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Old 18th January 2023, 10:47   #1
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Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Happy New Year to Everyone!

I took delivery of my Tata Safari XZA+ Dark Edition in August of 2022. It is mostly used in the city but that being said highway trips happen monthly. Both my wife and I are big music aficionados and our eight-year-old seems to be following in our footsteps. For this reason alone, we prefer to have the best ICE system that we can afford. While we are not bass heads, we do prefer a set up that can handle a fair amount of base because our music preferences are very varied - everything from Metal to Rock, Mollywood, Bollywood, Kollywood, HipHop, Carnatic and the occasional EDM track.

Right from the get-go I have been unimpressed with the ICE system in my Safari. I find the low end to be very weak and the mids to be very pronounced. I think the speakers are pretty decent but the 8-inch subwoofer (which is what I think it has) is very inadequate. At volume levels of over 30% I hear a lot vibration and that kills the entire listening experience. I am not sure if it is a subwoofer issue or if the JBL amplifier that comes as stock is not capable enough. The audio settings on the head unit are a joke. There is a three band equiliser, a few presets and a fader. Nothing else!

I have spent many months tweaking the very limited settings on the head unit, messing around with my phone's equiliser, changing streaming services and even using a DAC/AMP dongle along with the AUX functionality. Nothing is making a big difference. While I did enjoy using the AUX functionality, I needed to use two phones because I unable to use Android Auto while using AUX.

What I want to know is if changing the hardware will help. I will leave the head unit as is but was wondering if:

a) the subwoofer can be replaced with an aftermarket unit and if that will help. Assuming that the connections are already present, it may not be too difficult. Also, what is the part number of the stock subwoofer?

b) should I replace the amplifier? What are the specs of the stock amplifier and which models can we easily swap?

c) Lastly, should I consider changing all the speakers, the subwoofer and the amp?

I have looked for answers to the above questions, even asked Tata A.S.S, but have found nothing relevant.

Any help/ guidance here will be immensely appreciated.

Parikshith

PS - Mods, if there is already a thread that discusses this topic, please merge the post there.
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Old 18th January 2023, 12:25   #2
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Surprised to see this query as I quite liked the Safari's audio system by OEM standards (although the Hector's is the segment-best IMHO).

All I can suggest is, tread carefully. These are not the most reliable of cars & any visible electrical modification will void your warranty.

- Invest in proper damping.

- Try playing with the settings & connection options. E.g. in many cars, I find the Bluetooth audio to be superior to Android Auto. Using Rocket Player's equalizer, the SQ from my phone has significantly improved. If on YouTube Premium, choose the "high quality" audio option.

- Go simple. Speakers, subwoofer, then amplifier. But get the installation done at a Tata dealer. Either sweet-talk your own dealership into it, or find another Tata dealer who will do it. Pay a premium price & stick to the dealer.
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Old 18th January 2023, 13:31   #3
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

I am not sure but think that Safari has similar JBL set up as of Hexa. When I play music through USB or Android Auto, the quality sound is not as appealing when I heard through Bluetooth on Prime Music and Gaana app. Lately I am also thinking to upgrade the system nut till now has no clue. As GTO rightly suggested first step should be damping the car properly and evaluate other options in phased manner.
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Old 18th January 2023, 15:17   #4
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

First step should be to reset the whole thing - some times you`ve got to go back to how things were and move only one slider afterwards - Volume and send a decent audio source to it, perhaps EQ at source itself and see how things work.

An underseat slim subwoofer can work however the headunit has already done all the bass compression so you are going to get more bass just that its not ALL the bass in the song.

Connect one phone to AA \ CP through cable, play through a paid streaming service. For navigation keep another phone mounted on the dash.
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Old 18th January 2023, 16:45   #5
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Picking from GTO's post:

Damping
Speakers

These two should make a difference. However, for speakers (always is) - an audition with different brands by fixing the speakers in the place will help you decide which one would be best. But the big question is which installer will help you with this.

*

IIRC - the audio setup has been tuned by the manufacturer during design. Adding an amplifier will not be easy.
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Old 18th January 2023, 18:42   #6
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Surprised to see this query as I quite liked the Safari's audio system by OEM standards (although the Hector's is the segment-best IMHO).

All I can suggest is, tread carefully. These are not the most reliable of cars & any visible electrical modification will void your warranty.

- Invest in proper damping.

- Try playing with the settings & connection options. E.g. in many cars, I find the Bluetooth audio to be superior to Android Auto. Using Rocket Player's equalizer, the SQ from my phone has significantly improved. If on YouTube Premium, choose the "high quality" audio option.

