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Old 02-17-2018, 06:36 PM   #1
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Gathering info on upgrading the Bose system - some questions

My '02 Boxster S was originally equipped with the Bose system. The stock radio is long gone. I bought the car with an already installed old double DIN Eclipse nav equipped touch screen radio. It has no Bluetooth, the nav updates have been unavailable since 2010, so it's basically useless. I am going to re-do the whole system. I have a 4x75 JLAudio amp for the 4 main speakers, and a 1x500 JLAudio amp for a subwoofer.

I have so many questions on these Bose speakers I am not sure where to start. I've searched a lot but not really found real definitive info. I'm sure it's out there but I haven't tripped across it yet. Lots of what is out there is conjecture and somewhat fractured. I guess I'll just start here by asking and it will at least give me something to go by. Hopefully a couple of you guys have done this and have real world info that you can share. I'd certainly appreciate it. .

Bose front dash speakers - In the original setup it seems these were set up as full range speakers. Is there a crossover up by the speaker? If not how is the crossover handled and where is the crossover circuit located? Are they even worth saving or should I just replace them? What is the ohm rating of the Bose speaker in the dash? What do guys normally replace these with? It seems there are two speakers up there. What sizes are they? I guess a low/mid range and a tweeter? My amps can handle down to two ohms, I'm concerned about the ohms because I know that Bose does some really goofy stuff. Nothing wold surprise me. Are these paper cone?

Bose door speakers - I see these have some sort of mounting baffle/box they are mounted in. From what I have seen there is one speaker in each box, and it was set up as a woofer originally. Is that the case? What size speaker is in there? Is it just a woofer or a full range speaker? What are the guys who are replacing these speakers using? What ohm rating is this speaker? Are they paper cone?

Bose rear shelf speaker box. This is the one I have found the most info on. What a strange setup this is. Apparently it holds a pair of down firing woofers that fire into nowhere, just into a shelf, with a central port which I presume is where most of the bass comes from? Then there is a separate set of front firing small speakers. Are these tweeters or small mid range speakers? I believe I read that the total ohm load of the box as wired is absurdly low as to be unusable. What size are the woofers? Can you actually hear them being fired as they are directly into the shelf the box sits on? What size are the small speakers? What are guys typically doing back there?

Are any of these speakers worth using? The system isn't hooked up now so I can't even hear what they sound like. Anyone who has either reused these with a standard head unit and amps (non-factory, non-Bose on both), or has replaced the speakers with something else, I would be very eager to hear about. Any and all info is gratefully appreciated. Thanks you.

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Old 02-18-2018, 04:01 AM   #2
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I know nothing about car audio, but I recently had a Bose rear speaker open. Here's the inside view. It looks like the two downward facing woofer type speakers project out the center horn and the two smaller (mid-range) speakers are isolated from the rest of the unit.
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:44 AM   #3
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Bose is all or nothing.

The dash speakers are two-way separates. A mid and a tweeter. The door speakers are mid-bass woofers. The shelf unit is the subwoofer firing outta the horn and two tweeter/mid combo single cone drivers for a little rear fill with the top down

The problem with the Bose unit is the need for the fiber optic input and wierd amp needed to drive them all properly and give you the fade and balance control.

Best bet is full aftermarket.

I have the full factory Bose in my 2004. I replaced the dash bass driver with an aftermarket speaker that a fellow inmate posted about here that was 2ohm. That simple mod gave me MUCH better clarity and MUCH higher volume. I’m happy now with the full Bose, but with your starting point, I would NOT try to replicate the factory system. I would just go completely aftermarket.

You will have much better sound quality and much less aggravation going that route.

Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:10 AM   #4
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Agreed on scraping the Bose, and start from scratch. The dash speakers are easy enough to remove (just 2 screws) but the access is somewhat frustrating due to the slope of the windshield. Also, when you pull the fronts, check your depth and width as (if I remember correctly) on the drivers side there is a piece of sheet metal that can limit options...I think I ended up trimming this with a dremmel. Also, it can be helpful to remove the shroud that covers the instrument panel...not hard to do.

On the doors, there is some disassembly required to make sure you get every screw that holds the panel on. I followed some tips I found on this forum...do a search (sorry I don't have readily available). For the door baffles, I left intact and just replaced speaker. I thought about redesigning the enclosure, but left "as is" and am not displeased with results...and yes, the door is a single speaker (not sure exactly what the range was, but let's just call it a sub). Also while you have the door panels off, you might want to think about the covering armrest lids as these are really easy to remove with the door panels off and I considered this a great time to do them (I did mine in leather...best mini-mod I've done).

Regarding crossovers...this is obviously dependent on the speaker setup you choose, but I went with dedicated crossovers for the dash (mid &high) with a sub pass to the doors. Granted this places the doors and dash on the same "front" channel, but if you are going to do the rear shelf, it still allows fading control. I thought about having the dash as the front channel and the doors on rear and the shelf as RAF (rear area fill), this would have given the ability to more accurately balance the front stage to the subs, but elected to let the sub crossover handle the db. Also thought about a six channel setup, but I went the easy route with a four channel amp.

