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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did some research and it seems that the mfg date of the V50 is week 44, 2005. This is just before the cutoff date of week 46, when the external amplified of the basic, performance audio system was replaced with integrated one in the head unit. So, it seems like the car does have the amp and associated wiring already in place. I haven't confirmed this, but let's assume this information is correct...

The amplifier is weak-kneed, to say the least. 4x25W RMS, and even the high performance amp isn't much better, at 4x40W. Premium, Dynaudio might be, 5x70W + 1x25W, but they're hard to come by and expensive for what they are.

Additionally, the amp module seems to handle other tasks, namely all audible warning signals. I'm not quite sure if the HU provides the source in line-level audio or is there some hardware for this in the amp module itself. It's likely that installing one means a mandatory software upgrade to boot, which I don't really care for if it can be avoided.

Would it be possible to ditch the OEM amp completely, wire in an adapter and use a decent quality aftermarket amp in place of the OEM unit? This would simplify the job considerably, using most of the existing wiring for an amp+speaker upgrade.
 

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2007 Volvo V50 T5 AWD M66
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Probably not, the factory amplifier does not use a normal signal input. You could piggy back the stock amplifier output and put a high level input converter between the stock amp and a new one.
 

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My understanding of these systems is that the biggest challenge is the optical output from the HU to the amp - there's no typical RCA or other type of line-level output from the HU to tap into. Thus, as far as I know, the only way to retain the OEM HU and upgrade to an aftermarket amp is the use the speaker-level output from the OEM amp. Not the most elegant or efficient way, but using a quality LOC to feed a better amp seems the most practical way to go about it.
 

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XC70 2.5T, V50T5 AWD M6
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
HU is going the way of lambada as soon as I figure out what to replace it with. Bluepower or some other solution. If there's no line level output or a possibility to tap into one to feed a decent amp with the OEM HU, that might happen sooner than I've planned.
 

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From my understanding, the blue power unit isn’t much better at all, and replaces the stock amp with a much less powerful one than high performance.


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
From my understanding, the blue power unit isn’t much better at all, and replaces the stock amp with a much less powerful one than high performance.
The system in question is basic, performance, not high performance, and BP has line-level RCA outputs for connecting it to something at least halfway decent. Probably JL RD400/4 or if the built-in eq features of BP are lacking, JL Slash300/4v3.
 

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Ah okay, I see what you’re saying. I thought you meant using the blue power as an amp itself. That would not be ideal. But what you’re talking about would work.


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh no. It's been about amp upgrade all along, like the topic implies.
 

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Oh no. It's been about amp upgrade all along, like the topic implies.
Makes sense. As others have stated, your options are limited (or rigged to pickyback off the existing amp, which works but sucks that’s the best route). At this point, just completely replace the interior and get rid of the ICM and amp


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Believe me, if the HVAC display wasn't integrated in the HU and there was an adapter to mate an aftermarket unit with the OEM steering wheel buttons, I would already have placed the OEM hardware on a skeet thrower and pulled the lever long ago...

We just installed a Sony XAV-AX3005 into my son's 1996 Celica GT-Four (NO canbus, NO MOST, NOTHING digital in the car itself) and in 20 minutes it got a far more advanced HU than the V50 system can ever hope to be. Full Android Auto support to boot. The V50 would get the same exact treatment had the integration not gotten out of hand.
 

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I speak from experience as I am in the process of upgrading my system in my 2005 V50 from Performance to something much better using factory Premium sound and DynAudio components.

The Performance system (Basic) is in deed wimpy and rather horrid. For any improvement, speaker upgrade is necessary. The basic speakers are crappy dual cone. Still, the amp is still inadequate even with upgraded speakers. The HU (CD player) connects to the ICM, AFM and amp via fiber optic MOST bus. There is no line-level input or output. Fortunately, the upgraded amps are plug-n-play. I even upgraded to a post-face lift 2008 amp from a DynAudio system (and speakers). Unfortunately, I don't have the DSP functions (equalizer, Dolby ProLogic). Apparently these are housed in the CD changer. Unfortunately, they wire harness is completely different from the single CD player. Grabbing an ICM from a pre-face lift Premium sound system and it provided some improvement in sound. The hardware is the same as my original ICM. Therefore, the software is different. The volume control contour is better matched to the more powerful amp (more linear). I think the basic sound CD player also lacks refinement in sound. I suspect the high performance and premium have better DACs and other hardware.

