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Team FIAT (TFI) Official OEM ICE upgrade guide v3

Discussion in 'In Car Entertainment' started by PaddleShifter, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. PaddleShifter

    PaddleShifter Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,697
    Chandigarh
    Grande Punto 1.3
    If you are happy with the sound quality of your car, please don't read this topic and start doubting something you are happy/satisfied with. This is strictly for those who are not satisfied with the stock speakers and want to upgrade to better speakers.

    EDIT dated 29th December 2013- FIAT has started providing better speakers and 2013 model cars have a speaker set up which is almost at par with that of Figo (I consider i20 and Figo to have decent speakers at this price).

    DISCLAIMER- Speaker upgrade requires that the door panels be opened and then re-fitted. Badly done job might lead to rattles in doors. And if the installer cuts any wire, warranty might get affected for sure. Choose wisely and get the upgrade done only from a reputed shop.

    ICE basics guide, version 3.0 (This will keep on updating till it is complete guide in itself).

    In this guide, only the most basics will be discussed and that too in a simplified manner for easier understanding of those new to this subject.

    The aim of this guide is to discuss the options for improving sound quality of the music system without changing much components especially the head unit. For full aftermarket modifications to the ICE, a separate guide is running >>HERE<<

    A manufacturer offers equipment for a given price, keeping in mind a lot of factors. Then of course, there are certain areas where the manufacturer feels that he should do a little compromise and give more importance to certain other features.

    In case of our FIATs, for the given price of our cars, we get lots of equipment. Cost has to be cut somewhere as well for providing those extra features that no other car has in this price range.

    The music system is one such area. 2013 cars have much better factory fitted speakers than those that were there in my 2010 model punto.

    Lets see what the stock music system or stereo and speakers (as a layman would call them) offers. The music system of the car is known as the In Car Entertainment system (ICE) and comprises of the following in FIAT Linea/Punto:

    A head unit (HU) or the head or the stereo- A basic unit comprising of a CD/MP3 player with a FM/Radio player with RDS and a built in amp of 30x4 Watts. There is no USB port, AUX port or remote control offered with the HU. Though, Blue and Me system offers a USB port for listening to music and 2013 FIAT cars come with a remote control as well.

    Speakers in all four doors are present. They are virtually made up of paper and weigh as much as a a pen/pencil. Now, the sound quality is definitely below par for most of the average audio listeners. EDIT- I am satisfied with the sound quality of factory fitted speakers in a 2013 Punto Active that I get to drive.
    Front speakers are 6.5" in size (Co-axials in Active and Dynamic, Component speakers in Emotion)
    Rear speakers are 5.25" in size (Co-axial speakers)

    Microsoft Blue&Me infotainment system with Steering mounted Blue&Me voice commands and audio control buttons. Microsoft Blue&Me is equipped with Microsoft Media Player, voice commands, SMS Reader, Bluetooth hands-free calling feature, USB Port, steering mounted audio controls, steering mounted blue and me controls, phonebook upload to it's own onboard memory.

    Now, I am not complaining but I do feel that FIAT should at least consider putting better speakers in the cars as nothing beats the factory fitting that is free of all rattles etc that might occur post speaker upgrade. Its like the following situation. FIAT was so close to providing a music system with speakers as good as Figo or i20. (2013 FIATs have better speakers as written above).

    429931_10150712537446579_671376578_11426270_2098891681_n.jpg

    Maybe they could put better speakers and raise the prices by 4-5k. Anyways, lets discuss the options and benefits of various common options.

    There are many ways of improving/upgrading the ICE of Punto/Linea but only 2 of the most common methods are being discussed. Visit the various threads in the ICE Section by CLICKING HERE

    Method 1: Sound On without show off

    This is the easiest method. You just throw out the stock speakers from all four doors and put after market speakers. There are no amplifiers needed, thus no extra wiring, least chances of anything going bad in future.

