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      10-04-2010, 10:17 PM   #1
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Upgrade BMW Stereo - Advice Needed

I have a 2006 E90 with the base Stereo and Professional CD player and looking to upgrade the sound.

What sort of opinions are available? Looking for a upgrade path.

What upgrade would give me the best initial bang for the buck?

I most commonly listen to my ipod via using a bluetooth gateway plugged into the Aux input.

Not looking to install a trunk sub and want to try and keep a stock/OEM appearance.

Thanks

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      10-06-2010, 12:42 AM   #2
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Pretty new to audio upgrading, in the past only replacing the head units and speakers on my various past cars.

I am assuming that I should first look at installing an amp. Looking around I am thinking the Blaupunkt PnP series would be good due to easy install. Or maybe I should look at something else?

Should I go with a 4 channel (THA 475 PnP) or 2 channel (THA 275 PnP) amp? I assume that since factory system has 4 speakers, should get the 4 channel amp?

Also found this brochure (PDF) on the Blaupunkt PnP amps, has all the required cable P/Ns

Would I need to upgrade any of the stock speakers prior to upgrading the amp? The thought on a upgrade path is to first to install the amp, then upgrade speakers, then maybe upgrade under-seat subwoofer (or is it a under-seat speaker?).

Would it be worth looking at installing door tweeters? What about rear door speakers?

Thanks for any help.

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      10-06-2010, 08:34 PM   #3
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First off, you want to read this doc:

http://www.e90post.com/forums/attach...4&d=1278871872

You say you have base Stereo, but a lot of people misuse that term. In CAN in that year with a 323, you probably could get the base Stereo package, but I still want to be precise.

If base Stereo is what you have, your biggest issue is not adding an amp, but the processed signal coming out of the Professional CD player since it's coded for base Stereo.



You need to reverse or normalize that processing, either by re-coding the HU to HiFi, or by using an external processor to do that. For more on recoding, ask Patrys on this board or search for HU recode. Other means include the JBL MS-8, the audison bitone, Zapco DSP amps, and the JL Audio CleanSweep.

Your car has the ability to take certain 8" woofers underseat, even though the base Stereo has 6" in those holes. (big spacer frame). The Earthquake SWS-8 is close to a bolt-in solution, and it sounds OK by itself (it sounds great if properly DSP EQ'd). Those woofers will need an amp.

If base Stereo is what you have, the stock tweeter grille mounts are inexpensive and adding them let you use many comp sets. I prefer Rainbow and then Morel and some Euro sourced stuff. You can also get Focal (I don't like, much) and German Maestro (ditto).

We have packages that work in your car, if you're interested, and we have had Vancouver BC customers drive down before for installation ()No sales tax, no VAT)

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      10-07-2010, 12:56 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply

Based on that I do not have tweeters on the top of the door panel, I have the Stereo System.

With regards to the processing issue, I will contact Patrys regarding recoding. Is this a fairly cost effective and safe upgrade? Once recoded, the radio/audio will still work with everything else stock?

After the recode to HiFI HU, the existing OEM amp would be sufficient?

If I was to upgrade the underseat woofers, I would need a amp specifically for just the new 8" subwoofers? You mentioned DSP EQ's, what is this?

The stock tweeter grille mounts are P/N 51337171201 and 51337171202, from RealOEM?

I will PM you regarding your packages/costs.

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      10-07-2010, 12:25 PM   #5
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I can't speak for what he charges for it, so I'd have to leave it to you on the cost effectiveness - but I guess it becomes a function of your overall budget. Some processors that normalize the signal ALSO do other things that you might want to include in the overall plan.

I don't think you read the document yet - if you have base Stereo, YOU HAVE NO AMP. You just have the tiny deck-power IC inside the deck, doing 18W of normal power and 25 watts when you go downhill, you have a tailwind, and lightning strikes your car.
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      10-08-2010, 02:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
I can't speak for what he charges for it, so I'd have to leave it to you on the cost effectiveness - but I guess it becomes a function of your overall budget. Some processors that normalize the signal ALSO do other things that you might want to include in the overall plan.

I don't think you read the document yet - if you have base Stereo, YOU HAVE NO AMP. You just have the tiny deck-power IC inside the deck, doing 18W of normal power and 25 watts when you go downhill, you have a tailwind, and lightning strikes your car.
Did read the document, just missed the fact that no amp, that the system is powered from the HU.

