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      07-18-2011, 01:10 PM   #1
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Earthquake SWS-8 upgrade question

Getting ready to purchase a pair of Earthquakes SWS-8's for my 328i sedan. I would prefer not to add a new amp at this time, just install the new subwoofers using the existing amp. I'm not after earthshattering bass, just hoping to get better SQ than delivered by the stock subwoofers.

In reading the various posts, I understand that if you have the "upgraded sound system" (which I assume means the Logic7 system) and don't plan on a new amp, you should get the 2 ohm SWS-8Xi subwoofers.

Since I have the standard BMW Professional audio system (no navigation) with the standard 676 "Hi-fi sound system" option, can I use the 2 ohm SWS-8Xi? Or will the 2 ohm SWS-8Xi not work properly without an amp upgrade in my 328i? I've read that the Hi-fi sound system amp puts out 40W at 2 ohms to the stock subwoofers but I'm not sure if the 40W reference is a Peak or RMS number. If it's a Peak watts number I'm guessing the RMS number is more like 15W.

I have also read that if you are upgrading the amp and subwoofers together you probably want to get the 4 ohm SWS-8X since the majority of amps output at 4 ohms.

So, can I buy just the pair of 2 ohm SWS-8Xi (preferred) or do I need to buy both a new amp and a pair of 4 ohm SWS-8X?

Last edited by glider4; 07-18-2011 at 01:42 PM.
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      07-18-2011, 01:59 PM   #2
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HiFi = SWS-8Xi
Logic7/Harman Kardon = SWS-8X
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      07-18-2011, 02:03 PM   #3
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Installing the SWS-8 without further plans of installing an amp would be a big mistake. The Hifi amp outputs around 20W RMS and the SWS-8 "want" at least 100W, better 150W. And even if you match the impedance (2 ohm in the HiFi system) you will still have less output than with the stock woofers since the Earthquakes are less efficient. So the "SQ" you are hoping to get by just replacing the woofers ain't gonna happen.

If you are dead set on installing the Earthquakes, then you should plan on installing an amp at the same time. The impedance does not really matter then, since all amps are stable at 2 or 4 ohms in stereo mode. If you want to bridge to mono (not recommended) then you should get the 2 ohm version and hook them up in series to give the amp a 4 ohm load.
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      07-18-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses!

OK, I was concerned that the SWS-8Xi's would be REALLY underpowered with the stock amp. The responses confirmed it. While I know I can't blow a sub by having it underpowered (with normal gain settings) I also think that the SQ improvement I'm hoping to get won't happen without a reasonable amount of power to the new subs. So, I think I need to plan on a new amp install as well....
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      07-19-2011, 11:15 PM   #5
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Im looking to do something similar - Let me know how it goes.
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      07-19-2011, 11:28 PM   #6
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You are close to were VP Electricty has his shop

Portland ,why don't you go see him it will save you a lot of frustration
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      07-20-2011, 07:41 PM   #7
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Yeah, Portland is not that close....

It's a 5 hour drive each way. Actually, I did send him a message off-line. He thought that by only adding a 2 channel amp to the just SWS-8XI woofers that I might put the audio system way out of balance. One of his less expensive recommendations was to put in a 6 channel amp to replace the stock amp and replace the front 4" speakers as well. Unfortunately that's way over my $700 audio upgrade budget. I'm probably going to go the DIY route with both the SWS-8XI and amp install to keep within budget. The SWS-8XI's should be here on Friday and hopefully the spacer kit from jtsherri will arrive at about the same time. I'm still looking at the JL Audio XD200/2 amp but haven't puilled the trigger on that yet. I keep you posted on how the upgrade works for me.
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      07-21-2011, 01:28 AM   #8
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I'm still surprised that you like the highs from the crappy HiFi speakers. I had one client describe them as "harsh and dull at the same time, somehow". I thought that was pretty accurate.
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      07-21-2011, 10:34 AM   #9
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I have a pretty decent home theater set-up at home so I believe I know good SQ in a home environment when I hear it. Not so much when it comes to car audio. Of the 25-30 autos Iíve owned over the past 40 years, the stock HiFi sound system in my 382i sedan is definitely one of the best. The Bose system in my old Maxima SE was the only thing that came close to what's in the 328i.

To my ear, the primary thing lacking in the stock e90's HiFi system was a strong bass. Thatís why I spent $290 to buy the SWS-8XIs and spacer kit. Allocating $700 to upgrade my sound system is a huge indulgence for me. With all due respect, I understand that spending $1750 would get me a even better sound system. But I just canít afford $1750. Itís that simple. And even if I had that much to spend, I donít have a point of reference to know how much of an incremental improvement spending $200-300 for replacing the front speakers with Rainbows would be realized.

