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Old 01-02-2015, 10:03 PM   #1
threetwentyfizzle
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BMW Business Tape Stereo Audio quality n00b question.

Hey guys, I am in need for some audio advice for my DD '00 323i Sedan. My car has the Business Tape Stereo, with the 6 disc changer in the trunk. As CD's are somewhat obsolete these days, I have not once used the CD changer, I've been ghetto rigging, by playing music from my phone through a Tape/Aux adapter.

This is my 2nd E46, I had a coupe prior with HK, which IMO sounded horrible, most of my speakers were blown on the HK system. This sedan is Non HK, and the speakers aren't blown, (must be rare lol).

I'm not really in the market to drop a huge chunk of change on a whole new sound system for a DD car, I just want to see what options, can "improve" audio quality for a more enjoyable commute for me, if keeping the tape radio is a relevant option.

I've done a little research, and have seen aux cords retrofitted to the rear of some radios, is that possible for the Tape Radio? and probably an obvious answer to this question, but how much audio quality loss is there when using the Tape to aux adapter?

Is there any advice to point me in the right direction and give me a place to start, for a cheap upgrade in the audio department?

Thanks for all the help guys and insight guys!
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:19 AM   #2
markusmarkus
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If the car has the original head unit, then you can't install an auxiliary cable at the rear of the head unit. Why? There's no connector!

Options:
- install an adapter that utilizes the 2 cd changer cables.
- install a Blitzsafe adapter and run rca cables from the adapter to the interior.
- replace the head unit with a later model with a connector for the auxiliary cable.
- remove the head unit and have a technician solder wires at the point where the signal from the tape deck enters the amplifier section of the head unit.

My 2001 330Ci has a DICE adapter for the iPhone. The Blitzsafe option is most likely the cheapest way to go.

To improve sound quality, I recommend you change the mid-range speakers to Vifa 2.5" full range speakers. I have them in my couple and they sound great. Buy them at Parts Express or Madison Sound.
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:56 PM   #3
threetwentyfizzle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markusmarkus View Post
If the car has the original head unit, then you can't install an auxiliary cable at the rear of the head unit. Why? There's no connector!

Options:
- install an adapter that utilizes the 2 cd changer cables.
- install a Blitzsafe adapter and run rca cables from the adapter to the interior.
- replace the head unit with a later model with a connector for the auxiliary cable.
- remove the head unit and have a technician solder wires at the point where the signal from the tape deck enters the amplifier section of the head unit.

My 2001 330Ci has a DICE adapter for the iPhone. The Blitzsafe option is most likely the cheapest way to go.

To improve sound quality, I recommend you change the mid-range speakers to Vifa 2.5" full range speakers. I have them in my couple and they sound great. Buy them at Parts Express or Madison Sound.

Thanks for the Reply! I'll have to look into some of those options, to be honest, I really don't care if I lose the CD Player functionality, I just want to be able to play music at better sound quality than the tape adapter.

One more question for those who are more knowledgeable, My car has the Sport/Premium Package for that year and apparantly 100% Options for the 2000 Model Year. Does that mean I have a better stereo setup, like a HiFi Stereo? I know I have tweeters, so I was thinking maybe it was the better stereo system before HK was an option?

If that's the case, my car would have a factory amp located in the trunk or under the driver seat, correct? Is that something that can be upgraded without going crazy aftermarket, with let's say, a factory HK amp?

Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction!
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Old 01-04-2015, 08:33 AM   #4
markusmarkus
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Originally Posted by threetwentyfizzle View Post
Thanks for the Reply! I'll have to look into some of those options, to be honest, I really don't care if I lose the CD Player functionality, I just want to be able to play music at better sound quality than the tape adapter.



One more question for those who are more knowledgeable, My car has the Sport/Premium Package for that year and apparantly 100% Options for the 2000 Model Year. Does that mean I have a better stereo setup, like a HiFi Stereo? I know I have tweeters, so I was thinking maybe it was the better stereo system before HK was an option?



If that's the case, my car would have a factory amp located in the trunk or under the driver seat, correct? Is that something that can be upgraded without going crazy aftermarket, with let's say, a factory HK amp?



Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction!

