Lotus Elan

New radio.. which front speakers?

PostPost by: JonB » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:43 pm

Today I took the plunge and scored a radio for my Plus 2. On my shopping list of features:-

  • Able to fit the available space behind the dash with no modification.
  • Good quality sound with punchy bass and good power output.
  • Bluetooth streaming, hands free, Siri interaction.
  • Must have a remote microphone for the voice control
  • Old world looks, nothing too wacky to fit in with the existing dashboard.
  • Capable of changing display colours.
  • Not hugely expensive, because I probably won't be able to hear it anyway.
I shopped around and ended up at Halfords. I spent a while playing with the display machines and came away with a Pioneer MVH-S300BT for the knock down price of ?51. I was a bit cheeky and asked for a discount. This is a so-called "mechless" head unit, which means there is no CD player and as a result it has a short chassis that fits the Elan perfectly, with space to spare.

The wiring was straightforward. I took an old DIN adapter I had lying around for Fords, cut off the Ford plugs and wired it into the existing connections in the Elan. Then fitted the microphone on the A pillar, running the cable invisibly down the inside of the door trim and along the underside of the driver's dash (over the handbrake and steering column), then up behind the radio opening.

I used a flexible grabber to poke a way though the dashboard loom like this one: https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com ... 1KeaUL.jpg then grabbed the cable and drew it back out through the radio slot.

I wired the parcel shelf speakers using some decent hi-fi type cable - none of that bell wire rubbish - by getting it into the floorwells on either side, then tucking it under the centre trim. When it reaches the back seats, it just lies on the felt, over the seat back and to the parcel shelf speakers (already fitted, good quality Pioneer units, coaxial 150W). Just a matter of replacing the rear seats and it's all hidden.

It sounds pretty good (but I have not been able to try it on the road, front suspension is in pieces still), with decent well rounded bass which I attribute to the boot being used as a sort of sound box. It is all well lined with felt and carpet, even the parcel shelf has felt on its underside.

I had a bit of a problem with the Siri and hands free calling. Could not hear Siri or any calls, despite the unit recognising a call is in progress and muting the music. I went back to Halfords to talk to their installer and we found his phone does the same, on all Pioneer and Sony units but not on a JVC unit. Most odd and I didn't exchange the unit as it is obviously something other than a defective radio.

I upgraded my phone to iOS 11 (had been putting that off!) and while it was doing this I called Pioneer and spoke to someone in tech support. Turns out the phone call and Siri audio only comes out of the front speakers, so because I have rear speakers only, I cannot hear anything! What a pity it doesn't explain this in the manual...

Back in the Elan, quick swap of the cables, wiring the rear speakers to the outputs for the fronts and we are in business. Hooray!

radio.jpg and
Pioneer MVH-S300BT

It doesn't look too bad, either.

The good thing about this radio is it is equipped with the "Siri Eyes-free" feature. This is a button on the front of the unit that, when pressed and held, activates Siri and mutes the music audio. So in effect, you can - while driving along - press this key and then ask it to do something (for example "Text Karen", and it will prompt you for the text, which you dictate, then send the message without you touching the phone or taking your eyes off the road). Neat.
Last edited by JonB on Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:47 pm

I now need to ask for advice on fitting front speakers. Have done a search but there are not many photos of installations. I am looking for something that will be easy to install, require no bodywork modifications and give good sound - bigger speakers are better - but what is the largest I can get in the door (presumably shallow) or the foot well?
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PostPost by: pauljones » Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:15 pm

I have no idea on size, what i can reccomend is a set of "Gerbils". More accurately JBLs.

I had a set of fronts with a box of magic. Long story short, 100w rms didnt destroy them, loud and clear.
Kick the tyres and light them fires...!!!!!!!
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PostPost by: JonB » Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:54 am

Time to resurrect this topic.

With the steering column, dashboard and heater box out, access to the side panels is greatly improved.

So...

img_5970.jpg and
Passenger side panel cutout. Shockingly thin fibreglass, about 1mm.


img_5971.jpg and
Trial fitting the speaker.


img_5972.jpg and
Finished job.


Sorry about the improper rotation. The forum software seems to ignore the orientation attribute of the picture.

Anyway, the soundproof padding is cut to the full diameter of the speaker surround so that it sinks in when fitted. The carpet is cut smaller (actually to the inside diameter of the speaker surround) so it is clamped to the side panel when the surround is screwed in.

Ignore the filthy worn out carpet - that's added to the list!
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PostPost by: JonB » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:04 pm

The radio modifications are completed. Front panel colours changed from white / red (as shown above) to a more fitting yellow / amber. The amber (orange really) is achieved with replacement LEDs in the front panel PCB and the yellow display is done with a coloured filter fitted inside the display unit. I also had the expense of fitting a new polarising filter as I'd stupidly removed the original. Total cost about ?15 plus lots of faffing about.

img_5973.jpg and
Should look the biz in the 47 year old dash.
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:54 pm

Excellent Jon. I positioned front speakers in a similar position. Gobs of room and they sound surprisingly good! :D
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:22 pm

as i couldnt hear em, i removed em (minus 500gr!!!) sandy ps rear speakers i can hear
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PostPost by: JonB » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:42 am

They just need to bring the ?sound stage? further forward. Feels odd facing away from the music.

I haven?t finished the driver side speaker yet. Will post some more piccies when I do, but a road test is a way off at the moment!

By the way, these speakers are Panasonic, rescued from the parcel shelf. I replaced the rotted out foam surrounds using a kit and they are good as new. Pair of JBLs in the back now. Make do and mend!
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PostPost by: JonB » Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:59 pm

Driver's side is in!

img_5988.jpg and


Whilst doing this I discovered the correct routing for the 12v line from the starter and refitted the cable appropriately. Now there's no bulge under the carpet near my right foot. Also, some DPO had glued the carpet to the felt, ignoring the proper studs (which still worked), so I cleaned them up and refitted correctly. Believe me, it is waaaay tidier now - still dirty and worn, but I'll put off the day I fit new carpets for now..

A note on speaker size and type - They are 6.5" coaxial loudspeakers (the sort with the tweeter mounted in the centre). So, I have the 6'5" coaxial JBL Stage 602s on the parcel shelf and these, which were on the shelf when I bought the car. I expect it'll sound pretty spiffing.
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