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      09-24-2013, 07:08 PM   #1
pauloverton1981
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2005 e90 JBL-MS8 Upgrade

Well guys, as promised here are some pics and details on my Audio upgrade for my 2005 330i. I've had the car for a couple of years, and as many people have found with BMW's the major disappointment is the audio system. Mine came with the professional navigation and the base 6 speaker system (so bad you can't get it in the USA!), far worse than the base system in my old 2000 Audi S3, and that wasn't great. Final straw was after I purchased a 2007 focus for the missus and found the upgraded sony stereo was better - not having that!

So, after a lot of reseach I came across B33M3R's excellent DIY thread here;
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=540954
and thought "I can do that" (there was no way I wanted to leave my car in the hands of the 'professionals', I don't even like having it serviced at the dealer). I wanted something that looked completely stock with no cutting so it could be completely reversed if needed.

So, the shopping list (and approximate costs for those trying to budget for this);

Infinity Kappa 42.9i Rear Coaxial Speaker Upgrade 40
Vibe Slick 4 New Coaxial Centre Speaker 25 (Could be used for rear, very good for price)
Rainbow DL C4.2 Front Speak Upgrade & New Tweeter 150
Audio Systems AX 08 Underseat Woofer Upgrade 185 from Germany

JBL MS-8 Processor/Equaliser 250 (ebay, open box!) - powering rear and centre speakers.
JL XD400/4 365 (was originally Alpine PDX-F4 but had to be changed, more later!) - powering fronts & underseats.

Door Trim (for tweeters) Left BMW 51337171201 25
Door Trim (for tweeters) Right BMW 51337171202 25
Centre Console Speaker Cover BMW 51457123753 25 (For RHD car, LHD is 51457123750)

Battery Connector Housing (Single) BMW 61136925176 3
Battery Connector Housing (Double) BMW 61136925166 3
Battery Connector BMW 61136920092 3
Note - Ordered both single and double as I wasn't sure what was needed, and 2 connectors just in case!

Speaker Connectors BMW 6113837583 x 4 10
Pins for Connectors BMW 61130005198 x 8 12 - Note, these come with a length of wire pre crimped. I believe you can get just the pins which may be better, not sure of the part number or price though

Blaupunkt THA PnP Adaptor (blaupunktdirect.co.uk) 7 607 622 016 30
100m 1.5mm cable 30
2m RCA Lead x 2 10

ISO Connector (male) M56-1 3
ISO Connector (female) M58-1 3
ISO Terminals (male) M55-1 3
ISO Terminals (female) M50-1 3
All from Nexxia.co.uk

Crimps/Tools etc 30
Wire Idents 10
Amp Wiring Kit 15
4AWG Wire 10
Vibe FD4 Fuse Distribution Block & 2 x Fuses 20

Thermal GapPad 20
Dynamat 15
Speaker Adaptors (ebay) 20
Electrical Harness Tape 5
Self Adhesive Velcro 5
Draft Excluder 5

Total (do I want to add this up?)....Just under 1,300

So, on to the install.
Firstly, I apologise for the lack of photos and the quality of some. I have a 2 year old daughter and 8 week old baby so I had to get as much done in the time as I could, and most the work was done between 9pm and 1am after the rest of the family were in bed.

Starting one Thursday evening I began building the wiring harness (shown in some later pics). I have read that Technic can supply these but, as I work in electrical engineering I though that this would be the one thing I could do myself quite easily.

It a fairly simple harness. 4 pairs running from the head unit to the MS8 (2 x front, 2 x rear that I wanted to keep to retain PDC bongs), 4 pairs running from the MS-8 back to the head unit to pick up the cars wiring, 1 pair running from the MS-8 to the centre speaker and the remote wire. The remote wire is fed from Pin 13 of the Head Unit connector, I believe this is the Aerial power feed. There is some modification of the Blaupunkt PnP adaptor required to access pin 13 but this is relatively straightforward.

First off I cut 18 lengths of 5m wire (note to others, 5m is only just enough, if I was doing it again I would do 5.5m) from the 100m 1.5mm reel. Terminated 8 of the wired with the male ISO crimps, and 8 off with the female crimps. Then simply inserted into the ISO connector housing, making sure all the wires were identified suitable both end to maintain the correct polarity. Standard heatshrink wire idents are ideal for this. To finish off, it is best to twist the wired together into pairs (one pair for each speaker to/from head unit for reasons of rejecting noise - I could go into detail but this isn't the place). This is pretty simple, just put the ISO connector/one end of the wire in a vice (gently), taped the other ends together, put into a drill and spin - my daughter liked doing this! I also find twisted wires are easier to work with. At this point I decided not to bundle the wires together and do this later as I was routing it through the car.

