Porsche Boxster Audio Upgrade

Porsche Boxster Audio Upgrade

The Porsche Boxster S is a superb car which offers exciting top-down performance with practical everyday driving capability.


Unfortunately, the audio performance leaves an awful lot to be desired especially the base version that is only equipped with dash speakers.



The biggest challenge, of course, is the convertible top because as soon as that is raised most of the sound and pretty much all the bass disappears. Car audio in a Porsche for some owners is not a priority but for this customer, the lack of a decent sound was spoiling the drive so an appointment was made to discuss options.


Step One:


The first choice to make was whether the original head unit was to be changed. It is completely possible for us to use any original factory unit as a base for great audio but in this case, the basic Becker unit was certainly past its best so a decision to upgrade to a top of the range Pioneer unit was made.



The Pioneer AVIC F88DAB is a full house unit boasting a 7-inch screen, full satellite navigation, DVD, CD, SD, Bluetooth, dual USB, DAB radio, Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Its comprehensive external connections make it ideal for use as a high-performance head unit in a sophisticated audio system. It also boasts a very powerful set of audio controls to allow accurate tuning of the system.


Installing this double din unit means relocating the heater controls to the lower console. We use an American kit that costs a little more than others but is of a far superior quality with a factory standard fit and finish.



Once we had relocated all the standard wiring and removed the remnants of an old ‘phone kit we could start the new wiring. When we install new looms we always wrap them in OE quality fleece tape, this ensures a factory look but most importantly eliminates any possibility of cable rattles. Where cables go through the bulkhead grommets we make sure to use silicone sealant to prevent any water ingress.


What next?


Once the looms had been installed we could start the hardware installation, first was the amplifier. Originally this Boxster had a CD changer mounted in the bonnet just behind the spare wheel; since this would be useless with the new head unit we removed it to locate the Hertz DPower 4 amplifier.



This amplifier is an absolute gem with over 100W per channel on tap it is perfect to drive the dash speakers and subwoofer. 


Although it is well equipped with filters to tune the system we will use the crossovers and EQ available on the Pioneer F88 to really fine tune the final sound. Again more cloth tape keeps everything neat.


Once the amplifier was in we could install the dash speakers. The dash location allows for a separate mid and tweeter under the original grille. However, as there was only to be a single channel input per side there was no advantage to splitting the drivers up and so we chose the Audison APX4 coaxial speakers.



This speaker really is surprisingly good.


At only 4 inch diameter it is capable of a really good bass response and when powered by a good amplifier it delivers a very accurate and responsive performance. This is all the more impressive when you consider its relatively low price. They are not a simple plug and play replacement though and we needed to construct a new mounting system under the grille to get a perfect fit, of course, this is no problem for us.


As good as the Audison APX4 speaker is it is only a 4 inch and cannot be expected to deliver the bass requirement for a convertible car. We have had a lot of experience with convertibles and one of our solutions where space is tight is to custom fit a JL Audio 6w3 into the passenger footwell. This magnificent speaker is capable of delivering more than enough bass from a very small enclosure.



The trick is to very carefully control the frequencies it plays to achieve a seamless blend with the mids. As we construct our own enclosures we can design each one to perfectly fit the car we are working on. For this one, we even wrapped it in genuine Porsche carpet to ensure a true factory look.



Very little space is taken up meaning there is no significant constriction of the passenger foot space. The enclosure is secured to the car using invisible fittings which means it can be removed without leaving any marks in the carpet or trim. Once the floor mat is cut to shape and trimmed it will look as if the sub had always been there.


Pioneer AVIC F88DAB:


One of the great features of the Pioneer AVIC F88DAB is its powerful equalisation controls. This luckily features two EQ pre-sets. This allows me to tune two EQ curves; one for roof closed and one for roof open ensuring the best sound regardless of the vehicle’s configuration.



I really enjoyed this installation;


it was relatively simple but really delivered above expectations. The sound was full and rich with as much bass as could be needed. The new head unit was feature rich and the owner fell in love with Apple Car Play instantly. The dash-mounted Stormtrooper is really going to enjoy the miles now!



If you would like to know more about any of our installations or how we could improve the audio in your car please feel free to drop me a line or call me on 01625 432707. If you are close by then it would be great to see you for a chat at our shop on Sunderland Street in Macclesfield.


  1. Hi dear
    I have Porsche Boxster 1998 with pcm1 with cassette
    I just bought pcm sat nav with DVD unit removed from Porsche Cayenne
    But I realised after I received it …it doesn’t fit …and they are completely different
    But do you think with your expertise , experience and with some modification
    You can manage to fit it on my Boxster
    Many thanks

  2. Hi there, I have a 2002 Boxster 986 – just the 2.7, not the S. It has the usual CDR-22 radio/CD player. Now only the top half of the display actually, uh, displays – apart from that, all is good, if a bit dated. I’m not a great car radio fan, as I tend to drive around with the hood down most of the time, even in what you call ‘winter’ [I’m Canadian, and winter means something else to us]. Can the display be fixed, or am I looking at a complete replacement for economic reasons?


    tac foley
    Boxster BX02 EZA

  3. Hello

    I have just bought a Boxter 986 2.7, 2003 model, so pretty similar to the car you did this upgrade on back in 2018(?).

    Accepting the hardware may well have changed in the interim (although from the description I’d be totally happy with exactly the same!), can you let me know if you could do a similar installation; the £price, and the time you’d need the vehicle in for?

    Would really appreciate hearing back from you.



    1. Hi Ian, sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
      Things have certainly moved on in terms of hardware but I am as committed as ever to great sound. I have just finished a 996 with a complete upgrade and that uses a very similar set up.
      I still favour Pioneer head units but tend to use a mixture of Audison amplifier and JL Audio speakers for a superb result. The 996 upgrade I mentioned above came to just over £2500 as we went for the full DSP equipped Audison amplifier and full satellite navigation.
      It’s the sort of job where I’d like the car for a couple of days if that’s convenient. My lead time is around 2 weeks at the moment.
      This is only one of many options of course so please feel free to call me on 01625 432707 if you have any questions or would like to book in.

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