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355 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've just completed the install of the BSW Stage 1 upgrade to my 2003 M5 with M Audio. I'm very pleased with the overall sound improvement to the high range, clarity and imaging are much better than the M system. Now I need that subwoofer....

I thought I'd start a new thread with my "annotations" to the provided BSW .pdf instructions for anyone who's thinking of tackling this project to make it easier on them and let them learn from my mistakes. This is focused on M-Audio cars, but some of the tips would apply to the DSP system as well. I've done pretty extensive audio upgrades including wiring, amps, and subs to my past cars (Z, Maxima, etc) so this install was pretty straightforward. Sorry for the lack of pictures, didn't think of this in advance.

General Notes:
- BSW doesn't formally list M-Audio for the Stage 1 upgrade anymore, but it WILL work and it IS an improvement
- If you don't already have panel tools and torx bits, buy the $30 tool kit from BSW, well worth it!
- Go ahead and budget the $750 for the BSW sub, you'll want it after this upgrade

BSW M5 instructions:

My Annotations:
- In addition to the tools listed in the instructions you'll need wire snips, drill w/bits, a soldering iron, solder, and heat shrink tubing
- READ ALL OF THE BSW INSTRUCTIONS FIRST. Seriously. Even the parts that don't "apply" to the M audio or your options.

Front Door Removal:
Window switch removal - I ended up NOT doing this, I didn't want to damage the switches by removing them from the top, and there is insulation stuffed into the opening for the wiring on the inside of the panel, making the switches very hard to get to. So I was left with the doors dangling from these wires while I worked. Not ideal, but I used the empty BSW cardboard woofer boxes to prop the doors up and off the garage floor.

Door Removal - be careful and use the panel tool, it's possible to pull the door pockets away from the door liner (they are glued together) if you use the hole left by the door light. Epoxy will fix this, but not a mistake you want to make.

Factory Mid Range/Mid Bass Removal:
Foam gasket removal - this is kind of a mess, have a trash bin handy
Speaker removal - My M audio mids had phillips head screws, not TORX bits as mentioned in the instructions, use a decent size head screwdriver as the screws are hard to see due to leftover foam gasket material and are relatively soft metal

Factory Mid Range Replacement:
Mid range wiring:
1. Cut the terminal leads off the blue/yellow & blue/green wires for the mid range before feeding them though the hole! Do NOT cut the leads for the mid-bass driver! (red/green & brown/red)
2. I used a stepped drill bit like the one pictured in the instructions to make the wiring hole, keep the hole as small as possible
3. Since this is a sealed enclosure design I also used some plastic repair/putty material to "plug" the hole around the wires. Small detail admittedly, but if you're upgrading the stereo....
4. Strip the wire ends from the mid range speaker and the wires you fed from inside the enclosure put some heat shrink tubing on them and then join and solder. The M instructions inform you of the + and - wires by color, pay attention. Make sure to put the heat shrink tubing on before soldering.... :) You could use butt end connectors for this, I prefer solder, less bits and hard plastic to make noise.
5. I ziptied the mid range wiring to the mid range "bridge" to keep it from flopping around in the door or on top of the woofer.
6. There are no "provided spacers" anymore, I used some neoprene washers from Home Despot to give the mid range bridge a little lift from the mid bass driver instead. I'm not sure of the excursion on the mid-bass, but given the depth of the factory mid-range this may not even be necessary.

Tweeter Replacement:
Not much to say here, other than use STRENGTH OF BEAR to remove those torx bits.

Door Re-installation:
- Make sure to NOT pinch any of the loose wiring from the door BEHIND the midbass/midrange assembly when reinstalling it! I did this on the driver's door and it nearly drove me nucking futs as I couldn't get the memory seat cable in position. Dumb mistake, but easy to make if you aren't paying attention.
- Be patient with feeding the door handle back through the panel, don't freak if the handle pops off the door cable, it is easy to reinstall.

