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      02-11-2011, 05:03 PM   #1
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2011 Base Stereo - Amp & Configuration Help!

Hi All

I appreciate this post will be a bit long winded but I must have read almost every post on here in regards to upgrading the base stereo. I have to say there are some excellent guides on here and some people have really gone out of their way to provide some top info!

Despite all my reading I'm still looking for some views and advice from those in the know before I buy an amp and finally go ahead and do the upgrade.

My car is a 2011 E90 (COMBOX) and has the iDrive with Professional Nav (optional 6FL and 6NF if relevant) with the standard base six speaker setup without an amp.

I've already bought the following kit in preparation
  • Focal K2 100KRS components for the front doors.
  • 2 x Earthquake SWS8 4 ohms subs for under the front seats.
  • Jtsherri's SWS8 spacers as well as sourcing another set of under seat enclosures.
  • 808MGuy's metal speaker adapters to fit the four stud Focal's to the cars standard three stud pattern.
  • Technic's latest iDrive harness along with his OEM speaker connectors for the Focal's and jumpers for the SWS8's
My aim is for everything to be easily removable for when I come to change the car and try to make everything as 'plug and play' as possible. From what I've read the more recent vehicle's now have the stock subs glued into the enclosures rather than screwed so I'll just remove and store my original's rather than risk butchering them. I'm going to fit the SWS8's into my spare enclosures which should also help reduce fitting time as I can prepare these prior to even touching the car

It is imperative that I retain all original functionality, volume controls as OE, PDC bongs and door chimes all at the correct levels etc.

I know that Technic's harness plugs into the loom behind the iDrive and runs everything needed to the rear of the car where it will connect to whichever amp before running it all back up to the front again and mating back up with the cars loom to the speakers. Depending on what amp is used and how it's connected I could either power the Focal's and the SWS'8 together as they are standard or I can run separate speaker wires directly to the SWS'8 and separate them using the jumpers provided in Technic's kit.

I've decided I will be running the additional wires and using Technic's jumpers as this will provide the most kick to the SWS8's.

But the main thing I'm confused about is what amp will be needed for my specific setup and ultimately how to connect it all up? How many channels do I need and what will each channel power?

From what I have read it seems the main problem with fitting an amp to the base stereo it that it has high level outputs and a tweaked EQ to compensate for the cheap standard speakers.

So I suppose the first thing to decide on is whether to have it recoded to 'Hi Fi' or leave it in base setting. I've spoken to BMW and they have quoted just under 100 to have this done. If I'm honest I would rather not recode unless it is necessary as I would have to put it back again afterwards so if I don't its 200 that could be used to put towards sorting the EQ out another way.

What I'm looking for is the best amp and setup option for either path be it keep the base setting or recode to 'Hi fi'?

A couple of other things that are puzzling me is what would happen with the rear speakers in either option and is it better to have the SWS8's in stereo or mono? I suppose this would require six channels? Is it even possible to tell either way?

Any advice or experience greatly received!

Thanks for reading!
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      02-11-2011, 05:40 PM   #2
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Not sure what amp you should get but what do mean by spare enclosures for the sws-8s?

Are they from a previous year? I know on my car the underseat enclosure are channeled into chambers near or under the side skirts. Not connecting that chamber will decreae internal volume dramatically.

If you haven't gotten any thing to power the sws-8s yet, I would run them in stereo.

You could setup a front stage and leave the stock speakers on deck power? Not sure how that would sound with the base system though...

Good luck!
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      02-11-2011, 05:56 PM   #3
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Thanks!

Yeah the enclosures are OE parts from a slightly earlier car. Physically the same but with a screw in speaker rather than the current glued version. I suppose stereo would be the best option, it's just how to go about it really.
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      02-11-2011, 06:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
Which determines if you got the base system or the old Hi Fi minus two tweeters in the rear?
The OP is in the UK, those changes only apply to the USA.
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      02-11-2011, 06:18 PM   #5
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What we do is use the Zapco DC amplifiers with DSP onboard, and use the DSP to both "normalize" the signal, and optimize the acoustic response for the car cabin and the speakers selected.

I would suggest that you use the DC amps, and a SLDIN.BTL and an SLDIN cable from Technic's harness. Works the charm.

