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I gathered some stereo info from another location. It has a lot of valuble Tid-Bits if your going to upgrade. NEWay, it's here for our current and future reference.



Re: Aftermarket Audio for E39? (archive).


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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on January 08, 1999 at 01:42:22:
In Reply to: Aftermarket Audio for E39? posted by Jeff Kane on January 07, 1999 at 22:55:31:
You have been misinformed about the difficulty of upgrading an E39. You do NOT have to upgrade the audio after the factory amp. THis is costly, complcated, and basically just asking for trouble. It will not work. The best place to pick up the signal is BEFORE the BMW amplifier, where it is a standard 4-channel common ground signal. Simply plug this into any aftermarket amp which can handle a 4V signal. No problem, No noise. You can even use ALL of the already installed BMW wiring for signal to the new amp and from the new amp and the speakers. If the installer knows what he is doing, the E39 actually is one of the most simple vehicles to upgrade on the market. If a dealer tries to tell you differently, don't let them get anywhere near your car. They don't know what they are doing.
See our site at http://www.adst.com for a few ideas.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
VP Product Management, a/d/s/
'93 525 5-sp, BL/ss'd, Sharked, etc.
BMW CCA (Boston)
: Ok, so even with the premium audio I STILL didn't like the way the stereo in the 540i sounds. Sad that BMW gets EVERYTHING else right and then puts in a stereo that is blown away by what's in a Caddy Seville.
: In any case, I took the plunge and upgraded the stereo. What an ordeal! You must hook the sundry equipement AFTER the BMW amplifier... Mind you this entails 12 channels of amplification (separate channel for each speaker driver). But it's still not right, the noise levels are too high! Does anyone know of a way to put an aftermarket radio in an E39 without completely trashing the dash and losing telephone functions? I remember Sony doing a concept car using an E39 but can't find the article ANYWHERE!

Re: Rear Woofer Replacement (more) (archive)

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Posted by Jim Cash on June 09, 1999 at 10:08:36:
In Reply to: Rear Woofer Replacement (more) posted by jvr on June 08, 1999 at 21:25:22:
: Me again. My car has the split-fold rear seat. I pulled a rear speaker grill off tonight to find a woofer deep down in there and surrounded with foam. No visible screws. Seems that woofer was installed after the **** car was painted and the rest of the car was built on top of it. BMW could learn a few things from Honda in this area. Pop off grill, undo 4 screws, remove, replace - DONE!

I have not replaced my speakers, but I have had them out. The speakers are not mounted by themselves, but they are the same idea as the main ones in the front doors - mounted in a large plastic "sound enclosure" - which is in turn attached to the car.
In the case of the rear units you need to remove the package shelf to get access to the speaker enclosures. And to do that you do following:
- Fold down rear seat backs.
- pull off side seat bolsters (pull out at top and fold forward.
- remove rear head restraints
- remove plastic trim panel above opening to trunk.
- remove 3 seat belt tether caps (if you have these - plastic triangles on the upper surface of the package shelf)
- remove lights in C pillar panels.
- remove C pillar panels
- remove DSP system subwoofer in trunk if you have this.
- undo 3 bolts under the package shelf in trunk.
- undo seat belts under rear seat (or be prepared to have them in your way while removing the packag shelf.
- remove the vent grills at the back of the package shelf (pull up at front and slide forward)
- lift package shelf at front and slide forward (keep lifting as you pull - need to get clearance between components.
Now you will see the screws that hold the speaker enclosures.
Cheers
Jim Cash
London, Ontario, Canada
E39 97 540i/A


Re: More Info On Sound System Upgrades... (archive)

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on June 07, 1999 at 10:06:39:
In Reply to: More Info On Sound System Upgrades... posted by jvr on June 04, 1999 at 20:33:30:
: Folks:
: The sub was a little weak for my taste, but the rest sounded pretty nice. It was actually a little heavy on the high frequencies, but that could be because of the weak sub.
This can be a result of the installers personal preference as much as that of the equipment. An 8" sub may be a little small for a relatively large E34/E39, but unless it was distorting, the thin sound was probably the result of the installers preference in the set-up. This points out one of the major concerns in the final satisfaction you will have with a sound system. Make sure that your installer is willing to let you be a participant in the set-up process. Take the time to spend the final hour or so of the installation working with him/her to set up the overall balance to your taste. It'll be worth the time.
: Replacing the amp in the trunk is an easy task on the E39. I foresee one MAJOR problem with this setup however: calculating and adjusting the crossover points for the factory speakers. The guy I spoke with wired his like this...
: 40w to each front channel (tweet+mid+woof=1 channel)
: 40w to each rear channel (tweet+mid/woof=1 channel)
: 40w to sub (he has a dual voice coil sub, so it's got 2 separate stereo channels wired to it)
: Total of 6 channels on the P640 amp
: I do not know how he did the wiring to string the tweet+mid+woof onto one amp channel. In the E39 each speaker has it's own separate channel and the amp internally crosses them over. This raises another huge question. How do the 3 individual speakers get crossed over in this setup? He didn't mention adding any crossovers. Maybe the E34 does have external crossovers, but I know the E39 does not.
Neither does the E34. I assume that the installer fabricated some type of passive crossover for the task. Otherwise the tweeters would probably be blown by now. It is possible to do, but doing it to the level of a factory engineered crossover is usually beyond the level of most installers. Not because of inability, some guys out there are REALLY GOOD, but because of lack of time and/or sophisticated equipment. This can also contribute to the bright frequency balance you commented on. The tweeters and midrange drivers are a bit more sensitive than the woofers in the front, and need some attenuation at the crossover to sound balanced. Perhaps the guy is running them flat out, resulting in a treble boost.
: So, I just wanted to share this information because I have not heard of anyone just replacing the amp. I'm hoping Bob Hazelwood will read this and have some comments (The guy I spoke with knew you)
Kewl. Who was he?
on the difficulties associated with calibrating this setup. I know you already commented on your setup and the approximate crossover frequencies used. I'd like to find out how to actually do this calibration and give this proposed setup a try. I'd hate to drop my car off and pick it up at the end of the day with the work completed. I get serious satisfaction doing this stuff myself and knowing how to tweak it is very important to me.
The Nokia speakers are pretty picky when it comes to the crossover. I have only done active set ups using the factory speakers, so I am not a big help when it comes to passive crossover recommendations. I only know the starting points I would pick for the tuning process. My inclination would be to start with the following passive crossover components:
Woofer: .50mH inductor in series with the positive wire. 25uF cap in series with a 4-Ohm resistor, and this combination connected in parallel to the woofer.
Midrange: 2.5-Ohm resistor, 6.8uF cap, and .05uH inductor all in series, with the resistor first in line (closest to the amplifier) and the inductor closest to the speaker. This group in series with the midrange.
Tweeter: 2.0 Ohm resistor and 2.2uF cap in series with the tweeter.
Keep in mind that I am not saying that this is the optimum crossover. It's just the components I would pick to start the tuning process with if you like to tinker. These suggestions are simply in the ballpark, not necessarily in the right seat.
BTW. For those of you intereseted in an independent test of the a/d/s/ speakers, the October 1998 issue of Car Audio and Electronics has a comparison test of the 335is against the Focal, Dynaudio and Infinity competitors.
Bob Hazelwood
'93 525i 5-sp. Sharked, BL/ss'd etc.
BMW CCA (Boston)
Re: Bob, could you rate the different setups ... (archive)(archive).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on May 28, 1999 at 08:24:33:
In Reply to: Bob, could you rate the different setups ... posted by Glenn on May 27, 1999 at 07:56:44:
: on a scale of 1-100?
Hmmm. Thats hard to do since it is so subjective. If we start by derating the max 100 by 20 points based on the theory that everybody thinks his own setup is better than everybody else thinks, then I'd call the first (Passive crossover 2-way) setup a 70 and the full active setup a 78. However, it's really easy to make the active set-up a 2 with the wrong settings, and its hard to make the passive set up lower than a 60. For the purpose of scale, I'd call the factory BMW system a 40, and a factory Honda Civic system a 50.

