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    Reus Systems 987 Audio Enhancement

    [This is a long post. Long story short--buy this system if you can afford it and are unsatisfied with the Bose system in your 987. Also, if anyone in San Diego/Southern California would like a demo, let me know.]

    I've been pretty displeased with the Bose sound system on the 987 ever since I bought the car. Bose should be ashamed of their OEM work and Porsche should be ashamed of themselves for selling it for such a high price.

    Of course, neither of them are going to be ashamed, nor are they going to fix the problem. So on the advice of many internet voices, I went to Reus Systems to rectify the problem.

    Reus has been doing audio systems for Porsches, Ferraris, Lambos, and any other car you can think of for a long time now. They are well known in the Porsche circle so I'm not sure how much detail I need to go into...but y'all are going to get an eyeful regardless.

    Suffice to say:

    1. They do top-notch work.
    2. Their work does not come cheap.
    3. Their installs are flawless and seamlessly integrated.
    4. They understand the importance of retaining OEM look-and-feel.
    5. They understand the goals of not adding a bunch of weight to a sports car.
    6. They understand what audiophiles want in a sound system.

    I delivered my 2005 987S to Reus Systems a few weeks ago after listening to their system in a 997 Cabriolet and being immediately convinced that I had to have them fix my car. Mine was the first 987 that they had worked on, so I left the car with them for as long as they needed to get the job done.

    What I had done was what they call their "Audio Enhancement". This is the entry level work they perform on a vehicle. The difference between this and more extensive work is that they mostly retain the stock components of your audio system.

    Your just-under-$4000 (approximate price) gets you the following on a 987 with a Bose system:

    1. Retention of all stock speakers including the "subwoofer" (that's not just an insult--that Bose subwoofer hardly goes down into the sub range)
    2. Additional amplifier that works inline with the stock amp.
    3. A real subwoofer in the passenger footwell.
    4. A center channel tweeter setup in the rear view mirror.
    5. Installation at Reus Systems in Los Angeles County.

    Before you get TOO freaked out about the price, keep this in mind. Once you've bought a Reus system, you have it for life. Reus tells me that when I sell the Boxster, I can bring it to them to have all the components removed and they will install a Reus Enhancement in my new vehicle and I only pay for the labor of uninstallation and installation in the new car! That is a fantastic deal! They said that the parts don't matter--whatever it takes to make the new car into a Reus Enhanced car, they'll do it! I don't have official numbers for this, but if I recall correctly it was in the neighborhood of $750 to $1000 for that sort of thing.

    That sort of concept--the Customer For Life concept--really seals the deal for me. These guys are down-to-earth, serious about music, and extremely busy.

    If you want to go crazier than the basic system, Reus informed me that further work above the Audio Enhancement level can improve sound quality by 10% to 15%, but is probably mainly just for people who want to play things LOUD and have them sound GOOD. For those of us that just want to be able to reasonably enjoy our music, I can't see how anything above the Enhancement level is cost-effective, especially in a ragtop sports car.

    Before going any further, let me just cut to the chase:

    It sounds good. Real good. I am completely amazed at the quality of the music that Reus was able to achieve utilizing the stock speakers. The highs aren't harsh at all, whether with cymbals, silibant voices, high strings, etc. Play it loud, no problems. Hell, even Norah Jones's "Come Away With Me" album--whose audio engineer needs to be dragged out and hanged--didn't sound screechy.

    Midrange is full and warm. Bass is strongly presented and musical, although I feel that I might need to turn down the sub a tad as it's a little strong for some of the music I listen too. It is perfectly tuned for Jazz though. If you want upright bass, you've got it!

    Soundstage... how did they find a soundstage!? It's wide and deep. Front-row at the concert hall. Someone's singing in front of you, the guitar's off to the right, you can hear the attack of the pick, the percussion in the background--the music surrounds you. Close your eyes--you're there.

    Mind you, this is all in a car. Sure, it's not at the level of an audiophile system in your living room. It doesn't match up against my entry-to-mid-level-ish Onix CD-1, A-120 Mk. 2, Ref 1 Speakers set up, but then it didn't cost as much as that, nor does my home system blend invisibly into my living room.

    For a car system, it's perfect. Put the top up, roll up the windows, forget about the world for a while (but watch out for that car stopped in front of you!) Put the top down, turn it up, and amaze yourself at the clarity (even if you do lose a bit of the soundstage, and of course all the extra noise doesn't help).

    My money was well spent. It was a lot of it, but I'm willing to pay for it because I spend a lot of time in my car, and not all of it at the track. You've got to enjoy as much of your life as possible. Hence the 987; hence Reus.

    I highly recommend this system to anyone that's pissed off at Porsche about their stereo. Oh, and the good news is that Reus can make your car sound just about as good even if you don't have the Bose system. So, if you're thinking of ordering a 987 with Bose. STOP NOW and consider this as an alternative! The Reus System is what the Bose Premium audio should have been, and more.

    Okay, now for the details. My apologies for the poor photography--I'm too busy to take proper photos, but it's been a couple weeks now and I feel that I need to get the word out before I slack off too much. Crap photography will have to suffice.