You have 4-ohm woofers. I usually run them in stereo. With 2-ohm woofers, the 50x4 amp does 90 wpc into the 8" woofers.
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      02-11-2011, 06:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
Which determines if you got the base system or the old Hi Fi minus two tweeters in the rear?
The OP is in the UK, those changes only apply to the USA.
Hi Technic, any advice ref recoding?
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      02-11-2011, 06:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
What we do is use the Zapco DC amplifiers with DSP onboard, and use the DSP to both "normalize" the signal, and optimize the acoustic response for the car cabin and the speakers selected.

I would suggest that you use the DC amps, and a SLDIN.BTL and an SLDIN cable from Technic's harness. Works the charm.

You have 4-ohm woofers. I usually run them in stereo. With 2-ohm woofers, the 50x4 amp does 90 wpc into the 8" woofers.
Hi VP, sorry didn't ignore your post. Must have been typing at the same time you were! Will look into Zapco amps. Not sure I can get them here though so may be a bit cost prohibitive. Will have to work it all out. Will search for SLDIN as I've not heard of it before. In regards to the 2 ohms I was struggling to source SWS's over here and some 4's came up so I grabbed them!

Thanks !
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      02-11-2011, 06:37 PM   #8
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NP.
The SLDIN is a Zapco cable. It's a special cable that has PS/2 ends and 1394 cabling inside. You need one to go from the SL.BTL to the amp.

Your other option is the JBL MS-8 processor and whatever amps you want downstream from that.
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      02-12-2011, 07:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B33M3R View Post
Hi Technic, any advice ref recoding?
Autologic or this http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=451145 can help you...
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      02-12-2011, 10:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Any news on your 2010/2011 attempt Technic?
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      02-12-2011, 03:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Any news on your 2010/2011 attempt Technic?
We successfully coded my 2011 E90 for some features such as speedo on the instrument panel, comfort closing, etc. We failed to be able to recode the base radio from base to HiFi. Could've been the cable we were using. I`m sure Technic will chime in with more details.

As far as your setup, I`m running aftermarket 4" front components, 4" coaxials on the rear deck and 8" Kickers under the seat, all powered by an JL Audio XD600/6. Perfect amp for the E90. Fits quiet nicely under the trunk mat right next to the COMBOX/Bluetooth module and its only 10"x7". Extremely small and very efficient amp. I used Technic's harness for the front and rear speakers and ran new 16awg cables for under the seats subs. After I installed the entire system the dong volume was incredibly loud and could not be adjusted via the radio controls. I took the car to the dealer for an unrelated issue and the DME had to be recoded. I lost all the custom coding Technic performed but the dong volume returned to its original/normal volume.

Regarding the coding, I have attempted to get around the recoding of the radio several ways but at the end of the day I think running a JL Audio Cleansweep is the best alternative. Will eliminate the need of using a LOC (which I don't like), will take care of the PDC dong and flatten the signal of the stock base radio.
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      02-13-2011, 02:48 PM   #12
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Ok,

So after a bit more research as suggested it looks like the coding option may be a bit of a pain in the a*se and also brings with it its own drawbacks.

The Zapco Amps appear to be unavailable in the UK so importing one is going to probably be quite expensive and any warranty issues will be a nightmare.

They actually don't appear to be very internet consumer focused as a company either as their website is a bit sparse, they must be more dealer/fitter orientated so I'm out of luck. I'm sure they are great amps.

As you say I think the best route for me is likely to be a JL Cleansweep feeding into a 5 or 6 channel amp to power all four speakers and the SWS8's. I'm leaning now towards buying a new set of rear coaxials as well where I wasn't going to before. This will be just to improve the rear as I know it's only really for fill.

The PDX5 looks popular but looks like it's been discontinued now and although there are quite a few shops still stocking them. I've read they have had some reliability issues though and if I go with a 5 channel then the SWS8's won’t be in stereo?

The JL XD600/6 looks a good option but it specs it is its 75w RMS x 6. Will that be enough to really take advantage of the SWS8's?

Can anyone recommend any other good amps in adition to tha JL?

