Lotus Elan

Contemporary bluetooth, USB, audio cable input, SD card RDS

PostPost by: ditechspain » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:13 pm

Apologies if this is the wrong place or someone else has covered this recently, but the most recent post I came across in a reasonable amount of time was 2009.

At time of writing, 14 September 2015, my local Aldi has a very shallow ?19.99 Maxter RDS FM/AM/USB/Bluetooth (phone or mp3)/earphone audio input/SD card reader radio. It doesn't come with CD or cassette, but does have 4 speaker outlets and will power an automatic aerial, although I'm sot sure whether it should be used via a relay connection.

The chassis is a few MM too wide to fit into the standard +2 130/5 radio hole. However it fits easily and will just cover the hole once the mounting chassis has been removed. I would recommend doing that anyway as I'm not sure how you could actually remove the radio once the chassis is fixed without running the risk of breaking something. The depth is about 2/3rds the shallow Pye OEM radio originally fitted and there is absolutely no question of it getting anyway near the bulkhead/heater box..

It's clearly a modern radio but the display and fascia are a reasonably subdued black and silver/grey and the sound (in a more modern car) is more than acceptable for ?20 and probably well up to the standards you could expect in the 70s anyway. Certainly way better than the Pye.

Now I need to sort out some suitable rear speakers in place of the single original speaker. I don't think I'll try to fit front speakers and certainly not in the doors.

Apologies again if this is in the wrong place, but there can't be many left as they were in the store for about a month before I was rash enough to part with ?20.
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PostPost by: elanfan1 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:10 pm

This is absolutely unbelievable, nay shocking! Seriously what the hell were you doing in an ALDI?



More seriously though a great find and not just for Plus 2 I'd say. For ?20 you can't go wrong though it will be interesting to see what suppression it might need. Report back to us when installed and give us an idea of what it's like.
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PostPost by: ditechspain » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:14 pm

What was I doing in Aldi? Probably buying booze. Their wine is similar value.

Probably some time til I get it working. I'm not that bothered about the AM reception. It won't have Test Match Special as no LW, and the Pye is unlistenable-to anyway when the engine is running. However there is some money left for suppression.
FM reception isn't usually that affected, so I expect that to be OK, but at least the iPod is now an option. I've also put some extra, modern sound deadening on the centre console so it's noticeably quieter, although it was pretty good already, considering the era.
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PostPost by: vxah » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:47 am

Aldi seem to have done a few slightly different styles of these radio/usb/bluetooth units? I have one in my +2 at the moment becuase i got fed up with only having one station that worked! Mine is black with a chrome knob and has am and fm at ?34. It's ok but the sound is not that great although that could be the speakers? I do have two on the rear shelf and two in the doors though. I have to say i don't really like the look of it in the dash and keep looking for something more in keeping with plenty of chrome etc, i have spotted the Caliber retro unit but i think it is slightly too big to fit in, i have 110 mm from the front of the dash to the heater box, i also had my new dash panel made with a din size radio hole.
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PostPost by: ditechspain » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:56 am

I entirely agree with you about the inappropriate look, although for a modern radio it's fairly restrained compared to most I see on display. I'm just reluctant to spend hundreds of ?s on a period-looking radio (without a digital display) that may be useless in a couple of years if/when they turn off standard FM. I found one company that retained your old fascia, which was good. The problem was that I would have had to remember the correct combinations of pressing which buttons how many times in which order to control the thing. So I probably wouldn't have turned it on at all.

Does it make much difference if you fade the door speakers right out and just rely on the rear shelf speakers? Or, to put it another way, do you think it was worth the effort of fitting door speakers?
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PostPost by: vxah » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:39 pm

It sounds better if i fade the rear speakers out quite a bit, i think the sound bouncing off the glass may be the issue, not really sure. I fitted 4" two way speakers in the doors so the back of the speaker goes in where the window regulator mechanism bolts up. It took a good bit of searching to find some shallow units that come with grilles! Did you know that very few speakers now come with grilles? I did try buying seperate grilles from the bay but they were utter crap!
I made new door cards as mine were knackered, cut the speaker holes then had the new cards trimmed without the ashtray holes! I did used to smoke when i bought the car in 1983 but not now!

The system could do with a subwoofer really, just got to find somewhere to put it?
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PostPost by: ditechspain » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:36 pm

Apparently some Blaupunkt grilles will be coming with the speakers as the ones I ordered were (fortunately?) out of stock. God knows whether they will look period, but I was beginning to lose the will to live. And they at least will look expensive.

Yes, I was mildly surprised to find grilles an optional extra, and that so many of them don't seem to offer a particularly free path for sound, as well as looking pretty ugly and cheap.

Thanks for the info about the front speakers. Interesting they seem to work better than the rears. I can see why high mounted front speakers could give a better sound. I was trying to imagine them somewhere down in the footwells. I'll just have to cross my fingers that the speakers I've ordered will produce an acceptable sound. There's a list of improvements to make before there's money for smartening the interior and modifying door cards etc. And given the fact that I've needed to remove both ashtrays at one time or another to reconnect the lock linkages (at least they didn't fall apart on the same trip; there must have been all of a week between so there was always one operational door) I'd be cautious about filling that hole with a speaker.

I thought they fitted little speakers on the tops of the dash on modern cars so that higher pitch sound would reflect back off the windscreen glass. I was hoping the rear window would work the same way, especially since it's not exactly a long way behind you.

You could always try fitting a sub-woofer horizontally under the front passenger seat to provide a different experience.
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PostPost by: vxah » Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:29 pm

Strange but i was looking under the front seat last night to see what space there is! Answer, none really, especially when there is a backside in the seat pshing it down!
Modern cars mostly have pretty good sound systems even though they do use cheap speakers, when you get in the classic and it's p!ss poor you notice how things have moved on! I seemed to recall that fitting door speakers was the "in thing" in the 70's & 80's so not too "out of spec" to fit them to my car?
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PostPost by: ditechspain » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:44 pm

I did think of suggesting a subwoofer behind the rear seat, but eventually remembered the small detail of a fuel tank. I'll now be a bit more careful cutting the new speaker hole in the parcel shelf.

I would have put door speakers as at least very late 70s and more 80s myself. However due to mortgage-induced poverty and sky-high interest rates (where are they now when I'm a saver and not a borrower) around that period I wasn't really looking at improving car audio. It was often more than I could do to keep the car on the road at all.

Hopefully the speakers will arrive tomorrow, Thursday, and I can start working out cable runs etc.

Good luck on the hunt for a better looking and sounding unit.
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:23 pm

aldi as a wine merchant (I am, among other things a high end wine merchant!) ..................... a quote from a very credible wine publication called vinum: getting a 12quid (at aldi or lidl) amarone is like the chap who thinks that you can also get a ferrari (lotus 26r) for the price of a fiat. the also state: an amarone will always have to cost 40 - if not, it can't be a proper amarone -------------------- they cost a fortune to make if they are "the real thing" - greetings from a pro (since 1985) 36 4982 ---- sum of u'll hate me - i also luv beer
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PostPost by: gus » Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:41 am

There is plenty of room low right above the rear jack point. I put one there with a small build out and removed the patch of trim similar to the seat material and cut away the fiberglass behind it. The trim can then be replaced with speaker grill material
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