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      08-01-2010, 06:56 PM   #1
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Talking E92 high-end audio system installation - Genesis/Rainbow/Earthquake/Audison

Some of you might know that I am a self-confessed audiophile junkie and for the last year or so I've been trying to find the time to do a wholesale upgrade of the basic audio system in the E92. I was tired and frustrated with the low quality (to me) of the standard system and I desperately wanted to get it up to the standards that I needed.

There's been a huge amount of work done and the work has been undertaken in multiple stages. I can't go into everything as it would just be too much info, so the shortened (!) version is thus -

The standard system has four midrange drivers and two bass units underneath the front seats. There are no tweeters as most of you will know. The midrange units in the doors are 4" in diameter, but the main problem is the shallow depth of the door cavity. In reality, the maximum depth of a speaker unit can only be 50mm, without requiring some modifications and custom made mounting rings. Tweeters can be installed in the standard locations in the internal mirror cover, or they can be mounted on the A-pillar but that requires some major work.

The underseat subwoofers are a nominal 6" in diameter, although the aperture can fit an 8" subwoofer, with Earthquake making a direct-fit replacement (albeit requiring a 12mm MDF spacer ring to give enough clearance)

To interface into the OEM headunit, which normally only provides speaker-level outputs in the base configuration, I needed a DSP interface unit that would convert the signal to a line-level version suitable for the amplifiers. I also wanted a top quality 4-channel amplifier to power the front speakers and the new subwoofers. At this time I had decided to retain the standard rear speakers.

I had decided on using the following components -

Rainbow CS210 4" components (midrange and tweeters) for the front speakers
Earthquare SWS-8 2ohm subwoofers for the underseat locations
Rockford Fosgate 360.2 DSP
Diamond Audio D700 amplifier



All this lot was installed first time round as a temporary measure, just to see what it sounded like. And, if I'm honest, it was crap Too bright, a bit thin, no integration between the midrange and the underseat woofers. In fact, there was no integration anywhere at all. The setup just didn't work as I was intending and if anything the stock system sounded more complete. Infuriating to be honest!

I took the whole system over to a brilliant guy called Anil Woograsingh, who owns Creative Car Audio in Hornchurch, Essex. He's a one-man band with a small shop, a small area out back to do installations, and an awesome ear with the most spectacular eye for detail and care

He took a listen and agreed with me that the amplifier was probably the prime suspect for the thin and bright sound. He also thought the tweeter position in the OEM location was far too close to the seat and therefore too bright and direct with no sense of space or imagery.

We started playing around changing the amplifier to a Genesis amplifier, which immediately brought major dividends in sound quality. We also concluded that part of the problem was that we were still using the OEM amplifier built in to the iDrive unit. In effect, we were amplifying an already amplified signal, and a crappy one at that too. Consequently I got hold of Autologic and asked them to recode the vehicle order data on my car so that it was configured for the HiFi option (ie one up in the options list from the base hifi). The HiFi spec for the iDrive disables the internal amplifier and changes the speaker-level outputs into a line-level output at 5V, and a balanced differential output at that (which means there's no interference on the signal sent to the amplifier)

The front stage was still not right however so I started investigating how to improve the integration between the subs and the main speakers. I worked out that a bigger set of 5.25" speakers from Rainbow would fit diametrically, but were about 6mm too deep. Anil worked out that he could make a set of angled, shaped speaker rings that would push the midrange drivers into the cabin, keeping them in the standard location, and therefore would allow the drivers enough depth to fit in the door. When I mean fit, I really mean JUST fit - there's enough space on the passenger door to just slide a cigarette paper between the speaker and the dash! Anil also built the tweeters into the A-pillars, with a very neat bit of fibreglassing to make them look like factory

The underseat subs were resealed with a form of epoxy for an airtight seal, the original Rainbow 4" speakers I had bought relocated to the rear doors, and a whole new brace of amplifiers from Genesis installed with a new DSP unit from Audison for greater flexibility in configuration.

All the electronics and amplifiers were relocated to under the boot floor - surprisingly there's just enough space and height to allow for the Genesis amplifiers to be installed, without losing a single cubic centimetre of boot space

Final list of equipment -

Rainbow CS230 5.25" component speakers, front stage
2x Earthquake SWS-8 2Ohm subwoofers
Rainbow CS210 4" component speakers, rear stage
2x Genesis Dual Mono amplifiers (front stage, subwoofers)
1x Genesis Stereo 60 amplifier (rear stage)
Audison Bit One DSP unit


The result?? It sounds AMAZING Utterly detailed, clear and spacious, with a beautiful midrange sound that makes vocals just project out into the car. The bass is really good, not 12" sub deep perhaps, but because they are located under the front seats you can really hear every single bass note as clear as day. Even the rear passengers get a great sound with the 4" components located there.

