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Old 08-14-2006, 11:35 PM   #1
Technic
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2004 M3 Audio upgrade...

In my personal opinion, only two threads are required read for anybody looking to upgrade their E46 sound system without major surgery, both in the car and in the pocket:

http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums...786337&page=10

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=121826

Everything to know about the audio internals of the E46 is on those two threads. Without further delay, this is it...

Components:

A pillars: CDT Audio UpStage system UP-519XT .75" Titanium tweeters

Front doors: CDT CL-6 6.5" mid-woofers/CDT TW24 1" Silk tweeters/BSW 2.5"Midrange/CDT HD30 Three Way crossover

Rear: CDT CL-69 6"X9" woofers/CDT TW24 1" Silk tweeters/JL Stealthboxes with 8" Kicker 05C8-4 subwoofers

Equalizer: AudioControl EQS

Amp: JBL GTO755.6ii 6 Ch 560 Watts

Battery: Optima YellowTop Deep cycle

Planning and preparation:

MDF plank as trunk platform for the amp, EQ and crossovers/modules...


Bought used HK amplifier, removed the main connector and created custom harness...


Created custom MDF adapter rings for the front doors and HK subwoofer enclosure...

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Old 08-14-2006, 11:49 PM   #2
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Is this your setup? Looks great. I've heard a lot of great things about the upstage tweets although I really don't like having the tweets that visible.
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Old 08-14-2006, 11:50 PM   #3
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Speaker comparisons:

OEM HK subwoofer vs. CDT CL-69...


HK 6" vs CL-6 6.5"...


HK mid and tweeter vs. BSW midrange and CDT tweeter...



Mounting:

Mid and tweeter in MDF bracket...


Rear door tweeter (using Dynamat as mounting "bracket")...




Front Doors...


A pillar Upstage system...


6" X 9"'s...



Amp/EQ rack...


Yellow Top Battery with custom MDF bracket...
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:30 AM   #4
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Finished:

For now, this panel have to be refined...


Review:

The obvious... this set up is several times better than the HK even while running the stock navigation Business tuner (the Professional tuner audio quality is much, much better). Sound quality, loudness, clarity. Whatever the HK was lacking this set up fixed it. However, two components really took this upgrade to another level, the CDT Upstage system and the EQS.

First, the Upstage system... it really does what it is supposed to do and then some. The staging is moved to the windshield, the highs are now clearer than before. I tought that this was a gimmick at first until I disconnected this system while playing Herbie Hancock's A Song for You and Stitched up...

Damn... Christina Aguilera really loses some kick when these suckers are not working. It is just that a chunk of the highs are better positioned way up front that balances the subs at the rear, creating this sound stage up front that simply honors the name of this system. This effect can be adjusted some 50+ ways depending the position of 4 -2 to 3- positions switches and three levels of power.

Then there is the EQS. Separate front, rear and subwoofer equalization bands and level input and outputs. I can move the soundstage front to back and viceversa. Hard, tight or deep bass, or a combination of the three. For the last two weeks I've been tweeking this EQS to get it to that magic point that all types of music will sound perfect... and I will be insane by next week. Between the EQS bands and internal jumpers, the Upstage switches, the crossovers' switches (one for the tweeters and one for the front midranges) and even the JBL crossovers switches, I had reduced to none the hiss and any trace of alternator whine while at the same time improved the audio quality many times over the OEM system... and almost passed out in my garage in this Florida 100 degrees heat wave of the last week.

This system allows the complete personalization of the audio to my taste. Clean, tight bass at more volume than before, really bright hights, much better defined vocals. Sheesh... even the telephone conversations sound better than before because I moved the vocals more towards the upper midrange in the door and not at my feet as before.

For those undecided to upgrade the audio from stock, just do it... you will be very happy to do so.
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Old 08-15-2006, 07:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976
Is this your setup? Looks great. I've heard a lot of great things about the upstage tweets although I really don't like having the tweets that visible.
Thanks! Actually, the grey shade of the pillar tweeters make a nice contrast with the anthracite gray of the headliner, so they don't look too aftermarket or out of place. They are adjustable in angle and sound great too...
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Old 08-17-2006, 12:34 AM   #6
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interesting having the tweeter pointed and that close to the windshield...any problems with reflections that youre away of?
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Old 08-17-2006, 08:25 AM   #7
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interesting having the tweeter pointed and that close to the windshield...any problems with reflections that youre away of?
The whole idea behind the CDT Upstage system is to use the windshield as a reflective surface, creating the front staging effect: http://www.cdtaudio.com/stagefront_upstage_systems.htm

It works pretty good...
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:33 AM   #8
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He should be good. The upstage tweet provides an ambient effect from what I've read about it. I guess in certain situations, the upstage can cause some phasing, cancellation and timing issues since there are 4 drivers playing the same range of sound.

BTW, the install looks awesome. Only one suggestion...carpet the piece of MDF under the hold down.
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Old 08-17-2006, 10:37 AM   #9
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He should be good. The upstage tweet provides an ambient effect from what I've read about it. I guess in certain situations, the upstage can cause some phasing, cancellation and timing issues since there are 4 drivers playing the same range of sound.
According to CDT, the module driving this system is designed to avoid conflicts with the other tweeters. In fact, the module controls the crossover of the front Three way.

