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Old 01-29-2017, 11:14 PM   #1
Dido1904
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Ysidro
Posts: 68
My Ride: 330ci
My System Install

I normally don't post much on the Forum. I usually find myself on the FS threads or just doing my research on whatever it is I have going on with my 330 at the moment. I recently decided to do a full sound system install and after doing much research I wanted to share a bit of my build. I installed the following.
Head Unit: Piooner NEX 4200
Front Speakers: Focal 165 KRX2
Rear Speakers: Focal 165 CV1
Subwoofer: JL Audio W3 in a JL High Output Box.
Amp: JL Audio XD1000/5V2
Audio Control: Epicenter Concert series (Gray one/Best one)
RCA cables: Stinger 8000 Series 4ch & 2ch 17ft.
Sound Deadning: Sound Skins 12 Q. FT- Inner door skins & door panels
GT Mat 110mil 25 Q. FT- Door panel & Trunk.
First off I have to thank the forum members who took the time to do the trial and error themselves and for gathering the proper information to make each one of these projects work. Thank you for giving me a good base to start my install. I searched and looked through soooo many threads to thank just one person would be unfair but to name a few here are some of the threads I used the information from to do my install
(daveFOrd) http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=993878
(lowrider) http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=655386
(RSL) http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=443244
(Hermes) http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=880622 and even
(jvr826 from diymobileaudio) http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/...ge=2&_k=6xvm8g
I'm not going to go over what these guys have already clearly tackled when it comes to the breakdown of the install because their is plenty of good threads and tips covering most of these Installs as I just listed a few. With that said I will simply give a review of my products and more or less the steps I took to accomplish the final result or sound I was looking for with the equipment I listed. Like I said alot of time researching here on this forum and several random Google searches came into play before actually doing the install work. I was really against doing most of the work for this install because I really didn't want to mess anything up with my E46. I went to several shops in my area and none of them could honestly tell me they had worked on an E46, but that didn't take away from being quoted a ridiculous $1500- $2000 for labor. I took a chance and had a local stereo shop install my components, that ended up being a huge mistake. I was charged $500 for labor and I even showed them the threads listed above for reference but the final result was embarrassing considering they keeped my car for 3 days. Like I said before I hardly ever post anything on this forum but I love sound and I love my E46, so if I can motivate anybody to not be afraid to DIY and help save somebody alot of headaches and money so be it. As the famous quote goes, if you want something done right DIY. What I ended up installing was the following.
Head unit: Piooner NEX4200: Talk about a great head unit with all the bells and whistles at such a low price. Just pair it to your smart phone and that's all you need. The screen is OK, not the best available but as long as you have all the firmware updates and in my case the proper Android Auto updates on the phone you should have no issues with the unit. The sound is very clear on all inputs or mode you choose to listen to music. When you use the Auto EQ setting with the MIC to tune the system it creates a very nice sound stage, I was impressed considering the EQ MIC looks soo cheap. The only thing I did after the Auto EQ was re-adjust the subwoofer settings. The Auto EQ for some reason set my DB to the subwoofer to -12DB. I ended up adjusting it back to +2 DB and WOW!! Like I said the Pioneer NEX 4200 is definitely a nice looking/operating headunit and all you really need in a stereo system. You can customize the backgrounds, the start up screen, really everything you would want this unit has and the color match is spot on for the buttons. If you are looking for Android Auto or Apple Car Player I trongly recommend this headunit.
The install: Most people are scared to cut into the HVAC unit but when you use the Janus Kit to do the install you can't go wrong. The install was totally worth it but it did not come easy. It took me about 8 hours to get the Janus Kit fully installed. The issues I came across were making sure I measured twice and cut only once. Even though everything you need for the install is included in the kit. I would strongly recommend you use instant silicone in a can with Gorilla Tape (the black kind) to seal the metal tray over the HVAC housing in order to reinforce the cut out making it air tight.
