Looking at Volkswagen systems

Looking at Volkswagen systems

I am often asked what system I would recommend for a certain type of car. My answer is usually that it depends on the type of sound and performance you are after. That is certainly true but there are some constants and I think it will be useful to discuss these over a few installments.

For the first one, I will choose the latest VW Golf.

The Volkswagen Golf Mk7 is a fabulous car but the audio system leaves a lot to be desired. Even the so called upgrade packs are disappointing and certainly not worth the premium charged. The large screen infotainment system in the dash is certainly smart but does not have a particularly good audio performance while the speakers deliver a lackluster sound at best.

So what are the options?

If you choose to replace the head unit (and we highly recommend it) then the absolute best choice is the Alpine X901D G7.

This exceptionally high-end unit is specifically designed for the VW Golf 7. It is a perfect fit and will support all the existing VW systems such as reverse images, steering wheel controls, and vehicle information displays. The performance leap of this machine over the standard system is amazing and is the perfect base to add an upgrade audio package.

However, you may not wish to change the head unit and we would completely understand this. If your car is leased or on a purchase plan it may be best to not change the look of the vehicle at all.

Fortunately, we have developed several audio packages that can be invisibly added to your car that will massively improve the sound.

The Audison Prima pack:

This specific kit is a true plug and play solution from the masters of OEM integration, Audison. The kit comprises their DSP amplifier with built in EQ presets for the Golf, replacement front door speakers, discreet subwoofer for the boot cavity and all interconnecting cables meaning that nothing needs to be cut or changed. At a little over £1000, this is amazing value for money and sounds far better than the VW dealer upgrade options. Although we would strongly recommend it the sub is optional and if you choose not to have this then the price is even lower!

As soon as you hear this you will notice the massively improved clarity, the sound stage will be higher, wider and more surrounding. The bass will be stronger with a much better punch without being ‘boomy’. Of course, all of this can be removed when you come to change the car and with a little reprogramming can be made to suit whatever car you purchase next making this a much better investment than the dealer options.

At Car and Home Stereo, we have also developed our own upgrade options drawing from the best products from around the world. For convenience, we describe these as Stage 1, 2 and 3 but of course, there are variations to take account of personal tastes and requirements.

Stage 1:

This is full speaker upgrade pack based on the 5 door Golf. While the choice of speakers could change the acoustic improvement products do not. These are as important as the speakers themselves in maximising the performance of the upgrade.

The full kit comprises Hertz MPK 165 front component speakers, Audison Prima APK rear component speakers, 4 sheets of Dynamat Extreme sound deadening, 2 sets of F.A.S.T. acoustic foam sealing rings and 2 sets of speaker mounting collars.

The cost of the stage 1 upgrade is only £650 with an installed price of £900. Even on the standard VW head unit this sounds amazing with improved clarity and bass performance. The performance detail is also improved thanks to the far more sensitive speakers and the acoustic treatment in the doors.

Stage 2:

This is a stand-alone sub and amplifier package. As you can imagine there are many to choose from but there are two that we have found to be highly suited to the Golf as they are powerful but take up a relatively small space in the boot.

Stage 2a is the Audison APBX 8R slim sub enclosure and the small but powerful Hertz DPower 1 amplifier.

This offers 600W output and will tuck into one side of the boot taking up almost no space at all and at only £479 for the two it represents great value for money.

Stage 2b is the same amplifier but married to the fantastic JL Audio 10TW3 sub in a slim enclosure. This sub is exquisitely musical, a real hi-fi experience and this package adds up to £650.

This amazing, compact sub can also handle a lot more power if you are a real bass nut!

Stage 3:

This brings everything from before and adds amplification and processing to the entire system. There are again two recommended packages here.

Stage 3a uses the Audison AP Bit amplifier. This incredible amp with built in processor is tiny and powerful, quite capable of driving the entire car system. The on board processor allows for perfect tuning of the sound stage to suit anybody’s taste. The phase and time alignment controls mean the sound can be focused to wherever it is needed making for a wide and spacious soundstage. These amplifiers start at only £600 so represent tremendous value for money.

Stage 3b is a combination of the JL Audio FiX 82 processor with the JL Audio XD400/4v2 amplifier. The processor is specifically designed to automatically compensate for original head unit anomalies. It will take out any spurious EQ that has been added by the factory radio as well as eliminating any unwanted phase changes. It also allows for personal tuning via PC to really dial a system in. Once the processor has cleaned the signal up the XD 400/4 amplifier delivers the power. This amplifier has become one of my firm favourites offering tremendous, clean power from a very compact chassis.

This package is slightly more expensive at £750 but does offer a higher level of performance.

As I mentioned earlier these packages are extremely flexible to suit individual requirements but I can heartily recommend any one of the above. We have installed many of these systems and know that they perform brilliantly.

If you would like to know more about any of our bespoke systems or a specific audio system for your car please call me on 01625 432707 or even better call into Car and Home Stereo on Sunderland Street in Macclesfield for a chat.


  1. Hi Tim

    As discussed here are my email details for upgrading the VW golf vii with some front door speakers. Audison or possibly some others. looking to spend around £500 to £600 which I think compares with the plug and play Helix system that would use stock speakers. I assume the Helix route would not be as good as what you are proposing and I guess I can always upgrade later with new amp and subwoofer in the spare tyre area.

  2. I fitted the following.
    JL Audio XD400/4v2 amplifier + JL Audio XD400/4v2 amplifier + JL C2 650’s 6.5

    I can’t get it sound good from the factory headunit into the high level of the amp. It sounds amazing with RCAs going into a usb dac + phone. Sure I have more volume and punch but its added a little hiss and distortion which I can’t dial out. The closest I got was to use the headunits fader to cool the signal down a tad. I mean its better than it was stock but not enjoyable, some music tracks are fine but others are too quiet (u hear noise) or too loud ( distortion). Would the “JL fix” fix it? It sucks that I have an el cheap pioneer headunit from 2014 that delivers a clean musical signal but a 2018 mk7.5 cant do it. There is a MOST optical connector in the back, can I use that in any way?

    I am tempted to fit an audiophile grade aptx hd and connect it directly to the amp. The amp has a remote volume control that can adjust all the channels yeah its an ugly solution but the headunit really is a load of crap.

  3. Hi there
    We can certainly help. Please call us on 01625 432707, there are many options and we would love to help you achieve audio excellence!

  4. Hi, I presume you would suggest a similar set up for a 2018 Passat? It’s a company car so although I do want more bass and volume with less door rattle I can’t really justify spending fortunes when it goes back in 2021. Also I listen to Hip Hop and Dance but also audio books so that might be difficult to get the best sound for?!

  5. Hi
    Does this speaker and amp upgrade include all new speaker cabling to the door speakers or use existing cable? My car is only 5weeks old was curious as to what was cut into. Also curious how the hertz/audison speaker mix work. What is the reason for not matching front and rear with same brand

    1. Hi Mathew, thanks for getting in touch. When we install a system we inevitably have to change the cabling as we are rerouting the speaker output wires. If the upgrade is of a very high performance then we will opt to upgrade the wiring between the car and door. However this is time consuming (costly) and since the standard VW wiring is actually good we may choose to use the link through the door if it is not going to benefit the system we are installing.
      I hope this answers your question but if you want to know more please do not hesitate to contact me on 01625 432707.
      Thank you

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