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Bavarian Soundwerks' Mobile Electronics Forum
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Old 09-22-2004, 11:12 PM   #1
jamezzz122
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Dilemma with my future system...

Well I want to get a system but one thing is wrong. I want to kepe the stock headunit. I think it flows the best. I hav ea couple of questions.

Anyone running the stock HU out there with upgraded amps, subs, etc.? Are they crappy compared to aftermarket ones? Will I be able to control a lot of my system like an aftermarket one can? And are there any aftermarket ones that flow with the car as good as the stock?
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Old 09-23-2004, 02:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamezzz122
Well I want to get a system but one thing is wrong. I want to kepe the stock headunit. I think it flows the best. I hav ea couple of questions.

Anyone running the stock HU out there with upgraded amps, subs, etc.? Are they crappy compared to aftermarket ones? Will I be able to control a lot of my system like an aftermarket one can? And are there any aftermarket ones that flow with the car as good as the stock?

the stock hu is garbage. alpine make a cool din and a half unit that you can change the colors to amber to match the interior lights.

1st pic alpine is very nice, 2nd is all out video screen but it looks at home in the car
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Old 09-23-2004, 07:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmoeller17
the stock hu is garbage. alpine make a cool din and a half unit that you can change the colors to amber to match the interior lights.

1st pic alpine is very nice, 2nd is all out video screen but it looks at home in the car
Do your steering wheel controls still work with this HU? I am looking at similar units from Alpine & Pioneer
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Old 09-23-2004, 12:32 PM   #4
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The OEM HU is a very good source if connected properly (which is not difficult to do). As a matter of fact, its method of getting signals to the rear of the car is far superior to regular RCA outputs - it is balanced differential, similar to professional microphone applications.

Get an AudioControl processor (crossover, line driver or EQ), install it in the trunk and convert the balanced differential outputs to a RCA signal. Then you can feed to whatever setup you have. The sound quality is good, there is no noise floor whatsoever and the dash still looks stock.

If you want the bells and whistles of an aftermarket unit then go for it. But trust me - the BMW OEM unit aint't no Delco lunch pail.

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Old 09-23-2004, 11:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmoeller17
1st pic alpine is very nice, 2nd is all out video screen but it looks at home in the car
Do you mean in the second pic it looks "homeless" or "homely"? Just my opinion, but a deck that obstructs the vents, and totally interrupts the lines of the dash does not look at home. Plus you might run over little junior on his bicycle because you were staring at that fancy screen.

I agree completely with Canuck328i.

Q: What two attributes do "high-performance" aftermarket decks have?
A: High output voltage and low source impedance. Those are two keys to good performance from a deck, and the factory deck has 'em both, AND it's balanced like Canuck328i said. Geez you would pay up the wazoo for an aftermarket deck like that! When you're configuring the system you just need to find the point at which the factory deck begins to clip, and set the system up to make power at that point. That's also easy to do and some processors have that capability built in.

Forget the useless whistles and bells and spend that money on good amps and speakers!
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Old 09-24-2004, 12:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by listener
Q: What two attributes do "high-performance" aftermarket decks have?
A: High output voltage and low source impedance.
Let's not forget a nice DAC and steady transport mechanism.....
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Old 09-24-2004, 10:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by listener
...Geez you would pay up the wazoo for an aftermarket deck like that...


Name a deck that uses this technology and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It is like the difference between coax based ethernet and twisted pair ethernet - a simple concept that works very well.

The audio quality still blows me away with this deck. If you really want aftermarket, pick up an Alpine changer and interface it to the factory deck.

The ONLY way I would ever change the deck in my car would be with a touch screen that fits in flush in the area where the deck and heater controls are, then move the heater controls to the bottom. Someone here builds a sweet panel kit for this - a little pricey but worth every penny.

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Old 09-24-2004, 05:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck328i


Name a deck that uses this technology and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It is like the difference between coax based ethernet and twisted pair ethernet - a simple concept that works very well.

The audio quality still blows me away with this deck. If you really want aftermarket, pick up an Alpine changer and interface it to the factory deck.

The ONLY way I would ever change the deck in my car would be with a touch screen that fits in flush in the area where the deck and heater controls are, then move the heater controls to the bottom. Someone here builds a sweet panel kit for this - a little pricey but worth every penny.

Mark
Alpine CDA-9827 and an audiocontrol overdrive matrix that has balanced outputs: $260 for the HU (Retail) and $100 for the overdrive (Retail). You'll have the additional capability of playing MP3s, and a 9V, low impedence balanced output. You can probably get the HU for $20-$30 less pretty easily. You can find a used overdrive on ebay for about $50. That, IMO, easily beats the factory piece of trash in the dash.

I had a lot of problems with the factory deck reading CD-Rs that were slightly scratched. My pioneer HU hasn't skipped yet...

The only downsides are that you'll have to spend about $350 more (incl install materials) and the dash won't look OEM unless you do some custom work. Depends on your priorities but the OEM HU with an audiocontrol signal processor will probanly sound good, just not as good.

Last edited by bigjae1976; 09-24-2004 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 09-24-2004, 08:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bigjae1976
Alpine CDA-9827 and an audiocontrol overdrive matrix that has balanced outputs: $260 for the HU (Retail) and $100 for the overdrive (Retail).
Well, to each his own but with all due respect I asked for a "deck" that has the technology, not a deck and a processor. With your scenario, you now have to find a mounting location for the Overdrive since there is an additional processor up front. Also with your scenario, I can hook up a Kraco cassette deck and get balanced outputs.