How much of a difference does biwiring make compared to a standard setup?
In terms of the basic system sound, not much. What I like about it is that you can fine tune the relative woofer/tweeter levels, where just using the switches in the crossover gives you a comparatively coarse +/- 3dB adjustment. This gives more flexibility in allowing for different woofer and tweeter locations than those which may have been assumed when the speakers were designed.
Using active crossovers compared to the passive ones?
A _properly set_ active can be cleaner and more dynamic than a typical passive. With a top end speaker like an a/d/s/, Diamond Audio or an MB Quart with the Musicomp crossovers the difference is actually pretty subtile. This is because those crossovers use high quality air core inductors and film capacitors in critical places. With speakers that use Iron-core inductors (IMHO one of the worst sins of compromised speaker designs) like Boston, JBL, et.al. the difference is more significant. The big problem with actives is setting them. The subtle clarity improvements are trivial compared to the not so subtle frequency response errors that will happen if they are not perfectly set.
Does bridging make an audible difference at less than loud levels?
Not really. In fact, on a strictly sound quality basis, bridging is bad. An unbridged amp is theoretically better, but this is on paper. The difference is so subtle that its audibility is doubtful. The advantage is strictly higher power, and the only time you'll hear a difference is if your power needs exceed the unbridged power, causing the amp to clip for more than a few milliseconds. If the lower power amp doesn't reach maximum power, then there is no prctical advantage to the bridged amp. However, with that said, it's unbelievable how much power is actually used on an instantaneous basis. I read that Bob Carver once demonstrated that it took over 1000W of instantaneous power to accurately reproduce the sound of a pair of scizzors at the same level which occured naturally when using a typical pair of bookshelf speakers of the day! However, again experience shows that this is theoretical, because the distortion which occurs in this example is so instantaneous that it is of negligeable audibility. It is however an interesting fun-fact :)
Best regards,
Bob
: Glenn
: : : Bob:
: : : How did you configure the amplifier's 8 channels?
: : Because my job (prior to March 1) involved evaluating various new car audio products and systems, I've actually had quite a few configurations of the P840 since it was installed. The configuration I recommend to someone who does not have a full acoustic lab at their disposal like I do is:
: : channels 1/2 to the front (335is) tweeters through the passive (335is) crossovers set to "bi-wire" mode
: : channels 3/4 to the rear (A5is) speakers through the passive crossovers of the (A5is) set for conventional single-amp use.
: : channels 5/6 bridged and 7/8 bridged and sent to the front (335is) woofers through the (335is) passive crossovers.
: : The BMW midranges are left disconnected.
: : The P2110 drives the sub.
: : The actual configuration that I personally like the best, and what I am currently running, is like this:
: : ch 1/2 front a/d/s/ 335is tweeters using the P840's active crossover set around 5kHz.
: : ch 5/6 front BMW midranges, again using the P840's crossover set for a bandpass of approx 2kHz-5kHz
: : ch 7/8 front a/d/s/ 335is woofers set for a low pass of approx 2kHz.
: : ch 3/4 running the rears as above.
: : I say "approx" on the crossover frequencies since the final positions were determined by acoustic measurement and listening, so I don't really know the exact electrical crossover point.
: : The only thing wrong with this combination which makes me hesitate to recommend it universally is that it is very easy to make it sound REALLY BAD with the wrong adjustments! This is where the acoustic lab's measurement equipment comes in really handy.
: : :And, what are the dimensions of your sub box?
: : I do not use a box. I have the 310rs running free-air mounted on a wood panel firing through the ski-bag opening. (Remember, this is an E34, not an E39). The low "Q" design of the 310rs lets it be used this way without getting muddy or boomy sounding.
: : : I want to do the upgrade but fear that the door panel's will not seat exactly as they do now - noise free.
: : That should not be a problem if you're careful. BMW assembly methods tend to be pretty well designed and are not as fussy as, say, a Mitsubishi. With reasonable care it should go together well.
: : : I was considering just wiring in a new amp and sub and not replacing the speakers. Does anyone know the max power handling of the stock system's speakers?
: : The Nokias I took out of my car are rated at 40W. Mids and tweeters will handle considerably less, but of course when they are crossed over, they only get a portion of the signal, so even if the amp is rated higher they do not actually get more than a few watts sent to them.
: : Best regards,
: : Bob
Re: 99 E39 & a/d/s stereo equipment... (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on May 26, 1999 at 10:41:54:
In Reply to: Re: 99 E39 & a/d/s stereo equipment... posted by jvr on May 25, 1999 at 19:42:15:
: Bob:
: How did you configure the amplifier's 8 channels?
Because my job (prior to March 1) involved evaluating various new car audio products and systems, I've actually had quite a few configurations of the P840 since it was installed. The configuration I recommend to someone who does not have a full acoustic lab at their disposal like I do is:
channels 1/2 to the front (335is) tweeters through the passive (335is) crossovers set to "bi-wire" mode
channels 3/4 to the rear (A5is) speakers through the passive crossovers of the (A5is) set for conventional single-amp use.
channels 5/6 bridged and 7/8 bridged and sent to the front (335is) woofers through the (335is) passive crossovers.
The BMW midranges are left disconnected.
The P2110 drives the sub.
The actual configuration that I personally like the best, and what I am currently running, is like this:
ch 1/2 front a/d/s/ 335is tweeters using the P840's active crossover set around 5kHz.
ch 5/6 front BMW midranges, again using the P840's crossover set for a bandpass of approx 2kHz-5kHz
ch 7/8 front a/d/s/ 335is woofers set for a low pass of approx 2kHz.
ch 3/4 running the rears as above.
I say "approx" on the crossover frequencies since the final positions were determined by acoustic measurement and listening, so I don't really know the exact electrical crossover point.
The only thing wrong with this combination which makes me hesitate to recommend it universally is that it is very easy to make it sound REALLY BAD with the wrong adjustments! This is where the acoustic lab's measurement equipment comes in really handy.
:And, what are the dimensions of your sub box?
I do not use a box. I have the 310rs running free-air mounted on a wood panel firing through the ski-bag opening. (Remember, this is an E34, not an E39). The low "Q" design of the 310rs lets it be used this way without getting muddy or boomy sounding.
: I want to do the upgrade but fear that the door panel's will not seat exactly as they do now - noise free.
That should not be a problem if you're careful. BMW assembly methods tend to be pretty well designed and are not as fussy as, say, a Mitsubishi. With reasonable care it should go together well.
: I was considering just wiring in a new amp and sub and not replacing the speakers. Does anyone know the max power handling of the stock system's speakers?
The Nokias I took out of my car are rated at 40W. Mids and tweeters will handle considerably less, but of course when they are crossed over, they only get a portion of the signal, so even if the amp is rated higher they do not actually get more than a few watts sent to them.
Best regards,
Bob
(archive) Re: SubWoofer Installed....

