Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

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Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby bigx5murf » 11/23/13 @ 04:15

I picked up a set of these for about half MSRP from @sideshow not too long ago. I'll state this right off the bat, had I paid retail for these, I would've been PISSED.

When I received the kit, I decided to take it apart and check just what was this so called "custom sound module". I've confirmed with 2 electronics experts, it's nothing more than a crossover. The problem is the build quality was the shittiest any of us has ever seen. Like $15 crossovers from China have 100x the quality.

See for yourself. Mess of inconsistent soldering and hot glue, with hot glue chunks just bouncing around
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For reference here are some Chinese crossovers
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meow it was a good thing I decided to take these apart, because I right away I found a broken solder, and 2 solder joints on the verge of breaking. These "custom sound modules" didn't look like they were tampered with before me. I have no reason to doubt the shipping from the seller, it definitely seemed adequate. I also had to perform some repairs to the contacts of one of the woofers and one of the tweeters as well.

The tweeter brackets were missing (one of those things you deal with when you buy used). I made my own by sacrificing a coat hanger, my creation looks exactly like the one's in clearwater's install instructions.

The instructions also don't mention anything about waterproofing the hookup to the stock woofer connector. Which I think is a huge over sight, since i was just driving in rain, and that connector was damp. The extra slack being connected to the module instead of the stock woofer, wouldn't definitely bring it into contact with more water than before. Luckily, I had a piece of heatshrink exactly the right size to seal up the connection (SEMA free shit bag).

Anyway, onto how they sound. First thing I've noticed, they're quieter than stock for the same volume setting. But can get much louder before distorting, uncomfortably so. Without messing settings, they're overly bright, way too much treble. After turning the treble way down, and bass up a bit. They did sound much much better than the factory bose. I did hear things in the same songs I didn't hear before. I also meow hear a very faint whine the music silences, that wasn't there before.

All in all, they performed as advertised, but don't expect too much. Their install seems a bit lacking, be on the safe side and have heat shrink and electrical tape handy on all connections, it does get wet in there. If you care about weight, don't get these, they're way heavier than the factory stuff. I'd open up the "custom sound modules" and check all solders just to be on the safe side, and check the solders on the tweeters too, they're really thin.

IMO, definitely not worth the $300+shipping.
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby Swank Force One » 04/16/14 @ 09:10

I had these in the MSM. Previous owner installed them, so I never looked at them. Sounded good after tweaking though.

As for the crossovers... open up a set of high end home audio speakers sometime. They often don't look much better.
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby Highschool » 04/17/14 @ 17:14

Thank you very much for the warning. I have a Bose unit in my new NB. The drivers door speaker sounds blown at low volume. I will look into other options thanks to you!

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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby bigx5murf » 04/18/14 @ 04:04

Unfortunately, having the Bose unit, you have few options without ripping the stuff out and starting from scratch.
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby bigx5murf » 07/24/14 @ 15:44

Update, passenger side cut out a month ago. Took it apart, a solder joint in the crossover box cracked apart, re-soldered the connection, things went back to working fine again.

Then not too long after, started getting a farting noise on the driver side. Took it apart, and found the woofer to be separating itself halfway, where the cone and rubber surround met. I used some clear silicone RTV to put a bead front and back along the seam the cone and rubber surround met. Fix worked, no more farting bass.

Did a little research, and someone on miata.net claims these are the actual woofers used be clearwater.
http://www.parts-express.com/grs-8pr-8- ... r--292-428

They do look identical, I picked up a pair since, the price was low enough to be worth experimenting.
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby Teejay187 » 07/24/14 @ 17:02

Thanks for the update on this! I am thinking of getting a good 2 channel amp and these speakers.
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby bigx5murf » 07/24/14 @ 17:22

Teejay187 wrote:Thanks for the update on this! I am thinking of getting a good 2 channel amp and these speakers.


If you don't have a BOSE system, I suggest saving your money, and looking elsewhere. You should be able to piece together a better system for less.

If you do have a BOSE system. I'll draw out what's needed to make the crossover, and I'm guessing once you have that, you can replace with woofer and tweeter of your choice. Which would probably be better and cheaper.
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby Teejay187 » 07/24/14 @ 17:38

Though the system I have sounds really good, I want to improve it. It sounds like a BOSE system, but the covers doesn`t have the logo. I need to settle my internal barking :kitty:
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby bigx5murf » 07/29/14 @ 19:30

Well BOSE system has BOSE specific amp, that can only drive speaker with strange resistance, like 0.5 ohm. But clearwater just uses a crossover to allow use of typical resistance speakers. With clearwater system, the stock tweeter connection is ignored. The crossover is hooked up to the stock woofer signal, and both the new woofer and tweeter gets signal from the crossover.

If you can build the crossover yourself, you can choose woofer and tweeters of your choice, and it should come out significantly cheaper and better than paying the clearwater tax. Wished I had known sooner, but no matter how much I searched, I could not find anyone who attempted to reverse engineer the clearwater system. Besides, I picked it up used, and supported a vendor here, so not all is lost.
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby Highschool » 09/06/14 @ 14:40

$230 brand new worth my time?
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Re: Review: Clearwater Speakers for factory Bose

postby bigx5murf » 09/08/14 @ 19:00

Highschool wrote:$230 brand new worth my time?


That's up to you, but I'm 99% positive that if you can make the crossovers yourself, you can use any woofer/tweeter combo from partstexpress and have a comparable system for half that.

If you need schematics for the crossover
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