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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I just finally installed Avin Avant4 unit in my E39 M5 and I am SO disappointed with the sound quality.
I got the dsp chip with it. (Yes, I've adjusted it, but its the unit components/build quality itself)

I previously had an old Pioneer Avic Z130BT - and have MB Quart components up front powered by JL 300/4 for cabin and a sub with JL 500/1. It sounded great.

I have a feeling the unit may be defective, but not sure if all of them are like this. In which case it is extremely disappointing.

I hear interference at rnadom times, like when using the touchscreen. The carplay adapter sounds a TAD better, but not by much. The highs are just terrible and sound as if it is a poor connection (it is not). Has anyone compared the PX6 with DSP chip to a decent Pioneer/Alpine/etc.

I love having the ibus functionality and carplay in one, but the audio quality is just terrible.
 

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Hi olegd88,

You've unfortunately discovered the hard way that none of the replacement Chinese head units have Sound Quality anywhere near to the established high quality car audio brand head units. The reason is that they all use generic level quality internal IC's components and electronics - in essence, these are android tablets housed in a car shaped chassis. There's plenty of BMW owners who aren't concerned in the slightest about audio sound quality and only want the functionality and the oem look in the dash. For those owners, a chinese replacement may well fit the bill for what they'd like. As soon as you would require/want excellent sound quality and performance, then they're severely lacking - you can hear the difference! It's 'possible' you have a defective unit - the chinese unit's are known to be problematic/unreliable so you could ask Avin for an exchange to another unit. If that's the case, then you 'might' well be happy if the replacement sounds better. However, I suspect, if it turns out your existing unit isn't faulty, you'll still continue to be very disappointed.

If you look on the E46 Fanatics website, then the issue with interference and noise floor has been mentioned from when the Avant 4 was announced (or shortly thereafter) I think there's a different/updated unit which they claim resolves the issue, however, I still don't think that'll fix the 'SQ' requirement you have.

The audio setup you have is high quality brands with the capability to sound really good, but are 'hobbled' by the head unit.

A very good friend of mine had his high quality amplifiers (Phoenix Gold) and speakers (Focal cabin & JL Audio W6 subwoofers) in his M5 but used a Chinese head unit (the brand was UK based and at the time, also marketed it was their own unit and was better than the others etc etc - it was called 'Andrive') and once all installed, I had a good listen to it. It was 'loud and clear' which is what was wanted, but the music sounded 'dull, lifeless, no warmth, lacklustre, uninspiring'. After 2 head unit changes due to problems, Alpine had just released their iLX-007 (iLX-700 in the UK) and he purchased that. The result was a total transformation in the SQ of the setup! music sounded vibrant, full bodied, precise, clean and sound staging and imaging was immensely improved!

I suspect you'd like audio performance like that?! If so, I'd suggest to get your money back from Avin and get yourself a high quality head unit :)

For the OEM look, then this fascia/fitting kit is available;





Cheers, Dennis!
 

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following as I am in the same boat with aftermarket components and I will be looking to go with an Avin unit moving forward.
 

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Hi olegd88,

You've unfortunately discovered the hard way that none of the replacement Chinese head units have Sound Quality anywhere near to the established high quality car audio brand head units. The reason is that they all use generic level quality internal IC's components and electronics - in essence, these are android tablets housed in a car shaped chassis. There's plenty of BMW owners who aren't concerned in the slightest about audio sound quality and only want the functionality and the oem look in the dash. For those owners, a chinese replacement may well fit the bill for what they'd like. As soon as you would require/want excellent sound quality and performance, then they're severely lacking - you can hear the difference! It's 'possible' you have a defective unit - the chinese unit's are known to be problematic/unreliable so you could ask Avin for an exchange to another unit. If that's the case, then you 'might' well be happy if the replacement sounds better. However, I suspect, if it turns out your existing unit isn't faulty, you'll still continue to be very disappointed.

If you look on the E46 Fanatics website, then the issue with interference and noise floor has been mentioned from when the Avant 4 was announced (or shortly thereafter) I think there's a different/updated unit which they claim resolves the issue, however, I still don't think that'll fix the 'SQ' requirement you have.

The audio setup you have is high quality brands with the capability to sound really good, but are 'hobbled' by the head unit.

