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      01-13-2013, 01:04 PM   #1
Second Lieutenant
sohlman's Avatar

Drives: E90 330iSE
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Surrey

iTrader: (0)

Changing Head unit and sound system upgrade

Hi All,

I am new to the forum.

I have a 330ise Auto in a fairly basic spec which has the base head unit. The sound quality is not to my liking and is devoid of any detail.

I have read many posts on here and the general conceses is to keep the OEM head unit. While for interior looks this is prefereable, it is my understanding that upgrading the sound systems on these cars is not easy and not without problems.

If i am not mistaken this is what i have deduced from all the various questions and answers on here.

Many owners are dissatisfied with the sound system on their E90/91/92/93 regardless of spec Base / Hifi / Logic.

Keeping the OEM makes adding amplifiers difficult with both Base and Logic requiring recoding as a minimum. But ultimately you need to add a DSP of some sort and these units are not cheap 250 - 600. In order to do this inevitable the wiring will need to be got at to add a dsp and amplifier.

The OEM speakers are poor quality, non standard size 3 mounting holes. 10cm's and very shallow in mounting depth. Not all cars have tweeter (base) and the subs vary from 6.5" - 8" and are very narrow making adding aditional speakers difficult.

The OEM amplifiers are underpowered.

The head unit is not easy or cheap to add Ipod control, Bluetooth if you don't have it etc.

The main benefit of keeping the head unit beyond asthetics is that you keep your gongs and parking sensors and steering wheel controls and you can code the car as you require it which can't be done with an aftermarket unit

Aftermarket wise you can fit both double or single din units, but face plates will have to be bought along with various wiring harnesses to ensure all steering wheel controls, gongs and parking sensors work.

As my car has heated seats i would have to spend 200 just on mounting hardware to get a double din unit so i am sticking with a single din option which is around 80 cheaper. Plus double din units are more exspensive once you go past the entry level models.

The benefits of aftermarket Head units is that you have a far superior source which can have built in Dacs' digital sound processors and such like for far less outleight then a DSP. Adding amplifiers is far easier via RCA leads and there is far less chance of ground loops and buzzes on the system. The sound quality from MP3's should be massivly improved for example with this route.

Obviosly there are some negatives the main one being the coding, but there would appear to be a wiring harness available that allows the use of steering wheel controls, gongs and parking sensors.

The only was of getting good bass is to fit a subwoofer in the boot, but the boots on these cars are so well sealed that you need something very powerfull to get into the car. Then you have a problem with vibrations etc. Plus you then loose a large chunk of boot space.

So my upgrade route is going to be as follows: -

I am undersided on sterio's but have found three single din units that have DSP, Time alighnment and DAC's built in along with 3 RCA preouts for amplifying up front rear and sunwoofers.

These all have time alignment, DSP's, variable colour displays, IPOD control, Bluetooth. The Pioneer is the best of the three. I feel that you have to factor in a further 200 to cover faceplates, wiring harnesses and fitting for the above.

Kenwood KDC - BT 92SD 140

JVC KD - R90 BT 165

Pioneer DEH 80 PRS 220

The running the amplification i have two Genesis Profile Amplifiers one of which is 4x50W RMS (profile 4) and the other is 1x350W RMS 4 OHM (Profile Mono) for running the front, rear and and subwoofer channels. These amps i chose due to their impecable reputation for sound quality and also because they are very thin and so would allow fitting into the floor without taking up boot space. They are just 38mm to top of logo and 35mm to top of amp body.

For speakers i have gone down the route of MB Quart custom fit coaxles that are the exact size of the BMW speaker and i have bought BMW speaker conectors so that no cutting will be required and everything is reversible. I wanted to go with components at the front, but as i don't have front tweeters i would have further exspense of buying the window surrounds and i though this is something i can add later down the road. They are also unique in that the cones are larger than 10cm's and are nearer 13cm and they have a perfect power match to the amplifier of 60W RMS.

Then for bass i have aquired a dual voice coil Diamond 10" Subwoofer and i have found a chap in Shefield that makes a custom fit fiberglass enclosure that fits into the spare wheel tray in the boot under the boot floor. This subwoofer is 400w RMS and is designed for small enclosures. I also have a bass controller which i have always found is useful in previous installs as you can make a quick change without having to go into menu's.

At the moment nothing is installed as i have been buying the parts i need. My plan is to start with the new head unit. I am waiting for fitted prices from my Sterio installer. I will then fit whichever head unit fits into my budget for this month along with the speakers. I also have a MK Parrot kit installed which i am not getting on with so i will remove this at the same time. Then when money permits install the amplifiers and the subwoofer.

I plan to build a false floor using the original boot floor as a mould. I will then cut the floor at the same point as BMW to allow a hinge to be fitted so that it can be lifted up. I will mount the amplifiers under the floor on another piece of MDF so that the tops of the amplifiers are level with the new floor. I will mount the subwoofer in the enclosure and then cut a whole in the floor where i will mount a grill to protect the sub's cone. I can then carpet the entire floor to match the interior. My hope is that once it's finished the boot will look OEM to the casual onlooker and only forums members will be able to tell that the angle of the floor near the seats is no longer curved, but flat.

Hopefully now that i have permission to make my own thread i can no longer get grief for another persons thread.
E90 330i SE Auto Graphite Grey Metalic