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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just looking through the service manual and think I found a solution to a problem I didn't know I had.

http://www.nicoclub.com/FSM/Pathfinder/2013%20Pathfinder/AV.pdf

My SV has the "mid audio without Bose" and I hate the quality of the sound. The mid-bass and lower frequencies sound very weak and strained, and I'm pretty sure the components are the same as those in an Altima. That might be okay in a sedan, but just can't do music justice in the larger Pathfinder.

I see that what appears to be the same control unit is used in both the non-Bose system and the "mid audio with Bose" system. The additional power seems to come from the external Bose amplifier. So could I buy this amplifier and a subwoofer and use with my current speakers? Or would I have to add the additional 5 mid/high speakers that the amp also powers?

I have installed plenty of aftermarket systems in other cars, but would prefer to keep the stock control unit and speakers if possible. I'm sure the speaker quality is nowhere near that of Bose, but I am sure the bigger issue is the poor quality, low power signal the control unit is sending.

Is there a harness that connects the Bose amplifier to the control unit, and if so could I buy a third party amplifier that would provide slightly more power to the stock speakers and also power a subwoofer? I really don't need the Bose name or 13 speakers, but a 7th would sure help a lot!
 

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Modern cars use a fiberoptic CAN BUS for a most of the device to device communication, and this channel is likely used to connect the head unit with the amp. The wiring diagram in the pdf you linked seems to support the use of CAN BUS in the Pathfinder.

Having worked on a great deal of audio componentry myself - both in cars and home audio - speakers and amps, I would venture a guess that the weakness is actually in the speakers, not the amount of power or quality of the amps.

So the upgrade path is actually pretty simple - replace the stock front door speakers with a good two-way or three-way system. Add a good powered sub wired into the back speakers. I bet this will give you sound better than the stock Bose system. A car system doesn't need 1000 Watts unless all you want is to be heard from miles away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Having worked on a great deal of audio componentry myself - both in cars and home audio - speakers and amps, I would venture a guess that the weakness is actually in the speakers, not the amount of power or quality of the amps.
Interesting... My first car was a 1991 maxima, and after replacing the factory speakers with Infinity Kappas I discovered that the paper cones on the original speakers actually sounded pretty good, but the 5w per channel just couldn't power them. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that underpowered factory speakers sound much better than underpowered $200 4-way speakers.

You really think that the OEM amplifier has gotten that much better while the OEM speakers have gotten that much worse?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The only problem is the stock set up has 2 ohm speakers. Might be difficult to find decent 2 ohm door speakers.
4 ohm speakers would work, right? Is the issue that the higher resistance would cause them to be significantly quieter than the front speakers?

Aren't Infinity and JBL speakers slightly below 4 ohm (3 ohm maybe)? At least they claim true 4 ohm resistance at the amp, including resistance from the thin factory wiring.

Worst case scenario, some relatively cheap 2-way coaxial speakers in all four doors would at least provide matched mid-range tonal quality and volume. I'm not sure any tone difference from the unmatched factory tweeters would be noticeable. The question is, how much would the volume suffer?

I'm just trying to find a cheap, quick way to improve the sound some, but using components that I could add to later.
 

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itll be tough. even if you ugprade the speakers and the amp.

the audio driver from the stock headunit/audio unit is going to be bad quality.

but i'd start wit the speakers and amp.

just gotta figure out how to wire an aftermarket amp to the stock harness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
just gotta figure out how to wire an aftermarket amp to the stock harness.
No joke... they sure don't make that easy!

It *appears* that the AV control unit for the non-Bose system (actually a different part number for Bose and non-Bose systems) incorporates amplification into the control unit. The wiring diagram shows the speakers directly connected to the control unit. In the Bose system the schematic shows 9 wires (4 pairs and a single) connecting the control unit and the Bose amp.

Then there is a question of what the nodes are just before each mid/bass speaker (after the tweeter signal split in the front). Are these HP/LP filters to prevent damage to the cheap speakers? Are they built into the speaker, or somewhere along the signal path?

Why are cheap, simple audio upgrades never simple or cheap?
 

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Trying to upgrade the audio quality in vehicles now will never be cheap. Having several intergrated HVAC/AUDIO cars I've searched every way possible cheaply and hitting a wall each time. I've found the best way to get quality from a factory HU to aftermarket speaker is with a signal processor *most arent cheap*. From there run your amps and all new speaker wires throughout.

Otherwise sacrifice quality for money constraints or sacrifice money for quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Otherwise sacrifice quality for money constraints or sacrifice money for quality.
Well, I don't want to drop much cash into this, so I've decided to try these in the rear door as a first step:

Infinity Reference 6032cf 6.5-Inch 180-Watt High-Performance 2-Way Speakers (Pair)

They are 2 ohm and are rated for 2-60w RMS. I feel fairly confident that the factory stereo puts out at least 2w per speaker, so these should work... and can't really sound much worse than the OEM speakers. If nothing else, they should at least improve the quality and imaging of the highs and mids.

