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      03-28-2013, 03:14 AM   #1
makkan00
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Technical details on Alpine retrofit Kit

There is not a lot of information on the Alpine kit on the internet and no one is sure about the specifications of it.

Lately, some forums members asked me if the drivers / speakers of Alpine kit are any better than L7 mids? I could not answer it as I did not install any alpine kit yet.
I was waiting for the alpine kit coming my way for installation and getting a chance to test the amp. And finally one forum member contacted me to install the alpine kit with the L7 under seat drivers.
Here are quick photos of installation:






L7 underseat driver




OEM connection where signal splits to underseat and front speakers



Comparison of hi-fi tweeter (blue tags) to alpine kit tweeter (white tags)

Comparison of hi-fi rear speaker (blue tags) to base rear speakers (white tags)



Here are few things learnt;
1- Alpine retrofit manual suggest 2.5 hours of installation. If two BMW technicians are working on your car, then it is possible, otherwise 2.5 hours are not enough for a clean installation. You could do installation in 2.5 hours but quality will compromise. When connecting new wirings, seats have to come out otherwise you may not be able to connect the cables properly. Leave 4 hours (minimum) for yourself and if you are installing L7 under seats, then 5 hours. It took me 5 hours to complete the job including coding and that is without a break.
2- I have said it multiple time that coding is must. It takes out the DSP/ equaliser settings for base HU and expands the upper and lower frequencies. To a layman person, sound improves instantly.
3- Mids and tweeters are connected in SERIES and not parallel. Most of us think that BMW may have connected them in parallel to reduce the final impedance to have more overall sound. But its the opposite. They have connected mid and tweeters in series which reduces the sound output from mids and tweeters, and sub get comparatively more power to have balance in the sound.
4- During installation and testing, sub channel produced 39.6W clip free sound (50Hz), and speaker channel produced 25W (1000Hz) but at 6 ohm final impudence since mids and tweeters are in series (and their coil resistance was 6 ohms when measured). So, its 4 channel amp with 40W@4ohms each.
5- I’ve installed it on pre-LCI car with professional HU. On that HU, clip free sound is two clicks less than max volume and soft clipping is 1 click less than max volume. This is pre-LCI headunit + Alpine kit’s clip free abilities tested with O-Scope.
6- BMW has used 6db xovers (passive) for mid – tweeter splitting and 12db xovers for mid – sub xover (in the amp). From the little experimentation, xover point b/w underseats and mid is 150Hz, whereas xover b/w mid and tweeter is 3-4.5 Khz. It is not easy to test these and hence I gave a range for mid –tweeter xovers.
7- After reviewing all this, Alpine kit is like a hi-fi sound system (except rears and under seats). Power rating of drivers is similar to hi-fi. That makes it clear that drivers / spakers of L7 are superior.
8- In this particular car, we have also added hi-fi rear speakers to have balance in the sound and they worked well.
9- On pre-LCI headunit installed with Alpine kit + L7 underseats + hi-fi coding, sound seemed balanced when treble was at +4 and bass at +2. (its subjective)

Overall, it is an improvement over the base HU. This kit is worth of every penny you pay. Sound quality is 9.5/10 if installed with L7 underseats. Sound is so balanced and you can hear bass, mid bass, mid clearly. The only weak point is treble / upper end. And that is more to do with Pr-LCI professional HU. I strongly believe that in LCI Headunits, they have improved the upper end spectrum and treble is a lot better (speaking from personal experience and I retrofitted LCI headunit in pre-LCI car).
So, if you do not know a lot about the sound systems and do not want to spend fortune on your sound system, then this should be starting point. For an average person who likes to listen quality music, this kit should do the job. Remember L7 and hi-fi coding is MUST to imply my findings.
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      03-28-2013, 03:27 AM   #2
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Good write up!

Always been tempted by this upgrade.

