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Old 06-02-2016, 04:45 AM   #1
msp198
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stock headunit replacement question

Hi guys, just picked up a 2003 320d touring. It has the cassette deck and HK speaker system in it at the moment and I wanted to replace the stock HU with a sony mex-n4100bt.

I used to wire up subs, amps and new headunits many many years ago but whilst looking for a fascia and harness adapter, I noticed a lot of talk around the fact that the HK system has an amp in the boot (which i have located).

I have also searched and people want to replace this amp or add their own subs etc. All i want to do is replace the HU and keep everything else standard.

So, if I simply stick the head unit in, am i going to blow up the HK amp? What can i do to ensure decent sound quality and still use the stock speakers etc.

As the Sony headunit is amplified itself, should i bypass the HK amp?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:53 AM   #2
markusmarkus
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The Sony unit has pre-outs. Use them and not the amplified speaker level outputs. Using those will damage the amp!

The problem with the pre-outs is that the signals are line level signals. The amp is looking for balanced differential signals. Connecting the Sony head unit directly to the amp will result in very little volume. You'll need to buy converters that take the line level signals and convert them into balanced differential signals. The interface between the head unit and the amp has four channels:
- LF
- RF
- LR
- RR

Make sure you buy enough converters.
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Old 06-02-2016, 08:18 AM   #3
msp198
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Thanks Marcus,

That's really helpful info. So i'm assuming that THIS wiring harness is the one i'm after?

Then purchase a couple of THESE - one for the front and one for the back, solder some RCA connectors on the wires and use this between the harness and the pre-outs on the stereo?

Or just use this harness straight into the back of the stereo?

Many thanks!

Last edited by msp198; 06-02-2016 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:59 AM   #4
tks
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Also this will work, its a 4 channel.

http://www.pac-audio.com/productDeta...&CategoryID=28

I think! (let me know if you decide with this option... i have one but do not need!!)
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Old 06-03-2016, 03:14 AM   #5
msp198
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cheers dude, however, after a little more research that's only changing the output from speaker wire to RCA's. i need something that will actually change the signal from line to balanced differential. i may just try simple wiring first and if sound quality is no good i'll look at getting some sort of transformer device.

The next challenge i have is finding a harness that goes from the car wiring to pre-outs that also has the adapter to keep using the steering wheel audio controls.
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Old 06-03-2016, 07:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msp198 View Post
Thanks Marcus,

That's really helpful info. So i'm assuming that THIS wiring harness is the one i'm after?

Then purchase a couple of THESE - one for the front and one for the back, solder some RCA connectors on the wires and use this between the harness and the pre-outs on the stereo?

Or just use this harness straight into the back of the stereo?

Many thanks!

The first item may work. I don't remember if the chassis audio harness connector has male or female pins. This item has male pins.

The second item isn't what you need. This item converts speaker level signals to line level signals. What you need is an electronix "box" that converts line level signals from the new head unit to balanced differential signals. They exist.
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:48 PM   #7
msp198
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to confirm, the chassis audio harness has female pins.

I haven't been able to find the correct converters yet so i plugged it in and it's super quiet. at max volume on the HU its normal talking volume.

Does anyone have the specifications of the amp? the part number is 65.12-0692105001

If i can get the spec of the amp i can probably find or have a suitable converter made by a friend

Is there another BMW headunit i can use to upgrade from the cassette player? if that's easier i'll just do that.

cheers,

Last edited by msp198; 06-08-2016 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 06-09-2016, 04:50 AM   #8
msp198
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Out of interest I'm assuming that if the amp had no power, the speakers wouldn't work at all? I know this would be the case for an aftermarket amp. reason i ask is because the remote doesnt look like it's hooked up correctly despite getting sound.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:19 AM   #9
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stock headunit replacement question

The reason why the sound from the speakers has very low volume is the amp is looking for balanced differential signals. The amplitude of these signals is significantly greater (several volts) than line level signals (less than a volt). You definitely need to convert the line level signals to balanced differential signals for the system to work.

A little research: the speaker level signals from the head unit need to be converted to balanced differential.

Last edited by markusmarkus; 06-09-2016 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 06-10-2016, 03:57 AM   #10
msp198
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cheers Markus that helped a lot.

So, basically i still couldnt find what i was looking for or any schematics for making one to balance the signal, i had a brainwave and thought i'd just simply blow the car up and replace it with a nice new soundsystem. then i realised that wouldnt go down too well with the wife.

then i stumbled across THIS could it be that i just need two of these? i can then either use speaker outs to rca and balance the signal, back in to chassis harness, or use line outs and ramp up the signal to the HK amp?

I'm really hoping this is the case, otherwise the option of burning the car seems to be creeping back onto the table as an option... lol

I know rockford fosgate make nice fancy devices for 100 but i got the car for peanuts. i'm looking to make it mechanically sound, have some level of music and use it as a workhorse for a few years, maybe more, so i dont fancy spending a fortune replacing the speakers etc. if this isnt going to work then i have heard there is a way to splice RCA's into the CD player (i think the thread is on this forum somewhere) for an AUX connection so that will probably be what i do. I'd rather have bluetooth and stuff though.

