2016 Touring w/ Bose: Possible to replace amp outright? Or, have new amp tap off it? - Mazda 6 Forums : Mazda 6 Forum / Mazda Atenza Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Question 2016 Touring w/ Bose: Possible to replace amp outright? Or, have new amp tap off it?

Hey all,

Long winded post, but I'm new to the forums so I figured I'd detail the whole situation.

Just got the vehicle a month ago and mostly loving it, though as I'm sure most here are aware, the BOSE makes a decent mediocre system, but sucks hard as the "luxury" system that BOSE likes to pretend it is.

On my last car (2002 Hyundai Sonata) I replaced a few of the speakers and head unit myself to get a bit more out of the system, but nothing crazy. It wasn't too hard as the media systems were definitely a lot simpler back then. This time around though, due to some extra cash I want to give this car fairly close to "the works" so to speak. Nothing too insane but definitely something that smashes the POS that is currently in there.

Others would definitely call me an audiophile, as I'm one of few people I know left (especially within my age group) that keeps a large library of local media and 90% of it is lossless, with the last 10% being mostly really obscure stuff or free releases that were impossible to find without lossy compression. I actually enjoy a broad range of genres, 40s-10s with some occasional dips into classical, but my top spot is reserved for bass heavy (more so in depth than volume) EDM with Dubstep being the obvious main course (yea yea say what you will XD). So for me at least, the really muddy lows and low-mids of the BOSE system absolutely crush the experience of listening to much of my library. When I'm in more of a 90's 'Lithium' mood or feel like spinning The Beatles the system isn't as noticeably poor but still leaves much to be desired.

Anyway, if I was just going to replace speakers and the head-unit as before I would do it myself, but I'm definitely looking to have a true sub and quality amp installed and given various stipulations that involve the car being partially a gift, I would rather just have a professional shop that some of my family/friends have an excellent track record with do it. Additionally, I'm not going to touch the headunit on this one as its so heavily tied in with the car (especially considering the personalization options that seem to only be changeable through the head unit) and after I installed the AA retrofit kit I've found it to be fairly satisfactory other than the touchscreen killswitch Mazda flipped, though hopefully AIO can work around that eventually.

That being said, for me the most important thing I want to achieve on is avoiding all the Achilles heels of the current system. As I understand it, the BOSE amp does all sorts of manipulation that tries to squeeze the most out of their cruddy tin cans, including sending only mids to the rear speakers, only lows to the front door speakers, and keeping the bass somewhat limited as the you raise the volume. Given that I'm keeping the stock headunit I most likely can't get around its most likely 'meh' DAC, though from other's experiences I should be able to still manage significant gains by using quality aftermarket monitors and solid 5-channel amp that is capable of its own processing.

So here's the big reason I made this thread:
I had originally envisioned that the BOSE amp would be replaced entirely by the new 5-channel amp, but after my initial talks with the installer they explained that given how integrated the existing amp is with the headunit that they will need to tap a signal off of it (I'm not sure if they would go for pre-amp or post-amp) to provide the input to the new amp. Now, I totally understand that non of you can speak for this installer in particular and what approach they will take, but ASSUMING they do it "correctly" is it possible to install a new amp this way and keep the input clean/quality? I've read a bit into how this can be done with a Hi-Lo converter, a summing function using multiple inputs (to essentially rebuild a clean signal from the post-amp/processed BOSE output) on an amp that has its own processing, or a few other techniques. I just want to make sure that they rest of my system won't be handicapped to any significant degree by being behind the BOSE amp like this.

From the few other posts I've seen where others take this approach and the wiring diagram I found for the BOSE amp this does seem like it can work out fine if done correctly, I just wanted the opinions of others who are more familiar with the audio of this car, and ideally, those who have done similar installs themselves. If so, has anyone found what they feel to be the best way of using this method for this car specifically or even in general? I wouldn't mind understanding my options a bit better so I can discuss them with the installer given that this is the first time I'm doing major audio work on a vehicle.

