I was considering something similar, but using a phone to replace the USB drive I have been using. Reason being, from my last vehicle (2016 Silverado) to this one (2020 Sierra) whoever handles GM's infotainment system has thoroughly screwed it up. It's constantly indexing the files on the drive, and the file order changes pretty much every time I start the vehicle. If a folder has subfolders and music files, it doesn't put the folders at the top as normal, it mixes them in with the files, so if there are 5 mp3 files between 2 folders, it will only play those 5 files. I had none of these issues on my Silverado. Everything was in alphabetical or numerical order, files were at the top of the list, and unless I had added files to the drive, it didn't try to re-read the drive. At this point I'm thinking of putting a DSP like an Audison Bit 10 or JL Audio Fix 86 after the Bose amp to wipe out the Bose tuning and send the signal to the amp. I know that will work right now, today, not in a week from now when NavTV pushes a new update to fix whatever issue they're currently having, or a year from now when Pac Audio decides to put out something for the 2019-20 models. The PAC Audio guy told me that Covid delayed their work, but at this point the new models' setup has been out for almost 2 years now (fall of 2018 for the 2019 models), and they had access to the 2020 models for around 3 1/2 months before Covid shut down everything, so that seems like an excuse to me. These DSPs are what we used before NavTV and ampPRO was available and they worked well. I'm just sick of waiting for something that MIGHT work in the future when there's something that WILL work now. Reminds me of the old saying "wish in one hand and crap in the other, and see which gets filled first."
The reason I ask is the last person to talk about the NavTV system, Ecroofing01, essentially said don't buy them because they can't keep up with their issues. From what he's describing, it's sounds more like issues than quirks, when the unit outputs no sound. My installer suggested the ampPRO from Pac Audio, but they don't seem to be in a hurry to put out a similar product. The reason I want to get it right the first time is that I don't live in a city that I can just pop over to a shop if I'm having issues. I live about 80 miles from the nearest stereo installer and they're the only stereo shop in that city, which is the case for most of my state. There's only about 3 cities that have more than one installer, but they're about 130-200 miles away. And being without sound isn't an option. I've already replaced all the speakers except for the sub (Hertz Audio in the doors and Pioneer tweeters in the dash), and right now it sounds worse than it was stock. They're better speakers, but they're running off a signal processing that Bose did for their own speakers. So right now I have to turn the bass to about -7 just to not have it sound boomy. I had almost the exact same setup in my 2016 Silverado, and all we did was put LOC's in to feed amps with those same speakers. After I took out the sub to trade it in, the system sounded better without a sub than this one does with it. I believe that's due to Bose's signal processing. I wish GM would get away from this mindset that you shouldn't try to upgrade the sound system, or at the very least give you the option of deleting the Bose system from the package it's bundled in. There were other things in the package I wanted, just not the Bose because I knew it was going to be a headache to deal with installing an aftermarket stereo in it's place.
So are the issues still persisting with the NavTV units? I'd prefer to go with before the amp solution, but right now they're the only game in town. I just talked with Pac Audio, and they don't have anything yet for the 2019-20 GM trucks and had no idea if they'd even have anything this year. None of the other similar oems like Maestro or Metra have anything for the amplified applications. If NavTV is still having issues my only options are after amp solutions like the JL Audio Fix 86 or Audison Bit Ten.
Any update, good or bad? I'd really like to get a NAV-TV, but only if they get the issues under control, otherwise I'll have to go with a JL Audio Fix86. It looks like you've had almost 2 weeks with your replacement, still going good?
