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      09-23-2014, 09:15 PM   #1
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Post DIY: e90 Base Stereo Upgrade Project - Detailed installation instructions with photos

I would like first to thank all of you for your support, specially Ken from Musicar, Technic and all forum members. Without you i would have never touched my car.

Note: Have a look at the attachment for detailed installation DIY!

Introduction:
I am driving an e90 LCI model 2011 equipped with base stereo audio system, i received my brand new car on October 2010 and i found the audio not really acceptable for me.
And since that, i was not able to make any modifications to the car due to the warranty issues, i decided to live with that till the warranty expires.
After searching the forum for others experiences and information, i found that three options are available:
1. OEM upgrade system, like Alpine or Logic 7.
2. Bolt in package from professional supplier like Musicar.
3. Your own customized system. (You need to read a lot, as a lot of dicisions need to be taken)

Based on the reviews about OEM systems i was not confident that it will make a significant improvement to my current system, so i decided to go for option 2 as it will provide a huge improvement, and since the system supposed to be supplied bolt-in ready that means it will be a hassle free installation.
I contacted Musicar NW for a quote, Ken sent me a really helpfull e-mail explaining my current system in details and what need to be done to upgrade the audio. He also offered three different pricing levels.
I sent Ken all my technical questions and concerns, and he was really supportive and answered all my questions. And when we reached to the ordering stage, Ken had some concerns about shipping the order internationally specially the tweeter sail trims, and i lost communication with him after that. And after a long waiting I decided to go for option 3 unfortunately.

I belive Muscar folks are really knowledgable and they know what they are doing, i wish i could get the system from them and had a piece of mind.

Based on the provided information from Ken, i decided to stick to the proposed equipment as possible, and i had to search for suppliers for speaker adapters and upgrade cables needed.


My system in short: (All details are included in the installation guide attached)
What was proposed by Musicar:

1. Correcting processor - JL Audio CleanSweep CL441DSP.
2. JL 600/6 - 6 channels amp.
3. Maestro of Germany for doors, and 25mm titanium tweeter.
4. EarthQuake SWS8 for under seats.
5. Bolt in accessories included.

Only find a difficulity to outsource the Maestro speakers also they need an adapter to mount them to OEM screws, instead i found the Focal IFBMW-S is a great replacement, the set is specially designed for BMW e90 and includes everything you need to replace the OEM speakers (Tweeter sails are not included), the package are 100% PnP with OEM connectors and includes Speakers, Tweeters, trim removal tool, torx key to unscrew door panel and a set of 4 replacement door panel mounting clips.

And in regards to the SWS8, i also found a great set of underseats, includes pairs of SWS8 and a pair of spacers designed to fit e90.

The final and most important item i was looking for is the harness. Contacted Technic and and after having my questions answered by him (Thanks a lot) i ordered my harness. And what i received is an OEM grade cables set! very high quality connectors and cables ready to fit into my car.


Results after installation:
Very satisfying results , mids are clear, highs are crisp and not harsh and lows are giving enough booms.

Tips for your upgrade:
From what i learned from this forum, i am sharing the following remarks and advices:
1. Keep it OEM as possible, you don't have to cut or splice a wire, you don't have to cut your door panels. Search and you will defenitly find a way to do it.
2. Don't assume mechanical and electrical work is somthing that comes with logic, you need to read and and have a complete vision of what you are willing to do. You may end up buying a spares to fix a damage, or you could threaten your safety, be carefull.
3. Patience, give yourself enough time to accomplish the job, if you are in a hurry, do it later or never.
4. A DIY doesn't mean it is a piece of cake job, it only means you don't need special tools/equipment nor special knowledge to accomplish it, upgrading the e90 base stereo is not a piece of cake.
5. Have a plan, It is good to divide the installation into stages.

Hope this posting helps someone achiving his upgrade.

For the complete installation instructions please open the pdf file in the attachment.

Regards,
Rockyz
Attached Images
File Type: pdf e90 Audio Upgrade Guide.pdf (4.33 MB, 10305 views)

Last edited by Rockyz; 09-27-2014 at 06:59 PM..
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      09-23-2014, 09:30 PM   #2
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Do you have any high frequency noise coming from your head unit (on or off) now that you're putting more power behind the system?
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      09-23-2014, 09:37 PM   #3
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Best DIY I have seen to date. You rock, sir!
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      09-23-2014, 10:21 PM   #4
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yeah, that is ridiculously good....nice work. Your guide makes my cobbled together junk look terrible...haha... Im guessing you do this for a living? (technical writing) Or you did at some point?
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      09-23-2014, 10:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Do you have any high frequency noise coming from your head unit (on or off) now that you're putting more power behind the system?
Not really, the sound is clear. Knowing that the amplifier gains are set at minimum, and cleansweep is calibrated at around 75% of the maximum volume of the head unit.
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      09-23-2014, 10:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
Best DIY I have seen to date. You rock, sir!
Thanks a lot.
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      09-23-2014, 10:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffb335 View Post
yeah, that is ridiculously good....nice work. Your guide makes my cobbled together junk look terrible...haha... Im guessing you do this for a living? (technical writing) Or you did at some point?
Thanks man, My work is all around designing wiring and layouts not writing a technical documents, but seems it worked here
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      09-23-2014, 10:40 PM   #8
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Excellent documentation