There were 2 audio systems installed in E46s: standard hifi and Harmon Kardon (HK). Both used the same head unit, with the differences being the amp and the speakers.

All E46s sold in the US have the amp in the left side of the trunk.

Installing a HK amp without the HK speakers will, at best, not deteriorate your current sound, and, at worst, denigrate your sound. Btw, both amps have built-in crossovers! Replacing the amp with an aftermarket amp will REQUIRE the installation of crossovers!!!!!

Your car, a 4 door sedan, has 10 speakers (someone correct me if I'm wrong; I own a coupe). The front door "woofers" are 5 1/4" in diameter. The front doors also have a mid range speaker (~2.5") and a tweeter in the pod near the door opener. The best bang for the buck is to replace the mids and the tweeters with aftermarket speakers. I installed Vifa 2.5" full range speakers and SEAS tweets in my doors. The Vifa speakers are very slightly undersized for the hole so I wrapped the mounting ring with electrical tape. The pods needed some Dremel work as the SEAS are bigger than the oem tweets. The difference was amazing.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:59 PM   #5
threetwentyfizzle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markusmarkus View Post
There were 2 audio systems installed in E46s: standard hifi and Harmon Kardon (HK). Both used the same head unit, with the differences being the amp and the speakers.

All E46s sold in the US have the amp in the left side of the trunk.

Installing a HK amp without the HK speakers will, at best, not deteriorate your current sound, and, at worst, denigrate your sound. Btw, both amps have built-in crossovers! Replacing the amp with an aftermarket amp will REQUIRE the installation of crossovers!!!!!

Your car, a 4 door sedan, has 10 speakers (someone correct me if I'm wrong; I own a coupe). The front door "woofers" are 5 1/4" in diameter. The front doors also have a mid range speaker (~2.5") and a tweeter in the pod near the door opener. The best bang for the buck is to replace the mids and the tweeters with aftermarket speakers. I installed Vifa 2.5" full range speakers and SEAS tweets in my doors. The Vifa speakers are very slightly undersized for the hole so I wrapped the mounting ring with electrical tape. The pods needed some Dremel work as the SEAS are bigger than the oem tweets. The difference was amazing.
Nice! sounds like decent cheap upgrade, i guess the biggest challenge would be routing the aux wire from the trunk under all the carpet to the center console area.

just out of curiosity, how did you decide on the speaker setup your running right now. I priced the Vifa's out, they seem pretty economical, I've just never heard of either of these brands, I'm not too big in the audio scene I guess lol. Do they produce some pretty clean sound? Does the Full Range differ from 2 or 3 way speakers?

Thanks again for the clarity, and helping me in the right direction, I love my E46, Just not the audio system lol. But all of us here know that, we don't initially buy these cars specifically for the sound system
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:14 AM   #6
markusmarkus
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Originally Posted by threetwentyfizzle View Post
Nice! sounds like decent cheap upgrade, i guess the biggest challenge would be routing the aux wire from the trunk under all the carpet to the center console area.



just out of curiosity, how did you decide on the speaker setup your running right now. I priced the Vifa's out, they seem pretty economical, I've just never heard of either of these brands, I'm not too big in the audio scene I guess lol. Do they produce some pretty clean sound? Does the Full Range differ from 2 or 3 way speakers?



Thanks again for the clarity, and helping me in the right direction, I love my E46, Just not the audio system lol. But all of us here know that, we don't initially buy these cars specifically for the sound system

You're right, running the cables under the carpet is a bear. I used the coat hanger trick. Luckily, I had to run the cables only to the back of the console. The DICE box sits under the rear ashtray! Tight fit but it fits!

Brands: research, research, research!

Both Vifa and SEAS are very reputable brands. They are well rated in the audio world.

A full range speaker can supposedly handle the full spectrum of audio frequencies. Obviously, a 2 1/2" speaker can't handle s 60hz sound very well! But, for its intended purpose - mid-range sound - it's great. Certainly much better clarity than the oem Nokia speakers.