Going by my experience in car audio, roughly 30 years doing all my own installing up 'til the last couple installs (can't bend like I used to) there are a few reasons for an amp cutting out. First is wiring (either an issue with power wiring or speaker wiring). There can be hard shorts to ground that take it out immediately (blowing the fuse) or intermittent shorts that happen during movement, which happens quite a bit in a vehicle. There's also shorts between the two leads going to the speakers. Next is too large of a load connected to the amp (wiring the speaker load beyond/below the amp's limits). Some manufacturers are conservative with their amp's spec'd limits. That way if the customer does go a bit beyond the amp's limits, it will still work properly, acting like a buffer. Too high of an input signal could also cause an issue if it overloads the amp's input stage. It might blow/overheat an internal component. Or if the input stage can handle it, the signal might be clipped, aka distortion, which can take out the output stage of the amp or overdrive the speakers. That can lead to a blown voice coil or cause the speaker cone to extend beyond it's mechanical limit and get high centered on the pole piece. Then there's inadequate ventilation for the amp. An amp needs space around it for heat to be wick'd away. This can also apply to amps with built in fans as the need space to blow the heat away from the amp. This is a big issue in vehicles when amps are mounted under or behind seats where there may be little to no ventilation. My installer suggested mounting my amp behind the rear seat, but I'm not ok with that as there is little to no space around the amp back there. And if you run an amp hard it's going to be an issue. I'm guessing that may be the reason for most of the people on here having this issue. It could also explain why one amp had the issue and another doesn't, since some amps either don't run as hot or have better built in ventilation than others. Having no ventilation also causes another issue in that it will heat up the surfaces around it, which then reheats the amp in kind of a cascade effect. Lastly, it could just be an issue with the amp's internals. For example, if it has bad components in the power or amplification stage (bad transistor or IC) that could also cause it to have an issue. The only real way to know if this is the case is to swap out to another amp of the same model and see if the problem is still present. Of course if both amps came from the same batch, it's possible they could both have faulty internal components. I've seen all of these issues before, either on my own installs (bad internal components on a couple), or those of friends, even stories from installers. The key to finding out the culprit is methodical troubleshooting, trying to isolate as much of what you can, to narrow down what's in play. For example, try running the amp with no speakers hooked up and see if it still shuts down. If that's ok, you've probably eliminated the power wiring. Then hook up the speakers but keep the volume low, that should help eliminate speaker wiring and possibly tell you if the input signal is too high or not. Or if you're using 2 subs only hook up one and turn it up, that should tell you if you have too big of a load on the amp. Lastly, try to move the amp to a better ventilated area, like just sitting on the seat or the floor, that should tell you if it's a ventilation issue. Those are simple troubleshooting steps you can take, but some aren't 100% foolproof. It could still be a power issue that only appears when the amp is being used at full capacity. But eliminating as much as you can before talking to manufacturer tech support will save you time on the call, and doing it before taking it to a reputable installer can save you money. Just my $.02.
How much for just the stealthbox?
Would you consider selling the stealthbox separately?
The VX amp's input is essentially the same as an LC2i, LC7i, or any other LOC, the only difference is that it's integrated into the amp. But if the installer wired it wrong, either chose the wrong wires or hooked them up incorrectly, as Jon suspects happened in his case, the VX amp wouldn't change anything. Personally, I'd prefer to keep things like an LOC separate. I know it looks cleaner without having a bunch of different components wired together, but when everything is integrated, and one section has an issue, it takes the whole system down and is more costly to replace. Say your LOC goes down, if it's integrated, you're done, replace the whole amp. But if it's not integrated, all you need to do is replace the LOC, and whether it's a cheaper passive unit or a powered unit like an LC2i or LC7i, it will still be cheaper to replace than a VX amp. Just my $.02.
I don't know if the amp has speaker level inputs or not, but a Fix82 also allows you to get rid of Bose's changes like crossover points and time delays that are in the amp. I would question going with a 1000w amp since the sub box is only rated for 800w.
I would suggest marking where the gain is set on the amp, and then lowering it a bit at a time and see it that solves the problem. Unless you got a bad amplifier, clipping generally means that a gain is set too high. That's also a reason I was suspecting the install shop. Setting gains is not difficult, and there shouldn't be any reason they're struggling to get them set right. When I used to do my own systems in my younger years, I used to set them by ear and never had an issue with clipping. And it's not like that amp is overdriving your subs either. So to me that seems suspect.
