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Chevrolet Impala Audio



  • With all of us complaining about this problem
    cant we as group take some kind of class action
    against GM and demand them to rectify this matter
    or at least split the cost of correcting it and the first thing is to have their engineers tell
    us what actuall y is the problem to begin with.
    If the base model radio sound is OK then they
    certainly find out why the upscale units on the
    LS sound so crappy. Let me hear other views on
    this - thanks, Lincoln
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    I still hold strong suspicion on the amplifier. I don't think the thing is even working at all. I will do some research on the "Panasonic" amplifier to shed some light into the problem. It could well be the thing is not compatible with the radio unit or viceversa. Let's try to close the gap here. Once we do that we can demand GM to look into the problem and request a warranty replacement of the amplifier. I hope the thing is not messing up the radio overtime.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Received call back from Matsushita OEM car audio dept and they state that the Chevy dealership must take a look at the audio system/amplifier combo. Then they should contact Panasonic directly for warranty repair/replacement if the amplifier turns out to be at fault.

    The Panasonic rep did agree with the fact that the amplifier should enhance the bass response not diminish it as it appears to be happening.

    Well, at this point I am open to more suggestions..
  • jojo28jojo28 Posts: 11
    What type of radio do you have in the car and is it equipped with a factory amplifier???
    You should not have to set the BASS to MAX and the volumn up to 3/4, especially if you have a working properly amplifier!! This is more proof of a problem with the system.
    Oh, as a suggestion, you had better check with the Chevrolet Service dept. before you add a sub-woofer to the system - they may cancel your factory warranty on the whole radio system.
  • jojo28jojo28 Posts: 11
    One more question for thought-- When playing on the FM mode - How do you know or verify that you are receiving the station in "STEREO", there is no indicator red light or a ST indicator light on my radio - How about YOURS?????????
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
  • jojo28jojo28 Posts: 11
    TEO=== I agree 100%
  • jreimannjreimann Posts: 11
    Got my subwoofer installed yesterday... It sounds great! It complements the rear speakers pretty well even though they suck. The only thing now is that they front speakers are more noticeablly underpowered on certain cd's. I think I might install new speakers there now to round out the whole system nicely. However I am also thinking about replacing the amplifier after reading the above posts. Hey if anyone has a spare amplifier that they can replace the current one with to verify that it is the amp thats the problem, do it and report back...

    Jojo I have the Impala ls with all options including the "upgraded" stereo w/ amplifier.
    and as far as the warrenty on the stereo system...
    screw it, It already looks like I am going to replace most of it anyway eventually except the cd/tape/radio stereo unit.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Since our Impalas were actually built at the Oshawa, Ontario plant...I have contacted via E-mail the people at GM of Canada. On their web site ( they have a link to a customer feedback section were you can post comments, questions or concerns about your GM vehicle. They even allow you to type in the car's V.I.N# and provide personal basic contact information. I have posted my "complaint" regarding the lack of good bass response and the radio reception quality of the upgrade RDS Impala stereo systems. I have also requested information on the Delco (Yes the radios are made by Delphi Delco Electronics)radio unit, the speakers size and manufacturer as well as more info on the vaunted trunk mounted amplifier.

    I haven't yet received their response, but I know that they take anywhere between 24 and 48 hours to respond to E-mail communication.

    At least I have made aware our Canadian friends about the issues with these radios.

    If we are to grab GM's attention on this issue, I can suggest to:

    1) Contact GM here at home, make them aware of the radio situation and open a customer file. The more complaints filed the better will be for all owners. Remember the customer satisfaction surveys? Chevy claims they want us to be let's get on it!.

    2)Go to the GM of Canada web site and submit the customer feedback form, along with your Impala's V.I.N#. This will be very helpful to determine if in fact there is a batch of defective amplifiers, speakers, etc that apply to certain build dates, if that's the case.

    3)People, don't be afraid to complain to GM. That will not void your warranty! On the contrary, we are helping GM to provide a better sounding stereo system in future vehicles and for us to obtain the satisfaction we all are entitled to from our current Impala RDS radios.

    4) Good luck to all!