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Posted by SteveF on January 24, 1999 at 15:38:47:
In Reply to: Re: SubWoofer Installed... posted by leo on January 24, 1999 at 08:26:19:
The Amp in my car is in the left-rear, near the CD changer. You must gain access to 5 wires-- two each for the rear woofers (these wires, by the way, must not be grounded or in any way tied to a common point as this is a bridged, or floating-ground system) and to the white wire which is the off-on control. These 5 wires are all available on the rightmost connector at the top of the Amp. Using the Pionner subwoofer, three other wires must also be connected: the red and the orange wires go directly to the battery. The black wire goes to any good chassis ground.
Hope this helps.
Steve
: Please, how did you do the wiring;
: I have been thinking about the same upgrade, but `til now had been advised by my dealer not to mess with preinstalled audio in BMW !
: I have something that is in Europe called BMW Sound System upgrade on Business RDS with trunk 6 cd changer. That system has an amp in front feet area and has upgraded speakers both in front tweeters and mid/bass and rear spekers.
: So, how do I wire the bass booster ?
: //Leo
: : Just completed installing a subwoofer in my 540i. Total
: : cost, with wire, scotchlocks, etc., was around $200.
: : The result is better than I had expected.
: : After visiting four or five shops, and being quoted
: : anything from $650 to $1100, and being told that cutting or a trunk-reducing wall would be required,
: : I decided to do it myself. I had used a Bazooka in
: : a previous 325i (with fold-down rear seats), with OK
: : results. But reviews in CarAudio led me to select the
: : Pioneer TS-WX75A. They praised its deep-bass extension.
: : The '99 540i no longer has a perforated cutout for
: : the ski-tunnel option (only the rubber insulator is
: : perforated). With a solid steel wall back there, I
: : wasn't expecting too much. I'm pleasantly surprised!
: : There's adequate bass, and a borrowed real-time analyzer shows good response down to 30Hz. It's hard
: : to imagine the subjective improvement it lends to the mids and highs.
: : Using the straps provided I was able
: : to mount it up against the parcel shelf. You actually
: : don't see it when you first open the trunk.
: :
: : Steve


Re: Alternator whine from A/D/S/ P840 amp (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on April 29, 1999 at 16:30:03:
In Reply to: Alternator whine from A/D/S/ P840 amp posted by Willard on April 29, 1999 at 08:29:59:
I would suggest that you first try a better ground than the factory harness. A good AWG#10 to the chassis will help. Second, make sure you go through the level setting routine religously. Essentially, turn all the P840 input levels all the way down. Put something "typically" loud in the CD player and crank up the BMW head unit all the way. Go to the front channel level controls on the P840 and gradually increase them until you juts get to the point where you get detectable distortion from the front speakers. Then turn the radio down to a comfortable level for the rest of the process. Next bring up the rear channels so that the front/rear balance is right, and finally bring up the sub levels. When this is done, you will have the minimum input sensitivity that still provides the full uptput capability of the amp. This will minimize yet you will still get all the undistorted power the system is capable of. Essentially what you are doing in the first adjustment step (with the radio turned all the way up) is the audio equivalent of calibrating accelerator cable so that you reach full throttle with the pedal floored instead of depressed partway. If you had the accellerator cable set up so that it was full throttle only halfway down, it would sure "feel" responsive, but you really would not have any more power from the engine (as you would find when you tried to floor it and it didn't go any faster than it did halfway). Same goes for the amp, you don't need to reach full output with the volume control at less than full, and you'll get lower noise and distortion if its calibrated conservatively. The amp comes out of the box adjusted a little high for the output level of the BMW radio, so its possible that there is just a bit more gain than you really need, exacerbating the whine problem.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
Product Manager, Cambridge Soundworks (yeah, ex. a/d/s/)
'93 525i 5-sp. Sharked, BL/ss'd, H&R + Bilsteins
BMW CCA (Boston)
: I installed a new P840 amp last night on my 528i using the factory wiring...I get a minimal whine from the speakerswhen I rev the engine..
: What are the common things to check to get rid of the noise??? The only new wiring I put in was a lead from the battery..all other wiring is right from the factory Amp....Maybe I need to ground it better by using my own ground wire attached to the body of the car??
: Any help is appreciated..thanks!!!
: Will


