Too Much Bass. Too Much Boom. - 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test
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2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: Too Much Bass. Too Much Boom.

April 2, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Boooooooooooooooooom. Booooooooooooooom. Buuuuuuzzzzzzzzz.

Who knew John Denver rocked this hard?

When we went to drive the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter said "No Corvette has ever boomed like this one." He was, unfortunately, correct.

The bass levels in our 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray are completely out of control and it kills the music. It's a bit like being in one of those cars you see cruising the strip at night, rattling so hard it shakes its side-view mirrors off, except the tolerances in the 'Vette are tight and there's no rattling. There's also no way to listen to music without having the bass blow it out, or making everyone sound like the Vienna Boys Choir.

There are a few things that go into producing a really good stereo. These things include speaker quality, amplifier power, volume of the speaker enclosure, volume of the area to be filled with sound, the direction of the speakers and the approximate path the sound waves will take before banging off of your eardrums and bowels. Guess which one of these is toughest in cars?

Manufacturers walk to Mordor and back to put speakers in cars. They have to be good, cheap and light. Of this triangle, any racecar owner will tell you "pick two." Carmakers try to pick all three and usually come out with something pretty darned tolerable so I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's not the power or the speakers themselves that are causing the problem. And because Bose isn't new to this game, I'm guessing that the 14-liter bass enclosure (standard on the 2LT) with two subwoofers is the right size. So, what's left?

The space where the sound goes and the placement of the speakers? That's my guess.

To not impede the odd cargo area of the Corvette, they tucked the subs into the back of the hatch facing forwards in the narrowest part of the hatch. Then there's a big pane of glass above and then there's a big open cabin. By the time the bass gets to you, it's just a boomy mess that overpowers everything including the exhaust. But hey, at least it's also really muddy and seems to get confused when presented with two bass notes in rapid succession.

The subs don't seem to be mobile, so they're stuck where they are. I'm going to experiment one of these days with disconnecting one or both of the woofers in the hopes of having a decent stereo in what is, except for the seating position only a recumbent bicycling enthusiast could tolerate, a phenomenal car.

Mike Magrath (@Mike_Magrath), Features Editor @ 16,250 miles

PS: No, turning off the music and "listening to the engine" isn't an acceptable alternative.


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