After tons of research, reading, more reading and asking questions I finally started my build.. First want to thank the many that have helped along the way countless times by either answering questions or posting online for me to learn.. ( Technic / Taibanl / Superjay / Kaigoss69 ) whoever I have forgot I apologize
, I didnt know anything about upgrading the audio in an E90 and now I have a pretty good idea.
With that being said I couldn't afford the time or cash to do everything at one time so I started in stages. I was looking to improved my stereo a decent amount without getting too too crazy. After reading a bunch of threads it appears the JBL MS8 w/ a Technic harness was a great starting point..
Ill try to post prices and where I bought stuff to help anyone else looking to replicate.
- JBL MS8
- Technic Harness
- Technic Center Channel Wiring
- BMW Center Grill ( non nav ) PN 51 45 7 123 749
- BMW Screws x3 PN 07 14 9 172 104
- DLS 424 Center
Under $650, Bought a pair of DLS 424's and sold one which cuts the cost in half ( perfect match to my R4s going in the doors later ) Bought JBL MS8 from JBL direct on eBay factory refurb'd w/full warranty $399.
Other tools / supplies : Nylon Prybar set ( amazon.com ) , gaffer tape, T20 socket, coat hanger, velcro, 3M Shrink spade connectors
First thing I started was running the wire for the center channel, I highly recommend a set of nylon pry tools so you dont scratch your interior or break any clips.. Less than $15 on amazon.com
Remove the stock grill & then remove the 4 T20 Torx screws securing the mount.
Center Mount + DLS 424 ( 2 ears cut off ) 3 OEM BMW Screws Part# above.
When laying the speaker in there was gaps under the two mounting ears, so I put two foam cut outs to fill the gaps.
Wasn't too happy how the washer pushed on the plastic, but in later pictures
when its back in the car you will see it does not touch the surround.
Now comes the fun ( running the center channel wire ) from top of dash to passenger kick panel area, Ive read tons of threads to minimize on surprises so I was prepared for a pain in the ass. Most threads said to remove cup holder trim, plus the long center trim etc etc.. This was completely un-needed.
Remove lower trim ( few T20 screws ) grab a coathanger ( put electrical tape on end so you scratch / damage anything ) and guide towards the right.. You will need to poke around but took less than 5 minutes
For wiring the center channel I used a pre-fabbed wire w/pins from Technic $10 I think with factory pins so it plugs right into the OEM harness just like the factory... This guys harness's are a MUST HAVE! A++ ( wrapped end with a straw and taped up )
All taped up so no damage occurs passing to rear.
After guiding the center channel wires from the top center to the glovebox area to the crossover and from the xover to the rear seat area I buttoned up the front.
DLS 424 Mounted ( now you can see the washer doesnt touch the surround ).
When I went to put the grill over the 424 it didnt wanna go on at first, The tweeter was slightly too tall... Heads up for anyone doing a 424 center, The tweeter will hit and put a dent in your grill.
I removed this small chunk of frame from the center grill :
Now everything fits perfect!!
Time to wire the x-over there is a perfect spot to the right of the fuse box that will fit this perfect and out of the way. I used 3M Heat Shrink spade connectors I got off ebay on the wires and they worked great! Sealed right around the wires perfect. The X-over is just secured with velcro nice tight and out of the way.
Now I started running the MS8 display wire + the center channel wire down towards the kick panel and towards the trunk, Its been said you dont have to remove the front and rear floor trim pieces but I removed them I wanted to make sure the wires were nice and tucked in.
After your past the kick panel just twist and turn the fuse panel cover back in and your done up front.
MS8 Display Hooked up
Taped the two wires with some gaffers tape to the stock wiring and passed into the trunk, The whole interior can be buttoned up now as you only have the trunk left.
Once you get your center wire in the trunk route it to the drivers side and pull the amp harness out of the factory amp. Theres a tab to depress and then a clasp that slides... After you get that out you will see some empty slots. You want Pins 39 & 40 ( 39 is + 40 is - ) Slide them in and now your wired up just like the factory center channel cars.
Now I was getting ready to mount the MS8 it appears alot of people removed the carpet tray under the carpet to gain the little extra clearance needed for the MS8 to fit underneath. I didnt want to remove it so I decided to just trace the MS8, make a template and cut it out.
MS8 Fit perfect now and the trunk carpet would lay almost 100% flush
The MS8 will be secured with Velcro
On to the wiring of Technics harness
HMMMM... There is no way this harness will go under the side panels with out making a huge bulge.. I searched and searched and everyones pictures looked perfect but when I tried there was no way.
After speaking with Technic he said to pull back the loom and lay flat ( common sense ) but from looking online nobody mentioned and you cant tell in the pics.
I put some more tape over the metal edge so the wires wouldnt have any chance of tearing and layed them down flat w/tape.
Harness is now secured and panel is flat
Wired up the whole MS8 and laid down the OEM Floor board. (redid loom in tech-flex & ran RCA's for future amp
"Wasnt satisfied with the sloppy wires in the first attempt"
Perfect!!! Stage one of the install complete now on to the tuning. And where I will need some help ( trust ive done tons of reading ) I think I have read every MS8 thread on here.
Setting up the MS8
The Real Fun
Technic sent me a baseline and informed me everyones taste is diff which is true and that I would have to adjust on my own from here.
Base Settings :
- Skip input setup
- Sub = None/your trunk sub via MS-8 CH8 RCA output
- Front = 2-way, 40Hz subsonic filter at 18dB, 150Hz at 12dB Hi/Lo
- Center = 1-way, 150Hz at 18dB
- Sides = 1-way, 150Hz at 18dB
- Calibration volume = -25dB
- Main volume after calibration = -6dB
Do I just configure my drivers seat or do I have to do all 4 seating locations, As its setup now it sounds WORSE than stock and if your in the rear you hear all kinda sounds going in an out like the logic 7 is toying with it in a bad way and the center channel is way louder than any other speaker ( so it seems ).
Now im 100% sure its not tuned optimally by me, im new and will continue to fine tune and I know everyone has there own idea on what is ideal but I do know one thing..
There is a bunch of people on here that have added an MS8 + Center channel in an E90 and have gotten it to sound better than stock. I know this may not be my " Optimal Sound " but if its better than the stock sound I would love to pick your brain for the settings cause as of now my setup sounds absolutely worse than stock and I have confidence with help I can fix this.
Thanks for reading my long thread guys I hope some have enjoyed the pics and info and I hope this will help others, I learned a ton reading before the install and even more as I did it for myself.
This thread will evolve as I proceed to my stage II
Stage II of my setup :
( new front door speakers ) DLS R4's to match my 424 Center
and Stage III will be a VP sub enclosure w/ an ID10D4v3 + a JL 500/3 Amp
100w RMS to the underseats / 300RMS to the sub.