The BMW speakers at 300 can be OK. (more) (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on March 01, 1999 at 23:26:48:
In Reply to: You cut the mids at 300??? posted by Dan on March 01, 1999 at 14:09:47:
300 Hz sounds high, but the "bass blockers" are only 6dB per octave, so it's only 6dB down at 150Hz. With the BMW, this happens to work OK because of two fortunate coincidences. First, the actual loudspeaker impedance is higher than the stated nominal 4-Ohms, effectively moving the crossover down from what is stated. It's really closer to 200Hz with the BMW speaker impedance. Second, the BMW head unit has a bass boost centered at approximately 100Hz, again effectively moving the crossover down. My guess is that the "300Hz" bass blockers are actually resulting in an acoustic crossover close to 100 or 125Hz.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
Product Manager, Cambridge Soundworks
(formerly with a/d/s/)
'93 525i. Sharked, BL/ss'd, H&R + Bilsteins
BMW CCA (Boston)
: Wow, those 10's are handling all of your sub bass, and a lot of your midrange. The lowest I'd ever cut a mid to bass is 150hz. So the amp you got has a built in line driver I assume. Very nice. Did you build your own enclosure? I'm thinking about doing one with oak. (Last two cars I've done had oak/particle board and were solid as a rock) Would you mind sending me the wiring scheme you used? Thanks a lot!
: -Dan
: E39 540i -dinan-
: : I finally took Bob Hazelwood's advice and added a subwoofer to my standard E39 stereo. The results are fantastic. It sounds like a whole new system - I would recommend doing this first (the Stage 1 upgrade on the A/D/S website) before you go out and spend the big bucks on all new speakers and having to figure out how to get them into the doors etc....
: : It was all pretty simple after figuring out what wires needed to be spliced into from the amp ( I mapped out all the wire colors if anyone needs them). I purchased a 10" Kicker Solobaric woofer with the enclosure and an A/D/S P2110 amp. I put bassblockers on the 4 factory 5 1/4 woofers to cut out the lower signals under 300. Then I spliced into the two rear outputs going into the factory amp and sent that signal to the new amp.
: : Anyone who is worried about the sealed trunk - which I have - need not worry - I only have the amp set at about 1/4 capacity and the seats in the cabin shake from the bass already! No need to cut out the ski-bag thingie. If you turn the amp higher, you end up drowning out the tweeter and mids - guess I need a new amp for those too. The amp and box fit snuggly into the back corner of the trunk leaving plenty of space back there.
: : For those unhappy with their standard stereo in the E39, this upgrade will make you alot happier with a nominal amount invested. Also, thank you Bob Hazelwood for explaining how to do the upgrade...I saved some $$ by doing it myself.
: : Willard


Installed a subwoofer this weekend.... (archive) Installed a subwoofer this weekend.... (archive).

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Posted by Willard Lee on February 28, 1999 at 22:14:35:
I finally took Bob Hazelwood's advice and added a subwoofer to my standard E39 stereo. The results are fantastic. It sounds like a whole new system - I would recommend doing this first (the Stage 1 upgrade on the A/D/S website) before you go out and spend the big bucks on all new speakers and having to figure out how to get them into the doors etc....
It was all pretty simple after figuring out what wires needed to be spliced into from the amp ( I mapped out all the wire colors if anyone needs them). I purchased a 10" Kicker Solobaric woofer with the enclosure and an A/D/S P2110 amp. I put bassblockers on the 4 factory 5 1/4 woofers to cut out the lower signals under 300. Then I spliced into the two rear outputs going into the factory amp and sent that signal to the new amp.
Anyone who is worried about the sealed trunk - which I have - need not worry - I only have the amp set at about 1/4 capacity and the seats in the cabin shake from the bass already! No need to cut out the ski-bag thingie. If you turn the amp higher, you end up drowning out the tweeter and mids - guess I need a new amp for those too. The amp and box fit snuggly into the back corner of the trunk leaving plenty of space back there.
For those unhappy with their standard stereo in the E39, this upgrade will make you alot happier with a nominal amount invested. Also, thank you Bob Hazelwood for explaining how to do the upgrade...I saved some $$ by doing it myself.
Willard


Re: Stock audio system upgrade (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on February 22, 1999 at 10:11:09:
In Reply to: Stock audio system upgrade posted by Scott on February 21, 1999 at 10:35:58:
If you're talking about using the parts from the DSP system, no. The DSP system uses a completely different signal chain from the head unit. The Standard system has four conventional analog channels, the DSP system uses two fixed gain analog channels from the radio, with a direct digital connection from the CD changer, and a digital control bus from the head unit.
The best way to upgrade the standard system is with aftermarket equipment.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
VP Product Management, a/d/s/
'93 525i 5-sp. Sharked, BL/ss'd, H&R + Bilsteins
BMW CCA (Boston)
http://www.adst.com
: Has anyone upgraded the standard audio system on an E39 5 series with the factory premium audio system? In particular, can you leave the standard head unit in place and simply upgrade the amplifier and add the rear-deck subwoofer with OEM parts from the premium system?