    You can add the following types of speakers.

    a) 6.5 inch component speakers- It consists of a pair of speaker, tweeter and a crossover unit.

    comps.jpg

    b) 6.5 inch co-axial speakers- Just regular speakers. Can be 2-way, 3-way or 4-way.

    jvc_cs_hx647x.jpg

    c) 6x9 co-axial speakers- These are oval in shape.

    6x9 coax 1.jpg 6x9 coax 2.jpg

    The first two can be added to the stock speaker location in the doors with spacer rings but the 6x9 coaxials can only be placed on the parcel tray. 6x9 coaxials give better bass as compared to 6.5" speakers but the main issue is that cabin and boot sorts of loses some beauty. Wires would be hanging below the parcel tray when the boot is opened. Parcel tray may rattle as well and the light OEM parcel tray might be unable to carry the weight. You will need after market parcel tray for sure.

    Simply changing the speakers improves the sound quality by leaps and bounds as compared to the stock system. It must be kept in mind that the built in amplifier is just 30x4 watts so never buy very high end speakers if not adding an external amplifier as they won't be able to extract the required juice from the built in amp.

    You can either add co-axials to all four doors or add components to the front doors and co-axials to the rear doors.

    Recommended set up is:

    Front doors= 6.5" component speakers [approx budget Rs4500-6000]
    Rear doors= 6.5" co-axial speakers [approx budget Rs2000-3000]
    Door damping is sort of mandatory for atleast the front speakers and costs around 1000-1500/door. If possible, get damping on all four doors.
    Total cost= Approx 10000 to 14000 with damping of the doors.


    Method 2: Changing the speakers and adding an amplifier +/- sub-woofer

    To the above exercise, ICE installer will also add an amplifier to the car. A good 4 channel amplifier can be added. 2 channels power the front comps, rear co-axials are powered directly by the HU. The spare 2 channels can be used later in bridged mode for adding a subwoofer. Make sure that you buy good quality wires if adding amplifiers and sub woofers.
    JBL amp.jpg

    Now, the stock HU from FIAT does not have RCA pre-amp outs i.e. no un-amplified signal coming out of the HU. It only gives out an amplified line from the in built amplifier, going to the speakers. Initial FIAT Punto/Linea owners faced a problem where the amp would not switch on/off along with the key. Installers would add a physical switch and one had to remember to turn the amp on/off everytime.

    An easy solution was to use the Blaupunkt THA 555PnP amplifier that is a plug and play amplifier but this thing is no longer available as per some reports.

    555PnP amp.jpg

    Some installer used to suggest taking input from the ignition system but that may void the warranty if any wire is cut.

    ADDING AN AMPLIFIER TO FIAT CARS

    There are some basic methods of setting up the amplifier. The two methods used are:
    - It can be connected directly, provided the amplifier accepts speaker level input.
    - Using Line-out converter.

    Both these are discussed below in detail:
    i) Direct connection- In this case you will need an amplifier that has "speaker level" inputs and you will attach the lines that come out of your head unit (that would have otherwise gone to the speakers normally) to the amplifier. These amplifiers feature speaker-level inputs, which have built-in converters which step the speaker-level (hi level amplified signal) signal down to a preamp-level (low level signal) signal acceptable to the amp. From the head unit (HU), wires go to the front speakers and the rear speakers. Here, the wires going to front speakers act as input to the amplifier while the other set meant for rear speakers continues on its same route. From the amp, wires then go to drive the front components. A subwoofer can also be added to this.

    ii) Line-out converters- If your amp doesn't have speaker-level inputs, a line output converter (LOC) will help you step the speaker-level signal down to preamp level. i.e. here, a line out converter is added to the system between Head Unit and amplifier. This line out converter, or LOC., is a device that turns the speaker-level audio signal in a car audio system into a line-level signal that one can connect to an amplifier. I am repeating this to make sure that there are no doubts.

