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      09-29-2011, 03:51 AM   #617
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Well I am going to argue for the Alpine here.

A good quality system does not bother with the rear speakers at all.
What the Alpine does in just upgrading the fronts is the correct way of doing it, however, the system is not good enough to fill the cabin properly to get away with this.

All you are doing by adding more power to the rear is dragging the sound stage to the back of the car, decent systems never have rear speakers doing this, they may have some mids in teh back to add some rear fill, but there will be no tweeters or if there are they will be crossed over at around 3khz to make it fill the cabin without it dragging the sound back.
You want to achieve a sound that is across your dash, up on to the bonnet if done well, like a stage in front of you with every band member and instrument in their place.

Adding new speakers to the rear and amping them will not give you better results imho, your best bet now is buy a cheap digital 2 channel amp and some Earthquake subs, run them off the new amp and just let the Alpine look after the mids/tweeters.
This will fill the cabin then and would be a much better way to spend your money.
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      09-29-2011, 04:59 AM   #618
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mv57 View Post
The design is clear that it only alters the front speakers and in stereo.
Yes it does, but I'm just surprised at how unbalanced it makes it, ans surprised that a company like Alpine are happy to leave it like that. Like I say it's like half a system.

Quote:
It is by no way perfect but put against price, oem look and improvement from stock sound I think you may be placing your standards a bit too high.
Maybe, we all have our own opinions and standards. However, comparing this to other upgrades I've had in the past of similar price they have all been beter and given a more balanced sound.

Quote:
The standard phillips speakers are made from crap wafer thin paper and do sound pants but changing these alone will not help the imbalance. I can't remember what the output is on the alpine amp. the head units are around 20-40 watts, depending on head unit, i think without looking it up.

Barvarian speaker package would be an alternative. They change all vertical speakers.
Like I say, I'll see what it sounds like after the head unit replacement. I know it's going to be far from perfectly balanced, but hopefully much better than at present. If it's still really bad I'll have some new rear speakers. If it's still really bad after that I'll have to get a small amp for the rears, but I hope I don't have to go that far. I know it's never going to be perfect, and I'm not expecting that, but a bias of 95% front and 5% rear (and that's being generous) is just far too much imo.
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      09-29-2011, 05:07 AM   #619
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gIzzE View Post
Well I am going to argue for the Alpine here.

A good quality system does not bother with the rear speakers at all.
What the Alpine does in just upgrading the fronts is the correct way of doing it, however, the system is not good enough to fill the cabin properly to get away with this.

All you are doing by adding more power to the rear is dragging the sound stage to the back of the car, decent systems never have rear speakers doing this, they may have some mids in teh back to add some rear fill, but there will be no tweeters or if there are they will be crossed over at around 3khz to make it fill the cabin without it dragging the sound back.
You want to achieve a sound that is across your dash, up on to the bonnet if done well, like a stage in front of you with every band member and instrument in their place.

Adding new speakers to the rear and amping them will not give you better results imho, your best bet now is buy a cheap digital 2 channel amp and some Earthquake subs, run them off the new amp and just let the Alpine look after the mids/tweeters.
This will fill the cabin then and would be a much better way to spend your money.
Thanks for the advice. I'm really confused now as this conflicts the advice given by the 2 major audio centres in Sheffield

Will the earthquake subs fit in the space of the OEM ones? The other problem is that the sound from the rear is so poor quality that just the little bit that can be heard ruins the sound. Would I be better having the setup you suggest and then just having the fader set to front only?

How much difference would a new head unit make that has a more adjustable EQ? The business stereo only allows you to change bass and treble, so not much in the way of adjusting to get a good sound.

Finally, with the individual audio system I had in the M3 the 'volume' of the rear speakers was pretty similar to the front and that gave a nice full sound, so why would adding more power to the rears in my current car not have the same effect? I'm not arguing here, I'm just confused :/
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      09-29-2011, 05:29 AM   #620
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Despite what the car audio shops are telling you rear speakers are only good for rear fill, as gIzzE says maybe a bit of mid range. Take with a pinch of salt the advice of people who sell an item you are asking about!

I wouldn't have gone for the Alpine upgrade if I were looking to change out the HU. It's not a bad upgrade but you've hindered your upgrade paths now with that amp!

Have you considered a processor like the JBL MS8? By the time you've changed out the under seats for SWS8's and bought a mid level after market HU you'd probably have spent about the same as an MS8 would cost you.

