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Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:04 pm
Delivery Date: 09 Oct 2015

Does upgrading your audio system cause issues?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:58 pm

I am in the market for a Leaf and looking to buy shortly (cash in hand and waiting for the right deal). The struggle is that I am unsure what I can do for a subwoofer and I am fairly confident that replacing the stock speakers wont give me quite what I am looking for and I would still want to get a sub.

My question is, does an amp and sub put too much drain on the battery? I am sure there is some excess power being drawn but is the amount negligible or is it something that I need to be weary of? Are there amps that are better with power management so that I wont cause problems with the existing electrical systems? I have done my own audio in my standard car, is there anything different in an EV?

Also, I have seen a few mentions about the Bose audio system being "Lacking". I haven't had a chance to hear it for myself but will hopefully be checking one out this weekend. If I don't happen to get there in time to check it out. If I don't hear it for myself, would it be safe to assume this isnt something I would be satisfied with? I am fairly easy to please. I dont need loud, I just dont like distortion.

If I missed a post, please forgive me. This is my first post and if I missed something please give me a link.

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Re: Does upgrading your audio system cause issues?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:03 pm

As long as the vehicle is "ON", 12VDC power is not a problem.

Don't hook anything to the negative battery terminal.
Use a chassis ground only.

Good Luck
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Re: Does upgrading your audio system cause issues?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:06 pm

I have a 280 watt Kenwood amp and two 6" Panasonic subs I transplanted from our 2005 Prius. No issues, no unexpected drains. I am looking to re-ground the amp since there is a motor whine that is noticed when pushing past 3 "power bubbles" (30ish kW?) Really saves the factory speakers from having to pump bass (distorted). I really should take some pics...
Albany, Oregon
2014 Silver SV with charge/LED package. June 2014, I'm in the EV game!
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Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:04 pm
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Re: Does upgrading your audio system cause issues?

Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:39 pm

You guys rock.

From what I understood there are 2 batteries. You'd connect positive under the hood (just like any other car) and negative to the body (again like any other car). So, generally speaking you do the exact same thing you would do in a standard car.

Is the premium 6 speaker system able to handle mid and high just fine? Should I invest in replacing those as well?

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Re: Does upgrading your audio system cause issues?

Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:32 am

I have the same question about upgraded speakers, sub and amp. I bought a Leaf SL today without the Bose system as it was not impressive at all. I'm a middling audiophile. I have a Bose system in my Porsche and I thought it was bad. But the one in the Leaf is way worse.

I'm planning on buying high quality component speakers for the front, some decent or matching speakers for the back, and probably a 10" sub and five channel amp for the rear.

I'd love to hear recommendations from other Leaf owners who have upgraded their stereo.
2015 Leaf SL - Black on Black

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Re: Does upgrading your audio system cause issues?

Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:54 am

I just posted this in another topic:

One thing to consider re the stereo: the Bose system was designed for low power consumption, and if you go to a powerful aftermarket system, you may want to upgrade the accessory battery to an AGM or at least a higher capacity "marine" or "hybrid" type, just to avoid dead batteries. If not, at least be sure to always use the accessories in "Ready" mode, not the battery-killing Accessory mode.

As for the Bose system, make sure that if you test one you adjust the audio settings from the car's central touchscreen menu. The default settings are weak on Bass, but it's available.
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

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Re: Does upgrading your audio system cause issues?

Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:19 pm

There is no issue with upgrading your sound, but unfortunately the HU amp is quite bad so using a line-out converter to keep functionality will limit the SQ you get out of your upgrade :/.

Many things tie into the the HU (see the PDF uploaded in another thread) so it is tedious to do without it. I might look into stealing audio out before the amp allowing the connection of whatever amp I want if I get the time.

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Re: Does upgrading your audio system cause issues?

Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:30 pm

Nice post and lots of good info. I am getting ready to upgrade my 2013 Leaf with all my old stereo components from my other car. In particular I am keeping my Pioneer PRS80 Single DIN Head Unit. It is one of the best ever made by Pioneer. Since I am going this route that means I need to mount the Pioneer elsewhere in the car and run everything to it for stereo control. It can be controlled by a small remote so I may just mount it way in the back of the car out of site. I will still need the front HU for everything else including the Bluetooth audio. I need to find out which speakers the Bluetooth uses for audio and leave those alone. Maybe the tweeters?

I will be running two amps for all the speakers to be installed so I plan to just run thick gauge power cable from the 12v battery up front all the way to the back where they will be installed.

I didn't realize until after I owned the car for a while that electric cars are perfect for sound setup's. They make little noise and allow the stereo quality to really shine. Cant wait to get this completed.

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