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The Lotus Evora 400 Audio Upgrade


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  • Gold FFM

@Peegee355 Yes - Initially we went for a 100hz crossover on the amp, I didn't like the results this produced. So I asked them to totally disable the amp's crossover. The speaker crossovers I believe are tailored to the speakers anyway, so don't need fiddling with.

You'll have to set the levels of the sub and speakers by ear, but I have my sub level at 7 in the menu - leaving me wiggle room either way. Then I set the crossover in the head unit so that the sub phases itself out at 80hz, with a gentle (12/18db) slope. This lets the speakers do as much bass reproduction as they can. I felt this was essential to getting the bass less localised. I recommend starting with a flat EQ, and returning the sub's phase to 0 degrees.

Hope that helps!

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James Martin (JayEmm)
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No, it doesn’t and indulged in a long conversation with Lotus Silverstone about that late yesterday. 

We went through the Lotus retrofit kit, all minor stuff apart from over £200 for the subwoofer bracket which comes with the speaker.  That makes the whole conversion expensive and wasteful so we’re pursuing a 2 stage plan. 

First stage is to replace the existing door speakers and the tweeters with something like the JL Audio C3-525s – these seem to have good bass end and the tweeters can be fitted within the door speakers (as an option to leave the cabin completely stock).  

That might be enough to keep my ears happy.  If not, then add the subwoofer in a second stage but maybe use an underseat one to reduce the need to rip the cabin apart and use expensive Lotus brackets.

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  • Gold FFM

The issue you are going to have Peter is that the Evora has only two speakers (well, two mids plus two tweeters) and the mids are not big. They are shrunk compared with the S. The amount of bass they will ever produce is limited. It doesn't help only having two speakers because most other cars have a lot more and the bass in particular is cumulative.

The next problem you'll run into is the fact Lotus are driving the door speakers off the head unit directly, simply not enough "oomf" there to get a good sound. Lot of door speakers are rated at 200w, the head unit is about 25.

I did consider an "underseat" subwoofer, but you have nowhere underseat to put it. I had a few thoughts before I decided to do a proper integration - which obviously sounds like it might be pricier for you. Although really you should only need the subwoofer bracket, you don't need to do any Lotus OEM wiring as that all gets replaced anyway, or can do.

I was thinking the best placement for a sub would be either on one of the back seats - velcro it down or something, or even better you could put it in the passenger footwell. Plenty of room for a shallow one.

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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Hi JM,

You are, of course, 100% correct.  No matter how good the speakers, they won't make up for an amp driven sub-woofer.

I'm go ahead and progress with the 2 stage plan.  Passenger footwell sounds like a good option for Stage 2, less of the cabin to rip up and probably more mounting points to fit the amp/speaker.

Will let you know how it goes - will be interesting!

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys,

short update on my side: I finally decided to upgrade my audio set-up as well. 

to make use of the positive experience from James by doing his upgrade, I took the easy way and copied the upgrade-list 1:1 and did go for the same components from Hertz.

Price in Austria of course was not exactly comparable like in the UK, but at the end (for me) its still a reasonable investment that will pay off...

will give an update as soon as the parts are fitted after the winter!

@James: thanks again for your shared experiences, this made it much easier to take a quick decision on that :thumbsup: 

kr, hymo

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  • Gold FFM

Great to hear Hymo. The difference is massive. Just make sure you get the ISO cable for the Alpine unit to save some time. I don't think the install was too difficult, as long as you have the factory subwoofer so you have the shell.

Make sure you seal it too, that makes a difference.

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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  • Gold FFM

@Stuno1 They absolutely would. I can't see it being very difficult in an Evora either, due to the already aftermarket nature of the head unit. They have a selection of head units in the store for you to try too, see what works.

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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4 minutes ago, JayEmm said:

@Stuno1 They absolutely would. I can't see it being very difficult in an Evora either, due to the already aftermarket nature of the head unit. They have a selection of head units in the store for you to try too, see what works.

Cheers, is it a stand around and job for sub and head unit? I'll be in touch with them soon ish. 

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  • Gold FFM

It'd be a few hours job I think as they need to pull seats and things out to get into the back. You may need a new amp to power the sub too as the factory one is weedy.

If you go there let me know I can always show you round Norwich for a few hours

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James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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  • Gold FFM

So assuming the S1 is wired the same as the 400, it goes like this:

Front speakers are wired directly from head unit
Subwoofer amp hides in the rear, next to the subwoofer

When I did my upgrade, the subwoofer amp got replaced with a four channel amp that powered both the front speakers and the new sub. The amp that Lotus use is known as a weak point, I found a lot of old articles talking about it having failed.

You might be able to get away with using it, but ask the guys first. Getting a new amp is not cheap, around £400, but it is an essential part of the upgrade path. In the S1 you should be able to get even better sound than my 400 thanks to the bigger front speakers and more sound deadening as standard.

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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4 hours ago, JayEmm said:

due to the already aftermarket nature of the head unit

There aren't many OEM's at this level who manufacturer their own head units so in essence they're all after market, just some are white label. Pretty much everyone uses ISO connections nowadays so any non-integrated system would be easy to replace. 

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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  • 1 month later...
On 21/11/2016 at 21:06, Peegee355 said:

Hi JM,

You are, of course, 100% correct.  No matter how good the speakers, they won't make up for an amp driven sub-woofer.

I'm go ahead and progress with the 2 stage plan.  Passenger footwell sounds like a good option for Stage 2, less of the cabin to rip up and probably more mounting points to fit the amp/speaker.

