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  1. Helix hifi upgrade review I bought a second hand Golf R last year to find that it came with a Helix soundbox upgrade, six months on I thought I'd review it as I had some issues.... After initially opening the boot floor to see this huge shiny round sub where the spare wheel should be I though woah that looks powerful! However I found the sound overly bassy, boomy and the treble sounded harsh and boosted. I also noticed when turning up the volume (above 50%) that there was noticeable distortion in the tweeters. first thing I did was replace the tweeters with some decent Focal ones that I knew were good as I'd used them in my old Fiesta ST. Sadly, they sounded incredibly over driven, despite the bass/treble controls being flat on the HU. I had to set the treble to about -6 to compensate. The bass was also way too boomy especially at low volumes. After a few weeks the tweeters blew. This is prompted me to do some research into what was going on with this system. Turns out the built in amp is actually tiny and only needs a single 20amp fuse which speaks volumes about its power. Supposedly it has 35w per channel RMS which is not a lot but it feels like in reality it's less than that. Furthermore it has built in DSP which hugely oversdrives the tweeters (presumably to compensate for how shoddy the standard ones are). You aren't able to control the level of the sub as it's all pre-set. So little power going to your speakers means you end up straying into massive amount of harmonic distortion quite early into your volume dial and are effective sending square waves to your speakers - ruining them. The sub speaker box itself is well made, heavy and of a good size. I has 2 fairly meaty looking 6" bass drivers which feel like they go pretty low. But it was certainly not at its best being driven by this pathetic little amp. To sort this all out I decided to buy a small 5 channel Kenwood amp https://www.caraudiocentre.co.uk/product_m-kenwood-x801-5_p-33144.htm and another set of tweeters. The amp is fully class D so it's small and power efficicient. It sends 50w to 4 speakers and an additional 300w to the sub - much better! It's triplet of 30 amp fuses said a lot about it power output. Also no pesky DSP thinking it knows best, just straight forward amplification with separate controls for sub level and bandpass filters. The amp was small enough to fit under the floor beside the sub so it's a completely stealthy install with no boot space taken up. The amp takes speaker level inputs too so I simply spliced into the cable that was already sitting in the boot feeding the helix amp. All I did was wire up a nice fat power cable to the battery. The difference is utterly unbelievable! Underlining for me that speakers only sound as good as the amp driving them. The sound sparkles now and with everything set flat, sounds incredible. The whole system is orders of magnitude louder, cleaner and more effortless, with deeper, tighter bass and no distortion. If any of you out there are at all feeling a bit dissatisfied with your helix system or have found that your tweeters distort or that you have to make sweeping changes to your eq to compensate for the overly aggressive DSP then I highly recommend simply buying a proper amp like this one, keeping all the speakers (well maybe swapping out the front tweeters as it's pretty cheap and they're the weakest part quality wise!) It's a night and day difference with no sacrificed space or hugely difficult wiring. The sub itself is pretty damn good once your feeding it a healthy amount of power :-)
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