This is my first post although I have been visiting the site frequently and find it very useful. As I have completed my custom audio install, I thought it was time I shared it with all you M5 and audio enthusiasts. Forgive me if some of the terminology is strange, but I am from England!! The car is a Carbon Black E39 Series M5, 2002 with custom dark green and birch anthracite interior. Sounds a bit bizarre, but I think in the flesh itís pretty good! The carís only got 11,000 miles on the clock, so it is barely run in. Modifications are very limited at the moment, being only an AC Schnitzer short-shift mechanism and pedal kit.
The audio is where I have done the real work, and I would stress audio, rather than any video modifications. I run a Krell theatre and 2-channel system at home, and was hoping to massively enhance the sound quality in the car, so that I didnít feel too short-changed listening to music in the car when my home system is so good.
I did the install in two phases, first keeping the stock head unit (the car did have the Individual M Audio upgrade Ė a bit of a waste of money with hindsight!!), adding amps and speakers to the stock head unit. Phase two was entirely separating the new audio system from the stock head unit/DSP amp. I donít think it serves much purpose explaining Phase 1 (other than to say the improvements donít really warrant the expenditure), so Iíll get straight to what I have now having recently completed Phase 2. Looking at a lot of the other threads, my experience may give hope to some of you out there who are experiencing interface problems with the steering wheel controls, phone controls etc. etc..
The existing stock SatNav system remains in place and fully operational. It now feeds its own dedicated concealed speaker fitted under the dash powered by the BMW DSP amp. The volume control adjacent to the screen just controls the navigation voice level. Radio/CD Changer and Tape functions on the stock system have been disabled. In the coin try between the gearlever and the seat heater/PDC/DSC controls, I have installed an Alpine 9813 head unit in a leather-covered custom console; the face plate has been separated from the back of unit, and the latter is under the dash in front of the passenger seat. Adjacent to the face plate in the custom console is a Blue Tooth Sony Ericsson phone interface with volume control. The Alpine unit is interfaced to mute when the phone rings and is also interfaced to the steering wheel controls for volume and track change. The Alpineís remote is obviously available as well. The phone buttons on the steering wheel do not work, as an interface with the Bluetooth kit was not available. There is a switch under the steering wheel which enables you to toggle the steering wheel volume controls between the audio system and the SatNav voice levels.
Moving from the front of the car backwards, there is a separate bass control dial on the dash next to the light switches. This is a legacy of phase 1 of the install, and still works, but in reality the subs are now controlled via the head unit. In the front doors are Dynaudio System 340 3-way components. This is where most of the work has been and I think it looks amazing. The new custom enclosure is trimmed in black leather; a lot of people question the applicability of 3-ways, and they are a real pain to install, but they represent a major step forward in my view as the quality of the drive units is the same as Dynaudioís fantastic domestic speaker range. In the stock rear speaker locations are JL XR525 2-way components mounted concentrically. On the underside of the rear shelf in place of the M Audio subs are two Diamond Audio M6 10 inch units in a custom alcantara-trimmed enclosure shaped to maximise boot space as well as suit the volume requirements of the subs.
In the fuse compartment (right hand side of boot) is a Genesis Profile 2 providing fill-in to the 2-way JLs in the rear speaker location. In the stock changer position in the left hand boot compartment is a replacement Alpine CD changer. Finally on the rear floor of the boot is a custom amp enclosure for a JL 300/2 for the Dynaudios and a JL500/1 for the Diamond subs. A heat-sensing automatic fan and a capacitor with Voltmeter complete the contents of the enclosure which is perspex covered and trimmed in Alcantara.
Thatís it really; I am still running in the Dynaudios (probably going to take a month or two) and a lot of tweaking on the EQ needs to be done. The time correction function is working well already.
I have attached 5 fairly poor quality photos - I'm trying to do some more over the weekend which I'd be happy to send to people if there are interested.
Iíd welcome thoughts and comments. Next upgrade will probably be to Diamond Amps, but I will also be thinking about an audiophile quality head-unit (but only if the front panel can be separated completely from the back of the unit, so that I can use the current mounting).
Roger, London, UK
ps for any UK owners outraged by the cost of TWS oil in London (GBP17.50 a litre/USD33!!), please drop me a lineÖÖ.
Welcome to the board! I had a massive RF/JL system in my last car, an E36 M3, but cant bring myself to pluck up the courage to attempt something in the M5! Its so much more complex than the M3 to negotiate. I think i'll rely on a massive exhaust system for aural entertainment!
So, credit to your install, it looks awesome and with the gear you have in there and the build quality of the beast, im sure it sounds awesome too!!
Just a quickie, whats the short-shift like?
How much did you pay for it (im also UK based).
Did u buy from BMW?
I had one on the M3 and am close to ordering one for the beast.
Looks like an awesome setup. The face plate/head unit gives me a new idea as I'm considering options for adding MP3 playability. Could you provide more info on the Blue Tooth Sony Ericsson phone interface. I have a Sony Ericsson P800 and have been looking for a way to hook up Blue Tooth in my '02 M5.
Thanks for the comments so far. The tweeter mounting was a real problem - the depth of the Dynaudio drivers is such that mounting them in the stock location in the door was a problem because they stuck out so far. Further, the mounting position in the A-pillar is very confined and the stock grille very curved, we did try it but it looked really silly. The benefit of all three drivers in the door was to achieve as close to a single point source as possible; also, you can't see it from the photo but the drivers are time aligned with a slight angle. Another option was to go into the footwells but that would have involved cutting metal - not a great idea for a performance car, as the metal is there for a reason.......
The Bluetooth interface is the HCB-30 - it's £150 in the UK; not much to it to be honest; one control for volume, one for switching on bluetooth sensing, and obviously a separate mike; there's a cable included for the head unit interface. I have to say it works fine, but the noise levels are pretty bad.......
Short shift - it's better than the standard, but not nearly as short as the M3 version. It's about £500 plus about an hour for fitting; please send me a private message for further details - maybe you'd like to see mine in the flesh and see what you think??
That's quite a system you have there! Good Job. I'm in the middle of an install in my 2000 carbon black M5. Having a little trouble with it. I have a kicker 800.2 amplifier, a 1 Farad Capacitor, 135 Amp overide circuit breaker, and 2 Kicker 12" L5 solobaric subs. Do you have any wiring diagrams for the car? Also, do you know the procedure to reactivate the factory head unit? Please Email me if you have any input or wiring diagrams. RMac217@msn.com Thanx