    See ya!
  • drobb1drobb1 Posts: 2
    I have been following this thread since the beginning in both conferences. I have a base model with upgraded radio system with 8 (?) speakers/CD/Cassette. The sound of my system is very good which leads me to believe that the amplifiers used in the LS are suspect.

    The problem I have is that I listen mostly to talk radio and the AM reception sucks. I live 17 miles away from the nearest AM station and reception is extremely poor during the day and non-existent at night. It's definitely not the station because the reception is fine in my other three vehicles.

    Any help I can give to the group, I will, including registering a formal complaint.
  • duraflexduraflex Posts: 358
    Doesn't your radio/casstte/CD have an amp mounted in the trunk?

    And if you are unhappy with the AM reception,
    as I am, please do let GM know.

    Venting are complaints on this forum alone will
    not bring results from GM.

    Although I can pull in big AM stations from NYC 90 miles away, my AM is exceptionally prone to interference from power lines alongside the road (where my wife's CAMRY is far less so). Also the direction the car is pointed affects my reception on AM and FM - particularly in fringe reception situations.

    I think the Impalas need a "diversity antenna" - saw that as an option on the upgraded Buick Regal Concert III radio system.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    I live in "Flat-as-a-Pancake" Florida and the reception of FM stations still suffers at times. FM waves travel in a straight line (Same as TV VHF and UHF), so reception problems can be expected around mountains, buildings and other massive volume objects. AM radio waves travel in a different path, they follow the earth's curves so that's why we don't need exterior antenna masts to catch AM broadcastings, only a small ferrite antenna inside the receiver usually suffices. So if you have AM reception problems, as Duraflex stated, take it up with GM as well.

    Remember: The most Complaints filed with GM, the greater the chance to have our radio woes solved.
  • duraflexduraflex Posts: 358
    teo - Big thanks for your "" lead.
    I used it as you suggested hope others will as well.

    Generally, a stick or rod antenna on a car does a better job with AM (and FM) reception than an antenna built into the glass because, mounted vertically, the stick is not subject to directionality - it catches the waves from all directions equally.
    EXAMPLE: If you're driving north and the transmitter you want to pull your station from is due west and distant - you'll probably get it on the stick antenna - you may or may not get it from the window antenna - AM or FM. Such is my experience.

    Diversity antenna systems are supposed to resolve this issue - if and how they do, I don't know.

    "Boring" background for the technically-minded

    General notes on reception - yes, FM and TV waves basically do travel line of sight. This physical reality allows there to be a Channel 7 in NYC and a Channel 7 in Washington DC. They do NOT interfere with each other because they are about 240 miles apart. (AM stations on the same frequency are usually much further apart.)

    Good TV and FM reception is usually limited to about 50 miles MAX.

    Broadcast AM travels further - sometimes much further. Like shortwave, AM signals do bounce between a certain layer of the atmosphere and the curve of the Earth until their strength is dissipated by distance, frequency, wavelength and so on.

    As a result, AM signals can sometimes travel hundreds of miles (Shortwave, thousands of miles). AT NIGHT, I have picked up WHAS in Kentucky from over 500 miles away!
    The trick is the directionality of the antenna (and the sensitivity of the tuner). Yes, small table radios do have small AM antennas built in, usually mounted horizontally. Consequently, for distant or weaker stations, the radio must be rotated so that the antenna can "catch the wave" and receive the signal - and so it is with cars.

    Problem is you can't rotate a car just to get a radio station and still point the car where you want to go.
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    Very interesting post! Haven't heard anything from GM Canada, so I guess I'll be receiving some kind of reply on Monday.

    Well, the weekend is almost here! Please keep enjoying your Impalas and don't give up on the radio just yet..:)
  • duraflexduraflex Posts: 358
    Just rode in a 2000 Pontiac Sunbird - my wife's rental for the day.

    Lousy car (felt cheap all around and the brakes were dragging as we drove) BUT surprise, surprise - a really decent radio!!! Standard GM issue- AM-FM, with 4 speakers. No tape or CD. Don't know if it had an external amp.

    There was more than enough BASS and relatively mellow front speakers. TREBLE could be cut way back and everything sounded good - Sinatra, Oldies, CW, even the news!

    EXCELLENT AM reception from NYC (90 miles away) with a standard stick antenna on the right rear fender.

