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While I love my new 2020 XC40 Inscription, I was disappointed in the flat and cheap sound of the factory speakers. They are entry-level, paper products that don't compare to the engineering applied to the rest of the vehicle.

During the first month of ownership, I had our local auto sound specialist replace all of the speakers with Audison polypropylene speakers and had additional ones installed where cut outs for the upgraded Harmon Kardon system speakers would go. The new speakers offer concert hall quality and at a higher volume without changing the 8 OHM amplifier. Having a10 speaker/1 sub-woofer system makes quality sound even throughout the cabin.

Apparently, the center channel comes with the upgraded Harmon Kardon speaker set so that does not need to be replaced.

As a result, the upgrade cost was less than half of what the Harmon Kardon upgrade offered by Volvo would cost. I couldn't be happier with the upgrade, but disappointed in Volvo for not providing such acoustical quality in their engineering. I encourage any owner that is dissatisfied with the sound to consider an after-market upgrade, with no impact to your warranty,
 

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While speakers may make a difference it's the amplifier that is the key to significant improvements in audio quality. My 2019 S60 T6 R-design had a Wilkens-Bowers audio system. Unfortunately that system is not available XC40's.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
While speakers may make a difference it's the amplifier that is the key to significant improvements in audio quality. My 2019 S60 T6 R-design had a Wilkens-Bowers audio system. Unfortunately that system is not available XC40's.

Paul
Exactly. The best after-market approach is customizing the system to your cabin space. In the case of the XC40, the factory amp, offering 8 OHMs, is sufficient to go from the 7 speaker factory system to an 11 speaker custom system. In fact, my system plays louder with the after-market speakers than the factory, paper speaker.
 

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Loud is not measure of audio quality, it's a quantitate measure not a quality measure. No matter how good the speaker it can only respond to the input signal it gets. Feed it crap and you get crap out, it's as simple as that. Important audion factors are how well the sound signal is amplified, frequency range, distortion, noise, reserve, signal response time, etc...
Take a look here: High Quality Audio Amplification

Paul
 

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The speaker company I used is Audison out of Italy. www.audison.eu
While they offer several levels of speakers, the Prima line is affordable and outshines the Harmon Kardon speaker series.
I replaced the front and rear door speakers with the following:

Prima 4" Mid Range (AP4)
Prima Tweeters (AP1)
Prima 5 1/4 Coaxial (APX5)

The resulting sound is full with even sound throughout the cabin. I now Love my XC40.
 

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The speaker company I used is Audison out of Italy. www.audison.eu
While they offer several levels of speakers, the Prima line is affordable and outshines the Harmon Kardon speaker series.
I replaced the front and rear door speakers with the following:

Prima 4" Mid Range (AP4)
Prima Tweeters (AP1)
Prima 5 1/4 Coaxial (APX5)

The resulting sound is full with even sound throughout the cabin. I now Love my XC40.
Thanks for sharing, this is very helpful!

Do you know if the amplifier had to be reconfigured with new channels in order to add the extra 2 speakers in the bottom rear doors? Or it was possible to simply bin the tweeter from the top of the rear door and install the extra speaker in the bottom without wiring directly from the amplifier?
 

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Hello All,
I am looking at replacing my speakers, finding the factory very muffled.
has anyone replaced the centre dash speaker?
how did you remove the cover? and what did you replace it with?
 

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Very interesting posts. I too am disappointed with the Audio in this £40,000 car. It's much worse than that fitted to our family XC60, and I would expect more from an 8 speaker installation.

It's OK on modern music, very nice on Chamber music and voice, but anything classical with some dynamic range to it is just thin and flat.

So I've been researching upgrades. And it's well beyond difficult if you involve changing the Amp. So if you are reading this and about to buy your Volvo XC40, get the factory fitted HK upgrade if you want top end audio.

