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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > AUDIO/VIDEO + BLUETOOTH + Electronics/Alarm/Software > "I love my Musicar system" - a review



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      11-18-2010, 06:41 PM   #1
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"I love my Musicar system" - a review

OK, this client is in upstate NY, and he has a 335 E90 that came with Logic 7. He sent me this email today for our website as a review, and it felt good to read, so I decided to be somewhat self-serving and post it.

We have spent some time on the phone with him, and his mechanic during the install, and it has worked out well.

Some of the things he mentions I haven't run into myself, but we managed to solve them all over the phone in the end.

This is his review:
Quote:
*******************

When I recently purchased my 2008 BMW e90 335xi, I immediately sought out a solution to replace the stock system. My previous 2000 Audi S4 had Rainbows in the doors, Rainbow 12" free-air subs mounted in a rebuilt rear deck, all powered by Arc Audio. My goal was to take a step up from that.

My car came with the BMW Logic7 system, and my goal was a) to preserve the clean look and feel of the factory iDrive system and UI and b) to not lose ANY trunk space, and c) to have a completely clean/invisible install. I also needed to be able to have a competent mechanic do the install, and be able to tune the system myself.

After many nights of research through various shops, dealerships, and mostly the internet, I found the most detailed and sophisticated discussions at http://www.e90post.com/forums/. And after having read Ken Ward's posts of his e90 install, I sought him out, even though I live in NY State and his shop is in Portland, OR.

From an audio perspective, I wanted deep, thorough (but not stupid) bass throughout the car. My previous car had most of the bass in the trunk and it was always disconcerting to have all of the bass and kick behind me, but the mids and highs in front of me. And I wanted the high end and mid to be very clear, bright and loud.

Ken suggested the new JBL MS-8 System Integration Digital Sound Processor as the controller of the system. From there, we used a combination of:


Morel Hybrid Ovation 4s up front in the doors and sails.

Morel Integra Ovation 4 Center Speaker to replace the junk BMW put in the dash.

(2) Earthquake SWS-8 in 2 ohms with steel mounting rings in the front underseat locations. These were selected for their relative ease of install.

(1) Musicar custom E90 sedan sub enclosure with 10" 2-ohm Image Dynamics Subwoofer.

(1) Arc Audio Mini 4 amp. 2 channels drives the doors. 2 channels drive the underseats.

(1) Arc Audio Sub Amp. Drives the trunk sub.

The MS-8 powers the center speaker and rear effects speakers.

The Final Results:

Wow! The combination of the trunk sub, the underseats, and the deep frequency response of the center channel speaker is mind blowing. Bass notes and kick drum seem to be happening somewhere in front of my knees while driving, the low-end of the sub, combined with the underseats pours bass all over the car, and you'd think there was a sub in the dash.

The MS-8 creates it's own Logic 7 soundstage by allowing you to set a "driver" setting so that more volume goes to the passenger door than the driver door (gone are the days of messing with the balance setting) which generates the sensation that the speakers are 8 feet apart from each other and you're in the middle of your living room. It's that cool. I found myself at times giggling like a child as I blasted up the highway with TV On The Radio's latest album Dear Science creating deep, tight bass, and sampled beats and tones around the car.

Getting There:

We elected to disconnect the rear door speakers and use the rear deck speakers as rear effects speakers. We left them stock, as you barely hear them in the car.

~ Make sure the Logic7 head unit is set with the Logic 7 surround sound settings "off", the EQ and tone controls flat.

~ When I set up the MS-8, I set the 2 amps at 50%. After following Ken's recommended crossover points and speaker set ups, and allowing the MS-8 to calibrate for each of the four seats, I then manually increased the gains for the underseats, as well as the subwoofer.

~ Make sure your volume on the MS-8 is at 100%. This is important.

~ The MS-8 wants to overdrive the center channel/dash speaker. The speaker was popping/overdriving until I finally figured out that I had to adjust the center speaker volume WAY DOWN via the MS-8. 9 or 10 clicks down did the trick.

~ I tuned the car completely without messing with any of the BMW head unit tone or EQ settings, nor any of the the tone or EQ settings on the MS-8. I instead used the gains of the amps (and volume level of the center channel via the MS-8) to find a nice balance of tone and location of the bass in the car.

~ Do NOT use the BMW remote out signal from the rear of the head unit. You'll get annoying/startling power-down thumps. Use the 12volt accessory power found at the cigarette lighter or the accessory plug in the armrest.

~ The 2 amps were mounted east-west in the under-trunk tub, which on a 335 is a much smaller space than on a 325, 328, or 330, due to the 335's dual exhausts that hog up trunk/tub space.

~ The MS-8 is mounted under the rear deck.

~ The next step will be to try to knock out a few mid-bass frequency vibrations caused by what I think is a combination of the underseat speakers and the center channel speaker. I'll attempt this by knocking out individual frequencies one at a time via the MS-8's EQ controls. Results TBD.


In Summary:

I never would've thought of the JBL MS-8 in combination with power and speaker upgrades to my car. And even though Ken and the Musicar team are 3000 miles away, they were readily available through many emails and phone calls (both pre-purchase, during install, post-install, and tuning-related) to both myself and my local installer.

I highly recommend anyone with a discerning ear and the desire the preserve their car's original aesthetics to work with the Musicar team. I know that all of my future cars' systems will be Musicar systems. Period.
Woofer enclosure (no grille):




MS-8 under deck:


Amps and xovers under floor:
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      11-18-2010, 06:50 PM   #2
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That is an awesomely clean oemish setup!
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      11-18-2010, 06:54 PM   #3
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His mechanic did a pretty good job.

We are doing a similar - not identical - install at our shop next week. I'll post pics of that too.
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      11-18-2010, 07:35 PM   #4
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Look good!

Isn't that MS8 suppose to be facing up though?
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      11-18-2010, 08:27 PM   #5
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NICE!
great write up and it looks fantastic!
I really like what you did with the trunk sub
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      11-18-2010, 08:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ********* View Post
Look good!

Isn't that MS8 suppose to be facing up though?
Never heard that. Doesn't get hot. Drives three 4".
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      11-18-2010, 08:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-737 View Post
NICE!
great write up and it looks fantastic!
I really like what you did with the trunk sub
Thanks!
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      11-18-2010, 10:31 PM   #8
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VP,

Please stop tempting me with that stealth trunk subwoofer install. My kids need Christmas presents.
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      11-18-2010, 11:24 PM   #9
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Is the MS-8 too large to fit in the Logic 7 space?

Thats a VERY sweet looking system. I love that sub enclosure......but it cant fit my IDMAX 12, which, I wont EVER be giving up. Had it 8 years and it still sounds amazing (off a PDX-5 even).

Great choice on the system. That thing must just sound amazing musically, something alot of people over look. I want to hear everything naturally, not a bass-head or a treble monster, but just natural sound and from the looks of things, it was accomplished. Good job VP!!
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      11-22-2010, 11:00 PM   #10
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VP Electricity you have a PM.
Thanks!
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