You could ditch the Alpine amp, run everything off the MS8 using the under seats as mid bass and for a small amount more could add a centre channel as I did. If you want more bass add a discreet amped sub box in the boot. The MS8 probably doesn't put out quite as much power as the Alpine amp but trust me it would be much better owing to it's processing.

Full control, OE look, no issues and the MS8 will be easy to sell on afterwards or keep for your next car
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      09-29-2011, 05:47 AM   #621
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B33M3R View Post
Despite what the car audio shops are telling you rear speakers are only good for rear fill, as gIzzE says maybe a bit of mid range. Take with a pinch of salt the advice of people who sell an item you are asking about!

I wouldn't have gone for the Alpine upgrade if I were looking to change out the HU. It's not a bad upgrade but you've hindered your upgrade paths now with that amp!

Have you considered a processor like the JBL MS8? By the time you've changed out the under seats for SWS8's and bought a mid level after market HU you'd probably have spent about the same as an MS8 would cost you.

You could ditch the Alpine amp, run everything off the MS8 using the under seats as mid bass and for a small amount more could add a centre channel as I did. If you want more bass add a discreet amped sub box in the boot. The MS8 probably doesn't put out quite as much power as the Alpine amp but trust me it would be much better owing to it's processing.

Full control, OE look, no issues and the MS8 will be easy to sell on afterwards or keep for your next car
In an ideal world I wouldn't have gone the Alpine route either, but as I've said before it was a cash issue. BMW bunged the Alpine System on the car finance so am paying for it monthly. I don't have the available cash to spend circa 500 on a head unit (with bluetooth, steering wheel control and PDC adapters) and another 500 to spend on stereo upgrade. I need a head unit upgrade as only have single CD at the mo, so would like USB and bluetooth function. Many head units have been ruled out as have front loading usb, which is no good to me. Others have been ruled out as don't have removable faceplates, and others have been ruled out due to phone compatibility.

So the set up I have been able to go for has been restricted somewhat for the reasons already mentioned
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      09-29-2011, 06:01 AM   #622
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Or get one of the Helix DSP amps.

These are plug and play but change the EQ to flatten out the factory head units EQ and then boost it where it is really needed.

http://www.dynamicsounds.co.uk/helix...e-p-25215.html


However, you have the business head unit, which has a flat response compared to the professional, so you don't need anything too fancy to flatten out the frequency curve.


Also, just make sure the switch on the amp is set to Position 1, this will give the subs a little more umphhh.



Your individual system did have a lot of info going to the rears, but this was mainly because even that is not quite good enough to just have the fronts playing, so they used the rears to fill the cabin, a pretty good compromise.

Earthquakes are nearly drop in. You have to seal them in the oem cabinet. But trust me, I have been through this so many times on so many forums, every one resists and as soon as they have done it they all agree they should have done it far sooner.
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      09-29-2011, 06:06 AM   #623
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snerkler View Post
In an ideal world I wouldn't have gone the Alpine route either, but as I've said before it was a cash issue. BMW bunged the Alpine System on the car finance so am paying for it monthly. I don't have the available cash to spend circa 500 on a head unit (with bluetooth, steering wheel control and PDC adapters) and another 500 to spend on stereo upgrade. I need a head unit upgrade as only have single CD at the mo, so would like USB and bluetooth function. Many head units have been ruled out as have front loading usb, which is no good to me. Others have been ruled out as don't have removable faceplates, and others have been ruled out due to phone compatibility.

So the set up I have been able to go for has been restricted somewhat for the reasons already mentioned

You can't put another head unit on the Alpine amp.

The Alpines input sensitivity is a fixed gain using resistors, there is no way of matching an aftermarket head unit to that amp, you will fry it.

You may be able to switch the amp to line level, there are jumpers inside that do this, but you need to find out what the line level voltage is and then buy a head unit with the same voltage, you can't just shove 12v into a 3v input, you will melt it.

Your alpine is set up for your BMW head unit, it doesn't work with others.
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      09-29-2011, 06:17 AM   #624
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The MS8 has an 'Aux in' which you could run to underneath the armrest quite easily to the OE location, so you could plug your iPod straight in and keep your OE HU.

