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Bavarian Soundwerks' Mobile Electronics Forum
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:20 PM   #1
duhprez
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M3 Vert Complete Mobile ICE Upgrade (with Pics)

After reviewing all the threads from a number of forums, the last two months has been quite the winter project in upgrading the ICE.

No offense to anyone, but I was so glad to toss out the OEM HK system. The stock audio parts are really an insult to the rest of the car. The stock sub mounted in the skipass door was an absolute joke. After making the best of the stock system for a few years, it was time for a major upgrade.

With all the information that was gathered, I decided going with installing a double DIN deck and relocate the HVAC controls. Even though this option is more expensive and more work than simply installing a flip out single DIN deck, the double DIN/HVAC relocate is by far the cleaner look and money well spent.

Other finer details included making sure I maintained the audio controls on the steering wheel, properly modifying an HVAC control rod behind the deck, etc. Also made sure I had all the extra little parts (i.e. powerblocks, capacitor, fuse, breaker, etc) including good quality RCA's.

Both front and rear speakers were upgraded with two-way components. A 10" sub was installed in the ski pass area to maintain space in the trunk. Since I didn't like the free air setup, I had a custom sub box built which was mounted to the rear of the seat in the trunk area. The sub box also provided a surface to mount two amps - one powering the speaker system and the other powering the sub.

The main line components were:

Clarion MAX685BT Double DIN Deck
Zapco I-Force I-5.2 (2 Way Component Speakers - Front)
Blaupunkt THc540 (2 Way Component Speakers - Rear)
10" Kicker Solobaric L7 Sub Woofer
2 x Phoenix Gold V754 Ryval Series amplifiers
Audio Control Matrix Concert Series Six Channel Line Driver

(Below) At this stage of the install, the HVAC controls were relocated and the deck installed. On my dash is the Audio Control Matrix Concert Series Six Channel Line Driver being hooked up and tested. The line driver was finally installed in the under panel area of the driver's side. The line driver was the finishing touch to eliminating any minute engine noise and really kicking up the sound quality to another level.



(Below) The sub woofer frame was built, installed and Kicker subwoofer test fitted. Measurements were exact to make sure there was enough clearance for the rear seat ski pass area cushion.



(Below) Another full view of the subwoofer frame fully installed and secured to the car frame.



(Below) An interior shot of the subwoofer fully installed. You can see that there is adequate clearance for the seat back cushion and the installers made the extra effort in looking after details like carpeting any exposed surfaces in the ski pass area.



(Below) This is a shot of the custom sub woofer box (enclosure) in the trunk before it's mounted to cover up the back of the sub woofer. You can see the opening on the sub woofer box where the huge magnet (rear) of the subwoofer will fit right in. This is just not any subwoofer box with a random size. Measurements were taken of the trunk area as well as making calculations to determine the optimal amount of airspace needed for the Kicker Subwoofer to work at peak efficiency. Then special insulation was also applied to the interior of the box. Finally, the subwoofer box was mounted to the frame of the car so it won't apply stress to the subwoofer frame. This setup was designed with input from the installers as I didn't want to mount any amps in the underside of the trunk and I wanted to maintain as much trunk space as possible. I initially thought I could get away with not having a subwoofer box but it was determined that a subwoofer box/enclosure will provide tighter bass and save the subwoofer from working too hard therefore making it last alot longer.



(Below) Once the subwoofer box was mounted, the installers made the extra effort of adding an elevated board where the amplifiers will be mounted. The elevated board provided a space to hide all the wires. The subwoofer box was a perfect fit allowing clearance for the convertible top storage bay to fold out (In the picture below, the storage bay is folded in as the convertible top is up for winter storage) . In addition, the surface area was large enough to fit the two amplifiers.



(Below) A lit shot of the dash install. I'm very satisfied with the Clarion MAX685BT head unit. It's easy to use, feature rich, great value for the price and expandable with other options that I may want to add later such as navigation.



