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      11-11-2012, 09:42 AM   #1
makkan00
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ICE upgrade with MS8, Audison LRX 6.9, Morels Hybrid Ovation II & Earthquakes / SWS8

Guys
I have posted it in UK section previously but posting it here as well.
It may help few people out there.

Although some of it has been already done but few things may be new for some forum members. So here you go:

STAGE 1

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.


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;

JBL MS-8

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.


Technical details:
Allocation of channels on MS8:
Ch1: FL
Ch2: FR
Ch3: L Sub
Ch4: R sub
Ch5: RL
Ch6: RR
Ch7: Central
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.


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.
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      11-11-2012, 09:43 AM   #2
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Stage 2: JL 10W7 with JL Slash 500/1 v2 DLS R4 and Focal 100CA

STAGE 2




After finishing stage 1, Rudz was happy for few days. That happiness finished soon when he compared his sound system to his partner’s Merc sound system. Comments were ‘lack of bass’ in the sound system.
MS-8 is brilliant piece of kit especially with its built-in amp. But there are few well know issues around limiting bass. To get best out of MS-8, you will have to calibrate MS-8, re-calibrate with different settings and keep doing it till you find the ‘correct sound’ for yourself. Definition of ‘correct sound’ may vary from person to person depending on their taste of music and what they want to hear in their music.

So to improve Rudz’s sound system, I met him to discuss it further.

Here are few things which were raised;
1- Front sound stage and Morels were ‘harsh’. I asked Rudz the meaning of harshness. Rudz wanted Treble lowered and central speaker to be relatively quieter.
2- Lack of bass
3- Sound not ‘cohesive’. Rudz tried his best to explain this to me and he wanted more SQ in his sound. On RTA of iphone’s JL application, all frequencies were present and there was not major gap. I tested his sound system with different sound tracks and found that central L7 mid was soft clipping. Moreover rear L7 mids were ‘reasonable’ but not great.

I calibrated MS-8 with slightly different xover settings considering ‘abilities’ of SWS-8s and it sounded slightly better.

As mentioned earlier, Rudz has premium taste of sound and he wants ‘excellent’ drivers in his car. I have suggested him to change the rears and central with Vibe slick 4, but Rudz wanted better drivers than that.
So Rudz selected

DLS R4 components for rears

Focal 100CA1 co-axial for central speaker

JL 10W7 Sub

JL Amp 500/1 V2

JL Audio RBC-1

Corner Sub enclosure

0 gauge Wire with distributor block and 4 gauge wires for Audison amp and JL Amp


All of it and Rudz’s car was left with me.

I started working on Morels first. Morel’s crossovers are set to 0db attenuation for tweeters from factory. As they were harsh for Rudz despite of reducing treble from HU, therefore I set it to +3 db for calibration purposes. And plan was to set them to -3 after calibration to keep tweeters soft.

Here are few photos:
Factory Settings

+3 db attenuation before calibration

-3 db attenuation after calibration


Results: Yes it worked and Tweeters created ‘soft’ sound compared to previous sound. Afterwards, I had to increase the treble settings to +2 on the HU to get meaningful but clear treble out of front mids.

Next task was to replace the central mid. As for L7, we added BMW OEM clip during stage 1 upgrade, therefore we had to add the other side of OEM clip for Focal co-axial.

Few photos:





Next was to fit DLS4 components in the back. My worries were
1- Can tweeters be fitted under the grill without drilling new holes for tweeters / tweeter housings?
2- Where will I fit crossovers?

On specification sheets DLS4 co-axials are same as components and they save the worries of fitting tweeters and crossovers. BUT Rudz had already ordered components, so I had to find a way to fit these and overcome the above two hurdles.

After removing the housing of tweeters, they sat in the medial corner of speaker area without drilling new holes. That was great and I used Velcro to keep them there.

Now, crossovers......? Where should I fit these considering these were bulky?

During some experimentation on my sound system for I.B setup, I discovered that BMW has left some space next to central belt housing. I assume BMW engineers had to leave that space so that central belt housing can sit there.

With some experimentation, I fitted the crossovers in that space. I had to pass all the wiring from speaker regions to that central space and fit the crossovers there.

Connecting the crossovers:


Hiding the crossovers:


This space was closed by necessary means so that crossovers do not drop from here.

And here is the photo of DLS components after fitting


Now comes the task of fitting 10W7 in corner enclosure. We were worried about the corner enclosure coming out of that area on sharp cornering. After studying the contours of the enclosure and surrounding, I created a safety lock for corner enclosure:


And fitted and locked corner enclosure looked liked this:

It was most difficult task due to strength of enclosure. Drilling it and fitting screws were mission impossible.

After fitting the enclosure:




If you read the Rudz stage 1, the back of rear seat was filled by MS-8 and Audison amp.

Shall I relocate MS-8 somewhere else or shall I fit JL amp at other place?