Re: 98 5Series Audio Upgrade? (long) (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on February 12, 1999 at 11:20:57:
In Reply to: 98 5Series Audio Upgrade? posted by Dj Kang on February 11, 1999 at 23:55:55:
Good equipment choice ;-)
Installing the equipment you have is actually pretty simple. Your dealer is probably getting confused by the two-chassis radio in the front. The thing in the dash is just a display/control panel. The radio is a "black box" mounted out of sight. That's where the tuner and preamp circuitry is located. The amplifier is in the trunk behind the CD changer.
First, In an E39, E38, and E46, don't even think about replacing the head unit! Unless you have just won Powerball, it's not worth it. It will be an improvement, but it will be a small one and not worth the time and effort. The actual radio/cd electronics in the factory system are suprisingly good. It's just that you can't tell that through the factory amp and speakers. Have your dealer ignore everything electronic forward of the back seat, and simply pull out the factory amp behind the CD player. Everything they will need to connect the new system will be right there.
You have four channels of signal from the radio, 6 pairs of speaker wires from the front system (2 woofers, 2 midranges, 2 tweeters), 4 pairs of wires from the rear (2 woofers, 2 tweeters), remote turn-on wire (white), power, and ground. The only wire that should not be used is the power wire, because it is too small for the new amp you have. (The ground is kind of small too, but it is a short run so the resistance is much less than on the power wire. It won't hurt to run a new one, but it's not absolutely necessary.) Fortunately, running a new power wire is really easy with the battery in the trunk.
Connecting the P840 then becomes a simple matter of removing the proprietary BMW plugs from the harness, and replacing them with appropriate connectors to mate with the P840. In order to facilitate easy replacement of the BMW system in my own car (E34), I cut the BMW harness back 6" from the factory connecors. Then, I purchased Molex "Mini-Fit Jr." series connectors from Digi Key Electronics (http://www.digikey.com). I installed these connectors on the BMW harness, and their mates on the part I cut off. This way I can just plug it back together when I'm ready to put the car to pasture. Then I made another set of cables with the Molex connectors on one end and connectors on the other end to mate with the amps/crossovers. I used a 12-pin connector for the front speaker wires, an 8-pin for the rear speakers, and a 10-pin connector for the signal from the radio, ground, and remote turn-on. You could probably put these all on one connector, but I like to separate them by function since I do a lot of experimenting.
The four radio signal leads should ultimately terminate in RCA plugs and connect directly to the P840 inputs. The speaker leads will connect to the outputs of the respective a/d/s/ crossovers, and the only "new" wiring will be from the P840 speaker outputs to the inputs of the a/d/s/ crossovers. This will be standard speaker wire. I wish I could help you out with the color code, but I've been unable to get my hands on E39 documentation so far.
The speaker installation is pretty easy for any installer worth paying, There will be a little "futzing" to get everything sealed and solid, but no more than any other car, so this should not throw anybody for a loop.
Do NOT let your installer run new wires up front for the signal from the radio. You WILL get alternator noise! There is NOTHING better than twisted pair wiring for running low-level signal in a noisy environment, and that's what BMW already uses! Don't fall for the marketing hype of expensive audio cables. This is not home audio, the priorities are different. (Guess I better put my flame suit on now) Speaking of flames, pay for good wire, fuse block, and connectors for the power wiring though. It's a safety issue.
Subwoofers can take a lot of forms, depending on what you are after. In the DSP system, BMW cuts a couple of 3" holes in the rear deck for a bandpass enclosure. You can also cut through the center of the rear seat area (where the ski-bag option goes), for a 10" or 12" driver. This could be in an enclosure or infinite baffle. You can also get pretty good results without cutting anything if the subwoofer is powerful enough, but it's better to cut. The Ski bag area is not really structurally significant, early 5's had a punch-out panel there. It's basically left in place for noise reduction. (I wouldn't go overboard with the cutting though!)
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
VP Product Management, a/d/s/
'93 525i 5-sp. Sharked, BL/ss'd, H&R + Bilsteins
BMW CCA (Boston)
http://www.adst.com
: I have a 98 528i Sport Package with non premium sound system. And I was planning to upgrade my stock audio system. I went to couple of audio dealers around my town, however, I didn't get any clear answer from any of them. Because new 5 series has longer face unit, it is difficult to install with din size face unit. And also, if I stick with factory face unit, it is also difficult to upgrade amp and subs. Because, bmw audio uses factory amp as a tuner. I already bought A/D/S/ 335is 336is speakers and P840 amp. I also wanted to get subs and new face unit for my car. I will be appreciated if anyone tell me how to upgrade my lousy stock audio system.


Re: Standard E39 Sound syetem (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on February 11, 1999 at 14:41:06:
In Reply to: Standard E39 Sound syetem posted by Gwynne Spencer on February 10, 1999 at 15:13:30:
Fortunately, the standard system is pretty straight-forward. There are four channels of common ground signal from the radio running through twisted pair wiring back to the amp location behind the CD changer. Then, a set of wires from each individual speaker location comes right back to the same place. You could not ask for a more upgrade-friendly set up!
An unusual but effective way to upgrade the midrange is to add a subwoofer.
Huh?
That's right, a subwoofer! It is not uncommon for the muddy effect to be generated by the same small 5-1/4" speaker moving so far trying to generate bass that the cone is distorting everything else too. By adding even a small subwoofer, and simultaneously taking appropriate measures to block the bass from the main speakers (200uF bi-polar capacitors in series with each 5-1/4" speaker), the midrange will clean up rather nicely. Knocking only one octave off of the low end of the midrange speakers will reduce 75% of the cone motion. This is what we call the "level 1" upgrade on our web site.
If this is not enough, the next step is to upgrade power and/or speakers. This can be done to all, or selectively. My value oriented suggestion is to upgrade the front system and leave the rear. That is unless you are chauffer driven, then do the reverse;-)
The nice thing about the BMW architecture is that all the necessary system connections are accessable in one place. The radio/CD is pretty good, and the signal levels present from the radio will plug right into an aftermarket amplifier without requiring line output converters or any similar band-aids. You will need to change the plugs from BMW's proprietary connectors to RCA jacks, but that is relatively trivial.
We'll have all the standard system wiring color codes up on our web site in a few days.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
VP Product Management, a/d/s/
'93 525i 5-Sp. Sharked, BL/ss'd, H&R + Bilsteins
BMW CCA (Boston)
http://www.adst.com
: Now if someone will just do the same for the non premium system (Mysteries of the "premium" DSP / AMP) - I will be forever grateful. I have fairly severe high frequency hearing loss (no, not rock music, just some big guns, mostly 5" :) )and would like to clean up the mid range - it sure sounds a bit "muddy" to me.
: Gwynne Spencer