If you didn't want to use the Aux and go completely digital from the ipod, probably not going to notice a massive improvement for the money it would cost, there are options to extract the digital signal out of the iPod and feed this to the MS8.

I know you're saying money's an issue but at the same time you're asking about SWS8's and aftermarket HU's.

An aftermarket HU wont do much for your disappointment with the sound, the MS8 will. SWS8's won't sound good as a drop in replacement without a much more powerful amp, SWS8's alone will cost you around 250-275.

I'm suggesting a simple solution that would cost less? Just trying to help buddy
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      09-29-2011, 06:34 AM   #625
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MS-8 is 5-600 and you still need subs and an amp to drive them imho.

SWS8 subs are 220 delivered and a cheap amp off ebay will be 30-50.

The business head unit is not EQ'd.

If it were the professional I would say the MS-8 makes sense, but not as much with the business unit.
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      09-29-2011, 07:09 AM   #626
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gIzzE View Post
MS-8 is 5-600 and you still need subs and an amp to drive them imho.

SWS8 subs are 220 delivered and a cheap amp off ebay will be 30-50.

The business head unit is not EQ'd.

If it were the professional I would say the MS-8 makes sense, but not as much with the business unit.
He's saying he wants OE looks, iPod connectivity and to keep his steering wheel controls and parking sensors. He's also after better sound and mentioned the lack of user definable settings treble/balance etc. He's so far got OE under seats, recognized as being very good as mid bass, OE rears which will be fine for rear fill and Alpine components.

The Alpine amp is now his stumbling block.

Changing to an OE HU is going to cost at least 300 for anything worth having an also going to bring with it issues surrounding the Amp, parking sensors and steering wheel controls.

SWS8's of course will sound better but are going to be wasted on the Alpine amp or MS8 alone. I'm confident you will struggle to get them for less than 250 delivered unless you're looking at importing and hoping not to get caught with the import duty. A fair few shops advertise them but none actually have them in when you try and get them!

MS8 would sort all these sound issues and make all the speakers he has play nice with the added benefit of expandability for the future and transferable to other cars. He won't need another amp, of course it would be better if he did, but I'd wager it will sound better than what he has now straight out of the gate.

500- 600, install it yourself (providing he's got dexterity equal to or greater than a crab) with pretty much no other bits and pieces required.

Comparatively priced (if not cheaper) alternative to SWS8's and after market HU, portable and upgradable in the future.

Just a suggestion
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      09-29-2011, 07:37 AM   #627
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OK, so egg on face time. Been in the car again today and suddenly the sound is much better. Do speakers take time to 'bed in'? The sound is much richer and fuller now It's far from perfect, but is now certainly liveable with.

I'm now concerned about upgrading the head unit if it's going to fry the amp. Why has none of the audio shops I've been mentioned this? One of the ones I went to actually does all of the aftermarket work for Sytner Sheffield BMW, and has even fitted their Alpine system before

As for the AUX in suggestion, I have this already in the car, but it is not an ideal scenario for day to day driving having to faff with the iphone/ipod everytime you get in the car. Knowing me I'll forget to turn it off when I get out of the car. There's always the option of the BMW USB, but a retro fit is over 600 I could then go back to having a bluetooth headset.

I still can't believe that no-ones mentioned the compatibility issue with the alpine amp
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      09-29-2011, 07:59 AM   #628
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B33M3R View Post
He's saying he wants OE looks, iPod connectivity and to keep his steering wheel controls and parking sensors. He's also after better sound and mentioned the lack of user definable settings treble/balance etc. He's so far got OE under seats, recognized as being very good as mid bass, OE rears which will be fine for rear fill and Alpine components.

The Alpine amp is now his stumbling block.

Changing to an OE HU is going to cost at least 300 for anything worth having an also going to bring with it issues surrounding the Amp, parking sensors and steering wheel controls.

SWS8's of course will sound better but are going to be wasted on the Alpine amp or MS8 alone. I'm confident you will struggle to get them for less than 250 delivered unless you're looking at importing and hoping not to get caught with the import duty. A fair few shops advertise them but none actually have them in when you try and get them!

MS8 would sort all these sound issues and make all the speakers he has play nice with the added benefit of expandability for the future and transferable to other cars. He won't need another amp, of course it would be better if he did, but I'd wager it will sound better than what he has now straight out of the gate.

500- 600, install it yourself (providing he's got dexterity equal to or greater than a crab) with pretty much no other bits and pieces required.