(Below) Here's a shot with just the interior lights. This has come a long way from stock. The glow you see from the foot wells is accent LED lights (matching the interior lighting) I decided to have installed for that final pimping touch.



This system kicks like no tomorrow! The best part is that I really get to enjoy the M3 all over again. Sometimes, I find myself just sitting in the car, not go anywhere and listen or watch a movie on the system. Having said that and come spring, I'll probably upgrade the stock battery to a deep cycling battery. Looking at all the threads again and initially considering the Optima, I've decided to go with the Odyssey PC1700. I've been told that although the Optima is a great battery, it's old technology.

As part of upgrading the sound system, I also upgraded the alarm system going with a Compustar Pro P2W9000FMR. This latest alarm system full featured with a paging function as well as remote start.

I have to give full credit to the mobile audio specialists team at;

Number 1 Sound
952 College Street
Toronto ON
Tel. (416) 532-6134
www.number1sound.com
Contact: George Ruvio

These guys know their stuff and experts at sound system upgrades for BMW's. George guided me through the entire install and was extremely detailed oriented because he knows how anal BMW owners are about their ride!

I hope this post help's someone out with their mobile ICE install challenges and what your options might be. I ended up spending a little more than I ancipated or budgeted for, but I'm really satisfied with the results. Feel free to drop me a line if anyone has any questions.

Last edited by duhprez; 01-05-2009 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:24 PM   #2
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Nice job!!!! Yea, I was so damn glad to rip that ski pass door crap sub outta my ride!!!

I only got the L5, but still, it does the job

I ended up porting my armrest too since taking it out and putting it in all the time was freaking annoying.

Anyways, great set up!!
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:25 PM   #3
duhprez
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modding ski pass cushion

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKC View Post
Nice job!!!! Yea, I was so damn glad to rip that ski pass door crap sub outta my ride!!!

I only got the L5, but still, it does the job

I ended up porting my armrest too since taking it out and putting it in all the time was freaking annoying.

Anyways, great set up!!
Thanks for the thumbs up!

Once I got the system installed, the first thing I was also thinking about was what will be the best way to port out the ski pass interior cushion as I can see myself getting tired of taking it out and putting it in.

What did you end up doing and what modification did you do on the cushion? Is it something you can do on your own or do I need to bring it to a shop? Got any pics?
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duhprez View Post
Thanks for the thumbs up!

Once I got the system installed, the first thing I was also thinking about was what will be the best way to port out the ski pass interior cushion as I can see myself getting tired of taking it out and putting it in.

What did you end up doing and what modification did you do on the cushion? Is it something you can do on your own or do I need to bring it to a shop? Got any pics?
Yea bro, so what I did was buy a Circle/hole Drill Bit and on the back side of the armrest, drilled a big hole through the plastic..... once I was through the plastic, I just used a dremel to slowly make my way through the foam. Once I was close to the leather, I just used my hands and ripped out the rest of the foam so I didn't hurt the leather.

Then from the front side. I found the center of the hole and cut a "X" into the leather, stopping about 1/2 to an inch before the edge of the circle.... then I kept cutting slowly until the port fit through.....

Then I took a speaker grill and covered the port hole so it looks like a 5" speaker in my armrest.

This pic sucks, but it's all I have for now....




Edit: Here's another pic, maybe a little better....

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Last edited by TKC; 01-05-2009 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:52 PM   #5
duhprez
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Originally Posted by TKC View Post
Yea bro, so what I did was buy a Circle/hole Drill Bit and on the back side of the armrest, drilled a big hole through the plastic..... once I was through the plastic, I just used a dremel to slowly make my way through the foam. Once I was close to the leather, I just used my hands and ripped out the rest of the foam so I didn't hurt the leather.

Then from the front side. I found the center of the hole and cut a "X" into the leather, stopping about 1/2 to an inch before the edge of the circle.... then I kept cutting slowly until the port fit through.....