Did a drawing (attached) up showing my understanding of the existing system, and possible upgrade path. Please let me know what you think, have I missed anything? Should I be doing anything differently?

Edit - Should note that for correcting the signal processing the drawing should say either recode HU or install Audio Processor
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      10-08-2010, 02:58 AM   #7
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If you recode to hifi, you shouldn't NEED a processor since the signal will be flat/uneq'ed.

If you don't recode, you need one to flatten the signal since its eq'ed.
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      10-08-2010, 01:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akhter View Post
If you recode to hifi, you shouldn't NEED a processor since the signal will be flat/uneq'ed.

If you don't recode, you need one to flatten the signal since its eq'ed.
Agreed, it is one or the other, not both. Any suggestions on which way to go?
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      10-08-2010, 01:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharpPointyStick View Post
Agreed, it is one or the other, not both. Any suggestions on which way to go?
Well, if you recode to hi-fi you don't NEED the processor but it is still a big benefit to have so if it is within your budget it would be something to consider.
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      10-08-2010, 01:59 PM   #10
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Trying to educate myself more on car audio. Any good articles/resources/websites on what a processor does/benefits? What about on car audio in general?

As I want to do the work in stages, can anyone please confirm that by installing the processor or recoding HU, the rest of the stock system can remain?

Thanks
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      10-08-2010, 02:32 PM   #11
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If you're gonna go to the trouble of drawing a diagram, you should really keep the L and R channels, and F and R channels, and Lo and Hi channels, all separated. Otherwise it doesn't really help all that much because it doesn't reflect how all this is connected.
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      10-08-2010, 02:57 PM   #12
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Mmm...resources.

Not a huge fan of anything out there at the moment. Maybe I should write one.
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      10-08-2010, 05:16 PM   #13
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Only with digital processing can you make the music sound (close to) the way it was intended to sound by the recording studio.
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      10-08-2010, 06:16 PM   #14
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Looks like I can get the recode for $125, which from looking online is considerably less then a Signal Processor, so pretty sure I will go this route.

Plus in the future I could always insert a Signal Processor between the HU and amp, correct? On a Signal Processor, does it have it own controls, are any of the OEM controls disabled? Or would the Signal Processor be more static, something you configure once then leave alone?

Besides the signal processing correction, is the any other changes when recoding the HU from base to HiFi?

As it may be a few weeks between recode and equipment upgrades want to make sure everything would still work and sound fine.

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      10-08-2010, 07:09 PM   #15
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i decided to go against persueing recode because of the following reasons:

1) i wanted the upgrades to be reversible so i can take everything out when selling the car. that means it will have to be recoded back to hifi.

2) not sure if this is baseless or not, but i was worried when i took the car in for service, they could upgrade all the firmware and recode back to base audio since i couldn't use the dealer to do the recode in the first place.

3) i was able to get a jl audio cleansweep for ~150.

4) the really good processor (JBL MS-8) was not available here and noone of the installers felt confident installing an imported one. the zapco amps were out of my budget.
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      10-08-2010, 07:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akhter View Post
i decided to go against persueing recode because of the following reasons:

1) i wanted the upgrades to be reversible so i can take everything out when selling the car. that means it will have to be recoded back to hifi.

2) not sure if this is baseless or not, but i was worried when i took the car in for service, they could upgrade all the firmware and recode back to base audio since i couldn't use the dealer to do the recode in the first place.

3) i was able to get a jl audio cleansweep for ~150.

4) the really good processor (JBL MS-8) was not available here and noone of the installers felt confident installing an imported one. the zapco amps were out of my budget.
Good point with 2, something to look into. Especially since I am thinking of some other recoding things (disable DRL, remote open/close windows)

Point 3 there brings signal processor back into the running. Mind letting me know where you got it.

With the jl audio cleansweep, do you require any control of it in car? Did all your OEM controls work (HU and steering wheel)?
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      10-10-2010, 02:55 PM   #17
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FYI - Patrys has confirmed that recoding the HU to HiFi will not be erased on an update. Apparently he modifies the vehicle options to include HiFi.