Also as a related aside, has anyone had good success doing sound deadening on this car? Its not too loud at lower speeds, and not even horrible at higher ones, but you do have to raise your voice a fair bit while on the highway from wind/road noise with a tad of engine noise. I wouldn't mind having it be a bit quieter on the highway so I don't have to put my music quite as loud and can improve the longevity of my ears haha. Essentially, have people found it to be worth the effort? If so, what were your main modifications? I have seen this talked about a bit on this forum so sorry for asking again.

tl;dr Assuming it is done correctly and involves the proper hardware, will taping a signal off the existing BOSE amp (pre or post amp) result in a clean/quality signal for a solid new 5-channel aftermarket amp? Is it even possible to replace the BOSE amp outright?

Again, sorry for the length and thanks for your time.

Last edited by oblivioncth; 01-25-2019 at 01:01 AM. Reason: Typos, context, etc.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 04:18 AM
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Couldnt read you whole post, too long.

Answering

Quote:
tl;dr Assuming it is done correctly and involves the proper hardware, will taping a signal off the existing BOSE amp (pre or post amp) result in a clean/quality signal for a solid new 5-channel aftermarket amp? Is it even possible to replace the BOSE amp outright?
First question: taping a signal off the existing BOSE amp (pre or post amp) result in a clean/quality signal for a solid new 5-channel aftermarket amp?
It should. Tap into bose amp input. It will be 4 channel pre-amp and should give you the proper signals. Just read the wiring diagrams and get all the wires you need from there!

Second: Is it even possible to replace the BOSE amp outright?
Ofcourse. It will cost you a lot of money though as you will also need to replace most speakers. (Subs in the doors for sure. Dont know about others)

FYI, the headunit is known to have some sort of high pass filter. It drop bass especially <40Hz range. Read up on the forum.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cutepoison View Post
Couldnt read you whole post, too long.

Answering



First question: taping a signal off the existing BOSE amp (pre or post amp) result in a clean/quality signal for a solid new 5-channel aftermarket amp?
It should. Tap into bose amp input. It will be 4 channel pre-amp and should give you the proper signals. Just read the wiring diagrams and get all the wires you need from there!

Second: Is it even possible to replace the BOSE amp outright?
Ofcourse. It will cost you a lot of money though as you will also need to replace most speakers. (Subs in the doors for sure. Dont know about others)

FYI, the headunit is known to have some sort of high pass filter. It drop bass especially <40Hz range. Read up on the forum.

Thanks a bunch for the heads up, really good to know.

I found the thread on this forum that refers to that issue and the corresponding mazdas247 thread that was linked to in that post. It seems like given that its a roll off and not a sharp cut, the signals bellow 45-60hz are not outright eliminated but significantly diminished in volume/power as 0Hz is approached; therefore, although its not quite as ideal as a true clean signal from the source, this can be corrected by EQ within or after the new amp I'll have put in. This was what was directly stated on that forum and the natural conclusion I'd come to from the situation as well.

I also see that some have had success using the PAC AOEM-MAZ2 (even though it says its for non-BOSE it seems to work) to get a 4-channel RCA output. I'd have to combined those and then put that through a low-pass filter to get a sub signal for a 5-channel amp. A bit awkward, but not a huge deal, unless I'm being stupid and there's and easier way to go about that.

Either way it seems like the best bet is to grab the signals pre-amp, which is what I was hopping to do in the first place. Even if I don't use the PAC AOEM-MAZ2 it seems like you can achieve the same thing (albeit in an uglier way) by splicing into the wires that go into the TAU directly.

