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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

At last a premium brand manufacturer has released a shallow depth double DIN head unit which means no longer is it necessary to modify the E39 airbox in order to have a double DIN unit sit flush anymore! This potentially saves hundreds of dollars worth of car audio specialist installers labour charges for those owners who aren't so keen or experienced in fitting, modifying things on their cars.

I posted up about it a few days ago in the Audio section of bimmerforums and a little more exposure here for you all now!

Parrot - Shallow Depth Double DIN Android head unit - Bimmerforums - The Ultimate BMW Forum

I'll paste in the updated post I made here;

Hi

Just fitted the Smart up into my car and spent a couple hours with it for initial use and to get to learn the unit. Very impressed so far, sound quality is very good as well !

Fitting up wiring into the dash area, routed the microphone wire and put the GPS antenna in a little recess up just by the Airbag area and it fits snugly against some soft padding there and is held very nicely.











Quick 3 minutes drive around to ensure satellite/GPS reception was ok



Fitting up neatly










A bit more detail;

As I'd previously had my Alpine mechless i-XA 407BT head unit fitted by using the correct harness to plug into the oem loom directly and power it;


I simply had to unplug that and use the supplied harness adaptor that comes with the Smart. I took out the Alpine microphone and re-routed the one supplied with the Smart. With the GPS receiver I found a small recess just under the dash top near the airbag, by locating it there and giving it a slight push past the sponge lining, it physically holds it very well - very happy I didn't have to leave it on the dashboard top or anything. I have the LumiDock in my car and for that, it was a quick swap to the Smart iPod lead. Powered up the unit and went through the initial setup via the very responsive screen and installed the iGo GPS software which for this region includes the UK and Western Europe. Once setup, a quick test showed the Smart crucially was getting GPS signals come through from the receiver and I then went for a quick 3 minute drive to ensure all was working and responding ok. RCA phono leads connected as I only use external amplification and then finished physically installing the unit and fitted it back up to fit flush with the fascia panel.

In use the unit feels very smooth and slick with zero hesitation or pauses and very much feels like a quality 'tablet' computer in that respect. The high resolution display looks great and the overall aesthetics give a very classy and elegant looking unit, about the only thing I can pick up is the little power button lights up white and is a little 'bright'.

Once I'd played around with a few settings with the GPS options, preferences and options with the Smart and set off to see how the unit performs whilst driving. Pairing to my HTC Android phone was simple and quick and a few test calls were absolutely easy and straightforward as you'd expect from Parrot. Sound and call quality again was reported back to me as absolutely fine and perfect. I then selected the GPS software and found it displaying my current location. I decided to switch back to listening to music via the iPod and decided to stop a little later to plug in a destination once stopped as I'd never used the iGo software previously.

The Parrot Smart has excellent sound quality! Perhaps not 'quite' up at the levels as I have with the Alpine but close enough! As with all the premium brands head units, the internal electronics, DAC's etc are all of high quality items and Parrot have pitched this product in the same catagory as those. There's an EQ, Bass enhancer, sound Spatializer and variable low pass filter with level adjustment for the subwoofer. I only used the LPF for 60Hz and with minimal boost from the default - no EQ and no sound spatializer, and impressions for me with the sound, tonal quality, soundstage are very good indeed! I'm impressed with this aspect of the unit.

In a quick summary - the Smart is a great design, full of useful features and great connectivity features with great sound quality to match. Expanding from the original shallow depth concept Parrot had with their Asteroid single DIN, this double DIN unit builds on that concept and specifically, for the BMW community, allows much easier fitting in E39/5 series and I'm sure also in the E38/7 series and E53/X5's as well as other's with similar mounting depth issues. A big recommendation from me!

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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how much did the head unit cost?
 

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Is this compatible with a rear view camera? Didn't seem to see anything in the connections.
Also, i know this is probably a stupid question, but not plug and play for DSP cars, right? Going to need to go after market amp for this?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi,

Pastorom - valid point for those like you are still wishing for an aftermarket head unit to work with the DSP amp. However, it's been around 17 years since the E39 came out with their DSP amp and in this time, no company has ever developed a head unit to be compatible with it. It's looking highly likely nothing ever will as having church and jazzclub settings etc went out of 'fashion' on consumer audio electronics in the late 90's. There is a dedicated input for a reverse camera - you need to look a little closer ! The unit has a built in 4x55W amplifier which equates to around 22-24W RMS per channel, so its more powerful than the oem bmw audio amplifiers - a full 3 sets of RCA outputs for connecting to external amplifiers is provided which is how I how I have my setup.

et al - to confirm, my car has NOT had the airbox modified in any way. The Smart fits as per the pictures above with some mounting depth space leftover. Full physical sizing details are on the official website.

