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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:39 pm
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Car Model: 9-3 Vector 2.0t
Hi all,

This is my first post on here and as I had previously read a fair amount of info on the forum, I thought I would give something back. I am sure to many in the know it may not be new information, but for someone in my situation hopefully it will be a useful post.

I own a 2005 9-3 Vector 2.0t, my first Saab. It came to my ownership four weeks ago with the "standard" audio set-up - eg basic head unit and four speakers - two in dash-top and two in the rear shelf. Didn't take long - about 2 miles into the journey after collecting the car - to realise that the sound quality was particularly poor, specifically lacking much in the way of bass. This seems to be a common complaint judging by other people's comments.

I had no wish to change the standard head unit as I wanted to retain the steering wheel controls. I was also not after some sort of ground-shaking system that would cost a fortune - just simply something with decent sound quality. In my previous car (Honda Prelude) I had up-graded to Kenwood dual-mag speakers to the rear shelf and some Vibes in the doors (not great to be honest but better than standard) and without an additional amp or subwoofer the sound was absolutely brilliant thanks to the Kenwoods.

At this point, I found that things started to get confusing. I contacted a Saab specialist regarding upgrading the speakers, and was quoted over £500 to upgrade to the 7-speaker Saab system: a) too much and b) that hasn't had glowing reports from owners either!

A read through the various forums unearthed some conflicting information, nothing conclusive.

I went to a car audio specialist in Bristol, where I had previously bought the speakers for the Honda. Not good news. Over the phone they explained the enormous difficulty of upgrading Saab equipment, based on their prior experience. However, a second specialist were more positive and quoted me for new speakers front and rear.

I took their quote back to the first specialist. They had a good look round the car and I explained it was the standard four-speaker set-up. I was told that there was no wiring for the speakers in the empty door-grilles, and that possibly some of the wiring were fibre-optic, and that also the rear speakers were only wired for mid & high frequencies, and utilising the larger speaker holes in the rear shelf wouldn't produce a better sound as the wiring wasn't set-up for low frequencies. I showed them the quote from the second specialist and they basically said good luck to them, go and let them find out for themselves the problems - at the same time their installation guy was shaking his head. My only option, they said, would be to purchase a sub-woofer and install it in the boot - however having seen the size of it I didn't want to go down that route. They had had in a few Saab 9-3's of my spec they said, and they were a nightmare.

So, back to the second supplier with some trepidation. I had read on one thread that there was wiring in the doors all ready to go, but had no idea if that was true or not. They agreed to start with the rear speakers first and make sure they responded to low frequencies. They also couldn't find any speaker pods in their catalogue to fit the doors, but said they could make some out of MDF if required.

I dropped the car off at 9am this morning and it was ready a couple of hours later.

The findings were:

a) The install was much easier than anticipated - the wiring for the door speakers was all there and ready to be connected (found up by the door mirrors), and the speakers were straightforward to mount - wasn't necessary to custom make anything.

b) The rear speakers respond to low frequencies so what I had been told by the original company was a complete myth in the case of my original set-up.

c) Basically - the car is vastly improved - transformed even. Plenty of bass now and plenty loud enough for me (I have a wide ranging taste in music from everything from John Martyn to bass-heavy techno on the Kompakt label, which sounds excellent now).

I opted for some Alpine 6x9's in the rear shelf, and had the original ones (which seem to be Saab-stamped pioneer units) removed. In the front I was originally going to go for a pair of Alpines again, but changed my mind on the day to go for Pioneer component speakers, with the main unit going into the door and the tweeters replacing the dash-top speakers.

Looking at the old speakers removed and sat in my boot I have to say it's not difficult to see why they don't sound very good.

I could have probably taken on this work myself as it seems to be fairly straightforward now, but was put off by the amount of different information out there and also the fact that a large specialist essentially turned me away. So that was a spend of £250 today, well worth it in my opinion as I have a reasonably long commute and love my music. There are more expensive speakers out there and I would be tempted by some JL's all-round if I had more to spend, but I am very happy with what I now have.

Maybe the other Saab set-ups are more complicated to upgrade? Anyway, if you're like me and new to Saab and have been wondering about an upgrade for your 4-speaker set-up, it is very easy to do and the results are well worth it. Apologies for such a long post! I hope it will be of use to someone.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:21 am 
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2004 12:23 pm
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Location: Patchway, BS34
Car Model: 9-3sw, TiD
Great first post.

