Last post on Aug 29, 2013 at 2:54 PM
You are in the Chevrolet Impala
What is this discussion about?
Chevrolet Impala, Audio, Sedan
#1 of 1571 Impala 2000 RDS Radio w/CD/cass
Mar 21, 2000 (12:51 pm)
There are several of us from the Impala III
conference who are notably unhappy with our top-
end, factory-installed Impala RDS radios. This
quirk mars an otherwise very nice automobile.
RECEPTION is less than optimal and SOUND QUALITY
is just plain lacking.
These radios are the units with the amplifier
mounted in the trunk up under the rear shelf, below
the back window, between the two rear speakers.
IF you have one of these radios in your new Impala
and you are dissatisfied, this is the forum where
we can discuss it and hopefully arrive at a cure.
My complaints are the sound quality - it's just
not "sweet". Singing voices are often harsh -
particularly in multiples. Violins are screechy.
Rich Bass is lacking. I am not looking for the
sound of an Alpine or Bose system, but this is
My standard 89 Olds Royale sounded way better.
My wife's standard Camry radio sounds better.
My friends' Hondas, Contours and Regals sound
better! Even my 1972 Dodge Challenger sounded
Reception is no prize winner either - those
antennas in the window have got to be designed just
right. Toyota Camry's is far less susceptible to
interference and direction - particularly when
picking up distant AM stations or riding along back
roads with power lines alongside.
At least two of us have called GM and filed formal
complaints registering our dissatisfaction.
In the other forum, early mentions of replacing
speakers have been made but no one has yet reported
doing it. After all, who wants to start replacing
expensive components in a brand new car?
If you have this radio in your 2000 Impala, please
post your observations, comments or solutions
After all, for $25,000 we should be getting a
really good radio in our cars.
#2 of 1571 Duraflex
Mar 21, 2000 (3:06 pm)
I agree with you in most claims about the sound quality of the Upgrade RDS stereo system. I too, have an LS with the Tape/CD combo. Car has a built date of 1/00...just got it exactly one month ago. The car is excellent and I think the only issue that needs some sort of remedy is the Sound Quality from the Radio. Some posts blamed the rear shelf speakers, but now the attention is being focused on the rear shelf mounted amplifier. What I am not to clear is how the amplifier can be responsible for the apparent lack of bass response? Some people claimed that the standard radio units without the amplifiers sound much better?? Quite frankly I don't remember the sound quality during a couple of test drives I had the Radio turned on (Base Impala and LS with basic AM/FM-Tape Deck unit).
My previous cars (Hondas and Acuras) had terrible sound systems (Yes Honda has the WORST Factory radios) except my last '97 Acura TL that had a decent Alpine unit with Tape/CD and 8-speakers. The Honda radios had the opposite problem of the Impala RDS units....Too much bass...so their radio sound reproduction was dull to say the least. One thing I can give credit to the Honda radios is that they have steady good reception no matter if the system is hooked to a metal antenna or the "Window Diversity Antenna" that my TL came with. The bass issue on the RDS radios can be bothersome but I personally can live with it more comfortably. But the reception issue needs to be addressed by GM...too much interference many times.
I really like your forum as we can get "our heads" together and try to find a workable solution to the Bass/reception issues of the RDS radios, even if the solution takes involving GM to provide a "free" upgrade or fix to the problem. May be a recall is what we need to accomplish.
Last, have you attempted to disconnect the amplifier? Will the system work without it? I haven't even try to mess around with the car as the RDS radio acts as the "Central nervous system" of the Impala. I am a Computer Engineer but I am not very knowledgable of car stereos to start tinkering with them.
I am positive the solution is not to start buying expensive replacement speakers for a brand new car like you said. May be the amplifier is causing the grief, and if so, Chevy should look into the issue and revaluate the performance of the component. Probably you have a better insight at the problem.
Don't hesitate in contact me if you have any comments/suggestions/ideas,etc.
