Over the weekend I finished up replacing the stock woofers in my R32 with the Inspirit kit from Soumatrix. I'll kind of start this thread backwards and go with my impressions and then later add the horrifying installation instructions if you want to rip your car apart and actually do this. And I'll say I think you probably should.
There's a dramatic change between the stock speakers and the Soumatrix ones. I get no more obnoxious cone bottoming out noises, or the amp cutting out during strong bass. I believe the primary reason for this is that the stock woofers are 2 ohm drivers, and the Dynaudio amp is designed to drive the Dynaudio speakers which are 8 ohm. In fact if you dropped in the Dynaudio unit you probably noticed the DTCs reporting that all the woofers are short circuited.
The Soumatrix speakers are 4 ohm, and while that's still twice as much load as the Dynaudio amp expects, it's a lot better than driving a 2 ohm load, that's for sure!
A few thoughts on this:
- If you're running the stock VW amp, I'm not sure this kit would work well due to the impedance difference.
- I didn't have any particular problem with the mids and highs in my current setup, so I didn't mind that the Soumatrix coaxial tweeter wouldn't be effective.
- I left the Soumatrix coaxial tweeters connected, but they don't do anything.
- Bass is much improved. I wouldn't say it's "louder" but it's far less muddy. Better bass was what I was after. Mission accomplished.
- I would consider this plug and play. Well, more like drill-rivet-plug and then play.
- Installation can be done in a few hours. Taking apart the rear interior covers is more involved than the front doors.
- (theory): Front door speakers are much more effective than the rears. Maybe you can just buy the 180mm speakers from Soumatrix and skip the rears entirely, just use the fader to lower their volume so they don't bottom out
- (theory): The cables for the coaxial tweeters are accessible. You could cut the wires from the stock tweeter and reroute them to the Soumatrix one. It may sound better.
So, I give this thumbs up and am not at all displeased with the speakers. If you know how to take your interior apart already and have been wondering about these speakers and if you're running the Dynaudio amp, go for it.
I was going to post a really detailed set of installation instructions and tons of pictures and stuff, but for now I'll just drop in some basic notes and a few key pictures. If there are specific questions about something I can certainly clarify.
First, tools needed:
- Bentley service manual is really helpful (will spare most of my grumbles about eBahn reader, blah blah, really Bentley? You don't even officially support Visa? That was 2006. You guys suck)
- Torx bit set (T25 and T30)
- Drill and drill bit set
- Small C clamp
- 1/4" drive sockets
- Various pliers
- Trim removal tool. VW trim wedge #3409 is referenced. I used the blue plastic trim tool set from Harbor Freight.
- Panel clip pliers. VW tool #3392 is referenced. It looks just like the trim removal pliers from Harbor Freight. Guess which one I used.
- Rivet tool. I strongly recommend an automatic tool, like an air riveter. It was a great excuse to go and get an air riveter from Harbor Freight (are you detecting a pattern yet?)
- Go to your friendly VW parts place and get some 6Q0-868-243 clips. These hold your door panels and rear interior panels on. You will likely break some when removing them, so get them beforehand. I picked up 5. I should have gotten a few more, but I made do with the 5. I paid $2.88 per clip.
- Touch up paint. You're going to make scratches. That trim tool has sharp edges.
- Nitrile or Latex gloves
The Soumatrix speakers come with rivets (The Harbor Freight 3/8" rivets also fit if you need more) some large sound deadening pads and some Dynamat-type pads.
First, I think it's best to start with the passenger side door. Here's a picture of the exposed door with the panel removed for reference.
First thing - make sure you park somewhere that allows you to open the doors completely. You need maximum access to get at the door panel clips that face inward toward the car body!
Now, remove the trim panel on the door handle. The Bentley manual says to pry up on the cover- this is incorrect and it caused me problems. What you want to do is pry outward on the bottom part of the trim panel. Since the manual is wrong and I partially broke this part, I can't say for sure what exactly I did to get it off, but here's a picture anyway:
Behind this trim panel are two T30 Torx screws. One is near the top, the other near the bottom. Remove them.
There is one T25 Torx screw on the side of the door panel near the tweeter. Take this out.
Along the bottom of the door panel, there are three T25 Torx screws to remove. They are angled upward.
Now the fun part!
Using one of the trim tools, stick one into lower side of the door panel to pry it open slightly. This should give you enough of a crack to see where the bottom-most clip is. Put a piece of tape on the bottom of the clip removal pliers to reduce scratching, and slide it in to engage the clip. Squeeze the tool and the clip should pop out. Repeat for the other two on the outer door panel. (driver's side shown below):
There are two clips that hold on to the other side. You can see all five of the round holes in the first picture above, which should give you some idea as to where they are. Once all 5 are popped off, stop and note that there are two wires that are attached, so don't yank anything off too hard. Pull back on the bottom and lift the door panel upward to disengage it from the top. Once you get a little clearance, undo the plug attached to the midrange speaker (squeeze the sides) and disengage the clip that attaches the door panel switches to the door module. Unlatch the purple clip and then pull it out and up to release it. You don't need to disengage the door release cable, I just stood the door panel up next to the door with it still attached. If some of the door panel clips remained attached or broke off in the door, remove them and replace them on the back of the door panel. They slide into the white holders.
