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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > AUDIO/VIDEO + BLUETOOTH + Electronics/Alarm/Software > Experts please comment on the below upgrade below I pull the trigger



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      08-28-2010, 04:48 AM   #1
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Experts please comment on the below upgrade below I pull the trigger

2010 E90 LCI 325i Asia spec (2.5L 218hp Engine) with:
* IDrive
* Ipod USB
* Hifi Speaker (10 speaker)

Not at all happy with the stock setup. My last car (pre LCI E90 335i with Hifi) had the same setup and I upgraded the speakers to these custom speakers which were modified Arc KAR speakers for e90 (only available in Japan) which made things bearable.

Now I am in Hong Kong and spoke to an installer who seemed to know quite a bit, however I have seen some experts hanging out here with lots of experience so I want to run by the proposed setup before I pull the trigger. I don't want any cutting etc. and want a very stock looking setup. Budget was about 2-3k USD and want a substantial upgrade over even the Logic7/HK system.

I am looking for a clean sounding system without overloaded bass. Listen to all types of music. Don't want a big sub in the trunk or any custom enclosure of any kind.

Here it is:
1. Speaker--Morel or Focal. Dealer is leaning towards K2 100KRS (2 pairs). According to dealer, these are the only 2 factory fit speakers that he has.

2. Amp--He said I have many choices, but he recommends JL Audio JL 300/4

3. DSP--He recommended one of the below:
- Audio Control LC7 (low end)
- Helix AFC-2000 (mid level)
- JL Clean Sweep CL441DSP (ideal)

4. He wants to keep the underseat woofers stock and let the factory amp drive them for now. If I want he can upgrade them later. This sounds fine to me, because the mids and highs are now what is really lacking, however, if the bass is too muddy that may ruin everything.

5. Do I need to have #3 (DSP)? Is it required for successful installation or is it for equalization? Is it a nobrainer to get the best DSP or can I skimp here? I do understand the need for good amp/speakers, but my knowledge in DSP is very limited as is my experience with the requirement for eq/correction inside an E90.

6. The guys is open to installing the amp/dsp in the rear as I want it. Do you guys have any recommended layout like rear of the backseat or under rear shelf (upside down). don't want to install on trunk floor because I need to use the trunk. Any pics or link to images would be very helpful

Total cost is almost 3k including installation. This is a bit more than I wanted to spend, but if it will come out to better than Logic 7/HK Surrounds than I'll go for it.

He seems to have access to many manufacter's stuff, so in the same price range, if you think I should go with a different brand/model, please let me know. My car arrives in 2 weeks so I have time to get him to order different stuff or ask around other places.

For reference, my home stereo is based on B&W 800 series/Arcam receiver/Velo DD subwoofer and I consider that a good system.
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      08-28-2010, 07:29 AM   #2
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My advice:

2 x Rainbow Sound Line in the front or OEM L7 drivers
1 x Center channel coax from Individual Audio System (need center channel trim from dealer)
1 x JBL MS-8 Processor
1 x 2-Channel digital amp (JL or Alpine)

Leave the OEM speakers in the back alone as they do not contribute to the front sound stage, just the ambient sound level. Let the MS-8 power all speakers, except the underseat woofers. Total cost for the equipment should be less than $2000 and it will absolutely blow away the system your shop quoted you.
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      08-28-2010, 08:52 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
My advice:

2 x Rainbow Sound Line in the front or OEM L7 drivers
1 x Center channel coax from Individual Audio System (need center channel trim from dealer)
1 x JBL MS-8 Processor
1 x 2-Channel digital amp (JL or Alpine)

Leave the OEM speakers in the back alone as they do not contribute to the front sound stage, just the ambient sound level. Let the MS-8 power all speakers, except the underseat woofers. Total cost for the equipment should be less than $2000 and it will absolutely blow away the system your shop quoted you.
What you are suggesting atleast in terms of speakers is to use drivers from 3 different manufacturers (individual center, rainbow fronts, and oem rears). I don't think I will do something as haphazard as that...
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      08-28-2010, 09:04 AM   #4
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What you are suggesting atleast in terms of speakers is to use drivers from 3 different manufacturers (individual center, rainbow fronts, and oem rears). I don't think I will do something as haphazard as that...
well your suggestion was to use 2 different manufacturers so not much better

good luck trying to find one brand who makes mids, tweeters, and the underseat subs.
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      08-28-2010, 09:48 AM   #5
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well your suggestion was to use 2 different manufacturers so not much better

good luck trying to find one brand who makes mids, tweeters, and the underseat subs.
That is not quite true.

1) It wasn't my suggestion, but the shops.