I've directly compared the system in my car to a car with the top Individual system from BMW, and the sound in my car is just so much fuller and detailed. It's really night and day and being a music lover I'm really satisfied with how it's turned out

Of course, all this comes at an expense, and even if I just cut it down to the final system without the steps inbetween, the whole system is just shy of 3,500 for the components alone. Installation if it were done in one go would probably take three days, including the custom fibreglassing and tuning/setup of the system. I also took the opportunity to retrim the A/B/C pillars and headlining with black Alcantara Previously it was the standard SE grey cloth trim from BMW which I hated, and now it's just beautiful

So, an expensive install but looks OEM to the uninitiated, and sounds like a really top-end home hifi. Anil has done an utterly amazing job, and his eye to detail and the care and attention he lavishes meant that every single screw and clip has been correctly done up and replaced where necessary. There is not a single rattle from any of the panels he has taken out (and it's virtually the entire cabin!). I cannot recommend him highly enough. He can do everything from a cheap Parrot bluetooth installation to a full-blown custom glassfibre competition creation.

I'll be bringing the car to the London/Essex meet at Sytner Harold Wood on Sunday 8th August if anyone wants to come by for a listen

Pics below of the speakers and the retrim of the A-pillars (and steering wheel). You can see just how little space there is for the 5.25" speakers! I'll take a couple of pics of the boot install tomorrow so you can see how it all fits underneath the boot floor.

Links to the equipment as follows -

Anil Woograsingh - http://www.creativecaraudio.co.uk/

Genesis - http://www.genesiscaraudio.co.uk/
Rainbow - http://www.rainbow-car-audio.de/
Earthquake - http://www.earthquakesound.com/
Audison - http://www.audison.com/

B-Trim (retrim) - http://www.b-trim.co.uk


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      08-01-2010, 08:45 PM   #2
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That, dude, is impressive!

Interesting to see that 5.25" comps will fit with a bit of work - that must increase the range of possible options enormously. They look like they're mounted onto the door cards themselves - are the baffles between the door card and the skin itself?

Those A-pillar builds are lush fibreglassing is a skill I'd love to have. It looks like the tweeters are firing slightly towards the windscreen - no wonder that initial brightness has improved!

I'm intrigued by your comment about the change of amplifier - I'm not suggesting for a second that you're wrong, but the Richard Clarke Amplifier Challenge has been running for many years, offering a $10,000 prize to anyone who can actually tell two amplifiers apart under lab conditions. Nobody has yet claimed the prize

Genuinely pleased you're happy with it though - it's a big outlay, but as a fellow audiophile I understand the frustration with crappy ICE.
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      08-01-2010, 09:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by parapaul View Post
That, dude, is impressive!

Interesting to see that 5.25" comps will fit with a bit of work - that must increase the range of possible options enormously. They look like they're mounted onto the door cards themselves - are the baffles between the door card and the skin itself?

Those A-pillar builds are lush fibreglassing is a skill I'd love to have. It looks like the tweeters are firing slightly towards the windscreen - no wonder that initial brightness has improved!

I'm intrigued by your comment about the change of amplifier - I'm not suggesting for a second that you're wrong, but the Richard Clarke Amplifier Challenge has been running for many years, offering a $10,000 prize to anyone who can actually tell two amplifiers apart under lab conditions. Nobody has yet claimed the prize

Genuinely pleased you're happy with it though - it's a big outlay, but as a fellow audiophile I understand the frustration with crappy ICE.

The 5.25" fit, but needed quite a bit of work. The possibilities do increase, but not by as much as you think. You'll notice on the picture of the passenger door that there literally is no room for anything wider than that Rainbow midrange. I wouldn't be able to guarantee that a set of DLS midranges would fit - depth wise it would be fine, but if it's so much as 1mm wider in diameter (due to the grill or trim ring) then you're scuppered!

The mounting itself was tricky too - first a little bit of the door card (in towards the cabin) had to be nibbled away to allow enough clearance in front of the dash. Anil then made a set of wedged (angled) teardrop shaped baffles to a) mount the speakers off the door card and b) angle the speakers into the cabin. The OEM speakers you will notice angle into the dashboard and have a hard time projecting into the cabin. The baffles Anil made slip underneath the leather, on top of the door card, and therefore are invisible to the eye but work wonders in positioning and strengthening of the door cards.