Last edited by msp198; 06-10-2016 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 06-10-2016, 06:42 AM   #11
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That device is for home use. It has a 12vdc adapter! Besides, its output is line level which is what you'll have with the Sony head unit. I recommend you go to bimmerforums and work with fellow UK citizen Dennis Cooper. Check the audio section. He seems to know all the audio technology. Maybe Dennis knows how to finagle the interface between that Sony head unit and the HK amp.
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Old 06-18-2016, 07:36 PM   #12
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For the headaches, I think your best bet is to buy some cheap shallow mount 5.25 or 6.5" coax and put them in the front doors where the midbass is. If you buy from crutchfield they will throw in adapter plates for free, or you can fan them up yourself. For a little more money you can get components, stick the crossovers in the trunk near the harness, and probably be quite happy with the sound.

Getting a signal from your HU to feed that amp is going to be a challenge, and the speakers in that car are junk - to my mind it's not worth the time and effort. I'll bet that a $50 pair of cheapo coax speakers is going to sound better than the stock system that's in there. You can use existing wiring, should be pretty easy to get going and when you save another $50 you can add speakers to the rear deck.
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Old 06-19-2016, 05:53 AM   #13
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I thought this is what was needed to fix the leveling problem. See www.crutchfield.com

Scosche SLC4
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Old 06-19-2016, 09:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allikanbe View Post
I thought this is what was needed to fix the leveling problem. See www.crutchfield.com

Scosche SLC4
That unit converts speaker level > line level. Which is what you'd need to go from the stock head unit to an aftermarket amp.

In this case OP is trying to do the opposite: to go from aftermarket HU to stock HK amp and the conversion would be line level > balanced differential.

A line driver, like this might do the trick. It's basically a little amplifier, and it will boost the signal voltage up to the level the HK amp is expecting.... But it still isn't proving a balanced signal. It might be okay, or it might be a noisy mess, you'd have to try to find out.
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Old 06-23-2016, 11:16 PM   #15
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All you need to do is get the proper harness adapter and wire it up. The hk amp works on speaker level inputs not rca or line level. That is why it is so quiet. No converters or additional equipment is needed. Just connect speaker outputs of aftermarket radio to the harness adapter and plug it in. Trust me I have installed radios in quite a few bmws. E36 /E46 amps are all designed to run with speaker level inputs and will work perfectly with an aftermarket radio. E38 and e39 with dsp is more tricky as is anything newer because of the signals being sent

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Old 06-24-2016, 12:30 AM   #16
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Over fiber optic lines instead of wire. The hk system will sound much better with a good aftermarket radio than it does with the factory radio. Mine does

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Old 06-24-2016, 01:54 AM   #17
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If you really want to make it sound better, louder and cleaner disconnect the factory subwoofer amp under rear shelf in the trunk connected to the 6x9 subs. They are under powered and the weakest link in the system. Add your own subwoofer and amp to suit your needs. A single 10 or 12 will be plenty to sound good and keep up with the hk system. You need a head unit that has high pass crossover capability to the speaker outputs front and rear set at 80-100 hz to block bass to the hk system. This will allow the system to play much louder without distortion because it is power limited and low

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Old 06-24-2016, 02:00 AM   #18
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Frequency takes the most power. It will cost a lot to completely replace hk system and actually have it sound better

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Old 06-27-2016, 07:24 AM   #19
msp198
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Thanks Randy, i went with THIS in the end. these worked fine and went from the pre amp outs in the back of the head unit. system sounds acceptable now, although getting it to all fit into the dash required a hacksaw and would have been much easier if i had smaller and more hands.

I have a baby on the way so i dont have loads of spare money to throw at a whole system and the car is more of a workhorse than anything. it's clean and almost mechanically sound now so should last me many years.

thing is, all i wanted to do was use my phone with the stereo and the HK system has been an absolute pain!

thanks all for your input!
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:09 AM   #20
grid2814
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dude

Quote:
Originally Posted by randy72877 View Post
All you need to do is get the proper harness adapter and wire it up. The hk amp works on speaker level inputs not rca or line level. That is why it is so quiet. No converters or additional equipment is needed. Just connect speaker outputs of aftermarket radio to the harness adapter and plug it in. Trust me I have installed radios in quite a few bmws. E36 /E46 amps are all designed to run with speaker level inputs and will work perfectly with an aftermarket radio. E38 and e39 with dsp is more tricky as is anything newer because of the signals being sent

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Hi Randy , I noticed that handle well the issue of audio BMW , especially in its HK amplifiers.
You say that when you install an aftermarket stereo amplifier with HK , this is the direct connection to the speaker outputs (50 watts x 4 ) in my case and this does not damage the amplifier ?
I'm buying a GA5051F of eonon and have that doubt when making the connection. If you can expand a bit more on the subject I appreciate .
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