- Go simple. Speakers, subwoofer, then amplifier. But get the installation done at a Tata dealer. Either sweet-talk your own dealership into it, or find another Tata dealer who will do it. Pay a premium price & stick to the dealer.
Thanks Guys. I completely understand where GTO is coming from. Compared to most stock set ups the one on the Harrier/ Safari is far superior. That being said, having upgraded the ICE set up on all the cars that I have owned, I do find it lacking.

I will look at damping first and then maybe explore other options. The biggest mystery for me are the specs of the components used. No one seems to know . While I get the damping done, I will also take pictures of the various parts and post them here. Hopefully that will help others .

The suggestions on Bluetooth and players are also noted. Will try that as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosfactor View Post
An underseat slim subwoofer can work however the headunit has already done all the bass compression so you are going to get more bass just that its not ALL the bass in the song.
Not really keen on an underseat subwoofer given the size of the car. It will just make the audio very muddy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by condor View Post
IIRC - the audio setup has been tuned by the manufacturer during design. Adding an amplifier will not be easy.
I only considered an amp replacement since all the wiring should already be present. If adapters are available (which I doubt they are) then an aftermarket amp swap is theoretically possible.

Will update in a month or so.

Thank again.

Parikshith
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Old 18th January 2023, 18:55   #7
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by parik_ind View Post
The biggest mystery for me are the specs of the components used.

I only considered an amp replacement since all the wiring should already be present.
One way is to open up the speakers and amp and check the labels / models. You can get alternate components accordingly.
The stock speakers look to be 4 ohm/ 30 W, 16cm Harman's.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 18th January 2023 at 20:32. Reason: Edited
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Old 18th January 2023, 18:57   #8
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by parik_ind View Post
Happy New Year to Everyone!


I have looked for answers to the above questions, even asked Tata A.S.S, but have found nothing relevant.

Any help/ guidance here will be immensely appreciated.

Parikshith

PS - Mods, if there is already a thread that discusses this topic, please merge the post there.
Hello parik_ind

I also own Safari zxa plus and I recently upgraded the audio in my safari. If you are upgrading the audio in safari then you have to invest in good DSP as well to achieve a sound stage. Also, there is no 8 or 10-inch subwoofer in safari, there is a 6x9 paper cone oval subwoofer.

Also, make sure to get it installed by a reputed installer and also go for a front active setup.

My advice would be to go for a high-end setup in safari rather than a basic one if you are fiddling with the safari OEM setup.

Last edited by Safari_Beast : 18th January 2023 at 19:01.
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Old 19th January 2023, 11:59   #9
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari_Beast View Post
Hello parik_ind

I also own Safari zxa plus and I recently upgraded the audio in my safari.
This is good to know. A few questions for you:
  1. Did you replace the sub and the amp? Did they swap into the stock positions?
  2. What components did you use?

Could you also share pictures of the install, if available?

Parikshtih
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Old 19th January 2023, 19:52   #10
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by parik_ind View Post
This is good to know. A few questions for you:
  1. Did you replace the sub and the amp? Did they swap into the stock positions?
  2. What components did you use?
Could you also share pictures of the install, if available?

Parikshtih
I have ordered a 6-inch JL sub along with a Pioneer mono amp which would be placed in the stock location.

My current setup
  • Sound Magus MP6 Max ( DSP AMP built-in)[/COLOR]
  • Front - Blam Audio Relax 165RX components[/COLOR]
  • Rear - Infinity Kappa 60 CSX

    Sound magus DSP-AMP has been placed under the passenger seat, all four doors have been damped with CTK damping and Autoshim Lace damping on door panels.
DSP has a BlueTooth module so I stream music directly via DSP instead of playing via Headunit. Sorry didn't clicked any pics during the installation.

Last edited by Safari_Beast : 19th January 2023 at 19:54.
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Old 19th January 2023, 20:59   #11
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Below is the link which shows complete audio installation of Tata safari also you will get to know the stock subwoofer as well.

If you are based in mumbai then you get audio upgraded from Sound Factor Pro as he is the best.

https://www.instagram.com/soundfactorpro/

Note : Thats not my Safari

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Old 22nd January 2023, 09:28   #12
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by parik_ind View Post

Any help/ guidance here will be immensely appreciated.

Parikshith
Hi Parikshith.

Speedfreaks, Chennai is the best in the business. They sell an immersive audio experience without affecting factory warranty.

There are S classes and GLCs, Bimmers and other luxury brands which are driven to Speedfreaks straight from the showroom for audio and aesthetic upgrades, which stands testimonial for their expertise. From an Alto to an A class, they treat the car and the customer the same way.

Karthikk, the head of SF, is a Pro when it comes to audio install, fabrication, tuning and calibration.

