Gave my Fiat Linea a much needed audio upgrade in a limited budget
The Sony amp can go on powering the speakers with neither of them breaking a sweat. The Helix up front and the Polks in the rear do a nice job complementing each other.
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After much delay, I finally got around to upgrading the audio on my Fiat Linea. The setup is as below:
Head Unit -Stock
Front Speakers – Helix L62C
Cost: Rs. 7.5K
Rear Speakers – Polk DB652
Cost: Rs. 5K
All 4 speakers:
DSP+AMP – Sony GS6DSP:
Audio Source – Apple Ipod Touch, Apple Iphone 6, BT.
I had picked up the Sony DSP Amp in a flash sale on Flipkart at around Rs.14K. The speakers were picked up on Motorogue – Their prices are extremely competitive and so is their service. The install was done at High Definition Cars on Bannerghatta Road.
Mandatory speaker comparison pics:
Front Stock vs Helix Components:
Rear Stock Speaker vs Polk Coaxials:
Amp mounted on the rear seat backside:
The Sony DSP amp is the most complicated piece of the puzzle. At first the installers assistant drew all the 4 speaker connections to the High-level input of the Amp – I had to later point it out that it is not how it is to be done. Once that was sorted – the speaker connections were then given.
This is where we ran into a problem. The amp would cut off once we dial the volume up. No matter what settings we used the amp would cut off intermittently. This was turning out to be a big, big problem. Connecting the Phone via BT to the amp directly had no such issues. Later got to know that such a problem is standard with Linea HU and a fellow fiat owner told me that he listens to only BT audio and the HU is not used. This was a bummer as the audio output from the HU (CD or Ipod) was far far superior to the BT output.
The next option was to use a hi-lo convertor and then plug in to the signal input of the amp. Here there was no audio at all. We were following the manual yet there was no audio. We tried multiple convertors that my installer had and there was no audio. Nothing. Double bummer.
We called it a day and went home at around 11PM. Next day started to google around this and finally found one obscure link in which they had spoken about the solution:
It so happens that when giving a signal level input we also need to add a second remote line in from the high-level input for the amp to start working. This is mentioned in another part of the manual. Once this was done the amp started doing its thing and how!
Why Stock HU?
I have always believed that the HU in the Fiats isn’t that bad – provided you play off a CD or an Apple Device. Why Apple you might ask. I use an Apple Ipod Touch and this is connected via the stock blue and me USB port to the HU. This set up to me has always delivered clean audio with warm HIs and MIDs off the stock speakers. As far as the lows were concerned, they were non-existent. The purpose behind the install was to take this level of audio a notch higher and introduce the low frequencies to this mix.
And this is exactly what I got. The Sony amp can go on powering the speakers with neither of them breaking a sweat. The Helix up front and the Polks in the rear do a nice job complementing each other. I have plans for a sub in the future but not in the near future. However, what I might need to add is Damping and plans are afoot for the same.
I waited for quite a long time to get this upgrade done. Though in terms of budgets and components this is a very humble system, the satisfaction of getting a system to do what you intended to achieve is immense.
A shout to the Vijay Kumar of High Definition cars (ICE, Accessories, Detailing and other services – High Definition Cars. He was equally invested in making sure we got the Sony DSP to work as intended.
As usual – no commercial interests with any of the businesses mentioned above.
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