Just need the spare cash

Out of interest, how much did you pay/charge for the install?
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      03-28-2013, 07:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xPETEZx View Post
Good write up!

Always been tempted by this upgrade.

Just need the spare cash


Out of interest, how much did you pay/charge for the install?

yup, but it is still cheapest OEM sound enhancement kit mate.
PM sent for your question.
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      03-28-2013, 07:24 AM   #4
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I thought the whole point of the Alpine kit was that it DIDN'T need coding, that there was a selector switch on the amp to accomodate for pre/post LCI headunits?

If you're coding the HU to HiFi, then you may as well buy whatever amp and speakers you fancy.
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      03-28-2013, 07:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parapaul View Post
I thought the whole point of the Alpine kit was that it DIDN'T need coding, that there was a selector switch on the amp to accomodate for pre/post LCI headunits?
That switch is to give you option to work with
1- Bussiness HU
2- Professional HU

BMW suggests that pre-LCI cars should not be coded. Having said that, it appeared in their revised manual and that was due to them spending time sorting out reverse sensor issues.


Quote:
Originally Posted by parapaul View Post
If you're coding the HU to HiFi, then you may as well buy whatever amp and speakers you fancy.
You will still have to go for ONLY those amps which can accept differential balanced input.
Hi-fi coding takes out equiliser settings and convert the HU output from hi-level to low level.

If you go with ANY amp, then be ready to have all sort of noise issues.
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      03-28-2013, 10:15 AM   #6
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I know you had noise issues, but there was a thread from someone in the last few months who did exactly that - coded to HiFi, fitted RCA plugs and used a 'normal' amp. Said it was fabulous. Hang on and I'll try and find it...

Edit: here
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      03-28-2013, 10:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parapaul
I know you had noise issues, but there was a thread from someone in the last few months who did exactly that - coded to HiFi, fitted RCA plugs and used a 'normal' amp. Said it was fabulous. Hang on and I'll try and find it...

Edit: here
Yes, he is using JL amp which accepts differential balanced input.
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      03-28-2013, 10:55 AM   #8
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i know there are much better systems out there and combinations but for the money i am really happy with the performance of mine

brilliant write up Sam! good work!

when i fitted mine it took in total around 7 hours as it was the first time ever installing audio and was a little scared taking my car apart lol!
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      03-28-2013, 11:41 AM   #9
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Does this car have PDC and did the sound from it get reduced by coding to HiFi?
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      03-28-2013, 12:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Hansson View Post
Does this car have PDC and did the sound from it get reduced by coding to HiFi?
The result of HiFi/Alpine coding on my LCI was to increase sound level of PDC & bongs. PDC didn't pose any problems as it's adjustable via iDrive but bongs seem to be fixed & are still a bit noisy, although I have got used to them.
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      03-28-2013, 08:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P 5UML View Post
i know there are much better systems out there and combinations but for the money i am really happy with the performance of mine

brilliant write up Sam! good work!

when i fitted mine it took in total around 7 hours as it was the first time ever installing audio and was a little scared taking my car apart lol!
Thanks Sumil.
7 hours is a good job mate.
When I coded first car to hi-fi with alpine kit, I was impressed. Few small niggles, but overall best kit for the money.
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      03-28-2013, 08:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Per Hansson View Post
Does this car have PDC and did the sound from it get reduced by coding to HiFi?
Pre-LCI cars suffer from PDC decreased volumes. For LCI, Ian have already responded.

And in Pre-LCI, 2005-6 model, you cannot do much other than reducing the volumer while reversing (and its worth of listening to quality music than hearing gongs).
However on few 2007-8 cars, I have brought it back to 90% of its volume with extensive coding.
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      03-29-2013, 05:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makkan00 View Post
Pre-LCI cars suffer from PDC decreased volumes. For LCI, Ian have already responded.