The next recommendation I can give is with the bezel. Go ahead and buy an Ebay bezel. A few years back I can see having product issues since it was a new thing at the time but now the fitment and look of the bezels are spot on. I literally spent $80 on everything I needed for the headunit Bezel, antenna adapter, radio harness and steering controls. The only thing I had to do to the bezel was shave the top and bottom portion of the cut out for the headunit in order for the headunit to open incase I want to watch a DVD or listen to a CD. After a little bit of sanding the bezel was good to go. All I had to do was spray the bezel satin black and I was done. On this install alone you can save yourself $500 if you DIY. It is time consuming but nothing you and a $15 Dremel from Harbor Freight can't do. Save that money and make sure it's done right. To answer the question always asked about the Janus Kit, YES, I do have full functionality of my vents.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40158
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40159
FOCAL 165 KRX2: The sound from these speakers is incredible. I wasn't sure if I was going to get the proper sound because I kept reading the FOCAL components can handle more power then rated. I'm sure the components can handle more power but the truth is I didn't need to give them more then the RMS wattage to get the sound I was looking for. The FOCALS really bring your music back to life at any volume. The tweeters are nicely built and produce accurate sound stage and imaging. The mid range are some heavy little 6.5" woofers but they produce some solid mid and low bass. You can tell right off the bat you get what you pay for when it comes to these components. The best speakers I've owned and I use to have a set of K2P's.
Speaker install: The most important part of making these speakers sound good in our E46 is making sure you cut the whole behind the mid range and seal off the door with sound deadner. Without cutting the whole for the mid to breath and especially sealing off the door creating an enclosure for the mid range, you will simply be wasting your time and money. It's a night and day difference when you seal off the door. To make a long story short. I had originally taken my car to a stereo shop that swore up and down they could handle the install but after my first listen I could tell right away they messed up somewhere because the KRX2 should have sounded waaay better then what I was presented with at the shop. The shop admitted they did a horrible job on constructing the baffles and I was given a refund. I took my refund and went down to Home Depot to buy the MDF, wood glue, bolts and some AC window insulation foam. I followed the threads I listed earlier as described. I printed the template and made sure to stick to the same number of wood peices when it came to building the baffles. Using the exact pieces of wood as described on the thread gave me just enough clearance for my KRX2 Mids. My door card snaps back on to the door but on the door latch corner it doesn't snap back on flush to the door. You notice a small gap between the panel and the door but it's not a huge issue, just not perfect. If you decide to tackle this task by urself I can say all you need for tools is a Jig Saw or a router. The biggest recommendation I can add to making the baffles is making sure they are secured against the door itself (Nuts and bolts) and more importantly properly sealed (Covering any uneven wholes/surface between the baffle and the door with the AC Foam and sound deadning) I used GT Mat for the mounting surface and some AC window insulation foam from Home Depot to sandwich in between the baffle and the doors. This method made my baffles solid and made sure it didn't have any loss of air space for the mids. When creatimg the bafflrs I noticed 2 very important things. First make sure to angle the soeakers towards you as best as possiblr. Obviously this will depend on the size of your speakers but considering the KRX2's are some of the largest speakers you can install I can say you do have room to play with that angle. Second, make sure you sand or cut the baffle peices to the same angle as the inside groove of your door card. This will help free up some space for the door card to move around and line up properly while clipping it back to the door properly. If I could do it all over again I would spend more time on the speaker mounting angle to get the aim of the mid range 100% accurate and more time on getting the right angle sanded/cut to match the inner door card while making the baffles. I Installed the tweeters in the OEM location for a few weeks but I preferred the sound stage when I installed them on the door sails. I like my highs but I also like an accurate soundstage when I listen to Live music and I found this location for the tweeters to be the best location for my taste. I even liked how the Silver Tweeter cup looks with my aluminum trim. Again, if you want to get the proper midbass you need to seal off the door panel. Yes that means blocking your window regulator and the other 2 large wholes on the outer door panel. When you do this the door itself becomes the enclosure for the mids. I went weeks without doing this because I had already used 12 Q FT. Of Sound Skins deadner on the inner door panel and I figured this should be good enough, I was wrong. As soon as I sealed the Doors with GT Mat it made my 6.5" mids sound like I had 8" subwoofers in my doors, night and day difference trust me.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40163
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40162
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40183
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40182
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40169
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40186

Rear speakers: FOCAL CVA1: I can't really give you a good review on the rear speakers because I dont use them to their full potential. I basically installed the rear speakers as a filler. They are currently set to -12 DB at the headunit. However when I first installed them they did have a very snappy midbass and clear sound coming from them. As my rear fill they do the trick but I'm sure they are capable of doing way more if they were ever used as the primary speakers.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40168
Rear Install: The CVA1 are a simple drop in. Nothing complicated at all for the rear speakers. The recommendation I will give you is take the time to remove the rear shelve and re-spray the fabric black and use sound deadner near the lower part of that back window. This area is known to cause alot of vibration in the points were the window meets the plastic part of the rear shelf. Make sure you use sound deadner to seal the bottom part of the rear speaker hole through the trunk. If you have a good subwoofer pushing alot of bass the air in the trunk will try to go through that hole causing damage to your rear speakers, I learned that the hard way thank God for warranty.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40170
Subwoofer: JL Audio W3 in HO Box: I wasn't sure if a single W3 would be good enough for me since I'm a huge bass head but the truth is the W3 when paired with the HO box produces clean and loud bass. The box fits good and looks perfect in the trunk. It doesn't take up much space and it looks clean when you pop the trunk. I'm sure the optimum JL Audio sub for our E46 would be a 10" W7 but the W3 is definitely produces CLEAN bass however it's hard to get that deep low bass you could produce in an SUV. None the less the W3 will definitely flex the rear view mirror, rear shelf and roof. Definitely use sound deadning on the trunk even more so if it's Carbon fiber.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40184
Amp: JL Audio XD1000/5V2: this is a small amp but it packs alot of power. Like the sub, I wasn't sure if it was going to be good enough but it definitely exceeded my expectations. This is definitely one of the main reasons why my system sounds as good as it does. Do not underestimate this amp. I'm a heavy listener and not once has this amp shut off, even in the hot 100+ degree weather.
