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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at options to upgrade my stereo in my car and have one question for all those owners that want to keep their DSP.

WHY????

I can understand those individual purists that want to keep their car stock equipped as if rolled off the assembly plant. I can understand that some people want the use of the On-board-Computer. But other than that, why do these people want to go through the hassle of messing with a system (Dynavin) or dealing with the head aches on a system that looks and sounds like it's from the stone ages? It doesn't even sound that great in my opinion. And I have the M-Audio system in my car! My previous car had the upgraded factory Pioneer system, and that sounded 10 times better than my factory system in my M5.

Am I missing something here? I need to know what is so important about keeping the DSP installed and working in this car.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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For me it was ease of install and cost. Adding an external amp and GAS crossover adds another $500-600 in parts cost + additional install hassle. My goal was to be also to install something that requires no modifications to the original wiring so that I can return the car to stock if I decide to sell one day.

If those were not concerns, I would have done the AVIN unit with an external amp and crossover. For my goals however, the Dynavin N6 has worked well.

What I don't get is the people who spend a ton of money to add a MKIV, Intravee + Alpine, and OE Bluetooth module, just to have a slightly-less outdated system than the original.
 

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Hi,

The reasons are;

1. There's many BMW owners who feel that everything 'must be oem' which you've already identified.
2. There's many BMW owners who feel that they 'must keep the obc' which you've again, already identified.

Due to the above, they'll not consider 'losing' those and thus won't consider anything but the oem modules. Due to this, the old modules get sold for large amounts of money and there's owners out there who'll retrofit the lot into their car if it didn't come with it from factory. This viewpoint by many owners is fine for them. When it comes to those owners who already have the widescreen monitor and DSP modules in from factory and they wish to 'improve' upon it, then it costs a substantial amount again to 'add on' products to modernise it both in terms of features and improving the sound quality. Plenty of these guys will drop the money in at this point, which again, is fair enough. Over time, as these modules get older, they fail and as there's multiple modules, each has multiple points of failure associated with them. It becomes expensive to fix/repair each of those modules as each point of failure occurs. There's a few specialists fixing them and also, modifying the oem modules for more functionality too.

The actual 'DSP' features of having various sound effects like Church and Stadium etc was in fashion for consumer electronics in the early to mid 90's. By the end of the 90's these sorts of functions had pretty much fallen out of fashion, but of course the E39 had the audio systems installed and as the cars were still new/relatively new, the majority of owners didn't fancy taking all the oem modules out and replacing with quality aftermarket equipment. Over the next few years - 2001-2008/9 ish, a small number of owners began to use aftermarket equipment in cars with more base levels of oem audio, as values dropped. The more expensive models, the owners still wished to stay oem. Over the last 5+ years, only a few E39's remain worth a good amount of money and those which have dropped in value considerably, more owners will not want to pay the big amounts for 12-15 year old modules.

Here on M5board, there's plenty of examples of cars which are worth a lot, so those owners will wish to keep them as oem as possible so that in a few years time, they might have risen in value and selling prices. To achieve this, it's well known that cars have to be as close to oem spec as possible. For examples that perhaps won't appreciate, then owners still want to keep it 'oem' as that forms the basis of a lot of BMW owners mindsets.

For me, I prefer high quality, excellent performing audio so I've never kept oem audio in any of my previous BMW's.

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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I am in the same exact boat as you al_maryland. I know after markets sounds alot better. The only thing that i don't like is a single din or a double din looks so tiny in the huge amount of space that i have in my 2000 m5. It looks plain weird (for my taste). If there is a unit out there that looks good, i am definitely willing to try it. Esthetics have a lot to do with why i am deciding to keep my OEM unit. Believe me 2000 m5 had that old 4:3 screen but it looks like it belongs there.

I stopped by the audio connection in columbia, MD as trying to price my options and i can't find the head unit that will fit right.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Dennis, I totally agree about high quality. I'm not even talking high quality components either. I just want somewhat quality sound. I know that you don't have to spend a ton of money to get it either. As I said in my OP, my old Chevy Cobalt had the upgraded Pioneer sound system. It was more than adequate for my music. It had the 8 speaker system with a sub in the trunk. The head unit was crap, but the CDs still sounded pretty good.

The M5 has more than enough speaker placements in the doors and the rear deck to make an awesome sounding system. I don't care about keeping it stock. I don't care about keeping the DSP or even using the OBC. I say 90 percent of my time in my car is listening to music, with the other 10 percent using my GPS. Who has time to fiddle with the OBC?