I've got my car ICE'd by him and I was completely blown away by the way he transformed my humble drive into a disco on wheels. No wires spliced whatsoever! It is totally worth every buck spent.

I would suggest you first give him a call and discuss about your requirement.

Karthikk Speedfreaks, Chennai - 9840904059
https://www.speedfreaks.in/#

Cheers
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Old 22nd January 2023, 10:11   #13
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- Go simple. Speakers, subwoofer, then amplifier. But get the installation done at a Tata dealer. Either sweet-talk your own dealership into it, or find another Tata dealer who will do it. Pay a premium price & stick to the dealer.
I doubt whether any OEM dealer would do that. Normally, brands promote only their genuine accessories. Any other modification might void the warranty. Even if he could sweet talk a Tata dealer for any modifications, any issues, warranty will still be void.
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Old 22nd January 2023, 16:29   #14
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

I've taken my Polo through 3 audio upgrades and wasted a lot of money because I didn't know better! So here are my two cents.

Damping for doors is essential. Go for both metal and plastic panels as shown in CarAudioFabrication YouTube videos ( etc).

First, as per sugestions in posts above, use a wired connection. Bluetooth cannot match a USB connection even through Ldac. Also use a high quality source music like Spotify Premium, Apple Music Lossless and Tidal HiFi (I'm finally using Tidal). On Android, HiRes files will work at full resolution through UAPP app. This is how I'm using Tidal files upto 24 Bits, 1700 KBPS (compared to 320 KBPS max in MP3).This route is clearly better than Tidal through Iphones that do not downsample music like Android phones.

Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade-usb-audio-player-pro.jpg

The resolution is shown at the bottom in pic of UAPP app page.

The Tata cars headunit won't be HiRes, but a high resolution music source will still give your system the best input. For MP3 files, try Poweramp App paid version to tweak the sound to your taste.

If that doesn't suffice and you are really into high quality sound, contrary to the prevelant opinions, change the Headunit first. OEM wirings can be bypassed to keep warranty intact. Invest in Hi Res unit- Kenwood has the highest specs (24/32/192). The source of the music needs to be high quality- adding a DSP to compensate for the source's shortcoming cannot match a genuinely good source. Kenwood HiRes Headunits have a good amount of DSP capability built in (as would other brands).

Change speakers simultaneously, along with good OFC speaker cables. I'd suggest Morels, starting from their basic Made in Israel range. I'm using these (Virtus) in Baleno and they are excellent value for money. In the Polo, I'm using ATI speakers, which are fantastic.

If still not happy, then go for a Subwoofer and then DSP Amp. Budget ones are Alpine underseat sub and Nakamichi DSP Amps.

My final setup decision and installation was done by Soundfactor. Rammie is the best.

Try to audition some setups in friends cars or those that the installer has built.

Last edited by ais : 22nd January 2023 at 16:32.
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Old 22nd January 2023, 23:42   #15
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Re: Tata Safari / Harrier audio upgrade

Try leaving the wiring as is for now and proceed step by step.

Swap the stock speakers with a better built aftermarket one. No one will void your warranty for this. a 20-30% improvement should come from this itself because the stock speakers are usually paper cone and built to cost. Even in cars like the Audi R8.

Next is to add an amplifier.
The amplifier can take low level or high level input. Read up on the differences once and pick amp carefully.

If you want to swap the stock amp for a new one, you need one with low level input. Then you need to identify the signal wires and tap those to connect.

You'll need to mess with the wiring a little bit. Not only is it difficult to identify what is what, it is also risky when done by car audio shops unless they are well versed with audio upgrades of premium cars which usually employ external amplifiers for most of their cars.

I suggest you leave the stock amp as is, and add a new amp under the seat, and wire the new speakers to it. Which should be a piece of cake for any car audio installer.

As shown in one of the videos above, with sufficient bracing, the stock subwoofer can be removed and a new one can be added in it's place, but a good aftermarket subwoofer always requires a good box for it to perform well, not sure how it will perform when placed in the side panel.

I haven't heard of any great installers in Bangalore, But I'm sure there is one.

Remember, barring exceptions that you can count on one hand, not one installer gives a shit about your car and your setup. You need to educate yourself on the proper and right way of doing all the installation and supervise it. The setup will be as good as you ensure it is. Else, it will sound good in the beginning but go considerably worse as time passes. Burnt my fingers with one too many such idiots.


our audio advice thread "Ask the gurus" has a lot of valuable information.

Some other youtube channels I recommend,

5star car stereo (fantastic wiring tips and explanation of procedures)
Their specialty is integration into factory systems, exactly what you need.
caraudiofabrications (simple but robust stuff, but too much of sponsorship bs nowadays)
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