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      08-17-2008, 10:41 AM   #1
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E90 Professional HiFi stereo upgrade

Hello folks,

First thank you to all who have posted pics and info about stereo mods.
I am writing this post to serve as a collection point for the bits and pieces peppered about the forum and to get the benefit of others' experience.

I have an E90 Professional HiFi (copper) system.

The Problems:

In a nutshell, the stereo is just 'ok'. The problems from my personal taste and point of view are:

1) way too much mid range. It swamps out everything else.

2) high frequency roll-off. Even with the tweeters. Problem made worse by problem (1)

3) weak bass. Not as annoying to me as (1) and (2)

Basically I want to fix everything BMW did badly in their stock amp and speakers.

From what I gather the 2 component areas to change are the speakers and the amp. Changing the amp looks to be mandatory because the stock amp will not properly drive after market speakers (4 ohms) and the cross over is built into it, thus making it impossible to use passive crossovers included with separates that would be the door replacements.

What I have on the must-have list:

1) keep the stock head unit and steering controls.

2) use the factory wiring wherever possible

3) stealth! stealth! stealth!

4) be able to add the sat radio module - car is wired with shark fin.


The Upgrade Path (so far - would like input)

1) I would like to use the connector an harness that comes into the stock amp as the integration point. This would be made easier if there was a crutchfield like converter out there for it.

If anybody knows what the manufacturer is for the connector and perhaps it's mate then that would help a lot. I can make one with the right parts thanks to the posted wiring diagram - if I can find the post again.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12983

2) It looks like the 4 channel outputs from the head (front + rear) will require a DSP unit to convert them to RCA - looking for a decent unit that will do the job. Outputs should be front/rear/sub (door/deck/seats) - no extra volume knob.

3) amps. I have 2 alpine amps from my old car. One is a 4/3/2 (25x4) and the other is a 2/1 (30x2). These amps should be enough to power the front/door speakers, the subs under the seats, and the rear deck speakers. I may add a powered infinity sub unit in the trunk which I also own. (The trunk sub will only give me vibration)

4) speakers:

a) door - I am still looking for a 4" separate here. Depth is the issue. I will not be putting anything in that requires protrusion into the car because the speaker sits right on top of the window and door lock controls. Having anything that is not flush here is worse than the stereo problem.

I like this setup:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66141

Replacements that don't require re financing my house would be nice.

b) rear deck - I am looking for a co-ax replacement. Anybody know the size?

c) seat subs - I like the SWS replacement:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134066

5) Remote power

I think the low voltage converter switch is the way to go here.
I can't get behind a config that has the amps powered with the head unit off.


Thanks
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      08-17-2008, 11:47 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdiprete View Post

The Upgrade Path (so far - would like input)

1) I would like to use the connector an harness that comes into the stock amp as the integration point. This would be made easier if there was a crutchfield like converter out there for it.

If anybody knows what the manufacturer is for the connector and perhaps it's mate then that would help a lot. I can make one with the right parts thanks to the posted wiring diagram - if I can find the post again.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12983

2) It looks like the 4 channel outputs from the head (front + rear) will require a DSP unit to convert them to RCA - looking for a decent unit that will do the job. Outputs should be front/rear/sub (door/deck/seats) - no extra volume knob.

3) amps. I have 2 alpine amps from my old car. One is a 4/3/2 (25x4) and the other is a 2/1 (30x2). These amps should be enough to power the front/door speakers, the subs under the seats, and the rear deck speakers. I may add a powered infinity sub unit in the trunk which I also own. (The trunk sub will only give me vibration)

4) speakers:

a) door - I am still looking for a 4" separate here. Depth is the issue. I will not be putting anything in that requires protrusion into the car because the speaker sits right on top of the window and door lock controls. Having anything that is not flush here is worse than the stereo problem.

