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      01-28-2012, 04:14 PM   #1
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Arrow Audio Table of Contents: Upgrading? Start HERE!


The frequent posters on this board have posted answers to the same questions over and over again. Follow this thread to avoid the repeat questions and find links to some of the answers. Note: this thread is organized thematically and hot linking is maximized; therefore you may see links to a particular thread appear more than once.
  1. Don't cut any wires!

    Just about any modification can be completely reversible; there are a number of solutions:

    For more harness info: see below
  2. Figure out the system with which you are starting

    There are 4, yes FOUR different levels audio systems in any E9x vehicle, with variations on each depending on the "brain" of the system.

    Audio System Overview from BMW TIS

    See: E9X audio systems defined.
    • Base/Stereo: 4 Mids + 2 underseats, no amp - Hint: look inboard of the mirrors at the A pillar...solid plastic instead of tweeters? --> Base
    • HiFi (Option 676): 4 mids, 2 underseats, 2 or 4 tweeters, analog amp<--EASIEST TO UPGRADE Hint: look inboard of the mirrors at the A pillar...tweeters? Yes & Center speaker in Dash: No? --> HiFi
    • Top Hifi/Logic 7 (Option 677)/Harman Kardon (Option 688): ~13 speakers, plus digital amp Hint: look inboard of the mirrors at the A pillar...tweeters? Yes & Center speaker in Dash: Yes? -->Top HiFi
    • Enhanced Premium Sound / Individual Audio (Option 752) (Brochure): ~16 speakers, digital amp Hint: look inboard of the mirrors at the A pillar...tweeters? Yes & Center speaker in Dash: Yes? AND See through speaker grilles with yellow speaker cones --> Individual Audio

    Due to the presence of analog, low-level, flat, balanced outputs, the HiFi option is the easiest to upgrade. If you have any of the others, you may be able to recode to HiFi
    Note: Within each, there are varying power levels (and in some cases different speakers), depending on the brain of the system:
    • Non I-Drive
      • Business HU (Option 662)
      • Professional HU (Option 663)
    • I-Drive
      • M-ASK (Business Nav)
      • CCC (Early Professional Nav)
      • CIC (Current Professional Nav)
    BUT...the important part is figure out your basic physical (amp+speaker) topology.
  3. Figure out what your goals are.

    Your goals may range from adding a little "thump" to a vehicle with the EPS or Logic 7 systems, or to completely gutting the system as frequently happens with the base stereo...or anything in between. Think of what your ultimate goal is (don't jump to I want to add X amp and Y sub), and research options. Often you will find a solution that is different than the one you planned, or decide there is a better way to do what you were thinking. Finally, this gets addictive, so if you think you might end up wanting more in the endgame, consider whether your path will allow you to "spiral" upgrade or if you will get stuck at a certain point, and have to replace components to go any further. To get an idea of what is possible, here is one of the best, most effective, oem friendly upgrades.

    If you aren't sure, talk to a competent installer, such as those who contribute on this forum (not one who is going to hack your car up). As a general matter, if someone is suggesting cutting door panels, wiring harnesses, putting in different size speakers...they almost certainly don't know what they are doing. Amazing quality audio can be obtained from BMWs using completely stock locations.
  4. Check out what equipment fits for your car.
  5. See examples of installation.
    Before you start: Installation overview "primer" courtesy of VP Electricity @ Musicar NW
    Link to the rest of the install threads (below)

At the end of the day, if your question isn't answered here, it has been elsewhere.... or better yet Google. Google does a great job of indexing this forum.


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      01-28-2012, 05:31 PM   #2
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Harnesses

Harnesses - are an absolute must for any well installed system, most are full Plug & Play and will allow 100% reversal to stock condition:

If you're the adventurous type and want to tap in or make your own custom harness: DIY: Amp Wiring Guide (for HiFi and L7 systems) or Wiring Diagrams for the Members

Where is the remote wire?

e90 HiFi Upgrade - with some DIY wiring info (pg 1-3) and running wire to front doors (pg. 4)

An unrelated thread with some random useful OEM wiring parts/connectors
.