Re: Mysteries of the "premium" DSP / AMP (archive)

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on February 11, 1999 at 14:20:03:
In Reply to: Re: Mysteries of the "premium" DSP / AMP posted by Mike Barone on February 10, 1999 at 17:32:17:
This basically tells us that the Stage 1 is about as far as you can inexpensively take the upgrade path. Jim's method of tapping off the output of the D/A converters directly will yield the best signal, but with a suitable balanced to unbalanced converter, tapping off the subwoofer speaker output will work OK too. BTW, If you are using a P4100 in your upgrade, you will not need the balance to unbalanced converter, just leave the switch on the P4100 in "Balanced" mode.
The modified "level 2" step with the DSP system is adding upgrade amplification to the factory speakers. The reason for keeping the factory speakers is that the DSP generated crossover settings will not be able to be altered for any new speakers you would add. Fortunately, the mid/high range speakers are not too bad. The 5-1/4" midbass speakers could use some improvement. Upgrading the amps are a viable way to improve performance since most of the the distortion of the built-in BMW amps will virtually go away once it is not driving a loudspeaker load. There are some logical limits to how to do this. First, you'd want to do the whole front, or whole rear system together. Personally, I'd just do the front and leave the rear on the BMW amp. Secondly, since you need 6-channels of amplification for the front, use a single 6-channel amp. Using multiple 2-channel amps is simply asking for ground-loop related noise problems. A P640 would work well here. Finally, the balanced to unbalanced converter used should have a load impedance higher than 100 Ohms. If it is one of those converters which tries to simulate a speaker load (about 50% of the ones I've seen do), then you do not get any distortion reduction benefit since the BMW amp will think it's still connected to speakers. With a proper high impedance converter, the distortion of the chip in the BMW amp will dramatically reduce. Not as much as with a real preamp output, but enough to make a real improvement in the sound with the new amp.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood

:
: Bob or Jim L---
: I am having my a/d/s stage one upgrade installed next week. Can I put any of this new found information to good use? Are there any special instructions that I should give to the installer?
: Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. And, Jim L, thanks for an amazing post.
: Mike



Re: Aftermarket Audio for E39? (archive))).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on February 11, 1999 at 13:26:47:
In Reply to: Re: Mysteries of the posted by JimL on February 10, 1999 at 15:24:42:
: :
: The TDA1560Q is internally bridged (BTL). The datasheet for this part is available on the web on the philips web site. It's a .pdf file. The "typical" application diagram in figure 6 is exactly what BMW uses. The charge pump caps (C1,C2) are 3300uF.
Duh! You're right. I should have remembered this, but as one gets older the grey matter starts to lose a few bytes. ;-)
: : While in there, did you notice if they happen to have the operation software on a plug-in EPROM?
: I was going to ask you about that. I forgot to write down the part number. THere is a custom control chip made by Motorola for BMW. It's called ZC... something or other. And it's labeled "BMW DSP-1". I assume that this chip decodes the I2C signals coming from the front of the car and tells the DSPs what to do. I think the 56004's are the ROMless parts, but I could be wrong.
I'll have to look it up, but I think you're right. This might open up the possibility of some BMW friendly aftermarket supplier providing software upgrades like Jim C does for the DME.
: I'll open the box again and post the exact part number.
Thanks. Or you can E-mail me if you think this might bore the rest of the message board users.
: Bob, about a replacement sub box. I was looking at the JL Audio Stealthbox for the Audi A4. http://www.jlaudio.com/stealthbox/audia4.html. Do you have anything like this for sale?
Unfortunately not. We have some suitable drivers, to use in a custom box but we don't currently do any enclosures. I'd be happy to work out a design which could be duplicated by a good installer for use with one of our woofers if you'd like. Maybe you could E-mail me a sketch of what's there noe with some key measurements. I'm surrounded by E34's, but I happen to be E39 access-less around here right now.
: How would you recommend mounting a sub in this car? The factory bandpass box sits under the rear deck and fires through two small (approx 3") holes leading into the passenger compartment. The problem is, if I go to one or two 8" or 10" drivers, how do I position them for best sound and least waste of space?
It seems that the factory box probably uses the least useable space, since most of us aren't in the habit of sticking our stuff to the roof of the trunk. A suitable replacement box may be able to even use the existing bandpass holes. My initial thought would be to use a hybrid of bandpass and infinite baffle. Essentially this would be made up of the vented side of the bandpass where you'd logically expect it to be, and the sealed side replaced with "nothing". Essentially replacing the sealed chamber with the trunk volume. A company called ACA has this patented, so it can't be legally used commercially, but it is a viable solution to construct for "personal" use. I am using a simple 10" infinite baffle woofer firing through the ski-bag opening in my E34. It works very well. Tight, clean, goes very low, and I can still fit all the "stuff" required for travel by my 2-1/2 year old and two week old daughters. Unfortunately, BMW stopped putting the Ski-bag opening in E39's unless it had the factory installed bag. It's still safe to cut there though if you consider this an acceptable option.
Best regards,
Bob



Re: Mysteries of the "premium" DSP / AMP (archive)

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Posted by JimL on February 10, 1999 at 15:24:42:
In Reply to: Re: Mysteries of the "premium" DSP / AMP posted by Bob Hazelwood on February 10, 1999 at 12:03:06:
: Great information! Thanks for posting it. I have been dying to get my hands on one of these systems to investigate it for some time, but it has been hard to find any "take-outs" yet.
: I am very familiar with the Philips chip, as I evaluated and rejected it for a project I was working on some time ago. There is hope however for those who do not want to go inside the DSP "box" to get a reasonable signal to drive a sub amp. If the speaker output of the chip is unloaded by driving a high impedance instead of the specified 8-Ohms, then the distortion drops dramatically until it is in the <0.1% neighborhood. Therefore, connecting it to a typical external amplifier with an input impedance above 10kOhm should give good enough results for subwoofer use. The problem is that many of the "line output converters" that people insist on using simulate a speaker load, so this distortion reduction is often not realized in practical applications. A direct to amp connection without converters should work well with any amp with sufficient input level range.
You're probably right about this. Grabbing the low level signal is probably not worth it for most people.