Then I took a speaker grill and covered the port hole so it looks like a 5" speaker in my armrest.

This pic sucks, but it's all I have for now....


Cool idea, how much of a subwoofer sound difference did it make. Can you hear the difference? BTW, your folding mirror DIY mod is sick bro!

Thanks for the pic - it really helps explains what you're talking about.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duhprez View Post
Cool idea, how much of a subwoofer sound difference did it make. Can you hear the difference? BTW, your folding mirror DIY mod is sick bro!

Thanks for the pic - it really helps explains what you're talking about.
Hahah, thanks! I was dead set on having auto-folding mirrors, so I was going to make it happen one way or another!

As for the ported armrest and sub, it made a pretty big difference. Big enough to where if I had to do it again, I would totally do it.

Also, I found another pic of someone else who has a similar set up. They went crazy with the armrest, but it's another creative way to porting it! More "show car" looking than mine

Here it is:
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:18 PM   #7
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Wow those are awsome setups!!! Hopefully within time I will have something similar...
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:34 PM   #8
///M3Turk
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wow nice job. where did you buy the bezel kit/DIN from? i need one
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:24 PM   #9
duhprez
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wow nice job. where did you buy the bezel kit/DIN from? i need one
I got the double DIN bezel and double DIN mounting kit from Janus Design

www.janus-design.net/english/index.php

I have an extra double DIN mouting kit that's brand new and never used (just missing the adapter for the vent-arm) Log onto the Janus Design Website to get full details on the kit.

I bought it for a friend that was also going to do a system upgrade but he ended up selling his e46. PM if you're interested.
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Old 03-15-2009, 11:08 PM   #10
Asclepius
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Very nice set up Ben. I was really impressed with the sound quality, especially coming from a convertible.
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:07 PM   #11
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Nice box...what are the measurement of the box?
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:10 PM   #12
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Hahah, thanks! I was dead set on having auto-folding mirrors, so I was going to make it happen one way or another!

As for the ported armrest and sub, it made a pretty big difference. Big enough to where if I had to do it again, I would totally do it.

Also, I found another pic of someone else who has a similar set up. They went crazy with the armrest, but it's another creative way to porting it! More "show car" looking than mine

Here it is:
who's set up is this?
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:47 PM   #13
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LOL yeah; I was just researching how to go about my setup and that is sick. I'm going to take mine to an installer because I lack the fine touch for that kind of work. I can wire - but making stuff like that is beyond me.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:08 PM   #14
duhprez
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Ski Pass Seat Cushion Mod

With the subwoofer installed in the ski pass area, the next logical requirement was to modify the ski pass seat cushion. I wanted to allow air flow to port the sub. In considering options suggested by the great ideas here, this is what I decided to do.

This modification was done for me by Number1Sound (shop that installed the system).

The seat cushion was dismantled. The leather cover was carefully removed. Next the styrofoam was removed. Square areas of the back plastic brace was cut out and grills were stuck (on the inside) on to cover up the holes as show below. Next was drilling holes into the styrofoam and the holes were lined up with the grill openings (below).



The original leather cover wasn't used, instead black speaker grill cloth was used to cover the entire front using a stapling gun. (Below)



Here's a close up shot of the final result. The result is a clean look and with the sub ported, I do hear a difference. (Below)


Last edited by duhprez; 06-11-2009 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:57 PM   #15
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Looks good...did you ever get the measurement for the box? and how it was built?
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:11 AM   #16
duhprez
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Contact George at Number 1 Sound. Full contact details listed above. He has all the measurements.
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Old 06-16-2009, 11:11 AM   #17
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contact him but never reply back...
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:46 PM   #18
duhprez
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Try email

Sorry to hear that - He's got a pretty busy shop.

Try emailing; info@number1sound.com

They're pretty good at emailing back to you.
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:53 PM   #19
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those are clean set-ups!!
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