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Old 09-11-2019, 07:40 AM   #1
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Default Anyone upgrade the audio in their Sprinter?

My ERA 170M is based on the Sprinter 3500. Two speakers in the footwells and a fairly noisy cockpit means a rather poor audio experience.

There's a cabinet over the cockpit, so I'm thinking it may provide a way to put small speakers overhead... perhaps a couple of small speakers can be mounted on the dome light fixture as well... and i'm thinking a 6" thick subwoofer box might fit behind the driver's seat, between the seat and the slideout.

But, these are just ideas... has anyone had any good results improving the SPrinter's audio setup?
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Old 09-11-2019, 12:53 PM   #2
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That model is built on an NCV3 Sprinter, correct? In other words, a fairly new one.

I have an older (2006) T1N Sprinter, so I can't address the specifics of speaker placement. However, as a precursor to upgrading our speakers, we did a road noise control job in our cab, and it made a big difference. You can read about that here.
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Old 09-11-2019, 03:50 PM   #3
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Before I had my Sprinter converted (Sportsmobile), I insulated and sound proofed the doors and panels with thinsulate insulation as best I could. Then I upgraded the lousy stock speakers and added a subwoofer behind the drivers seat although I didn’t replace the stock Sprinter head unit. It made a definite improvement but compared to my regular SUV, it is still not a very good audio experience. The biggest problem is the road noise. The van is just a pretty loud vehicle no matter what you do. It didn’t cost me too much though to do this since I did it all myself.

Honestly, when traffic allows, I use high quality earbuds on long trips when I want a better audio experience which is far superior. It is possible that a professional audio company could do better but it will be fairly expensive.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:05 PM   #4
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Default Take a look at this picture in my Sprinter

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Originally Posted by BigFatGuy View Post
My ERA 170M is based on the Sprinter 3500. Two speakers in the footwells and a fairly noisy cockpit means a rather poor audio experience.

There's a cabinet over the cockpit, so I'm thinking it may provide a way to put small speakers overhead... perhaps a couple of small speakers can be mounted on the dome light fixture as well... and i'm thinking a 6" thick subwoofer box might fit behind the driver's seat, between the seat and the slideout.

But, these are just ideas... has anyone had any good results improving the SPrinter's audio setup?
This came standard in my van and yes I do have a sub woofer in the back underneath the left side seat cushion in the wheel well.

My van has a really nice 5.1 sound system with ceiling speakers in the back and the front. A total of 5 speakers and one sub. I have a switch in the back for regular audio while driving and 5.1 when we're watching a movie.

I've measured the decibels in my van while driving and they are right around 65 and my sound system is pretty good.

Yes, we can definitely have a conversation or talk hands free on the phone while driving.

My advice is take your van to a really good audio shop and they'll be able to help you with all of this, unless you're confident to do it yourself.

Mobile audio is not inexpensive and can be a little complicated if you're not skilled.


I'm a little surprised that Winnebago didn't build this in.

What year is your 170 ERA? Good luck.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
That model is built on an NCV3 Sprinter, correct? In other words, a fairly new one.
It's a 2016, likely from the end of the model year. If I'm understanding my Sprinter-speak well enough, it's a "906".

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It made a definite improvement but compared to my regular SUV, it is still not a very good audio experience. The biggest problem is the road noise. The van is just a pretty loud vehicle no matter what you do. It didnít cost me too much though to do this since I did it all myself.
That's kind of what I'm thinking... it'll be tougher since the RV is already built, but hopefully I can improve things.

The stock radio is already replaced by a HORRIBLE "RiverPark" radio, that's going to go the way of the Dodo as soon as I come up with a good plan and get a couple thousand greenbacks floating around with nothing else to do with.


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I'm a little surprised that Winnebago didn't build this in.
Winnebago did some very strange things with the ERA line. Some of the engineering and planning is, frankly, inspired... and other times you wonder WTF is wrong with them...

They order the base Sprinter without ANY of the cool options (not even TPMS), put an unworkable spare tire carrier on it, and the thing has two complete audio systems, one "house" and one "chassis". Two subwoofers, two sets of poor quality midrange speakers... (actually 3, if you count the exterior speakers), and two "head units", one of which is a Jenson the size of a decently large VHS tape deck, and the other is the afore-mentioned RiverPark.

If I had my druthers, I'd gut the "house" system, get a "chassis" head unit that can drive all the speakers (or maybe use a switch?), replace ALL the speakers, move the chassis subwoofer from under the passenger seat to a place where it won't make my wife giggle, and where it will sound un-muffled, and install a small video projector so I can get rid of the TV, which is just a terrible, flawed installation.

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What year is your 170 ERA? Good luck.
2017. The last year with the TV antenna up front, before they moved it to the back near the camera.
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:11 PM   #6
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Default Oh my, what a mess you've described below

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It's a 2016, likely from the end of the model year. If I'm understanding my Sprinter-speak well enough, it's a "906".



