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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve had my 8 for a couple of weeks now and have officially kicked off my next project: “Stereo Upgrade”. Given my success with my last project, “SRT8 Purchase”, I’m optimistic that the results will be favourable.

First, my long overdue review of the BA6:

On this forum I’ve read everything from “fantastic” to “crap”. Obviously the assessment is very subjective. So I think before people rate stereo systems, they should provide some context. I’ll offer up the following context info as a possible template:

Best Stereo System Owned: Alpine head, amps, & speakers, no sub.
Music Preference: Classic Rock
Volume preference for “spirited” listening (1 = driving grandmother to church, 10 = annoy entire neighbourhood): 7

In terms of stereo systems, I’ve actually been working my way down. Two cars ago I had the aftermarket Alpine, which I was very happy with. My last car was an Intrepid and the stereo was stock, albeit the upgraded Infinity system. While obviously not in the same class as the Alpine, frankly, the Infinity system was considerably better than the BA6.

At low volume, the BA6 isn’t bad. The sound stage is noticeably in the front half of the car (where most believe it should be). The door speakers provide a full, deep sound. (Part of me thinks this was done intentionally to make the stereo sound better than it actually is, but in my opinion, this isn’t how the music is meant to sound.) Crank up the volume a bit, and everything falls apart. Frequencies get muffled, the bass loses its punch (if there ever really was punch), and distortion lurks.

The sound pressure out of the rear speakers is pitiful. In order to get front/rear balance, the fader has to be set to at least 75% rear. With 100% rear fade, you can literally turn the volume to full, and are left to wonder if it’s just a couple of AAA batteries driving some paper cups on the rear sill.

By far my biggest complaint is that with > 50% volume, the clarity, sharpness, and vitality of the music is lost. The music sounds tired. After only a couple of weeks, I no longer enjoy listening to my favourite CDs. This is unacceptable. Clearly, I’ve been called to action.

So, to date, I’ve been to 4 car audio establishments. My only direction to the proprietors was that I wanted to keep the head unit, because I wanted a stealth install, I didn’t want to mess with the aesthetics of the dash, and I wanted to keep the steering wheel controls (which I really like). Here are the recommendations I received:

1) The stock stereo is really not all that bad. All you need to do is add a sub to the rear. You can turn down the bass on the head unit and improve the performance of the front speakers, and increase the gain on the sub for a fuller sound.
2) The front is not bad. Your problem is in the rear. You need to replace the 6X9s in the back with some good quality two ways and add an amp to drive them. Take the speaker level outputs from the head for the rear, add a line level converter before the amp, and run a wire for amp power up to the head unit. Try that first, and if you still want more, you can add a sub later.
3) You need a CleanSweep from JBL. The current head unit is programmed to provide the best sound with its limited power output. This means higher bass at lower volumes and less bass at higher volumes. But the low power causes distortion regardless. CleanSweep will flatten out the frequency response from the head unit. Once the CleanSweep is installed, add a 4 channel amp (50 Watts X 4 or more). The BA speakers should be fine once you give them some decent power. Run a sub off a separate 100W to 200W amp and you’re done.
4) We can add amps and swap out the speakers, but you’ll be disappointed with the result. Unless you swap out the head unit, you’ll be amplifying a relatively poor input signal. Garbage in, garbage out. Besides, you’ll get better FM reception as well. Go away and rethink your desire to keep the head unit. And by the way, with a new head unit, we might be able to find something to help maintain some of the steering wheel controls (but don’t count on it).

So I’m leaning towards (3). By the way, the CleanSweep was mentioned on a previous thread.

Interesting to note: The CleanSweep is currently “on order”. There’s no estimated arrival date. Pricing has not yet been communicated. Sound familiar :wink1:

Comments are welcome.


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271 Posts
Thank you for taking time to present the different sound upgrades.

By the way, do you or other readers know if the BA7 is standard on Option Group II? If so what is your take on the sound.

On paper, it appears to be a better the average factory install.

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2,729 Posts
Specific question: What if, you are really a fan of classic rock. In particular, let's say, you're a Blue Oyster Cult fan? Let's say you're listening to some of their hits and "Don't Fear the Reaper" comes one. You're listening, and it's sounding good, but something's just not right.

What would you do, if you just wanted A LITTLE MORE COWBELL!?!?!

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JMatt said:

What would you do, if you just wanted A LITTLE MORE COWBELL!?!?!
JMATT, This one's for you :friday:

More cowbell? Yes, please, we've got a fever.

By Joseph P. Kahn, Globe Staff *|* April 30, 2005

Pop quiz: John Kerry might have beaten George Bush in November if only he'd had:

(a) more time

(b) more family values

(c) more cowbell

If you answered (c), go to the head of the class -- and bang loudly on whatever's handy. Because although you'll never appear on ''Hardball," you're obviously hip to a phrase that's been ricocheting around pop-culture circles for half a decade now and shows no sign of fading away anytime soon.