From what I've read I should need to use the separate volume knob supplied with the cleansweep (which I'm not keen on at all) as the EQ it will be flattening is not dynamic and stays the same at any given volume? Can anyone verify this?

One final thing, will I definately not have any issues with the PDC, lights on bongs or telephone calls volume etc? I believe this should be ok as I'm not going to recode?

Thanks All
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Last edited by B33M3R; 02-13-2011 at 02:54 PM.
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      02-13-2011, 07:17 PM   #13
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Typo, I meant I shouldn't have to use the separate volume knob that comes with the cleansweep!

Can anyone confirm this?
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      02-14-2011, 12:44 PM   #14
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The volume knob is only relevant if the car has volume-dependent equalization which needs to be reversed (normal auto-loudness does not fall into this category).

Don't use the knob.

JBL MS-8 does a better job than the CleanSweep. Also powers rear speakers.
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      02-14-2011, 02:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Any news on your 2010/2011 attempt Technic?
I don't think that any MY2010/MY2011 1- or 3-Series with the Stereo system (iDrive or not) can be coded to something other than Stereo... the hardware looks to be missing.

I coded a 06/10-production Stereo iDrive CIC to HiFi last night and still the output was high level.

This matches another post that stated that MY2010/11 with the OEM HU installed from factory cannot be coded to HiFi.
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      02-14-2011, 03:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
I don't think that any MY2010/MY2011 1- or 3-Series with the Stereo system (iDrive or not) can be coded to something other than Stereo... the hardware looks to be missing.

I coded a 06/10-production Stereo iDrive CIC to HiFi last night and still the output was high level.

This matches another post that stated that MY2010/11 with the OEM HU installed from factory cannot be coded to HiFi.
This matches my posted experiences with 2010 E82 base Stereo and inability to post to HiFi.
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      02-14-2011, 05:19 PM   #17
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Well that pretty much rubber stamps the recode being a non starter then!
Yeah, I looked at the MS8 but it's about 600 over here so would be an expensive addition, that said if it could run the rears and reduce the number of channels needed for an additional amp (I'm assuming and amp for the front with the MSM8 taking care of the rear scenario?) then it might be worth the extra pennies.

What would be the ideal config if I went MS8 and would that still not require the separate volume control? Can anyone see any drawbacks?
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      02-15-2011, 09:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
I don't think that any MY2010/MY2011 1- or 3-Series with the Stereo system (iDrive or not) can be coded to something other than Stereo... the hardware looks to be missing.

I coded a 06/10-production Stereo iDrive CIC to HiFi last night and still the output was high level.

This matches another post that stated that MY2010/11 with the OEM HU installed from factory cannot be coded to HiFi.
+1 i coded this retrofit with ista/p version 2.37.1 and didnt notice a difference at all.
im 02/2010
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      02-16-2011, 03:40 PM   #19
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Is it possible this is because of MOST bus deletion post 9/09 for option 676/ base stereo cars?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
I don't think that any MY2010/MY2011 1- or 3-Series with the Stereo system (iDrive or not) can be coded to something other than Stereo... the hardware looks to be missing.

I coded a 06/10-production Stereo iDrive CIC to HiFi last night and still the output was high level.

This matches another post that stated that MY2010/11 with the OEM HU installed from factory cannot be coded to HiFi.
1 i coded this retrofit with ista/p version 2.37.1 and didnt notice a difference at all.
im 02/2010
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      02-16-2011, 05:59 PM   #20
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So, out of interest then if it appears that in cannot be recoded why does the latest Alpine retrofit instructions tell the dealer to recode to Hi Fi? People will be paying for a recode that does nothing?
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      02-16-2011, 07:42 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Is it possible this is because of MOST bus deletion post 9/09 for option 676/ base stereo cars?
The CIC that I tried to code had MOST.

I think that in the USA BMW gutted both the radio and the CIC when set to Stereo from factory so there is no balanced output circuitry.
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      02-16-2011, 07:43 PM   #22
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So, out of interest then if it appears that in cannot be recoded why does the latest Alpine retrofit instructions tell the dealer to recode to Hi Fi? People will be paying for a recode that does nothing?
That's in Europe... the Alpine kit is not officially offered in the USA.

So your coding results may vary.
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