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      12-02-2010, 12:24 PM   #1
sbaune
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2011 328i Sedan Base Sound System Upgrade

Since the base sound system in our new car was very disappointing, we decidied to do an upgrade. I seached this forum and found a lot of good information. I debated between doing it myself or having a shop do it. I decided to take it to Unique Car Audio in AZ. They said the only way to get good sound out of it was to upgrade the door speakers to 6.5's. They pulled the door apart and had some ideas on how to get it to work.

This is the setup I went with:
JL Audio XD400/4 amp
Focal 165 KRSX Slim mount 6.5 speakers
10" JL Audio Subwoofer in a custom enclosure

2 channels of the amp are driving the Focal's and the other 2 channels are bridged for the sub. We left the rear and underseat speakers stock and they are still being ran by the head unit.

The results are amazing. We still have to break in the Focal's (90 hours) before we can really turn it up, but so far they sound crystal clear. You can hear sounds in the music that you didn't know were there. It also has very good bass coming in. The guys did a great job directing the bass from the subwoofer enclosure into the interior. You get a nice back massage from the seats now.

In the end we went from being very very disappointed in the stock sound system, to extremely happy with the upgrade.

Here are some pictures of mounting the 6.5' speakers in the 4" hole. They only had to cut a very small piece of metal to get them in and then add a spacer. The doors still have the stock grills.
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Last edited by sbaune; 12-02-2010 at 01:40 PM. Reason: Add Pictures
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      12-02-2010, 12:37 PM   #2
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You're supposed to break in speakers? WAT
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      12-02-2010, 12:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by WWONG View Post
You're supposed to break in speakers? WAT
They told me Focal K2 Power series are made from some material that requires a break in period. They cost to much to screw with, so I'll wait a few weeks before really turning it up.
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      12-02-2010, 02:38 PM   #4
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I just googled those speakers and amazon said they are $1100, that has to be a typo... right?!
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      12-02-2010, 03:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by azwillnj View Post
I just googled those speakers and amazon said they are $1100, that has to be a typo... right?!
Nope that is correct, they list for around $1300. They told me there is a big markup on them, so they basically included them in a package deal. They sound excellent and should last many years. I plan on pulling them if I get rid of the car someday. I have the perfect spot for them in my E46 M3 doors.
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      12-02-2010, 03:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbaune View Post
They said the only way to get good sound out of it was to upgrade the door speakers to 6.5's.
That is not exactly true. In fact, 4" aftermarket speakers work very well in this application, as long as you take care of the "hole" they leave behind in the midbass department. I would even say that 4" speakers work better for midrange, since they have better dispersion than the ones with a 6.5" cone (along with a few other reasons). The advantage of the 6.5 is of course the midbass, which the 4" cannot provide.

But I will admit that this is an interesting installation - the first case of anything larger than 5.25" I have seen installed into the stock locations.

A little more critique if you can stand it : You have not done anything about correcting the stock HU signal, and the sound of those speakers will be negatively affected by it. Also, it seems redundant to keep the underseat woofers running off the head unit, assuming the 6.5's play all the way down to the frequency where the sub takes over. In my mind you should consider re-coding the HU to hifi for a flat, clean signal and thereby totally disabling the underseat woofers and giving those Focals a chance at sounding decent.
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      12-02-2010, 03:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
A little more critique if you can stand it : You have not done anything about correcting the stock HU signal, and the sound of those speakers will be negatively affected by it. Also, it seems redundant to keep the underseat woofers running off the head unit, assuming the 6.5's play all the way down to the frequency where the sub takes over. In my mind you should consider re-coding the HU to hifi for a flat, clean signal and thereby totally disabling the underseat woofers and giving those Focals a chance at sounding decent.
They told me on they found full range signal wires unused in the trunk. They used this to feed the amp. How do you go about re-coding the HU?

To be honest I can't even hear the speakers under the seat anymore. I can still pick up some sound from the rears, more as a filler.
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      12-02-2010, 04:22 PM   #8
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Does that install look stock from the inside?

Since the 6.5 are larger than the hole how does it work if you didn't enlarge
the hole as it looks like the edge of the speakers would be right against the door panels. Send a picture with the door panels on if its doesn't look stock if you can please.
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      12-02-2010, 04:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbaune View Post
They told me on they found full range signal wires unused in the trunk. They used this to feed the amp. How do you go about re-coding the HU?

To be honest I can't even hear the speakers under the seat anymore. I can still pick up some sound from the rears, more as a filler.
Do a search for "Autologic" regarding the re-programming.

How's the midbass from those Focals? I would have some concerns about there not being a large enough baffle in the door sheet metal to prevent cancellation between front and back waves.
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      12-02-2010, 05:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
How's the midbass from those Focals? I would have some concerns about there not being a large enough baffle in the door sheet metal to prevent cancellation between front and back waves.
The mid bass is very good.

In the stock system there was no mid bass. The car is now alive with all frequencies being represented. I don't know if was the stock system being so bad, or the new Focal's being so good, but this setup really is night and day different. So far no concerns at all.

Last edited by sbaune; 12-02-2010 at 05:42 PM.
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      12-02-2010, 05:32 PM   #11
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show us a picture of the door panel all buttoned up with those speakers sitting in there...
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      12-02-2010, 05:32 PM   #12
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Well I can say there is definitely something "unique" about their recommendations and this install.

