Helix Sound Upgrade

helix-msrp2I had been pleased with Volkswagen’s MIB II base stereo. It’s no powerhouse, but it has cool features and adequate sound output. To add deeper bass, I would have been satisfied with simply tapping into the rear speaker wires to feed an amplifier and a subwoofer. But Volkswagen decided to discontinue the original version of its Helix subwoofer accessory, VW P/N: 000-051-419 (replacement is VW P/N: 000-051-419B), meaning they slashed its price by over 50% to quietly clear their inventory. What was once an “is it really worth $660?” item was suddenly a very affordable $300. I managed to get the kit shipped to my door for $235 after some discount shopping and a manufacturer’s rebate. The wiring harness and digital signal processor alone are worth more than that!  Watch this video for a introduction to Helix, then return to read my installation tips below.

helix_croppedHelix is a German high-fidelity audio system maker that bases the Volkswagen accessory on their existing PP62DSP (new VW P/N: 000-051-419B). The outgoing system I bought during the clearance was based on the discontinued PP50DSP. Both systems feature 50 watts per channel (35W/channel on four-speaker systems without separate tweeters), plus 160 watts for the subwoofer, and can be programmed with sound contouring specific to each Volkswagen model with a trip to a Volkswagen dealer (details below). Calls to three Volkswagen dealerships for installation quotes, as well as internet discussions, compelled me to tackle the installation myself: One dealer quoted a very confident $312, another did a round of back and forth phone calls over a few days and then never really gave me a great feeling about their plan, and a third dealership wouldn’t touch the installation at all (but would gladly sell me the part for $660). “No, thanks!”

helixspecsThe installation took me a few hours, but that’s only because I did some cleaning and photography along the way. The directions were cumbersome, but someone at VWVortex said all they needed was this YouTube video (profanity warning). I took a leap of faith and just followed along with the video, pausing as needed for certain steps. Everything went smoothly, especially when making a few exceptions that I think the video producer would agree with:

1) Kill the power! He said it; he illustrated why it is prudent. The instructions say to disconnect the battery for a reason. Just do it. It took just a few seconds to disconnect my battery’s negative terminal. I did not lose any settings. Also, open the hatch, windows, and passenger side doors before you disconnect the battery; the hatch requires power to open.

removal-key2) I used these keys to remove the stereo chassis. He said not to shove them in until they click because they sometimes get stuck and can break. I could not pull my radio out without the keys slipping out. So I shoved them in a little farther… they clicked. “DOH!” Clicked into place, they held the radio and enabled me to slide it straight out. But the keys were indeed locked-in and stuck. No worries! With the radio in-hand, all I had to do was press inward on the retaining tabs (depicted by the arrow in this photo) and the key immediately released without need to fight with or risk breaking anything. This is exactly how they’re supposed to work!

helix-connectors3) I used this pin removal tool from IDParts. The tool pair is a little more expensive than other tools, but they’re robust and reach deeper into bulky connectors. The larger tool worked perfectly for this job! IDParts’ web page has a link to a video that shows how to use the tool. Here’s a photo of it in my hand. I had slid the stereo unit out of the glove box and gently hung it by the cables that were still connected. I had to swap out one of the wiring blocks and re-pin two of the wires. It was straightforward with the video assisting me, but definitely not “plug-n-play,” as suggested by some of the vendors who sell the Helix upgrade.

4) There’s a tiny potentiometer near the end of the amp (red arrow). It is a gain adjustment that’s set at the factory. Some swear they get better sound after adjusting it. My advice is to leave it alone unless something is already wrong. I met someone whose sub stopped working after he adjusted it. We adjusted the pot and found a sweet spot. Also, the “screw head” is tiny, made of plastic, and very fragile. Again, LEAVE IT ALONE!

5) Begin at the front of the car when routing the wiring harness. Leave about 12″ so that you can remove the MIB2 brain, if needed for future service. That will also leave plenty of slack at the back in case you need to remove the subwoofer. It’s easier to disconnect if you can bring it to the hatch opening first. I made the electrical connections at the front of the car and then did a test of the stereo before committing to routing the cable under the trim panels to the trunk. I could hear the difference right away… much brighter. Of course, it sounded even better once I routed the cable and closed the doors. The Helix five-channel amp removes lower bass from the doors and dedicates it to the subwoofer, allowing me to increase the bass setting without over-driving the door speakers. The subwoofer sounds surprisingly good, especially when considering that it has only 6-inch drivers. It sounds like a “larger” system.

6) It very tempting to make sure all parts in the package are used. This includes a small jumper that fits in only one place. “There, all done,” one might think. Not so fast! This jumper is for use on right-hand drive (RHD) cars to force the DSP into accounting for the driver being on the “wrong side” of the car. 😉  It is not used in cars where the driver sits on the left side. Feel free to misplace this part if the system will never serve in a RHD car. I have no idea where mine went.

7) Disconnecting the battery causes the computer to lose track of certain position sensors. As a result, faults associated with the TPMS, traction control, steering angle, and maybe even something else will probably appear. DON’T PANIC! Simply start the car and drive it a hundred feet. The errors will disappear on their own once the computer detects steering inputs and wheel rotation. The one-touch window opening/closing also needs resetting. To do that, switch on the ignition, close all windows and doors, pull each window-up switch and hold it for at least two seconds, release, then pull up and hold again. Driving the windows into their stops retrains the module, which allows the auto up/down feature to work again.