Then time to be brave taking the car apart. I must say I was a bit apprehensive but I'd bought most the bits and made the harness so no turning back!
Started by installing the new centre speaker and wiring harness. Following B33M3R's excellent DIY I removed the dash trim, climate controls, head unit, panel under the glovebox and the glovebox itself along with the cover where the centre speaker was going to be. All relatively straightforward, but I did find a couple of the electrical connectors a bit fiddly. With all parts removed it was relatively simple to feed the new centre wires down through, connect the centre speaker and fit.

This is what she looked like 'naked'



and here is a picture of the harness loose in the car;



Next, fitting the Blaupunkt PnP adaptor. This plugged in fine (remember to move the MOST connections), and I could easily connect the ISO connectors on my custom harness the the adaptor. Problem came fitting it all back in behind the head unit - basically it won't go. There is always the option to cut the plastic trim that surrounds the head unit, but I managed to squeeze one of the ISO connectors and the additional head unit connector (great big thing with MOST connections) down the right hand side at the rear (under the steering wheel) and one ISO connector down the left hand side, nearly under the glove compartment. This gave me enough space to refit the head unit with no cutting

Next, I started to run the wires, looming them together with electrical tape as I went. I ran the wires behind the lower glove box panel, just below the fuse box. Here I added in the display cable for the MS-8. A note to others on this - the MS-8 display cable has plenty of length, but I didn't leave much this end and consequently my display movement is a little restricted in the glovebox. If I was to do it again I would leave maybe 50cm, as any extra soon be hidden behind the glovebox. I would also recommend adding a 5m microphone extension cable as well for calibration of the MS-8, I wish I had as plugging the microphone in the rear and running the cable out of the boot and in the door is a bit of a pain and has resulted in one crushed wire already!

Removing the kickpanel trim and all other trim down the inside of the car where the wiring goes is relatively easy. I didn't need any tools except a flat-blade screwdriver for the clip holding in the piece next to rear seats.

Routing the cable and looming as I went, I arrived at the point next to the passenger seat. Here is a picture of the loom coming out of the passenger kick panel;



Now it was time to add a separate feed for the woofer (to come from the amp). By this time my 100m of 1.5mm cable had run out so I went inside and took the cable from the TV speakers/amp (still need to place it!). Again, cut to around 5m lengths, left around 80cm loose so there was plenty for the woofer and added to the loom by the kickpanel. I did find around this area there was quite a bit of wiring already, so to make the look sit nicely I ran it under some existing wiring the went from the side of the car to under the seats. Before running the rest of the way down the car I wrapped in electrical tape around another 3m of the loom, seen here alongside the car;



Running past the rear seats was relatively simple once the rear seats were removed. This is again, fairly straightforward but a little awkward due to the position of some 2 of the clamps. There is a good DIY in one for the forums on how to remove the rear seats, it's pretty easy to find.

Here's a couple of pics of the wiring up past the back seats;





Ok, this is taking as long as the install !! More to come later.

Last edited by pauloverton1981; 09-26-2013 at 05:14 PM.
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      09-26-2013, 06:14 PM   #2
pauloverton1981
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Ok, here's some more!

So, once I had the new harness routed to the boot, it was 'simply' a case of wiring up the JBL-MS8 and the Alpine. As my car had the base stereo and no CD changer I had a nice large space in the corner of the boot where I decided to put the MS-8 after removing then CD changer mounting metal frame. I selected the Alpine PDX-F4 as it was small enough to fit under the boot carpet, next to the exisiting bluetooth module.

Here's the wiring running running down to the MS-8;



And down to the Amp;



Both together;



If you are making your own harness to do all of this, remember to add the 'remote out' wire from the MS-8, the RCA leads and the power lead before looming up at this point. I routed all three to the Amp location, split off the RCA/remote and then the MS-8 power lead joined the Amp power lead to be routed around the right hand side of the boot to the battery.

Before wiring in the MS-8 and Amp, I routed a new speaker cable from the boot to the drivers underseat woofer and routed the two power leads to the battery. The speaker cable was relatively straightforward after running the loom from the headunit, and take the same route on the other side of the car. The power leads both run up just behind the back seat and then across to the battery (sorry, no phots). Here I terminated them in the Vibe distribution block and ran a 4AWG wire from the distribution block to the battery, using the BMW battery connectors.