Yes, an Alpine will likely sound "better" connected to a like quality audio system. I am a big fan of Alpine and AudioControl, so I don't dispute what you say. But you will also have to spend a bit of cash just to get one that will "match" the dash lights.

By the way, any head unit can have tracking problems. My Alpine (yes, an Alpine) in my wife's car can barely read CDRs yet my BMW OEM changer reads everything.

Peace.

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Old 09-24-2004, 11:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck328i


Name a deck that uses this technology and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It is like the difference between coax based ethernet and twisted pair ethernet - a simple concept that works very well.

The audio quality still blows me away with this deck. If you really want aftermarket, pick up an Alpine changer and interface it to the factory deck.

The ONLY way I would ever change the deck in my car would be with a touch screen that fits in flush in the area where the deck and heater controls are, then move the heater controls to the bottom. Someone here builds a sweet panel kit for this - a little pricey but worth every penny.

Mark
Amen.

I'm about to tear into my car. See this thread http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=197525

I WON'T be changing the factory deck. Might add a preamp/eq, but the deck isn't going anywhere! Better for my piece of mind too. I'll have several thousand $$ of gear at retail (not bragging...I didn't pay anywhere near that much) in the car and no one will ever know unless they can see in the trunk.
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Old 09-25-2004, 10:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by listener
Amen.

I'm about to tear into my car. See this thread http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=197525

I WON'T be changing the factory deck. Might add a preamp/eq, but the deck isn't going anywhere! Better for my piece of mind too. I'll have several thousand $$ of gear at retail (not bragging...I didn't pay anywhere near that much) in the car and no one will ever know unless they can see in the trunk.
Yup - there's a reason why the OEM decks still get good money on the FS forum. The Delco lunch pail from the wife's GA is worth less as a paper weight than a rock from the garden.

BTW - OT - Love the colour of your skate! Good luck with that amp setup - I'd like to hear how that goes. And that woofer looks pretty cool!

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Old 09-27-2004, 08:49 PM   #12
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Guys, please help me out!

I want to upgrade my stereo setup, but wish to keep the stock head unit.
I've read at least 15 different posts about this and now I'm really confused...

I have an '00 convertible with the 8 speaker system. I couldn't locate any factory amps in my trunk (I guess I don't have that) and I was not able to find the factory harness/connector which I should connect to.

I read that there are at least 2 different type of factoru HU's; the one with integrated amp and the one which utilises the trunk mounted amp. Now can you tell the difference by looking at the HU front face? Here's a photo of my HU and my trunk:





I guess I have the one with the integrated amp, as there's no amp in my trunk.

If that's the case, how do I hook up the aftermarket amp? Is there a balanced line out in the back of the HU (or better yet, a pre-wired connector in the trunk)?

Please help!!
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Old 09-27-2004, 09:06 PM   #13
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These two images are what the ETK came up with for a 323ci 'vert. Sorry, don't know if this helps or complicates things further! From the pic, it looks like the amp may be in the quarter panel next to the seat (in the cabin). I've heard of newer (2004) E46s without amps, but not sure about the older ones...?

None of the harness setups show an integrated amp setup for this car. Anyone else have any suggestions for Juha 323Ci?

Mark
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Old 09-27-2004, 10:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuck328i
These two images are what the ETK came up with for a 323ci 'vert. Sorry, don't know if this helps or complicates things further! From the pic, it looks like the amp may be in the quarter panel next to the seat (in the cabin). I've heard of newer (2004) E46s without amps, but not sure about the older ones...?

None of the harness setups show an integrated amp setup for this car. Anyone else have any suggestions for Juha 323Ci?

Mark
Thanks Mark!

I took my car apart and was able to find the factory amp!!!

It was exactly where you guessed, look:







So now I know that this thing is doable! What kind of setup would you recommend if I care more about sound quality than volyme?

I am thinking about a sub in a ported enclosure with the port trough the skibag-hole. as well as new front speakers... Thanks!

Juha

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Old 09-28-2004, 12:28 PM   #15
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That's pretty cool to know - thanks for the pics!

I have h/k and added a subwoofer only, which IMO made a huge difference in the sound. I backed the bass control down to flat or less, then ramped up the sub to balance. This takes a bit of the stress off the main OEM drivers. Sub is crossed at 72Hz. That will be it for now.

As for interfacing, I'm a pretty big fan of AudioControl. I have a 2XS crossover which is tapped into the rear pair of head unit outputs right at the amp (my connector looked identical to yours). I "tapped" in so that the rear speakers would still function, and this worked very well. The 2XS is completely noise free and the bass is very tight and accurate, although a pair of 8s can be a little thin. I have heard that the JL 8s are pretty nice if you need the space.

If you plan to do a full speaker system, this will work too. Just add the front amp and speakers to the high pass output of the 2XS. Or you could use nearly any other type of AudioControl component (crossover, eq, line driver) and achieve the same type of useable RCA output - it just depends on your needs (eq/no eq, divided signals/full range, etc.).

If it helps, there is a write up on the website in my sig. Keep us updated Juha!

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