UPDATE: Stage 2 sound upgrade has been done on this car. Link
Music requires no introduction and is essential thing in our lives. It is an art of combining sound and silence to make it pleasant to listen. At some stage in our lives, we all think about upgrading our sound systems, whether it is sound system in our homes or in our cars.
There is no exception to members of this forum, as they are continuously trying to improve BMWs’ pathetic base sound system.
As most of you know that I code different cars and help with audio systems over the weekends. So, I have been approached by one of the community member who wanted ICE installed on his car. It was no other than Rudz. Rudz has been collecting premium things for his car. We had exchange of few messages and discussed it in detail. Rudz has a premium taste and when it comes to his car, he wanted the best stuff installed on his car. Moreover, he wanted clean installation of the sound system with BMW parts / clips and without splicing even a single OEM wire. His car is still under warranty and he did not want to risk anything.
Well not a problem for me as I worked on few 3 series prior to his car.
I would like to thanks Technic, Taibanl, Kaigoss69
for their detailed audio threads and contributions to our community & mob17
for his guidance on setting MS8.
I thought to share this with our community as it may help somebody at some stage.
Now let’s start with the kit:
This Kit consisted of;
Audison LRX 6.9
SWS-8s (aka Earthquakes)
Morels Hybrid Ovation II 4”
L7 central speaker
L7 rear speakers
Rainbow Vanadium CS230
We had to order some parts from the dealer such as tweeter trims, OEM plugs for speakers and etc etc.
A big day came, when he left his car with me.
I started with Subs and doors first.
We ordered spacers to fit Morels at the fronts and I had to tweak these spacers to work with Morels and door cards. It took a while to create new holes in the spacers and fit that to OEM door screws. Then it took a while to create holes for morels and morels were fitted.
Then I had to add sound deadening material. From my experience on my car, I knew exactly where you get maximum distortion and so I placed sound deadening material there.
Now it was time to fit SWS8s (earthquakes) into OEM boxes. SWS8s are deeper compared to OEM subs, so I had to modify the OEM boxes. I had to flatten the ridges at the bottom and fitted SWS8s. Now on OEM subs, the wiring clip is extended over the radius of sub. With SWS8, there was gap left b/w sub and its box. I used polycarbonate plastic to fill that gap and used glue gun to fit it there. I also had to drill holes in polycarbonate plastic to pass wires for the subs. Finally by six in the morning door card and subs were ready to go on the car. I took extra care not to damage anything and keep it as safe as possible. All that done is complete reversible, in case if Rudz wants to sell his car at later stage.
Next morning, I started with coding the head unit (HU) to Hi-Fi. Although many will say, there is no need to code HU to Hi-Fi if you are using MS8. My logic is, if the part of processor is going to be used to clean the signals, why not use that part of processor for other good purposes. So I coded the head unit to Hi-Fi.
Here are the photos of HU before and after coding.
Now SWS8s and door cards were installed back to car.
Then, I fitted L7 central speaker and I had to take the dash trim out to pass the wiring through the safe spaces.
In order to fit rainbows at the rear deck, I would had to modify the deck. I discussed it with Rudz and since he wanted OEM solution, therefore we opted stock L7 rear mids. It was 15 minute job and they were fitted perfectly.
Then, I fitted MS-8 and Audison amplifier on the back of the rear seat. I wanted to go for stealth mode and hide everything (as I have done on my car), but due to Rudz’ choice of Audison amplifier, it was not possible. I could have hidden MS-8 but then there was no point of hiding it if I had to extend the wires. So I fitted those parallel to each other.
Power wires were distributed from each side and same goes for other wires. Wiring took a bit of time and networking them to had clean installation was not an easy job.
Once done, wires were connected and tested for connectivity. Fuses inserted and I stared with MS-8 setup. It took me approx 2-3 good hours to try different combinations of MS-8 settings and I was still not happy.
It was getting too dark and I had to postpone further settings. Next day, after establishing optimal settings of MS8 (for driver and passenger), amplifier output was determined with muli-meter and JL audio application to calculate what was required.
After achieving appropriate sound optimization, I started assembling the car back to its OEM state.
This was final outlook of the boot.
Allocation of channels on MS8:
Ch3: L Sub
Ch4: R sub
Ch8: Spare and can be used for trunk sub if Rudz decide to add trunk woofer later on.
Audison amplifier had 6 channels, so channel 1-6 of MS8 were connected to it and so on to drivers.
Other than sound system, Rudz kindly asked me to fit dark lines on his car which I did. Rear license plate LEDs were added to his car, as yellow license plate light looked outdated compared to darklines. I asked Rudz if he'd like to have coding done on his car which he agreed. Also it is not worth of spending thousands on ICE if you car can be stolen in 60 seconds. So on Rudz request, I re-located OBD port to safer place.
To summarise, this sound system is very much like BMW L7 setup, but yet very different. It is way more flexible and better compared to L7. You get different levels of settings and you can adjust it from HU, MS8 menu and amplifier to get best out of the whole system.
All in all, this sound system is excellent and I am sure that Rudz can provide further feedback on it.
Thanks for reading and I hope it helps some of you at some stage.
RUDZ STAGE II Audio Upgrade