Is BMW using a bridge configuration, or is it single-ended? I would imagine single ended is the way to go with this chip since it's not all that stable.
The TDA1560Q is internally bridged (BTL). The datasheet for this part is available on the web on the philips web site. It's a .pdf file. The "typical" application diagram in figure 6 is exactly what BMW uses. The charge pump caps (C1,C2) are 3300uF.
The subs are dual voice coil, so there are a total of 4 TDA1560Q's in the system.
Is it the same for all the channels?
The tweets are powered by TDA8566Q's, which are 2x25W BTL stereo amps.

: While in there, did you notice if they happen to have the operation software on a plug-in EPROM?
I was going to ask you about that. I forgot to write down the part number. THere is a custom control chip made by Motorola for BMW. It's called ZC... something or other. And it's labeled "BMW DSP-1". I assume that this chip decodes the I2C signals coming from the front of the car and tells the DSPs what to do. I think the 56004's are the ROMless parts, but I could be wrong.
I'll open the box again and post the exact part number.
Bob, about a replacement sub box. I was looking at the JL Audio Stealthbox for the Audi A4. http://www.jlaudio.com/stealthbox/audia4.html. Do you have anything like this for sale?
I haven't seen a good option for the E39 yet that gives good bass without sacrificing too much trunk space. I'm probably facing a custom install.
How would you recommend mounting a sub in this car? The factory bandpass box sits under the rear deck and fires through two small (approx 3") holes leading into the passenger compartment. The problem is, if I go to one or two 8" or 10" drivers, how do I position them for best sound and least waste of space?
A friend brought over his Hsu 12" sub mounted in a sealed box that we hooked up to a 600W MTX amp. We threw that in the trunk and it sounded GREAT. Tight, clean, powerful. I'm obviously looking for a more permanent and less "brute force" solution.
Any tips you can provide would be appreciated!
Thanks,
/JimL



Mysteries of the "premium" DSP / AMP (archive).

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Posted by JimL on February 10, 1999 at 00:04:01:
In the name of science :), I took apart the premium DSP/EQ/AMP in my E39, and learned alot about what it is and isn't.
At the heart of the system are two Motorola 56004 DSPs. These will each handle 6 separate audio channels, so the pair handle 12. 6 up front: tweet, mid, bass. 4 in back: tweet, rear deck. 2 sub channels.
The 56004's have two digital inputs. One is from the Alpine head unit, converted to digital through an Analog Devices 16-bit stereo ADC... the AD1877. The second digital input is directly from the CD-changer.
The 56004's handle the 7-band EQ, variable "loudness", volume, balance, fade, and crossover functions. Unfortunately, the crossover function is hardwired into the program, so you can't adjust this. For example, if you wanted to go to a 2-way setup up front, you're stuck with the x-over adjusted for the factory 3-way setup. 12 separate digital streams are generated, which feed into 6 stereo 18-bit DACs (AD1859).
These low level signals are then fed into 12 "power" amps. These are actually a joke. The mids and bass are amplified by a Class-B/H chip made by Philips: TDA1560Q. This part is rated 40W into a 8-ohm load at 10% THD. It's half that at 1% THD. Below 100Hz, the power rating drops precipitously.
I experimented by tapping the output of the subwoofer DAC and feeding this low level signal directly to an external amp. The result was great. Very clean. You avoid the distortion of the TDA1560Q this way. However, you need to be comfortable with soldering small wires onto the PC board. Worth it if you want a really clean result.
It was a fun and educational project. Disappointing to find that the $1000 option had less than $100 worth of parts. It could have been so much more... sigh.
/Jim



Do it like this Will (archive) Re: Aftermarket Audio for E39? (archive).

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Posted by Dan on May 02, 1999 at 17:31:12:
In Reply to: Special directions to remove door panels? posted by Willard on May 02, 1999 at 15:13:21:
First, remove the screw in the air vent opening on the inside of the door. Then, use a teeny flathead screwdriver to remove the round trim piece behind the door handle. From there, edge your fingers around the lower part of the door panel near the front, get a good grip, and PULL! The plastic tabs holding it on will give in that spot. Next, go around the perimeter of the door panel, pulling it free as you did with the first pull (Not too hard though!) until you get to the top of each side. Once the top is the only thing holding it on, grab the handle near the window switches, then take hold of the upper part of the panel, and pull up. Rockthe panel from side to side if it's giving you trouble, and the clips holding the panel on will give. It is important to pull up because there is flange in the middle of the panel that connects to the metal, and can only be released or replaced by vertical maneuvers. The speaker is enclosed in a plastic thingy that runs the length of the door. I think you will need to make new holes if the pattern in your speakers isn't the same as stock. Good luck!
-Dan
: Is there anything I should know about the side airbags in the door panels before I try and replace the front speakers? I searched the archives and there is no mention about having to do anything for the airbag...so its just a couple screws and the door panel pops off??
: Thanks in advance,
: Will



