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Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70-XC
1997 - 2004 C70

Nero
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Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Nero » Sat May 16, 2020 12:19 pm

Heya everyone!

I’m the proud owner of an 1995 Volvo 850 2.5 10v in an orange/red/brown color. The color changes in sunlight, very cool!
I gotta do a few things to it like fix the faded rear lights and the cracked front glass, and the infamous odometer not working. I was checking the speakers in my Volvo, turns out I don’t have any in the front doors, and there’s and aftermarket single din radio in it as well.
I want to play music via aux or Bluetooth. Is it worth buying the stock stereo and speakers and getting a Yatour kinda device to plug into the cd changed port and have an aux and optional Bluetooth module, or is spending 100-200$ on an aftermarket radio with this built in a better plan?

My 850 is a Holiday edition, which I think is the near cheapest one audio wise. It does have dual climate zones, but no cruise or heater seats. And as I checked also no front door speakers.
Getting an original radio would probably mean also upgrading the speakers to the original factory ones?

Which factory audio systems were available and which one is considered the best? Does the radio play a big part in how the speakers sound as well?

Cheers!

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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by ThePluralofMoose » Sat May 16, 2020 5:26 pm

Hi I drive an s70 but If the car has a cigarette port my advice is buy a “Scrosche” brand FM Transmitter. It’s reliable for the price and you can bluetooth music or calls. An after market head unit could be a good bet if you have a reputable shop around you— a good head, and front speakers won’t run you much for installation if you bring them in.
If you can go to a scrap yard that has 850’s you can always look for a better OEM set and swap those in. The best units say “premium sound system” on the front as Dolby produced upgraded radios for these P80 cars. I believe you will need a radio from ‘95-‘97 for it to be a straight swap. Alpine makes aftermarket units that can be harnessed into these cars as well.
___________________________________
NY,
Valkyrie: 1999 S70 N/A, (Belgium), 113K, two tone taupe leather, black rhino-skin exterior, no carpet, no back seats :twisted:
Heidi: 1999 S70 N/A, (Sweden), 247k,
beige leather, Natuic Blue, factory tints, :mrgreen:
Previous: Freyja: 1998 s70 t5, (Belgium), 208k, Black Alcantara and light woodgrain,
Blown trans and tc, :oops:

Nero
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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Nero » Sat May 16, 2020 11:13 pm

Yeah I’ve heard about that. I also hear the quality isn’t the best. I don’t know if it’s worth getting all the Premium speakers, after all they’re all about 25 years old and might be worn out (the speaker suspensions).

Edit: Also, are the speakers in the dash just tweeters and the doors a "One way"? Is it best to upgrade these with a component set or just put coax in the dash, front and rear doors?

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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Clemens » Sun May 17, 2020 1:56 am

honestly, the only nice audio system by today's standards is the premium sound system. It has 8 speakers and an amp. All others factory systems are not worth the hassle. But as stated before, if you don't have the premium system by now it is just a waste of money. In my 2nd wagon I have a system built from leftover components (2 in the dash, 2 in the back, sub in the trunk) that sounds as good as the Rs premium system if not better.
Try to put tweeters in the dash, speakers in the front doors and 2 way speakers in the rear dash under the window, combined with a modern head unit. Or, to simplify things, small two way speakers in the dash and two way speakers in the back.
Adding a sub in the trunk will improve the overall sound quality.
Last edited by Clemens on Sun May 17, 2020 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Summer: 1996 855 R
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Nero
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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Nero » Sun May 17, 2020 2:04 am

Clemens wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 1:56 am
honestly, the only nice audio system by today's standards is the premium sound system. It has 8 speakers and an amp. All others factory systems are not worth the hassle. But as stated before, if you don't have the premium system by now it is just a waste of money.
Try to put tweeters in the dash, speakers in the front doors and 2 way speakers in the rear dash under the window, combined with a modern head unit. Or, to simplify things, small two way speakers in the dash and two way speakers in the back.
Adding a sub in the trunk will improve the overall sound quality.
Okay, so a component set for up front, and good rears with a sub then. Is it worth adding an external amp between the headunit and speakers? And what brands would suffice? I've heard Focal is good, but I'm think all brands are good when you get to a certain price point right?

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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Clemens » Sun May 17, 2020 6:18 am

An external amp up front isn't really necessary, but it depends what you want to achieve.
The main issue is finding speakers that fit in the door. 5.25 is the correct size, if I recall correctly. but you need to build a custom bracket, the screw pattetn of the Volvo speakers is not standard. Crutchfiel recommends 4 inch speakers for the door, but that is only with their brackets.
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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Nero » Sun May 17, 2020 7:39 am

Clemens wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 6:18 am
An external amp up front isn't really necessary, but it depends what you want to achieve.
The main issue is finding speakers that fit in the door. 5.25 is the correct size, if I recall correctly. but you need to build a custom bracket, the screw pattetn of the Volvo speakers is not standard. Crutchfiel recommends 4 inch speakers for the door, but that is only with their brackets.
Okay so I’d have to make my own brackets? Is there anyone whose done this that still got a drawing or the measurements for it?

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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Clemens » Mon May 18, 2020 1:22 pm

No, i don't, but thin plywood, a saw and some creativity should be enough. Start the rough design with cardboard first, then plywood.
Summer: 1996 855 R
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Nero
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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Nero » Mon May 18, 2020 1:24 pm

Clemens wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 1:22 pm
No, i don't, but thin plywood, a saw and some creativity should be enough. Start the rough design with cardboard first, then plywood.
I see there are brackets available for the Volvo. Is it worth buying those? About 10$ a pair. Also is a component set my best bet for up front?

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Re: Volvo 850 stock vs aftermarket audio

Post by Cookeh » Mon May 18, 2020 2:38 pm

Do play with fader and the very limited equalizer options - you'll be surprised as how much of a difference that makes. I find that in the halfway position or when aimed forward the soundstage is compressed and bass response is muted. Moving the fader toward the rear opened this sound stage up significantly and gave more of a warm v-shaped sound response. Prior to playing with these settings I was on the cusp of upgrading to a new headunit and aftermarket speakers - I no longer feel the need to do that.

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