Therefore... upgrade the speakers (factory or aftermarket), grab a Premium Sound amp (pre or post-face lift should work) from a junk yard (XC90 used them too). Junk yards are much cheaper than typical EBay or on-line used components. The amp from the DynAudio system has more power (very loud and clear but almost a little harsh) but I think the earlier Premium Sound amp is smoother sounding. Grab a pre-face lift Premium Sound ICM too. Doing all this will vastly improve the sound, however, you still will not have the modern connectivity features that Bluepower BLP-990a provides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the comprehensive explanation, this is useful information.

Speakers are due for replacement anyway, I've had a couple of spare sets of NIB Focal K2 165KR:s laying around for quite some time and I'll either use one or both of them, depending whether the mounting depth in rear doors suffices for a pair of Tangband W61139SIF:s (crossed at around 80Hz) or not. The doors will be boxed with 10 or 11 gauge marine grade aluminum, Dynamatted (STP Gold, more likely), dampened and lined with MLV sandwiched between layers of closed cell foam. The works. As usual.

If the OEM Dynaudio amp (using 4 channels out of 5+1) is really PnP with no software upgrades, that's good news. Compared to wiring in an aftermarket amp, it's still effortless if not exactly cheap. I don't really care for Pro Logic II center channel (if one is needed, Ortoperspekta works much better for music) and a subwoofer is strictly optional, depending on how much money and effort it'd take to upgrade the software to support it. Rear door Tangbands with passive low pass filters will fit the bill quite nicely, though.

The head unit is next on the upgrade list once I get the base system up and running. Hopefully there's a way to handle at least graphic if not parametric equalization in some manner. Focal K2-series typically have a nice, flat frequency response when installed properly, but if there are any acoustic issues or a built-in equalization curve somewhere in the signal path, the result may be less than optimal unless I get to tweak it against REW and a calibration mic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Just checking... is the Premium/Dynaudio amp part number 30732825? If it is, those seem to grow on trees around here and go for around €100. I really don't know what I've been looking for earlier but none of them have been *this* cheap and plentiful.
 

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Volvo seems to have ba-zillion different numbers for the Premium amps. I'll try to figure out which I have. It plays very loud and very clean. On rare occasions I've cranked it all the way up and it does not distort. These amps have a circuit to eliminate clipping. Your Focals should do very nice. I agree about the ProLogic, just there for marketing. My previous V50 had Premium Sound and I only ran the front door speakers for the cleanest sound.

Another thing I recently considered is to use a sound processor to re-shape the sound. Alpine, Rockford and some others have these. You run the speaker output to the sound processor and it flattens, time corrects and adds more control and it gives you pre-amp outputs. Then add some good external amps. The factory system has some equalization hard coded into the firmware that compensates for the car (S40, V50, C30... etc) and the speakers system. Therefore, it does not output a flat response from the amp. They provide the bass, treble and equalizer (if so fortunate) so the user can tweak.

IMG_1047.jpg
 

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I've only seen MOST adapters for specific Audi,Merc,etc applications not Volvo. Worth a try though.
 

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Where? I want!
The clever boys at Trioma make one

It has FL, FR, RL RR and Sub L&R RCA outputs. Designed to replace the original amplifier, so you can add your own mega amp.
It also deals with the whole serial number security functions of the car, the car thinks the original amp is fitted.

Website:
https://trioma.ru/news/rasprodazha-audio-interfejsov-most-rca/

User Manual:
http://www.trioma.ru/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/instruction_most-rca2.0_eng.pdf

Cost 8000 RUB, about 125 USD
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nice timing. I think the audio system just blew up.

A *pop* -noise from left speakers, followed by another from right. Silence, except for a faint buzzing sound that fades out and back in periodically. Damn.

I hope it's the amp. The HU displays AC/heat temperature and seems to work but it can't be ruled out either. As noted, both are due for replacement so this isn't the end of the world but annoying nevertheless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Oh $#!%. It's the head unit. Turned ACC power on to troubleshoot and smoke started to pour out of the CD slot. Took the guesswork out of the equation pretty quickly.
 
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