2) In the original post, the tweeters and the mids are all of the same brand. My knowledge of home theater tells me that all tweeters are the most difficult to match across manufacturers. Mids are easer and for woofers, it doesn't even matter. However, for the same type of drivers (tweeter/mid/woofer) its never a good idea to mix. I would think the same applies to car audio, but I may be mistaken. I have yet to hear any good setup (factory or custom) that mixes tweeters from different brands because every manufacturer has a 'house sound'.

3) In any case, I don't have access to individual coax center speaker in hong kong so I cannot go for such a system.
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      08-28-2010, 10:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akhter View Post
1. Speaker--Morel or Focal. Dealer is leaning towards K2 100KRS (2 pairs). According to dealer, these are the only 2 factory fit speakers that he has.
I strongly prefer Morel here.

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Originally Posted by akhter View Post

2. Amp--He said I have many choices, but he recommends JL Audio JL 300/4
That amp works. You do have many choices. Not sure that's the best value, but it works.

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Originally Posted by akhter View Post
3. DSP--He recommended one of the below:
- Audio Control LC7 (low end)
- Helix AFC-2000 (mid level)
- JL Clean Sweep CL441DSP (ideal)
WRONG WRONG WRONG.

A) The Clean Sweep is NOT ideal for a HiFi car. Literally, if you use a 300/4 in a HiFi car, which has flat outputs from the HU, and you can run those straight into a 300/4, the CS does you no good AT ALL. It has no user controls. Make sure this guy isn't using the outputs of the HiFi amp. If he isn't, if he's using the HU outputs, there's no reason to use an LC7 at all.

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Originally Posted by akhter View Post

4. He wants to keep the underseat woofers stock and let the factory amp drive them for now. If I want he can upgrade them later. This sounds fine to me, because the mids and highs are now what is really lacking, however, if the bass is too muddy that may ruin everything.
He's not impressing me.

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5. Do I need to have #3 (DSP)? Is it required for successful installation or is it for equalization? Is it a nobrainer to get the best DSP or can I skimp here? I do understand the need for good amp/speakers, but my knowledge in DSP is very limited as is my experience with the requirement for eq/correction inside an E90.
You can skimp here. You'll want it later, but what you will want is something with good user control (bitone?) or great auto adjust (MS-8). The MS-8 has not been introduced internationally as yet AFAIK (Sept?)

My recommendation is (using what he seems to be able to get), the Morel Hybrid Ovation, ADMW9, HD900/5, and something to bandpass the underseat midbasses (which is another benefit of a good processor with flexible controls and features, which leaves out the CleanSweep). If you can't get underseats that fit, you can power the underseats with aftermarket power as long as you bandpass them at 50 Hz or so (and most amps don't have bandpass crossovers built in).

Most "brands" don't make their own tweeters anyway, guys. @ OP - He made a good suggestion, and it was far less haphazard that that mongrel system you posted up here - it would have kicked that system's butt. Take your free advice and smile, buddy
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      08-28-2010, 11:16 AM   #7
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Thanks for that. So I understand :

1) do you mean 2 pairs of morel ovation and a single admw9 since you mention a 4+1 ch amp?

2) He said he can get something for underseat from focal but I don't remember which model

3) what is bandpass? Do you mean the stock under seats can't go below 50 without rattling so need to block those freqs?

4) what are some other good vale amps I should look at?
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      08-28-2010, 11:41 AM   #8
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Do what you want, but with a processor like the MS-8, mixing drivers is not an issue. If you don't want to take the free advice from people who know these cars much better than your shop ever will, then go ahead and spend your $3k but don't come running back here afterwards asking us how to fix it...
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      08-28-2010, 12:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
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1) do you mean 2 pairs of morel ovation and a single admw9 since you mention a 4+1 ch amp?
No, the ADMW9 is a pair-set with shallow 9" drivers for underseat. Are you planning on a trunk sub? If not, go with Earthquake SWS-8 or the Morels.

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Originally Posted by akhter View Post
2) He said he can get something for underseat from focal but I don't remember which model
I'd like to hear it I don't think they make one that fits...

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Originally Posted by akhter View Post

3) what is bandpass? Do you mean the stock under seats can't go below 50 without rattling so need to block those freqs?
I thought you were using a trunk sub. My apologies if I misunderstood. I couldn't even consider using a 300/4 on front and rear and the stock amp on the stock woofers, as the only source of bass.

If you are using the stock woofers on an aftermarket amp, they don't do as well below 50 and can fail. I don't recommend using the stock woofers with an aftermarket amp UNLESS you are using them as midbass with a trunk sub.