That's kind of what I'm thinking... it'll be tougher since the RV is already built, but hopefully I can improve things.

The stock radio is already replaced by a HORRIBLE "RiverPark" radio, that's going to go the way of the Dodo as soon as I come up with a good plan and get a couple thousand greenbacks floating around with nothing else to do with.



Winnebago did some very strange things with the ERA line. Some of the engineering and planning is, frankly, inspired... and other times you wonder WTF is wrong with them...

They order the base Sprinter without ANY of the cool options (not even TPMS), put an unworkable spare tire carrier on it, and the thing has two complete audio systems, one "house" and one "chassis". Two subwoofers, two sets of poor quality midrange speakers... (actually 3, if you count the exterior speakers), and two "head units", one of which is a Jenson the size of a decently large VHS tape deck, and the other is the afore-mentioned RiverPark.

If I had my druthers, I'd gut the "house" system, get a "chassis" head unit that can drive all the speakers (or maybe use a switch?), replace ALL the speakers, move the chassis subwoofer from under the passenger seat to a place where it won't make my wife giggle, and where it will sound un-muffled, and install a small video projector so I can get rid of the TV, which is just a terrible, flawed installation.


2017. The last year with the TV antenna up front, before they moved it to the back near the camera.
Okay, you can get this fixed, although it's all about some cash. And, like I said, installation of mobile audio is sometimes challenging, maybe you know what to do?

My system is a Kenwood DNX-893 with Blue Tooth, hands free and Android Auto with a Sirius XM tuner all built in. I love Sirius XM, you can be literally anywhere and get reception, no kidding. I'm not familiar with River Park at all.

It also can be used with Apple Car Play, but, I have an Android Phone.
It's more than capable to drive the entire 5.1 speaker system and I have a separate audio/video system in the back, hence the switch.

Your subwoofer is under the front passenger seat? This is not a good place.
My sub is in the cabinet that the side left seat sits on and has a grille pointed out to the hall and there's two speakers in the bedroom on the upper cabinets firing downward. All of this is neatly framed in and you can't see any wiring at all just the speakers. I can't impress how difficult it is to conceal all of this wiring. Again, if you know what you're doing, it's all easy, right?

And, my back up camera screen is right in the DNX-893, it's a pretty sweet setup.

What's with this crazy spare tire? Where is it exactly that you can't use it?

And why is the TV installation bad? Mine is in the back bedroom on a swing away mechanism, seems to work fine although I've thought about replacing the 120 volt TV with a 12 volt? Not sure about that?
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:36 PM   #7
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maybe you know what to do?
I'm an electronics engineer... so I'm really good at anything that involves sitting at a computer, and really bad at anything that involves popping body panels. I'll most likely be hiring an installer, but I'd like to have a plan first.

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Your subwoofer is under the front passenger seat? This is not a good place.
Seriously.

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What's with this crazy spare tire? Where is it exactly that you can't use it?
1: they used a lug nut size that doesn't match the provided Benz lugnut wrench, and don't provide the needed tool. I'm just glad I figured this out before I had a flat.
2: it's actually not bad for using the spare tire, but it blocks the left rear door. Once you pull two pins and lower it via sheer muscle out of the way, it sticks way out and trips everyone trying to get to the rear doors.
3: it bounces around a lot more than I'd like, due to a long arm-length.

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And why is the TV installation bad?
My wife and I hit our head on it at least twice a day, each. Also, one of its mounting points is a single screw into the absurdly thin "headliner" of the house part of the RV, so the TV bounces around and is tearing my headliner, slowly. They also ran a HUGE bundle of cables to the TV that is, at least, half unnecessary I think.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:07 PM   #8
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Default Blocking the rear door is definitely not good.

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I'm an electronics engineer... so I'm really good at anything that involves sitting at a computer, and really bad at anything that involves popping body panels. I'll most likely be hiring an installer, but I'd like to have a plan first.


Seriously.


1: they used a lug nut size that doesn't match the provided Benz lugnut wrench, and don't provide the needed tool. I'm just glad I figured this out before I had a flat.
2: it's actually not bad for using the spare tire, but it blocks the left rear door. Once you pull two pins and lower it via sheer muscle out of the way, it sticks way out and trips everyone trying to get to the rear doors.
3: it bounces around a lot more than I'd like, due to a long arm-length.


My wife and I hit our head on it at least twice a day, each. Also, one of its mounting points is a single screw into the absurdly thin "headliner" of the house part of the RV, so the TV bounces around and is tearing my headliner, slowly. They also ran a HUGE bundle of cables to the TV that is, at least, half unnecessary I think.
Yes, that's your emergency exit..... My spare tire is underneath the van.

Your TV is mounted via the headliner?? What designer thought of this? Homer Simpson?

