case anyone else is thinking along the same lines. In stock form, the Sound Package Plus system is decent but you can tell the subs need to be crossed over to clean them up and the 24 watts per channel that Porsche claims is in the head unit doesn’t really cut it for clean power to the 4” separates in the doors and dash. The factory amp is rated at 70 watts per each 8" sub, but that's somewhat overrated power figures.

I replaced the CR-24 with a Pioneer double DIN unit to gain preamp outputs and iPod connectivity. I did not need Bluetooth or Navigation options and wanted a very simple head unit. I also added a vintage 4 channel a/d/s PQ10.2 power amp to run the entire system. The a/d/s is rated at a very conservative 40 watts per channel at 4 ohm, 90 watts at 2 ohm. The Pioneer came with a very decent on board crossover with 12 db per octave high pass filters and 18 db per octave low pass filters with selectable frequencies for each set of filters.

Some tips for install:

I purchased a head unit installation kit from Euro-Motorspeed off of their eBay store. The kit cost $250 and came with two heavy metal brackets to mount the head unit into the dash. The plastic surround was painted to match the gray used on the ventilation system. You bolt on the metal plates directly to the head unit. With those plates on the head unit, you can then slide the aftermarket unit into the dash and lock it in. The plastic surround snaps securely to the metal plates. Euro-Motorspeed included a wiring harness to gain access to constant 12 volt positive power, ground and speaker inputs for the 4” separates in the doors. They included the antenna adapter, extra wiring, head unit mounting screws, Porsche sticker and other small items. It’s a great kit, fits extremely well, does not rattle, is almost over built (that’s good!) and the paint match is great. Customer support is excellent from this company. I was impressed. It’s a quality install kit that seem to be built right here in the USA. This isn't some cheap "Made in China" kit.

If you wish to use the factory speakers, you can access the two 8” subs in the doors by tapping into the red/red-black and gray/gray-black wires on the factory amplifier wiring harness right by the trunk mounted amp. Use the thicker pairs of gray and red wires. The thinner pairs are the inputs from the CR-24 to the factory amplifier. The large multiplug that goes into the factory amplifier can be loosened by pulling straight up on the multiplug which allows the "collar" to help pull the actual connector plug away from the amplifier.

Switched 12 volt power lead can be obtained from the fuse box via the #9 position fuse on the 2nd row. It’s a 7.5 amp fuse for the telephone and power is cut as soon as the key comes out of the dash. Remove the fuse box cover and loosen the 3 screws that hold in the fuse box surround and you'll have plenty of room to get a connection into the fuse box. I used a very thin 22 gauge power wire and that allowed me to run the wire through some very small openings on the side of the fuse box and then back behind the carpeted panel that surrounds the fuse box.

Getting through the firewall in the passenger compartment is easy enough. There is a huge grommet near where the brake pedal assembly passes through the firewall. Getting through the front firewall to the trunk can be done via a very large grommet on the passenger side (on US cars) which is partially hidden by the charcoal canister. You only need to loosen and remove the bracket that holds the canister in place. No need to pull out the canister itself.

Ground point for amps and/or the head unit can be done on a bolt and nut that is unused on the "trunk" firewall near the battery. Quite convenient.

Over all system quality with new head unit and amp:

I’ve crossed over my system at 80 hertz which really cleans up the system. The 8” door speakers are truly subs. They hit quite hard and play very low. There is considerable output from these drivers and the free air door mounting allows for very good frequency response. The drivers are tight, punchy and probably don’t need upgrading. I’m a big fan of subs in sealed enclosures and don’t care for ported systems. I tend to like subs well damped, controlled and with low frequency extension. These door mounted 8’s sound like they are in sealed enclosures.

The 4” separates are obviously not overly expensive drivers. While adding the a/d/s power amp and new head unit cleans them up tremendously, they are still lacking in ultimate detail and impact. The tweeters do not have that cheap metal tweeter harshness that seems to be so common these days, but again are not the ultimate in clarity and detail. That's to be expected though. The speakers are still much better than most manufacturer's OEM speakers, are very efficient and can play at high volume levels. I can get much more output out of the system that should compete well with the open top.

Keep in mind that I’m very picky when it comes to car and home audio and am a musician. So, I think that the sound quality from the upgrades that I did would be very satisfactory for 95% of most owners. I probably will not upgrade the speakers at this point since they seem to be somewhat matched to each other and I'd prefer not to remove my door panels.