A very good friend of mine had his high quality amplifiers (Phoenix Gold) and speakers (Focal cabin & JL Audio W6 subwoofers) in his M5 but used a Chinese head unit (the brand was UK based and at the time, also marketed it was their own unit and was better than the others etc etc - it was called 'Andrive') and once all installed, I had a good listen to it. It was 'loud and clear' which is what was wanted, but the music sounded 'dull, lifeless, no warmth, lacklustre, uninspiring'. After 2 head unit changes due to problems, Alpine had just released their iLX-007 (iLX-700 in the UK) and he purchased that. The result was a total transformation in the SQ of the setup! music sounded vibrant, full bodied, precise, clean and sound staging and imaging was immensely improved!

I suspect you'd like audio performance like that?! If so, I'd suggest to get your money back from Avin and get yourself a high quality head unit :)

For the OEM look, then this fascia/fitting kit is available;





Cheers, Dennis!
Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter... please tell me more about this fascia...
 

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Nope, not at all. Very happy with my cheap Chinese unit. Including the fit and finish. I could have spent 4 times as much, I suppose, but since this does exactly what I need, with excellent sound quality, better than original, I can't really complain.

Not all Chinese brands are alike, so I'm sure there is some variability in quality on that end as well. I personally have an Xtrons.

Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi olegd88,

You've unfortunately discovered the hard way that none of the replacement Chinese head units have Sound Quality anywhere near to the established high quality car audio brand head units. The reason is that they all use generic level quality internal IC's components and electronics - in essence, these are android tablets housed in a car shaped chassis. There's plenty of BMW owners who aren't concerned in the slightest about audio sound quality and only want the functionality and the oem look in the dash. For those owners, a chinese replacement may well fit the bill for what they'd like. As soon as you would require/want excellent sound quality and performance, then they're severely lacking - you can hear the difference! It's 'possible' you have a defective unit - the chinese unit's are known to be problematic/unreliable so you could ask Avin for an exchange to another unit. If that's the case, then you 'might' well be happy if the replacement sounds better. However, I suspect, if it turns out your existing unit isn't faulty, you'll still continue to be very disappointed.

If you look on the E46 Fanatics website, then the issue with interference and noise floor has been mentioned from when the Avant 4 was announced (or shortly thereafter) I think there's a different/updated unit which they claim resolves the issue, however, I still don't think that'll fix the 'SQ' requirement you have.

The audio setup you have is high quality brands with the capability to sound really good, but are 'hobbled' by the head unit.

A very good friend of mine had his high quality amplifiers (Phoenix Gold) and speakers (Focal cabin & JL Audio W6 subwoofers) in his M5 but used a Chinese head unit (the brand was UK based and at the time, also marketed it was their own unit and was better than the others etc etc - it was called 'Andrive') and once all installed, I had a good listen to it. It was 'loud and clear' which is what was wanted, but the music sounded 'dull, lifeless, no warmth, lacklustre, uninspiring'. After 2 head unit changes due to problems, Alpine had just released their iLX-007 (iLX-700 in the UK) and he purchased that. The result was a total transformation in the SQ of the setup! music sounded vibrant, full bodied, precise, clean and sound staging and imaging was immensely improved!

I suspect you'd like audio performance like that?! If so, I'd suggest to get your money back from Avin and get yourself a high quality head unit :)

For the OEM look, then this fascia/fitting kit is available;

Cheers, Dennis!
You are one of the few so far that share my opinion and yes I agree 90% of people wont hear the difference/will not care. The main reason I wanted the android unit is for ibus capability. Though now I am thinking I should've just connected a cheap android in the glovebox for this functionality for when I needed it. Besides this all I really want is carplay - the rest of the stuff is "cool" but I don't care for it.

I am waiting to hear what they say and really hoping I got a bad unit. It came with a missing frame which they are sending me separately and I am hoping maybe, just maybe it was a returned / defective unit. Unfortunately from my experience, I am not super confident in them.

For what its worth, I had one of the FIRST chinese units that came out back in ~2010 I believe running Windows CE. I had that in a 528i then and it left a lot to be desired BUT it sounded actually better than the basic bmw radio that was in that car originally.