Dongle-578) Don’t believe VW’s claim that the system is “pre-programmed” for the Golf/GTI. I proved it during an experiment with fellow YouTuber, “LastHumansGarage,” and shared my results in this video. To program the unit, either visit a dealer, rent a dongle, or I’d be happy to flash it for you if you’re willing to meet in Yorktown, VA. I don’t advertise that I have a dongle, nor do I rent it to others, but I have one and I’m glad to help people who come to me. Just a thought. Please feel free to contact me privately if you’d like to meet. In my case, flashing with the dongle seemed to make only a subtle difference. But others have reported dramatic changes. Later, I discovered that the distortion I had at higher volumes was gone after programming.

faderSince the system is marketed as a “Subwoofer/Soundbox,” it’s easy to forget that the Helix upgrade features a 5-channel amplifier with DSP. The programming adjusts the mid and high frequencies and focuses the experience on the driver. At “only” 102-dBA, it’s not going to win any sound-offs, but the quality of sound is very good for the price-point. Of course, there’s still room to tailor the tone of the music to suit individual tastes. But the point of Helix is to present an improvement to the stock system, as well as an ideal starting point for upgrades. Overall, I’m very pleased and could even be pretty happy with the system as installed if not for the fact that I had already planned and purchased parts for a subwoofer upgrade. Read more about my upgrade HERE.    See more photos below.

My impressions of the Helix were renewed when I got my hands on a dealer demo switch that allows me to switch between “Original” and “Helix” sound. Of course, the switch is always in the “Helix” position. But I thought the novelty of hearing the difference from time to time would be cool, even if only briefly. I shared the difference with a coworker. I started with it in the “Original” position. “That actually sounds okay,” he said. Then I switched it to “Helix.” “Oh, WOW! That’s a big difference,” he immediately exclaimed. He became more and more impressed as the song continued and we switched back and forth between the modes. As we exited the car, he finished by saying “I feel like something’s been missing from my life.” 😀 That was funny!

UPDATE: Here is an observation for VWVortex user KsR_808:

“All of you should be VERY happy with what you got for the money. Especially those that paid $250. Yes, certain aspects of the Helix could be better, but now that I have perspective on the sound of the Helix compared with the system I just installed that cost 4 times more, I really appreciate the work and engineering that went into this bespoke sound upgrade solution for our vehicles. Helix is an award-winning company renowned for its super high sound quality and they have packed a lot of their intellectual property into this amp. The value is especially surprising when you look at how small the amp is and realize there is a built-in DSP with EQ, time alignment, etc!”

In conclusion, don’t be too quick to dismiss the Helix upgrade simply because it’s marketed as a “subwoofer/soundbox.” The system has a five-channel Class AB amplifier and the DSP is programmed to make a substantial difference in the way the stereo sounds to the driver. I’ve also read about people negotiating the upgrade into the purchase price of a new car. That can make the cost of buying the system quite manageable. But I still recommend it as a worthwhile and affordable upgrade to a non-Fender system on a used Mk7, too. It all depends on where one draws the line between sound quality, system cost, and ease of installation. I think the Helix upgrade is a great compromise between the three.

NOTE: Some have squeezed their Helix subwoofer in with the donut spare tire by removing the subwoofer’s rubber “feet” and using a longer spare tire retention “bolt,” VW P/N: 1T0-803-899-B. More details HERE.

BUYING USED: Some have found this system on the used market. Often, they’re shipped without the harness because the previous owner did not remove it from their car. THIS HARNESS should work. Remember, there’s still a wire reversal that must be done in the directions. This is not a plug-and-play part.

Loving the Beat!


UPDATE: I’ve published a long-term update HERE.

Also, here are some handy part numbers:
Programming Dongle – DKS051419A
Demo Switch –  DKS051419
Loopback Harness – 000051727B

Do you have a programming dongle? Download the latest data files HERE.

About Scott

I grew up near Houston, TX and served in the U. S. Coast Guard for over 30 years. I have an electronics background and continue to work in the electronics engineering field. I taught myself the basics about automotive systems as well as how to perform some of my own maintenance (cars and bicycles). I became involved with Amateur Radio and computers in 1995. The explosion of technology has made my job and several of my hobbies quite interesting. My hobbies include Volkswagens, bicycling, photography, electronics, amateur radio, web management, and reptiles. Visit my websites to learn more.
This entry was posted in Mods & Projects, Product Review. Bookmark the permalink.

104 Responses to Helix Sound Upgrade

  1. Jeff says:

    Good write up!! Pretty much sums up this pretty well.
    Can definetelly agree this fits into a Jetta mk6 with the spare tire as well, and ties down nicely with the longer spare tire nut fastener part. An awesome upgrade if you dont have Fender or a Dynaudio system installed factory.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for the note, Jeff! Time will tell if my next car gets a custom subwoofer or if the Helix will suffice. I’m getting to the point where intricate work on the car interests me less than simply driving. The Helix upgrade is almost good enough for me to forego the subwoofer upgrades… almost. We’ll see. 😉

  2. Mathil8 says:

    Nice write up. Thanks for sharing this. Having the option of keeping the spare makes this install much more palatable for me. Let me know if you end up wanting to sell the helix, looks like I lost out on the price decrease :(.

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for the note! Unfortunately, I won’t ever remove my Helix. I wouldn’t want to deal with the wire loom again (and repinning the harness back to stock). When I sell the car (IF I do before it’s worthless), I’ll remove my electronics panel and then return the Helix enclosure to spare tire well for the next owner.