Then I wired in the MS-8;



and the Amp





Now, onto the speakers. Rear are very simple so I won't go into that, B33M3R's DIY has all the info you need. The underseat woofers were a bit of a pain. Removing the seats is fairly easy, just 4 bolts but the woofers I selected are direct replacements so I decided there was no need to remove the housing. The speakers themselves are held into the housing by 4 very small torx screws which in my case were very tight so it was a bit of a fight undoing them. Once removed, it was pretty easy putting the new subs in, but make sure they are well sealed!! I used draft excluder (on the second attept, more on this later). One interesting point, I found that the BMW connectors to the woofers only had 2 wires (instead of 4 like B33M3R found in his car) so there was no need to put any jumpers in, instead I simple disconnected and tucked the connectors out of the way, then used the new wires to connect to the woofers, and this is how they look;





The door speakers ended up being easier to fit than I though. To be honest, I was sure this is where something would get broken! First you need to remove the door trim. I found I didn't need any tools to remove any of the clips on the doors, and doing it all by hand made me feel like I was less likely to break or damage anything. The trim strip running down the front of the door can be pulled off starting at the hinge end. Then remove the door handle cover (again by hand) and the 3 or 4 torx screws (depending on which side). With all these parts removed the door panel will pull off. I started at the front lower corner and eased the panel off by hand. It does need to pe pulled quite hard to get it going, and it might be safer to prise it off with a suitable tool but I didn't find it necessary.
Once it's loose there are 3 electrical connections to remove. One for the speaker, one for the puddle light and one for the electric window switch. I found these to be the biggest PITA to disconnect, and still not sure I found the correct way of getting them apart. You will also need to remove the link from the door handle. DON'T pull the end of the metal cable from link in the door, instead it it possible to manipulate the plastic holder to remove it, and this is far easier to refit later.
With the door panel off the next step was to remove the window surround, again, very easy. Starting at the front there is one clip to be removed (again by had). Once this has been freed up the whole surround pulls off the door. Here's a (rather blurred) bare door;



With the door panel and surround removed, it was onto fitting the speakers. Using the adaptors from eBay and plenty of daft excluder, I fitted the new speakers into their location. The feel so much more solid and well built then the BMW units removed. Interestingly, the front speakers I took out also had a great big capacitor attached. This leads me to believe that the existing underseats and door speakers were wired in parallel, with a splice somewhere in the cars wiring loom. The capacitor in the doors must be needed to remove the lower frequencies going to the underseats. The rears on the other hand don't have a capacitor, as I believe the low frequencies are taken out in the head unit for the rears.

Here is one of the fronts installed. You can see the splice covered in white heatshrink, joining the new speaker to the BMW connector to the wiring going to the crossover.



I mounted the crossover in the bottom corner of the door, where there is actually quite a bit of space, and I cheated a bit here. To secure the crossover I just looped a cable tie under the dynamat, along with some self adhesive velcro on the bottom of the crossover/dynamat. Seemes to have held well so far!



You can just about see the wiring for the input and speaker/tweeter connection routed in the channel above the door pocket. I covered most of the wiring in Dynamat to keep it secure. Here are the two doors prior to refitting;





Before putting the door panels back on I had to fit the new door surrounds with the tweeters. In the words of the old Haynes manuals "refitting is the reverse of removal"! I actually found it was a bit of a pain to get the new surrounds fitted in the top corner of the door where there is quite a large lip, so be prepared to need some patience here. Once the tweeters are in and the surrounds secure, getting the door trim back on is pretty easy, just make sure everything is lined up before attempting to push the securing clips back into place.

Ok, and that's it. Simply power up, calibrate the MS-8 and reap the rewards of your hard work! Well no, not for me anyway, but I'll go into that later!

Last edited by pauloverton1981; 10-01-2013 at 09:18 AM.
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      10-01-2013, 05:30 PM   #3
pauloverton1981
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Ok, so onto the fun and games getting the system working!

Well, after first calibration my first thoughts were "what the f**k have I done". The sound was awful, like it was all coming out of the centre speaker and absolutely no bass at all, like a really cheap telephone speaker!! So I spent the next week looking though a huge number of forums, trying multiple calibrations and trying to get it all sounding nice.