Your kit is awesome looking and way better than the one I got years ago that cut into the AC vents (back then there were no shallow double dins). How is the button functionality with aftermarket units?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nope, not at all. Very happy with my cheap Chinese unit. Including the fit and finish. I could have spent 4 times as much, I suppose, but since this does exactly what I need, with excellent sound quality, better than original, I can't really complain.

Not all Chinese brands are alike, so I'm sure there is some variability in quality on that end as well. I personally have an Xtrons.

Doug
This is promising to hear! I am really hoping I got a bad unit - will try to get them to replace it first.
 

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On another note, I am wondering if the powered output is better than the preamp output. Has anyone tried this and compared the difference? I have to get to it, but I should be able to rewire it that way if it would help.
 

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Hi,

Mechanic5 - I understand everyone's 'opinion' of what makes good or great/excellent sound quality will vary depending on interpretation. To this end, you'll never, ever see a chinese head unit being used in a car audio enthusiasts car/install where SQ, reliability and great performance are requirements high on the list. If you are going to be using established, respected high quality brand components like amplifiers/speakers/subs, then chances will be high(er) you'll be disappointed if you use the Avin or any other Chinese replacement unit. Whilst you'll absolutely get audio output, you 'may' decide that it's good enough for you - in which case a great result for you and no need to take on anything I mention or any more discerning car audio enthusiasts say. What I'll respond back with there is when you do hear another E39 with similar high quality components installed and using a high quality brand head unit, chances will be high(er) your jaw will drop in just how much better that will sound in comparison to yours.

mgdmb - Thanks for the kinds words ! A couple links for you (and anyone else reading !) to read and get more information. The first is a recent customer and his writeup and more discussion on questions - E39 Stereo Head Unit Upgrade Process: Alpine Head Unit+...

Also, here's the product information page over on the BMW5 forum - https://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/135647-innovadrive-nxg-39-oem-look-double-din-fascia/

Feel free to ask more about it here or via PM if you like!

Douglas - As you report the unit you have has excellent SQ for you, then I and others, are no one to contest that! I met and spoke to Xtrons staff at the CES show back in 2010/11 and I asked all the questions as a potential importer/reseller of their units in order to evaluate. I did the same with other 'brands' as well. I decided not to persue this option due to various concerns with the product and the business relationship and it's possible outcomes. What I've found is that Xtrons is not the actual manufacturer, they like others buy from perhaps 3/4 factories that manufacture them en masse and then sell on their website/ebay/amazon once a software skin has been installed. The 'hardware' is pretty much the same across all the 'brands' - what changes every few months is a bit more RAM, a faster processor or a higher resolution display etc - the aspects like DAC's and audio remains generic/base spec. The 'only' time I saw a chinese replacement unit that mentioned higher quality IC's was the previous generation Dynavin N6 which mentioned as having a Burr Brown DAC. These DAC's are capable of high end, excellent Sound Quality to audiophile levels. Unfortunately, in order to extract that level of SQ, the rest of the electronics, PCB design for signal paths and IC's need to be of a similar quality level and that isn't mentioned anywhere.

olegd88 - I wish you good luck with what Avin do. Maybe it is indeed a more defective unit and another one does sound better! if so, you'll then be at the level of having in the back of your mind about 'reliability' of the unit. The track record over the last decade+ for any chinese unit brand in terms of this isn't very good. Yes, you'll get various purchasers who say their unit has been fine for the last 1/2+ years and conversely, you'll see other purchasers from last week on facebook/forums where their unit purchased a few weeks prior isn't working properly, something isn't responding etc etc. The E46 fanatics forum has more users posting about their experiences. The other solution from years ago was the Janus Design one which had the metal cage that the airbox was cut for. At that time, there were no shallow depth head units. Nowadays there are so needing to cut the airbox is a thing of the past now! The NXG-39 I designed also incorporates a fitting solution too, so no need to buy anything extra, cut or modify anything if a shallow depth unit is chosen. From the other thread/info page, the PCB is designed with a Port to which a connector can be attached. Each button press is detectable so anyone with the knowledge can connect that output to a chosen aftermarket accessory.

Kaputme - Please see/check the links above and all information about it is there, feel free to get in touch !

Cheers, Dennis!
 