      With that said, I think the Helix system is worth retail price if you can install it yourself. A brief search for “Volkswagen Helix Sound System” shows places where it can be had for $480. I think it yields $480 of improvement. You can get another 10% off by signing up for VW’s ongoing rebates at https://www.vwserviceandparts.com/vw-accessory-rebate/. 🙂 Good Luck! -Scott

      • Mathil8 says:

        Thanks for the link! I’ll wait it out a bit and see if I can grab one cheaper somehow. I’ll likely end up caving and buying retail. Did you end up using any tools to remove the trim, or just bare hands? Thanks for the responses :).

    • Scott says:

      The trim panels came off without tools.

      • Mathil8 says:

        Thanks for the information. By the way, I did find someone willing to sell me the wire loom for $50, so if you’re willing to sell the helix without the wire loom, please let me know!

      • Scott says:

        Good score on the wiring loom! I will still keep mine because the Helix amp is installed elsewhere in my car. BUT, with the wiring loom, you have great options for adding a standalone amplifier with a path back to your factory speakers. Check out the pinout photo above. A 20-pin ATX extension should plug into the end that goes to the trunk. From there, you could either patch straight into an amp or build adapters to suit your needs. I bought my connectors from eBay. Here’s one that should work: https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-ATX-20-Pin-Male-to-20-Pin-Female-Adapter-Power-Supply-Cable-Connector-6-Long-/192072637410

      • Mathil8 says:

        Interesting, I’ll have to do some research as I’m not overly knowledgeable on car audio. The helix just seems like such a solid and simple upgrade, I might just have to bite the bullet and buy it at current retail price. I really wish I was looking into this a few months ago!

  3. Karl Rossing says:

    I was speaking to the VW parts manager at our dealership. He said they received the programer with their first order of the sub.

    He holds onto the programer and loans it out to the service department.

    Service charges $200CDN to install the amp.

  4. adi says:

    Hello sir.. can i ask u some question?

    1. From the pin out diagram (subwoofer pin out), it show that the DSP supply 4 speaker of subwoofer (- 4, + 4)…is it true? What i know is PP7E sub box, it’s using two subwoofer wright?

    2, Do u have Manual setting using the helix program?

    • Scott says:

      Adi – Yes, the amplifier is outputting four speaker pairs for the sub. There are two subwoofers in the Helix subwoofer enclosure, but they are each dual-voicecoil woofers, which means each subwoofer has two sets of inputs.

      I did not use any “manual” settings for my programming; I simply went with whatever the dongle flashed for a four-door Golf/GTI.

      I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting! -Scott

  5. Thanks for the write up. I noticed that there are “New 2.0” Helix file settings now in the setup file. I wonder if those are for the newer “B” version of the Helix? I have a 2018 GTI, so I’ll probably try 57 and 97 to see what the difference is. http://www.volkswagen-accessories.com/en/product-ranges/infotainment/soundsystem.html

  6. Charles Summers says:

    Great write up and thanks for all of your hard work. I myself enjoy the addition of the soundbox, but I’m still wanting more. I am planning on using the atx adapter you referenced to wire in a new processor and amps, and I was wondering if the pin out diagram is the same for the PP50DSP and PP62DSP processor? Also, do you know what Masse translates to? Are those ground wires or just pins that are not used? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    • Scott says:

      Charles – I have no reason to believe the two wiring harnesses are not interchangeable. Of course, there’s always room for experimentation. I’ve made a logical assumption that “Masse” is “ground” or “common” although I cannot find any real info to prove it. You could measure resistance between that wire and the case or vehicle ground to double-check. I haven’t bothered. Thanks for visiting! -Scott

  7. Harrison Davis says:

    My local dealership has one of these for quite a good deal, any idea if it would work on a 2012 GTI with Dynaudio? The factory sound is damn good but is missing some of that bass, would love to add a nice hidden sub!

    • Scott says:

      Harrison – Unfortunately, the Helix system is not designed for Dynaudio or Fender. Those systems already have external amplifiers. You’re probably a good candidate for a separate subwoofer system. Thanks for visiting. -Scott

      • Harrison Davis says:

        Darn, I have tried and tried to figure out external subwoofer but none of the wiring makes sense to me, everyone insists you can have a decent one for cheap and yet every time I see a guide on how to do it they are spending over $1,000

      • Scott says:

        Cost and effectiveness are relative. I was very happy with a 125W system in my Mk3 Jetta. But it was mostly a low-volume system that ran out of punch around 50% volume.

        Crutchfield recommends that subwoofer systems be ~10-times the main channel. In my case, my main speaker channels are rated at 50 watts, so a 500W subwoofer system would be a good balance. That seemed like a bit much on paper, but the 500-watt sub system seems to balance the Helix setup really well… and has the potential to overdo it. Remember – Double the power does not equate to double the sound output. -Scott

  8. Chuck Prill says:

    Hey Scott. Do you know of anyone who can repair the DSP unit, or where I can purchase another one? It’s the AMP.051.419.B. I purchased the Sub knowing it didn’t work with everything new in the box. Apparently some broke the potentiometer and replaced it with new one that has the screw on top. I’ve hooked everything up without running the wire harness, fuse is good, status light is on and all my speakers work but no sound from the sub. I’ve measured resistance on both legs of the pot and the values change when I adjust the trim. Btw the legs of the pot go to the large heat sync transistors on each side. Any ideas?

    • Scott says:

      Chuck – I’m sorry to say that I have no ideas. You might try contacting Helix (Germany) to see if they’ll accept it for repair. But I get the feeling the shipping and repair would be cost-prohibitive. Good Luck! -Scott

      • Chuck Prill says:

        Thanks Scott
        I do have an email into Helix but haven’t heard back. I may play with it some more and if I can’t get it to work I may try to use the sub and harness with a new amp and crossover. If you have any input I’d be grateful.