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Great, thanks Dennis.

I've been trying to figure out if i should install a Dynavin, but this seems like a really nice alternative (i care less about OEM looks as i do about functionality).

Given that it's based on Android, would Android apps like Torque (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.prowl.torque&hl=en) work out of the box? Or does parrot release special apps?

I read through the manual, but there's very little about installing your own apps, so wondering if you've given this a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Hi

Parrot have their own dedicated Apps market which will expand as more developers make useful apps. To ensure things work well/nicely, Parrot will certify apps prior to release. If you are looking to add 'apps' from the general android marketplace etc, then perhaps go for a Dynavin etc.

For me, I always prefer high quality, well made, supported and tested products from premium brand manufacturers. Every aspect about them is much better than a budget item made in China - build quality, sound quality, usability, warranty/support and value for money Vs performance increase. I don't really need to see what my voltage is, or the temperature of the intake is, or what airflow mix is or the levels of my dylithium crystals! Nor do i need to check emails or have social networking or play angry birds as I drive! I just want excellent sound quality and be able to choose tracks and use GPS if I need it!

Check through the Parrot USA website and the various links to the App platform etc :)

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Think I will buy one of these few quickie questions

. What steering wheel control interface did you use? And what wire did you tap?

. Do the rear usb outputs show up directly on screen as drive folders? And if so what is the file format ntfs or fat32 only, and does it play flac or alac lossless? Might throw a large hdd in the trunk as I don't have a ipod.

. Did you ground the parking brake to disable the safety screen? Or did you have to use switched patch, like most alpine require? What about the reverse light?

I've already pulled the dsp amp and changer, so I'm stunning straight rca plugs, but what is the output 2v, or 4v?

The manual is pretty empty with info

Thanks, great find
 

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Just found the quick start guide

32gb max, no lossless playback
Mp3, aac, wma only

For the life of me I don't get these digital players that won't add the playback of a free format in flac arrrggh.

Maybe once app development comes around you can throw neutron player, or poweramp on it for flac or alac playback

And I wonder why no large drive access, 2tb external drives can fit in your hand nowadays
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi,

It's almost like me being Parrot's Support line! :) I'll send them my bill later!

1. Parrot have their own UNIKA steering wheel interface, check their website for applications etc. I've not used it as I find I can easily move my hand 8 inches over to adjust the volume and change tracks etc. It was the same with my Alpine unit prior.

2. I've not put any USB sticks/USB card readers in the remaining two rear USB slots, so I can't say definitively what the folder structure is like. From the Manual that came with my unit;

USB Storage Device - Asteroid Smart is compatible with the majority of USB keys/ MP3 audio player / external hard drive. There is no restriction in terms of capacity of USB keys. Only MP3, AAC or WMA formats are supported

SD Card - The SD card capacity must not exceed 32GB. Only MP3, AAC, WAV, OGG or WMA formats are supported.

3. My installer a couple years ago when installing the Alpine did the bypass - I don't know exactly how, but I'm sure there's other posts across various forums which tell you how.

4. There's no specifications within this Quick Start guide I'm looking at, Parrot have put the more comprehensive manual online (or so it says in this book!)

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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It amazes me that there is no DSP support for these. I'd have two of them.

Is there a plug and play amp that will work with the stock audio? I have no desire to run wires, use crossovers or modify the wiring in any way. The stock DSP audio is good enough for me.
 

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Thanks for the post. I was wondering if it would fit an e39! I currently have a single din slide dvd gps unit so I wasnt sure if it would fit. Thanks for the confirmation. I purchased from crutchfield and should receive next week. A little expensive but in included everything install. Amazon wasnt too clear on if it included the specific wiring harness. I guess it be pretty equal if you had to the harness at amazon. It is going in my honda civic nit my e39

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Hi,

Aradaiel - It's been around 17 years since the first DSP modules came out in the E39, and in that time, none of the premium brands, nor any of the cheapy unbranded manufacturers of electronics ever saw a need to develop anything to work with BMW's 'closed' design DSP amplifier - it's most likely there'll never be anything to 'plug n play' with the oem DSP amp either. Reasons are back when the E39 was new, there was next to zero demand for any aftermarket audio for these cars and also the costs for developing something would've cost anyone doing so a LOT of money for hardly any demand! even after the E39 production run ended, there was 'little' demand as the bias is many owners wanting then, to retrofit the oem 16:9 monitor and various modules. Now that those setups are becoming old, failing and with dead technologies in the shape of cassettes and in the UK analogue TV tuners, CD disks being replaced by the iPod and music files on SD cards, enthusiast owners who don't mind the 'non oem' looks are swapping out for 21st century technology. The 'nearest' item you'd need would be the JBL MS-8 and there's an excellent thread about M5 owners (applies to any E39 with DSP as well!) who've used them here;

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e3...-i-can-add-upgrade-improve-sound-quality.html

Nvable - I don't know of other cars/brands which have a similar issue to the E39/E46/E38 etc where mounting depth is an issue for fitting double DIN head units. If your Civic is one of them, then it looks like you'll be happy once it's all fitted without having to do allsorts of potentially modifications etc :)

Cheers, Dennis!
 