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      01-28-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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Base "Stereo" Information

Base "Stereo" Information


E9x audio system overview
Base radio EQ measurement


Due to the DSP (EQ) in the head unit, in order to successfully upgrade, you have two options
  1. Recode OEM HU to HiFi: Thread 2 and Thread 3 (to flatten the Factory EQ, - more details in next post)
  2. Use an aftermarket signal De-EQ device

Harness for Base Audio System
Tweeter sail PN's


Some Upgrade Options
OEM "Alpine" Upgrade:, and also here
Build Date Pre 03/2009 (install pdf)
Build Date 03/2009 on (install pdf)
Monster Alpine HiFi Retrofit Thread (from UK Technical Forum)

Technic's $650 upgrade (also for HiFi cars)


Some base audio specific install threads
Taibanl's Stage 2 Upgrade
Musicar NW P&P upgrade
Base audio upgrade option (plus Factory EQ info)
Base Audio Overhaul plus MS-8
Zapco Reference install by MusicarNW
B33m3r Install (well documented)
2010 328i base Stereo upgrade Level One (lots of pics!) (by MusicarNW)
Musicar Stage 2
(Basic) Blaupunkt P+P amp + Tweeter install
2011 335d Upgrade (by MusicarNW)

Don't make THIS mistake (Why no bass?)

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      01-28-2012, 06:10 PM   #4
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HiFi

HiFi (Option 676) is the easiest and cheapest architecture to upgrade.

The signal from the head unit is low level, full-ranged, flat / unprocessed and uses balanced differential outputs. Thus, it will result in the highest-quality analog upgrade possible (There are some digital options coming out, see Top HiFi section below).

Note: your amp must be capable of accepting balanced differential outputs.

CTuna's HiFi Install DIY w MusicarNW Kit
My E91 VP Kit install.pdf

Budget Hifi Upgrade
Midrange HiFi Upgrade
Nice HiFi Upgrade
Very Nice M3 HiFi upgrade
Technic's "Ultimate" HiFi Upgrade

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      01-28-2012, 06:29 PM   #5
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Logic7 (SA688) /Harman Kardon (SA677) (Top Hifi) & EPS (Enhanced Premium Sound w/ DIRAC - from M3 and individual 3-series)



Mobridge DA-2 MOST to Digital Toslink or Analog Converter also here
Logic 7 Upgrade Questions (Add Sub and amp or start fresh?) Ed. note: this older thread has DIY info for wiring; recommend P&P harness instead.
Technic Harness for L7 + "Add-a-sub" install on L7 system

BMW Individual Audio / Enhanced Premium Sound
Bass Upgrade in M3 Sedan with EPS

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      01-28-2012, 06:50 PM   #6
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All about speakers

Speakers:

Aftermarket Replacement Speakers List - The "MASTER" Thread, credit:kaigoss

Underseat Speaker Replacement Info

Custom Spacers by JTSherri

Helpful E-92 Fitment/Spacer/Comparison Thread (plus some MS-8 info)

Musicar NW Drop-in Kits (forum sponsor VP Electricity)
Note: Musicar is now selling completely Plug & Play kits, some of the threads below may pre-date those kits, but are otherwise excellent examples of the quality of their products/integration
Sample of options
Musicar Level I Install and Opinion (Jehnerts and Morel Dotech)


Audio-Systems Drop-in Replacement Kit


BSW
BSW review
Is BSW Speaker Upgrade Worth It?
BSW Stage I Upgrade Review
BSW e92 Upgrade


B-737's review on Rainbow SLC & Profi's

Subwoofers - by Kaigoss (links to later in thread)

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      01-28-2012, 07:15 PM   #7
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Processors

Processors

If you have HiFi, you are well on your way to upgrading! If you have Base/Stereo, Logic7/Harman Kardon/Top-Hifi, or EPS/Individual, you probably have work to do if you want to start with a clean signal. The latter systems are tapped at the speaker level which means you will need to either:
  1. Recode your head-unit to Hifi (More links in Base Audio, above)
  2. Clean/sum the signal
  3. Use a MOST (proprietary fiber optic) compatible pre-amp. (Logic 7 or EPS only)

Even if you pick option 1, there are still many reasons to add a processor. Here are all the benefits:
  • Clean / De-EQ the factory signal
  • Sum the factory signal from multiple channels to get a full-range signal
  • Time-alignment of individual channels (including for each seating position)
  • Automatic level matching/calibration/EQ
  • Road Noise Compensation
  • Compressed media (i.e. MP3) compensation

Not all processors have every capability, again know your goals. Some of the options:

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      01-28-2012, 07:29 PM   #8
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BMW Factory Audio Systems Explained (with diagrams) - so you can determine what you have:

http://www.musicarnw.com/bmw-factory-audio-explained/

Sound Systems in the US by Model Year:

http://www.musicarnw.com/bmw-sound-s...us-model-year/
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      01-28-2012, 07:32 PM   #9
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Amps:

With Amps, if you are feeding with a signal from the HiFi coded head unit, you must use an amp that will accept balanced differential inputs, JL is one example that will. I think Alpine PDX will also and possibly the Arc Mini.