I have a bicycle rack on my Sprinter, but, the entire mechanism can swing away and allow me to open the doors. You shouldn't have to fight with the hardware in the field just to get access to the spare. It's unbelievable that they didn't provide you with the necessary tools.

Also, that excessive bouncing, trip hazard is really not good. I don't know if you have a lot of vehicle bouncing as well.

On my 2012 at 39,000 miles I had the original shocks/struts replaced with Koni FSD, antisway bar and track bar. Now, I have very little vibration and no sway.

Let me know if you want more info about this and I'll PM you...

Even though my bike rack is about an extra 3 feet from the rear doors, it doesn't bounce around at all...... very stable at all speeds.... great rack.
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:22 PM   #9
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Yes, that's your emergency exit.....
Not in the 170M... I'd have to punch through my bathroom mirror/sink/wall like Captain America. There's actually some pretty significant 2x4 structure between the "trunk" and the living area.

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Your TV is mounted via the headliner?? What designer thought of this? Homer Simpson?
Like I said: sometimes you just wonder WTF they were thinking.


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Also, that excessive bouncing, trip hazard is really not good. I don't know if you have a lot of vehicle bouncing as well.
On my 2012 at 39,000 miles I had the original shocks/struts replaced with Koni FSD, antisway bar and track bar.
I've actually purchased a nicer tire carrier that bolts to the left-rear-door hinges and one bolt-hole drilled into the door. Just waiting for an opportunity to get the correct hinges and do the installation.

I've had many people tell me the Koni shock upgrade is a good one... my Sprinter came with a native anti-sway bar, but it still shakes like a wet dog if you clip the edge of a driveway. At speed it drives very nicely...

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Let me know if you want more info about this and I'll PM you...
Sure, thanks!
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Old 09-11-2019, 11:52 PM   #10
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Your subwoofer is under the front passenger seat? This is not a good place.
Why isn't it a good place?
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:08 AM   #11
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Why isn't it a good place?
1: You can't hear it
2: it makes your pants feel funny if you turn the bass up too high.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:21 AM   #12
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1: You can't hear it
2: it makes your pants feel funny if you turn the bass up too high.
I can't speak to the pants issue. But subwoofer frequencies are not directional. You will hear it just fine if it is loud enough.
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Old 09-12-2019, 02:06 AM   #13
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1: You can't hear it
2: it makes your pants feel funny if you turn the bass up too high.
Poor man's vibrating seat.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:54 PM   #14
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There's substantial road noise in a sprinter RV, so we left the speakers alone in our 2014 short Sprinter. We did upgrade the terrible Becker head unit to a Pioneer (other brands are as good or better, especially Alpine) that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We love using the maps and other apps from the phone and having the voice control. Unless we have the radio on (and you can have the radio on while navigating using Google or Apple Maps) we have it in CarPlay mode all of the time.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:35 PM   #15
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Default My Mad Scientist Audio Mods

Our used Roadtrek (Sprinter) had poor sound quality up front, despite having a fairly decent JVC aftermarket deck. One reason was that front was in the dash under the windshield and rear was in the cabinets above the bed in the back of the rig. I wanted to distribute more sound forward, so put two speakers in the cupholders down by the floor. I cross wired these so the floor speakers were revered L to R, that way each seat basically had its own R & L channels more equidistant from the driver or passenger listener.

The Sprinter did not have a separate cabin stereo, so I sought to be able to run the in dash system when parked without having to turn the ignition on.

I accomplished this by modifying the power delivery. The stereo was normally an "ignition on" accessory. I took a hot lead, ran it through a SPDT switch and a diode so that I could power the stereo with the ignition off. I have a bluetoothing device, an FM signal booster, and an XM receiver that I powered from the stereo feed.

To better distribute sound I installed a relay to control which speakers were on. When driving (ignition on), the dash/window and floor cupholder speakers are on. When ignition off, and the bypass switch is turned on, the dash speakers are turned off and the far rear speakers are turned on.

All in all this resulted in a better audio experience while driving (Parked it is essentially the same, except the ignition does not have to be on). One drawback is the ignition off bypass does pull off the engine battery. I wanted to see the results before I routed it to be fed off the cabin system. I do not expect to get so much parked use that it would make much of a dent in the starting battery.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:44 PM   #16
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Pioneer (other brands are as good or better, especially Alpine) that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. .
I'm looking at one of those Pioneers, myself. I've grown to hate almost every car-stereo-gps unit I own... my phone always works better.

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I cross wired these so the floor speakers were revered L to R, that way each seat basically had its own R & L channels more equidistant from the driver or passenger listener.
That's a good idea...

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The Sprinter did not have a separate cabin stereo, so I sought to be able to run the in dash system when parked without having to turn the ignition on.
Mine comes with a house/chassis power switch for the van stereo, so I can power it either way, AND a seperate house and van stereo system. Part of what I'd like to do is clean it all up so it all uses the van's stereo.
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