      • Scott says:

        Chuck – If you got a good price on the package, you may find it worthwhile to abandon the amp and switch to something else. The Helix wiring harness alone really improves the options for expansion and feeding all signals right back into the factory speaker wiring. Good Luck!

  9. Chrisrian says:

    Just installed the Helix sub today in my 2017 GTI Sport. I want to thank you and all the other guys in the links you provided! I couldn’t have done the install myself without all the great videos, lessons learned and helpful suggestions. The system went in without a hitch. One dealer wanted to charge $1000 labor for the install (because they admittedly had never installed one). When I decided to tackle it myself, that same dealer would not sell me the programming dongle, but would happily charge me $162 to do the 30 second programming for me. I found another VW dealership who sold the sub and dongle for $539 and $144 (10% off the list prices of $599 and $160 respectively). I’m getting another 15% back through a VW rebate. So, it wasn’t the best deal, but I’m very pleased with the end result. I too used the “57” setting on the dongle, and I agree that the difference after programming was subtle. I didn’t really check high volumes before I did the programming, but there is no distortion like you mentioned. I think it’s a nice upgrade to the stock stereo for the money.
    Thanks again!

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Buying the dongle can be a waste, but not if the dealer is charging that much to flash the module. HAHA! Nice move! I have a dongle, too, and probably will never use it again. We’ll see. Thanks for visiting! -Scott

  10. anton says:

    Just completed this upgrade today! Found a used dongle on eBay for $75 shipped, so used that to code my Sportwagen to program #60. The sound upgrade is solid. Not the tightest bass, but decent. The DSP does a good job of cutting bass from the speakers, so the stock woofers can function like true mid-bass drivers and can go much louder with more accuracy and less power and without fear of over extending. The mids and highs get slightly shrill at really high volumes, while the bass remains composed. Not sure if this is a limitation of the amp or the car’s stock speakers. The staging is decent. Again, not the best, but there seems to be a virtual stage somewhere above the shifter, at about ear height. I’d prefer it farther forward, above the dash, but all in all for the $475 the system cost me including the dongle (and before a $60 rebate which I’m waiting for), it’s worth it. The first thing I noticed, an old familiar sight, was that my rear view mirror shook on bass notes. Hadn’t observed that since my last amped and subwoofer-ed car in 1991.

    Thanks for the very nice writeup. It’s always nice to have photos to supplement the official instructions, which I found to be unusable.

    A note on the Helix wiring harness– it’s a really nice, almost plug-and-play harness, but I was concerned by some other comments made elsewhere on the internet about all the extra wires and terminal blocks behind the head unit getting pinched and preventing the head unit from inserting back into place properly. The Helix harness does add a lot of bulk behind the head unit, with all the adapter terminal blocks. To minimize this bulk, I un-taped the first two feet of harness behind the mass of terminal blocks, and separated the wires into their three segments– the headunit speaker out set, the amp speaker out set, and the 12V power set. Then I re-taped them separately with Tessa tape. The speaker out set from the amp is the bulkiest of the three. Since this set connects into the car’s speaker wire harness, and not the head unit, it does not need to fit behind the head unit. I was able to reroute that terminal adapter block completely behind the dash, outside of the head unit cavity. This left plenty of space behind the head unit, so it slid right back into position without fuss. Also, I wrapped the Helix harness terminal blocks in Tessa tape to prevent any rattles behind the dash.

    • Scott says:

      Anton – Thanks for writing your comprehensive entry! I was very conscious of where I routed my cable, making sure it did not pass through or near metal structures or sharp edges behind dash. I don’t recall the specifics, but I did manage to route my cable in a way that gives me enough room to pull out the unit while still allowing the wire to tuck away.

      Oddly enough, the Helix system sounds decent without the subwoofer, too. My setup (external amp and sub) shuts off any time the engine is not running. Even then, the bass is adequate. One of my goals with the subwoofer is to overcome any bass that might be being canceled by the running engine or road noise. I think I have a winner. Sure, it won’t win a sound-off, but it’s a great improvement over stock that doesn’t violate any of the factory wiring. 🙂 Thanks for visiting! -Scott

  11. boiler97 says:

    After reading this and especially after watching your youtube video, I installed the Helix system in my brand new GTI today. I wasn’t interested until I heard you explain how it was a system upgrade, not just subwoofers. Everything sounds better and I’m waiting to rent a dongle to get it reprogrammed.

  12. shane says:

    does this work with a MIB II head unit in a Sirocco R

    Thanks shane

    • Scott says:

      Shane – Thanks visiting. Unfortunately, I cannot answer your question because that car is not available in the US. The VWoA sites do not list that car as compatible, but only because it’s not here. Sorry! -Scott

  13. Eli says:

    I just purchased aftermarket radio for my 15 Golf Sportwagen, I conect it, everything is working except sound, than I figure out, that my plug doesn’t have wires or plug for speakers, how can I find which wires is for speakers?

    • Scott says:

      Eli – Thanks for visiting! I’ve added a couple photos to the album on this page. It should have the pinouts you need for your project. Refresh the page if the new photos do not appear in the album. Take Care! -Scott

  14. Gary Charles Adler says:


    I appreciate your web page. It’s very helpful.
    We just purchased a 2018 Tiguan SE. The Helix system looks like a great option.
    If we can find the “original” Helix kit, would it work on our car, or do we need the newer “B” version?
    I may consider a different sub, but still use the Helix amp. How would I determine which pair / pairs of W1-W8 to use?
    I appreciate your help. Thanks.