As for the last bit of your post, I pretty much plan to replace all the speakers anyway, though I may skimp a TAD on a few of the less important speakers since 11 is quite a bit swap.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 10:11 AM
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Right now i have my line output converter tapped into the back right passenger door speaker. It is installed in the column between the front and back doors and my subs get plenty of base. Ive heard you want to tap before the Bose amp but that's just they way I did it and it works and its a really cheap line output converter. Will post pictures later today as I'm in Canada and its freezing out here right now. I have my power wires running the the driver side of the car and my signal on the left. Mazda really lets you hide the wires and its amazing.
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Originally Posted by TrusmokeyM6 View Post
Right now i have my line output converter tapped into the back right passenger door speaker. It is installed in the column between the front and back doors and my subs get plenty of base. Ive heard you want to tap before the Bose amp but that's just they way I did it and it works and its a really cheap line output converter. Will post pictures later today as I'm in Canada and its freezing out here right now. I have my power wires running the the driver side of the car and my signal on the left. Mazda really lets you hide the wires and its amazing.
Options are always good. Thanks for the info.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by oblivioncth View Post
I found the thread on this forum that refers to that issue and the corresponding mazdas247 thread that was linked to in that post. It seems like given that its a roll off and not a sharp cut, the signals bellow 45-60hz are not outright eliminated but significantly diminished in volume/power as 0Hz is approached; therefore, although its not quite as ideal as a true clean signal from the source, this can be corrected by EQ within or after the new amp I'll have put in. This was what was directly stated on that forum and the natural conclusion I'd come to from the situation as well.
Could you please link the thread? And yes, no speaker in the car will have a 90 degree frequency cutoff or the sound would be horrid. High/low pass cutoffs are defined by a db/octave slope. This is the rolloff the thread is likely referring to. I'de expect the subwoofer frequency high pass to be about 18 or 24 dB/octave (low pass probably being about 12). However, keep in mind subsonic frequencies (anything lower than 20Hz) should not be played at all as these could damage both the amp and speakers. It's not expected even for even aftermarket amps to play these as most are advertised to have subsonic filters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oblivioncth View Post
I also see that some have had success using the PAC AOEM-MAZ2 (even though it says its for non-BOSE it seems to work) to get a 4-channel RCA output. I'd have to combined those and then put that through a low-pass filter to get a sub signal for a 5-channel amp. A bit awkward, but not a huge deal, unless I'm being stupid and there's and easier way to go about that.
Why the PAC? You already have pre-amp level signals. This is a waste of money and will only cause problems since you'll be reducing an already pre-amp level signal. It's not needed. The only case where this would be necessary is in the event you didn't have the Bose system and the head unit was outputting speaker-level signals directly that needed converted to pre-amp level signals (which is what the PAC does). But even so a lot of newer amps on the market are also now accepting high-level input signals as well. Also, most-if not all, aftermarket amps already have frequency cutoff filters built in, especially 5-channel ones. There's nothing you should have to do between the head unit and the aftermarket amp involving the input signal. If you could tell me the brand/model of the amp you're using I'de be happy to verify it for you.
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Originally Posted by MZ6Alex View Post
Could you please link the thread? And yes, no speaker in the car will have a 90 degree frequency cutoff or the sound would be horrid. High/low pass cutoffs are defined by a db/octave slope. This is the rolloff the thread is likely referring to. I'de expect the subwoofer frequency high pass to be about 18 or 24 dB/octave (low pass probably being about 12). However, keep in mind subsonic frequencies (anything lower than 20Hz) should not be played at all as these could damage both the amp and speakers. It's not expected even for even aftermarket amps to play these as most are advertised to have subsonic filters.
Here is the thread from this forum: https://forum.mazda6club.com/car-ele...ak-signal.html

Here is the Mazda247 thread: https://www.mazdas247.com/forum/show...M-MAZ2-adapter

The user in the Mazda247 notes his discovery of what seems to be a bass rolloff, and the user in the thread here references that find.

Quote:
Why the PAC? You already have pre-amp level signals. This is a waste of money and will only cause problems since you'll be reducing an already pre-amp level signal. It's not needed. The only case where this would be necessary is in the event you didn't have the Bose system and the head unit was outputting speaker-level signals directly that needed converted to pre-amp level signals (which is what the PAC does). But even so a lot of newer amps on the market are also now accepting high-level input signals as well. Also, most-if not all, aftermarket amps already have frequency cutoff filters built in, especially 5-channel ones. There's nothing you should have to do between the head unit and the aftermarket amp involving the input signal. If you could tell me the brand/model of the amp you're using I'de be happy to verify it for you.
I only considered it because the guy in the Mazda247 post that I linked above used it on a 6 with the Bose system and it seemed like a clean way to connect to the existing harness. Didn't think about the possible power loss (I mean any extra hardware in the chain is always more variables that can go wrong so I probably should have) and if the only thing I gain by using that is not having to splice wires than I don't care and will just stick to the direct output of the headunit if it is truly pre-amp level.

I don't actually have an amp yet, I was debating on how much of this I'd do myself if any. I'm going to have it in a shop for sure to get a custom fit sub, so I may just have them do the rest. Regardless, I am pretty set on getting a decent quality 5 channel amp that also has a bit of DSP so that I can tune the audio both objectively and subjectively to fit my tastes and get around the base rolloff, given that the head unit tuning is super limited and has the latter issue.