Considering the size of Audison amp and JL amp, it was not physically viable to fit both at the back of rear seat. So I had to fit JL amp somewhere else.
After little bit of experimentation, I took out the skin of storage below the boot tray. JL amp sat there nicely. I had to network all the wirings including JL bass boost remote around that region.

Velcro used to secure JL amp




Some calibration, recalibration and tweaking was done to get optimal ‘SQ’ out of this sound system.

I was told that sound deadening would not work in the trunk. I wanted to try this out as Mega suggested it worked (from his past experience).

After listening to sound without sound deadening, I started applying Dynamat Extreme.

It was applied at the back of sub enclosure and on the boot lid.



It had made significant improvement. Rattling was minimal after applying dynamat extreme.

And final setup looked like this



Setting up decent sound system take couple of hours and yes it took whole morning to tweak and get ‘brilliant’ sound out of this system.

Few notes on what I have learnt:
(These are personal opinions and not hard and fast rule)

-L7 components are good but not excellent. During sound stage 1, central L7 was ‘limiting factor’ for the front sound stage.

- DLS4 components are brilliant. Comparing it to Morel Hybrids, treble was more pronounced and these were ‘warm’. Bass was better compared to Morel Hybrids IMO, however Morel Hybrid crossovers give you more flexibility. Considering price of both, I would go for DLS4 any day.

-JL amp bass boost controller controls only bass boost and does not control the gains of sub amplifier. On minimum settings, you will still have bass but not boosted.

-Corner Enclosure worked better than sealed / ported enclosures that I have used in the past. Possibility is that you get more lateral space in the trunk for the sound to travel and as ears are laterally placed in our body, therefore bass sounds better. It is my assumption of lateral sound displacement and lateral recipient (ears) which sounds better compared to front / rear positioned subs.

- Addition of sound deadening material to trunk helps reducing the rattling. It DOES WORK, though some rattling will still remain there due to reg plate, CD changer box handle and rear tail lights.

-Settings for MS-8 depend on your components. You cannot always set it as suggested in many threads. You will have to find optimal crossover settings which work best for your drivers. I am not a great fan of DSP but there are two benefits of MS8 which are hard to beat. Logic 7 (front staging) and built in amplifier. If you like to listen to your music as if you are in a concert, then this is for you. Otherwise look somewhere else.


Now what can I say about this sound system.
‘It sounded 3-5 times better compared to last time’. Emphasis was more on SQ and we got excellent results here.

Certainly, this car has one of most expensive equipment in the whole UK and it sounds 'Just Awsome.'
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      11-11-2012, 11:34 AM   #3
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Good job. I could have told you from the start that the L7 mid in the center was not going to work. There definitely needs to be a tweeter there, that's why I recommend adding the L7 tweeter (if you are starting out with the L7 system). If you're upgrading from base or HiFi, makes sense to put in a coaxial from the start. One bottleneck your customer still has are the SWS "subs". There is a midbass hole they just can't fill. I highly recommend putting in some good midbass drivers, it makes a HUGE different.

Lastly, especially when you have a "pieced together" system like that, then level setting between the different MS-8 channels becomes even more crucial. It is also very important to find the right balance between amp gains and noise floor, as the MS-8's output voltage is definitely on the lower side.

Edit to add: Once your customer has worthy midbass drivers, you may want to look at doing the "kaigoss" mod as it is VERY difficult otherwise to get the midbass and sub to both play to their full potential and work together seamlessly.
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      11-11-2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
Good job. I could have told you from the start that the L7 mid in the center was not going to work. There definitely needs to be a tweeter there, that's why I recommend adding the L7 tweeter (if you are starting out with the L7 system). If you're upgrading from base or HiFi, makes sense to put in a coaxial from the start. One bottleneck your customer still has are the SWS "subs". There is a midbass hole they just can't fill. I highly recommend putting in some good midbass drivers, it makes a HUGE different.

Lastly, especially when you have a "pieced together" system like that, then level setting between the different MS-8 channels becomes even more crucial. It is also very important to find the right balance between amp gains and noise floor, as the MS-8's output voltage is definitely on the lower side.

Edit to add: Once your customer has worthy midbass drivers, you may want to look at doing the "kaigoss" mod as it is VERY difficult otherwise to get the midbass and sub to both play to their full potential and work together seamlessly.
Kaigoss
On your recommendation, we have added co-axial in the centre and it made a huge difference.

You are very correct about MS-8 output and setting gains. I am glad that after tweaking and tweaking I found the correct balance.

On your mid bass note, yes that is correct. I have also applied Kaigoss mod to get better midbass and it helped a little.

Here is RTA of this sound system:
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      11-21-2012, 11:12 AM   #5
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How did that W7 sound in that box...? only reason I ask is because they work at full potential in a 1.25 cuft sealed enclosure (plus speaker displacement and bracing) and I can't see that being much more than 0.75? They are really fussy subwoofers...

I can't see that JL App on an iphone giving you a very accurate analysis of a system being the iphone microphone probably costs 2p to make where as a proper RTA mic costs about £200.... But i guess it gives you a guide!