    • Scott says:

      Gary – I would be apprehensive about buying a used Helix system (the original). The odds of you finding a new one are exceedingly slim. I think you should just go for the “B”. As for the subwoofer pairs, I don’t know that it matters. Just make sure that you use the correct pairs, positive and negative instead of positive and positive, and you should be okay. I chose the inner pairs with the goal of simply keeping my wires straighter. Thanks for visiting! -Scott

  15. Pierre says:

    Hello Scott,

    I’m looking for the harness cable of helix subwoofer.
    I want to buy a used helix subwoofer from a guy who left his harness at the end of his renting car.
    What is the model number and where can buy it in Canada or US for golf mk7.5 2018 ?


    • Scott says:

      Pete – Sorry to say that I cannot help you. I, too, was initially interested in finding only the cable. But I had no luck in my search. Thanks for writing! -Scott

    • Brandon says:

      Hello Pierre, et al, were you able to locate the standalone wire harness or the specific part number? I have just the subwoofer box + amp but need the harness for my new vehicle.

  16. McLain says:

    Do you happen to have the dimensions of the subwoofer? I have an e-Golf which didn’t come with the spare because VW used that space for a bigger battery, so their catalog says it won’t fit. But, the fact that you’re able to fit the spare in and close the top cover makes me think it should still fit. Thanks.

    • Scott says:

      Hello – So sorry to let this slip by me. I don’t have the Helix subwoofer on hand. I have a recollection that it is ~4″ deep without the foot pegs. Does your eGolf have space beneath the trunk floor? Thanks for visiting! -Scott

      • McLain says:

        No worries. The e-Golf still has a false floor in the back, but VW got rid of the space where the spare tire is in order to fit more battery. There’s still about 5-6″ of storage space in the rear. I found an unboxing video of the sub and they measured it and it will fit in the e-Golf. I’m sure though, that because there’s no spare tire tie down that is why VW doesn’t list the Helix as fitting the in the e-Golf, but I’m not worried about it at all.

      • Scott says:

        Yes. Once you get some padding along the sides to keep the box from sliding around, everything should stay put so long as you keep the car upright. Good Luck! -Scott

  17. Todd J says:

    Just had VW Dealer install the Helix sub/amp, ran into a problem w/ hearing siri in maps and the assistant in Waze. Wondering if they crossed some wires or something? Did you have this problem after install?
    Great GTI site!

    • Scott says:

      Todd – I do not use Apple products. So I cannot relate. Still, I’m inclined to believe Helix has nothing to do with your issue. Helix simply takes the output of the factory stereo, processes it, and sends it directly to the speaker wiring. If your Helix system is playing music and other sound-related functions, then your sound system is working as designed. I’ve read that Waze has problems in the CarPlay platform. So the problem may be with CarPlay and Waze. Good Luck! -Scott

  18. Clarke says:

    Howdy, Scott! Thanks, very much, for the nudge to get this done to my 3-week-old MK7.5 SE w/DSG. I went ahead and paid (full price) for the local VW dealer to procure and install the Helix sound upgrade: wonderful improvement. Like you, I wasn’t unhappy with the base system, but, the upgrade is immediately worth it — and, I get to have plaid, cloth seats. Thanks, too, for your site — the intentional, stealth tone of your GTI is also my goal.

    • Scott says:

      Clarke – I’m glad you like the Helix upgrade. And your stealth path is a good one. I still love the car and enjoy the fact that no one pays me any unwanted attention. Thanks for visiting! -Scott

  19. Clarke says:

    PS: sound is excellent and we didn’t have a dongle — wondering if the newer Helix amps perhaps already flashed/programmed for this iteration of 4-door GTI?
    PPS: And, btw, since they’d never installed one, before, I’m pretty sure the cool techs at our little VW dealership in Dothan, AL, totally reviewed your site and referenced links for installation tips. 🙂

    • Scott says:

      Clarke – I still don’t buy that the Helix is pre-programmed for Golfs/GTIs. I know from experience that the PROGRAMMER is defaulted to the 4-door Golf/GTI. But that’s irrelevant after it’s used to program anything. Most people, including the person I programmed just a few weeks ago, can hear a difference right away. Make your way to the dongle rental thread (linked above) and rent the dongle. You may be pleasantly surprised. Take Care! -Scott

  20. Alex Kay says:

    Hi Scott. I want to upgrade my 2018 GTI SE with the Helix system, but I can’t decide whether I should get 5G0-035-621 for $250 or 000-051-419-B for $500. On one hand, I don’t think new version is 50% better compared to the old one to justify 50% price increase. On the other hand, I am planning on keeping my GTI for 5-7 years so I would invest extra $250 in the newer version if the sound is noticeably better. Thanks for your help!

    • Scott says:

      Alex – This is an easy decision: 5G0-035-621 is for the woofer only… nothing else. It is also not a Helix part. It may be Fender. You definitely want 000-051-419-B, which is the full system. Search Google for the P/N and select “Shopping” for the results. I see a system currently for $460. Since it’s a dealer website, it is eligible for any rebates that may be offered by VW at https://www.volkswagenrebates.com/. Good luck! -Scott

  21. Jason Savedoff says:

    My 2018 GTI SE came prewired head unit to trunk so no need to run the cable… hope this saves some folks a bit of time.

    • Scott says:

      Be careful with that assumption. Your SE may have come prewired for the Fender subwoofer, which is four-wire. The Helix cable is 20-wires. The base system won’t work with the Helix cable pre-installed unless there’s an “end-around” plugged in at the end in the trunk. I suspect you have a Fender prewire, which can sit unused without hurting anything. Can you check to be certain? Thanks for writing! -Scott

      • Jason Savedoff says:

        Hey Scott! I just finished plugging the existing prewired cable up and the system works perfectly. Sub is firing and sound is greatly improved. Compared both cables and they are identical, which makes me think that with the “B” revision of the Helix they normalized the cable and connections between the Helix and Fender parts.