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Originally Posted by akhter View Post

4) what are some other good vale amps I should look at?
The JL XD series should be considered. An XD 600/6 will fit in place of your HiFi amp and accept the balanced HU output signals, and run cooler than a 300/4. You could use one of those to power fronts, rears, and underseats in a basic system, which would far outperform the HiFi stock system.

The Arc Mini 125.4 is also good.

See if you can get:

- JL XD600/6
- Morel Dotech or Hybrid Ovation 4" components in the front
- Morel Integra Ovation 4" point source in the rear
- Earthquake SWS8 or Morel ADMW9 underseat


Or
- JL 600/6
- Rainbow Sound Line 210.25 4 in front
- Rainbow Sound Line 100KX 4" coax in rear
- Same woofers as above

If you are on a budget, leave the rears alone, get the best fronts you can, and new underseat woofers, and a 4-channel (JL XD 4-channel or Arc 125.4 are small options).
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      08-28-2010, 08:24 PM   #10
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Thanks, VPE, this has been extremely helpful. Based on your suggestion and a little bit of research, I will attempt to price the below:


Option 1 (original for reference)
Focal 100KRS
JL 300/2
JL Cleen Sweep CL441dsp

Option 2
Arc KD 900.6
Morel Hybrid Ovation 4
Morel Integra Ovation 4
Morel ADMW SW 9

Option 3
JL XD 600/6
Morel Dotech Ovation 4
Morel Temp 4C
Morel Elate SW 9

Option 4
JL XD 600/6
Focal 100KRS
Focal 100CVX
Morel ADMW SW 9

Option 5
Soundstream STL6.620 Amp
Rainbow Sound Line 210.25 4 Comp
Rainbow Sound Line 100KX 4" Coax
Earthquake SWS8

a) For the underseats, I am open to anything they have that will fit.

b) Let me know if anything is glaringly wrong.

c) Will go for a 6ch amp. any others I should look into?

d) 2 way front and coax rear from same manufacturer

d) no DSP

e) anywhere I can get a harness that plugs into factory amp socket so I don't have to cut wires?

f) what is the ideal location to mount the amp and front crossovers? upside down under rear shelf?
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      08-28-2010, 09:17 PM   #11
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I would lose the Soundstream. Have no data indicating it can accept balanced signals.

You seem to be making up your own systems. As has been said before, do what you want. You ask for advice and then change things around, so good luck to you.

I recommended things that I know work. I'm not going to chase every idea you have, though.

I mentioned where the amp goes. The crossovers often go under the trunk floor in the tray. If your installer know your cars you'd be farther along.
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      08-28-2010, 10:16 PM   #12
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I would lose the Soundstream. Have no data indicating it can accept balanced signals.

You seem to be making up your own systems. As has been said before, do what you want. You ask for advice and then change things around, so good luck to you.

I recommended things that I know work. I'm not going to chase every idea you have, though.

I mentioned where the amp goes. The crossovers often go under the trunk floor in the tray. If your installer know your cars you'd be farther along.
I didn't understand you before. I guess what you meant was the 600/6 will fit in the same physical location as the factory HiFi amp. In that case, that really is the ideal amp and I won't look further. I was looking for other 6ch amps just so that there is some alternatives but doesn't look like it so the JL is it. All the speakers are ones you mentioned. The crossovers under the trunk tray is another good tip--thanks for that.

Please bear with me--I may be expert in home theater but my knowledge is car audio is obviously lacking which is why I am asking for advice. I just want to go to the AV guy with some options because he may not have all the above.
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      08-29-2010, 04:48 AM   #13
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I mentioned where the amp goes. The crossovers often go under the trunk floor in the tray.
One noob question for my own curiosity--if the front door speakers are wired in parallel from factory, and I get components with a crossover box (like the morels), in order to use the factory wiring will I need to place the crossovers inside the front door? If I place them in the trunk floor, I'll have to run a set of wires to the front door speakers right?
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      09-01-2010, 02:05 AM   #14
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Update from the installer:

1. Speaker options:
Option 1
Focal 100KRS fronts
Focal 100CVX rears

Option 2+100 USD from option 1
Morel Dotech Ovation 4 fronts
Morel Temp 4C rears

Option 3+400 USD from option 2
Morel Hybrid Ovation 4 fronts
Morel Integra Ovation 4 rears

2. Underseats
Moreal ADMW SW6. He is saying SW9 will not fit. I can get him to order SW9, but question is it an easy fit or is there anything special? Any pics? Do they fit in the box where the factory woofers go? EDIT:Got my answer here.

3. Amp
JL 500/5 or 300/4+250/1 (+ 50 USD for 500/5). He wants to run both underseats with a single mono amp. About XD 600/6 it is not yet in HK (will come in October), but saying since its class D, the SQ will not be good as the A/B ones.