The sound quality did improve somewhat. I could reliably get an excellent stage across the windscreen, albeit with over pronounced vocals. Occasionally I would get some reasonable bass, though still not the level expected. To add to this quite often I would get what I thought was a relatively good sound, only to get into the car the next day and find it sounded poor again. Time to start questioning my hearing?

For about a week I tried a whole heap of things. I had matched all the levels with an SPL app on the phone, and also tried using a phone RTA to get a rough idea where the issues were (which was a bit of a fail as they aren't to good under 150Hz). What the RTA did show in my case is that the underseats seem to resonate around 300Hz with quite a large peak. Using this knowledge I decided to try the "kaigoss method" which involved setting the HP filter on the amp (to about 230Hz initially) to reduce the higher frequency components going to the underseats (see here : http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=724447). I know this isn't specifically for systems without a sub it was worth a shot, and it did reduce the resonant peak by about 10-15dB which should make the MS-8's life easier when calibrating. Nothing fixed it, always sounded similar, excellent (and I mean bloody unbelivable) stage but complete lack of bass.

So time to investigate the installation. I looked into swapping the phase of the speakers as I read this could cause problems, but as I was able to add some bass back in using the MS-8 EQ (even if I had to turn it up to 10) I figure that the speaker phase was unlikely to be an issue.

Next was the installation of the underseat woofers themselves, so once again I found myself in the dark I was outside removing the front seats. While doing this I had the battery on charge as I had been running it flat all week due to the calibrating (may sound irrelevant but this was important). On removing the woofers I noted the foam seal on the Audio Systems AX08 was pretty thin. So, using the draft excluder I added a strip around each of the speakers and the connections and refitted, hoping this would solve the bass issue. For good measure I also added a seal to each of the rears as well while I was at it.

Once finished I turned the system back on and listened to BEFORE recalibrating, using just the previous settings. WOW, I have bass!! Not sure there was significantly more than some of my earlier attempts but I now knew the underseats were definitely fitted correctly. Problem solved?! It didn't sound perfect but it it was better than before so I left finally happy/

Got into the car the next day and headed to work, finally looking forward to listening to the music, only to find the bass had gone again , and this time I was sure it sounded worse than the night before. WTF is going on?! By this time I was about ready to rip out the whole system.

Another couple of evenings (and a few hours at work) looking around forums, requesting crossover points and frequency responses for the speakers from the manufacturers and reading the user manuals/guides for all the parts and then the lightbulb moment.

The Alpine PDX-F4 has an 'intelligent' protection mechanism. Rather than completely cutting out the output when the unit gets to hot or the input voltage get low, it gradually reduces the output power. Maybe the unit was running in reduced output mode for some reason and explain the variable output? It might also explain why the system sounded ok with the battery on charge but why it sounded worse the next morning (reduced voltage, especially under the load starting the engine)? Whether the reduced output was due to voltage, that there wasn't enough cooling in the location and it was thermal protection, or a fault with the unit, I was convinced it was amp related.

Luckily the guy on ebay I bought the amp from was happy(?) to take the unit back. I did explain to him that I wasn't sure if it was amp or installation related, thought it best to be honest. The next day I received my new JL XD400/4, which was a pretty easy swap so that evening I had the system all up and running, so time to get calibrating. I'll detail my settings later but after 4 or 5 calibrations and some tweaking of the amp gains and EQ I can now say the system sounds astonishing , even using the crappy Aux connector from the phone sounds pretty good now, which is saying something!
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      10-01-2013, 07:02 PM   #4
taibanl
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VERY nice work. Of course you reinstalled the steering wheel on the wrong side.
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      10-02-2013, 04:58 AM   #5
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MS-8 Settings

Nice install. I picked up MS-8 from same seller - bargain. Would you mind please posting your MS-8 channel, calibration and x-over settings once you're happy with sound. Would like to compare for interest. Thanks.
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      10-14-2013, 04:23 PM   #6
pauloverton1981
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Haha.

That must be why it took so long to get the dashboard back together!!

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Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
VERY nice work. Of course you reinstalled the steering wheel on the wrong side.
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      10-14-2013, 04:55 PM   #7
pauloverton1981
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Hi Mate

I was going to detail my whole calibration and set up process, but the 12 week old baby is keeping me busy at the moment!