OEM Alpine HiFi upgrade
JL Audio XD600/6 (HiFi drop-in replacement)
JL Audio XD700/5
JL Audio HD Series
Arc Mini (+clones)
Alpine PDX?
JBL MS-A series?
Zapco
Vibe Litebox
Mosconi

Suggestions?

Pavlo's Choosing an Amp for my Setup

Amplifier wiring guide

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      01-28-2012, 08:07 PM   #10
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Installation info

The Install Threads

How to:
Before you start: Installation Overview credit: VP Electricity @ Musicar NW
Center Speaker Wiring
PDF instructions available @ the BSW Website
Tips and Tricks on a Vibe Litebox install
Door Panel Removal Info & more here

Video (credit Bavarian Soundwerks)



How NOT to:
Why not to listen to some installers DON'T cut up your doors!

Nice examples (generally in order of difficulty)

CTuna's DIY Attachment 643603
Custom work / SQ install in 335d (Link to DIYMA)

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      01-28-2012, 08:30 PM   #11
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Replacing the OEM Head Unit?

Replacement of the OEM HU is generally disfavored. It is capable of producing a good signal, especially when recoded to HiFi. Additionally complete removal of the OEM HU can cause error codes or inability to update software . For that reason, relocation of the Head Unit to the trunk is usually recommended to the few who choose this route.

The closest to an OEM look head unit is the Dynavin D99. It integrates with the vehicle's CANBUS for some data, but not the MOST BUS, thus errors are still possible.

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      01-28-2012, 08:46 PM   #12
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Upgrading the sound and upgrading the head unit are totally different topics. Different kind of flying all together.
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      01-28-2012, 08:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
The most popular above is the MS-8 for its incredible results for the price, it doesn't have things like RoadEQ or MediaEQ, but it does an exceptional job at everything else. On the downside, it can sometimes be a bit tricky to get a good mid bass response.
Smacks of editorializing. I don't know that the MS-8 IS the most popular, nor would I usually say that it is exceptional at everything else. It has drawbacks and shortcomings, as does everything. And I SELL them.
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      02-04-2012, 01:40 PM   #14
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Heres a couple of docs not sure if you already have them somewhere in here!!
Attached Images
File Type: pdf bmw oem audio systems tis.pdf (191.5 KB, 1822 views)
File Type: pdf E90 ENTERTAINMENT AND COMMUNICATION.pdf (1.98 MB, 4665 views)
File Type: pdf Alpine Retrofit Kit II.pdf (1.13 MB, 1530 views)
File Type: pdf JBL_MS_8_tips_.pdf (49.4 KB, 185076 views)
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      02-04-2012, 02:11 PM   #15
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Also I translated this document by hand from German its a great step-by-step installed guide....

http://www6.zippyshare.com/v/78831802/file.html
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      02-06-2012, 08:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Heres a couple of docs not sure if you already have them somewhere in here!!
My MS-8 doc is still floating around?
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      02-07-2012, 05:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
My MS-8 doc is still floating around?
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      02-07-2012, 05:06 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Please UPLOAD this file along with the others above...current link goes straight to a file sharing site.
It won't let me upload it... as it's over 30mb in size....
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      02-15-2012, 12:23 AM   #19
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Subwoofer Info branch

Subwoofers

List of known types

How to amplify

How to install(per system type)


To be filled out by those with knowledge
of this area that I don't have.
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      02-26-2012, 02:31 PM   #20
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I know that http://www.musicarnw.com/start-here-your-car/ was linked to before, but just to let you know, we've updated it significantly.

It now includes a simple table to guide you and example diagrams of the three types of system, and still has the link to the more in-depth page if you want more details.
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      02-26-2012, 05:40 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
I know that http://www.musicarnw.com/start-here-your-car/ was linked to before, but just to let you know, we've updated it significantly.

It now includes a simple table to guide you and example diagrams of the three types of system, and still has the link to the more in-depth page if you want more details.
trend micro security says your site has "malicious" code!
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      02-26-2012, 06:14 PM   #22
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We subscribe to a service which monitors attacks and removes any such threats. There was one last week with a delay - we had changed our FTP PW and the security service wasn't notified, so they couldn't remove the malicious code.

It's fixed and AFAIK, Trend is working from an old list. I just ran an AVG scan on it and it comes up clean. http://www.avg.com.au/resources/web-page-scanner/

I will check again tomorrow and see if Trend has updated their list. It happens so fast I don't think they are running a scan, but simply checking a lookup table.
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