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Thanks. I believe it is pretty simple. I have a little experience with installing a stereo but no expert by any means. I wanted something up to date with GPS for the wife who can get lost in a straight line. Thanks for your wisdom.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
 

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Thanks for that link, I'll be reading the thread. The wifes 540it doesn't have DSP, my e34 540it has been retrofitted with an alpine unit and my m5 is stock. I can't get over how nice it is to just get into my e34 and have my phone link up and start playing pandora without doing anything.
 

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Hi,

Aradaiel - It's been around 17 years since the first DSP modules came out in the E39, and in that time, none of the premium brands, nor any of the cheapy unbranded manufacturers of electronics ever saw a need to develop anything to work with BMW's 'closed' design DSP amplifier - it's most likely there'll never be anything to 'plug n play' with the oem DSP amp either. Reasons are back when the E39 was new, there was next to zero demand for any aftermarket audio for these cars and also the costs for developing something would've cost anyone doing so a LOT of money for hardly any demand! even after the E39 production run ended, there was 'little' demand as the bias is many owners wanting then, to retrofit the oem 16:9 monitor and various modules. Now that those setups are becoming old, failing and with dead technologies in the shape of cassettes and in the UK analogue TV tuners, CD disks being replaced by the iPod and music files on SD cards, enthusiast owners who don't mind the 'non oem' looks are swapping out for 21st century technology. The 'nearest' item you'd need would be the JBL MS-8 and there's an excellent thread about M5 owners (applies to any E39 with DSP as well!) who've used them here;

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e3...-i-can-add-upgrade-improve-sound-quality.html

Nvable - I don't know of other cars/brands which have a similar issue to the E39/E46/E38 etc where mounting depth is an issue for fitting double DIN head units. If your Civic is one of them, then it looks like you'll be happy once it's all fitted without having to do allsorts of potentially modifications etc :)

Cheers, Dennis!

Thanks Dennis. I was <i>just</i> looking at this double din Parrot head unit for my other car and ultimately went with a single din Pioneer DEH-80PRS.

I always wondered what it would be like in my M5. Looks decent from your install pics. Where did you get that bezel?

Thanks to you I'm envisioning a slightly budget build with this thing. Hmm...

-Parrot Android Smart ($580)
-Quality 5 Channel Amp at 2ohms ($200)
PrecisionPower - Products - Amplifiers - Black Ice - BK580.5

Then deal with the OEM speakers later. I already have a custom fit sub that doesn't sacrifice much trunk space and this 5 channel amp can fit the bill nicely.

Thanks again for diving into this. What a coincidence. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi

Mister2d - So far, I think the Smart is a very good unit for the price, you guys in the USA enjoy it much cheaper than it is here for instance, so makes it even more of an excellent purchase USA side! The bezel you see in the pictures was discontinued a few years ago unfortunately :( here's my thread about it

New E39 Double DIN Fascia Panel (Airbox mod NOT required) - Audio & Navigation - BMW 5 Series Owners Board

With the shallow mounting depth of this Parrot Smart, the currently available 'tilting' E39 double DIN fitting kits are also now not required. I guess with a little modification of the Janus Design fitting kit, you could use one of those to install the Smart.

The amplifier you've linked to is quite big, and there's not much space directly in an M5 boot/trunk to mount it directly which means you'd have to have it installed in some sort of build. Take a look at some of the small footprint Class D amplifiers which would easily fit in the right hand side cubby area or where the oem amp/nav/CD etc units are if you've removed them. Other benefits are they run cooler so you can fit in those locations and not worry about any overheating issues etc like you might do with a normal Class A/B amplifier. Alpine, Kenwood, Massive Audio, Arc Audio, Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, JL Audio, Phoenix Gold etc etc all make small footprint 5 channel amplifiers and I'd say overall, something like those would be a better choice :)

Cheers, Dennis!
 
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Question: is there a MAC address in the SMART? I was not able to find an address. I was trying to connect to my home wifi and wound up having to unlock my router to open it up for the SMART.

Thanks for your time.
 
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