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I have a Avin in my 528 daily. Bought it over 4 years ago seeing all the rave reviews (all made up I’m sure ). Sound quality was not at all good and it had lousy radio reception, not able to fix and no help from the company. After 2 years I couldnt upgrade the OS on it and many of the apps I use became unusable, then I had the car in storage for 6 months and when I got it out the sound is horrible. Totally shot. The speakers were all upgraded when I did the head unit so it isn’t that. Avin was no help and advised me to upgrade to a new unit. That’s not happening. I advise many people I know to NOT switch to any of these off brand units. Fit is great but so much sacrifice and now mine is totally worthless with old OS and horrible sound. I was planning on switching back to stock if I find a wreck to salvage but maybe I’ll take a crack at things with the Pioneer unit mentioned earlier.
 

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01 Carbon/Silverstone Exhaust: Jedders-HJS high flow cats-resonator delete-Xpipe-Eisenman cans
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I installed a Dynavin N6 a few years ago. My overall impression is medium SQ, poor reliability (NAV went kaput in the first year, and deterioration of touchscreen function). I will be converting to a high end unit. Dennis what unit(s) would you recommend with good internal components, high voltage pre-outs, etc.? Double DIN shallow depth of course.
Thanks!
 

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Hi,

Mechanic5 - I understand everyone's 'opinion' of what makes good or great/excellent sound quality will vary depending on interpretation. To this end, you'll never, ever see a chinese head unit being used in a car audio enthusiasts car/install where SQ, reliability and great performance are requirements high on the list. If you are going to be using established, respected high quality brand components like amplifiers/speakers/subs, then chances will be high(er) you'll be disappointed if you use the Avin or any other Chinese replacement unit. Whilst you'll absolutely get audio output, you 'may' decide that it's good enough for you - in which case a great result for you and no need to take on anything I mention or any more discerning car audio enthusiasts say. What I'll respond back with there is when you do hear another E39 with similar high quality components installed and using a high quality brand head unit, chances will be high(er) your jaw will drop in just how much better that will sound in comparison to yours.

mgdmb - Thanks for the kinds words ! A couple links for you (and anyone else reading !) to read and get more information. The first is a recent customer and his writeup and more discussion on questions - E39 Stereo Head Unit Upgrade Process: Alpine Head Unit+...

Also, here's the product information page over on the BMW5 forum - https://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/135647-innovadrive-nxg-39-oem-look-double-din-fascia/

Feel free to ask more about it here or via PM if you like!

Douglas - As you report the unit you have has excellent SQ for you, then I and others, are no one to contest that! I met and spoke to Xtrons staff at the CES show back in 2010/11 and I asked all the questions as a potential importer/reseller of their units in order to evaluate. I did the same with other 'brands' as well. I decided not to persue this option due to various concerns with the product and the business relationship and it's possible outcomes. What I've found is that Xtrons is not the actual manufacturer, they like others buy from perhaps 3/4 factories that manufacture them en masse and then sell on their website/ebay/amazon once a software skin has been installed. The 'hardware' is pretty much the same across all the 'brands' - what changes every few months is a bit more RAM, a faster processor or a higher resolution display etc - the aspects like DAC's and audio remains generic/base spec. The 'only' time I saw a chinese replacement unit that mentioned higher quality IC's was the previous generation Dynavin N6 which mentioned as having a Burr Brown DAC. These DAC's are capable of high end, excellent Sound Quality to audiophile levels. Unfortunately, in order to extract that level of SQ, the rest of the electronics, PCB design for signal paths and IC's need to be of a similar quality level and that isn't mentioned anywhere.

olegd88 - I wish you good luck with what Avin do. Maybe it is indeed a more defective unit and another one does sound better! if so, you'll then be at the level of having in the back of your mind about 'reliability' of the unit. The track record over the last decade+ for any chinese unit brand in terms of this isn't very good. Yes, you'll get various purchasers who say their unit has been fine for the last 1/2+ years and conversely, you'll see other purchasers from last week on facebook/forums where their unit purchased a few weeks prior isn't working properly, something isn't responding etc etc. The E46 fanatics forum has more users posting about their experiences. The other solution from years ago was the Janus Design one which had the metal cage that the airbox was cut for. At that time, there were no shallow depth head units. Nowadays there are so needing to cut the airbox is a thing of the past now! The NXG-39 I designed also incorporates a fitting solution too, so no need to buy anything extra, cut or modify anything if a shallow depth unit is chosen. From the other thread/info page, the PCB is designed with a Port to which a connector can be attached. Each button press is detectable so anyone with the knowledge can connect that output to a chosen aftermarket accessory.