After reviewing the signal processors suggested by VP Electricity;

Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
Other means include the JBL MS-8, the audison bitone, Zapco DSP amps, and the JL Audio CleanSweep.
My understanding is they all have standalone audio controls (such as volume), which are to be mounted in car and replace the HU controls. Not looking to do this, as I want to ensure I keep the HU and steering wheel control fully functional. This leaves the recode HU as my only option I believe.

Has anyone recoded just the HU to HiFi with no other add-ons (such as no amps)? Any negative effects/errors etc?

What would be the effect if I did the recode as the last part of my upgrades? Say first install amps, then speaker upgrades, then finally recode HiFi?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Electricity View Post
If you're gonna go to the trouble of drawing a diagram, you should really keep the L and R channels, and F and R channels, and Lo and Hi channels, all separated. Otherwise it doesn't really help all that much because it doesn't reflect how all this is connected.
Doing this right now , should be finished shortly.
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      10-10-2010, 03:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharpPointyStick View Post
My understanding is they all have standalone audio controls (such as volume), which are to be mounted in car and replace the HU controls. Not looking to do this, as I want to ensure I keep the HU and steering wheel control fully functional. This leaves the recode HU as my only option I believe.
Incorrecto Armando.

There are OEM audio systems with fixed EQ - EQ that changes with the setting of the OEM volume control - and there are OEM audio systems with dynamic EQ - EQ that changes with the setting of the OEM volume control. Non-Bose Audi systems are a good example of the latter.

If you have one of the latter systems, you need to leave the OEM volume control in one position and use the volume control that comes with the processor, true. Good news is, your system is one of the former types - fixed EQ (going by my 3x3 Matrix, it's speaker-level, fixed EQ, full-range front/high-pass rear).

The reason that the OEM processor info doesn't address this is that most installers can't tell the difference - they don't have the gear, and they don't know how. Yes, they should, but no, they don't...

For more on this, check out http://oeinterface.com/showthread.php?t=2

Since your car doesn't appreciably change its output response with changing volume settings, you don't have to use ANY external volume control.

(Edited to add: If your EQ changes with volume setting, and you use a de-eqing external processor, then there is only ONE OEM volume control setting that your external proocessor is tuned for, and at all other volume settings, your external processor won't be quite right - and might be really wrong. Since the EQ curve for a base Stereo system-coded HU is the same at various volume settings, this means that any external de-EQing curve will ALSO be correct at various volume settings).

You seem to be doing a lot of research - but this topic was convered in this section ad infinitum over several years. You may not have changed your default date for the search parameters.

So, going back to your question, neither the MS-8, nor the BitOne, nor the CleanSweep, nor the RF 360.2, nor the AudioControl DQXS,require the installation of any volume control or remote controller. The MS-8 screen and remote are optional and the DRC for the BitOne is optional (although it fits in the ashtray which is kinda cool);

I'm not saying "don't recode" - but I am saying that your options are not quite what they may have seemed.
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      10-10-2010, 08:20 PM   #19
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Wow... Poor edit above on my part. "Fixed" eq doe NOT change with volume, of course. Sorry, my bad.
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      10-11-2010, 02:34 PM   #20
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I finally sent you some package info... composed it last week, but obviously didn't hit Send...
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      10-18-2010, 01:02 AM   #21
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I am going with a system supplied by VP Electricity (musicar northwest), with major components being;
  • Rainbow 4" c/w tweeters
  • SWS-8 underseats
  • two Zapco DC amplifiers

Rear speakers will remain stock. The HU will not be recoded.

Thought I would get a head start on a wiring diagram, see attached. Please let me know if I have anything wrong.

Edit - Just noticed I forgot to jumper the REM input to the second amp/

Thanks
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      10-18-2010, 03:41 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharpPointyStick View Post
I am going with a system supplied by VP Electricity (musicar northwest), with major components being;
  • Rainbow 4" c/w tweeters
  • SWS-8 underseats
  • two Zapco DC amplifiers

Rear speakers will remain stock. The HU will not be recoded.

Thought I would get a head start on a wiring diagram, see attached. Please let me know if I have anything wrong.

Edit - Just noticed I forgot to jumper the REM input to the second amp/

Thanks
If you're hooking up 2 amps to the OEM remote lead, you should probably use a 12V relay to protect the remote lead from being overloaded. I don't know enough about the base audio system to comment on the rest but do you really need the LOCs for base audio. The the line level signal be tapped from behind the head unit instead?
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