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Discussion Starter #1
Since I have never listened to the M5 stereo with or without M audio, how much of a difference does the M audio actually make and what makes it different from the regular set up? Is it just another subwoofer in the back? Is the stock stereo that bad with the M audio? (I don't need it bumping, but I just need decent stock sound like on most quality new cars these days)
 

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My car has the M audio, but I've never done compared it to one without. In addition to the "subwoofers" (they're really just woofers), it also has various DSP modes (concert hall, jazz club, etc.) and supposedly upgraded drivers in the front.

I haven't had much time to play with the audio settings on mine yet, but so far the sound is really mediocre, which is really bad for what's supposed to be the premium set up. I may not be the best barometer for these things as I'm a bit of an audiophile with respect to home audio, but to my ears the stereo in my M5 sounds much worse than the stock stereo's in any of my other cars.


jlindy said:
Since I have never listened to the M5 stereo with or without M audio, how much of a difference does the M audio actually make and what makes it different from the regular set up? Is it just another subwoofer in the back? Is the stock stereo that bad with the M audio? (I don't need it bumping, but I just need decent stock sound like on most quality new cars these days)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's disturbing to hear because you would think that a car that new and expensive would have a decent stereo and speakers. I thought other BMW's had decent OEM stereos, but not sure? New cars these days are paying a lot more attention to sound with 5.1 surround. The new Infiniti M45 has 14 speakers in it. :eek:
 

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jlindy said:
That's disturbing to hear because you would think that a car that new and expensive would have a decent stereo and speakers. I thought other BMW's had decent OEM stereos, but not sure? New cars these days are paying a lot more attention to sound with 5.1 surround. The new Infiniti M45 has 14 speakers in it. :eek:
The best sound comes from under the hood at around 5000 rpm...!

Seriously, I'm quite an audiophile and while the M5's stock sound system doesn't match my home theatre I'm honestly quite pleased with the sound. I have owned late model Infiniti's with Bose systems installed and the M5's system sounds better.
 

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Hmmm. . . maybe there's something wrong with mine? I'll have to take a listen to someone else's and compare. On mine, the midbass is muddy, vocals are congested and the highs are severely rolled off. What are your tone and DSP settings?

e39m5nut said:
The best sound comes from under the hood at around 5000 rpm...!

Seriously, I'm quite an audiophile and while the M5's stock sound system doesn't match my home theatre I'm honestly quite pleased with the sound. I have owned late model Infiniti's with Bose systems installed and the M5's system sounds better.
 

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WannaM5 said:
I haven't had much time to play with the audio settings on mine yet, but so far the sound is really mediocre, which is really bad for what's supposed to be the premium set up.
Yes, the highs aren't that great and the bass is not tight. The worse part are the rattles due to the loose rear brake light bulb cover and there's another one somewhere near the rear brake light and the windshield. I cannot pinpoint it yet. I'm surpised the sunshade didn't rattle.
 

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I can compare my M5 with M Audio to my Lexus LS400 with Nakamichi and to my SAAB with the Harmon Kardon system. The M audio has stronger base than either. Overall, I think the M5's system is slightly better than the SAAB system, but takes some tuning to get it to where you like it. I disable the DSP and adjusted the fade and tone settings slightly. The system in the Lexus seemed superior though but it had awesome sound.
 

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The HK Logic7 system in the new E60 is supposed to be much much better.
 

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i recently added the M audio subs on my 00 M5. The standard system has a nokia box with 5.25" speakers for it's 'sub system'. The M audio's free air 10" speakers make for much better base response. I'm really happy with the upgrade. Not sure if there is any difference in the rest of an M audio car. The standard system has dsp as was mentioned above.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
sjfamily said:
I can compare my M5 with M Audio to my Lexus LS400 with Nakamichi and to my SAAB with the Harmon Kardon system. The M audio has stronger base than either. Overall, I think the M5's system is slightly better than the SAAB system, but takes some tuning to get it to where you like it. I disable the DSP and adjusted the fade and tone settings slightly. The system in the Lexus seemed superior though but it had awesome sound.
If the M audio is comparable to what you mentioned, I think it will serve just fine for my purposes. I don't need any "Pimp my Ride" sound, but good crisp clean sound that doesn't sound like a Geo's stereo will work for me.
 

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I have owned an M5 (MY00) with no M-audio and have a MY01 with M-audio. No real comparision here. There is way more low end in the M-audio if you want to dial it in. The M-audio also deletes the speakers in the rear doors even though the grills are still there as well as deleting one set of speakers in the front doors, grills are still there too. There were just too many speakers in the non M-audio.

This being said, the quality of the speakers could be better and I would recommend to anyone to replace all of ths speakers in the doors and rear shelf, except the subs, with better quality speakers.

You can really make a difference with the system depending on how you adjust all of the settings.

