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Discussion Starter #1
I have an Alpine head unit with a boot CD changer wired into the standard BMW loom at the front. Radio reception is bad and looses signal/crackles easily. Also if I put the heated rear window on I get bad crackling on the radio which subsides after about 5 minutes. Any ideas anyone?
 

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London Mike said:
I have an Alpine head unit with a boot CD changer wired into the standard BMW loom at the front. Radio reception is bad and looses signal/crackles easily. Also if I put the heated rear window on I get bad crackling on the radio which subsides after about 5 minutes. Any ideas anyone?
I've also got an Alpine head unit, single CD one though, which I fitted myself. Just to add, one thing I noticed when fitting was that the presets would get lost once the ignition was switched off, ie the permanent live was not holding 12v, I got round this by taking a feed from the glove box torch. Thought it strange though, especially since I had previously fitted it in my 525 which did not have the same problem.

Back to your issue though, I find that reception quality is poor, certainly not as good as the same head unit was in my 525 or indeed my 280 for that matter.
Mine also crackles real bad when the rear screen is switched on.

When you say that it goes away after 5 minutes, that is probably when the rear scren goes from full power to normal, as I understand it, there is two stages of heating for the rear screen. It switches from one to the other after so many minutes, possibly 5
 

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Discussion Starter #3
After making a few calls, I have managed to track down the Car Audio fitter used by Barons BMW. He has been fitting for them for 20 years and knows the E34 install inside out. He's a really good guy and will happily do installs for any of us who needs them.

But the one interesting thing to come out of the conversation was the radio/demist inteference issue. He said that in his experience he was sure it was because there was a break somewhere in the rear element in the window which would cause the radio ariel (it is the same as the heater element, they double up) to be shorter than it was designed to be. Gulp.

He's coming over to see the car next week, I'll update you then...
 

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London Mike said:
After making a few calls, I have managed to track down the Car Audio fitter used by Barons BMW. He has been fitting for them for 20 years and knows the E34 install inside out. He's a really good guy and will happily do installs for any of us who needs them.

But the one interesting thing to come out of the conversation was the radio/demist inteference issue. He said that in his experience he was sure it was because there was a break somewhere in the rear element in the window which would cause the radio ariel (it is the same as the heater element, they double up) to be shorter than it was designed to be. Gulp.

He's coming over to see the car next week, I'll update you then...
Gents,

I'm getting an Alpine headunit installed Saturday. It will be interesting to see if having a professional install, means that I do not get this problem...

I did mention the radio signal and the gent had good knowledge of what should be working and where possible faults may occur. I'll keep you posted!

Cheers

Steve
 

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hertfordshire1 said:
Gents,

I'm getting an Alpine headunit installed Saturday. It will be interesting to see if having a professional install, means that I do not get this problem...

I did mention the radio signal and the gent had good knowledge of what should be working and where possible faults may occur. I'll keep you posted!

Cheers

Steve
Hi Steve

I look forward to hearing your results as I want to change the standard stereo soon for either an Alpine or now possibly a Becker unit and although I think that the Becker unit has two tuners not sure if this will help or hinder the process of upgrading the unit.

I will also have a word with my specialists and see what they thin too.

Thanks

Simon
 

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Hi Chaps!!

Did any of you guys get your new units installed then?

I'm desperate to replace mine, but these horror stories about aerials not working and re-wiring speakers etc are putting me off!!!

I just want to bung in the Sony head unit from my old car for gawd's sake!!!

Cheers,

R
 

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Discussion Starter #8
London Mike said:
He said that in his experience he was sure it was because there was a break somewhere in the rear element in the window which would cause the radio ariel (it is the same as the heater element, they double up) to be shorter than it was designed to be....
Yup, just noticed that 4 of my horizontal heating elements aren't working...
 

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If you are after a high end headunit with excellent radio reception then the new Skyline range of HUs from Blaupunkt are superb. They come with something called a Twinceiver which basically means the unit has 2 tuners, 1 works off the std aerial, the other is a digital aerial that attaches to your windscreen. The unit continuously compares the two signals and uses the strongest feed.

The top of the range "Bremen" unit also carries a ridiculous amount of signal processing onboard - such as a 27 band EQ across 4 channels, self equalisation + it links to a laptop for further fettling. I've always used Alpine headunits in the past but the features on the Bremen (singal processing specifically) are just untouchable for the money. If only they were built as well as the Alpine units, which really feel like they're hewn from solid, the Blaus are just a little bit plasticky in comparison :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yup, that'll be a IVA-D300RB with a side order of NVE-N099P to go....