Welcome to UKSaabs and thanks for sharing your upgrade 8) 8)

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:39 pm
Posts: 26
Car Model: 9-3 Vector 2.0t
Thanks for the feedback & welcome Nev.

Drove 100 miles late last night/early this morning and enjoyed trying out some different albums along the way. Also arrived feeling as fresh as a daisy - the car is very comfortable and relaxing on a long journey thanks to the ride and quality of the seats, yet has a decent amount of power on tap to provide some fun from time to time. I'm a very happy owner right now.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Posts: 1726
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Brilliant post, Mr Witts.

I was told the same thing (I have exactly the same factory set-up as you) by a so-called specialist hi-fi place on Great Western Road in Glasgow. The guy shook his head dismisivelly and actually said: "If I were you, I would change your car instead."

Obviously the 500 quid saab oem upgrade is not worth it. So my solution was much less ambitious than yours but it cost me about £50 all in.

Boston F35s in the front. Kept the original rears. Dynamatted all four. Result: totally awesome. As you say, the rear wiring does actually produce plenty of bass once, in my case, the speakers were baffled with dynamat. I think it is dynamat extreme. Thanks to Car Electronic Limited and Central Saab.

Witts your post has inspired me to consider getting the doors done when funds allow.

Well done that man. And rock on.

AB

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:26 am
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Location: Scottish Borders
Car Model: 02 95 Aero Wagon
Nothing like a "specialist" is there! :park:

Good informative post there, dynamat idea sounds like a good one to try too.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:21 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:49 pm
Posts: 58
Location: Falkirk SCOTLAND
Car Model: saab 9.3s
i found the same with my 9.3, sounded very tinny and had no bass at all, sounded rubbish so i disconnected the standard 6x9s and fitted a pair of JBL gto series 6x9s onto parcel shelf instead and wired em back to JVC single din head unit with VIBE "flatflex" oxygen free cable and sound a lot better now but I have started making a new parcel shelf out of 18mm MDF which i suspect should hold down a better bass note, should have that done by wknd :geek:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:39 am 
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland
jamieT wrote:
i found the same with my 9.3, sounded very tinny and had no bass at all, sounded rubbish so i disconnected the standard 6x9s and fitted a pair of JBL gto series 6x9s onto parcel shelf instead and wired em back to JVC single din head unit with VIBE "flatflex" oxygen free cable and sound a lot better now but I have started making a new parcel shelf out of 18mm MDF which i suspect should hold down a better bass note, should have that done by wknd :geek:


Nice.

What kind of 9-3 is that, dude? Is it a hatchback or is it the sportsaloon/wagon?

If you have not used dynamat yet ... DO IT.

AB

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:49 pm
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Location: Falkirk SCOTLAND
Car Model: saab 9.3s
4 door hatch m8, I have used "Dynamat" before on another car and found it really good :shock: , transformed the sound in the rear of my last car, got new jigsaw blades today so i'll be doing the parcel shelf 2mora :haynes:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:33 pm
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Location: Derbyshire
Car Model: 9-3ss Aero + 93RWD trackcar
Dynamat Extreme - ali backed version is the best.

Cheap option - lead flashing tape from DIY stores :D

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 10:30 pm
Posts: 15662
Location: Bristol.
Car Model: 9-3
I have to say that the basic system in my 9-3 aero is probably the worst in a Saab I have owned. I generally listen to talk stations, but I think an upgrade will be on the cards in the future - the system I had in the Lexus spoilt me.

Cracking write up, Witts180.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:21 pm
Posts: 1726
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Zaphod wrote:
I have to say that the basic system in my 9-3 aero is probably the worst in a Saab I have owned. I generally listen to talk stations, but I think an upgrade will be on the cards in the future - the system I had in the Lexus spoilt me.

Cracking write up, Witts180.


Even just getting all your existing Aero surround speakers baffled with dynamat extreme would make an enormous difference I reckon. Very inexpensive solution, amazing results. And the beauty is that you can upgrade the speakers in stages. Try the dash first for less than £30, see how that is. Then get the parcel shelf ones changed for similar money, and so on.

This is the sort of topic where a forum like this can really save you a fortune, or show you a way ahead when your front-door enquiries in car audio shops come to nought.

Peace and goodwill, amigos.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:15 pm 
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Car Model: 2005 SAAB 9-3 2.0t Vector Conv
Great write up Witts. What speakers did you go for?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:39 pm
Posts: 26
Car Model: 9-3 Vector 2.0t
Hi guys,

Thanks for the positive comments about the thread. Interesting to read about the Dynamat, I hadn't heard of that product before.