Quote:
BTW, the install looks awesome. Only one suggestion...carpet the piece of MDF under the hold down.
Damn. Ok...
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Old 08-17-2006, 01:06 PM   #10
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yeah ive heard the upstage kit..but they were not that close to windsheild....
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Old 08-17-2006, 01:35 PM   #11
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what did you use to create those custom MDF adapter rings?
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Old 08-17-2006, 01:43 PM   #12
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what did you use to create those custom MDF adapter rings?
Use the rings that come off of the OEM mid as a template. Mark the center and cut a hole that will fit the new speaker.
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Old 08-17-2006, 01:46 PM   #13
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Use the rings that come off of the OEM mid as a template. Mark the center and cut a hole that will fit the new speaker.
Yeap... straight forward.
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Old 08-17-2006, 02:04 PM   #14
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Some notes for those interested:

- the EQS, as any AudioControl EQ, accepts differential/balanced inputs straight from the OEM tuner (be Nav tuner or dash tuner). Just solder the tuner wire outputs to RCA plugs and that's it.

- if you have noise issues with the EQS, make sure that the jumpers inside the unit are in the proper position. There are jumpers for the input (balanced, unbalanced) and for the output (ground, 200 ohms, isolated). Do not trust the factory default settings stated in the User's manual. My unit came with the input jumpers all messed up, some balanced and some unbalanced. This will sound great for maybe a day or so... after that you will think that your EQS is a piece of crap. Hiss, alternator noise, some audio summing between the rear and the sub inputs. By placing the jumpers in their correct position (Balanced inputs, Ground output if the amp does not accept balanced inputs, otherwise Isolated) all the strange noises were completely removed. The excessive hiss can be removed completely but then the input gain has to be reduced too much to my personal liking, so there is a trade off in my settings. Only when there is silence in the audio is where the hiss can be heard.

- follow the EQS advice: the gain in your amp should be set at the minimum. Don't mess with it, the EQS will take care of all the level matching if adjusted by the book.
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
- the EQS, as any AudioControl EQ, accepts differential/balanced inputs straight from the OEM tuner (be Nav tuner or dash tuner). Just solder the tuner wire outputs to RCA plugs and that's it.
All audiocontrol equipment accepts balanced inputs. The EQS is an especially great piece of equipment. Since it has 6 in/outputs you can use the head unit's subwoofer level control if you decide to change out the OEM head unit. The dedicated EQ bands are also a big plus!

I didn't say it yet but great write up also.
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Old 08-17-2006, 05:00 PM   #16
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All audiocontrol equipment accepts balanced inputs. The EQS is an especially great piece of equipment. Since it has 6 in/outputs you can use the head unit's subwoofer level control if you decide to change out the OEM head unit. The dedicated EQ bands are also a big plus!

I didn't say it yet but great write up also.
Thanks...

Extra notes: To make up for the lack of a separate sub output of the OEM HU and use the sub in/out EQ section of the EQS as a true 6 channel EQ system, my trick was to split the rear OEM HU outputs into two pairs of RCA's, thus having 6 pairs of outputs, front/rear/rear "for sub". Then I used a pair of inline RCA low pass filters from Crutchfield at 100Hz at the sub output end (between the EQS and the JBL amp) and presto: a quick and dirty sub output from the OEM HU controlled by its own set of EQ bands, separate from the front and rear outputs. This sub trick sounds much deeper and better than my old Stealthboxes setup with an SVEN2 hooked up to the rear outputs of the HK amp.

Otherwise, I would have to use a separate sub crossover with the EQS just because the EQS have none built in.
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Old 08-19-2006, 02:31 AM   #17
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Correction: 3 pairs of outputs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
Thanks...

Extra notes: To make up for the lack of a separate sub output of the OEM HU and use the sub in/out EQ section of the EQS as a true 6 channel EQ system, my trick was to split the rear OEM HU outputs into two pairs of RCA's, thus having 3 pairs of outputs, front/rear/rear "for sub". Then I used a pair of inline RCA low pass filters from Crutchfield at 100Hz at the sub output end (between the EQS and the JBL amp) and presto: a quick and dirty sub output from the OEM HU controlled by its own set of EQ bands, separate from the front and rear outputs. This sub trick sounds much deeper and better than my old Stealthboxes setup with an SVEN2 hooked up to the rear outputs of the HK amp.

Otherwise, I would have to use a separate sub crossover with the EQS just because the EQS have none built in.
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Old 09-09-2006, 11:44 AM   #18
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wow, nice i set up. So you are using both the 6x9s and the stealthboxes for the lows... hmm interesting..

btw, does it sound like all the bass is coming from back there or is it evenly spread?
once again, nice setup
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Old 09-09-2006, 02:51 PM   #19
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wow, nice i set up. So you are using both the 6x9s and the stealthboxes for the lows... hmm interesting..

btw, does it sound like all the bass is coming from back there or is it evenly spread?
once again, nice setup
Thanks!

Actually the two 6 X 9s are the mid bass now, not subwoofers anymore. So I EQ/crossover them to provide increased mid bass and vocals (200Hz - 900Hz)and not sub.

They sound pretty good combined with the fronts although they are firing inside the trunk. A passenger in the rear seat can enjoy the music much better than before at least.
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Old 10-31-2006, 01:05 PM   #20
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"A song for you" is a great demo.

That CD is fantastic. (Herbie Hancock/Possibilities)
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