Comparatively priced (if not cheaper) alternative to SWS8's and after market HU, portable and upgradable in the future.

Just a suggestion

I get what you're saying, but the business head unit is fine sound wise when amped properly and when you add the subs sounds pretty good.



I didn't want to say this before but I have heard the JBL MS-8 using just logic7 speakers and tweeters and didn't think it sounded try good at all.
I think you need to at least add a sub of some sort with it, and an amp to drive it.





Yeah speakers do bed in, but also check the switch position on the bottom of the amp.
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      09-29-2011, 08:01 AM   #629
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Originally Posted by snerkler View Post
I still can't believe that no-ones mentioned the compatibility issue with the alpine amp

It was mentioned that if you are going to swap head units you can't put the Alpine in, when you were asking in the other thread.
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      09-29-2011, 08:02 AM   #630
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Originally Posted by gIzzE View Post
I understand that, but if you are considering changing the head unit for something non oem then don't go Alpine.

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      09-29-2011, 08:03 AM   #631
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gIzzE View Post
I get what you're saying, but the business head unit is fine sound wise when amped properly and when you add the subs sounds pretty good.



I didn't want to say this before but I have heard the JBL MS-8 using just logic7 speakers and tweeters and didn't think it sounded try good at all.
I think you need to at least add a sub of some sort with it, and an amp to drive it.





Yeah speakers do bed in, but also check the switch position on the bottom of the amp.
They've hidden it pretty well to be honest, need to take out the boot internals.

So, now I have the Alpine Amp am I pretty stuck head unit wise? If I want USB is the BMW retro fit my only real option?

What exactly would happen if I fitted a different head unit, would it sound pants, or would the amp go bang/catch fire/not work?
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      09-29-2011, 08:17 AM   #632
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Couple of things.

Take out the oem head unit you will need to buy the following...

Steering wheel adapter which will give you switched 12v, illumination, speed pulse and get your head to work properly with the volume on the steering wheel.
May as well get this one as it is cheaper than the one without steering wheel control.

You then need a Parking adapter, this will route your parking sensor bleeps through your new stereo.
May not be needed on your business head unit, take the radio out and see if they ork before ordering.
And a fascia, I like the BMW myself, looks much nicer than the rest.

Total cost around 100.

Then the radio.



Your amp is expecting 12v at the moment.
You need to feed it 12v, feed it 8v and it will be very quiet, feed it more and you will get distortion.

You can switch the jumpers inside the amp to line level, you then run phono cables from your new head unit into the amp, think this is then expecting 2v. However you need to make sure the head unit is outputting 2v give it 5v and you will burn it out.
Wire it in as it is now, i.e. speaker level and feed 12v and you will do serious damage to the amp and probably the head unit too.

No offence here but you came on and asked us on here for advice, I have been doing these cars and nothing else but these for that last 7 years since the E60 came out, I gave you advice and you decided to ignore it all.
I have been where you are now, I have made the mistakes you are now making and it ended up costing me a fair chuck of money during my learning curve. I was trying to save you from wasting the money I wasted.

iPhone station would be my next route if I were you.
That will give you bluetooth and music.
That is if you use an iPhone of course.
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      09-29-2011, 08:17 AM   #633
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snerkler View Post
They've hidden it pretty well to be honest, need to take out the boot internals.

Just lift the booth floor up, it goes under there. Takes 5 seconds.
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      09-29-2011, 09:30 AM   #634
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gIzzE View Post
Couple of things.

Take out the oem head unit you will need to buy the following...

Steering wheel adapter which will give you switched 12v, illumination, speed pulse and get your head to work properly with the volume on the steering wheel.
May as well get this one as it is cheaper than the one without steering wheel control.

You then need a Parking adapter, this will route your parking sensor bleeps through your new stereo.
May not be needed on your business head unit, take the radio out and see if they ork before ordering.
And a fascia, I like the BMW myself, looks much nicer than the rest.

Total cost around 100.

Then the radio.



Your amp is expecting 12v at the moment.
You need to feed it 12v, feed it 8v and it will be very quiet, feed it more and you will get distortion.