I like this setup:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66141

Replacements that don't require re financing my house would be nice.

b) rear deck - I am looking for a co-ax replacement. Anybody know the size?

c) seat subs - I like the SWS replacement:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=134066

5) Remote power

I think the low voltage converter switch is the way to go here.
I can't get behind a config that has the amps powered with the head unit off.


Thanks
1. The manufacturer of the OEM amp main connector is Tyco, but this part is restricted to non-manufacturers. What you could do is get an used OEM amp and get the connector off the PCB board. There's one OEM amp being offered for sale in this forum for $100; I don't know if it still available, though.

2. If your amps accept differential inputs there's no need for any converter, much less any DSP processor. Such type of amp will take the OEM HU outputs straight. Just get this for the cable intesface: http://mobile.jlaudio.com/products_c...l.php?cat_id=5

However, if you want to specifically "fix" the little problems that you have with mid-range, tweeters and bass then I don't think that you will be able to do something definitive just by the OEM HU bass/treble adjustments. You will need then a DSP processor that at the same time can accept differential inputs. My recommendation is the AudioControl DQL-8, as it is almost made specifically for the E90. It takes the OEM HU speaker outputs straight, it has signal sensing (no need for a separate remote signal), and you can tune the front components separate from the underseat subs and separate from the rear and a sub. So you can tune specifically for the shortcommings that you found.

3. Those amps power outputs are in the very low side, especially if we are talking about peak power. If you are looking into good quality 4" components and SWS-8 underseat subs then you will need at least 50W RMS (100W peak) per channel to the 4" components and 100W RMS (200W peak) for the SWS-8 to effectively drive those aftermarket speakers.

4. You are limited to less than 50mm depth on the 4" mids, so that narrows down your selection to those DLS in your link, and some Hertz, Focal and Morels 4" mid drivers.

5. See #2 above.

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      08-18-2008, 06:54 AM   #3
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Thanks Technic

I'll look at the AudioControl DQL-8 as a starting point.

I would not mind using the stock amp in combination with the DSP and check the results to see if there is enough improvement.

I was thinking about the connector and I may be able to fabricate a mating block out of resin. The pins are easy - just take apart a molex. I have mold/resin material. I wonder what else is in that harness though.
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      08-18-2008, 07:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdiprete View Post
Thanks Technic

I'll look at the AudioControl DQL-8 as a starting point.

I would not mind using the stock amp in combination with the DSP and check the results to see if there is enough improvement.

I was thinking about the connector and I may be able to fabricate a mating block out of resin. The pins are easy - just take apart a molex. I have mold/resin material. I wonder what else is in that harness though.
Combining the stock amp with a DSP would be a waste, IMO. The idea is to control all the speakers outputs thru the DSP, not some. I think that if you want to keep the stock amp for something then just add aftermarket amps and not a DSP first.