    Schsoche line-in converter.jpg

    Additionally, amplifier senses signal from input by low power signal and can turn on/off automatically. Make sure that the installer will get this done or else your amp won't power off even if the music system is turned off and lead to battery drainage.

    I will add some diagrams soon.

    DOOR DAMPING- A car's door is made up of metal sheet and not wood. When we add speakers to the doors, bass produced by the speakers causes vibrations in the door's metal sheet. It leads to a drop in quality as well as listening pleasure. Door damping is as important as the quality of a SMPS in case of assembled PC.

    A simple solution is to damp the door, i.e. create a compartment with a material around the speakers so that it won't cause any vibrations of the metal sheet of the door. Damping material normally used is Dynamat extreme, Dampmat, Roadkill or noise kill. Here are some pics for reference. These have been taken from facebook long time back when one of my friend (also a TFIan and a Punto owner) was tagged in these photos. This guy got the door damped from the inside, then outside and then added another layer of damping as well.

    door 1.jpg
    door 2.jpg
    door 3.jpg

    20130709_162715.jpg

    This is all about the basic ICE upgrade. Of course there is no limit to the ICE customizations and I haven't gone anywhere near the DSPs, mono amps, capacitors and things like them. Further reading is advised and please visit the ICE section for more details.


    AMPLIFIER AUTO SWITCH ON/OFF

    As per my understanding, LOCs have remote on feature and thus amp turns on/off along with the HU. However, further reading is advised and the following 2 threads are highly detailed. Have a look at these 2 threads:

    Page 8 of ICE Considerations (Give you info on back panel of HU. ALso see page 9)

    Amplifier auto turn off

    For full aftermarket modification of ICE, visit the following thread:

    TFI OFFICIAL "AFTERMARKET" IN CAR ENTERTAINMENT (ICE) UPGRADE GUIDE V2
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
    23 people like this.
  2. PaddleShifter

    PaddleShifter Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,697
    Chandigarh
    Grande Punto 1.3
    MODS NOTE- Thread moved from Moderators' section to the FAQ section.
  3. WOW!! a BIBLE for all the newbies out there... Thank you very much Yashik.. Appreciate your efforts..
  4. Ganges

    Ganges Esperto

    Messages:
    3,121
    Driver Seat _/
    :
    Grande Punto 1.3
    yashik,
    Roumb wiki !
    What is damping of doors?
  5. PaddleShifter

    PaddleShifter Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,697
    Chandigarh
    Grande Punto 1.3
    DOOR DAMPING- This is an important topic. A car's door s made up of metal sheet and not wood. When we add speakers to the doors, bass produced by the speakers causes vibrations in the door's metal sheet. It leads to a drop in quality as well as listening pleasure.

    A simple soution is to damp the door, i.e. create a compartment with a material around the speakers so that it won't cause any vibrations of the metal sheet of the door. Damping material normally used is Dynamat extreme, Roadkill or noise kill. Here are some pics for reference. These have been taken from facebook long time back when one of my friend (also a TFIan and a Punto owner) was tagged in these photos. This guy got the door damped from the inside, then outside and then added another layer of damping as well.

    door 1.jpg
    door 2.jpg
    door 3.jpg
  6. Cinju

    Cinju Esperto

    Messages:
    1,333
    Trivandrum
    Yashik what is the other material which is used (The orange one) ?
  7. PaddleShifter

    PaddleShifter Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    2,697
    Chandigarh
    Grande Punto 1.3
    The orange material is Noisekill damping sheet.

    The metallic damping sheet is Stinger Roadkill.
  8. Wonderful thread Yashik . Thansk for putting all the pieces at one place .

    Ajit
  9. Toruk_Macto

    Toruk_Macto Amatore

    Messages:
    205
    Ghatkopar-Mumbai
    Great info Yashik. Keep it up.
  10. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    5,243
    Chennai
    Linea 1.3
    This is an excellent initiative Yashik. We should probably extend this idea to other areas as well. Lighting upgrade - guide, Sun films - Guide, and so on.

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