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How to make a VQ sound good

We all know the stereotype by now, trumpet jokes and muffler deletes are the association with the Nissan VQ. However believe it or not there is a way to make these cars sound really good and still get exhaust gasses out quicker which means more power! Let's take a look shall we?

Single Exit Route

The most popular option outfitted on for Z's is going to be a single exit route, this option consists of retaining the Y-Pipe after the catalytic converter and the exhaust being (as the name implies) a singular pipe to the rear of the car. Due to their large popularity these unfortunately are also most commonly associated with the not so good sounding VQ stereotype, however there is a way. Now in perfect honesty if you are just trying to be as loud as possible this isn't for you, but if you want your noise to not make people hate hearing let's break down how to make the single exit sound good.

It really boils down to one thing in making your single exit system sound good and that is a resonated mid-pipe. The mid-pipe connects the y-pipe to the actual exit portion of the exhaust and when looking online you'll notice most are just a straight pipe back to the exit tip of the exhaust. But on the VQ being an inherintly raspy exhaust node to begin with that rasp needs a way to get out which is where the resonator comes in. Pictured below is an example of a resonated mid-pipe in which you notice no rasp and a clean exhaust node through sound demo's.

The resonator does not affect flow in any way as the pipe retains the same diameter through, it's solely for sound purposes. With it there allot of rasp is out of the node leaving people impressed with it not sounding awful.

Moving a step back we have the Y-Pipe and honestly there's not allot to say here, the stock one works perfectly fine and there are aftermarket options out there for peak flow/performance but nothing in here really affects the sound too drastically.

Dual Exit Route

A dual exit is the cheat code to ensuring your VQ sounds as good as possible, the dual route consits of separating the left and right side of the headers/cats with no y-pipe in favor of 2 exhaust pipes back to the exit of the car. This option while being more expensive also ensures that low VQ rumble often forgotten in all the annoying rasp. Some may complain about a lack in sheer volume but remember that's not what we're after today. If you've got the money for true dual exits it's the best bet for a great sounding VQ.

Test Pipes/High Flow Cats

Moving up the exhaust system we get to where all of your volume is really going to come from and what gets you in trouble with emissions, test pipes! Test pipes are essentially metal pipes that replace your catalytic converters and are best for improving flow in your exhaust system. This is where most VQ's fall to the stereotype of raspy trumpets that are obnoxiously loud however don't fear! There's a way to have test pipes on your VQ and not have it sound bad. Once again it's going to boil down to resonators, as previously mentioned the VQ is inherintly a raspy exhaust node so resonators are essential in eliminating that rasp for a good exhaust node. Now yes high flow cats are an option to be considered here but resonated test pipes are going to be the best mix of high-flow with a good sound.

STAY AWAY FROM NON-RESONATED TEST PIPES, exhaust drone is going to amplify tenfold and that rasp will be very prevalent.

Headers/Long Tube Headers

Finally we get to headers/long tube headers. Long tubes elimite the need for test pipes as they are a straight shot to the dual exit/y-pipe and are best for performance but will bring some rasp with their gains in power. I would only recommend headers for race built VQ's as for sound alone drone is amplified and rasp creeps back in with this addition. Headers are going to be where you see the most gains in power however remember this is a discussion of sound not power.

Titanium Vs. Stainless Steel

Now with the VQ the metal of choice for your exhaust is essential in how it will perform and sound. The two options primarily offered are going to be titanium and stainless steel. The Tomei ExpremeTi is the go-to titanium exhaust option and stainless is generally regarded as the industry standard and what most exhaust setups will consist of. Titanium is known for it's rediculous light weight, a whole exhaust system can weigh as little as 15 pounds! However due to the light weight nature of titanium it is much more resonant to exhaust gasses and rasp, the much thinner sidewalls of a titanium exhaust amplify more of the high pitched drone and can become raspy. The metal vibrates at a much higher frequency as opppsed to stainless which will be louder, yes but also become more of a high picted typical VQ sound. Titanium exhausts are awesome for performance but for sound alone your best bet is going to be stainless.

Favorite Combinations

Now for combinations of exhaust setups that I prefer and will make your VQ's sound stand out from the rest.

-Stock Headers, Megan Racing Resonated Test Pipes, Stock Y-Pipe, ISR GT Single Exit

-Stock Headers, Tomei Test Pipes, HKS Dual Exhaust

-Stock Headers, Stock Cats, Tomei Y-Pipe, Tomei Expreme Ti

-ISR Long Tube Headers, Invidia Genini Dual

These are just some options of combo's that work well in good sounding VQ's and as you can see it's a balancing act, the more you modify the more resonators are required which while yes are not the loudest will still pop, bang, shoot flames, and sound good while doing it.

Unfortunately the stereotypical VQ will always be prevalent but don't let it stop you from making yours sound awesome! It's very much doable and we hope this helps point you in the right direction for making a fantastic sounding VQ.

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