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Old 04-07-2003, 12:44 PM   #1
Stahlgrau325i
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BMW stock system specs and advice on future upgrades.

Anyone know what are the specs on the stock system (Non-HK)? or a good link to it?

Saw the sound system mod by David Bagby in the FAQ. Sounds very helpful and is exactly what I am looking to do on my recently purchased ride. Anyone try his mods? I'm looking to swap out speakers and amps. Mine will be simple swap compared to pimp jobs done by others (don't need to have anything stolen considering I'm in NYC). Anyone have a better website/suggestion? Bagby's FAQ seemed very thorough. Headunit, I probably will keep for now. I've heard (not confirmed) that replacing headunit does not allow me to use the steering wheel controls. Any validity to that?

I first plan on doing the speakers and than test how it sounds (will try to keep stock wiring). Than will do the amp upgrade and do the same.
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Old 04-07-2003, 11:28 PM   #2
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This is a post from Bimmer.org that is an excellent DIY:

http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums...1433274&page=1

And some others:

http://www.mindspring.com/~pmbenn/hk_retrofit.htm

http://home.attbi.com/~el3men2/Conve...tructions.html


I'm in the midst of upgrading as well, so a few hints:

1) If you want more bass, you're either going to need to put a subwoofer box in your (already small) trunk or JL Stealthboxes in your rear deck, and power either with a 2nd amp (I did JLs).

2) If you put component speakers in the front and don't upgrade the amp, they'll probably sound bad, plus, as with most quality components, you won't be able to properly hook them up to their supplied outboard crossovers.

3) Yes, in most cases, if you change the headunit, you will lose wheel controls. However, you may want to check the Peripheral and Soundgate websites to see if they have a steering wheel control adapter for whatever manufacturers' headunits.
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Old 04-08-2003, 09:41 AM   #3
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yup u loose steering ctrls..........but CRUTCHFIELD has something that lets u keep them...........check it out, just call them and ask them about steering wheel ctrl's
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Old 04-09-2003, 08:43 AM   #4
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That is a great link!!!!

Great instructions for a audio neophyte like me.

Thanks!
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Old 04-09-2003, 09:18 AM   #5
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David's directions are excellent. I just used them to upgrade my system while keeping the stock HU. You will need the VEN4 that he mentions it his article to connect your HU to an aftermarket amp.

Don't bother doing the speakers without the amp. The stock amp has internal crossovers specifically set for the 3way comps in front. If you install a 2 way set in front you'll be lacking the midrange driver unless you keep the stock one (which will prbably sound like ass in comparison to whatever you replace the other 2 with and severely muddy your sound quality). Installing a 3 way set would be nice but good luck finding a set with a midrange small enough to fit in the stock location. You can piece together your own but be prepared to do some research into crossover design. Probably more than you'll want to get into and a 2 way set can sound excellent if installed correctly.

Also, something I learned first hand. Research the crossovers that will come with your comps. Because of the high tweeter placement of the oem locations they'll pretty much be in your face. You'll either want crossovers with a -4db or -6db switch for the tweets or be prepared to install L-Pads to further attenuate them.

Any other questions try searching on this forum or the elitecaraudio.com forum. Both are excelent resources. Anything you can't find just ask.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 04-09-2003, 09:22 AM   #6
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Also www.caraudiohelp.com. Jason, one of the guys that runs that site, knows his stuff cold...
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Old 04-09-2003, 12:42 PM   #7
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Haven't fully done research yet on component speakers, but I've heard the market is lacking a 3" midrange that drops in. How can the speaker makers overlook a major segment of the market? I assume most of you guys have researched already and have not found a drop in midrange that requires little to no mods?

Thanks for all the guidance already...
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Old 04-09-2003, 02:28 PM   #8
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FYI, someone posted the stock mids are closer to 2". i would pull them and measure before I bought anything if that's the route you choose to go.
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Old 04-09-2003, 09:39 PM   #9
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would like to share my experience on this one. I just changed my HU to the pioneer 6450CD with the LCD screen and added a DVD changer in the trunk. The sound was much much better without changing the speakers, on the other hand, my friend changed all the speakers only and it sounded worse. Of course, if u go separates, chances are u would need a sub too. cheers!
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Old 04-10-2003, 08:04 AM   #10
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I'm hearing varying opinions. My buddy has swapped out the speakers (using Diamond's comps in front and MB Quart in rear) and placed in a sub and he's claiming better sound quality/clarity. He feels he's lacking midrange, since he only replaced woofer and tweeter. This is all w/out even a new amp.

I know technical specs aren't the same as actually hearing the sound, but would like to know what are the technical specs of the stock setup. Anyone?
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Old 04-10-2003, 08:55 AM   #11
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If he's still using the stock amp it's surely screwing up his crossover points and messing with his midrange in a big way. If he kept the stock mid I really don't see how it can work with the diamond comps. I know someone on this forum says they're doing it but when I tried it just sounded terrible. They must have custom crossovers.