      • Scott says:

        I’m not sure I understand. You found a four-wire plug in your trunk and plugged in a Helix sub to it?

  22. Jason Savedoff says:

    No I found a 20 wire and plugged my Helix into it. I confirmed that the cable running from my head unit area to the trunk was identical to the cable that came with the helix aftermarket system. As a result I did not need to rerun any cabling. The only thing I had to do was the splicing work up behind the head unit.

  23. Alex Kay says:

    @Jason Savedoff.
    I’ve removed carpet/liner from the trunk of my 2018 SE couple of hours ago – there is no wire. I guess you got lucky…

    • Jason Savedoff says:

      Maybe check under the passenger trim to be sure… it’s also not impossible that the previous owner of my car had the Helix and removed it.

  24. TWsVW says:

    I’m not a GTI owner, but I’m very interested in what I’ve read here about the Helix retrofit. I just bought a 2019 VW Atlas with the factory installed Discover Media Infotainment System, MIB2 w/Navigation. The system is good, but could be better if it had a subwoofer. Does anyone know if the Helix system, with proper tuning, would work as an alternative for the Non-Fender systems in the Atlas SEL trim line The SEL line (non-Fender) are equipped with the MIB2 w/Nav in the glove box and do not have a separate amplifier under the driver’s seat like the Premium-Fender line. I believe the factory MIB2 head unit has 4 channels, 1 channel to each of the four doors, these channels are split within the door between a woofer and tweeter, thus 8 speakers total. I wondered if the Helix subwoofer system would also be Plug and Play in the Atlas, with the proper tuning, but I just can’t seem to confirm its compatibility with the head unit.

    Thank you,

    DeFuniak Springs, Florida

    • Scott says:

      TW – I cannot say with 100% certainty that it’s a direct fit. But I suspect it is, which would be in keeping with VW minimizing costs by standardizing its equipage between the models (though the “BeatsAudio” system in the Jetta defies this). The greater problem, I think, is that of programming. I suspect a primary reason the Atlas is not on it the list of compatible cars is because Atlas was not in VW’s line-up when the Helix system was designed and profiled for each VW model. Therefore, there may not be a profile to program into an Altas system. I know *my* programmer doesn’t have an Atlas profile, anyway. Sure, you could try a few other profiles to see if one sounds good. But you’d have to rent a dongle and spend some time with it. But it wouldn’t be a perfect fit, for sure. Good Luck! -Scott

      • twroberts@panhandle.rr.com says:

        Thank you Scott. The programming does seem to be the main problem. I’ve contact MSC America (the U.S. distributor for Audiotec Fischer) and their Director of Technical Support has agreed to asked Audiotec Fischer about developing a programming solution for the Atlas – assuming the Discover Media system (MIB2 w/Nav, VW Part # 3QF-035-880-A) is otherwise compatible, which is what I’m really trying to determine at this point. I know the Composition Media system (MIB2 w/o Nav, VW Part # 3Q0-035-878-B) is Plug and Play, but I’m just not sure about the wiring compatibility on the MIB2 w/Nav – if it turns out the wiring fit is the same, then it would seem that correct programming is the only obstacle.


  25. Gar Vance says:

    Hi Scott! I watched your videos and read your blogs and I’m hoping you’re still answering questions! I pulled the trigger after absorbing your installation information and ordered a Helix kit for my ’18 GTI-SE today for just under $500 including shipping. I looked hard, but didn’t see a better price (at least from a reputable source!) Can you please tell me more about your comment above: “I had to swap out one of the wiring blocks and re-pin two of the wires. It was straightforward with the video assisting me, but definitely not “plug-n-play,” as suggested by some of the vendors who sell the Helix upgrade.” I read this page a couple times, looked at your diagrams and read the questions/answers at the bottom, but didn’t understand what exactly to do regarding “swapping blocks and re-pinning wires.” (I was hoping it was plug-n-play as advertised!) Any guidance would be much appreciated : – )

    -Gar (Winter Park, FL)

    Helix purchase from: https://www.shopdap.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=000-051-419-B

    • Scott says:

      Gar – Watch the video I shared in the third paragraph. It has everything you need to know. I watched it entirely before receiving my Helix package and then played it as I installed the upgrade, pausing as I worked. Swapping the blocks is easy. Thanks for visiting! -Scott

  26. Gar Vance says:

    I can’t believe I missed that video but hours of reading and researching must have put me into overload! That answered my question. I’m pretty handy and built a Lotus Super 7 replica in my garage and my only stumbling block was the electrical wiring. I could not find any help or answers to my questions, but persistence and time helped me sort it all out using the factory wiring harness and building a 2nd loom for all lighting. After that, this re-wiring should be a piece of cake! THANK YOU – your info is most helpful!! -Gar

  27. Lee forbes says:

    Hi Scott,
    Hope you are well.
    I recently had my Helix subwoofer fitted in the spare wheel housing of my R line Tiguan, using the dongle purchased alongside to set it up for the Tiguan and to be fair it sounds mighty impressive. There is one small issue that has arisen and I wondered if you could help me with it.
    The Tiguan comes with the Discovery head unit which runs the sat nav, parking sensors, audio etc from the main unit and before the sub was added, when the sat nav announced directions, the sound from either the iPod, cd or radio would turn down but since the Helix sub has been added, only part of the music is decreased.
    Do you know why this is and is there something I can do to change it ??!!