Read Door Removal:

M Audio has no speakers here, so we don't do this. :biggrin:

Rear Deck Removal (I have fold down seats and the sunshade):
- The instructions for removing the headrests (useful) are in the "models without Fold down Rear Seats" section. You'll need these even if you have the fold down seats. READ ALL OF THE BSW INSTRUCTIONS FIRST!
- The instructions remind you to cover the metal hooks for the bottom seat cushion with a towel, sweater etc to prevent damage to your leather. ALSO cover the seat belt latches! These will leave nice square impressions in the lower parts of the folding seats otherwise.
- Outer cushion removal: the 10 mm bolt is on the very BOTTOM of the cushion pointed towards the outside of the car, the instructions don't give a picture or describe the location very well....
- Plastic trim piece: the plastic anchors are the kind with the push pin center, use a small flat head screwdriver to "pop" the center pins rather than the panel removal tool to try and pull on the complete anchor
- Speaker grill part numbers in black: 51-46-8-230-768-BOE, so yeah, be careful. *grumble*
- Baby seat tie downs: you ONLY NEED TO REMOVE THE HOOKS, you don't have to remove the metal brackets attached to the deck with T30 torx screws. Trust me. Oh, part number for child seat cover in black 51-46-8-176-392-BOE *swear*
- Sunshade: the center 10mm nut is hiding under the wiring for the M audio subs, the outer 10mm nuts are easier to see

Rear Speaker Reinstallation:
- See notes on mid-range/mid-bass speakers in the front doors above in regards to wiring
- You'll need to cut the provided wiring plug off the 20mm tweeter from BSW, as we'll be wiring it directly to the bare wires from the factory mid-range driver.
- Polarity: the BSW tweets I received had wires of exactly the same color, the + wire should the one connected to the inline heatshrinked capacitor. If you "follow" the wires with your finger you can tell which wire is NOT wired to the cap via feel under the heat shrink
- Bracket: your CAN reuse the factory mid-range bracket for the BSW 20mm tweeters. First you need to remove the factory mids, I did this by using a flat head screw driver to push out the locking "teeth" around the factory mid and then pushed the old driver out from bottom to top. This will take some force and you'll probably deform the bridge, wear gloves, the bridge has sharp edges. No biggie on the deformation, it's easy to hammer/push the bridge back into shape. I used a rubber plumbing O-ring around the 20mm tweeter base to give it a better fit in the mid range bridge plus some silicone to seal it in place. You don't want it rattling around in there.
- I trimmed the BSW wiring considerably to reduce the amount of "slop" in the wiring and then zip tied the wiring to the mid-range bridge. If you don't do this take extreme care with the wiring slop, you don't want it getting caught in the seat belt retractors which are adjacent to the speaker enclosures. That would be BAD. No cookie!

Rear Deck Reinstallation:

Rear sunshade - be especially careful of the 10mm screws hanging down from the deck and don't let them graze your speakers during reinstallation. Also, test the sunshade before reinstalling the cushions, c-pillars etc.
TEST - make sure to test the speakers to make sure everything is working and that your tweets are in phase.

Hope this was helpful.

227 Posts
Well done sir! I am seriously considering this mod, and feel more confident I can pull with your extra advice. How much time for the project? Please keep us updated with impressions as you live with the system a little bit, and if you move on to the BSW sub as well!

355 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Blackrain - I did the install over the course of three evenings, probably 8 hours in all. That includes trips to Fry's and Home Despot, so if you had all of the supplies beforehand you'd save some time. I did the doors on day one, the rears on day two, and re-assembled the rear cabin on day three. I find splitting the work up keeps me from getting frustrated or impatient and leads to better results. I'm an impatient guy though.

I'm still waiting on my INTRAVEE to show up, that will drive a lot of my listening and judgement on the system. The new components really bring the mids and highs to the front, the M subs aren't much to begin with and are totally overshadowed by this upgrade. The sub will have to wait a bit, got hit pretty hard with beast purchase, fixes, upgrades, and a kidney stone last month. Maybe a BSW angel with alight in this thread and throw a massive discount at me. :haha2:

mkaehly - Highly recommend the Stage One. Saw your PM, unfortunately I can't respond due to post count. I'll keep you in mind, but consider my comments above, may be better off pursuing other options.

2,412 Posts
I did the BSW speaker swap and noticed an improvement. Then, I added the sub and noticed a bigger improvement. It's nice to have a little bass. Still, an aftermarket exhaust system is the best audio improvement.:M5thumbs:
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