Total costs: $250 for install kit, $350 for the Pioneer head unit from Crutchfield, $30 for a/d/s power amp (found it for sale at a local resale shop!!!). $630 and I have a high output, decent sounding system that controls my iPod, plays CD's, has USB connectivity and can have Bluetooth capabilities. Most people may have to buy a decent 4 channel amp. So for maybe around $1,100-$1,200 (USD) and the associated install costs (or free if you can DIY), you can have a pretty seriously upgraded sound system.

Jay
08 987
90 964
84 911

 

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Thanks very much for taking the time to share the details of your upgrade, Jay. It's obvious that you are meticulous and careful as your project is well thought out and beautifully installed. I bought my first Porsche, an '04 Boxster, last July and love it. Unfortunately the sound system is unsatisfactory. I've read through the threads hoping to find a reasonably priced solution to roof-down, i-pod plugged in pleasure. Though I am unable to do the installation myself, your notes will be very useful to me. I thank you again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Zig,

Thanks for the reply and the kind words. I am enjoying the system immensely. It's fun to have good levels of bass and high output in a relatively modest and hidden system. I'm still surprised at the output from the two 8" drivers in the doors. Someone at Porsche thought that part of the system out and didn't skimp on the engineering work to make those drivers sound excellent for OEM speakers. Of course the old a/d/s power amp helps too... Those amps were really nice units when the old a/d/s was in business.

The intimate cabin of the Boxster really helps the sound stage in the car. It's a tight environment, so you don't have to fight a lot of interior space. The driver placement in the doors and dash are well thought out.

I'm not all that pleased with the cosmetics of the Pioneer. It's a bit juvenile looking head unit that seems to be somewhat out of place in a Porsche. However, it functions very well, sounds good and is easy to operate. The real crossover with adjustable x-over points and a 7 band parametric is nice to have.

The single DIN opening in your '04 should allow for some more audiophile head unit choices. To some degree I wish I would have been "limited" to a single DIN opening to mount a more audiophile head unit in my price point. Most of the more expensive double DIN units seemed to be more focused on Nav and DVD playback verses ultimate sound quality.

In hindsight (which is 20/20 vision), I'd choose the exact same route. Order the Sound Package Plus to get the 8" subs in the doors, but the standard copper wiring with out the Bose expense. Mount a new head unit and a 4 channel amp and be done.

Best to all,

Jay
 

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Hey Jay. I see you posted this some time ago. I am new to P9. I have an 08CS and would like to upgrade the stock sound system which is really bad I think. I don;t know what type of intergration the current system has and what the issues may be with replacing the syste, with something like you did.

I have a knowledgeble friend who is a GM E Tech and is willing to do it for me (does the same for caddies and Vettes) but would like to have some sens of the issues before he begins as he isnt familiar with Porsches.

You seem to know what you are doing and explain things well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't know what type of intergration the current system has and what the issues may be with replacing the syste, with something like you did.
Thanks for the post. Hopefully I can expand on what I learned while putting my system in.

The Sound Package Plus system is quite simple. The stereo head unit runs the 4" separates (mid in door and tweet in dash) and the front trunk mounted three channel amplifier runs the 8" woofers in the doors and the dash mounted center channel speaker. The front amp is fed speaker level signals from the CR-24 head unit. There are no line level connections between the head unit and trunk amp.

There are minimal limitations to doing what I did other than finding the correct speaker leads for each speaker you wish to use. You can access the door woofers from the wiring loom that the front amp uses. The mid/hi separates can be fed through the wiring loom behind the head unit.

Use high quality RCA cables and do your best to isolate those cables from 12 volt sources since it's easy to pick up ignition whine.

Ground the head unit and power amp to one place to help minimze ignition whine.

The computer will sense that the head unit is no longer "in the system" and show an error message in the "brain" of the car, but that doesn't affect anything and my dealership ignored that warning and said it would have no effect on driveability.