Justinr, to answer your question the front component speakers are Pioneer TS-A170Ci, and the rear 6x9's are Alpine SXE-6925s. I am not going to pretend that they are the best speakers on the market, but they fitted my budget and have made a real difference. Nice change to have to turn the bass control down!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:34 pm 
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Car Model: 2005 SAAB 9-3 2.0t Vector Conv
Witts180 wrote:
Hi guys,
Justinr, to answer your question the front component speakers are Pioneer TS-A170Ci, and the rear 6x9's are Alpine SXE-6925s. I am not going to pretend that they are the best speakers on the market, but they fitted my budget and have made a real difference. Nice change to have to turn the bass control down!


Sounds good to me - had some Alpine SXE's (6"x4") in my old Porker 944 and they made a big difference - well as much as that size can do. New car pick up tomorrow - sounds like a trip to the ICE shop on Sunday.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:23 pm 
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Justinr wrote:
Witts180 wrote:
Hi guys,
Justinr, to answer your question the front component speakers are Pioneer TS-A170Ci, and the rear 6x9's are Alpine SXE-6925s. I am not going to pretend that they are the best speakers on the market, but they fitted my budget and have made a real difference. Nice change to have to turn the bass control down!


Sounds good to me - had some Alpine SXE's (6"x4") in my old Porker 944 and they made a big difference - well as much as that size can do. New car pick up tomorrow - sounds like a trip to the ICE shop on Sunday.


Shops are stupidly overpriced for ICE. Always buy online!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:24 pm
Posts: 8
Car Model: 2005 SAAB 9-3 2.0t Vector Conv
yuri wrote:

Shops are stupidly overpriced for ICE. Always buy online!


I totally agree - shops are great for looking, online is where the best price is!

On a more serious note - I have a 9-3 Vector Conv (only 1 week in to ownership) and the speakers need sorting.

From what I can hear the two rear speakers (in the side next to the rear seats) are completely and utterly weedy. Anyone know what I can put in there?

In the front I have speakers in the doors (down low near the hinge) - most sites I see recommend 6.5"/17cm replacements.

Then I also have 3 speakers in the dash - anyone have an idea of the sizes??

However the main question is how the hell do I do the swap out - the build of the Saab is such that I can't see how to get in there / remove the trim / etc. Anyone have any ideas??

Cheers in advance


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:46 pm 
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Location: Glasgow, Scotland
The L and R dash ones are 3.5 inches. I didn't bother with the middle. I was told by The Man who fitted my replacements for me that these L and R dash speakers are an easy lift out and slot in job. Also told that these speakers are the most important in terms of noticeable diff to the sound quality, which makes sense as they are closest to your lugs. Boston F35s from Car Electronics Ltd, I recommend once again, having followed the same recommendation from others.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Car Model: Saab 9-3 Vector Sport 1.9TiD
Hi Mr Witts

This my 1st time here too. Like you I bought my 1st Saab a year ago ('06 plate 9-3 Vector Sport TiD) and couldn't believe the rubbish Saab installed that passed as an audio system.

I've had the 2 front & 2 rear speakers upgraded by a local firm which transformed the sound, but I can still recall the quality of sound I had in my old BMW 3 Series, and would like to enhance the Saab a bit further if poss.

I was intersted to hear that your guys found wiring in the doors for speakers. Could you tell me what spec of speaker they fitted there?

Thanks...


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Car Model: 2005 SAAB 9-3 2.0t Vector Conv
Allan B wrote:
The L and R dash ones are 3.5 inches. I didn't bother with the middle. I was told by The Man who fitted my replacements for me that these L and R dash speakers are an easy lift out and slot in job. Also told that these speakers are the most important in terms of noticeable diff to the sound quality, which makes sense as they are closest to your lugs. Boston F35s from Car Electronics Ltd, I recommend once again, having followed the same recommendation from others.


Thanks Allan - will chekc them out, prices look good for them.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2011 1:32 pm 
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Location: Just outside of Wiganshire
Car Model: 9-3 Turbo X / 9-3 Convertible
After reading this thread, decided to invest in some Bostons for the dash of my sportwagon. Any suggestions for the front and rear doors, as I dont have a parcel shelf? Will get some dynamat too if it will help the door speakers. how does the dynamat fit, do I need to cover the whole inside skin, or just around where the cone sits?

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