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Alpine Stereo Improved

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by bigbill, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. bigbill

    bigbill Member

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    We all know the Alpine sounds awful. Super distortion. Well, it doesn't have to. There is some hope...

    When I got my car (used) the sub wasn't working. In fact, I didn't even know it had one until I was looking around under there to wire a two way radio. Sure enough, a tiny sub amp. Hmmmmm

    Since it didn't work, I stuck my nose up there as much as I could and got a whiff of fried electronics. When I pulled the little thing, sure enough it was cooked. A few components were fried and the PCB under them was toasted. Wonderful.

    Get this, Tesla used high (as in speaker) level inputs to the amp! Oh, joy. I also saw that they blocked access to the level adjustment pot. Aha.

    The BlauJunked unit wasn't available anymore, and I wasn't really wanting to replace it with the same unit anyway. I found a Fosgate that worked, the PBR300X1. It's a little smaller than the original, so I used some heavy duty double sided tape as a spacer to get it to stay in.


    I wanted bad to run a line level input to the amp. I found the install manual for the Alpine, and sure enough it has a line level sub out connector. But, it takes a special connector that comes with the radio. I seriously doubt that it is there, so I made do with what I had. I didn't like the idea of taking the dash apart just to have to hack the radio connector to get an RCA on it, especially since I plan on replacing the radio at some time anyway.

    So, I put the high level connectors on (ewwwwww) and got to setting up the system. The key to making that work is getting as much low frequency out of the main speakers as possible, leaving only enough to run the sub amp. I ended up with the gain on the sub amp almost all the way up. To get the low stuff out of the speakers I went in to the EQ in the Alpine and turned the low end down. Waaaay down. All the way down.

    Most of the distortion is gone now. The radio sounds like a radio instead of a washing machine, and the sub actually bumps ok.

    I think Tesla wouldn't set it that way because if someone inadvertently turned the bass back up in the EQ the amp (and maybe the sub speaker) would cook. One must wonder, why didn't they use the line level outputs???

    Bill
     
  2. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    Nice detective work bigbill.

    Were you able to check the connections to the main amp for the front/rear speakers? I'm told it's a Rockford Fosgate amp custom made for Tesla, but tough to access and deeply buried in the dash.

    After I upgraded to the double DIN Alpine INE-S920HD I noticed a high noise floor and only the bottom third of the volume control is usable. I suspect Tesla has used the speaker outs instead of lines outs, or the gain pot is set too high on the amp itself.

    I'm curious if you see the same speaker connections for F/R, and if you can access the amp to see if it has a gain pot.
     
  3. bigbill

    bigbill Member

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    I haven't looked into the main amp yet. I'm saving that for when I replace the stereo. I'm sure I'll dump the amp though.
    Bill
     
  4. EVGuy

    EVGuy Member

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    If you guys have any question I'd be glad to help you out. The alpine amp is very hard to take, unless you have small hands. :cursing:
     
  5. Andrew Wolfe

    Andrew Wolfe Roadster 472 - S 440

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    This happened when mine was installed as well. The gain POT on the amp required an adjustment. That fixed everything.
     
  6. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    Thanks Andrew - good to hear it's not just me! I remember you put in an Alpine KTP-445U as your main amp. I'm still using the Fosgate, and unfortunately Tesla thinks it doesn't have a gain POT. I'm hoping someone has seen the amp in person and can confirm. I'll have Tesla check the speaker vs. line connections next time it's in for service.

    EVGuy - what sort of work have you done on the Roadster audio system?
     
  7. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    I'm about to replace my head unit. Since you guys have already taken yours apart, can you guide me on which wire harness I need to buy?
     
  8. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    Tesla did the install for me, but there's a good thread on replacing the head unit here:

    Replacement of Alpine IVA-NAV-10
     
  9. EVGuy

    EVGuy Member

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    I would buy a 2nd stereo harness from Tesla. For the Roadster they are around 25 USD. In case you every want to go back to stock. Then you can make your new stereo harness with the new or old harness. Its really easy just splice in and your good to go.

    I worked for Tesla for 4 years, Vehicle Tech then Battery Tech, If you have any question just ask, I've done almost everything.

    thanks,

    EVGuy
     
  10. deonb

    deonb Active Member

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    I'm curious. Why did you leave?
     
  11. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    EVGuy - welcome to the forum! Your experience will be extremely helpful as the Roadsters start coming off warranty. Great to have you here.

    I spoke to Fosgate - they confirmed OEM amps generally don't have gain control and are preset for the head unit chosen by the car manufacturer. If you change your head unit there's a risk the output level won't match, and you'll need to either replace the main amp or add inline attenuators to drop the level to what the amp is expecting. Bummer.
     
  12. EVGuy

    EVGuy Member

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    Leaving


    Working at Tesla is an experience I will never forget. But I want to finish School, and if you work at Tesla in the jobs that I had that's impossible. you work 6 days a week 10 hours a day, and are always on call.
     

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