It is a philosophical construct so profoundly silly that it has almost become profound.

''More cowbell" is the punch line to a ''Saturday Night Live" skit that originally aired five years ago this month. The guest host was Christopher Walken, and one of the skits spoofed VH1's ''Behind the Music" by imagining what happened when the 1970s band Blue Oyster Cult went into the studio to cut ''(Don't Fear) The Reaper," its best-known song.

Walken plays producer Bruce Dickinson, a preening rock ''legend" who turns hacks into hit-makers. Will Ferrell, who wrote the sketch, plays pseudo-Cult member Gene Frenkle, whose sole talent consists of beating on a cowbell with enough force to stun a bull elephant. Real-life BOC members are portrayed by SNL's Jimmy Fallon, Chris Parnell, Horatio Sanz, and Chris Kattan, none of whom can keep a straight face as Ferrell maniacally pounds away while prancing around with his belly hanging out of his shirt.

It's Walken, though, who steals the show by uttering the phrase that's achieved cult-worship status. ''I gotta have more cowbell!" he pleads when annoyed bandmates complain that enough is enough. In a bit of lunacy that would do ''This Is Spinal Tap" proud, a crazed Walken exclaims, ''Guess what? I've got a fever. And the only prescription is more cowbell."

How much more, you wonder?

Try T-shirts, hats, aprons, coffee mugs, posters, tote bags, and mousepads emblazoned with the slogan, plus innumerable ''Cowbell"-inspired websites and blogs. (A Google search of ''more cowbell" yields 338,000 entries, by last count.) There's a Rochester, N.Y., art-rock band named -- dudes, you rang? -- More Cowbell. There's a Boston University cyber-group known as the Committee for the Advancement of Cowbell, which claims more than 1,000 members. And there are individuals like Steve Scudder, a 44-year-old Kansas City resident, for whom more cowbell is never enough, clearly.

Scudder snuck up on his wife recently while she was working on the computer and let out a moan. Asked if he was feeling all right, he replied, ''No, hon. I've got a fever. And the only prescription is . . ."

All together now: MORE COWBELL!

''She collapsed in hysterics," Scudder says. Ah, those wild and crazy Midwesterners.

What makes the skit truly funny, according to Scudder, are three elements: the absurdity of the cowbell being so important to a cheesy rock song (it's heard on the real ''Reaper" track, by the way); Walken's deadpan delivery; and, the fact that the cast keeps cracking up, which viewers find hilarious, or so Scudder theorizes.

What exactly does ''more cowbell" mean? Nobody really knows. Or maybe they do. According to one posting on, the phrase signifies ''something everybody needs more of; a remedy." Another defines it as ''an element of music synonymous with more rocking." Whatever.

BU junior Cliff Whitehead, who's affiliated with the Cowbell Committee gang, says it's anyone's guess what it means.

''To me, it conjures more of an image than any specific meaning," Whitehead says, connecting the skit's popularity to Ferrell's growing movie stardom. A college-campus word-of-mouth (or file-sharing) phenomenon? ''Oh, definitely," he says.

Even cowbellers get the news. Walken himself has acknowledged the cultlike fame of his performance that night, telling the Orlando Sentinel last fall, ''It's been years, and all anybody brings up is 'cowbell.' "

BOC lead guitarist Donald Roeser (a.k.a. Buck Dharma), one of three original band members currently touring with the band, says bells are still ringing for him and his bandmates, too. Roeser did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment for this article. However, he recently told The Washington Post that he'd seen the SNL skit more than a dozen times and never tires of it. ''We're huge Christopher Walken fans," Roeser gushed.

Finally, there are the four University of Rochester students who needed a name for their band and impulsively chose More Cowbell. All four are SNL fans and Walken devotees, says bass player David Ladon. But the joke stops there.

''Ironically, we don't play any Blue Oyster Cult covers," says Ladon. ''Or use much cowbell, either."

Joseph P. Kahn can be reached at [email protected].*

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


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2,729 Posts
I'm old enough that I actually loved the Reaper when it first came out. I thought it was one of the greatest tunes of all time.

The Saturday Night Live spot was, in my opinion, one of the funniest (clean) bits ever.

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Bobcav - THANKS!

I needed that!!!

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I'm old enough to have seen them on tour promoting the album (large black disk) which had that song on it. Laser light shows (before they knew lasers were bad for your eyes) and smoke filled the air.

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AMGhunter- my dealer said that the BA7 was no longer a part of that group- instead it was replaced with the BA6. The Kicker replaced the BA7 as a sound upgrade.

I agree JMatt- hilarious, and thanks Bob for that link- I’d forgotten how damned funny that skit was. It made me spit my evening beverage! :banana: :biggrin:
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