If the mid-base doesn't sound any more full (these only go down to 53 hz), I'll probably consider adding a basslink woofer, splicing the rear leads for speaker-level inputs to the sub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Well, I don't want to drop much cash into this, so I've decided to try these in the rear door as a first step:

Infinity Reference 6032cf 6.5-Inch 180-Watt High-Performance 2-Way Speakers (Pair)

They are 2 ohm and are rated for 2-60w RMS. I feel fairly confident that the factory stereo puts out at least 2w per speaker, so these should work... and can't really sound much worse than the OEM speakers. If nothing else, they should at least improve the quality and imaging of the highs and mids.

If the mid-base doesn't sound any more full (these only go down to 53 hz), I'll probably consider adding a basslink woofer, splicing the rear leads for speaker-level inputs to the sub.
UPDATE:

At the last second I cancelled the Reference speakers and decided to go with the Kappa 652.9i instead. The main reason is that the Kappas were highly praised nearly everywhere online for having very tight mid-bass without compromising midrange performance. These are the speakers I actually installed:

Infinity 6529I 225W (Peak) 165mm Two-Way Speakers (Pair)

I was worried about the 5w RMS power requirement, as opposed to the 2w requirement for the Reference speakers, but it turned out to be a non-issue. The OEM speakers are stamped 2 ohm 20 watt, so I would imagine the factory amp is pushing right around 5w RMS per channel.

I installed just one speaker initially, and then compared the OEM to the Kappa for an extended amount of time. What I discovered is that the overall volume is about 15% lower than the factory speaker, but this is not much of an issue.

There is slightly less "boomy" bass with the Infinity speaker, as the factory speaker does go a few hz lower than 47hz. HOWEVER, the sound is crip and tight at every frequency, where the OEM speaker distorts quite badly at the bottom end of its range.

Just as important, the directional tweeters are bright and really make the sound seem more enveloping from the front seat. I'm sure it sounds infinitely better in the second row too. Kappa speakers have a 3 db tweeter boost on/off selector, which I left off because I worried that it would overpower the OEM tweeters up front.

The final test was to turn the bass all the way up, fade and pan to have only my new speaker playing, and turn the volume all the way up--absolutely ZERO distortion. And more than enough volume than I would ever need.

Somewhat surprisingly, the OEM front speakers really aren't nearly as bad as the rear speakers. If the distortion and boomy bass at moderately high volume levels bothers you, I would highly recommend replacing the rear speakers as a first step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update:

So the subwoofer turned out to be the trickiest part of the upgrade. I was absolutely adamant that I didn't want something that would obstruct access to the under-floor storage box or be in the way of using the back seat.

I thought this left me only the factory Bose sub location in the storage box. However the Bose sub is custom-fit for the rather oddly shaped location, and nothing else would fit in that space, primarily because of the cutout for the jack only 8" from the edge. To put a sub in this location, your options are to buy the Bose sub or custom build an enclosure for an 8" max sub.

When I started looking for the Bose sub, I discovered that it is actually just two small woofers, so I worry about how low the frequency response range could possibly go, and it is also quite pricey (over $250 on ebay). Plus there is little information about impedance (1 ohm?) and power handling.



For this price, I was able to find a Kicker Hideaway 8" powered sub that is only 3 1/8" tall, so should actually fit under the 3rd row seat. The Kicker is 150w RMS and can handle frequencies down to 25 hz. Not sure how much it will improve the low end at the driver's seat from that location, but the front door 6x9 speakers I am putting in can handle down to 35 hz anyway.

If you already have the Bose system, but want to reclaim the space taken up by the sub in your storage box, this could be a nice option for you too. The factory Bose amp is already under the 3rd row seat, and the Kicker HS8 has speaker-level inputs with auto-sensing power on. You only need to route the included power wire to the battery and connect the ground to a bolt on the frame.

I'll report back how well the Kicker 11HS8 fits under the 3rd row and what impact it has on the overall sound.
 

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what are the specs for the ff:

dash tweeters
front door speakers
rear door speakers
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'll report back how well the Kicker 11HS8 fits under the 3rd row and what impact it has on the overall sound.
I'm thrilled to report that the Kicker Hideaway fit PERFECTLY under the 3rd row seat, and the sound is AMAZING.

I was worried such a small unit would produce weak bass, but it sounds better than any factory sound system I've ever heard. I would HIGHLY recommend anyone who wants a simple sound upgrade without sacrificing ANY space take a look at this unit.
 

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This is great news, I didn't see this thread before. I think I will go ahead and get the Kicker Hideaway to do just this.

I will report back on how it all sounds.

Thanks.
 

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One last question for you dcline414...is the under the seat installation something that you think Best Buy mobile could easily accomplish, or should I look into using a dedicated custom car audio shop, and spend a little more to have it installed?
 
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