Personally I'd suspect either the install shop or the update to the head unit. For the install shop, the original amp died while it was in their possession, and now the new amp is clipping when the volume is supposedly too high. That to me sounds like they have the gains set too high and the amp is shutting down to protect itself. When my shop did my last system, they asked me which source I listened to most (CD, USB, radio, or satellite radio) and set the level for that input (what I've noticed is that satellite radio has a stronger input signal than the other inputs, so I can't turn that one up as much as the others). Either way, it shouldn't be that hard to set the gains for that amp (unless those JL amps have oddities that require a different setup than standard amps). The only other explanation would be you're turning the head unit up higher than the shop recommends. The other cause could be the update for the head unit, and I only say that because that occured at the same time this started. I've never had a head unit that required updates (my last aftermarket head unit was about 10 years ago) so I don't have much experience with that. Just my $.02
I've got them on the Bose amp temporarily until we can put a Nav TV unit in. After that I'm going to run a Kenwood Excelon XR901-5 for the speakers and sub. It puts out 60W RMS @ 4ohms and 75W RMS @ 2ohms, so with it on the same channel as the front door speakers, that should be just about right. I read an review between the GS25sand the Model CCWR254 and he said the Morels were slightly clearer but the Audiofrogs were noticeably louder. It is a lot for them, in fact the price is almost the cost of a decent subwoofer. Never thought I'd consider spending so much on such a small speaker.
As an addendum to the above post, I got some of the speakers mixed up. The 2.75" speakers from Powerbass were the ones that looked like the factory Bose speakers. The Kenwood's seem to be a better option than the PB or Memphis Audio models in that they have a higher power handling. I also missed a model from Sundown Audio. From what I can tell, the options look to lay out like this: Memphis Audio & Powerbass both handle about 15W RMS, the Sundown and Morel both take around 30W RMS, the Kenwood's take 50W RMS, and the Audiofrogs take about 75W RMS. All are 2.75" except for the Morel and Audiofrogs which are 2.5" but may still mount in the factory holes. So if anyone has any experience with any of these, please sound off. I only have experience with the Memphis Audio models so anything is appreciated.
Here's a question for you guys. I swapped out the Bose speakers (will add Nav TV, amp, & sub soon). I used Hertz Audio Dieci 6x9s & 6.5s in the doors, and opted for just tweeters in the dash. This was the setup I used on my '16 Silverado, and that sounded pretty good. This OTOH sounds like crap. On my old truck it sounded fine powered by just the factory non Bose radio (much better after I added an amp with crossover. But on this system with the Bose amp still in place it got worse with new speakers. I think the Bose amp routes most of the mid to upper range to the dash speakers. To get any decent volume out if it, I had to turn down the bass on the radio down to about -7 so I don't blow out the speakers. Even then, it's about half as loud as before. I'm thinking about putting more of a full range speaker in the dash to get some volume back. But I tried the Memphis Audio 2.75" speakers in my old truck and they didn't sound good on the radio or the amp. Crutchfield has Kenwood 2.75" speakers but they look about the same as the Bose units I took out. So I looked at slightly smaller speakers from higher end manufacturers and the two I'm looking at are the Audiofrog GS25 and the Motel CCWR254. From what I've read the GS25s will play louder and are built stronger, but both are better options than the Memphis or Kenwood's despite being smaller. So I have 2 questions. First, anyone who has experience with these speakers, are they worth the higher price? By that I mean can they play clean and loud without crapping out? Second, for anyone who's used the GS25s, the owner's manual shows they have several mounting tabs on them (pic below), one of which is stamped GM that looks like the same mounting tabs from the factory Bose speakers (one square and one tapered, the ones at about the 1 & 6 o'clock positions in the pic). Do the mounting holes on the GM tabs align with the factory mounting holes? The cones on the GS25s are smaller (2.5" vs 2.75") so it's not very clear. I also don't know if GM has 2.5" factory speakers on other vehicles or not. Any help is appreciated.
Add to that the fact that the radios seem to change with each model year. Not much, but enough that a previous model probably won't work on a new model year. Something I'm also wondering about is how the aftermath audio landscape, particularly systems with large amplifiers and subwoofers, is going to look when electric vehicles become more prevalent. Now instead of simply flickering your lights or running your battery down, it will decrease your vehicles range as well.
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