Having read so many of the posts regarding the upgrade of our (rather meek) standard sound systems, I finally scraped together the courage to take the plunge and install a better system.
It took me a while to complete the research, as there are so many different brands to choose from. Also, there are a number of unscrupulous installers lurking and just waiting for you to part with your hard-earned cash. Once a reputable installer has been identified, them being Sound Limited in Boksburg, South Africa, I entered into discussions outlining my specific requirements. Those were basically to provide the car's audio with more depth in terms of bass response, without converting it into a "boombox" on wheels. I also wanted more clarity, which the standard system has always been lacking. In the end, I decided on a JBL speaker system, keeping the standard head unit intact. The system basically consisted of a 10" JBL subwoofer with a JBL CS Series amplifier. In the front doors, we removed the stock speakers (all of them) and replaced them with JBL splits, being a mid and a tweeter. The rear stocks were kept, as they provided a good surround effect. The nett result is a superb system, with the sub and amplifier in a custom enclosure specifically designed around the subwoofer's frequency range.
I am told that JBL is a subsidiary of Harmann, hence I thought it would fit in well with the car.
I am attaching a few pics of the enclosure. If there are any queries related to the installation procedure, which is extremely cumbersome as our cars have wiring harnesses from hell, I would be happy to answer them.
2011 X3 35i, Alpine White with Nevada Chestnut interior and waveline wood trim -Ceramic tint on all windows
-DVDinMotion DVD software unlock
-245/275 P Zeros f/r on 18x8.5/10 BBS RG-Rs
2007 Z4 M Coupe, Titanium Silver with Imola Red interior and silver trim -for paint details: www.myartcar.com -for mod details: www.mymcoupe.com
2003 M5, Imola Red with black interior and silver trim
-Dinan S2 drivetrain
-Dinan stage 3 suspension with JRZ shocks
-Rogue Engineering short shift kit and clutch stop
-275/35R18 Michellins f/r on 18x9.5 BBS RS-GTs
-Progressive window tint
-Euro dash and armrest conversions
-CDT/Total audio, NavTv w/ DVD
Last edited by palantirion; 5th December 2005 at 16:49.
For the front inputs to the stock amp (not sure it a DSP amp as my car does not have the DSP system installed) I bypassed the amp, taking the inputs straight from the head unit into a high-to-low converter. The RCA outs then went into the new JBL 4 channel amp, from where I bridged two channels for the sub, and taking the other two channels to the front. In the front doors, I installed crossovers in each door feeding the JBL mid/tweeter splits. The stock amp now only feeds the two rear stock speakers, which (surprisingly) provided a good surround effect. It is important to use low level in's to any amp as high level signals will provide a hiss (as you said) and you also run the risk of damaging the amp.
From what I've been told, the head unit and the amp in mine (with DSP) are the same box, and it cannot be easily bypassed because it also performs volume control. So the slight noise that you don't hear with the stock sound system increases when run through the new amps.
Quite right mate. I was told by the professional installer that, if the car was fitted with DSP, he would possibly have had to change the stock head unit altogether, as the DSP amp does indeed control functions such as volume, bass, treble etc. So it becomes a little more involving if you have the DSP option fitted. By the way, they have some EXCELLENT Alpine head units available, that he is of the opinion he could retrofit into the console, AND drive the TV and OBC through the new touch screen display. Apparently some guy in London built a converting unit to do just that. I am waiting on him to get the address of this guy, as it would be wonderful to watch DVD's (I mean for the missus) and use the OBC via a touch panel interface!
I've upgraded my sound system ,, I removed totally the DSP amp , installed very big 2 JL AUDIO amp's ,, MB Quart components Speakers . and 12" JL AUDIO Subwoofer ,, and **** off DSP ,, bullshit comparing with what I have no in my car ... man it's a mobile Disco in my car .. with the original head unit and all the steering functions are still working great with the Radio and the Telephone .. everything still as the original technicaly ..