4. DSP
According to him, with out cleansweep, he cannot guarrantee good sound. He can install but won't vouch for quality. I can suggest to him that we try without it first, and only add if SQ is not there.

Thoughts?
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      09-01-2010, 04:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akhter View Post
Update from the installer:

1. Speaker options:
Option 1
Focal 100KRS fronts
Focal 100CVX rears

Option 2+100 USD from option 1
Morel Dotech Ovation 4 fronts
Morel Temp 4C rears

Option 3+400 USD from option 2
Morel Hybrid Ovation 4 fronts
Morel Integra Ovation 4 rears

2. Underseats
Moreal ADMW SW6. He is saying SW9 will not fit. I can get him to order SW9, but question is it an easy fit or is there anything special? Any pics? Do they fit in the box where the factory woofers go?

3. Amp
JL 500/5 or 300/4+250/1 (+ 50 USD for 500/5). He wants to run both underseats with a single mono amp. About XD 600/6 it is not yet in HK (will come in October), but saying since its class D, the SQ will not be good as the A/B ones.

4. DSP
According to him, with out cleansweep, we cannot guarrantee good sound. He can install but wont' vouch for quality. I can suggest to him that we try without it first, and only add if SQ is not there.

Thoughts?
Sounds like he knows nothing about working on your particular car. I would move on to someone else who knows what they are doing. You don't want to be his virgin install.
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      09-01-2010, 07:02 AM   #16
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Sounds like he knows nothing about working on your particular car. I would move on to someone else who knows what they are doing. You don't want to be his virgin install.
Crap that is what I was starting to think as well. He was recommended by the JL Audio distributer in HK.
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      09-01-2010, 07:16 AM   #17
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I think it is obvious that the real experts are here on this board and have already shown you the path forward. Now you just need to buy the equipment and pay someone to install it.
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      09-01-2010, 11:11 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Crap that is what I was starting to think as well. He was recommended by the JL Audio distributer in HK.
Unfortunately,

A) That only means he moves product.

B) JL makes little that fits our cars, so they aren't that informed.
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      09-01-2010, 11:15 AM   #19
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Quote:
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One noob question for my own curiosity--if the front door speakers are wired in parallel from factory, and I get components with a crossover box (like the morels), in order to use the factory wiring will I need to place the crossovers inside the front door? If I place them in the trunk floor, I'll have to run a set of wires to the front door speakers right?
I would never place passive crossovers in the trunk. Keep them as close to the speakers they will be feeding as possible. I would also consider running new wire from the amp to the door speakers. If you're spending that much on better components, don't leave the OEM wiring as the weak link.
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      09-01-2010, 11:27 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I would never place passive crossovers in the trunk. Keep them as close to the speakers they will be feeding as possible. I would also consider running new wire from the amp to the door speakers. If you're spending that much on better components, don't leave the OEM wiring as the weak link.
And I regularly place the crossovers in the trunk. Placing them in the door subjects them to unneeded mechanical impact (door slamming), more humidity than they need to see (even with a vapor barrier), and worst of all, you can't get to the adjustments. If you have a crossover with one or two options, that may not be a big deal. If you have a crossover with 12 permutations, that may be a big deal.

The resistance of speaker wire - and yes, you do have to run new wire - is very low and will not change things enough to be a problem.

If you put the passive crossovers too close to the grounding bracket in the trunk, or some other sources of EMI, you can have RPM noise over the tweeters. Still not a reason to go into the doors.
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      09-01-2010, 12:06 PM   #21
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Quote:
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And I regularly place the crossovers in the trunk. Placing them in the door subjects them to unneeded mechanical impact (door slamming), more humidity than they need to see (even with a vapor barrier), and worst of all, you can't get to the adjustments. If you have a crossover with one or two options, that may not be a big deal. If you have a crossover with 12 permutations, that may be a big deal.

The resistance of speaker wire - and yes, you do have to run new wire - is very low and will not change things enough to be a problem.

If you put the passive crossovers too close to the grounding bracket in the trunk, or some other sources of EMI, you can have RPM noise over the tweeters. Still not a reason to go into the doors.
2nd. I've put crossover in the trunk and under the rear seats before. As long as you're not using 20AWG speaker wire, I don't see what the issue would be and like VP said, you keep the crossovers away from potential water and vibration damage. It also makes perfect sense when the source of power for the speaker is coming from an amp in the trunk.
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      09-01-2010, 06:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
If you put the passive crossovers too close to the grounding bracket in the trunk, or some other sources of EMI, you can have RPM noise over the tweeters. Still not a reason to go into the doors.
Where is the grounding bracket in the trunk?
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