I've managed to convince myself that it's a miracle I've made it this far in life without sat nav, therefore as a precaution I have purchased a set immediately to guarantee a long and productive life. Plus the audio side of the IVA-D300RB is quite cool too :2:

Just trying to decide on speakers, and whether I need a V12 Alpine amp too, or whether the 50 watt output will be enough. And I just know what your reply will be before you even post, 'More stereo than is strictly necessary ' :haha:
 

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London Mike said:
Yup, that'll be a IVA-D300RB with a side order of NVE-N099P to go....

I've managed to convince myself that it's a miracle I've made it this far in life without sat nav, therefore as a precaution I have purchased a set immediately to guarantee a long and productive life. Plus the audio side of the IVA-D300RB is quite cool too :2:

Just trying to decide on speakers, and whether I need a V12 Alpine amp too, or whether the 50 watt output will be enough. And I just know what your reply will be before you even post, 'More stereo than is strictly necessary ' :haha:
Very nice indeed. If you spend any amount of time going to new places around the country then sat nav will seriously change your life! I found that my stress levels dropped massively + you can concentrate on driving rather than peering at road signs.

With regards to speakers if you are going to upgrade them from the std factory units and want to keep factory locations then you will need 5.25" componenets in the front. If you are after the best sound quality I would suggest leaving the rear speakers as they are and spending more money on your components up front. If you've got a budget in mind then I'd happily recommend some, in the meantime here's a link:

http://www.caraudiodirect.co.uk/default.php?cPath=24_26_283&osCsid=f75d8adcbe74d8579cef963e20e498bc

Lastly, the power output quoted for headunits is hugely misleading. The manufacturers always quote the combined maximum power out put of all 4 channels. The actual power output from a 50W HU will be roughly 8W rms per channel. Considering any decent speakers needs at least 25-50W rms PER CHANNEL to run properly you'll be more or less wasting your money on buying more expensive speakers if you don't amplify them. Plus if you under power speakers there's far more chance they will be driven into distortion which will fry the voice coil and your speaker will stop working.

So to conclude, if you have a set budget in mind then far better to spend a bit less on the speakers and use the money saved to put towards an amp.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, the sat nav will be a huge help, really looking forward to getting it fitted.

I thought the biggest speakers that would fit in the footwell were 4 and a half inch? I was going to fit a pair of componenet there, with the tweaters in the dash speaker position, and then the biggest I could get in the rear and still keep it stock looking. Just picked up a dedicated sub enclosure too with a JSW104 Jensen 10 inch (450 wat 25cm Subwoofer peak 450W 22Hz-2.8KHz 93db ), know if this subs any good?

Suspected I'd need an amp, looking at the Alpine MRV-F540 to drive everything including the sub (will it?)

ICE is not my speciality, learning as I go along here....
 

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Rob Plummer said:
Hi Chaps!!

Did any of you guys get your new units installed then?

I'm desperate to replace mine, but these horror stories about aerials not working and re-wiring speakers etc are putting me off!!!

I just want to bung in the Sony head unit from my old car for gawd's sake!!!

Cheers,

R
Got my Alpine unit installed yesterday.

Only took an hour and they just removed the standard unit and plug and replaced with the Alpine and new bmw loom. That way reversing the job should take about 2 mins.. I have no problem with the radio reception, and the speakers (all 8 off them) are working great. Also recommend the iPod interface as that is a very clever peice of kit and makes listening and controlling the Ipod a doddle!!!

Very happy chappy!

Steve
 

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London Mike said:
Yes, the sat nav will be a huge help, really looking forward to getting it fitted.

I thought the biggest speakers that would fit in the footwell were 4 and a half inch? I was going to fit a pair of componenet there, with the tweaters in the dash speaker position, and then the biggest I could get in the rear and still keep it stock looking. Just picked up a dedicated sub enclosure too with a JSW104 Jensen 10 inch (450 wat 25cm Subwoofer peak 450W 22Hz-2.8KHz 93db ), know if this subs any good?

Suspected I'd need an amp, looking at the Alpine MRV-F540 to drive everything including the sub (will it?)

