I'm not going to spend much time complaining about the poor audio system in the Ghibli as we've beat it to death here on the forums.
I have the premium and the dealer did "fix" the Subwoofer which is causing the vibrations/rattling sound from the rear-deck. It's slightly better but still absolute junk. If you don't have a good ear, no offense to anyone, you may be fine with the system. For those who really enjoy music and have at least a decent ear, this post is for you. As I mentioned on the forum before, I was in the music industry as my first career and have spent time in many world-class sound studios recording.
Being in Chicago I went to ABT Electronics yesterday. They are the best electronics store perhaps in the US…very well known and a publicly traded company; but they only have 1 location. They specialize in high-end electronics from Sub Zero and Wolf kitchen appliances, to TVs, Washers/Dryers, Home Audio, etc. etc. I've worked with them for years and they are top notch.
I brought the car there yesterday and the installers listened to the audio system (laughed at it of course) and started asking me lots of questions and ran demonstrations of various systems to understand what my ear prefers…we all hear sound slightly different so keep this in mind as I list my speaker preferences for the Ghibli...it is subjective. They immediately recognized I have experience in sound quality professionally…again, keep this in mind; I'm picky to a fault.
They had a 2014 Maserati Quattroporte in the showroom (car dealers always have a high-end car in their lobby as an advertisement) and this car had the Bowers and Wilkins system. We gave it a good listen and put it through it's paces…it's certainly better then the Premium sound, but for $5K+ is a joke. They showed me the speaker material B&W uses and they are garbage compared to aftermarket. This should have been a $2K option as it is okay to live with.
Keep in mind, when upgrading your system from a stock radio, your choice of speakers and amps is as important as the installer you choose. A great installer can make a average system sound good and a bad installer can make a great system sound poor. The head installer at ABT has years of experience. He was working on a Rolls Royce Ghost when I showed up…had all the door panels off and was rebuilding. He just did Lance Brigg's Bentley a month ago…if you don't know Briggs, he is the star LB for the Chicago Bears. They work on high-end cars regularly, and my Maserati/Ferrari dealer said all their customers go there. I feel very comfortable working with them. They will use the best wires, parts and include sound damping material (DynaMat) around all the speaker housings in the doors and rear-deck (this will actually insulate the car doors also as an added benefit!).
My #1 goal is to get a good system without breaking the bank while not changing the stock UConnect system or functionality..blue tooth, streaming, nav, climate, etc. Not a problem and without a shadow of a doubt, this system (regardless of the speakers I end up with) will blow away any stock stereo system, even the Burmeister Audio system used in the new Mercedes S class ($6,500 option), which is pretty amazing IMO.
So here is what I'm doing. Keep in mind, the two main components to create a great audio system is the amp and speakers. I refuse to change the UConnect system or modify the look of the interior in anyway. They assured me, nobody will be able to tell you have a great audio system until you turn it on. They even said phone calls will sound amazing in the new system.
Type: Audison VOCE AV 5.1 5 channel amp w/ AV Bit In - $1800
This is a 1650 Watt amp distributed to 5 channels (speakers). 2 fronts, 2 rears and a independent subwoofer channel driving 600 watts to the sub. The AV Bit is a module that attaches to the amp and creates a purely digital signal…newest thing in Car Audio…creates an absolutely clear precise sound with no unwanted noise (the biggest enemy of any audio system). This is installed in the trunk of the car on the side of the trunk. It's about 2 inches in depth, 12 inches long and 6 inches wide. DOES NOT take up much trunk space especially since it is on the side of the trunk in the back.
Type: Audison BIT Ten - $550
You need a sound processor if you want to keep your standard dash system, in this case UConnect Maserati system. The purpose is to clean up the sound from a subpar stock head unit (UConnect) and deliver a digital perfectly equalized sound signal to your amp. The installer will connect this to a laptop and use a 32 band equalizer to perfect the sound signal…the Maserati dash unit has a 3 band equalizer as we've all seen on the screen…again junk.
Speakers (main speakers)
Focal K2 165KR - $799 a pair
Focal Flax Cone PS165F - $499 a pair
JL Audio C5-650X - $340 a pair (normally $600 a pair)
So I've narrowed it down to the above 3 choices. These are exact matches to the current speakers. The speakers are component speakers, meaning a separate speaker in the lower door (6.5" speakers) and tweeters in the dash up front and in the rear seats on the doors. Technically there are 8 speakers but because they are components, they are controlled via the amp as 4 outputs (Front R, Front L, Rear R, Rear L). This is the same layout as the stock speakers. Below are the choices I've narrowed it down to.
Speakers Sub Woofer
Type: JL Audio TW3 10TW3-D4 - $255 single speaker
I do not want a big sub woofer box in my trunk nor do I listen to Rap or Dance music and need HUGE bass. I also need to maintain the trunk space. The solution is the new shallow depth sub woofers…meaning the speaker isn't very big…this is slightly less depth then the sub already in the car. ABT will create a small boxed enclosure so the speaker doesn't just hang there "naked" like it does today. The small enclosure will help protect speaker and creates a tighter crispier punchy sound from the sub. The stock system uses the entire trunk as the enclosure today…hence why the stock sub sounds muddy and vibrates the rear deck so much.
So, depending on which component speakers I choose…and all 4 options are excellent choices…any of them will vastly improve the premium system.
Price - less 10% discount (going to try for 15%)
Most expensive - $3,782
Least expensive - $2,956
Installation Fees - expecting around $800 with materials
TOTAL w/ installation
Most expensive - $4,582
Least expensive - $3,756
Hopefully this is helpful for some of the members here!