About creating a custom harness, you could use these... http://www.newark.com/92F1475/non-st...requestid=3894 ... with the OEM main audio connector in the trunk. I think that this are the proper pins specs that match the OEM connector.
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      08-18-2008, 09:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
1. The manufacturer of the OEM amp main connector is Tyco, but this part is restricted to non-manufacturers. What you could do is get an used OEM amp and get the connector off the PCB board. There's one OEM amp being offered for sale in this forum for $100; I don't know if it still available, though.
My stock amp is replaced and unused now, but the location is not just optimal for shipment , but I still recommend to make own harness, especially to speakers, although I didn't do it yet because I don't feel confident to remove plenty of interior parts to lay the wires from trunk to the four door panels by myself, ist it easy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
2. If your amps accept differential inputs there's no need for any converter, much less any DSP processor. Such type of amp will take the OEM HU outputs straight. Just get this for the cable intesface: http://mobile.jlaudio.com/products_c...l.php?cat_id=5
I did it exactly in this way. Thanks also the forum for so much useful info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
However, if you want to specifically "fix" the little problems that you have with mid-range, tweeters and bass then I don't think that you will be able to do something definitive just by the OEM HU bass/treble adjustments. You will need then a DSP processor that at the same time can accept differential inputs. My recommendation is the AudioControl DQL-8, as it is almost made specifically for the E90. It takes the OEM HU speaker outputs straight, it has signal sensing (no need for a separate remote signal), and you can tune the front components separate from the underseat subs and separate from the rear and a sub. So you can tune specifically for the shortcommings that you found.
I just think such DSP is a little too expensive, furthermore the fine tuning is a very hard job. I use the alpine PDX for highs and mids, it does aleady the most part of job in sound improvement and brings very balanced sound components from mid-bass to highs, there are no annoying sound components more even if I turn very loud. What I am not 100% satisfied with is the frequency in sub channel domain (driven with JL audio amp), the built-in prepressor in stock HU has too much lifting of low frequency component below 50/60Hz, that is the only place I want to apply EQ, verything elsewhere runs perfectly and there is no need for an EQ in my case depends on what after market speakers you are using. To do the fine tuning PXE-H650 may be an alternative, but the factory volume control is lost.
Final word: there is no perfect thing!
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      08-18-2008, 09:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonywalker View Post
Final word: there is no perfect thing!
Indeed...
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      08-30-2008, 05:29 PM   #7
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integration point

I was looking at the blaupunkt THa 555 PnP amp

http://www.blaupunkt.com/us/7607792132_main.asp

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...ight=blaupunkt

They have a cable kit for it, but it runs all the way from the stock deck to the trunk then plugs into the amp. I'm still looking to use the existing harness that is already in the trunk. Seriously; it seems not using the harness already snaked around the car is a bit nuts. Too bad the good people at blaupunkt don't already have a connector for it.

The connector is PN 2-9673B5-1



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      09-01-2008, 06:27 AM   #8
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Link to a+ wiring pics:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=138949
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      09-01-2008, 06:36 AM   #9
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link to speaker wiring (text)

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52193
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      09-02-2008, 06:00 AM   #10
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eq as a starting point?

I know this is far from optimal, but how about adding an EQX between the stock HU and the stock amp? The DSP is better but 2x the price.

http://mobileaudiocontrol.com/produc...2&l1=17612&l2=

[STOCK HU] -- [EQX] -- [STOCK AMP] -- [STOCK SPEAKERS]

I think this would help a lot with the annoying peak in the midrange.
If not enough, then

[STOCK HU] -- [EQX] -- [AFTER MAKET AMP(s)] -- [AFTER MARKET SPEAKERS]
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      09-02-2008, 07:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdiprete View Post
I know this is far from optimal, but how about adding an EQX between the stock HU and the stock amp? The DSP is better but 2x the price.

http://mobileaudiocontrol.com/produc...2&l1=17612&l2=

[STOCK HU] -- [EQX] -- [STOCK AMP] -- [STOCK SPEAKERS]

I think this would help a lot with the annoying peak in the midrange.
If not enough, then

[STOCK HU] -- [EQX] -- [AFTER MAKET AMP(s)] -- [AFTER MARKET SPEAKERS]
Some observations:

- The Audiocontrol EQX is a 2-channel EQ (not DSP), and not a 4-channel. That means that if you want to use this EQ to tune both front and rear speakers you will be forced to EQ all at once (no fader, no separation of front from rear) from either the front or rear OEM HU outputs.

If you just want to tune the front speakers and underseat subs only, then it could work to address your audio concerns.

- Your first set up will be difficult to tune, as the OEM amp has their own active crossovers and some EQ built in. So keeping the OEM amp while adding an EQ before it will defeat the purpose of that EQ. In other words, what you don't like about your OEM audio system is mostly in the OEM amp, so you need to completely remove it from your system and then use the EQ to fix what you don't like.

