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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-09-2014, 04:01 PM   #1
ISPPerformance
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Aftermarket Head Unit Install, didn't go well.

Since I bought my 02 M3 with HK no Nav the stereo sound quality has been awful. The tuner sounds horrific, static and voices bass breaking up at low volumes, CD Player is a lot better but still sounds terrible. I assumed that the issue was the head unit, and it had a broken power button anyway, so I just installed a new Alpine unit today. Wired it up plugged it in, and wow, its even worse than the factory unit.

Now my question is, could it be the OEM Amp that is bad? I would rather just use the Alpines power to my speakers instead of the OEM amp. Any quick way to disable the OEM Amp and move on with my life?

I did some searching but didn't see anyone with my issue, but I did see some other things on bypassing the Amp.

Whats my best solution?
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Old 04-09-2014, 04:27 PM   #2
JasonLI25t
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Bad as in you don't like it or bad as in something is clearly not working right? if it's the second one, replacing the amp would be the only possible solution that doesn't involve re-wiring. However many people add aftermarket amps and subsequently rewire for new door speakers/components so that is an option as well but more costly and time consuming. I'm not sure what else could be causing the problem since you already ruled out the head unit.

The new head unit/harness is wired to send a signal to the factory amp, so if the amp isn't working, that will be a problem and even if you could disable it, i think you would essentially be disabling your sound altogether.
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:12 PM   #3
tkrotchko
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISPPerformance View Post

Now my question is, could it be the OEM Amp that is bad? I would rather just use the Alpines power to my speakers instead of the OEM amp. Any quick way to disable the OEM Amp and move on with my life?

Whats my best solution?
When you say "it sounds bad", do you mean distorted? Does it lack something?

Your car should have a power amp button. When you turn it off, does the sound change?
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:27 PM   #4
ISPPerformance
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It definitely sounds like something is shorting out, bad board contacts, something. I am going to see if I can get my hands on another OEM amp. If that's not the problem I guess I will just start wiring it up for real.
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:50 PM   #5
JasonLI25t
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if you can wait for shipping...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HARMON-KARDO...4ed420&vxp=mtr
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:35 PM   #6
dknightd
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could be the speakers
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Old 04-09-2014, 06:47 PM   #7
jmillsner
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id replace the amp, sounds like its sending out a dirty signal
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:00 PM   #8
ISPPerformance
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I just picked up the amp on ebay, considering it sounds so bad I am gonna say it's the amp also.

Is the amp located in the trunk or in the side panel of the back seat?
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Old 04-09-2014, 08:05 PM   #9
JasonLI25t
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trunk, left side
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:50 PM   #10
ISPPerformance
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Failed to mention it's a convertible. Is it behind the panel on the back seat driver side?
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Old 04-09-2014, 09:56 PM   #11
JasonLI25t
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i think the panel yes

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Old 04-10-2014, 12:07 AM   #12
e46/hitman
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Did you also replace the antenna with a new aftermarket one?
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:18 AM   #13
caseyk3
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I replaced my system with Alpine Type-R's a 300w Alpine AMP. Total worth.

Sounds like bad wiring tbh, or your stock system is shot. Either way just buy a new amp you will be happy you did!
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:23 AM   #14
Slapsys
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I had exactly the same problem in a Dakota truck I bought. Got a new stereo: same problem. Changed the amp: same problem. New speakers,: beautiful sound.
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Old 04-10-2014, 12:36 PM   #15
Gatriel
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So in college and my first masters degree I did 12 v install at CarToys and then to Best Buy and CarToys after CarToys closed.

Throwing parts at a problem can get expensive, and can get expensive quickly. Before you run off and purchase new speakers play with the fade and balance on your new head unit. See if you can get just one set of speaks to sound correct, then just the front or the rear to sound correct. What we are trying to do here is eliminate the speakers as the culprits for the distortion. If you cannot get any of the speakers to sound correct, its much more likely that (1) amp (partially) died on you than 9 speakers (I think thats how many the car has) died.

If you can get either just the front speakers or just the rear speakers to sound correct, then it could be a combination of things, however that would be pointing me to amp issues. Typically OEM amps have 3 sound processors, 1 for the front, 1 for the rear(s) and 1 for the sub. If you have a sound processor die on the amp, the "amp" part of the amp still functions, but its ability to process the (I believe the HK e46 system uses) low level inputs into high level outputs, which sounds likely based on what you've said.

However, if you can get opposing channels to sound correct (so front drivers and rear passengers) then your problem is almost certainly speaker related and the OEM amp is ok.

That being said, please purchase a steering wheel integration kit so your steering wheel controls continue to function post aftermarket unit install.
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