    AMAZING - I'm not crazy after all and GM can still produce a good radio with good speakers in a less expensive car. So why not in the Impala?
  • teoteo Posts: 2,508
    The Sunbird/Cavalier are two cars that belong in the Stone Age. However, if you go to their respective forums the Radio unit that comes with these cars is object of constant praise. Delco radios have a very good reputation same as the Infinity systems offered in Chrysler cars. I still firmly believe that the problem in our Impala upgrade stereos is the AMPLIFIER.

    I can't stress this point enough: We all need to flood GM with complaints about the sound quality of the RDS radio. If we are to see some results in the form of a Recall or some other corrective action in part of GM we need to bug them and bug them and bug them....
  • duraflexduraflex Posts: 358

    This morning, after a half hour of listening to the "Impala sound" while my wife and I were cruising in the country, a thought came to me. We parked and were about to go into an auction when I impulsively took my hand to the perforated trim panel of the left front door speaker. Working from the front right edge, I carefully pryed it off and out and removed it from the face of the speaker(s). And there they were.

    Yes there are actually two - count'em (2) SEPARATE speakers in the door!!! One is about 6-1/4" and the other is a separate tweeter about 1-3/8" mounted at 2 o'clock to the side of the larger speaker. (Tweeters produce the very highest pitch sounds)
    The face of the 6 incher is "permanently" covered
    with a black gauze-like material (presumably to keep out dirt and particulate matter that would audibly rattle around in there).

    Later, when we got home, I explored further. The bigger speaker is held in with TORX screws, size T15. I carefully removed the big speaker to look behind it. It is marked 4 ohms, Chevy front left, made in Mexico.

    The face of the tiny tweeter is wide open. Both speakers are mounted in a plastic frame.
    The big speaker is fed from a wire with a special connecting plug. The little guy has wires soldered to it that feed off the bigger speaker next to it.

    There is NOTHING behind the speakers. By default, the inside of the big metal door of the car serves as the sound chamber. UGH! No wonder it sounds bad.

    There is no molded shell or surround of any kind behind the speakers. Learning this, I will definitely be ordering the waterproof foam baffles from the Crutchfield audio catalog. (only $8 per pair!)

    BUT WAIT, there's more! I suspected that the little tweeter was also a culprit in the shrillness of the sound so I folded several layers of a flannel rag over it - effectively MUTING only the little tweeter. BIG DIFFERENCE, Much Better.
    The shrill was gone. It's particularly noticeable on female vocals like Whitney Houston.

    By using the fade and balance controls, I had isolated all the sound to the FRONT LEFT ONLY.
    In manual tone mode, I played with the Treble and Bass and what a change. I intend to try it for a few days and if I still like it I will simply snip both wires leading to the tweeter and wrap them with electrical tape. And there the tweeter will sit - very quietly. If I ever want it back, I'll simply resolder it.

    DISCLAIMER: This is what I have done.
  • jojo28jojo28 Posts: 11
    Ok-You got rid of the shrill --- what happen to the BASS. The front speakers definately need more BASS. Do you agree???
  • humahumahumahuma Posts: 17
    I would like to offer to be the focal point to
    Chevrolet about our Delco Radio problems. I just
    sent the following to Chevrolet. I will post a response as soon as I hear from Chevrolet.
    Most likely it will take them several days.

    On behalf of my peers who have purhased
    2000 Impalas, I would like to make an
    offical complaint to Chevrolet. We are
    extremely disappointed with the sound
    quality of our Delco Radio/Casette/CD/RDS
    with auxilary amp (feature code Up0).
    We feel there are two major flaws.
    1) Lack of bass
    2) Poor radio reception
    We want to hear from Chevrolet what the
    plans are to correct these problems.
    I strongly recommend you reference
    WWW.EDMONDS.COM and select Town Hall.
    Then under Topics enter IMPALA RADIO to
    see for your self the details and deep
    concerns about our Delco systems.
    You'll find there is a growing number of
    dissatisfied owners. Just by the fact
    that there is seperate topic just on Impala
    radios should be a indication that this is
    a serious concern of many customers.
  • luckyjdrluckyjdr Posts: 10
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