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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all -- this is my first question on the forum as I just picked up my '03 in August! With Christmas rolling around, I am looking to treat myself to a complete media overhaul. I am definitely replacing my Nav unit with a Dynavin. I am also looking to change out the speakers, dsp amp, and subwoofers. I don't need the CD player any more either.

My knowledge base on the nuances of the e39 M5's stereo and on car stereos as a whole is limited, so any help is appreciated.

As far as end goals for the project:

I would like to keep my budget around $800-$1000 for all components aside from the Dynavin.
From the sub(s), I am looking for overall improved SQ as well as volume, but I don't want it to sound like I am obviously running an aftermarket sub (if that makes sense).
I would like to go to a new amp for the mids/tweeters.
Being a college student, I have to move quite a bit of stuff a few times a year so the sub(s) and the enclosure need to be removable.
I do not want to make any major permanent changes to the car, as this always makes be nervous.


I have searched around, but haven't found anyone who has performed all of these changes. If someone else can point me to an example, please do.

Finally to my questions:

Is my budget reasonable?

Will the process be more straightforward by doing all of this at the same time?

Can I keep the stock wiring and just change out components?

Will I be able to keep the steering wheel controls?

I have no working knowledge of quality in current car audio equipment, so can anyone give some recommendations for components?

I will be doing the work myself, so is this doable for someone with a limited understanding of car stereos?

Thank you all in advance for the help. If you have any suggestions, I would definitely like to hear them :biggrin:
 

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Search denniscooper. He is the SME (subject matter expert)
 

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Hi

Navable - thanks for the recommendation! There's quite a few other guys with excellent knowledge as well! Douglas is mentioned, and between m5board and the US centric bimmerforums, there's a good number of guys with more fantastic working knowledge than me ! I tend to focus on owners who want a significant improvement over the oem, but who perhaps don't wish to spend upwards of $2000-3000 USD etc.

Scream5 - Congrats on the car! it's so much easier for those like yourself at college to run these sorts of cars as you petrol is so unbelievably cheappp!! here in the UK, 99.8% of college students wouldn't and couldn't run anything more than perhaps a 1.6 litre car!

Overall, you will perhaps be able to do 'most' of what you've specified. I'd also say you could get a 'good' increase in SQ and keep within your budget if you fit everything yourself with perhaps minimal requirement to see a pro installer.

If you have the Dynavin as your head unit, this is the best choice for USA/Canada owners for the 'cheap Chinese replacement' head units that are out there. I'll assume you purchased from Jeff at J&T Solutions out of Fresno? if so, great, in case of issues, he'll support you, if not, then do speak to him although you may be charged for support etc. The 'easy' way would be to run RCA cables and a remote power on lead from the front to the rear of the car, and then extend the FM/AM antenna wire from rear to the front. Whilst that's done, you might as well run speaker cables. To keep costs as low as you can, I'd suggest a small footprint Class D type 5 channel amplifier. This will power all of your cabin speakers and the subwoofer within one unit. Take a look at Arc Audio's XDi range - ARC Audio XDi Full Range Compact Digital Car Audio Amplifiers | Arc Audio. There's similar choices from the likes of Soundstream, Kicker, JL Audio, Alpine, Kenwood Rockford Fosgate, Phoenix Gold etc etc all at various price points. Some of the better quality 'bidget' brands may also have products - one of those is 'Vibe' who have a presence in the USA now, but I'm not sure if their 'Slick Channel 5' unit is available over there? it's just £200 retail here in the UK, which is around $300 USD.

I'd say spend a significant amount of your budget on front end 2 way component speakers and the replacement baffle you ideally should use to mount them behind the oem door card. In my E39 Touring, I run the DLS 5.25 inch R5A's 2 ways and have done so for the past 12+ years! they're a fantastic performing speaker set which don't cost too much £200 retail (£175 street pricing) which is around $300- 260 ish respectively - I'd also say to look at the entry to mid level ranges from the dedicated car audio speaker brands like Focal, DLS, Audison, JL audio etc. The door baffles are $129 from 12Velectronics.com. The speakers on the rear deck can be a set of 5.25 inch co-axial speakers and they'd really only be for some rear fill. Budget perhaps $75-129 for a set, however as they're not so 'critical' you don't have to push the budget up on these. This leaves the subwoofer element. There's a lot of choice out there and you'd most likely go for an 8 or 10 inch driver in a small sealed box to 'fire' through your ski hatch. This will provide you with excellent musical bass when you want it, and if you feel like thumping a bit more bass out, you can turn the bass up a bit to get it - provided you choose a good enough subwoofer! I'd say again, look to dedicated subwoofer brands. The JL Audio 8 inch 8W3 V3 comes highly recommend as I run it in my Touring. I've had demo listeners 'guess' they're hearing a 10, 12 and even a 15 inch subwoofer! their eyes pop out in disbeliefwhen I show them the 'piddly' little 8 inch driver! You 'could' make your enclosure removable, however if you were to use a slimline 8 or 10 inch subwoofer, your enclosure would be 'teeny tiny' at perhaps only 4 or 5 inches in depth! if you do want to be able to take it out and then plug back in, you'll need a good way of ensuring it's 'held' to the rear seat bulkhead as strongly as possible.

Have a look at this excellent DIY guide as well;

E39 Audio Upgrade - Final - Audio & Navigation - BMW 5 Series Owners Board

You could make savings by purchasing used equipment as well. Have a search here on M5board, and also on bimmerforums as there's a lot of E39 upgrade options etc. The reason I suggest better quality speakers now, is that later, when you do have some better cashflow, you can upgrade say the amplifiers and then the head unit for even better performance ! If you skimp on speakers now, chances are high you'll change them again later or perhaps sooner as often, cheaper speakers are 'grating' and 'tiresome' on the ear for longer listening periods. The higher quality stuff, is 'smoother' and less 'harsh' and 'tiring' thus your listening enjoyment will be much better from the outset.

If you were over here in the UK, you'd be welcome to have a listen to my car! here's my full writeup for what and most importantly, why I went the route I did !

The Ultimate Audio BMW (scroll about half way down)

I'm sure other members will post up with ideas etc!

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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You were the only one I knew of. LOL.

:beer:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dennis,

Thank you so much for all of the info, it's exactly what I'm looking for! It appears I need to start gathering components for Christmas time :7: This definitely gives me a great start!

Best,
Daulton
 

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Not to hijack the thread, but I got Greta back tonight with the fresh install of the JBL MS-8. It sounds great, but I have no BT volume. The phone pairs and I am able to send calls, just don't get the voice and confirmation tone.

She's going back tomorrow for repair. Hopefully something as simple as a missed wire hook-up to the amp from the ULF.

Now back to your regular programming. :M5thumbs:
 
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