Final thought...you can end up spending a lot of time designing a wonderful "theoretical" acoustic setup, but in the end, this is a convertible and everything that looks good on paper will disappear the moment the top goes down. I'm not suggesting that you cheap out on the speakers (if your going to do it, do it right), just keep realistic expectations on the final product. Speaking of cheaping out, please don't go to all the work and try to reuse the Bose speakers...they are almost 20 years old and weren't the best choice back then.

Whatever you do, do the best that you can do. Keep things neat and professional...nothing irks me more than a thrown together hack job, just to get things done. A little time spent now saves a lot of headaches later...if not for you, at least for a future owner.

Best wishes, and let us know.

Last edited by MWS; 02-18-2018 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:48 AM   #5
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I agree, based on first hand experience, that aiming for high quality sound is futile. The first place I look when thinking about Porsche stereos is Car Audio Innovations. https://cai-store.com/
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:19 PM   #6
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Yes, that place is THE Boxster stereo place.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:38 PM   #7
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I agree, based on first hand experience, that aiming for high quality sound is futile. The first place I look when thinking about Porsche stereos is Car Audio Innovations. https://cai-store.com/
They do have the installation pieces too. Only issue is they are pretty pricey, but i used their dash speaker mount rings worked awsome.

I have been doing some reading on 996 upgrades door speakers, found some guys used tank 5.25 inch subs in the doors bolt into stock baffles, but uou have to use hole saw to cut hole in back of boxes for magnet. Anyway google 996 upgrades might get some ideas also.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:29 AM   #8
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FYI, there are three different factory door speaker enclosures. 97-00 use a smaller enclosure. The Bose and 01-04 use what looks to be the same enclosure from the outside. The only difference between the two that I can see is that the Bose speaker has three mounting holes and the factory speaker uses four.
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Old 02-19-2018, 07:20 AM   #9
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Well, let me ask a question: what is your goal when you say you want to modify the stereo system?

The idea of a Boxster is to have a lightweight sports car with low centre of gravity. So the stereo system is designed to be light weight.

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Old 02-28-2018, 03:33 PM   #10
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Bonus find! Opened Bose box and found Focal subwoofers

I finally got the Bose box out of the car and opened it up, only to be very pleasantly surprised to see that someone had replaced the Bose drivers with Focal K2 Power 13KS woofers. The wiring seems very strange, they wired to the subs to an amp, and drove the tweeters in the Bose box with the radio amp. Very strange, but it's all being redone anyway. Dash his original Bose drivers, that'll be front channel. Door speakers are still unknown, I have to remove a door panel and see what they are. Whatever is in there or their replacement will be rear channel, and the two Focals in the Bose box with be single channel sub channel on it's own 250 watt mono JL Audio amp. It should sound decent.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:59 AM   #11
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I mentioned this before, but I would again strongly suggest looking into replacing the front Bose. The reason I am suggesting this again is with the amount of work you are going to do, the front is where you will see the most improvement/bang for your buck (if you will). The staging in the Boxster heavily favors the fronts and replacement of all others with higher quality will still leave you with a flat sound (severely deadened mids and especially highs). You know the old saying..."no highs, no lows...must be Bose." I'm sure you know this, but low frequencies (long wavelengths) require "static" air for transmission and the moment the top is down, that air is gone leaving you with the remaining higher frequencies (mids and especially highs) combined with the fact that these frequencies can and will "bounce" off of the windshield only leads only to the conclusion the dominant sound should be provided by the best (or best possible) divers, and to be blunt, Bose are not those.

In any event, best wishes.
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Old 03-01-2018, 11:54 AM   #12
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I'm happy to replace the fronts. They're so easy to get to, I really had no issues at all getting them out. I saw a video about how to cut up the Bose fronts and use the mounting ring to mount a better speaker to the strange bolt pattern of the Bose mount. I'll have to try to find that video again. Then again, I hear some saying that the adapters already made are available somewhere. I have to try to fins them too. Does anyone know offhand where I can get the ready made adapters? Any ideas on good front speakers and size? I don't want to spend a ton of $ and I don't really want to deal with separates if I don't have to. Thanks, guys.
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Old 03-01-2018, 12:05 PM   #13
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Here's the video about turning the present speakers into adapters. While you destroy the old speakers to do it, I really would have no intention of using them again,, so I guess why not. These guys shown are using Alpine SPG-10C2 speakers. They're 4" two ways, and looks like they go for about $75 a pair. I need something that's 4" and will handle some power, as they'll be powered by the front channel of a JL Audio 4x75 amp. Anyone have a better suggestion?
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Old 03-01-2018, 03:25 PM   #14
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Here's the video about turning the present speakers into adapters. While you destroy the old speakers to do it, I really would have no intention of using them again,, so I guess why not. These guys shown are using Alpine SPG-10C2 speakers. They're 4" two ways, and looks like they go for about $75 a pair. I need something that's 4" and will handle some power, as they'll be powered by the front channel of a JL Audio 4x75 amp. Anyone have a better suggestion?
High quality 3 separates. I went that route to start which was a improvement but nothing like separates.

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