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To Bose or not to Bose

 
Old 03-03-2019, 09:49 PM
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RedRedRed
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Default To Bose or not to Bose

I posted this in the Audio/Electronics section, but it looks like mostly C5 & C6 guys in there. Wondering if someone here can answer my questions.

I just purchased a í91 convertible with only 13,300 miles on it. It has the Bose Gold system which I knew didnít work before I bought it. I had learned on this forum that they fail with age not use, so itís not surprising despite the low mileage. I also learned that even after theyíre repaired, theyíre still prone to failure, although opinions seem to be split on that.

While Iíd like to keep the car stock since itís still virtually like a brand new car, Iím not sure I want to sink as much or more money into repairing the Bose than it would cost for a nice new modern replacement system. I still need to diagnose which components need to be repaired, but even if itís only one of the three components (speakers, head unit, receiver box), I would have to assume that one or both of the others will go out sooner or later. So Iím leaning towards replacing the whole thing and just keeping the original parts for possible future use or inclusion with the car if/when I sell it, but I need to give it some thought.

Iíve read a lot of posts, but thereís so much out there itís hard to sort it all out, and Iím still wondering a few things I hope someone can help me with:

If I install a new head unit and speakers,

1) I assume that I would need to wire the speakers directly from the new head unit since the current speaker wires actually come out of the CDM, correct?

I read the following post from about a decade ago:

"Some people have claimed you have to completely rewire the sound system in a C4 to replace the Bose system. Not really, unless you're putting something in that's running a lot more juice through the wires. You can get a new head unit in there with common adapter kits. At the speaker end, you will need to cut the wires leading to the Bose amps and run the wires straight to the speakers. I cut mine downstream of the connector to the Bose amp so that the stock wiring harness itself is completely unmolested."

If this guy did it, I suppose it works, but others have said you have to run separate speaker wires. Do the speaker wires come out of the head unit or the CDM? Event if they go THROUGH the CDM I would have thought that wouldn't work.

2) Do I need to disconnect the CDM in some way? Iím wondering if it will still be powered up if I donít.

3) I assume I can use a harness adapter kit to connect everything else on the new head unit (power, ground, antenna power, etc.) to the factory harness even if I donít use the speaker wires in the factory harness. Would that be correct?

Considering how difficult it seems to be to get the CDM out, Iíd rather leave it in there if Iím going the system replacement route.
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:03 PM
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belairbrian
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Read post 9 in this thread. It discusses the option of keeping the speakers and speaker amps

https://www.corvetteforum.com/forums...-problems.html
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Old 03-03-2019, 11:06 PM
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RedRedRed
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Thanks. That post #9 helps me out with harness adapter kits.

I don’t think I want to have a hybrid system, though. I don’t know yet if my amps are fried or not, but if they aren’t, I’m sure they will be soon enough from what I’ve read. I don’t like the idea of putting in mismatched amps from other cars, either. Besides probably not sounding as good, being designed for other cars, they’re going to fail, too. And from what I’ve read today, the Bose speakers themselves are not worth keeping. I think for me it’s either fix the whole Bose system or replace the whole thing.

So I’m still wondering if and how I could use the existing wiring with new, non-amped speakers, and what to do with the CDM. And after reading the rest of that thread, now I’m wondering about error codes that are generated when the factory head unit and CDM are pulled. That sounds like another can of worms a replacement system will open up!
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Old 03-03-2019, 11:42 PM
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I can't remember exactly if I had a harness that mated with the stock plug or just cut the right wires to get power and switched power and ground. I BELIEVE it was a plug from Metra that I used to get the right wires. Had Best Buy run the speaker wires to the back. Bought non-Bose speaker enclosures and fitted new speakers for a non-Bose application.
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Old 03-04-2019, 12:03 AM
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I think you are getting too much in to the "What if" syndrome.
If you aren't sure of what to do, what to keep, what to bypass, etc, take your car to one of the auto stereo shops in your 'hood. I'm sure there are more than one nearby, so you can compare results. Find out what is recommended to get to the end result that you are looking for.
In my car, to the best of my recollection, I had a new amp installed and hard-wired. It sits against the rear wall of the cargo area. The installation included bypassing (disconnecting I guess ??) the individual amplifiers at each speaker. I'm not sure if all new wiring was run, but I doubt it.
Now, it sounds awesome, no problems with the head unit (in dash component) and I don't have to worry much about future failures. Had this installation done about five years ago and haven't had a concern since.
I believe all in was around $350.
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Old 03-04-2019, 01:46 PM
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I understand you wanting to do something about the stereo but myself, I enjoy hearing the road and the engine. My stereo went out over a year ago haha Cars like the Vette are getting rare! And this coming from a huge huge music fan
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:31 PM
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I enjoy listening to and playing music myself, but I also enjoy the engine noises and and other sounds that come with driving. That said, I did just finish rebuilding my Bose amps, and for what it is, I am very pleased with the sound quality - especially for 30-year old technology. Part of my drive was to retain the originality of the car (18,000 mi), but I do plan on updating the head unit in the spring. If you choose to go the rebuild route, I don't think you will be disappointed, especially considering you can do the work yourself for a few bucks and a few hours of your time.
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:37 PM
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The C4 is just so noisy that the benefits of a quality system will be lost unless you are parked with the engine off. You may get louder sound, but not better.
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by RIC96 View Post
The C4 is just so noisy that the benefits of a quality system will be lost unless you are parked with the engine off. You may get louder sound, but not better.
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Old 03-04-2019, 02:52 PM
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The C4 isn't the easiest car to get good audio out of but can be done. I do a lot of car audio installs and had a nice setup in my old one. I ran two butler tube amps in the rear, one hooked up to a set of JL IB8 mids in the factory rear location and they produced some nice tight bass and great vocals. I used the other amp to run a set of alpine type r 6.5s in the front stock location, that took a little work to get them to fit but was worth it. Look for a speaker with a higher sensitivity, I would say 93+ db, and get a good amp to push them. You could upgrade the stock speakers with something the same size and benefit if you power them correctly. If you want to go that route I can recommend some speakers and amps to get the job done.
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Old 03-04-2019, 03:09 PM
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I picked up a '93 about 18 months ago & like you found out the radio was toast after the fact. I ended up putting in a Pioneer unit with Apple Carplay and used the harness into the amp so at least the power antenna would work properly - but put in all four new speakers and ran it to the head unit.