Why was a center speaker added? this is a cheating way of getting a center stage and actually ruins stereo SQ.
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      11-21-2012, 02:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kleis Car Audio View Post
How did that W7 sound in that box...? only reason I ask is because they work at full potential in a 1.25 cuft sealed enclosure (plus speaker displacement and bracing) and I can't see that being much more than 0.75? They are really fussy subwoofers...

I can't see that JL App on an iphone giving you a very accurate analysis of a system being the iphone microphone probably costs 2p to make where as a proper RTA mic costs about £200.... But i guess it gives you a guide!

Why was a center speaker added? this is a cheating way of getting a center stage and actually ruins stereo SQ.
I had W7 fitted in ported enclosure for my car. It was rubbish. I have gone for IB this time.
And for Rudz, we fitted in that corner enclosure.
It sounds fantastic in corner enclosure and luckily that enclosure did the job.


You are correct about iphone RTA, but I do not have expensive equipment to play with

Centre speaker was added as Rudz wanted front stage sound and near to live performance sound.
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      11-21-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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Makkan not sure if you're referring to me but when i said sound deadning would not reduce rattles enough we were talking about a sealed box in the boot/trunk. A corner enclosure is different.
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      11-21-2012, 04:26 PM   #8
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Oh yeah, good to know this has worked out well
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      11-24-2012, 03:44 PM   #9
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great read...

does the W7 produce a lot of vibration/rattling of the trunk now?
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      11-24-2012, 04:03 PM   #10
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great read...

does the W7 produce a lot of vibration/rattling of the trunk now?

I have tried sealed, ported, corner and IB methods.


Best results are with corner enclosures or IB. Minimal rattling and clean bass.
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      11-24-2012, 04:20 PM   #11
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so I take in then there is very little if any... thanks for the info.
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      11-24-2012, 04:23 PM   #12
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so I take in then there is very little if any... thanks for the info.

Sorry mate. forgot to mention that IB and corner enclosure had least rattling.
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      11-24-2012, 04:56 PM   #13
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Sorry mate. forgot to mention that IB and corner enclosure had least rattling.
Its , I inferred it
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      11-25-2012, 07:29 PM   #14
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Hello makkan00, what sort of feedback would you give on the Focal centre? I am planning to buy 3 pair of them, one for centre, one for rear door card and one for rear parcel shelf, all of them will be amped. Good idea? They will replace existing stock logic 7 mids.
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      11-25-2012, 07:32 PM   #15
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dope!
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      11-25-2012, 08:54 PM   #16
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cool install ive been a big fan of focal/jl myself! .. maybe i missed it in here somewhere but was your car originally a logic 7 and then you coded it to hi fi? Im doing a system soon and have logic7 and have been trying to figure out where to tap audio signal and someone suggested recode to hi fi and bypass l7 amp. Was wondering if thats what you did.
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      11-26-2012, 07:19 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mp1472
cool install ive been a big fan of focal/jl myself! .. maybe i missed it in here somewhere but was your car originally a logic 7 and then you coded it to hi fi? Im doing a system soon and have logic7 and have been trying to figure out where to tap audio signal and someone suggested recode to hi fi and bypass l7 amp. Was wondering if thats what you did.
Thats correct way, unless you want to add mobridge da2 with logic 7 configuration.
Otherwise hi-fi coding the way to go.

P.s:
Car in this thread has base sound system.
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      11-26-2012, 07:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Hello makkan00, what sort of feedback would you give on the Focal centre? I am planning to buy 3 pair of them, one for centre, one for rear door card and one for rear parcel shelf, all of them will be amped. Good idea? They will replace existing stock logic 7 mids.
Afsar, they are Okish but not great.
Go for DLS co-axials at the rear. They are really good.
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      11-26-2012, 09:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Afsar, they are Okish but not great.
Go for DLS co-axials at the rear. They are really good.
Do you know any1 who sells those in the UK?
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      11-26-2012, 12:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makkan00 View Post
Afsar, they are Okish but not great.
Go for DLS co-axials at the rear. They are really good.
Do you know any1 who sells those in the UK?
Afsar, shoot a pm to Rudz and he will hook you with the seller.
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      11-27-2012, 06:03 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Afsar, shoot a pm to Rudz and he will hook you with the seller.
Are you favouring DLS better because of its high sensitivity and can be driven direct from ms-8 or generally as well? I am going to amp all my speakers, so high sensitivity is not really a concern for me.
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      11-27-2012, 07:26 AM   #22
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makkan00 View Post
Afsar, shoot a pm to Rudz and he will hook you with the seller.
Are you favouring DLS better because of its high sensitivity and can be driven direct from ms-8 or generally as well? I am going to amp all my speakers, so high sensitivity is not really a concern for me.
Afsar
I am not favouring them because of their high sensitivity but overall they are brilliant.
Woofers are excellent and so the tweeters.

In the car above, all drivers were amped.

If it was my car I would also use them as front speakers.
Since it is your car and you are amping all, choose what you like.
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