The A-pillar builds are beautiful. Yes, we fired the tweeters into the windscreen a little to create more of a soundstage and to lose a bit of the initial brightness. When I finally trim the dashboard in Alcantara that will help even more to control the treble.

I personally can definitely tell the difference between amplifiers. I have done all my life, being brought up as a musician, and can easily point out the timbre and characteristic of each different amplifier. Class D digital amplifiers are harder to distinguish, but it can still be done. I have ears attuned for this particular skill set!
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      08-02-2010, 01:47 AM   #4
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Nice write-up Tone

I bet the Village People never sounded so good

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      08-02-2010, 03:37 AM   #5
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those midrange do look like a tight fit - really like the tweeter install looks great
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      08-02-2010, 07:44 AM   #6
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Tone,

will love to see and hear this on Sunday!! As you know I used Anil to remove my install from my E46, great chap as you kindly recommended. He asked why I came from Chelmsford as there is a Grandmaster 4 in my home town....anyway we got talking about you and your install, making the custom a pillar speaker housings etc. It sounded so detailed and thorough and I love details.

Great that you've got a 5v signal to go into the amp

Intro to 'Money for nothing' by Dire Straits should sound amazing!
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      08-02-2010, 07:55 AM   #7
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Tone,

will love to see and hear this on Sunday!!

Intro to 'Money for nothing' by Dire Straits should sound amazing!
I'll make sure I'll bring the Dire Straits disc then!
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      08-02-2010, 08:40 AM   #8
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I know Anil aswell, , I was in the car audio business for 15 years, we built many demo cars for manufacturers like JL Audio, Kicker and Dynaudio.
I have been looking at the options for my car I'm thinking of removing the pocket at the bottom and going for a 6,4 and tweeter setup may even go 2 x 6", just haven't got round to stripping it down to have a look, when its your own car its more difficult to start cutting it about

Be nice to have a listen to yours sunday
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      08-02-2010, 11:55 AM   #9
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3,500 !!! you really are serious about your audio, my golf gti mk2 was only 2,100 haha
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      08-02-2010, 03:11 PM   #10
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Impressive stuff!

What was the inaugural choon???
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      08-03-2010, 07:02 AM   #11
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Great write-up Tone! And I can attest to the excellent quality of this soundsystem, in particular for classical music which I like as much as Tone. And the Alcantara roofliner is just faboulous, a real pleasure to the touch.

Greetings from the Provence,

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      08-03-2010, 02:27 PM   #12
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Wow, the install looks pretty amazing and the Alcantara Trim looks slick (Reminds me of the Alcantara trim they use on 6/7 series individual Programs)

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      08-03-2010, 02:50 PM   #13
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Wow, what a serious piece of kit. I must ask you E92 Fan is there an end game in sight with your car - I mean will you get to a stage when enough is enough, or will you keep going with mods, improvements etc

I hope you keep going cos the write ups make great reading
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      08-03-2010, 03:31 PM   #14
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love the alcantara tony. spesh the steering wheel..
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      08-03-2010, 04:52 PM   #15
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Nice write up Tony. Glad to see you go it sorted. Also interesting to hear how you bypassed the internal amps

I (well audioadvice in glasgow) had some serious pain with the fast datsun, they found amps all over the car!

Only two questions?

Why not put high mids and tweets in the a-pillars? (see attachments)

And Bit One? Is Anil confident with that product over JL's Cleansweep? I did a fair bit of research and youtube shows lots of people having issues with it. Hopefully you won't.
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      08-03-2010, 05:30 PM   #16
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The 5.25" components are far too large for an A-pillar build in the E92 because the A-pillars are actually really slim and house the curtain airbag too. I'd also have an issue with integration between the midrange and the bass units under the seats. I basically run the system as a full-way system as opposed to a 2-way plus subwoofers. Plus, it really wouldn't look OEM and discrete. As it is, you'd actually have to be quite switched on to notice the tweeters in the A-pillar - it's amazing how many people have got into the car and not noticed the retrim!

I could have used a 3-way front stage with a 3" dome midrange from Morel or Dynaudio, but again it would be too obvious in a car that is generally quite normal looking!