Unplug the woofer's electrical connector and drill the heads off the rivets with a suitably large drill bit. Go slowly and don't push too hard to reduce the chances of the rivet spinning in place. Then simply pull the woofer off and out of the car. Now you need to get the rivets out. I wasn't sure how to do this, so I made this tool with a 2" C clamp and an 8mm 1/4" socket:
The idea behind this tool is to push the rivet out and into the socket. Once it's out you can grab it from behind with some bent nose pliers. This does bend the sheet metal quite a bit, and I wasn't truly able to get it straight again.
Now is a good time to touch up everything you scratched up. Obviously for the scratches covered by the door panel, such as the rivet holes, behind the rivet holes, etc. there's no need for it to be the body color!
Remove the backing from one of the large, square sound deadening pads and stick it on the sheet metal directly behind the speaker hole.
At this point, I'd hook up the Soumatrix speaker and make sure it works. If you're satisfied that it's functional, rivet it in place. The rivet gun makes this a totally stress-free operation.
Plug in the plug, put the little foam piece over where the plug goes. Test the speaker again. If all is good, now you can apply the Dynamat pieces to the backside of the door panel. If you happened to notice any particular rattling or buzzing areas on the door panel, you're supposed to Dynamat those areas. I didn't recall any such noises, so I took a guess and put it where I thought it might make sense, as shown here. Use gloves when working with this stuff so you don't leave tar fingerprints all over everything.
Now, put the door panel back on. Reconnect the door module and midrange and hang the panel by the top. Roll the window down to make it easier, hook the top of the panel into the channel and then push on the panel itself to seat the clips back into their holes. Reinstall the Torx screws, put the cover back on and then you're done. With that side.
The driver's side is almost the same, except that you have to pry the cover up and out to get access to the the T30 Torx screws.
Now, for the back. This is really a pain and I didn't get a lot of pictures because I had to work in the confines of the inside of the car.
The rear speakers are riveted in as well, but they're riveted into a plastic panel. Also there's already sound deadening material in there, so no need to stick the pad to the sheet metal. However I did make use of it.
First thing to do is to remove the AIRBAG logo cover from the top of the B-pillar. There's a T25 behind it. Make sure your driver is magnetized so you don't drop the screw into the door, and then remove it.
Remove the B-pillar trim by getting your hands behind it and unhooking it. Pull it back starting at the top, because there's a tab that engages at the bottom. Once all three clips have been disengaged, you can pull the trim upwards and out of the slot in the lower panel. You can let it hang off, there's no need to completely remove the trim from the car.
Remove the rear seat bench. You need to disengage the 4 child seat latches and flip them upwards. There's slots in the seat bench so they don't need to be removed completely. Pull up on each front side of the seat bench to disengage the clips, and it needs to then be pushed backwards and pulled up and then out. It's a lot harder than it sounds in the manual. You should then remove the seatbacks as well. I didn't do this, and you can remove the panels without taking the seatbacks out, but if I did this again I would remove them. There's a bearing at the hinge under a cover if you pull the carpet back. At least that's what the service manual says.
There's a cover at the top of the rear trim panel near where the top of the seatbelt comes out. Pop the cover off and remove the T25 behind it.
There's a trim cover at the bottom of the panel that attaches to the sill trim. It's held in with three clips. Start at the end away from the sill and pop them out. Fold the entire strip back and away from the panel so you have room to remove it.
The trim panel is held on with more of those same clips, but there's not enough clearance to get a tool in there. So the only thing I can say is basically to pull the panel off as carefully as you can. I did some damage to mine which required plastic epoxy to fix. Keep in mind that the tweeter is attached to the panel, so when you get it separated enough to get your hand in there, disconnect it. Here's a shot of the rear inner panel with some pieces of the sound deadening pad cut up and attached to it and after riveting in the Soumatrix speaker.
At this point, long story short- I had a hard time trying to drill the rivets out here since they're in plastic and spun almost immediately. I used the trim removal pliers and slid them into where the rivets were and used it to pop them out. The plastic is soft enough that they come out without much trouble. I think I was lucky here, but that's what I did.
Also note that the Soumatrix tweeters point downward in this configuration. This wasn't a problem for me, but there may be another variant of the rear speakers that would correct this. They probably should be pointing up if they were in use.
Anyway, basically the same process. Rivet the new speakers in, apply sound dampening material to the panel as necessary, test, rivet, test again, reassemble.
I had problems with the seatbelt height adjusters after putting the B pillar trim back together. I'd test those carefully before finishing reassembly.
So that's about it. Enjoy the updated sound of the new speakers!
I didn't want to dump too many pictures, but if you go to this URL, there's a bunch more images. They're not in any particular order and may not represent what I actually ended up doing, so use with care:
And I left out the most important part. Don't forget to install your shiny Soumatrix badge! Adds at least +3dB!