So the second option is the best option, although there's a third option where you can keep the OEM door speakers:

[STOCK HU] -- [EQX] -- [AFTER MAKET AMP(s)] -- [OEM SPEAKERS] -- [SWS-8 UNDERSEAT SUBS)

A moderate 4 channel amp of some 50W RMS per channel (2 ohms) can power the 4" OEM components nicely. That will effectively quadruple the power to those OEM speakers, which I think it is still safe for these OEM speakers. After all, the Blaupunkt THA555 PnP amp for the E90 puts out 65W RMS at 2 ohms to the non-HiFi OEM speakers without any issues, so 50W RMS at 2 ohms to the HiFi speakers should be more than fine. Of course, the SWS-8 underseat subs will still require at least 100W RMS each for effective performance.

And when you think about it, you can do all that with that THA555 in a single amp, with the EQX taking care of the front stage tuning, saving you some money and installation effort and still addressing your audio issues.
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      09-02-2008, 08:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
Some observations:

- The Audiocontrol EQX is a 2-channel EQ (not DSP), and not a 4-channel. That means that if you want to use this EQ to tune both front and rear speakers you will be forced to EQ all at once (no fader, no separation of front from rear) from either the front or rear OEM HU outputs.

If you just want to tune the front speakers and underseat subs only, then it could work to address your audio concerns.
My bad - I was thinking of the EQS - a 6 channel eq.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
- Your first set up will be difficult to tune, as the OEM amp has their own active crossovers and some EQ built in. So keeping the OEM amp while adding an EQ before it will defeat the purpose of that EQ. In other words, what you don't like about your OEM audio system is mostly in the OEM amp, so you need to completely remove it from your system and then use the EQ to fix what you don't like.
arg. ok so it's got to go.

How about:

[STOCK HU] -- [EQS] -- [THA555] -- [STOCK DOOR/DECK/SUB SPEAKERS]

As a starting point - this is still about $1,000 I think.

to start, then start replacing the weakest stock speakers
(subs, deck, etc)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
And when you think about it, you can do all that with that THA555 in a single amp, with the EQX taking care of the front stage tuning, saving you some money and installation effort and still addressing your audio issues.
If I understand the wiring of the THA555 then I would get the harness converter for the bmw head unit + the extension cable to run it to the trunk. I think I'd have to make an ISO connector to insert the EQ between the head and the amp using 4 channels of the 6 available on the eq.
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      09-02-2008, 09:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdiprete View Post

[STOCK HU] -- [EQS] -- [THA555] -- [STOCK DOOR/DECK/SUB SPEAKERS]


If I understand the wiring of the THA555 then I would get the harness converter for the bmw head unit + the extension cable to run it to the trunk. I think I'd have to make an ISO connector to insert the EQ between the head and the amp using 4 channels of the 6 available on the eq.
In your particular case, you cannot use the PnP harness of the THA555 because you have a HiFi configuration; the PnP harness is specifically for a non-HiFi configuration.

You still can use the amp RCA inputs, though.

I used to have an EQS in my E46 M3 some years ago... be advised that, although it is an excellent unit and it will really improve the sound quality of your system, adjusting this unit is not that simple or quick because of the abundance of knobs. It will take some time to get it right to your liking but it can be done and you will be very happy. Another thing is that, at least in my case, I could not get rid of a very faint but bothersome "hiss" especially at low volume/silent gaps in music, no matter how I adjusted the input/output gains... at the end I have to simply replace this unit with a full DSP processor with more adjusting power but no hiss.
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      09-02-2008, 10:25 AM   #14
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Thanks again for the info from experience. First you saved me a hundred bucks for cables I can't use. The tweaking aspect of the EQ is not trouble for me (I like knobs). The hiss problem may bother me too. I suppose I should decide if it is worth $300 or so to avoid it.

great advice - but you keep costing me more money
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      09-02-2008, 11:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdiprete View Post
Thanks again for the info from experience. First you saved me a hundred bucks for cables I can't use. The tweaking aspect of the EQ is not trouble for me (I like knobs). The hiss problem may bother me too. I suppose I should decide if it is worth $300 or so to avoid it.

great advice - but you keep costing me more money
Hey, you asked for it...
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      09-02-2008, 11:23 AM   #16
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I forgot... if you are getting the EQS, make sure that all the inputs are set to "balanced" and the outputs to "isolated". You can do that by opening the cover and setting a series of jumpers identified in the owner's manual.