I have not confirmed it with anything other than my ears, but there must be a capacitor in line on the 4" mid range drivers in the car to roll off bass response on those small drivers. Since they are fed directly by the CR24 head unit in factory configuration, I'm sure the engineers put a cap in line so that the mid's don't get destroyed by low frequencies. I thought I read somewhere here on these boards (or elsewhere) that the mids start rolling at around 220 hertz due to a cap, but I can not remember or find where I read that. My system does have (to my ears anyway) a hole in the frequency response in that critical lower mid bass area which would make sense if the 4" drivers are rolling at 200 hertz and my subs (the door woofers) start to roll at 80 hertz. I've set the subs to a higher low pass frequency setting and that has helped increase mid bass response, but the subs sound best at an 80 hertz (or so) crossover setting and really clean up as compared to the stock setup.

I should probably open the doors up and confirm if there is indeed a cap on the 4" mids, but I have not wished to dedicate the time to that. The system sounds pretty good for the minimal amount of money and time I invested, so the gains on sound quality may not be warranted in a noisy convertible. If I'm going to open up the door panels, then I'll install better components while I'm in there.

The system has been problem free for the year and a half that it's been in the car. However, the Pioneer head unit is simply a basic unit that sounds average (a bit brittle as most cheap Chinese built head units sound these days) and those tiny little buttons are frustrating. [Editorial Comment On]I grew up in the days of '80's and early '90's analog Alpine units that sounded exceptional and were very well laid out... I miss the 6 green chicklets buttons and analog volume knobs in a unit that was somewhat affordable to a college kid...it's hard to pay $1,000+ for a double DIN Alpine that has a billion features that I don't need.[/Editorial Comment Off]

You seem to know what you are doing and explain things well.
Thanks for the compliment. However, again, I'm no expert. It's free advice and you get what you pay for. I've been messing with audio gear for 25 or so years and it's fun.
 

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Just wanted to say thanks for this post, Jay H. I've got the sound package plus which I want to replace and your post was very insight is much appreciated. I know nothing about stereo installation but like you i'm an audiophile and a musician so I guess i know what sounds good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do you have any wiring diagram for the sound package plus? i can only find one for the BOSE...
While my '08 Boxster in this post has long been traded away, I will note that at the time of this post, I was able to source a full set of wiring diagrams off the internet with a bit of searching and patience.

Best to All,

Jay
'15 BMW 228i
'01 Mercedes E320
'02 Mercedes E320
'84 911
 

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If you wish to use the factory speakers, you can access the two 8” subs in the doors by tapping into the red/red-black and gray/gray-black wires on the factory amplifier wiring harness right by the trunk mounted amp. Use the thicker pairs of gray and red wires. The thinner pairs are the inputs from the CR-24 to the factory amplifier. The large multiplug that goes into the factory amplifier can be loosened by pulling straight up on the multiplug which allows the "collar" to help pull the actual connector plug away from the amplifier.
Hey Jay, I know this is a really old post, but I'm hoping you still remember some of the details here. I've come into an '08 Boxster with the Sound Package Plus radio as well. I've swapped out the CDR-24 head unit with an Alpine head unit and amp. But I'm having problems getting any kind of bass sound from the larger woofers on the doors. It feels like, at volume, they're barely being driven despite tuning the amp with the HPF and LPF filters along with the head unit's equalizer.

I've wired the front speakers right off the wiring harness that came out of the CDR-24. But after talking with some Porsche reps and reading this post, I'm getting the impression that the front door speakers are wired from that harness behind the dash into the amp in the front trunk and maybe that amp is not sending any lower frequencies to the door woofers. You stated here that you pulled the wires for the front speakers directly off of that amp in the front trunk, thus bypassing it entirely. I think I might be answering my own question, but it sounds like I should be wiring the front speakers directly to my amp instead of allowing the signal path to pass through that now unused factory amp.

thanks in advance for any insights!


scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I'm having problems getting any kind of bass sound from the larger woofers on the doors. It feels like, at volume, they're barely being driven despite tuning the amp with the HPF and LPF filters along with the head unit's equalizer.

I've wired the front speakers right off the wiring harness that came out of the CDR-24. But after talking with some Porsche reps and reading this post, I'm getting the impression that the front door speakers are wired from that harness behind the dash into the amp in the front trunk and maybe that amp is not sending any lower frequencies to the door woofers. You stated here that you pulled the wires for the front speakers directly off of that amp in the front trunk, thus bypassing it entirely. I think I might be answering my own question, but it sounds like I should be wiring the front speakers directly to my amp instead of allowing the signal path to pass through that now unused factory amp.

thanks in advance for any insights!


scott
Hi Scott,

I powered the 4" and tweets with the head unit I had via the harness that connected to the CDR-24. IIRC, the amp in the "frunk" (front trunk) got it's signal via speaker level inputs from the CDR-24 and drives only the center channel and 8" woofers in the doors. So, you have answered your own question in that you have to drive the 8" woofers in the lower front doors with your Alpine and you must by-pass that front trunk mounted stock amp. If you run your Alpine into the stock amp, that'll create all kinds of weirdness.

