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90-96 Sound System Upgrade

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Jan 10, 2001
CenCoast CA
71 04 12 19
My '95 has the U1F/UXO "Delco-Bose Gold" sound system. It's true that the Amplifier/Speaker assemblies have problems, mostly with capacitors on the amp PC boards going out, but sound wise, it's hard to beat them considering their 25-year old technology still makes pretty good sound and installing an aftermarket speaker arrangement that is as good or better is a lot of work.

What I've always disliked about the Bose, is the radio control head, mainly because it lacked a balance control. After nearly 20 years, the unit in my 95 had a crackling volume control and a CD player that was often displaying "err". Plus, it had no way to directly connect my iPod. To listen to stuff on it, I had to use an FM adapter which was a pain in the butt.

To address all these issues, installed a Zip Products "Pioneer Conversion Kit" (PN XR183). The Pioneer is made with 25-year newer technology, supports direct connection of an iPod or other USB device and allows adjustment of the speaker balance. In addition it supports the adding a subwoofer, if you want it, along with an external power amp, if you're inclined to go to an aftermarket amp and speakers.

As I was sticking with stock speakers, I replaced all four Bose amplifier Speaker assemblies because I had one with a bad speaker and another with an amplifier problem. I decided to swap the other two on GP. Now, there are no replacements for the left front speaker assembly so I had to "rebuild" one by using my existing speaker enclosure and new Zip speakers.

The result was a significant improvement in the sound quality along with no more crackling volume control, a CD play which worked right and simple connection of an iPod. In fact, I am so happy with the results I posted a couple of articles at Corvette Magazine covering what I did.

Check it out!
My '95 TA still has it's OEM radio. The first owner NEVER used the CD player. In fact, all he ever listened to was talk radio. SO, I'm convinced he never did any damage to the CD player, speakers, or amps. :chuckle

I decided to go with RetroSound for my '82's head unit. We'll see how that works out.

Glad to see you've got an article about effectively "Bose-ing" an aftermarket stereo. I know for many folks, replacing a Bose head unit means replacing the speakers and everything else as well.

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