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      08-14-2019, 06:39 AM   #1
evominati
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HU upgrade. Worth it?

Hey guys, I got E91 2005(pre LCI) fitted with basic audio system(Business CD) so I got a deal on a Professional HU(Head unit) from pre-LCI(guessing by the knobs not having the chrome trim). Question is, is it worth it upgrading, will there be any significant difference in quality?
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      08-16-2019, 07:41 AM   #2
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First, it's worth clearing up that Business and Professional HU don't necessarily dictate the audio system in your car. If you have base audio, a simple HU swap won't actually achieve anything... see below.

The biggest issue with base audio is that it has multiple weak points:
- no amp, all power run directly from HU
- no tweeters, smaller woofers under seats
- to make up for the poor speakers, the HU uses an artificially boosted signal

Changing just your HU will result in one of 2 scenarios:
1. no change - new HU is coded for base audio too, which means the deck will power speakers using the artificial eq, and the limitations of current system will stay in place (no amp, poor speakers)
2. no audio - new HU is coded for HiFi, or some other audio spec, which works in tandem with an OEM amp... given you don't have an amp, you will get no (or severely reduced) output from your speakers

Depending on what specifically you want to improve in your sound, here are the typical upgrade options you have:
- install an amp, and code HU to HiFi (or use some other signal flattening device): amping your existing speakers is usually the first step at improvement for better and cleaner power... and with the signal flattening, you at least are working with a flat signal. Poor speakers will still be an issue though, but I'd reco upgrading the amp before speakers
-- 6 channel amp is often recommended to get match the channels in the car, but you can do a 4 channel and delete the rear speakers from the amp unless you are dead set on having rear speakers (mostly for rear passengers, they don't do much up front)

- Upgrade speakers with a drop-in kit: you could piece together your own upgrade speakers, but due to size and mounting depth limitations in this car, a drop-in kit made for these models is the easier choice... look for options from Jenhert, MBQuart, and others. BAVSound makes them too, but have found them to be a bit pricey for what you can get from other brands


If you change the HU to aftermarket, you can get away without an amp upgrade since the signal will be flat, and the built in amp on most HU are more powerful than the OEM HU. This option can also give you more features (navi, bluetooth phone & audio, SD/USB, video, etc.), and new ones are even android based for future upgrades etc. Be warned most android units are decent but not "high" audio quality, in case you are going for a high quality audio build, I'd stick with an OEM option or a branded HU like Pioneer, Kenwood, etc.


Hope this helps!

I had base audio, ended up replacing HU, adding aftermarket amp, and doing a drop-in speaker kit for the front stage. Plus a 2nd amp and a sub in the boot.

Good luck!
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      08-16-2019, 07:45 AM   #3
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Here's a pic of the Eonon GA9165B I installed in my car. As previously stated (and I had a Pioneer before), great for getting the latest features and still getting decent sound output (especially for most "normal" people looking for an upgrade)....

but if you're an audiophile, or looking for peak output and quality, the 10 year old Pioneer AVIC x920BT I had in there before was still superior in those aspects. I sacrificed a bit of audio for those modern features. Pic of my Pioneer double din also below for reference.
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