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      04-18-2011, 07:23 PM   #1
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Drives: 2015 320i
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ft Lauderdale, Florida

iTrader: (18)

Notes on a 2011 335i with HiFi (8-speakers/OEM amp)

MY2011 E90 335i with HiFi system (standard)

Customer requirements:

- PnP/100% reversible install (car is a lease), which means Velcro and Dynamat and no drilling, cuts or permanent modifications.
- sound improvement equal or exceeding the OEM Harman Kardon system
- less than $1000 upgrade

Equipment installed:

- JBL MS-8
- DLS R4 component set (front)
- Vibe Slick 4 coaxial (rear)
- OEM Individual Audio coaxial (center)
- OEM 8" woofers (stock)
- OEM center grill
- HiFi harness custom-made to PnP interface with MS-8 (Power, ground, inputs and outputs)

Quick photos:

Custom HiFi harness:

MS-8 (held by velcro):

OEM front door panel before R4 install:

Depth comparison between R4 mid and OEM mid (over 10mm):

Cone comparison (R4 metal mounting tabs cut):

Test fit (into OEM grill cavity):

Dynamat fix (yes, it is ugly but it works):

Crossover mounted with Velcro:

Door panel finished:

- The MS-8 was tried initially with all the OEM speakers and a single Slick 4 as the center speaker and the improvement was simply impressive. Clarity at much higher volume than OEM was improved, bass was loud and clean, and the much-maliged HiFi tweeters were faking it like they were some high quality aftermarket tweeters. For somebody with a bare bones budget this could be it, for no more than $650 (depending on the price of the MS-8, customer found a brand new one on ebay for less than $500 shipped) this can be replicated as a DIY.

- Then the R4 and the rear Slick 4 were installed... although it was not a day and night difference (2 ohms speakers were replaced by 4 ohms, cutting the output power by almost half), a new MS-8 calibration took advantage of better mids, better tweeters and better overall rear speakers (there are no rear OEM tweeters in the MY2011 HiFi) to produce an arguably better sound than the OEM Harman Kardon system.

The R4 cone moved like it is a sub, which it is surprising when the MS-8 crossover setting for the front Hi was set to 200Hz at 6db slope. However, a 94dB sensitivity made up the loss of almost 50% of output power, producing a much better and clearer mid bass punch than the OEM mids. The R4 silk tweeters also cleaned up quite a bit the OEM tweeters, but again not so much as categorically saying that the OEM tweeters are crap. They are not, at least with the MS-8 optimizing the output.

But the biggest surprise was the OEM woofers... I normally use the song Whole Life by Oxia to test the underseat performance and even the customer was amazed of how much bass was there that he did not know. Although the power output improvement was 50% over the OEM amp output (40W max vs 60W max) the main reason of this bass performance is the multiple MS-8 user-adjustments available to maximize it. The 31-band EQ was fundamental is getting this kind of clean, deep bass out of the OEM speakers. That these OEM woofers are 2ohms is also the trick.

- This E90 has Park Distance Control and the "beeps" are only generated by the rear OEM outputs. In a regular HiFi integration the MS-8 only uses the front OEM outputs while skipping the MS-8 input setup. To retain the PDC sounds without adding more cost/additional speakers to the system all 4 OEM outputs are combined using "2-female to 1-male" RCA cables -Left Front combined to the Left Rear and so on- into two output channels and then input into the MS-8. This way the MS-8 Input setup can still be skipped and the PDC sound will be retained but thru all the speakers intead of rear speakers alone, while no loss of OEM signal quality and strength.

In conclusion... the HiFi, MS-8 and a center speaker is a considerable improvement over stock.

Last edited by Technic; 04-05-2012 at 06:42 AM. Reason: PDC solution