Mine came with one input set differently from the other two from factory. Not likely to happen again but just to be in the secure side and also that setting the jumpers that way reduce considerably any "hiss" that you might encounter.
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      09-02-2008, 06:13 PM   #17
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sweet - I'll pull the cover.

I am thinking of using my older alpine amps with the stock speakers once I have the input stage taken care of to get started.

The 3527V amp will give me 4x35w into 2 ohms for the doors and deck
The MRP T306 will give 2x50w into 2 ohms for the seat subs (stereo)
I still have an infinity basslink I may use in addition.

From the EQS, take 2 output channels into the 4 chan amp to drive the doors and decks, and the 3rd sub output into the 2x amp for the seat subs. I realize that it's not a lot of power, but it *has* to be better than the stock amp. The input will be shaped and the amps are better/flatter. If not, next comes the new amp and speakers. ( and more money )

btw - after searching in vain for a connector for the bmw harness I plan to cut it off and use molex connectors in the harness and to the wire left on the connector. (m/f) That way I can plug into the amps/speakers and just plug in the old amp when I sell the car down the road. (it's not a lease). 20 or so taps just doesn't do it for me. It's a big bundle of ugly I'll have to undo someday.
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      09-02-2008, 07:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdiprete View Post

The 3527V amp will give me 4x35w into 2 ohms for the doors and deck
The MRP T306 will give 2x50w into 2 ohms for the seat subs (stereo)

I still have an infinity basslink I may use in addition.

From the EQS, take 2 output channels into the 4 chan amp to drive the doors and decks, and the 3rd sub output into the 2x amp for the seat subs. I realize that it's not a lot of power, but it *has* to be better than the stock amp. The input will be shaped and the amps are better/flatter. If not, next comes the new amp and speakers. ( and more money )
The 3527V amp will be fine for the OEM speakers (that's almost three times the power of the OEM amp for those channels), but the MRP T306 power will be decent only if you get the SWS-8 in the 2 ohms version.

You will be able to maximize that power once you start tuning the system with the EQS.
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      09-09-2008, 12:24 AM   #19
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http://cgi.ebay.com/2-NEW-EARTHQUAKE...QQcmdZViewItem

i think i might run this

2x sws subs + 300.2 earthquake amp

4x Infinity 42.9i speakers, They're 2ohms just like the factory Ohm setting for the mid drivers so u wont lose any power.

what do you guys think???

Total sound upgrade is only 500bucks! you'll replace all the speakers

Last edited by E90 ANdy; 09-09-2008 at 12:55 AM..
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      09-09-2008, 04:38 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E90 ANdy View Post
http://cgi.ebay.com/2-NEW-EARTHQUAKE...QQcmdZViewItem

i think i might run this

2x sws subs + 300.2 earthquake amp

4x Infinity 42.9i speakers, They're 2ohms just like the factory Ohm setting for the mid drivers so u wont lose any power.

what do you guys think???

Total sound upgrade is only 500bucks! you'll replace all the speakers
Looks good... make sure that the OEM tweeters are disconnected once you install the 42.9i.
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      09-15-2008, 06:49 PM   #21
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EQS

Technic - the EQS is on order. I got it on ebay.
Looking forward to the install. I'll let you know how it goes.
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      09-23-2008, 07:53 PM   #22
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pre-wire

I got the EQS in and did the pre wiring for it.

It will be mounted to the back of the rear seat as it seems the best place to fit it all in without sacrificing trunk space.

I used a template of the rear seat back to lay it out.

The next step is to cut off the amp connector on the car harness and terminate it with molex connectors to mate with my harness.

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