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The Lotus Evora 400 Audio Upgrade


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That's an interesting and comprehensive write up James. I agree the standard setup is mediocre at best, but it probably doesn't bug me enough to spend £1k on upgrading it. I'm assuming that the actual Alpine head unit is a decent item, or did you consider swapping that as well?

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Neal, I have no complaints about the standard head unit other than I would like steering wheel controls but I can live without.

I should say it's much easier to upgrade the stereo in the car than the exhaust - some options I have seen for the R8 etc are thousands more than this!

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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How about adding some steering column remote controls?

Something similar to this:

http://www.projectpuma.com/viewtopic.php?t=4567&start=175

The guy has added the ford steering colum control, which you can then get an Alpine adaptor for.

I've seen similar threads for NONFord cars.

 

Current: 2021 Lotus Elise Cup 250 FE in Isotope Green, Red Alcantara Interior, Carbon Aero Kit, AirCon, Carpets & Mats, NVH pack, Cruise Control, Stereo, Red Calipers.
Now Gone2018 Lotus Elise Sport 220 in Metallic Blue, Alcantara Pack, Forged Wheels, 2piece brakes, AirCon, Hard/Soft Tops, Red Calipers, Stereo, Interior Colour Pack, NVH Pack, Carpets, Mats.
Previously Owned: 2016 Lotus Evora 400, 2010 Lotus Evora NA, 2003 VX220 Supercharged, 2001 VX220 Lightning Yellow
Follow my Lotus journey here: http://www.FaceBook.com/HandmadeInHethel

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Hi James,

That's really interesting to hear. Were there any other components that you considered but discarded, or was the choice pretty limited? I'd also be interested in hearing a little more about why your OCD isn't happy with the tweeters (photos?).

Thanks for taking the time to write this up, this is something I'm planning so it's very useful for me.

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Thanks for the write-up! Keen to hear how you get on with it as you fine-tune it.

I'm doing a much simpler upgrade to my car; I've just ordered Polk Audio DS522 5.25" coaxial speakers and a roll of SoundSkins deadening material, which is like dynamat but has 3mm of foam on top as well.

My factory front speakers are absolutely woeful:

d64278c705.jpg

The outer door skin (behind the speaker) is going to get a healthy dose of deadening as it is super flimsy and resonates a lot. Also going to put some on the plastic speaker hub (and some epoxy putty too) as it is currently so flimsy the speaker may as well be mounted on cardboard.

Will be leaving the factory tweeters in place for now to see how far this budget approach (~£163) will take me.

Also of note is that care must be taken when removing the door cards... the 3 large plastic tabs that hold the top edge of the door card to the door shell are extremely fragile, already broke one when having the windows tinted.

ps where can I find the Evora 400 service notes?

2016 Evora 400 | Signature Silver on Red Alcantara

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Very comprehensive, well considered & helpful update @JayEmm. Thanks for sharing it!

After a few months, (and with windows closed more now in the colder weather), the poor sound quality of the front speakers in particular is very apparent.

Your hardware recommendations look like the affordable way ahead if/when I can find the time plus someone suitable to do the work.

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I am sure Peter Doidge would happily quote you to do your car and I'd happily give you a loan car if you wanted to use them @blindside

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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Thanks James for the kind offer but it would be a stretch for me to get across to your part of the world. Probably a 3 day round trip. Better for me to use your guide as a template for a good car audio guy in my neck of the woods.

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Oh yeah, I forget you were on that part of the pond. When it does come time send me a message and I can let you know if there's anything in particular that makes life easier

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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  • Gold FFM

No, but I like to be able to perform basic functions like turning volume up/down or changing track on a CD without looking away from the road - the head unit's design is fairly poor on that front.

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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You mean I'm not allowed to have some basic creature comforts in Lotus' "most useable" car? Sorry, but I disagree that just because I bought a Lotus I'm not allowed any sort of basic ergnomic concern.

Personally I think the steering wheel buttons could be laid out much better, IMHO the cruise control buttons take up far too much of the steering wheel, for a seldom (in my case) used feature. 

That being said, I'm definitely not a fan of Ferrari's "everything on the steering wheel" approach

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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Thanks for writing this up. Have you a  breakdown of costs for speakers vs labour ?

Previously owned :Exige 380,  Exige 350,  Evora 400,  Exige V6S,  Esprit GT3,  2-11 SC,  Evora S,  Elite 501

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Installation was £220

I don't have the receipt to hand, but the speakers were around £250, the sub is around £110, the amp £299, plus a small amount for cabling, dynamat, mounts, etc...

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James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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Never thought I'd see "labour" and "effective" in the same sentence again in my life time. You're slipping Barry.

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I came into this world screaming and covered in someone elses blood. I'll probably leave it in the same way. 

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The components are of drastically better quality than those they replace, but the sound is not yet up to the standard I would like.

I am planning a return visit where we will be tweaking, doing some more extended listening etc... as there are a lot of things we can change.

The Evora's a fundamentally flawed car for audio but you can certainly improve the standard system for modest money. 

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Gold FFM

So, an update. The car went back to Peter Doidge yesterday for the previously mentioned tweaks. We re-ran the cable from the head unit to the amp, now using line level/RCA connections rather than the hi-level we had to use first time round (thanks to Lotus having a butchered connector).

We also made some adjustments to the crossover (it's now full range on the main speakers, with the sub being cut around 80hz in the head unit).

The improvement is massive - possibly an even bigger leap over when the system was first installed vs the old system. I now have an excellent sound system in the car, am very very happy with the results.

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks James for this very interesting report on your upgrade! 

really helpful for me too, as - after driving my Evora 400 now for a few weeks time - I have the same opinon: the sound quality of the built-in speakers/sub are really sub-standard quality.

although I love the sound of the exhaust, from time to time I also like listening to some music, and for this an upgrade with the parts & costs you listed seems to me reasonable!

anybody else who did do an Audio upgrade on his/her Evora already and could share some experience?

kr, hymo

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The speakers in my S model are not so bad at all now I've changed the head unit. It made a huge improvement to the sound. Clearly the 400 has different speakers and I'd understood that Lotus saved some weight with them (sure I read that somewhere?). I'm guessing improved sound will mean more weight?

I'm a bit nerdy about adding any weight to my Evora but would be really interested if I could get better and lighter speakers. Any suggestions?

 

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Hi Hymo,

I've got nothing to report back yet, but I'm planning on upgrading at the end of November. I've been quoted for Fosgate Rockford Power series components which should apparently fit and offer good sound. I've just gone with the recommendation of the fitter as I know nothing about this sort of stuff. Total quote including fitting is around £1200 and I'll update my experiences in here when it's done.

I'll also weigh everything going in and coming out to see what difference it makes. To be honest I think it'll be negligible, probably comparble to filling the washer bottle and carrying my tow hook and manual in the car....

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@Danelaw it's a reasonably inescapable truth that decent audio components are usually relatively heavy... the sub is 3.7 KG (but I already had the Lotus "subwoofer") and the amp is 2.15kg... again, replacing an existing but crap amp.

In reality I think I would have added, at most, 5-8kg to the car? There wasn't even a huge amount of dynamatting done. 

The door speakers in the 400 are smaller than the S, a decision which will definitely contribute to the poor sound quality. The OEM parts are also of the lowest specification, sadly.

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James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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