And in Pre-LCI, 2005-6 model, you cannot do much other than reducing the volumer while reversing (and its worth of listening to quality music than hearing gongs).
However on few 2007-8 cars, I have brought it back to 90% of its volume with extensive coding.
It seems a little shortsighted that BMW, or whoever wrote the coding for HiFi/Alpine upgrade, didn't include an adjustment for bongs etc
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      03-29-2013, 07:05 AM   #14
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You can code the car to reduce the volume of the stereo when you're in reverse. It works really well actually.
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      03-30-2013, 04:47 PM   #15
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I really like the look of this upgrade, from reading a few threads it looks like good value for money.

The only slight problem I have with my 2011 E92 is that is has the DAB option. Now I'm non too technical, but why does this mean I can't do the upgrade to my base system? (can't seem to pin down a definitive answer anywhere!)

It can't be amp location, as my boot setup looks just like the pictures above - must be technical, but what - ant ideas folks?
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      03-30-2013, 06:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuroblack View Post
I really like the look of this upgrade, from reading a few threads it looks like good value for money.

The only slight problem I have with my 2011 E92 is that is has the DAB option. Now I'm non too technical, but why does this mean I can't do the upgrade to my base system? (can't seem to pin down a definitive answer anywhere!)

It can't be amp location, as my boot setup looks just like the pictures above - must be technical, but what - ant ideas folks?
Do you have space in your boot for the amp to go?
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      03-31-2013, 02:53 AM   #17
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I'm pretty sure that as Sam suggests, it's only because the dab module sits where the alpine amp is meant to go on some models.
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      03-31-2013, 03:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makkan00 View Post
Do you have space in your boot for the amp to go?
I think so, but not sure if this is the spot?



The other spot is also free as well (the upper section to the left of the 'pit' if that makes sense.
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      04-01-2013, 05:40 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuroblack View Post
I think so, but not sure if this is the spot?



The other spot is also free as well (the upper section to the left of the 'pit' if that makes sense.
Ring your dealer and ask them the reason why cant you have alpine kit?
If they tell you that you have DAB module and you do not have enough space in the boot, then tell them what you think of them.

I don't see a reason that you cannot have alpine kit retrofitted.
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      04-01-2013, 09:07 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuroblack View Post
I think so, but not sure if this is the spot?

The other spot is also free as well (the upper section to the left of the 'pit' if that makes sense.
I think your dealer is confused. Do you have iDrive? Older CCC systems (pre-2009 DVD-based nav) with DAB had a DAB receiver module in the left-hand side of that well, so there's no space for the amp. Newer CIC systems (post-2009 HDD-based nav, like on your car) with DAB have the receiver built into the head unit at the front of the car, so the space where the module goes on older cars is free for the Alpine amp.
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      04-01-2013, 12:16 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanblee View Post
I think your dealer is confused. Do you have iDrive? Older CCC systems (pre-2009 DVD-based nav) with DAB had a DAB receiver module in the left-hand side of that well, so there's no space for the amp. Newer CIC systems (post-2009 HDD-based nav, like on your car) with DAB have the receiver built into the head unit at the front of the car, so the space where the module goes on older cars is free for the Alpine amp.
Hi, yes I have iDrive. Looking at the RealOEM site, it's just as confusing;



Might have a chat with a few more dealers and independents - can't see it being technical, but you never know. Looking at a few threads the HU will need recoding, wonder if that makes a difference in some way?
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      04-01-2013, 01:58 PM   #22
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It's definitely not a technical issue - the Alpine kit doesn't integrate with the rest of the car's electronics, it just takes the output signal from the head unit and amplifies it, so there's really nothing for it to interact with. The coding is to remove the EQ from the factory output, which boosts treble to compensate for the lack of tweeters, so makes the sound overly bright if you fit the Alpine kit. I've got a 2011 CIC in my car with the Alpine kit that I've coded to hifi and it works perfectly.

There are two different kits - you want to make sure you get the later plug-and-play kit for easier installation, rather than the older cut-and-join kit.
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