I spend a lot of time in my car, because I just plain like driving it. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate those people that don't want to put the miles on their cars (it allowed me to buy my 2003 M5 with only 67000 miles), but I'm the type of person that likes to drive my cars. They are meant to be driven! You only live once! With that in mind, I like to have a nice sounding stereo when I drive my vehicle. I don't always have the stereo on (because I think the M5 engine sound is music to my ears), but I do like to listen to my music when I drive.

Is the Dynavin unit worth the price to keep DSP and the stock stereo look. I really wish for that price, that the looks could of been tastefully updated to look more modern. It looks too close to the MKIV units.

Akon, I agree, that a single DIN or double DIN unit looks out of place. I can't get past that large black bezel around the single/double DIN head units. It's a lot of wasted space that could be used for a larger screen and/or more features. Some of those Chinese units (Eonon?) look pretty good. But I have only seen a handful of reviews and videos on the net to justify purchasing one of those units at this time. Plus I'm reading posts that they are not very reliable or the software is buggy at best.

I have come to the conclusion that I will be upgrading the stereo system in the near future. If that means pulling out the original head unit, DSP, navigation, and CD changer. So be it! I will start with a new head unit and a multichannel amp. Maybe even a passive crossover unit. I will see how it all sound with the stock speakers first. Then upgrade accordingly.

I had a system in my Jetta that I put together that sounded awesome. It consisted of component speaker system with a tweeter and mid range with crossovers in the front doors, 6x9 full range speakers in the rear deck and a sub in the trunk. All run by a 4 channel and a 2 channel amp. When I rip out all that useless stuff in the trunk of the M5, I know I can mount the amps in it's place. I have not decided if I will be using the M-Audio subs, or purchase a new sub and enclosure. I will just take it in steps to see if the sound is to my liking and upgrade as needed.
 

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Personally, I have DSP and M audio in my 03. I LOATHE the sound of it. I get the looks aspect of it, but as far as sound quality, even with adjusting everything, it still sounds terrible in my opinion. I also cant remember ever using my stock OBC or really being that worried about it. I know it's been proven that by keeping the stock nav unit in the trunk, you can keep OBC, but even so to me it isn't worth it at all. I drive my car consistently, and I can honestly say the only thing I'm truly disappointed with is the factory stereo. Mine will be removed completely here in the next few months.

Regardless of the fact that the headunit wont look stock anymore, I'd still rather have good sound quality in my car, vs a 12 year old dinosaur.
 

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Then I am one of the few who wants to keep it OEM :smile

But the DSP in combination with a CP600BMW does not sound bad at all. The DSP synthesizer is pretty good adjustable.
And to be honest, I rather listen to the engine and exhaust then the music :devil
 

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For me, I like the stock headunit look. I loathe the spaceship look with chrome and silver everywhere.

I want some better sound as well but the Dice/Audiovow MediaBridge has been my stop gap. It allows me the bluetooth, USB, etc. without messing with the lines/styling of the interior. I've had to purchase a couple of DSP amps and I think this is my last time. If another goes out, screw it. I'm looking into BSW/GAS Crossovers a bit more.
 

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Not many good reasons unless you have a museum piece that rarely sees the road.


I initially tried to keep it stock with the Dice unit and an Infinity Basslink. No way that Nokia disaster was going to stay in the car and the M-Audio subs were few and far between when I was looking. The Dice was functionally ok, it got the job done, but I have the Alpine iPod based non-CD player units in my other cars and they are money. I made one last attempt to stay stock looking by adding some Boston Pro components to the factory system, but the power was just not enough to produce the clarity I wanted from them. So by then I was $800 in and not much better off than factory. I'd had enough!



I had it all taken out added an Alpine iPod based double din, properly amplified the Boston Pros and added two 10" Infinity Subs. It sounds exactly like a well put together system should. The bonus is I don't have to deal with CDs in the car ever again. No navi, don't care I have an iPhone. The H/U install is not ideal because of the monstrous hole that the factory head unit leaves, it's well worth the tradeoff for the sound difference. Trust me, those of you that like music in the car and are suffering with factory have no idea what you're missing.


The Dice unit with DSP is for sale if anyone is looking to go that route. Just PM me so we don't hijack this thread.
 

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There is a lot of confusion in this thread, so let's sort some of it out now.

- DSP is NOT part of the head unit, the radio, nor the speakers. DSP is part of the amplifier.
- The amplifiers, regardless of which you have, all utilize active crossovers
- the signal from the radio unit is pretty darn flat
- the stock speakers are NOT close to flat when used directly, and thus the reason why they introduced some fairly steep crossovers and other equalization to help flatten it out
- even the nokia box is decent, but all of the systems are grossly under-powered in the subwoofer channel

So why did/do people want to keep DSP? Some like the sound, some like the additional equalization capabilities, others don't want the stress and hassle of replacing a bunch of components, and lastly, some people just like stock.