A word about impedance: there have been several posts that talk about a replacement speaker's impedance vs the oem speaker's impedance. "They have to be the same." "Those speakers will blow up the amp." Etc., etc., etc. All bs! A speaker's impedance changes as the frequencies change, so don't sweat it.
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:13 PM   #7
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We do offer both iPod integration for your car, as well as a speaker upgrade, although I would recommend starting off with the iPod integration and seeing if that helps with your sound quality woes. If you like the look and aesthetic of your factory headunit, the system we offer does integrate with that, and wit is controlled entirely from the radio, and can be done as a completely stealth install, you'd never know it was there. Additional information can be found on our site once you pop your vehicle in at this link http://www.bavsound.com/Device-Integration/Buy-Now/ we do also have full detailed install guides available

The unit that sounds like it would be a fit for you is the Soundplicity ONE. Let me know if you had any other questions!
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Old 01-13-2015, 11:21 AM   #8
AndrewReaganM
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I completely bypassed the stock system while doing my upgrade (but I re-used the stock wires from the amp to the speakers). I would recommend (if you aren't interested in a new head unit) buying some replacement speakers like @markusmarkus mentioned, or just getting a nice component set (woofer and tweeter are separate) for the front doors and replace the woofer and tweeter. I suppose you could do the best of both worlds and replace the mids with the speakers Markus recommended and then going with a component set from Polk Audio or the like for your tweeter and woofer needs. You might like to do a aftermarket head unit as well (I really didn't like the OEM one, it is very under-featured; which is to be expected of a car the age of ours). I have been more than pleased with my Polk products in both my home theater and in my car. For the rear deck you could go with a coaxial (tweeter and woofer are not separate) set or a component set and try to mount the tweeter in the OEM location inside the rear door panel (I haven't tried it but in theory you should be able to do it). If you have any more questions I could answer just ask.

EDIT: Here are some pics of my install if they are of any help: https://drive.google.com/folderview?...E0&usp=sharing

Last edited by AndrewReaganM; 01-13-2015 at 11:26 AM. Reason: Link of Install
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Old 01-21-2015, 01:16 PM   #9
threetwentyfizzle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewReaganM View Post
I completely bypassed the stock system while doing my upgrade (but I re-used the stock wires from the amp to the speakers). I would recommend (if you aren't interested in a new head unit) buying some replacement speakers like @markusmarkus mentioned, or just getting a nice component set (woofer and tweeter are separate) for the front doors and replace the woofer and tweeter. I suppose you could do the best of both worlds and replace the mids with the speakers Markus recommended and then going with a component set from Polk Audio or the like for your tweeter and woofer needs. You might like to do a aftermarket head unit as well (I really didn't like the OEM one, it is very under-featured; which is to be expected of a car the age of ours). I have been more than pleased with my Polk products in both my home theater and in my car. For the rear deck you could go with a coaxial (tweeter and woofer are not separate) set or a component set and try to mount the tweeter in the OEM location inside the rear door panel (I haven't tried it but in theory you should be able to do it). If you have any more questions I could answer just ask.

EDIT: Here are some pics of my install if they are of any help: https://drive.google.com/folderview?...E0&usp=sharing
Thanks for your input and advice as well! I have been reconsidering going with an aftermarket head unit, I've seen an Alpine with a 24bit DAC built in, with USB/BT/Aux for pretty cheap, so if I go that route, and some bang for buck speakers, I'm sure it would be worth scrapping the OEM look for some insane audio quality. Thanks for your drive link, wires everywhere lol. I'm sure it was all worth it in the end for the name of sound lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BAVSOUND View Post
We do offer both iPod integration for your car, as well as a speaker upgrade, although I would recommend starting off with the iPod integration and seeing if that helps with your sound quality woes. If you like the look and aesthetic of your factory headunit, the system we offer does integrate with that, and wit is controlled entirely from the radio, and can be done as a completely stealth install, you'd never know it was there. Additional information can be found on our site once you pop your vehicle in at this link http://www.bavsound.com/Device-Integration/Buy-Now/ we do also have full detailed install guides available

The unit that sounds like it would be a fit for you is the Soundplicity ONE. Let me know if you had any other questions!
Thanks, I've checked your guys' site, love the redesign and the site layout, very good web design (coming from a graphic artist perspective). Thanks for posting and showing me some options you guys offer, if only I had someone i knew with your speakers to hear how they sound lol. It's an option I may consider in the future if I can afford the full kit.
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