#3 of 1571 Duraflex Radio problems
Mar 21, 2000 (5:57 pm)
I too am dissappointed in the sound of my
radio system in my loaded Impala LS w/cd& cassette
- I love the car but sure wish there is a simple
solution from GM or others here on how to improve
the sound - can we do something about amplifiers
on the rear shelf if that truly is the problem -
my car was built in june of 99 if that means any-
thing. Wouuld like to hear from others on this.
#4 of 1571 teo & duraflex
Mar 21, 2000 (6:07 pm)
Thanks for starting this site (duraflex). I have an LS that I bought last fall (with amplifier). I was very unsatisfied with the performance, so about 2.5 months ago I installed THE top of the line Boston Acoustic 6x9 speakers in the rear of the car (approx. $300 for the speakers..I did the installation).
So... how does it sound? A lot better, but still lacking in the base area. It also seems (and I don't know if it is just due to the clarity difference) that the rear speakers are much louder than the front ones now.
Making this sytems actually sound great is going to take the same kind of speakers in the front (approx. $250) and replace the amplifier. I don't know if I am willing to spend it.
I hope you don't take offense to me saying that I don't think GM gives a damn about your complaints. They are not going to recall all of these cars and replace the amplifiers. They can't even honestly describe their speaker system as a FOUR-speaker system. They discribe it as an EIGHT-speaker system by counting the tweeters and woffers as separate speakers. This is incredibly insulting and misleading.
So, can the amplifier be exchanged with another? I don't see why not (but I'm not an expert). The gagitry is within the radio itself. The amplifier is just a power supply with inputs (from the radio and power sources) and outputs (to the speakers). I can't imagine that this cheap amp is anything more.
Sorry for the long-winded reply. Please let me know what you think.
Mar 21, 2000 (8:32 pm)
Glad to hear you're happy with your new rear shelf 6x9 BAs. $300 is a lot of cash for 2 speakers!
Did you check if installing replacement speakers invalidates your warranty in any way? Hope Not.
You may already know this but if your new BAs are louder than your Chevy originals, it simply means they're more efficient - they deliver more volume from the same amp by processing the power more effectively. (This of course assumes that the fader position is still at center.)
IF you do replace the front speakers, you might want to make sure that they are equally efficient. ____________________
It's the FRONT SPEAKERS that really bother me. They are so shrill - like fingernails on a chalk board. Group voices, horns, violins - OUCH!!!
I know what my tapes and CDs sound like - on everything from a portable tape player to the big stereo at home and the new car is the worst.
Although I dread the prospect, replacing them as a last resort has crossed my mind. Do you know what size speakers are in the front door panels?
#6 of 1571 RADIO WOES
Mar 22, 2000 (1:09 am)
I ALSO HAVE AN LS WITH CD/CASSETTE. SOME UPGRADE. I REALLY WANTED JUST THE CD PLAYER BUT THEY FOUND ONE THAT I WANTED, 1SB OPTION,. I FOUND THAT CD'S SOUND MUCH BETTER THAN THE RADIO. I TRIED TURNING THE BASS UP THEN SWITCHING TO POP OR ROCK SEEMS TO HELP. ABOUT THIS 8 SPEAKER DEAL. WE MUST HAVE SOME RECOURSE, HOW CAN A REAR 2-WAY SPEAKER BE COUNTED AS 2 SPEAKERS. HOW MANY SPEAKERS DOES THE BASE RADIO HAVE? I AM GOOD FRIENDS WITH MY SALESMAN, MAYBE HE CAN HELP ME. I'LL KEEP YOU POSTED.
