When BMW released the news of the BMW M5 Touring and the facelift, they also introduced the BMW Individual High End Audio for the BMW M5 and M5 Touring and as an option from BMW Individual to the 5-series range. BMW M5 Touring Press Release here
"Finally, music aficionados can now specify the BMW Individual High End Audio system that uses 16 loud speakers to generate an ear-ringing 825 watts."
”Exceptional sound quality is guaranteed above all by the newly developed BMW Individual High End Audio System based on trendsetting Dirac signal processing.”
“The heart of the system is BMW’s trendsetting Dirac Live signal processing technology. The digital nine-channel amplifier with Digital Signal Processing (DSP) used in this case develops maximum output of 825 watts. Supplemented by speed-related volume control and speed-related equalising, as well as a total of 16 loudspeakers, the system sets the standard in sound reproduction, brilliant sound quality guaranteeing supreme music pleasure on all seats in the new BMW 5 Series.”
"Auf Wunsch kann der BMW M5 Touring mit besonders hochwertigen und technisch anspruchsvollen Audio-, Kommunikations- und Navigationssystemen ausgestattet werden. Außergewöhnlichen Klanggenuss garantiert vor allem das neu entwickelte BMW Individual High End Audiosystem. Herzstück des Systems ist die zukunftsweisende DIRAC Signalverarbeitung (Dual Input Room Acoustics Calculator). Der digitale 9-Kanal-Verstärker mit Digital Signal Processing (DSP) erzeugt eine maximale Ausgangsleistung von 825 Watt. Ergänzt um die geschwindigkeitsabhängige Lautstärkeregelung (GAL) und das geschwindigkeitsabhängige Equalizing (GAE) sowie insgesamt 16 Lautsprecher setzt das System Maßstäbe in der Klangwiedergabe. Seine brillante Klangqualität garantiert höchsten Musikgenuss auf allen Sitzplätzen des neuen BMW M5 Touring."
"As in music, true mastery is also required to acheive first-class listening experience for the itneriour of a vehicle. The BMW Indiivdual High End Audio System is able to fulfill this exacting demand perfectly. Signal processing is precisely tuned to the three dimentional space, and the DIRAC technology together with speed dependent equilizing reduced unwabted ambient noise to a minimum. In addition, 16 high-performance speakers generate an impressive sound stage for the occupants. The result is sheer listening pleasure.
"Lack of sound clarity is eliminated by time delays and any acoustic reflection is severly reduced. To do this, the digital amplifier makes use of the unique DIRAC Live technology, which modifies both time and frequency ranges of the signal."
BMW link here.
Turns out that DIRAC is a Swedish company, located in the unversity city of Uppsala just north of Stockholm, Sweden. So the other day I paid them a visit to really get to know this BMW M5 (and upcoming BMW M6) and Individual only audiosystem.
Started as a master thesis at Uppsala University
out of the idea of making the base stations for cellular networks more effective, the thought was that this could be used for audio waves as well and not only in telecommunication. Evolution to a doctors thesis, Dirac was founded in 2001.
Thanks to connections through BMW Sweden, Dirac managed to get a demo for the chief of audio at BMW. And just as Dirac does with all their partners, they demonstrate it. Play a CD with your favourite song with the Dirac enabled and also disabled and you will clearly hear the difference. BMW enjoyed the product and made the switch establisged brands and turned to other partners, where Dirac was one of these new partners. Dirac, a young company got a BMW as their first large customer and BMW was brave to put their trust in the small and young company.
Dirac is like a filter -or you can say it works like a pair of glasses- that are optimized for the interiour of the 5-series (also avail. for the M3, X5 and the M6). Dirac is a software, so technically you could use Dirac on your PC and get your home stereo optimized. It is a three step process:
1. Analyze the surroundings and room
2. Define the sound you want
3. Implement the filter
This can be done quick on an afternoon for a car, but when optimizing it for OEM the measurign poitns are so many mroe it will take more time.
BMW Individual is BMW first customer and the system will be implemented as an opton in the BMW M3, M5 and M6.
The Dirac system works with in the time domain and frequenzy domain. The frequenzy domain gets compensated with a freqeunze and then generates the target curve, which is less "rugged". In the time domain the impulse respone is significanyly shortened, ideally as short as possible (you can say no echo).
Let's Dirac explain themselves:
"Dirac features separate technical design criteria in the time domain and the frequenzy domain. Thereby, the technology optimizes both stationary responses and direct wave resonses. The result: Distictness, clarity and perfect tonality."
Quotes from one unnamed carmaker (BMW?):
"External experts todl the audio engineers that this is the best sounding car audio system they have ever listened to".
Rumour is that the Dirac system outclasses the Bang & Olufsen system, of the Audi R8, S8 and A8 at one third of the price.
This is a BMW 550 Indivdual with the Dirac system. BMW Individual High End Audio with Dirac DSP and the set of 16 speakers can be identified by a more silver bars outside the speaker elements.
Speakers in the doors and ful lleather interiour.
Platina full leather interiour and the BMW Individual High End System.
So the questions is, how did it sound? Dirac told me they convinced BMW and other car manufacturers by just showing the system. And I went in one BMW 5-series E60 at Dirac facilities and and we activated the Dirac filter on a laptop and it was clearly hearable and very clear and nice sounding, esp. at higher volumes. Unfortunately you cannot turn the system off in your car to try it, so you really have to try a 5-series with it and one without it. You WILL notice the difference.
If you have questions about the system I think I can redirect questions directly to Dirac research here and I will reply in this thread.
Below is pictures of the German manufactures elements that you only can get in combination with the Dirac tuned filters.
Below the two front seats.
And in the doors, rear shelf and more.