Kaputme - Please see/check the links above and all information about it is there, feel free to get in touch !

Cheers, Dennis!
Anything for the E46?

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 

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A fellow M5 owner down here had one of those Chinese h/u installed by professionals, and he is over the moon happy with it.
But, I had a listen and it sounds awful! And I'm not exaggerating here, it sounds dreadful- tinny and lifeless.

Not holding myself up as an expert, but worked in HI Fi for years, built speakers, done car installs for a job, and listened and compared maybe hundreds of speakers.

But- he loves it- the functionality and convenience. So thats all that matters I spose...
 

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Hi,

M Wagon - The Pioneer DMH-W4660 NEX is their first short body unit that is actually short enough to fit nicely into our E39's ! Their previous mechless units weren't short enough ! It's currently the only choice which has both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and recommended retail in the USA is $600. I've spoken to my contacts in the UK, and it's not available here and as yet, there's no plans to have an equivalent unit - so you guys in the USA get the good stuff again, along with all that lovely cheap petrol too !

Xrviz - The Pioneer mentioned above, Alpine iLX-W650, Kenwood DMX-706s. JVC bought Kenwood so they share product & technologies and they have slight spec changes between the two brands, so check the JVC website for their units. The Sony range have a slightly different chassis shape/design in so much they use a full depth single DIN chassis mounted to the top are of the monitor panel to create a right angle. That chassis sits 'above' the cabin airbox, thus no need to modify/cut it. All the potential choices you'd have here include those features you've just mentioned and of course, plenty more.

Kaputme - I'm in the development stage of what will be the NXG-46 :) no time frame as yet, the CV19 situation has knocked everyone massively and places are operating at reduced capacities/staff/orders processing levels etc. Over on the UK's M3cutters forum, I'll soon create a post about it as I have some interest there. I'm getting the base designs/CAD/prototyping done first and will then create a thread about it. Drop me a PM here if you like!

manualshifter - As I've previously mentioned, if a purchaser is happy with it, then all good ! Over the years, time after time.. again and again, when such enthusiasts then hear a very similar setup to their own the look of astonishment on their faces is a sight to see! It's only then that the realization sets in that their purchase has become more of a waste as most times, they'll then change to a unit they should have got in the first place. There are those of course who'll stay with the unit which is fine of course as they are not so concerned with SQ anyway.

Cheers, Dennis!
 
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@DennisCooper so can you install the DMH-W4660 NEX without any issues with the airbox? I have been dreaming for a non-chinese HU with wireless carplay and if this is the one, you just made my day! I have a AVH-W4500NEX in a different car and have been really pleased with it.
 

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Hi SpnSprt,

Looking at the Pioneer USA website and the technical details in the user manual (PDF document) then yes, this is Pioneer's first 'shallow enough depth' head unit ! It shows as 87mm depth. This means it's like the other brands who've had shallow enough head units available for a good few years now and thus, it'll fit into our E39's without any airbox modification needed. There's one very slight drawback, and it's that the 'nose' of the W4660 NEX is just '1mm' too tall to fit through the aperture in the NXG-39. The good news is that within 10 minutes it will fit! You just need to use a hand file to remove 1mm of material in order to make the space. I've had this issue on a Kenwood unit too and that's how long it took me to resolve (if you read the link to bmw5 above, you'll see this). A very recent customer chose the same head unit and did the little modification as well! I obviously can't control the dimensions the manufacturers make their products, but it's easily resolved. Other head units fit in without the need to file any material away.

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Awesome! Do you know what else I might need to make this all work together in terms of ibus and stuff like that?
 

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Hi SpnSprt,

None of the established brands make head unit's that talk specifically with any motor vehicle's brand and the associated communication protocols. If you must have ibus integration on the head unit, then you'll need to choose one of the chinese replacement type head units.

I do have a concept I'm working on to get the OBC information available both on one of the established brand head units or as a standalone solution. Once I know a bit more on that, including some testing etc, I'll make a thread about it.

Cheers, Dennis!
 
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