Next I replaced the cigarette lighter with a USB port and use that for Carplay when needed.

I kept the Bose and will let the next owner have it if they want to try and get back to OEM, but I'm happy with the setup I have now.
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Old 03-04-2019, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RIC96 View Post
The C4 is just so noisy that the benefits of a quality system will be lost unless you are parked with the engine off. You may get louder sound, but not better.
Especially with my LT headers and Borla, you are correct. OTOH, my new Pioneer unit has a USB port, remote control and all the other new amenities. Another thing is that it is modular. That means, if Dr Don and others like him no longer service that old stuff or I just get pissed with them, I can tell them to go jump in the lake and get a new head unit or different fronts or different rears or just because I see a new feature like others have done with the navigation. Change PRN and not dependent on a couple people is a definite plus. So why would I want to throw good money at rehabbing some old junk when I can make it modular and tailor it to new features that come out? If you are doing NCRS or you, for whatever reason, need it original, sure.
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Old 03-04-2019, 03:44 PM
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My 91 has the Bose and the amps front and rear on the driver's side are toast. The right side works and actually don't sound too bad so I currently plan to buy new amps for the driver's side after I get a few other mechanical issues resolved. The head unit and CD work fine and the one thing I haven't tested yet is the cassette player. As a few have already said, the cockpit is a noisy place and just the sound of the engine through the RPM scale adds the only music I need.
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:25 PM
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with the stereos of modern day why would you even consider keeping the factory radio if it doesn't work? you can buy a very nice alpine for a few hundred bucks and to me.. imo bose car speakers are not really any where near what the house line is. have you looked at the crutchfield website? they have some very very high end speaker systems there that would blow even a brand new bose away. so my answer is def.. not to bose
an alpine head unit with polk MM series 93 db sensitivty speakers and alpine amp to match the speaker outputs. would be all the sound you need. if you are a bomm boom guy then some polk woofers with a proper sized amp would fix that. i think that huge panel in the back behind the seats calls for a nice set of 15 inch woofers..

Last edited by bud40oz; 03-04-2019 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 03-04-2019, 11:04 PM
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Tldr. Fix the stock system if that's the question.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:37 AM
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RIC96
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Originally Posted by aklim View Post
Especially with my LT headers and Borla, you are correct. OTOH, my new Pioneer unit has a USB port, remote control and all the other new amenities. Another thing is that it is modular. That means, if Dr Don and others like him no longer service that old stuff or I just get pissed with them, I can tell them to go jump in the lake and get a new head unit or different fronts or different rears or just because I see a new feature like others have done with the navigation. Change PRN and not dependent on a couple people is a definite plus. So why would I want to throw good money at rehabbing some old junk when I can make it modular and tailor it to new features that come out? If you are doing NCRS or you, for whatever reason, need it original, sure.
Good point. If you want new features or the factory Bose doesn't work, replacement is probably a better option then repair. I just use an FM transmitter if I want to play music from or charge my phone but I mainly listen to traffic reports and news on the AM band. Someone mentioned the Bose home systems as quality sound. I disagree, more a life style solution than audiophile quality. Better sound through marketing!
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:43 AM
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aklim
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Originally Posted by RIC96 View Post
Good point. If you want new features or the factory Bose doesn't work, replacement is probably a better option then repair. I just use an FM transmitter if I want to play music from or charge my phone but I mainly listen to traffic reports and news on the AM band. Someone mentioned the Bose home systems as quality sound. I disagree, more a life style solution than audiophile quality. Better sound through marketing!
Let's say that you do get home quality sound. You don't have the acoustics to benefit from it and the engine noise will mess.it up. I go for the new features and the ability to upgrade at will since original doesn't mean squat to me.
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Old 03-05-2019, 02:37 PM
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I was about to do some major stereo work and look at aftermarket options. Then, my 12 years old got in the car with his Bose Bluetooth speaker. Problem solved. The car still has the original Bose in case the next guys cares and I have a great sound in the car...and money in my pocket. An additional plus, I don't have to drive around with the antenna up.
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Old 03-05-2019, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by 95LT1ZF View Post
I was about to do some major stereo work and look at aftermarket options. Then, my 12 years old got in the car with his Bose Bluetooth speaker. Problem solved. The car still has the original Bose in case the next guys cares and I have a great sound in the car...and money in my pocket. An additional plus, I don't have to drive around with the antenna up.
anyway you slice it its a $1K investment......I won't have any money left after my eng/trans work, so I was thinking the same thing, strap down a bluetooth speaker.....
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Old 03-07-2019, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by 95LT1ZF View Post
I was about to do some major stereo work and look at aftermarket options. Then, my 12 years old got in the car with his Bose Bluetooth speaker. Problem solved. The car still has the original Bose in case the next guys cares and I have a great sound in the car...and money in my pocket. An additional plus, I don't have to drive around with the antenna up.
But seeing the antenna go up is kinda cool! haha
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