For the rest of us, changing the speakers looks like the only practical alternative to better sound quality at reasonable cost. It wont be as good as a better amp with higher output and damping factor, but it's probably good enough. for most of us. Ears do adapt with exposure to Audio!

The configuration of speakers mentioned in the OP comes out at under £300, and I'm hoping will allow a speedy straight replacement for DIY or labour costs.

I'm just wondering if it's DIY-able?
Were there any issues with fitting the upgrades?

Thanks for posting on this topic.
 

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SInce my last post I've been in touch with Volvo directly through their misnamed "Customer Support" unit, to try to get some data on the amp that is fitted to my Inscription's equally misnamed 8 speaker "High Performance" sound.

Volvo don't want us to know. Their tech support didnt even have the courtesy to call me and discuss my problem. Instead they gave a message to the poor lady in the call centre telling me to get stuffed. "They refuse to give the specifications as they dont want people fiddling with the audio system."

Oh. That's all right then. I'll just make do with listening to crappy speakers for the rest of my time with the car...

However, a few further points

1) I fiddled about with the graphic equalizer and got some improvement. The dynamic range is still poor on complex music, the pathetic paper-drivers sounding thin and lifeless with anything near full orchestral. So right now I'm going for a Black Friday active subwoofer in the boot with speaker-level inputs to fill out the sound I'm getting atm.

2) I'm probably going to follow the example of the OP and fit Audison after-market speakers to replace the OEM stuff.
I'm just deciding now whethr to go for a three-way component speaker as a 2 channel + powered sub or make use of what I believe to be 4 channels on the power amp. I'm getting professional advice on this from the guy fitting the sub next week, who will also test and confirm the power amp specs. (So fk you Volvo).

3) I have tracked down a previous iteration of the Volvo "High Performance Sound" where they do actually provide some specs for what was then a 200W Amp.

Power output (W) at 10% distortion (THD) = 4 x 25 W
Power output (W) at 1% distortion (THD) = 4 x 18 W
Recommended number of speakers 8-12

I'm hoping/expecting that the 250W amp fitted to our "High Performance Sound" won't be too far from that. 10% distortion is rather a lot, even for a car environment, so I'm expecting maybe 4 x 20W before my ears complain.
As the Audison are 92db sensitivity that will probably do me for the amount of miles I drive.

4) I think the centre dash speaker is the weakest link in the current set up. I'll be cutting that one. But I've been told that there is a small speaker next to it that is used for Volvo On Call support, so if you decide to do the same leave that little one connected up.

Installers were quoting £2,000 to £8,000 to replace the standard installation with a high quality set up, so that definitely wont be a goer for me. I dont mind spending a few hundred to improve the sound, although on a £40,000 car I really shouldn't have to. Sound in our XC60 is much better than this.
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Loud is not measure of audio quality, it's a quantitate measure not a quality measure. No matter how good the speaker it can only respond to the input signal it gets. Feed it crap and you get crap out, it's as simple as that. Important audion factors are how well the sound signal is amplified, frequency range, distortion, noise, reserve, signal response time, etc...
Take a look here: High Quality Audio Amplification

Paul
He was just saying it sounded better AND it was louder. Loudness is part of the experience otherwise the entirety of the tech would be completely different.
 

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I know the amplifier wasn’t replaced, but the specialist did need to make some calibrations. I recommend using a professional. The good news is that Volvo informed me that upgrading speakers not using Volvo will not impact their warranty.
The speaker company I used is Audison out of Italy. www.audison.eu
While they offer several levels of speakers, the Prima line is affordable and outshines the Harmon Kardon speaker series.
I replaced the front and rear door speakers with the following:

Prima 4" Mid Range (AP4)
Prima Tweeters (AP1)
Prima 5 1/4 Coaxial (APX5)

The resulting sound is full with even sound throughout the cabin. I now Love my XC40.
How did you mount the rear door speakers? Did you remove and not use the speaker cover? What wires did you use?
 
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