#7 of 1571 Adding a Subwoofer Box in trunk
Mar 22, 2000 (2:39 pm)
The only thing that really bothers me aabout the stereo system is its extreme lack of bass. Even with the bass maxed out the treble down 2 notches from center and the fade set so the rear speakers are getting more signal, You still have to turn in up over 3/4 of the way to get any bass response. I went out on Sunday and bought a Kenwood ported subwoofer box with 2x10's in it and a JBL subwoofer amp. I will be getting it installed tomorow so I'll report back on how it sounds with a subwoofer. Oh by the way the Sub and Amp cost $560 together and installation and cables will be another $100. Also becuase I don't want them messing with the factory system, they will be running the subwoofer off of the rear speaker wire input signals rather than trying to interface with the stereo itself.
#8 of 1571 Responses so far....
Mar 22, 2000 (4:01 pm)
It appears to be that the solutions posted here involve shelling out large amounts of cash on new equipment to improve the bass issues of the RDS Impala radio. Personally, I just spent $22,500 for a new car and I can't justify an extra $500 to $700 to correct a radio sound performance problem. My main area of concern is tinkering with the radio installation of this car (Amplifier). The Impala has a lot of gadgets installed and most depend on the stereo system to work, so one has to be careful when changing things around.
Some people claim that the Standard Impala Radio (Tape deck only/no amplifier) sounds much better than the CD/Tape/Amplifier upgrade system. So the problem might not be entirely the speakers or the radio unit itself. I wonder if the trunk mounted amplifier is really working?? Has anyone tested the amplifier unit to see if the thing is alive or not? Is the amplifier properly connected from the factory? or properly installed? In my limited knowledge of car audio systems, the amplifier main purpose is to enhance the sound output from the speakers, thus improving the bass, midrange response and the overall stereo sound imaging. If we all are having bass response problems, may be the amplifier just quit working (Who knows..a defective batch?)and we are banging our heads against the wall when the answer to the problem might be in the amplifier itself.
My suggestion to this dillemma would be to somehow have the amplifier tested and truly make sure that the device is doing what it is supposed to. Has anyone attempted to disconnect it and see what happens??
Then again, I find it very hard to believe that the basic radio system sounds better than the Upgrade system with the amplifier. If so, then let's all take the time to look into the amplifier and see if this is the source of all grief.
I will get in touch with my nearest Chevy Dealer and inquiry about this. Later I will contact GM to have them open a file.
Impala owners should not be spending extra $$$ to get satisfaction from the stereo system. GM has to pick up the tab and rectify the issue accordingly...no if's and's and but's.
Aside from the lack of bass issue, I find the Impala RDS radio one of the most interesting units I have ever owned on a car. The RDS technology, the speed conpensated volume, the pre-set EQ settings, the ability to control most other functions on the car (Key fobs, etc) make it a truly remarkable unit from Delco. All this great radio unit needs is a good working amplifier unit.
What do you guys think?
#9 of 1571 To All RDS (with Amp.)
Mar 22, 2000 (5:06 pm)
Everyone is correct in their complaint. I have compared the quality of sound in both radios both with and without the amplifier. If you check you will find that with the amplifier option you also get "preminum" speakers (8). Two at each location. I have been advised by the service dept. that the amplifier is supposed to suppress the bass. They ckecked out my radio system and advised me that it met all their specs. and nothing could be done. BULL!! If all concerned would call the Chevrolet Customer Assistance and make a formal complaint and have them issue a "File Ref. NO." --- maybe we can get Delco Electronics attention to do something to correct the poor quality of sound. Yes, I also feel like there may be a wiring error or maybe the Amplifier watts per channel (4) is lacking wattage! Together maybe we can get results!!
#10 of 1571 jojo28...Radio Comparison
Mar 22, 2000 (5:29 pm)
In your last post you said that you had the chance to compare both the standard and upgraded Impala radios. We just wanted to know if you noticed any significant differences in the sound quality. We must establish a "pattern" here to help us troubleshoot the actual source of the problem. If the sound was way better on the standard radio, then we can deduct that the problem centers around the amplifier (provided that the standard radio uses the same exact speakers and that the Radio unit is not dramatically different in circuitry, etc). The more knowledge we can share on this forum, the better case we can present to GM to find a resolution to the problem.