The install: I Mounted the Amp and Epicenter to the back or the rear seats. I have the fold down seats so it helps keep the amp cool when I pull the seats down and it allows more bass into the cabin. This also came in handy when I was adjusting and setting the gains when I was Tuning everything together. The Remotes for the amp bass knob and the Epicenter control knob I decided to hide them in the center console ashtray. I like the location but I have to work on a front abs or some other type of plastic face to mount the knows to. I want the gain knobs to be the only items viewed when you open the ashtray. I think a little more fabrication work on the tray will give the install a cleaner look.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/picture...ictureid=40171
I hope this motivates a few people to DIY and save ALOT of headaches and money. It will take some time but it's not impossible. The hardest part is definitely the Double Din install. Everything else I did for this install was simply time consuming and in the end it was totally worth it. If you guys have anymore questions or suggestions to add to this thread feel free to PM me. I know the E46 isn't the most popular car anymore but it is undeniably a classic.
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Old 01-29-2017, 11:19 PM   #2
iowna330xi
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chi-town, IL.
Posts: 656
My Ride: is not yet fast.
That sounds like an insane build. One question though. Sound deadening or replacing the 6x9 Harman Kardon Subs? I already have an aftermarket head unit which sounds better than the stock.
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Old 01-29-2017, 11:36 PM   #3
Dido1904
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Ysidro
Posts: 68
My Ride: 330ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by iowna330xi View Post
That sounds like an insane build. One question though. Sound deadening or replacing the 6x9 Harman Kardon Subs? I already have an aftermarket head unit which sounds better than the stock.
Depends really. What is your ultimate goal?. I liked my harmon kardon 6x9 subs but it wasn't the bass I really wanted. I'm actually selling mine right now. The GT Mat isnt expensive at all and it's high quality stuff. Now the sound skins isn't cheap. But if you had to choose between the deadning or adding a sub. I would do the mat and then the sub. My 6x9 subs rattled the rear deck and it sounded horrible for my taste.

Last edited by Dido1904; 01-29-2017 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:52 AM   #4
iowna330xi
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chi-town, IL.
Posts: 656
My Ride: is not yet fast.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dido1904 View Post
Depends really. What is your ultimate goal?. I liked my harmon kardon 6x9 subs but it wasn't the bass I really wanted. I'm actually selling mine right now. The GT Mat isnt expensive at all and it's high quality stuff. Now the sound skins isn't cheap. But if you had to choose between the deadning or adding a sub. I would do the mat and then the sub. My 6x9 subs rattled the rear deck and it sounded horrible for my taste.
The thump of the 6x9's are alright but the bass is not as tight at higher volumes and I already reduced the deck vibration by adding more deadening. I have a BSW speaker kit installed in the car so the mids and mid-basses should be alright. Bass and exterior noises are the only problem right now. Is the cabin much quieter with all of the sound skins?
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:15 AM   #5
Dido1904
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: San Ysidro
Posts: 68
My Ride: 330ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by iowna330xi View Post
The thump of the 6x9's are alright but the bass is not as tight at higher volumes and I already reduced the deck vibration by adding more deadening. I have a BSW speaker kit installed in the car so the mids and mid-basses should be alright. Bass and exterior noises are the only problem right now. Is the cabin much quieter with all of the sound skins?
The cabin did get significantly quieter. But the trunk was the biggest improvement. The sound deadning on the doors created the night and day difference once the large holes were sealed off
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