And no, I have no problems with the Bit One. Probably because I updated the firmware to the latest version, and I know how to setup a sound system properly! It's a great bit of kit, links to a computer perfectly via USB, and is more flexible than the Cleansweep and Fostage 360.2 competitors.
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      08-03-2010, 05:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E92Fan View Post
The 5.25" components are far too large for an A-pillar build in the E92 because the A-pillars are actually really slim and house the curtain airbag too. I'd also have an issue with integration between the midrange and the bass units under the seats. I basically run the system as a full-way system as opposed to a 2-way plus subwoofers. Plus, it really wouldn't look OEM and discrete. As it is, you'd actually have to be quite switched on to notice the tweeters in the A-pillar - it's amazing how many people have got into the car and not noticed the retrim!

I could have used a 3-way front stage with a 3" dome midrange from Morel or Dynaudio, but again it would be too obvious in a car that is generally quite normal looking!

And no, I have no problems with the Bit One. Probably because I updated the firmware to the latest version, and I know how to setup a sound system properly! It's a great bit of kit, links to a computer perfectly via USB, and is more flexible than the Cleansweep and Fostage 360.2 competitors.
Attached is pics of my install with the custom speaker cover on As you say Oem works

Glad your Bit One works, and i'll let the guys at AudioAdvice know that they you can set up a sound system properly whereas clearly they can't
Only kidding - you like your system, you're happy and you've taken umbridge to my questions, i apologise. I was only genuinely asking after i'd recently been through the process and discarded the BitOne as not as good as Cleansweep. And having issues. FWIW - my system is Focal amp, Focal KRX speakers upfront and Cleansweep. Opted out of the Berylliums because the HU is not good enough sonically. The Focal Amp is the limited edition which stores 5 presets (set up via laptop) in the car and the sub control. It's not bad

Did you do any work on the power supply? I installed 2 extra batteries under the pedals to ensure the power to the amp was constant.?

Just to be clear nothing negative meant : Nice work
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      08-03-2010, 06:33 PM   #18
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Attached is pics of my install with the custom speaker cover on As you say Oem works

Glad your Bit One works, and i'll let the guys at AudioAdvice know that they you can set up a sound system properly whereas clearly they can't
Only kidding - you like your system, you're happy and you've taken umbridge to my questions, i apologise. I was only genuinely asking after i'd recently been through the process and discarded the BitOne as not as good as Cleansweep. And having issues. FWIW - my system is Focal amp, Focal KRX speakers upfront and Cleansweep. Opted out of the Berylliums because the HU is not good enough sonically. The Focal Amp is the limited edition which stores 5 presets (set up via laptop) in the car and the sub control. It's not bad

Did you do any work on the power supply? I installed 2 extra batteries under the pedals to ensure the power to the amp was constant.?

Just to be clear nothing negative meant : Nice work

I wasn't taking umbrage! Was just replying - apologies if my post came across abruptly! I had heard about people having problems with the Bit One - and one of the big ones seemed to be the setup of the unit in communicating with the PC. I found no issues with it so far, so perhaps I've just got a 'good one'. Every dealer and audio professional has their own opinion on equipment - at the end of the day if the sound is good then that's all that matters!

I love the Focal speakers - I wanted to use them but found the depth issue too much work to work around in the limited door cavity of the E92. Also the KRX line in either the 2-way or 3-way setup only has a 6.5" bass unit available, which is too large to go into the door in an OEM style without some seriously major reworking of the door pods. It would have been lovely to use the No5 Utopias, but like you the HU is just not good enough, and I'd have spent over double what I already have! Your A-pillar builds look great - probably look larger in the picture than they do in reality??

I used to use a pair of Focal 5WS mini bass units in a previous car - brilliant. Haven't yet heard the new Focal amp - can imagine it must be pretty good.

I haven't as yet added any additional power supply - the problem being that the BMW ECU monitors the battery performance and I'd need to reconfigure the programming so it doesn't throw a fit when two batteries are installed. Too complicated for its own good!
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      08-04-2010, 04:54 AM   #19
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I wasn't taking umbrage! Was just replying - apologies if my post came across abruptly! I had heard about people having problems with the Bit One - and one of the big ones seemed to be the setup of the unit in communicating with the PC. I found no issues with it so far, so perhaps I've just got a 'good one'. Every dealer and audio professional has their own opinion on equipment - at the end of the day if the sound is good then that's all that matters!
No worries.

This was what i was talking about.

Vid is a bit old and i guess they would have fixed the issue, but put me off with all the stupidity in the Datsun. 4 separate amps! Hidden all over the car in some very unlikely places too!