More clarification (if it helps any): I believe I pulled the output connector from the factory amp out of the factory amp and just let it dangle near the factory amp (though taped up the connector to avoid any possible short circuits of the speaker leads). I then found the leads from the 8" door woofers that came out of the factory amp and tied my a/d/s amp into those leads to directly drive the 8" woofers in the doors. I ran nothing through the factory amp. Yanking the output connector from the factory amp insured that no powered signal from my a/d/s amp "ran backwards" into the factory amp and caused any headaches upstream. I did not use the factory center channel speaker.

I miss that system in my '08 Boxster. The 8" woofers with the proper crossover and decent power should hit pretty hard and play pretty low. That system really had some balls... If I would do it all over again, I would have pulled the door panels and ran speaker wires directly to all 6 drivers and completely skipped the factory harness and eliminated any potential for impedance issues with the lightweight factory wiring. I still believe there is a cap inline on those 4" (100mm?) mid-range drivers that limited the critical mid-bass frequencies to some degree. My ears told me there was a hole in that 80-250 hertz area of the system I wired up in that car.

Hope this helps. Holler if you need more clarification. Boy, time flies...it's been 6 years since I did that system and it seems like only last year...

Best,

Jay

'84 911
'01 E320
'02 E320
'15 228i

(P.S. - To All: Enjoy this generation of Boxsters! The days of flat 6's and hydraulic steering are long gone...)
 

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Hi Scott,

I powered the 4" and tweets with the head unit I had via the harness that connected to the CDR-24. IIRC, the amp in the "frunk" (front trunk) got it's signal via speaker level inputs from the CDR-24 and drives only the center channel and 8" woofers in the doors. So, you have answered your own question in that you have to drive the 8" woofers in the lower front doors with your Alpine and you must by-pass that front trunk mounted stock amp. If you run your Alpine into the stock amp, that'll create all kinds of weirdness.

More clarification (if it helps any): I believe I pulled the output connector from the factory amp out of the factory amp and just let it dangle near the factory amp (though taped up the connector to avoid any possible short circuits of the speaker leads). I then found the leads from the 8" door woofers that came out of the factory amp and tied my a/d/s amp into those leads to directly drive the 8" woofers in the doors. I ran nothing through the factory amp. Yanking the output connector from the factory amp insured that no powered signal from my a/d/s amp "ran backwards" into the factory amp and caused any headaches upstream. I did not use the factory center channel speaker.
So, essentially what you're doing there is jumpering the front speaker-level inputs going into the amp over to the woofer outputs coming out of the amp. Or at least that's what I was thinking I could do. The new amp I've got is a small Alpine amp made specifically for the head unit and connects via an Alpine supplied wiring harness (no line-level connections, it amps the speaker-level inputs). That amp's output then connects to the factory wiring harness to connect to the speakers. But there's only one set of front speaker wires coming out of the factory harness. So, I assume at some point, those front speaker wires split, either before the ASK amp or after. I'm also assuming that there's some kind passive of cross-over in the door or somewhere in that signal path. I guess I'll know more once I disconnect the ASK amp. Either I'll get no sound from the doors at all, or I'll get sound from the tweet/mid range speakers and nothing from the woofer.


thanks for the info!
scott
 

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Hey Jay! I just wanted to let you know that I jumped the connection from the incoming ASK amp to the outgoing wire that connects the woofer and BOOM! I got more than enough bass now! Even with the factory speakers. I still might upgrade them later, but this is more than good enough for now.

And, by the way, the front speakers do work with the ASK amp disconnected. So that connection only drives the woofers.

Thanks for your info and help!


best,
scott


thanks,
scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Scott,

Good to hear that you have bass!

Yes, the front trunk OEM amp only powers the lower door woofers and the center channel speaker.

Enjoy the system,

Jay
 
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