I have tried an absolute shed load of calibrations during the system diagnostics, however since installing the JL XD400/4 I haven't a had time to try to many more. I'm currently running the following;
Front High Pass - 35Hz/24db
Front Xover - 160Hz/6dB
Centre Xover - 120Hz/24dB
Rear Xover - 120Hz/24dB
Calibration volume -38dB (most successful calibrations have been between -35dB and -40dB)

All gains matched using the JL Audio iPhone app (its not perfect but gets things about there), and then I turned on the low pass filter on the XD400/4 to the underseats, set to 200Hz and turned up the gain about an 1/8th of a turn on the amp. Before I did this the underseats were quite weak and I think the gain was to low.

I've found that changing the rear crossover (all 24dB slope) seems to have a big impact on the 'ambience'. From about 150Hz upward the stage was all forward, even on live and recordings that I would expect the sound to be 'thrown about' (try Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, or if you really want to test it Gnarls Berkley's 'The Boogie Monster!). Down at about 100Hz I found the opposite and found to much coming from the rear. 120Hz seems pretty good and it'll probably stay there.

I initially found changing the centre (all 24dB slope) between 150Hz and 120Hz didn't make a huge difference but after continued listening I'm starting to think the lower cut off frequency may be having a negative impact at higher volumes so I'll be moving it back up to 150Hz (or maybe higher) soon.

The front crossover was initially set at 180Hz/6dB but this initially seemed to produce to much bass and a poor stage. Moving down to 160Hz/6dB improved things but, again after listening to the system for a while I now think I'm lacking bass a little and the stage is to pronounced, again I'm starting to think at higher volumes the 6dB slope means the front door speakers are being asked to produce to much bass. One problem I have found it that what sounds good with the car silent on the driveway needs adjustment to sound good while driving! Next step is to move the front back up to 180/200Hz, try both 6dB and 24dB slopes and see how that sounds

I've also had to tweak the EQ a little. I've boosted 35Hz to 100Hz by 1dB, a slight 'hump' peaking at 3.5dB at 180(ish)Hz back down to 0dB at 300Hz. there also a slight cut at about 800Hz and somewher else I can't recall (about 4kHz I think).

I found the best way to tweak the EQ is download a signal generator for the iPhone (the one I used is called 'ingram sounds') and slowly sweep up and down the frequency band at a relatively loud volume (try to use 'normal' listening volume), cutting where it sounds loud or resonant and boosting where is sounds lacking. Note I haven't boosted/cut and frequency by more than 3.5dB. I decided any more than this probably means I need to go back and set up again (which is where I am now).

Don't get me wrong, it sounds great, it's just after living with it for a few weeks I know it can be better and, more importantly, more to my own liking.

Hope this helps. Please update the forum with your equipment and settings so other people can use for reference

I'll be sure to add mine when I've done some more tweaking.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by rth32 View Post
Nice install. I picked up MS-8 from same seller - bargain. Would you mind please posting your MS-8 channel, calibration and x-over settings once you're happy with sound. Would like to compare for interest. Thanks.
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      10-14-2013, 05:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauloverton1981 View Post
Haha.

That must be why it took so long to get the dashboard back together!!


Nice install. I think you might have just got a bad pdx f4, its good to hear the xd400/4 worked out for you.
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      10-14-2013, 06:43 PM   #9
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Paul, set the L,C,R at 150Hz, 24dB/oct. and the rears at 100Hz 24dB/oct. Leave the LPF on the amp at 200Hz. See how that sounds.

It may sound strange, but you may be better off setting up the MS-8 without the center. Right now it is the weak link in the front stage, and it may be holding things back.
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      10-18-2013, 03:29 AM   #10
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My setup

I started with base system and added OEM tweeters to front, Vibe Slick 4 centre, MS-8 and Technic harness. Used calibration CD to flatten signal and set up as follows:

Subs 0
Front 2 way, 20Hz/12dB and 120 Hz/12dB
Centre 1 way, 80Hz/24dB
Sides 1 way, 120Hz, 24dB
Cal -20dB
Listen at -6dB

Have increased sub control on MS-8 by about 5 or 6 clicks. Packs a real punch with loads of low end and mid base. Really rich sound with good sound stage. Will probably keep tinkering but I think these settings are a good starting point, particularly for those who've installed MS-8 and are struggling with base response.

My thinking behind these settings was - "what was there before when it was just the base system"? All speakers were getting a full frequency range so I've tried to keep to that as much as possible but by giving some protection to the woofers. I'm only adding an extra 20 watts from MS-8 amplification so they should handle that and the centre is 150 watt rated so no harm will come to that. Please correct me if I'm talking rubbish because I'm no expert. I am, however, very please with the improvement in my bimmer's sound, particularly for the 500ish that it cost me!
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