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I love the Focal speakers - I wanted to use them but found the depth issue too much work to work around in the limited door cavity of the E92. Also the KRX line in either the 2-way or 3-way setup only has a 6.5" bass unit available, which is too large to go into the door in an OEM style without some seriously major reworking of the door pods. It would have been lovely to use the No5 Utopias, but like you the HU is just not good enough, and I'd have spent over double what I already have! Your A-pillar builds look great - probably look larger in the picture than they do in reality??
They look a bit bigger in that photo than real life, but the datsun like all modern cars has big A pillars so they haven't made them more than 5% bigger. But yeh I can see it looks worse than that from the photo now you point it out. What's a bigger obstruction is the rear view mirror. Doing trackspeed left hand turns is difficult - although not so much after i discovered it can be pushed upwards!!

Also the door speakers fit and no more because of the way the glass comes down in the door.

I took mine to the demo day and a few of the guys run big power (one of the guys could have bought a GTR with the cost of his sound system! ) have now asked to get A-pillar KRX/Utopia builds because the sound staging is so much better than having it firing from the door or dashboard. A lot of the guys have loud systems and so you don't notice it with hardcore dance, but i put Eryka Badu on in my car and it's lush

My ears can't take more than 10mins of really loud (Leftfield Live i'm talking about)stuff!

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I used to use a pair of Focal 5WS mini bass units in a previous car - brilliant. Haven't yet heard the new Focal amp - can imagine it must be pretty good.
Very tweakable - which is not always a good thing!

I had the Focal Polyglass 8" Sub (love it for it's musicality but at 4ohms was weak) and then got the last JL 8" W3 Sub (brought over from the US from their factory by Iain from AudioAdvice in his hand luggage! put in because it runs at 2ohms) and then had to have the enclosure rebuilt (it was reinforced first) to get anywhere near decent bass. Still not amazing. But for music it's good. Just not disturbing the neighbours 2 streets over!

I think the SWS-8's under the seats would be brilliant the way you have it set up.

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Originally Posted by E92Fan View Post
I haven't as yet added any additional power supply - the problem being that the BMW ECU monitors the battery performance and I'd need to reconfigure the programming so it doesn't throw a fit when two batteries are installed. Too complicated for its own good!
What i have is a one way charging system (i forget the name) to the 2 extra batteries. The amp runs off the extra batteries, meaning that the car battery will never go flat if listening to music. I say never, the headunit etc is of course being powered by the car, but the amp will die well before the car does. It's very thirsty! Just remembered it's call the Dual Monitor
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      01-04-2011, 03:25 PM   #20
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DuDE this was shocking


--
I had decided on using the following components -

Rainbow CS210 4" components (midrange and tweeters) for the front speakers
Earthquare SWS-8 2ohm subwoofers for the underseat locations
Rockford Fosgate 360.2 DSP
Diamond Audio D700 amplifier



All this lot was installed first time round as a temporary measure, just to see what it sounded like. And, if I'm honest, it was crap Too bright, a bit thin, no integration between the midrange and the underseat woofers. In fact, there was no integration anywhere at all. The setup just didn't work as I was intending and if anything the stock system sounded more complete. Infuriating to be honest!


---

You had spent 1300 and it sounded thin... are you serious...? I would have hit the roof..

Please see my thread to see what I am going through Oddly the last suggestion from a reputable fitter suggests the following...

Rainbow x planes and C5 tweeters 300
JL XD600/6 400
Audio Control LC6i 180
3x RCA cables 60
Dynamat 30
power cables, sundries, bass control etc 50
Labour 375


Its 1395....I cant take the risk of that not being a nice sound man...
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      01-04-2011, 04:29 PM   #21
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Nice bit of info and write up!

may be a bit of a dumb question but how would your system compare to the harman kardon system BMW offer? My mate's into his Audio and reckons you'd be hard pushed to beat the H.K. system without spending a fortune!

I've love a better system in my E92 I'm just worried if by taking all the interior apart it's not put back together properly, and I also don't want to spend that kind of cash on just the audio, which is important but I just couldn't justify that sort of dosh on it.
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      01-04-2011, 04:39 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by DavS1 View Post
Nice bit of info and write up!

may be a bit of a dumb question but how would your system compare to the harman kardon system BMW offer? My mate's into his Audio and reckons you'd be hard pushed to beat the H.K. system without spending a fortune!

I've love a better system in my E92 I'm just worried if by taking all the interior apart it's not put back together properly, and I also don't want to spend that kind of cash on just the audio, which is important but I just couldn't justify that sort of dosh on it.
Your mate's not into his audio
I just fitted an amp but using stock speakers and its streets ahead of HK!
This system is light years ahead of HK,another planet!
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