Excellent documentation
I have to agree.
Also beautiful and detailed install.
Everything looks symmetrical and clean.
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      09-23-2014, 10:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockyz View Post
Not really, the sound is clear. Knowing that the amplifier gains are set at minimum, and cleansweep is calibrated at around 75% of the maximum volume of the head unit.


Ah just actually looked at the PDF, nice job. It seems you had iDrive, not Professional so my question was irrelevant.
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      09-23-2014, 11:09 PM   #10
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Great DIY! I have this exact same setup (without the clean sweep) and I absolutely love it! One quick question, I know that the IFBMW-S has good low end for a 4" speaker, did your crossover frequencies work out well for midbass? I have mine setup a little differently, HP 110Hz for front and LP 135Hz for SWS8s. I was thinking I might open my SWS8s up to 150+Hz.
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      09-24-2014, 05:10 AM   #11
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Really nice job on that PDF! Nice work all around
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      09-24-2014, 09:32 AM   #12
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best install guide I've seen yet for the E90.

That should be a sticky!
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      09-24-2014, 10:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gte460z View Post
Great DIY! I have this exact same setup (without the clean sweep) and I absolutely love it! One quick question, I know that the IFBMW-S has good low end for a 4" speaker, did your crossover frequencies work out well for midbass? I have mine setup a little differently, HP 110Hz for front and LP 135Hz for SWS8s. I was thinking I might open my SWS8s up to 150+Hz.
Yes i think you will get better midbass at 150+, i am happy with the midbass response from my system, however i am still need some deep bass, knowing that i am not willing to install a sub in the trunk. I was expecting better deep bass from the SWS8s. Any suggestions?
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      09-24-2014, 10:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctuna View Post
Excellent documentation
I have to agree.
Also beautiful and detailed install.
Everything looks symmetrical and clean.
Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Ah just actually looked at the PDF, nice job. It seems you had iDrive, not Professional so my question was irrelevant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathematics View Post
Really nice job on that PDF! Nice work all around
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wongway View Post
best install guide I've seen yet for the E90.

That should be a sticky!

Thanks a lot
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      09-24-2014, 11:32 AM   #15
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Don't believe you can get really get good deep bass from the Earthquakes.

Wouldn't attempt to push them higher in the mid bass frequencies either.

They work best as a sub woofer, so pushing them past 130hz may sound really bad. In fact, there's two things I might try...
1) Not knowing if this helps or not, but I might have put in more foam fill inside the enclosure. (You can ignore me here as I don't know if the Earthquakes will benefit)
2) I'd really attempt to run Earthquakes only from 120hz max on down... In fact, for giggles, simply allow only 80hz on down to your Earthquakes and listen to their sound quality... Then see if they don't sound stressed when you allow them to play higher. They're notorious for not sounding very good at midbass frequencies, though I believe that's by design. They're designed to be a "sub"-woofer first.


This is my personal belief...
I truly believe that most people don't need a real "sub"-woofer

A good woofer should get down to most of what people normally listen to. Once you get to a real subwoofer, you're only talking a relative narrow range of frequencies, from 100-80hz on down. And on top of that, our hearing limit is around 35hz, so we feel the rest.

I'm slowly beginning to think that for the majority of folk out there, they'd be best served with a quality mid-bass. All of this is my opinion so don't take it as gospel, especially since the majority of any rap/hip-hop/dance I listen to these days amounts to billboard top 40 stuff.

Last edited by Wongway; 09-24-2014 at 11:49 AM..
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      09-24-2014, 12:13 PM   #16
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+1 to Wongway's reply, no way to increase bass output (unless you have not tried bass boost) and no way SWS-8 sounds any good north of 80Hz. That driver just plain sucks.
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      09-24-2014, 12:25 PM   #17
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"sucks" might be a strong word there.

It's all about what the driver was designed for. Guessing from his earlier comment that he was adamant about not having a subwoofer in the trunk. When you've got that as a stipulation, there's very few options left.

I didn't want a subwoofer in my trunk either, but my other option required cutting up the doors. I would guess most probably would shy away from that, so really, the SWS is probably the only other "best" option.