EDIT:
Just meant to add that I'd take recommendations in terms of the amp. Like I said 5-Channel for sure (I mean a 6 could work too but I figure those are only for if you're going double sub) and while it doesn't need an insane amount of DSP (i.e. Crytalizer, stage effects, etc., though I wouldn't mind playing with those), solid EQ is a must so I can counteract the rolloff and fine tune the playback to my ear. I know some you can plug into directly with a laptop to change the settings, but I'm assuming not all of them are like that.

I'm going to replace most, if not all of the speakers. I recognize a couple names of brands that actually to be take seriously when I see them, but I can never remember them off the top of my head as they're all different than the brands I have confidence in for audio outside of cars. I think the shop I'd go to mainly uses JL or something like that, I have to check the pamphlet the owner gave me again that I don't have on hand. I will probably HAVE to replace all of them as even if a left a couple of the smaller ones they would probably sound like shit or blow on the new amp if I had to guess. I've never used an aftermarket auto amp before so I'm just taking an educated guess.

In end the end, I'll really decide exactly how far I'm taking the system with my choice of speakers/sub, while the amp is just to make sure I'm getting as close to source of a signal as possible and ensure the not POS speakers I put in get plenty of power (sort of a duh since thats what amps are for). While the quality of the amp will definitely affect the sound, I feel its more of a get it to where its good enough (not saying cheap out but you know, maximize your value) and checks all the boxes you need and then go no further in terms of cost. Also, I hate how the sound stage on the default BOSE system feels super forward like its coming from between the windshield and dash. I current have the fade set decently towards the rear because of that.

Overall I'm looking at an upper limit of about 2K. A bit under would be much better than a bit over.

Last edited by oblivioncth; 01-26-2019 at 09:38 PM. Reason: More info
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for posting the links! The threads are interesting for sure, but I think the biggest takeaway is the fact they're talking about a CX-5, not a 6. I can say for sure the EQ data profiles between the two vehicles will be different. While I don't entirely know what this means in terms of low frequencies between the two, as I understand it the CX-5 has a dedicated subwoofer in the spare tire and not door subs like the 6 has. This of course will produce a different sound profile when it comes to the lows.

Generally speaking in order to get a somewhat look into what's going on, I need to make some measurements myself and get some figures. Maybe later this week I can do this. In the Mazdas247 thread on page 3, someone made a graph of frequency dB volume (I guess?), but I'm not exactly sure how he made the measurements so the graph is a little confusing to me. I don't think it's impossible that Mazda is killing off everything <40Hz in the 6 too though. When it comes to the average music people listen to today, frequencies below 40z are pretty rare. Most people wouldn't know the difference if they exist or not. 40Hz also requires a fairly large space to be accurately reproduced from small speakers like what we have. Not only would the small sub enclosure in the CX-5 not be adequate for this but neither would the doors in the 6. Anyhow, it's not so surprising to me that <40Hz is not sent to the subs after the amplifier, but rather that Mazda would choose to actually negate 20-40Hz from the pre-amp output from the head unit. The head unit is obviously doing some preprocessing as per bass/treble/mid/fade adjustments, but why not just send a complete signal to the Bose amp DSP and let that deal with it? That's what it's for. I'm seriously beginning to really understand why Bose is nicknamed Blose.

About your amps, I feel like you're a bit all over the place on this one. Amps with DSP's built into them, while slowly becoming less rare, are still expensive. I think AudioControl amps are a gold standard here, unless you go with a pre-amp DSP and feed that into separate amps. I used to run a JBL MS-8 myself in my old 3. About amplifier configurations this should give you a baseline overview. Keep in mind odd number of channel amplifiers typically provide 1 channel dedicated for a subwoofer that isn't a full-range output. The other channels are full-range.

About brands, good mainstream ones are JL, Alpine, Pioneer, Rockford Fosgate, MTX, Kicker, etc... I've had all but an Alpine & Kicker amps from that list over the years and they've been great amps. JL being my favorite despite they're super expensive, but well worth it. Stay away from brands that offer low prices for high power outputs and seem to good to be true, and always make sure the amp is CEA-2006 rated compliant (meaning the amp does what it's spec'd to do). There's lot's of information out there to consider so I highly suggest doing some more research.