Will let you know how it goes - will be interesting!

 

Just completed an audio upgrade from Lotus Silverstone for my 400.  Went for replacement door speakers and tweeters as the car didn’t have a subwoofer from Lotus, so adding a new one demanded the Lotus bracket (which comes with the subwoofer itself = £££s).

Chose JL Audio C3-525’s – cheapest supplier at the time were direct from JL Audio at £220 including shipping (came 2 days later).  Sound deadening from Amazon - Dynamat Superlite Tri-Pack at £39.  The advantage of those speakers is that the tweeters can be mounted within them so the stock tweeters can be left in place but disconnected, seems to be a lot of discussion on t’internet that this is a better way of mounting speakers.  Though that’s like the speaker cable debates with scientific tests showing zero or minimal difference with people claiming the opposite.

The process?  Well Silverstone, as ever, were superb.  They helped me with the research, costings and were open to debate about fixing methods.  Took 6 hours so nearly 600 quid.

Before?  The stock speakers were appalling to my ears, producing a muddy sound with minimal stereo separation plus woeful distortion at high levels.  Now?  The new ones are the opposite: crystal clear, you can hear individual notes, vocals are transformed. Love them.  Expensive? Yes. But I needed to do it.

Do I need a subwoofer?  2 speakers driven by the stock head unit can’t match an amp driven large subwoofer, so yes, but another day.

Yeah, yeah, turn it off and listen the exhaust.  I ADORE the sound and tunnels are my new best friend.  I still need my tunes though!

 

 

 

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  • Gold FFM

Glad you're enjoying it @Peegee355. Unfortunately thanks to the mind-boggling decision to shrink the door speakers in the 400, the sub is more important than ever. I'm tempted to add a second one to my car but it's not an expense I can justify at the moment

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Guys I have just ordered some components and a subwoofer in the hopes of slowly gathering the equipment to replace the current install.

So far I have purchased Focal AS130 component set up as i have used these speakers previously and feel they demonstrate good value at a mere £81.90, Subwoofer wise I have opted for exactly the same as James, the Hertz ES 200.5  that seemed reasonable at £119 but wooaaaaaahhh the amp is insane at £400 surely there must be alternatives out there? James was there a specific reason for the J L audio amp? ( Class D Full Range) was this for a functionality or have you paid for the name (JL are great quality but rebound for being the most expensive)  I have looked at other amps and Pioneer and Kenwood do a full range Class D for sub £100 could i get away with that do you think?

Also I am after ordering the Audison cables or similar cables but not sure how many RCA's I would need or how many meters of Speaker Cable? I have usually managed to install my own ICE and will no doubt try and do the same with the Evora to save on costs that is until I hit a snag and end up swearing a lot then paying an audio expert lol.

Also James you mention the Harness, any ideas where i can purchase? 

And Finally i promise I'm almost done.........

Are there any alternatives to dynamat that people have used and have gained good results from? again I'm a tight yorkshire man with nothing better to do than try and save money lol.

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Update: 

found the service notes via another source so think I'm covered there despite joining here in order to download it lol ah well......

managed to purchase the following now

audison gauge 4 kit

audison 4 channel RCA lead

hertz 750w 4 channel class D full range amp

hertz ES 200.5 sub 600w

focal AS130 component kit

skinz sound proofing.

ive even bought trim tools to help remove trim and have asked for a price on the ISO cable as all the RCA's are utilised at present and would mean having to run the speakers through the high input. I think James had this issue too.

hopefully I'll have everything to hand soon.

might take pics of trim removal too to help aid anyone else doing it.

 

 

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  • Gold FFM

@Blasholla I did. We ran the first setup off the hi-level, then did it properly via RCAs when we had a tinker a week or so later. The difference in quality was huge.

James Martin (JayEmm)
Director of Photography & Car Enthusiast

Follow my Lotus adventure online! www.jayemm.com

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As per usual my idea of spreading the cost over a few months has gone out the window. 

Ive about gathered and ordered everything, found the lotus service notes and flicking through there are a few sections useful to dismantling the interior trim.

i think I'm missing a few sections though.

 

will keep all updated though 

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so i have managed to crack on in the end as daunting a task as it was, i had ordered some trim tools which have been a god send!

So far I have managed to strip the interior, run the cables, including the Main Power cable from the battery. I have also managed to replace the door speakers and run new wire through the rubber channels so no cables showing going into the doors. I've managed to remove the pillars for  replacing the tweeters I've mounted the crossovers neatly and wired them in (barring the tweeters).

I am now at a stage where I need to mount the sub, and amp although the problem being the amp i purchased is slightly too large for the job and sadly i cannot fit it where the original went.  i am now hoping to exchange this so fingers crossed! Dynomatted doors, sealed the enclosure. and had a good tidy up. not a bad start. hopefully the ISO cable comes early this week, I also hopefully will purchase the JX400 as per James's audio upgrade it would appear given my current amp is too large i need to put the car back together and the way i see it is i will of saved the 300 quid quoted for installation so that can go towards upgrading/swopping the Hertz amp.

for those keen to do this themselves it is possible to do so with the lotus service notes (VG sections) and a lot of patience. I have plenty of photos from each stage so if anyone would like them then please shout out.

Will update further when I've got more bits and progress.

 

One question though for James........

The Audison RCA's look to have a separate wire incorporated in them, could this be for the remote? only asking as i haven't run the cable for the remote yet despite there being one in the Audison Kit.

Speak soon

 

Chris

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