Just have to figure out how best to achieve good SQ from what's there is all.
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      09-24-2014, 01:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaigoss69 View Post
+1 to Wongway's reply, no way to increase bass output (unless you have not tried bass boost) and no way SWS-8 sounds any good north of 80Hz. That driver just plain sucks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wongway View Post
"sucks" might be a strong word there.

It's all about what the driver was designed for. Guessing from his earlier comment that he was adamant about not having a subwoofer in the trunk. When you've got that as a stipulation, there's very few options left.

I didn't want a subwoofer in my trunk either, but my other option required cutting up the doors. I would guess most probably would shy away from that, so really, the SWS is probably the only other "best" option.

Just have to figure out how best to achieve good SQ from what's there is all.
I think the problem is in my expectations, the SWS are a huge improvement over the stock 6 inch, and i have read several posts having the same concern. And at the end i am very happy for the current result and not willing to drop a sub in the trunk - At least for the time being -
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      09-24-2014, 02:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wongway View Post
Don't believe you can get really get good deep bass from the Earthquakes.

Wouldn't attempt to push them higher in the mid bass frequencies either.

They work best as a sub woofer, so pushing them past 130hz may sound really bad. In fact, there's two things I might try...
1) Not knowing if this helps or not, but I might have put in more foam fill inside the enclosure. (You can ignore me here as I don't know if the Earthquakes will benefit)
2) I'd really attempt to run Earthquakes only from 120hz max on down... In fact, for giggles, simply allow only 80hz on down to your Earthquakes and listen to their sound quality... Then see if they don't sound stressed when you allow them to play higher. They're notorious for not sounding very good at midbass frequencies, though I believe that's by design. They're designed to be a "sub"-woofer first.


This is my personal belief...
I truly believe that most people don't need a real "sub"-woofer

A good woofer should get down to most of what people normally listen to. Once you get to a real subwoofer, you're only talking a relative narrow range of frequencies, from 100-80hz on down. And on top of that, our hearing limit is around 35hz, so we feel the rest.

I'm slowly beginning to think that for the majority of folk out there, they'd be best served with a quality mid-bass. All of this is my opinion so don't take it as gospel, especially since the majority of any rap/hip-hop/dance I listen to these days amounts to billboard top 40 stuff.
That was so clear, i will definitely try and post the results soon.
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      09-24-2014, 02:09 PM   #20
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Nice set up and great documentation.
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      09-25-2014, 10:11 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockyz View Post
Yes i think you will get better midbass at 150+, i am happy with the midbass response from my system, however i am still need some deep bass, knowing that i am not willing to install a sub in the trunk. I was expecting better deep bass from the SWS8s. Any suggestions?
Hello, i was wrong thanks to Wongway. I put my SWS8s at 80Hz and the audio quality is much much better now. the audio is much defined and the bass response is better.

You will have also to put the fronts and backs at 80Hz.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wongway View Post
Don't believe you can get really get good deep bass from the Earthquakes.

Wouldn't attempt to push them higher in the mid bass frequencies either.

They work best as a sub woofer, so pushing them past 130hz may sound really bad. In fact, there's two things I might try...
1) Not knowing if this helps or not, but I might have put in more foam fill inside the enclosure. (You can ignore me here as I don't know if the Earthquakes will benefit)
2) I'd really attempt to run Earthquakes only from 120hz max on down... In fact, for giggles, simply allow only 80hz on down to your Earthquakes and listen to their sound quality... Then see if they don't sound stressed when you allow them to play higher. They're notorious for not sounding very good at midbass frequencies, though I believe that's by design. They're designed to be a "sub"-woofer first.


This is my personal belief...
I truly believe that most people don't need a real "sub"-woofer

A good woofer should get down to most of what people normally listen to. Once you get to a real subwoofer, you're only talking a relative narrow range of frequencies, from 100-80hz on down. And on top of that, our hearing limit is around 35hz, so we feel the rest.

I'm slowly beginning to think that for the majority of folk out there, they'd be best served with a quality mid-bass. All of this is my opinion so don't take it as gospel, especially since the majority of any rap/hip-hop/dance I listen to these days amounts to billboard top 40 stuff.
Thanks for your help, i am much satisfied of the performance now. i also boosted the input sens from 9 O'clock to around 10 O'clock.

I can tell i have better deep bass also.
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      09-25-2014, 10:33 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockyz View Post
I would like first to thank all of you for your support, specially Ken from Musicar, Technic and all forum members. Without you i would have never touched my car.

Regards,
Rockyz
Excellent write up...

What is your impression of the new Stereo harness (longer extension cables, longer Quadralock harness, extension cables fully wrapped in OEM cloth tape)? Did it meet your expectations?
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