The key thing to remember here is that you can easily remove the DSP without changing the head-unit, but as soon as you do you are replacing amplifiers and crossovers. Given the price of crossovers, and the (relatively) low quality speakers, this usually means replacing speakers as well (which will typically include a passive crossover).

The space for the stock amp is small - you will not fit anything larger than a small Class D amplifier in that location without relocating the navigation unit as well.

Dynavin or otherwise, you are still looking at replacing the crossovers; unless they've released a new unit they don't provide enough channels of amplification to drive the factory speakers.

d-
 

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So why did/do people want to keep DSP? Some like the sound, some like the additional equalization capabilities, others don't want the stress and hassle of replacing a bunch of components, and lastly, some people just like stock.
This is all pretty much the same thing i.e owners who 'must stay oem'

When some of those owners 'consider' that they'd like improvements, many do of course know aftermarket units exist. The overwhelmingly larger proportion then decide due to the looks of double DIN head units they don't want them due to the loss of oem looks and the loss of the OBC functionality.

The Dynavin is the only aftermarket unit that 'pseudo' connects to the oem DSP speakers, however the oem DSP amp needs to be retained according to the support thread for it on the 'other channel'. There is loss of functionality using the N6 this way, but those old DSP speakers can remain in use. The oem DSP amps do fail, so it's another cost Dynavin N6 users who wanted to keep running the oem DSP speakers most likely will have to budget for longer term.

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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I don't have DSP, but I do have Intravee and DAB - between them they give me everything I need, discreetly and without losing any of the original look or functionality. I already had Gen IV and fitted bluetooth myself with voice control. Does my car stereo sound like audiophile heaven? No. Then again, it's a car so the acoustics are pretty crap anyway. It makes lovely engine noises and the stereo is adequate for my needs - I can play music, listen to the radio and crank it up loud enough to shout along with when I'm in the mood.

What more could I want?

SB
 

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I'm stuck with a half busted DSP (I think) all of the pass side speakers are not working. I wish some of these past write ups would have working images, granted it was a decade ago!
 

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If anyone is interested in a DSP amp, I'm about to replace my stuff with GAS PCN. It is being built right now and I will replace the DSP stuff shortly.
 

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I know this is late for this post but I just changed all the speakers I’m my My with DSP and it sounds amazing. Front and rear was changed out for hertz 130 components, the 2.5 midrange was changed with 2 2.5 midrange speakers from massive audio. They did require a lot of fabrication to fit because of how shallow the 2.5 oem midrange speakers are. I removed the Nokia box and mounted a couple Rockford shallow mount dvc 10” subs and I can’t believe how good the sound and bass is. All of this is using the stock dsp amp.
 

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What was the cost to do all that?
I got the hertz dieci components on special from eBay for $60 a piece. Brand new was a super bargain. The massive audio midrange speakers were $34 from amazon. They were 2” not 2.5” as I mentioned initially. The rockfords were $120 for both shipped. The labor to fabricate the 2” midrange was a pita. I think since I wanted to top mount the subs it was more work than the others that mounted it from the bottom with mdf spacers. I just wanted to retain as much truck space as possible though this and my M3 are wknd cars only. When you factor in the sound deadening material, I used noico 10 square feet from amazon, that’s less than $300. I had a lot of sponge in my house that I used to stuff the boxes that hold the component mids as well as the rear deck to prevent any rattle. I’m not kidding when I say it sounds like I have a serious system in the beast. If you’re in NC I would gladly help you do yours if you’re interested in going that route.
 

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I did the research an though you don’t have to go through the hassle I went through changing the 2 inch mid range speakers in the front doors, getting 2 matching 5.25 components makes a vast improvement. To increase the bass you can either hunt down dual voice coil 5.25 speakers that go low enough to give adequate low bass and stuffing g the Nokia box with enough foam that it improves the bass response without stifling the speakers or better yet upgrade to 8” or preferably 10” dual voice coil subs and reuse the wire from the Nokia box. Saying it’s a night and day difference is doing a disservice to the actual difference. Keep in mind I’m using hertz components that match perfectly with the wattage coming from the dsp amp as well as the Rockford subs. I didn’t do the research as to why the rockfords were perfect for the M5 trunk in a free air application but the forum I got it from had all the specs that were needed and determined the rockfords were the best and thus I chose them.
 

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Other than keeping it all original for resale, I think the DSP system is outdated and easily outperformed by current technology. It is kind of a pain in the *** to remove and rewire but it’s worth it 20 times over. The biggest issues are getting power for an aftermarket head unit and running rca/antennae cable to it from the rear. Not rocket science and doable with the wealth of info here. If you’re considering ditching it I highly recommend it!
 
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