ICE is not my speciality, learning as I go along here....
Sorry for the delay in replying Mike, I've been tied up the past few evenings filling in my self assessment form, depressing :(

I've managed to squeeze 6.5" components into my footwells but that did require some fun with fibreglass! The std speakers that came out of mine were 5.25" (or 13cm) Nokia units - although my car had the Hi-Fi pack so may be a size up from std? Important thing is that 5.25's fit without the need for modification.

I've not actually heard any Jensen subs but I understand that they generally make decent entry level products.

As for amps, the MRV-F540 may well be over kill depending on what speakers you are going for + looking at its specs I think it may seriously under power your sub - you'll need at least 150W rms to control that sub properly, it's rated at 300W rms so even 150 maybe pushing it. I take it you are looking at a 5 channel because you are planning on amping the rear speakers?

Two things to bear in mind: One, 99.9% of music is recorded in stereo e.g. 2 channels. Two, you only have 2 ears and they both point forwards (hopefully). The rear speakers play off exactly the same channels as your fronts. This means that if you have the rears too loud you'll get lots of high frequency sound coming from behind your head which can mess up your "soundstage" e.g. in terms of pure sound quality, a well set up system will make your ears believe the band you are listening to are sitting in the middle of your bonnet. Having the rear speakers amped and playing loud ruins this effect and "drags the soundstage backwards" (in geek speak). It's worth considering that multi thousand ££ home stereo systems have 2 speakers (left and right) and 1 sub, you then carefully position your chair in the middle of your "music room" equidistant from both speakers and listen away. You wouldn't put another system directly behind you and turn it up to 12, it'd sound odd - it's exactly the same with your car stereo.

However, this is not the case if you are planning on watching lots of films and have a 5.1 decoder in your HU (which I think you do), if you are watching a film in surround sound you definately want to have the rears amped because they play different channels to the fronts. If you don't amp them then the sound coming from behind you may sound strained and crappy. Sooo, best bet for this situation would probably be a 4 channel amp with a seperate monoblock amp to drive the sub.

If you are after a stereo system (as opposed to a 5.1 system) that keeps standard speaker locations, doesn't cost the earth, and sounds really good, you won't go far wrong with a basic configuration of:

5.25" components
10" Sub in sealed enclosure (or ported if you want more bass in your system)
4 channel amp (2 front channels powering components with at least 50W rms each and 2 rear channels bridged to drive the sub with at least 150W rms)
Standard rear speakers - faded to 0 when it's just you in the car, faded up to half way if your back seat passengers are complaining they can't hear the music properly (unlikely if your system's set up properly)

As for what speakers and amps to buy there really is a huge wealth of excellent kit out there beyond the Kenwood, Sony, Alpine you see on the high street. Best bet is to have a read through some of the stuff on the forum below then ask a "Newbie looking for advice" type question with the budget you want to stick to, the type of music you listen to, what you want to achieve, and the kit you've got already:

www.talkaudio.co.uk

The guy's on that forum are generally all friendly and aren't at all precious about people asking for help with their first system.

If you are ever find yourself in the Oxfordshire area at any stage, you're more than welcome to pop in for a cup of tea and a listen to my system. My set up started out exactly as the one I've suggested above. I still use the same basic architecture but I'm now running my system "active" rather than "passive" which requires a few more boxes, a lot more wiring and amps, and an ever increasing credit card limit :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi Tubbs, thanks for the reply, it sounds like I’m sort of thinking in the right direction. I was going to use the Alpine 540 to drive the 4 main speakers then a separate amp to drive the sub (I have an old Pioneer 3400, 4 x 80RMS but I suspect it may not be up to it so I’ll probably buy a monoblock amp)

I picked up a purpose built sub enclosure with the Jenson in, it remains to be seen how it will sound lurking in the spare wheel hub, I’ll let you know :)


Good news that I can get 5 and a quarter units into the foot wells, do you think it would be best to put the tweeters in top of the dash where the speakers are, or would I be better getting some E34 tweeter pods and running more speakers in the dash top, or none there at all?


I’m not planning on building a 5.1 set-up and doubt I’ll use is much for DVD’s, it’s mainly a music system with navigation, that’s what I want.
 

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If you plan on using the tweeter pods make sure your tweeter will fit. I bought a component set with a 1" tweeter and it had no chance of fitting in the pod so I just put them in the dash and 5.25" in the footwells.

I completely agree about not having rear speakers, I only have a component set upfront, 12" sub in the boot and a good amp and it's more than enough to fill the car with music.
 
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