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Elise S2 Audio System

22ndDecember 2003

DA CAPO akustikRemote site have an interesting an alternative approach to improving the Elise sound system.

July 2001

Lotus now fit a Clarion DB318RB head unit. This replaces the VDO Dayton CD3200Remote site head unit which was fitted to earlier cars. This is 4 x 45W peak power output and this isn't really enough for a car like the Elise. I would reccomend a 4 x 40W rms unit. Some cars are being delivered with Eurotech speakers which are very poor quality.

The speakers fitted to the Elise are only 20Wrms and again these are simply not up to the job and are of poor quality. Alternative speakers for the rear of the Elise S2 are:

  • Infinity Reference, 90W rms, 270W peak 54Hz - 20kHz, 6" (165mm) speakers with 61mm mounting depth. These come with a seperate surface mount tweeter and cost about 200.

The font speakers are 4" in diameter and the mounting depth is not so cruciual as there is plenty of space behind the front panel.


The VDO unit can be connected to a CD changer with digital output. This has 4 x 45 watts peak-power output, a DQR (Digital) tuner, CDMM5 soft take in CD drive + plays CD-Recordable & Cd Rewrittables, digital signal processor with 5 'SOUND' presets, fully detachable flip down front, blinking LED, multi-colour alpha display, initialisation mode, telephone mute, clock, wired remote compatible, demo mode, 4-channel line out, SDVC (Speed Dependant Volume Control), infra-red-eye compatible, speed/temperature Warning (Sensors not supplied), telephone-in, soft key operation, 12 character display, rotary volume control, CD changer control, CD title memory for tuner and changer.

Click image for full size view (804 x 255 pixels, 59K)

The UK retail price is £320 but you can pick it up for about £260 over the Internet (e.g. Edworthy's Auto ElectricsRemote site). To enable the SDVC feature you need an optional pulse convertor unit. with this fitted the head unit also supports a speed warning function. An IR remote controller is also an option, part no. CA1101Remote site.

As shipped the SDVC is wired up but not active. A connection is provided from the wheel speed sensor to the head unit to enable this. The unit ideally requires a square wave input (0V - 12V) but the wheel sensor produces a sinewave with a DC offset. In practice it works but ideally a cheap circuit should be built using a comparator to convert the sine wave into a square wave. This only requires about 80p worth of hardware and an LM311 and two resistors will do the job. The Stack units pin A5 has the speed sensor signal on it and this is connected to the head unit SDVC input. As delivered by Lotus the switched live and permanent live are also incorrectly wired for the shipped VDO head unit and this can be corrected by swapping the purple and green wires on the ISO connector (on the head unit side). To further complicate things the Elise S2 is wired up for rear speakers only if you have a 2-speaker radio fitting kit and the audible warnings from the VDO unit go to the front speakers only. You must swap the speaker wires over to correct this.

The unit can also monitor external temperature via an option temperature sender (part no. CA1301) and the unit will emit a warning when it drops below 3°C. You can purchase the temperature sensor direct from VDO Dayton for 14.99 from the customer services division, Tel. 0121 344 5421.


The latest in in-car entertainment is now available and this Kenwood unitRemote site is fitted in a friends Impreza Turbo and sounds very good. It has a load of features and also drives a CD multichanger. If you have a large MP3 collection like myself this is the way to go in in-car entertainment.

Radio Reception

There are currently some known issues with radio reception in the Elise S2. Reception has improved over the Elise S1 by using a better radio aerial and improved engine grounding. The stack unit also has improved screening as does the new one piece spark plug/coil (the ECD3 engine is coil on plug) cover fitted over the top of the engine, which includes an RFI screen, earthed to the top of the engine. Different routing of the antenna lead has also improved reception quality. The basic design flaw remains though, that there is not enough of a ground plane for the aerial. It is a simple fix to add a ground plane and various sites sell them. Some people have also replaced the aerial with a longer but simial style one, that screws into the same aerial base unit.


The base Elise S2 comes with two radio fitting kit options. These are basically a 2-speaker system as found in the S1 and a new 4-speaker system which adds two additional speakers at the sides the front dash (picture 960 x 1280 pixels, 229k).
Front speakers
Alpine SPS-1029, 4" (10cm) speakers, 60W peak power, 15W nominal. Frequency response 55Hz-25kHz. Sensitivity 90dB/W/m. Strontium magnet (Wf). Hybrid pearl mica injection woofer diaphragm. PEI and titanium tweeter diaphragm. Balanced dome tweeter. Foamed rubber edge.

Rear speakers
Alpine SPS-1329 5¼" (13cm), 80W peak power, 20W nominal power. Frequency response 50Hz-25kHz. Sensitivity 91dB/W/m. Strontium magnet (Wf). Hybrid pearl mica injection woofer diaphragm. PEI and titanium woofer diaphragm. Balanced dome tweeter. Foamed rubber edge. The rear speakers are fitted into holes in the rear panel which is a big improvement over the method used in the S1.

The aluminium grille is functional but not pretty.


Elise Solutions DIY speaker upgradeRemote site
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