If I buy a JL Audio XD600/6 from Techronics.com for $378 and spend $88 for the harness from Technic I will blow past my budget by $56. I might be able to recover the extra $56 by removing and selling the OEM amp on eBay since I wouldnít need it if it was being completely bypassed by the new 6 channel amp. But that doesnít leave me anything left to pay for professional installation. If I go that route, I need to feel comfortable that I can do the install on my own. Iíll see how confident I feel after installing the SWS-8XIs next week.

Last edited by glider4; 07-23-2011 at 05:10 PM.
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      07-24-2011, 12:45 PM   #10
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OK, Earthquakes installed. Passenger side took 90 minutes, including fabricating the two AMP/Molex harnesses from the stock wires to the woofers. Driver side took 60 minutes and was much easier - the learning curve at work!

The install was pretty straightforward, the hardest thing was reinstalling the aft "hold down nut" for the woofer assembly over the floor stud. That stud is very hard to reach and if the nut drops you could can spend 5 minutes fishing for it. The jtsherri spacer kit lines up and fits perfectly. Excellent quality kit! I didn't use foam under the speaker, the fit between the speaker and the spacer was so good I didn't want to mess with it.

Everything is now fine and there is a much better balance to the bass even with the stock HiFi amp. Since I've purchased a JL Audio XD600/6 amp I can't wait to here how that improves the sound from the SXS-8XIs.

BUT WHAT THE HECK WAS THIS??? When I was done and turned the car on for the first time, the back passenger side speaker started a loud rattle/buzz noise that would not stop even with the car and the radio turned off. After about 3-4 minutes it stopped completely without me doing anything. And that was it - everything, including that speaker, is working fine now. Any ideas out there on what that was?
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      07-24-2011, 01:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glider4 View Post
OK, Earthquakes installed. Passenger side took 90 minutes, including fabricating the two AMP/Molex harnesses from the stock wires to the woofers. Driver side took 60 minutes and was much easier - the learning curve at work!

The install was pretty straightforward, the hardest thing was reinstalling the aft "hold down nut" for the woofer assembly over the floor stud. That stud is very hard to reach and if the nut drops you could can spend 5 minutes fishing for it. The jtsherri spacer kit lines up and fits perfectly. Excellent quality kit! I didn't use foam under the speaker, the fit between the speaker and the spacer was so good I didn't want to mess with it.

Everything is now fine and there is a much better balance to the bass even with the stock HiFi amp. Since I've purchased a JL Audio XD600/6 amp I can't wait to here how that improves the sound from the SXS-8XIs.

BUT WHAT THE HECK WAS THIS??? When I was done and turned the car on for the first time, the back passenger side speaker started a loud rattle/buzz noise that would not stop even with the car and the radio turned off. After about 3-4 minutes it stopped completely without me doing anything. And that was it - everything, including that speaker, is working fine now. Any ideas out there on what that was?
I've heard of that happening before. It's just a glitch.
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      07-25-2011, 07:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ********* View Post
I've heard of that happening before. It's just a glitch.


I have had that happen to my car twice. I think that it is something wrong with the OEM amplifier. Of course, the dealer could not find anything wrong with the amp, HU, or speakers. Since I replaced my amplifier with a JL Audio XD 600/6, I hope that I don't ever hear that buzzing noise again. I wish you the best also as you change out your amp and other stuff. I have only had the new amp for a week, so far so good.

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      07-31-2011, 12:10 AM   #13
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JL Audio XD600/6 amp install

I have the amp and Technic harness in hand. Connecting all the output (speaker/subs) and the remote wire to the amp and setting the gain and crossover points took less than 10 minutes. I was slightly surprised to see female RCA ends on the 4 Technic harness input cables and females RCA ends on my XD600/6 amp. Hmmmm, where to get some male-to-male RCA adapters? I was planning to do the amp install tomorrow morning but this may slow me down a bit. Overall though, I am VERY IMPRESSED with the Technic harness. So simple a novice like me can do it right! I'm thinking that removing the original HiFi amp and bracket will probably be the hardest part of the amp install!
I plan to put the original HiFi amp up for sale on eBay as soon as it's out. With what I think the amp will sell for I might be able to buy a pair of Rainbow 210.25NG SLC front door speaker set and still stay just within my original $700 project budget.

Last edited by glider4; 07-31-2011 at 01:12 AM.
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      07-31-2011, 01:15 AM   #14
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Can you mix 4 ohm rainbow speakers with 2 ohm sws-8xi woofers? How do you deal with the different impedance, are you going to wiring the sws-8xi in series and bridge 2 channels from XD600?