    The subwoofer sits in the passenger footwell, in the sweet spot for these cars. It is upholstered in black fabric that is a pretty damned good match for the stock carpeting. Reus is still working on sourcing a fabric that perfectly matches the other new interior colors though.

    1. It takes up quite a bit of room.
    2. Reus retains the stock power socket, but relocates it as you can see.
    3. The unit does not go all the way to the floor--Reus designed it so that stock floormats will fit underneath. Nice eh?

    You can hardly feel any vibration from the unit, which is a sign that the speaker's doing its job of pushing air rather than rattling its enclosure. Reus tried using a smaller driver for the 987 in an attempt to make the enclosure less bulky, but the smaller driver didn't have enough punch.

    It's all about the audio though, so I'm willing to live with it. There's still enough room for both of my feet, and the girlfriend has no problem with it. You can still sit straight ahead--your legs don't get pushed off to the right, they just have to squeeze down into the center a bit. Here's another shot of my feet. My apologies in advance.

    The center channel is installed into the rearview mirror. I had forgotten that they were going to be doing this and when I finally noticed it a day later, I was totally confused. I had recently had my dealer replace the rearview mirror because it had some strange streaks behind the glass, so when I noticed the wire going to the mirror and what looked to be like sensors or something in the back, I first assumed that they had somehow given me the auto-dimming mirror by accident. It took me a minute to figure out what had happened. A pleasant surprise.

    I had my girlfriend cover the center channel with her hands, then I closed my eyes. I could distinctly tell when she had uncovered the speakers. Clarity and soundstage were highly affected!

    The amplifier is in the trunk. It's a pretty small unit and serves as the power and signal for the subwoofer, along with being a pre-amp for the stock amplifier. The Reus amp is completely custom to their specs (as are all their speakers, by the way) and pretty freakin' tiny. Putting a unit inline with a stock amp is something that no one at Circuit City will ever recommend to you--it goes against all conventional wisdom.

    Which of course is why I was surprised by how well it works. Remapping the levels in this manner is something that I've never seen done to any good effect before. (Reus also damped the dash tweeters with resistors I believe, but most of the "equalization" is happening in the amp, to my knowledge).

    Now, you're going to lose some trunk space. This system does make the car quite a bit less practical. But, everything is hooked up with quick disconnects and you can take everything out if you need the space. Not sure how crappy this will make your sound system sound though...

    It's nicely done--there are actually two floor panels installed. The amplifier, wires and relay are all installed onto one board that sits on the bottom and then there's a cover with fans attached that sits on top of that. You have to take out both panels in order to get to the stock tools and fix-a-flat, but it's not a hard task at all.

    Everything is nicely upholstered again--they didn't just slap a big piece of MDF in the front and call it a day. I can appreciate that. All the wiring is loomed and follows the stock harnesses into the cabin. All of the work is 100% reversable.

    The head unit does not change at all. This is perhaps disappointing since the stock system is a pile of crap with tiny buttons and buggy code, but oh well. The only problem I really have is that there's no way to adjust the subwoofer output from inside the cabin. You can adjust the bass levels to the other speakers in the car of course, but I feel that that isn't ideal--it can compensate for some music, but other times turning down the bass just results in a very unpleasant experience. Bass is generally set to -2 in this configuration. I'll add a follow-up post if I do end up having the subwoofer output reduced.

    And that's that for the details.

    If one didn't know any better, one would never notice that the car had had any audio work done at all, and I find that to be fantastic. I'm not out to be flashy in any way--I'm not rollin' on dubs bumping 50 Cent, I'm just trying to enjoy The Bad Plus, Norah Jones, Whitney Houston, Damien Rice, Alicia Keys, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Stravinsky, et cetera.

    Oh, i almost forgot about the weight topic. I know they kept the weight addition under 100 pounds but I don't know the exact figures. I think honestly that the addition was closer to 50 pounds than 100. Reus installs systems into exotics that only allow like 500 pounds of cargo weight to begin with, so they understand how weight is a factor and work to minimize their impact. The car certainly doesn't feel any slower.

    The only things I can see for improvement would be reducing the size impact of the amplifier setup and the subwoofer. If the false floor in the front trunk could be made smaller, I'd be stoked. Actually, it would have been really cool if they could have put it in the DVD/CD Changer compartment, but that wouldn't be cost-effective for them to develop since not every 987 would be able to utilize that space.

    Oh and a subwoofer control in the cabin would be nice. I'm sure they could do that if I gave them some time and money, but they might recommend against it and who knows, maybe it just needs to be adjusted to where I want it to be and it'll be a set-it-and-forget-it thing.

    Not sure if I left anything out, but this should be a good starter. Fire away with any comments and questions...if you're still awake!

    Oh, and a big "Thank You" to Rick, Cliff and Jim at Reus for their work!

    Re: Reus Systems 987 Audio Enhancement

    I think if I spent as much time as you in my car I would definitely get this system. Right now, I'm putting that money towards a new exhaust.

    Looks great though - if I am ever in CA we'll meet up. I want to hear this thing!

     
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