Budget Rs. 70000: Need audio upgrade suggestions for my new Maruti XL6

Thinking to keep the same stock HU and upgrade the components and adding an amplifier to drive it. Open to the idea of adding an under-seat sub as well.

BHPian pardeep31live recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hi everyone,

I am an noobie audiophile who enjoys good music and good sound quality even better!

I just got the delivery of brand new MS XL6 Alpha+ MT and I am fairly disappointed with the audio quality of the stock speaker setup. I am hoping to gain from your experience for upgrading the stock components.

Listing down my requirements here and will be highly appreciative for all your inputs and suggestions:

  • Car: Maruti Suzuki XL6.
  • Budget: INR 50,000 – INR 70,000.
  • Requirement: Better sound clarity and soundstage. I like clear mids, well spread soundstage and deep bass that doesn’t overpower mids and highs.
  • Planned upgrades: Thinking to keep the same stock HU and upgrade the components and adding an amplifier to drive it. Open to the idea of adding an under-seat sub as well. Also, adding damping sheets to all 4 doors and boot door.
  • Special Considerations: Don’t feel the comfortable with drilling the plastic panels for tweeters. Front ones can be fixed in stock space for tweeters, but there’s no such option in rear door panels.
  • Options: Now, this is where I don’t have any idea except the name of a few brands. I am an audiophile, but with zero knowledge in car audio systems. My thought is that it’s a good idea to go with the top-end of a lower brand than the low-end offering of a higher brand. I am not comfortable going with the shopkeepers suggestions either because of some lessons learnt in the past.

Request the expert members to suggest the combinations that i can go for. Shall be highly appreciative of all inputs.

Thanks in advance!

Here’s what BHPian navin had to say on the matter:

Disclaimer: I have not sat in or heard the XL6’s system.

That said, before you start, you should be aware that most manufacturers introduce significant equalization in their stock (OEM) HUs. The reason to do this is to get “acceptable” or “tolerable” sound from their OEM (read as cheap) speakers. So if the OEM speakers have poor response below 60Hz, an OEM HU might introduce a bass boost between 70Hz and 40Hz followed by a steep roll-off (to protect the woofer) below 40Hz.

This means that if you add amplifiers and speakers, all the equalization of the stock (OEM) HU would get amplified and might not sound acceptable once 3rd party amplifiers and speakers are used. It all depends on the nature and extent of the equalization used in the OEM HU.

The solution is to use DSP. DSPs can (a) reverse the equalization in the OEM HU and (b) introduce fresh equalization for the new speakers and amplifiers to compensate for any challenges the 3rd party amplifiers and speakers may have.

JL Audio, Audio Control, Alpine, Rockford Fosgate, Audison, Helix, Focal, etc., make these DSPs. Sony and Pioneer even make DSPs embedded in a few of their amplifiers. Some time back, TBHP posted this thread referring to the Sony and Pioneer DSPs.

FYI: Most 3rd party HUs (Alpine, Sony, Kenwood, Pioneer etc.) have similar DSPs in them as well.

I would suggest you first consider the cost of the DSP and if you really want to go down this route before getting into amplifiers and speakers choices.

You do not need to install component speakers in the rear. In fact, in most cars, I do not recommend this. Rear speakers are primarily “fill-in” speakers meant to augment the front speakers.

Here’s what BHPian nik0502 had to say on the matter:

Hi Pradeep,

I upgraded the audio system in my Civic sometime last year. I will list down the set up. Though the set up I have is not a really high end set up but it does the job well. I had upgraded the stock HU in Civic with a Chinese Android HU and it deteriorated the sound quality. The sound output was quite good with the original HU. Hence I decided to upgrade. I installed Infinity Reference component speakers at the front. The output was better but not what I was expecting. So the next thing I did was install an under seat subwoofer. I didn’t want to loose the boot space plus I also feel the subwoofer in the boot doesn’t make any sense in sedans since the boot is isolated from the cabin. There are quite a few Chinese ones available in the market with price as low as 7-8K. I must say the output is also acceptable but those lack clarity is what I felt. So I got a pioneer WX400DA under seat subwoofer. It has an inbuilt class D amplifier. Now the bass was good inside the cabin however it was overshadowing the vocals so I installed a Pioneer four channel amplifier and routed all speakers through the amplifier. Now the sound system is quite filling. It is not like those loud ones where the entire car shakes outside however it fills the interiors quite well and people outside wouldn’t even notice that there’s a subwoofer working inside the car. Here’s how overall cost worked out last year:

  • Speakers Infinity Reference 6520 – 7500.
  • Pioneer WX400 DA subwoofer – 16500.
  • Pioneer 4 channel amplifier (I don’t remember the model) – 8000
  • Installation – 4000.
  • I had also installed android HU which costed 10K.

So overall – 50K

With your budget you can opt for even a better set up. The stock system on most of the Marutis are mediocre at the best.

Here’s what BHPian somspaple had to say on the matter:

As Navin mentioned you would need a DSP. Good news is there are couple of decent budget DSPs with amp built in! There is one from Pioneer which costs around 15K INR and comes with ‘Automatic’ tuning [I guess like Pioneer PRS 90 HU] but doesn’t provide much customization options like channel specific parametric eq etc. Then there is a new offering from Nakamichi which is a 8 channel DSP with 4 channel amp costs around 20K INR! These prices are simply great compared to yesteryears when DSPs were really expensive options.

But with DSP, along with installation you need a proper tuning. So it is imperative that you find a person who can do the tuning for you.

Here’s what BHPian frankmehta had to say on the matter:

Planned upgrades: Thinking to keep the same stock HU and upgrade the components and adding an amplifier to drive it. Open to the idea of adding an under-seat sub as well. Also, adding damping sheets to all 4 doors and boot door.

Wisest and least troublesome choice, but you will not have much control over the Processing, as @navin clearly mentioned.

Keep in mind, that adding a DSP may be within budget, but tuning it is a little difficult. 99% of installers have no clue how to use one, forget about tuning one. Drop the idea of a DSP if you aren’t sure who will be configuring the DSP.

 5. Special Considerations: Don’t feel the comfortable with drilling the plastic panels for tweeters. Front ones can be fixed in stock space for tweeters, but there’s no such option in rear door panels.

You can go with a good quality coaxial set in the rear seat. No need for components in the rear seat if you are going to be driving most of the time.

I am not comfortable going with the shopkeepers suggestions either because of some lessons learnt in the past.

You car and your ears will thank you. It’s a Fools’ Paradise nowadays.

So here’s what I recommend:

  • Illusion Audio (it’s back! And installed in my car! Loving them!) 6.5 inch Components upfront 22-25k tops and Coaxials at the rear coaxials for 6k tops.
  • Damping in all 5 doors (yes, I said 5!) 10k tops (DONT SPEND MORE THAN THAT).
  • Sony/Infinity/JBL/Pioneer 4 channel amplifier for the fronts and subwoofer 9-12k (coaxials can run on the head unit amp).
  • Illusion Audio 12″ subwoofer 18-22k in a SEALED enclosure.
  • Wiring and installation 10k TOPS!

Works out to 65-75k depending on what deals you get from your vendor.

BEST OF LUCK! Don’t hesitate from quoting or PM’ing. DON”T SETTLE FOR INSTALLER RECOMMENDED RUBBISH! Also, please don’t select your installer based on how good the installs look. Try getting a hearsay from people in the industry or on this forum to see who is good in your city.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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