You can switch the jumpers inside the amp to line level, you then run phono cables from your new head unit into the amp, think this is then expecting 2v. However you need to make sure the head unit is outputting 2v give it 5v and you will burn it out.
Wire it in as it is now, i.e. speaker level and feed 12v and you will do serious damage to the amp and probably the head unit too.
Thanks, very informative and helpful

Quote:
No offence here but you came on and asked us on here for advice, I have been doing these cars and nothing else but these for that last 7 years since the E60 came out, I gave you advice and you decided to ignore it all.
I have been where you are now, I have made the mistakes you are now making and it ended up costing me a fair chuck of money during my learning curve. I was trying to save you from wasting the money I wasted.
I didn't choose to ignore it. I've told you many times how much I appreciate your advice, and that unfortunately I could not afford to go down the route you suggested. The Alpine system on finance, and then an aftermarket head unit was the only option I could afford. I must admit, either I didn't read the post you refer to above, or I did and completely forgot, but I was not (or can't remember being) aware that the alpine amp would not accept other head units. I can only remember you warning me against the sound quality. Had I realised this/remembered this I may have gone down a different route, something like going completely aftermarket with the stereo and then getting a head unit next year at some point if finances permit. So to sum up, I did not ignore you, finances just dictated a different path. Would an alpine head unit not be compatible with the amp?

Quote:
iPhone station would be my next route if I were you.
That will give you bluetooth and music.
That is if you use an iPhone of course.
I am still considering this. This way everything will be OEM, and I won't have any warranty issues. The only downsides with this is the ugly clamp/holder, and having to connect my iphone up everytime I get in the car, but I guess in reality this is no different to fitting a removable faceplate. The joys of being a fussy bugger eh?
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      09-29-2011, 09:36 AM   #635
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Originally Posted by gIzzE View Post
Just lift the booth floor up, it goes under there. Takes 5 seconds.
They haven't put it there. They've put it down the side panel in the boot towards the rear seats on the drivers side, and it's not a part of the liner that clips out.
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      09-29-2011, 10:12 AM   #636
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gIzzE View Post
It was mentioned that if you are going to swap head units you can't put the Alpine in, when you were asking in the other thread.
I can't remember this. And I wasn't having a dig about anyone on here with this comment (which having re-read the post could have been taking this way), I meant I can't believe anyone from the audio centres hasn't mentioned this. So, sorry if offence was taken as the comment was directed at the lack of info from the audio centres I've visited
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      09-29-2011, 11:52 AM   #637
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snerkler View Post
They haven't put it there. They've put it down the side panel in the boot towards the rear seats on the drivers side, and it's not a part of the liner that clips out.

There is only one switch on the bottom of the amp, so maybe slide your hand down there and feel for it, then switch it while the amp is playing some music with some bass, a dance track is ideal.
Make sure the bass and treble is set to 0 on your head unit before doing it and listen to which switch position gives you the most bass, you want that one.

The latest instructions say pos 2 for business and pos 1 for professional, however that is only for cars after 9.2009, and I still found the sound much nicer with it set to pos 1 either way.



Also, I don't find the Alpine bad, just that I thought what you wanted to achieve could be done in a better way.


Regarding the iPhone Station, I think I would mount it under the trim on the dash, I did this with a Sony Nav-U unit.....





Much neater than having something screwed to your dash above the vent imho.
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      09-29-2011, 12:29 PM   #638
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gIzzE View Post
There is only one switch on the bottom of the amp, so maybe slide your hand down there and feel for it, then switch it while the amp is playing some music with some bass, a dance track is ideal.
Make sure the bass and treble is set to 0 on your head unit before doing it and listen to which switch position gives you the most bass, you want that one.

The latest instructions say pos 2 for business and pos 1 for professional, however that is only for cars after 9.2009, and I still found the sound much nicer with it set to pos 1 either way.



Also, I don't find the Alpine bad, just that I thought what you wanted to achieve could be done in a better way.


Regarding the iPhone Station, I think I would mount it under the trim on the dash, I did this with a Sony Nav-U unit.....





Much neater than having something screwed to your dash above the vent imho.
Looking at the fitting instructions I found it does appear that the fitment for the E9x is above the vents sticking out of the dash unfortunately. The fitting instructions can be found here in post #1 (I don't know how to post pdf's?)
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?p=10252367.

If you go to chapter 13 it gives you an idea of what it will look like, which I have to say doesn't look very nice imo, and nowhere near as neat as the E81 fitting in chapter 11.

That set up you have does look very neat though, I wonder why BMW haven't done something similar?
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