Did your car have tweeters to start? I don't see the OEM grilles in the sail panel but I do see some small-gauge speaker wire running up into the corners. I'm also curious where they installed the crossovers and why that MDF-looking mounting ring is the only form of baffle they found suitable.
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      12-02-2010, 05:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
Since the 6.5 are larger than the hole how does it work if you didn't enlarge
the hole as it looks like the edge of the speakers would be right against the door panels. Send a picture with the door panels on if its doesn't look stock if you can please.
The stock 4" speakers actually mount on the door panel, not the metal of the door. The guys had to remove a small piece of metal at the top of the speaker opening. From what they told me it was a balancing act between fitting it under the door panel and not hitting the window. Once it was in, everything was Dynamatted to seal the door.

The door panel grill is stock and the speaker actually lines up with the opening. If you look at the pictures above, the grill is about the same size as the black outer ring on the speaker.
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      12-02-2010, 05:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imperator View Post
Did your car have tweeters to start? I don't see the OEM grilles in the sail panel but I do see some small-gauge speaker wire running up into the corners. I'm also curious where they installed the crossovers and why that MDF-looking mounting ring is the only form of baffle they found suitable.
No the car did not have tweeters, but that's where they mounted the new ones. The crossovers are mounted in the trunk with the amp. They use wood because it's easy to work with. They have a full wood working shop in there shop to do all types of custom work. In the picture they were still fit testing so that wasn't the final mounting ring.
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      12-02-2010, 05:57 PM   #15
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Did they re-use your factory sail panels for the tweeters and re-cover them with grill cloth? I'm curious what those look like since it doesn't seem they used the OEM BMW tweeter sails.
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      12-02-2010, 06:29 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imperator View Post
Did they re-use your factory sail panels for the tweeters and re-cover them with grill cloth? I'm curious what those look like since it doesn't seem they used the OEM BMW tweeter sails.
Yes they cut a hole in the sail panels and covered the tweeters in grill cloth. I wanted to use the Focal covers but they were just a little to big. I thought they would look good with the Al trim in the car.
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      12-03-2010, 10:16 AM   #17
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After doing some searching for recoding the base system to Hifi I found this link:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=395987

Has anyone had the dealer do the recode on there car? What was involved and how much did the dealer charge for this?

Thanks
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      12-05-2010, 12:59 AM   #18
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Dude, I think I pulled a muscle looking at these pics. I am hugely disappointed. You were seriously misinformed. By the way, if the results are so good, why are you looking into recoding?

I find it more likely that the results are sensational - in the literal meaning - rather than musical or linear or high-fidelity. You now have boom and sizzle. That is different from great-sounding results.

This is a poorly-planned system - with no provision for signal normalization, and total disregard for your underseat enclosures - and that speaker install makes me sad. They haven't done much research on these cars for audio (but then, neither did you, I guess). How much was that installed?
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      12-05-2010, 07:36 AM   #19
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Where did you mount the tweeters? I don't see them.
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      12-06-2010, 01:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
Dude, I think I pulled a muscle looking at these pics. I am hugely disappointed. You were seriously misinformed. By the way, if the results are so good, why are you looking into recoding?

I find it more likely that the results are sensational - in the literal meaning - rather than musical or linear or high-fidelity. You now have boom and sizzle. That is different from great-sounding results.

This is a poorly-planned system - with no provision for signal normalization, and total disregard for your underseat enclosures - and that speaker install makes me sad. They haven't done much research on these cars for audio (but then, neither did you, I guess). How much was that installed?
Thanks for your input, it was very helpful.

kaigoss69 said I should re-code it to make it sound even better. I thought I would find out what was involved. It was just a question...

Since you haven't actually heard the system, your opinion is just that, an opinion. I apologize for not consulting you before the installation. I'm also sorry I made you sad with the speaker installation. No one had ever done 6 1/2 speakers in the door as far as I've read. No matter what anyone thinks a 4" speaker will never give the same frequency spectrum as a 6 1/2". Bigger is better is this case. The installers also had a signal processor all ready to install, but they were able to tune the car without it, so it saved me a couple hundred dollars.

Since the installation I can tell you I now have crisp highs along with nicely blended mids and mid bass. All of which were completely missing with the base system. The added subwoofer does a nice job filling in that low end punch.

One last thing, 99% of the cars on the road do not have under seat speakers. The reason for this is they use larger 6 1/2 speakers that can some what fill the mid bass which is missing from 4" speakers. When I started looking at the options for under seat speakers nothing really stood out. The enclosure is not big enough to support a real subwoofer or any air movement for that matter. By adding 6 1/2" door speakers and a true sub, we now have nice tight mid bass.

I guess next time I'll have to do a better job planning my system.
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      12-06-2010, 03:38 PM   #21
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Can we get an installed picture

There is a company that makes aftermarket door panels built to take larger speakers Jehnert.
It looks like they are overkill for the average up grader though.

I got to say that putting speakers under the seat seem kind of lame.(on BMW's part)

Last edited by ctuna; 12-06-2010 at 04:14 PM.
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      12-06-2010, 04:05 PM   #22
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how are the speakers sealed?
i mean OEM the speaker is attached to the door trim and the backwave of the speaker is enclosed in the door
with your install the speaker is not sealed from the front, since it doesn't attach to the trim
nor from the rear, since i see a lot of gaps around the wooden ring they attached behind the speaker.
that looks like a very bad install
if you are impressed with the sound, i'd love to see how those speaker sound if installed correctly!
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