How few upgrades significantly improved audio quality in my Kia Seltos

The biggest disappointment was the rear speakers. It sounded like they didn't exist. If you sat at the rear, you were still hearing the front speakers.

BHPian Rajiv Krishnan recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I saw a lot of comments complaining about the Bose audio in the Seltos, so i thought ill share my two cents.

I was very underwhelmed by the Bose system. It just felt very muddy to me and over the course of ownership, I actually stopped listening to music in the car, or only at low volumes. High volume brought rattles and distortion with it. Eventually i decided something needed to be done.

I took my car to Galaxy in Kochi. Its a very respected audio shop (they do other stuff too) and several BHPians have got their cars worked on here. Muneem, who runs the shop is a passionate audiophile, who walked me through the several upgrade paths available to me. But one thing he was clear about from the start was, the doors would need to be damped no matter what. There are some brands like VW where it isn’t necessary, but with Hyundai/Kia it absolutely is. Since I couldn’t afford to do it all at once, i decided to start with the damping.

I got all 4 doors damped with 3M at 10k (I think its 2 layers). And what a difference that made! It was really night and day. The bose felt like an entirely new system and i was enjoying listening to music in my car again. If you are even remotely passionate about audio quality, i recommend that you get it done. If you don't have a big budget like me, this alone will make a huge difference and also lays the groundwork for future upgrades.

I was now enjoying the true performance of the Bose system (only at the front, its pretty bad at the rear lol), but pretty soon the want for something better started gnawing at me. The biggest disappointment was the rear speakers. It sounded like they didn't exist. If you sat at the rear, you were still hearing the front speakers. So i popped down to Galaxy again. Muneem and i had discussed installing better coaxials in the rear, so that was what i had in mind. However, he convinced me to go for better components in the front. And I am so glad i did (will explain later).

So we swapped the front components out for DLS Performance MI 6.2 components. DLS is a Swedish brand and came recommended by Muneem. It was between this or Gladen. Gladen was the first choice because of its lower power requirement, which meant it could be run more effectively off the factory amp, but he did not have it in stock when i went. The comps cost me 18k inclusive of fitment.

The speakers blew me away. Granted it did not sound as good at first with the equalizer values set to 0. But some messing about with the eq and some hours of running in later, i was truly ecstatic with the result. As of today, this is the extent of my audio upgrades.

Now to the Bose scam (there really is no other word for it). Kia advertises it as an 8 speaker setup (component in the front door, coax in the rear, a speaker on the dash and a subwoofer in the boot, all powered by an amplifier). As we removed the factory speakers, we realized that only the front speaker is a 6.5. The rears are 5.25s that are housed in a 6.5’s slot. And the rears are vastly inferior to the fronts in construction (weight and depth of speaker). I can only assume that its the same story with the speaker on the dash and the sub in the boot. So for all practical purposes, the seltos has a 4 speaker audio system with speakers only on the front doors.

We thought since we removed the only working speakers on the Seltos, might as well put the it in the rear (swap the front bose woofer for the rear). I thought this would solve the issue of no sound at the rear. Boy were we in for a surprise! The speakers which had sounded good at the front produced very little sound at the rear. This leads me to believe that the amp was not sending much power to the rear. Either that, or the rear speakers are powered directly by the head unit. This might be because the amp is not powerful enough, or the rear speakers are so bad that more power will only expose its lack of quality. Either way, the car continues to have noticeable sound only at the front.

As it stands, im very pleased with the performance of the DLS speakers. However, there is still more to be done. I am planning to add a subwoofer in the boot, upgrade the amplifier and possibly add a DSP. I dont know when this will happen, but if it does, I will update this thread with the results. Cheers!

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