Still, the diamond woofer is intended to play up to 3.5 khz or so. Why use a lesser quality stock speaker for the high end of that range when you just laid out $330 for good comps?

Plus, you've GOT to attenuate those tweeters at least 3 or 4 db because of where they're located (if he's got them in the stock location). Then you can turn it up a bit getting more power to your midrange/midbass without making your ears bleed from the tweeters being so loud. Your friend needs to suck it up and plunk down the $300 or so for a decent amp. He'll be a very happy boy.

I can't comment on the HK system but upgrading the base model speakers and adding an amp means MUCH better sound as long as the install is done correctly. Changing the HU means even more improvement. Unfortunately I can't bare to put in an aftermarket HU that doesn't pefectly meld to the dash and fit like it was made for it.

You should be able to get the technical specs on the stock setup from BMW. Have you tried that route?
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Old 04-10-2003, 10:44 AM   #12
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Zameus/Johnhab - Do you guys mind sharing the speaker/amp upgrades you may have done and your overall rating of improvement over stock? Were you guys able to find a mid-range component or did you guys just use two way? It sounds like you guys are keeping the headunit like I planned. I really don't like the looks of the aftermarket systems and don't want to go through the hassle of finding ways to get the steering wheel controls setup properly.

I'm checking w/ my buddy to see if he had custom crossovers because he had it professionally installed. He's got a 2000 323cic so he's looking forward to the warmer weather and is getting his amp soon.
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Old 04-10-2003, 11:07 AM   #13
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Sure, here's my setup:

Fronts: Diamond HEX s600s (6" midbass drivers and silk tweets)
Rear: Diamond M661 6" midrange drivers
Amp: Alpine F540 4 channel amp (80watts RMS per channel)
Sub: Infinity Basslink

I'm installing the rears either today or tomorrow so I'll have to let you know how that works out. The basslink is fine for filling in the low end frequencies but I'll probably upgrade that to something bigger in the future to get better SQ and SPL.

The front comps are going through the included passive crossovers with the tweeters attenuated using Phoenix Gold 4ohm L-Pads. They sound great. Strong mids and clear highs.
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Old 04-10-2003, 11:59 AM   #14
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trollin4bmw, my past/present/future upgrades:

Past:

Put in JL Stealthboxes, wired in parallel, powered by a bridged Alpine MRV-T420 2-channel amp (mono when bridged). Bass is amazing compared to stock, but if you want to shake windows for blocks, you'll want more and will need an enclosure, giving up part of your already small trunk -- I didn't want to do that.

Present:

As I believe I posted previously, I just got JL XR525 2-way components in the doors, run by the FACTORY amp, without the crossover (JL says don't do that, but since the factory amp has crossovers in it, I'm not going to blow up the tweets from sending them the full frequency range). They sound ok, but as zameus experienced, they are really bright, and lacking in midbass. Note I still have the factory mid hooked up, so that may be making the situation worse, but will revisit disconnecting it once I complete the full upgrade detailed below.

Future:

When the damn temperature gets above 40 deg. (in April?), I'll finish the upgrade by installing the JL crossovers and run all the speakers (Stealthboxes plus fronts) with an a/d/s P4100.2 amp (4x100W @ 4Ohms). I was going to bi-amp the fronts with the a/d/s and keep the Alpine powering the Stealthboxes, but two amps in the trunk is going to be cramped, and I paid a nice bit of dough for the used a/d/s amp, so might as well use it for the whole system (although there may be an issue with giving the Stealthboxes enough juice when driven in stereo, as they are 8Ohms each vs. 4Ohms in parallel -- long story).

The a/d/s amp has a low pass crossover on 2 channels (Stealthboxes), high- and low-pass crossovers on the other 2 channels (fronts), so I'll have lots of flexibility in adjusting the system between the amp settings and the JL crossover settings, and hopefully I won't need L-pads for the front tweets like zameus did.

I also got a 1 Farad capacitor cheap on eBay, but got sent the wrong one, and now, with one amp, may not need it -- we'll see.

Depending on how the JL fronts sound when all is said and done, if I'm not satisfied with them, I'll consider upgrading to the S600s, as they are one of the few high-end speakers that come with a 6" woofer/midrange vs. most others that come in 6.5" and don't fit, or at least without significant mods.

Last edited by johnhab; 04-10-2003 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 04-10-2003, 12:39 PM   #15
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40 degrees in April? It SNOWED all day yesterday here! Needless to say, I hear what your saying.

You might still want to get the L-Pads so you can use the supplied passive crossovers with your comps. I tried using the crossovers in my amp and they just didn't sound as good. Of course your amp is better than mine so who knows. Still, the crossovers they give you with the comps are specifically set up for those speakers (not only crossover points but slope as well).

L-Pads were cheap $10 or $15 a piece at partsexpress.com and you could always wire up your own using resistors ($4 total) but you wouldn't have the luxury of turning a knob to adjust.

Just my 2 cents. Take it for what it's worth.

Good luck with your system! It makes the car just that much more amazing.
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