    • Scott says:

      Lee – Thanks for visiting. I don’t think I can help you with this. The Helix system is simply an amplifier add-on (crudely speaking) and should just amplify what it gets. It’s strange that your head unit seems to behave differently with Helix. I don’t think the following story will apply to you, but it might: I’ve been annoyed by what seemed to be an inconsistency in the volume of various navigation aids in Android Auto. Sometimes the voice is loud, sometimes it’s not. Google Maps was at a different volume than Waze, but I couldn’t pin down a consistency. I recently attempted to change the voice’s volume using the stereo’s volume control instead of trying to adjust it in the phone’s settings. BINGO! I discovered that if I adjust the volume *while the voice is speaking* that the volume controls the voice instead of the music. Of course, that requires a long dialog to have time to adjust. Obviously, there’s no time to change the volume during “turn right,” but plenty of time during “at the next intersection, bare right until…” Perhaps give that a shot, but I’m not confident that it will change much for you. Let me know if it does. Good Luck! -Scott

  28. Tsoede says:

    hi Scott,

    I have recently had the Helix fitted to my 2017 Golf GTD. It already sounds better but that might be because of the increased power from the Helix amp. It sounds to me like the system is now over driving the existing speakers. Does the programming reduce the amount of low end bass going to the existing speakers and redirect them to the sub? Do you get a new option on the sound menu of the MIB that allows you to set the level of the sub woofer?


  29. Lawrence says:

    Thanks for documenting your changes. I have an ’09 GTI and ran into an issue with my stereo upgrade. I added a LC7I and four channel amp. After powering up everything, I’ve lost my radio’s fade front/back option. I’ve reset the head unit…but it’s now missing. I upgraded the front speakers, rears are still stock…and it only shows the balance…no fade. Did you see this with your install?

    • Scott says:

      Lawrence – Thanks for visiting. I’ve heard of this happening, but I have not seen it myself. I honestly don’t understand how an upgrade like this can affect the menu settings in the radio itself. Let me know if you figure it out. Good Luck! -Scott

  30. pooneej says:

    Is it possible to upgrade the woofers in the soundbox with some different 6.5″ ones? I got a new soundbox off of ebay without the amp/dsp and am using it with my aftermarket setup. thanks

    • Scott says:

      I don’t know if the trim rings on the Helix woofers snap-off to reveal mounting screws. If they do, I still question the feasibility of upgrading the components vice replacing the box with something that’ll hold a larger speaker. If you remove the speakers, be certain to measure their mounting hole opening as well as the mounting depth BEFORE purchasing new speakers. It very well may be that Helix has already specified the best speakers that will fit in such a small enclosure. Thanks for visiting and good luck! -Scott

  31. Michal_SVK says:

    Hi There!

    Just installed the Helix, everything went smooth but one thing bothers me.
    I kept the spare tire, installed everything as mentioned, but the bottom lid of the trunk cant be close even/smooth. The Helix on top of the spare is maybe 0.5cm to high…. Any ideas what went wrong or what I can do ???

    Thanks a lot! Your review helped a ton!

  32. Steeven says:

    Hi, is it possible to install the Helix system on a eGolf ? if yes, what is the setting number? Thankyou!

  33. Jason says:

    Omg what a difference and I did not have mine programmed with the dongle as I have a 2016 GTI 2 door which the dealer I go to stated would make no difference with my model and I bought the B series part number as it replaced the model you spoke of in your post. I even listened to my 2014 GLI autobahns system with the fender to compare and this system beats the Fender stock system hands down… Thank you so much for posting your videos and pics along with the write up. VW should be paying for informing use all about the product because the VW dealer is mum about it until you ask…

    • Scott says:

      Thanks for sharing that, Jason! The dealers only know what VWoA tells them. Unfortunately, VWoA has this all wrong at the highest level. HAHA! Glad I have the programmer. Thanks for visiting.

      • Jason says:

        Scott do you know of a discounted programmer for sale I would like to give it a try to see if the sound stage changes any for possibly even more wow factor.

      • Scott says:

        Jason – Unfortunately, I’m aware of any deals. I stopped looking once I bought my own.

  34. Dilip says:

    Hey Scott, great article. I installed mine on my 2017 gti sport per the instructions and the video but there is no audio on my front passenger speaker but everything else works fine. I haven’t tuned it yet. Any idea if the tune would fix it or am I missing something.

    • Scott says:

      Dilip – Thanks for visiting. I can think of two possibilities at first glance: 1) a faulty harness; 2) a faulty amplifier. For now, I’ll assume everything is installed correctly since the speaker wiring is plug-and-play. You have done a lot of work to get the wiring harness installed. I would want to rule it out before removing it. My best thought on the easiest way to do that is to order the jumper harness that’s intended for use when the subwoofer is removed from the car, perhaps for travel. See one at https://www.1stvwparts.com/oem-parts/volkswagen-sound-box-sub-woofer-000051727b. If your front passenger speaker still does not work with this harness installed, then either the harness is bad or you may have broken a connection in the harness during installation. You’ll have to troubleshoot… or return the system for a replacement. Double-check your connections. Wiggle some wires at the connections to see if any of the sound returns, even if only intermittent. If all of your speakers work with the harness jumper installed, then you have a faulty amplifier. It happens. Just in case a bad subwoofer could cause this (I don’t see how, though), unplug the subwoofer from the amp and see if anything changes. It probably won’t, but it’s ruling out a possibility. Once the amp is definitely a culprit, it’s time to arrange an exchange. The seller probably will not send a replacement until they have your unit in hand. I, for one, would not want to remove the harness after all the work to install it. My temptation would be to buy a second system, install that amplifier, and then send it back with the faulty amplifier. Tell the seller that is your intention. It gives them the assurance that you’re a serious customer… but it’s a bit convoluted. I hope this helps you to figure out what’s wrong. Good Luck!