Last edited by sunpole; 07-31-2011 at 01:24 AM.
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      07-31-2011, 04:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glider4 View Post
I have the amp and Technic harness in hand. Connecting all the output (speaker/subs) and the remote wire to the amp and setting the gain and crossover points took less than 10 minutes. I was slightly surprised to see female RCA ends on the 4 Technic harness input cables and females RCA ends on my XD600/6 amp. Hmmmm, where to get some male-to-male RCA adapters? I was planning to do the amp install tomorrow morning but this may slow me down a bit. Overall though, I am VERY IMPRESSED with the Technic harness. So simple a novice like me can do it right! I'm thinking that removing the original HiFi amp and bracket will probably be the hardest part of the amp install!
I plan to put the original HiFi amp up for sale on eBay as soon as it's out. With what I think the amp will sell for I might be able to buy a pair of Rainbow 210.25NG SLC front door speaker set and still stay just within my original $700 project budget.


The reason of having female RCA only in the HiFi harness is because customers can install the aftermarket amp wherever in the trunk by just adding a standard male-to-male RCA extension cable of the desired length.
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      07-31-2011, 04:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunpole View Post
Can you mix 4 ohm rainbow speakers with 2 ohm sws-8xi woofers? How do you deal with the different impedance, are you going to wiring the sws-8xi in series and bridge 2 channels from XD600?
Yes, it can be done as long as the amp is 2ohms stable.
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      07-31-2011, 09:40 AM   #17
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Mixing 2 ohm and 4 ohm speakers

Based on what the JL Audio XD600/6 manual says it shouldn't be an issue. Since I was never going to replace the 2 phm rear speakers I was going to be mixing impedence by using 4 ohm Rainbows as fronts regardless of which (2 or 4 ohm) SWS-8Xs I bought anyway. Since the stock rear speakers and SWS-8XIs are both 2 ohms they will be "seeing" higher watts per channel than the 4 ohm front speakers. That's good for the subwoofers but probably not so good for the rear speakers. I think I can compensate for this inbalance by either increasing the gain at the amp to the front speakers, adjusting the fader control on the HU or doing a little of both. Again, I'm still a novice at all this but that's what I understand from my reading.

Last edited by glider4; 07-31-2011 at 09:43 AM. Reason: typo
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      07-31-2011, 10:41 AM   #18
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I don't think rear is going to give you a problem, I may end up doing the same installation and just leave rear unplugged.

Wondering if a 4 ohm sws-8 would have served better in this situation with the xd600 and rainbow? Any experts care to comment?
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      07-31-2011, 12:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunpole View Post
I don't think rear is going to give you a problem, I may end up doing the same installation and just leave rear unplugged.

Wondering if a 4 ohm sws-8 would have served better in this situation with the xd600 and rainbow? Any experts care to comment?
You want more power going to the woofers so the SWS-8Xi would be a better selection with the XD600/6.
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      07-31-2011, 02:48 PM   #20
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I am confused about the Ohms, by mixing speakers/subs with different ohms, what happens?

I currently have SWS-8's under my seats, and plan on installing components into my doors. I don't plan on upgrading my rear speakers, so should I get a 4 channel amp simply to power the fronts/sws-8's and leave the hi-fi amp to power the rears? Or if I connect all the speakers to the amp, will I destroy my rears?
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      07-31-2011, 04:03 PM   #21
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So how does the amp respond under mixed loads

Amps always have to be able to respond to mixed loads as the signal isn't the same to any channel. Since you don't have regulated power supply in most of the aftermarket amps would this be any kind of problem if the channels are truly independent. The amount of current drawn by speakers of different sizes has to be dependent on the size of the voice coils and inductors , so a 4ohm woofer will always require more current than a 4 ohm midrange of similar construction. Please discuss.

Also what are you sacrificing between the 2 ohm and 4 ohm version there must be something? Bigger voice coil better definition less distortion?
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      07-31-2011, 05:24 PM   #22
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Also what are you sacrificing between the 2 ohm and 4 ohm version there must be something? Bigger voice coil better definition less distortion?
usually with 2 ohm vs 4 ohm
2 ohm has worse damping factor, and distortion is higher with 2ohm
Plus the amp draws more current in 2 ohm than 4ohm, therefor it gets hotter

Which is why my amp needs 2x 14cm fans to keep it cool
Since I'm running 2ohm for all speakers and 1 ohm bridged for subs
Don't try 1ohm with most modern amps, unless you like the smell of burnt electronics
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