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Originally Posted by MZ6Alex View Post
Thanks for posting the links! The threads are interesting for sure, but I think the biggest takeaway is the fact they're talking about a CX-5, not a 6. I can say for sure the EQ data profiles between the two vehicles will be different. While I don't entirely know what this means in terms of low frequencies between the two, as I understand it the CX-5 has a dedicated subwoofer in the spare tire and not door subs like the 6 has. This of course will produce a different sound profile when it comes to the lows.

Generally speaking in order to get a somewhat look into what's going on, I need to make some measurements myself and get some figures. Maybe later this week I can do this. In the Mazdas247 thread on page 3, someone made a graph of frequency dB volume (I guess?), but I'm not exactly sure how he made the measurements so the graph is a little confusing to me. I don't think it's impossible that Mazda is killing off everything <40Hz in the 6 too though. When it comes to the average music people listen to today, frequencies below 40z are pretty rare. Most people wouldn't know the difference if they exist or not. 40Hz also requires a fairly large space to be accurately reproduced from small speakers like what we have. Not only would the small sub enclosure in the CX-5 not be adequate for this but neither would the doors in the 6. Anyhow, it's not so surprising to me that <40Hz is not sent to the subs after the amplifier, but rather that Mazda would choose to actually negate 20-40Hz from the pre-amp output from the head unit. The head unit is obviously doing some preprocessing as per bass/treble/mid/fade adjustments, but why not just send a complete signal to the Bose amp DSP and let that deal with it? That's what it's for. I'm seriously beginning to really understand why Bose is nicknamed Blose.

About your amps, I feel like you're a bit all over the place on this one. Amps with DSP's built into them, while slowly becoming less rare, are still expensive. I think AudioControl amps are a gold standard here, unless you go with a pre-amp DSP and feed that into separate amps. I used to run a JBL MS-8 myself in my old 3. About amplifier configurations this should give you a baseline overview. Keep in mind odd number of channel amplifiers typically provide 1 channel dedicated for a subwoofer that isn't a full-range output. The other channels are full-range.

About brands, good mainstream ones are JL, Alpine, Pioneer, Rockford Fosgate, MTX, Kicker, etc... I've had all but an Alpine & Kicker amps from that list over the years and they've been great amps. JL being my favorite despite they're super expensive, but well worth it. Stay away from brands that offer low prices for high power outputs and seem to good to be true, and always make sure the amp is CEA-2006 rated compliant (meaning the amp does what it's spec'd to do). There's lot's of information out there to consider so I highly suggest doing some more research.
I honestly didn't think there would be a significant difference between the two models, but the fact the CX-5 has a dedicated sub in the back has that making more sense.

"Blose" lol. Yea, there really is no way to no for sure except seeing if you can get input/output curves for multiple tracks that show a consistent discrepancy. Did not originally see that graph on the post I linked. As for why the head unit does the processing, I agree, as nothing really changes and things are much more compartmentalized and easy to replace. Though, perhaps Bose made a deal with Mazda to do that on purpose so that people would be less inclined to replace the system and Bose can have more users out there whether by choice or by inconvenience.

I have heard a lot of good about JL but was afraid you'd say that. I may look at other brands that are a bit more affordable, but still respectable. Thanks for the amp idea too. Also great tip with the amp rating and I will for sure heavily scrutinize anything I buy at this price point before pulling the trigger.

Pioneer is the only company on that list that I've personally owned anything from. Mainly A/V receivers, other theater equipment, and a headunit, but I am slightly familiar with Alpine and Kicker. JL I never really looked into at all but have heard mentioned here and there, all in very positive manners.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-07-2019, 11:18 AM
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@oblivioncth:
Just to get back about what I mentioned earlier regarding the low frequency cutoff: I didn't get the chance to do any direct voltage measurements on this matter, but I did do just a simple frequency step test by ear. It would appear that the system does in fact have the high-pass cutoff for the lows at 40Hz with what sounds to me like a 22-24 db/oct slope. Nearly all sound is lost at about 33-34Hz with nothing at 30Hz, which is indicative of a rather steep slope (but expected nonetheless). Now I tested this obviously after the amplifier and not before it, so I still don't know if that same cutoff is present in the pre-amp signal or not, but that will have to be for another time.
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