  35. Jason says:

    I used the program dongle tonight and I must say you are 100% correct it does adjust the speaker timing with highs and lows to the vehicle type. Such a difference and the dealer has no clue what they are talking about. My Helix was out of the box programmed to 57 which is for a four door golf. I have a two door 2016 gti and the highs where off with this setting. It was better than just the factory radio but not quite there in fidelity. Now that it is programmed it is now dead on… thank you so much for the recommendation. Unfortunately I had to purchase a programming dongle from Checkered flag VW in Virginia Beach va and they tried to talk me out of the order but I am glad I insisted

    • Scott says:

      Jason – I’m glad this has worked out for you. It’s too bad that you may have missed that I’m up the road from you near Yorktown (noted in this article). I would have been glad to flash your Helix for you. I’ve never charged anyone for this. As for file 57 being preloaded into Helix, it’s not. See my collaboration with LastHumansGarage where we tested this at https://youtu.be/43nMbBJMqog. In the video, I misspoke about the dongle not being pre-programmed. I had theorized that the DONGLE is pre-loaded with file 57, but couldn’t prove it since I had used my dongle before coming to that conclusion. Now that you’ve shared your experience with a brand new dongle, I am 100% convinced that the dongle is pre-programmed with file 57, not the Helix. Watch the video and see what you think. Thanks for visiting.

  36. Enrique Olivas says:

    Hi Scott, I enjoy your youtube videos and this blog helped a great deal. Quick question, would you know of an alternative option to the Helix that provides sub-woofer gain/output level controls ? A simple plug and play replacement amp basically.


    • Scott says:

      Thanks for your comments! The system that I feed with the subwoofer output on my Helix can be called a “simple plug and play replacement amp,” assuming you’re talking about just the subwoofer. My original plan was to just tap the rear speaker wires for a signal to input to my subwoofer system. The Helix purchase was just an impulse buy. As far as a direct replacement for Helix goes, I don’t think one exists. Helix and VW did a bit of work to get that system compatible with so many different VWs. Did I answer your question? Or did you mean something else?

  37. SEAN MILLER says:

    Hi there I need some hep I have a 2015 Vw Jetta Sport and am upgrading to the Helix I dont know the Code or the programmer I got the programmer but there is no longer a website or the codes list can you please help thanks so much

    • Scott says:

      Sean – The programmer should have files on it already. Is that not the case? No SD card and no files? The Jetta uses file #35. Try plugging in the programmer, roll the knob to “35,” press and hold the knob for two seconds, then release. Let me know if that doesn’t work.

      • Sean Miller says:

        Thank you Sir, I looked at the files earlier and I seen the Jetta file. Thanks so much.

      • Scott says:

        Very good! Now, for the important question: Does it sound better with the correct file flashed? Do you like it? 🙂

      • Sean Miller says:

        I am sure it will. I have had DSP’s in the past from VW and there Fantastic. This Jetta came with the RNS 315 so I am also doing the MIB 2 Retro Fit at the same time. So I thought I had all the correct parts but I am still wateing on the rest in the mail so as soon as I get them I will be finishing out the dash and can hear the great Sound I am excited for. I do have to ask you. Did you swap out the factory door speakers as well ? That was my next upgrade. But I wanted to see if it was worth it ? Or are you happy with the factory set up.

      • Scott says:

        I did not upgrade my door speakers. Some who have feel that it makes Helix sound too “bright.” The Helix engineers adjusted their DSP settings to account for factory speakers. Therefore, I opted against an upgrade.

  38. Shaun says:

    Hi Scott, thanks for awesome installation tutorial. I would really appreciate some assistance with trying to source a wiring hardness for the Helix system. I have the box and sub. No harness.

  39. Shaun says:

    Thanks Scott, Much appreciated and greetings from South Africa.

  40. Heren says:

    Hi Scott thanks for all the information on this upgrade and your videos! This was a great write up and really helped me out!

    I have a 2020 GTI SE, which came with the MIB2 but a 6 speaker system. Originally, I think the helix was programmed for an alltrack (I bought the sub used, and previous owner programmed it for their car). After install, it was a noticeable improvement over stock as is.

    However, I programmed Helix using #57, and was trying to get a sense of the volume scale, and was changing settings on the EQ on the MIB2. At some point the audio stopped working, the screen was still on, no error codes, and music still played, but no audio was coming out. This happened once when I was increasing the volume, and again after increasing the Bass on the EQ. I had to turn the car off lock it to get the audio back on. Im not sure if it was due to me changing these settings, the amount of time I was playing music, or if it was since I had the engine off. I assume it was some sort of protective mechanism against blowing out the speakers?

    Since I have a 6 speaker system, Im thinking the low output #97 is the better program to run even though I have the MIB2? Any other thoughts, advice, or ways to troubleshoot is welcome!

    • Scott says:

      I’ve had that happen to me, too. I think the audio cuts out if the battery voltage drops below a threshold. I can’t prove it, but everything was back to normal after restarting the car. Thanks for visiting!

  41. Hans says:

    Hi scott,

    May i know where can i get the harness from. I’ve tried searching the net but it looks impossible to get it. Most accessories dare not to modify the wiring since it a PnP unit.
    I have the box and amp but no harness..
    Help me plss

Leave a Reply