Mark
 

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The stereo is not great. Nor would I expect it to be. If you want a perfect studio sounding system, aftermarket is the only way to go. Plus a lot of Dynamat. The M Audio system is well above average, in my opinion (less the DSP which to me is worthless). There is bass. The highs are decent. Maybe no super crisp, but decent. It plays pretty loud. There are some rattles on the decklid due to the subs. Sealing the decklid with Dynamat solves that.

So the question becomes, is it worth the extra money? It depends. As I said, it's a very acceptable system so if you don't plan on any upgrades, then yes, it's worth the cost and it's neatly tucked into your monthly paments. If you plan on any type of upgrade, then no, it's probably not worth the extra cost. The problem now is these are used cars. So you get that you get. But I wouldn't necessarily see the M Audio as a dealbreaker on a car that otherwise was well cared for.

My Audio plans are to install a new amp (soundstream 800.5), new sub (JL 12w7) and new speakers (Boston Pro's). The HU will stay. I think this will get me to a 'great' level. It's all sitting in the basement ready to go.
 

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e39m5nut said:
The best sound comes from under the hood at around 5000 rpm...!
Seriously, I'm quite an audiophile and while the M5's stock sound system doesn't match my home theatre I'm honestly quite pleased with the sound....

AMEN to that. I also consider myself an audiophile, and realized long ago that it's foolish to attempt to accurately reproduce music in the harsh, noisy, acoustically poor environment of a vehicle. JMO, your mileage will vary.
 

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I agree that the M Audio is a decent upgrade from stock, but aftermarket is far superior. The M Audio Upgrade, in addition to the Subs also has upgraded Kevlar Speakers.
 

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WannaM5 said:
I haven't had much time to play with the audio settings on mine yet, but so far the sound is really mediocre, which is really bad for what's supposed to be the premium set up. I may not be the best barometer for these things as I'm a bit of an audiophile with respect to home audio, but to my ears the stereo in my M5 sounds much worse than the stock stereo's in any of my other cars.
Ok - I'm going to have to modify my prior assessment. Prior to my post I had listened almost entirely to radio, and my feelings about the sound quality of the radio remain as stated above. The last few days, however, I've listened to a bunch of CD's, and I have to admit that the sound quality on CD's is more than acceptable. I know that CD's generally sound better than radio stations, but in this case the difference is much greater than I was expecting or accustomed to, leading me to the tentative conclusion that the head unit tuner is the weak link - not the speakers, pre-amp or amp.

Since you stated you're not looking for the be all end all of car audio, I think you'll be pleased as long as your listening to CD's. As for the radio, it could just be that mine is defective. I'll have to reserve judgement until I can compare it to someone elses.
 

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Before my M5 with M-Audio I had a 540i with the Nokia subs. I immediately had to upgrade it with better rear subs and upgraded door speakers. The M-Audio is comparable to that. It could be better with upgrade door speakers but is a good start for most people once adjusted properly. Per my audio shop the biggest problem getting good sound out of the E39 is the solid panel behind the rear seat. It is hard to get good clean bass. I had a 3000GT with a good factory unit. A sub, amp and upgraded speakers were an amazing upgrade to it. I don't think you can get that kind of results and maintain the stock head unit without a lot of cost or effort.

PS: Oddly some cars systems sound better at lower volumes. The M Audio sounds best at higher volumes.
 

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i used to be into home audio bigtime. and car audio competition. now i enjoy home theater and only a little home audio.

i find the M-audio system pretty good for what it is. and i havent even tweaked it yet. all settings are flat. DSP off of course, no echo etc.

i think it is pretty open sounding. i definitely wouldn't rip it out and install an aftermarket system. (i'd rather put that $ towards mods).
 

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Discussion Starter #18
All of your responses make me feel much better about the stock M audio system. Since I have never owned a BMW before, I was hoping there was a decent sounding system. I bought a used Porsche a few years back and I might as well have put my cell phone's speaker in as an upgrade.:hihihi:
 

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Ummm i'm one of the few who really like the M- audio. I turn the bass levels all the way up on the dsp and the reverb significantly up, that combo sounds great!

The subwoofers don't really do much to the sound if the bass is kept normal but if you turn it up it will vibrate you out of your seat! (esp hiphop stuff)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Now that I have driven my M5 for over a week now, I have to say that I am really happy with the M Audio sound. However, I do have one complaint or question. When I got into my car for the first time and scrolled to the DSP function, all of the EQ levels were straight down the middle. I adjusted them to my liking which is the standard U shaped EQ. Of the various settings like concert hall, jazz, memo's 1-3, I just put it on Memo 1 and manually adjusted the settings. My problem is that almost every day when I start up my car, the EQ levels have gone right back to the "straight down the middle" mode. How do you get the DSP levels to stay where you like it? I have tried putting it on Memo 3 and it did the same thing. Thanks.
 
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