Re: 2000 540i STEREO UPGRADE QUESTIONS? (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on March 14, 2000 at 11:29:49:
In Reply to: 2000 540i STEREO UPGRADE QUESTIONS? posted by TC on March 14, 2000 at 01:09:03:
I am not familiar with the specific "audiophile system" designation that you speak of, but BMW appears to be refreshingly consistent with the system components in the various versions they offer. The stuff uses software which reconfigures its feature set depending on what other components are plugged into the digital control bus. It sounds confusing, but once you start playing with it the logic of it becomes your friend. The important component is the tuner/preamp chassis, which looks just like a standard DIN in-dash radio chassis without a front panel. This is mounted out back with the changer and amp, and has the same connector as the older BMW in dash units. The thing in the dash is just a control panel and source transport (in the past this has been cassette in US and cassette or CD elsewhere.) In the standard systems, the NAV and CD changer plug into this tuner/preamp chassis, which provides the source switching and standard preamp functions like volume, balance, bass, treble, and fader. Output from this is common ground, 4V "preamp" output. On the DSP system, the NAV still plugs in to this chassis, but the changer has an SPDIF digital connection directly to the DSP/amp instead of the normal analog connection to the tuner preamp. The audio from the radio and cassette is fixed level, two channel only, when the DSP amp is installed. The software reactivates the balance fader and volume functions once the DSP amp is removed, so everything works like a standard system, making it a trivial exercise to interface to the signal at this point. If you find yourself removing the DSP amp, you will have to install the BMW CD changer cable from the standard system if the car also has a changer. I have not seen a vehicle with the in-dash CD, so I am not certain how they get the signal to the rear of the vehicle. My guess is that it comes through the same route as the cassette signal, which implies that you do not need to be concerned with it. The existance or absence of NAV or a CD changer does not change anything as far as tapping into an output signal is concerned once the DSP amp is absent from the system.
This link to my previous post may give you some more insight:
http://www.bimmer.org/5series/messages/archive/msgsy1999w51/33631.html
It's actually not too difficult once you have all the parts in front of you and you can see what I'm referring to in person.
The speakers are pretty straight-forward 3-ways up front and two ways in the back. The DSP system also adds a couple of tiny DVC subwoofers under the rear shelf. The general upgrade path is 5-1/4" two ways to replace the factory stuff, leaving the midranges unconnected. The only complication comes from the fact that the front 5-1/4" woofers are DVC units, with the second VC used for the BMW phone. If the car you are working on has this, the best solution is to route this signal to some accessory speaker mounted below the dash - or connect it to the potentially unused old BMW midrange.
Best regards,
Bob
: I am a stereo installer and also owner of a '97 M3. I had a customer come in the other day with a 2000 540i with the audiophile upgrade including the indash business cd player. I am trying to come up with ideas to upgrade his system. After reading through the Forum, most of what I've read involved factory systems with either DSP or navigation. My question is... are the DSP or navigation system much different from the audiophile upgrade when it comes to adding an after-market amplifier/speaker upgrade? Also, can the front speakers accomodate a three-speaker system setup
: (5 1/4, 4", tweeter) or are the door speaker grill covers just there for show? I would appreciate any info you can offer me. I would like to be as well informed as possible before I start ripping this guy's absolutely beautiful 2000 540i 6-speed bimmer apart.



Getting pre-out from the DSP system
My upgrade :) ... (archive) ).


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Posted by spacey on March 12, 2000 at 09:09:04:
In Reply to: Re: (Upgraded) Subwoofer placement in E39 posted by D.Comer on March 12, 2000 at 07:51:33:
After a lot of cursing, deliberating and research here's what I came up with. It is still work in progress but the sound is sweet already :) So... read on and drool ;-) (I get all foamy at the mouth just writing this...)
Amplifier: A/D/S/ PX/a - 4x75W RMS + 2x25W RMS + 2x125W RMS. Configured to run 2x200RMS for the front, 2x25W RMS for the rear and 1x500W RMS for the sub. The amp is supported by two 1F Lightning audio caps. The amp is huge - 25"x15.5"x3" and is mounted on the back of the sub box flanked by the caps on both sides. It looks very cool, sort of like a large and sophisticated "explosive device" if you don't know what it is :)
Processor (optional): Alpine PXA-H600 - phase and time delay processor with parametric EQ. I am not sure I will end up keeping this piece because it is competing with the Velodyne servo controller for the phase and other characteristics of the sub signal.
Front L&R speakers: MB Quart Q 5 1/4" mid, 1" titanium tweet.
Rear L&R speakers: MB Quart RKC 113, 5 1/4" coax.
Subwoofer: Velodyne DF-12sc (alluminun 12", servo control w/ practically no distortion :). The sub is mounted in a 2 ft^3 sealed box located behind the rear seat (I have the folding rear seat option) , firing forward into the ski bag opening. The skip bag is removed, so when you fold down the arm rest you can see the sub through the hole. Ultimately there will be a nice grille covered in grey speaker cloth to conceal the opening. Even with the arm rest folded up the sound is great, and actually not much different than with the armrest down.
At present I have all of the stuff in the car and it is playing but is not yet set up 100% correctly. For one thinkg the Velodyne servo controller isn't hooked up so the sub is playing just as any other "plain" sub would. It sounds great compared to what was (or. wasn't ;-) there before, but it will get much better with the servo control connected properly. Otherwise we just have a few cosmetic thigs to finish. Like a rear stealth baffle covered with carpet so when you open the trunk you can't see the amp/caps etc. Another thing to do is the ski bag opening sub grille and a front baffle when you fold the seats down so it looks decent. That's all I can think of for now but I am sure more will occur to me as time passes :)
Oh, and the all important source connections... I have the standard (non/DSP) sound system with the Nav. We were able to just get pre-amp signal directly from the radio and hook it up to the PXA-H600 processor with no signal conversion (for now, but it will also work directly with the PX/a amp). This last one is kind of surprising because the processor has a 850mV imput sensitiviy and the radio output is I think about 5V. Anyway... I am pretty sure I will end up just going directly to the amp, which will be even better because it can take up to 6V.
space :D



If you do all the work yourself (more)..... (archive)).

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Posted by Frank B on February 10, 2000 at 19:33:53:
In Reply to: Re: BMW stereos suck. Spend the money aftermarket posted by james on February 10, 2000 at 17:03:35:
For a little more than $1200 you can install a decent upgrade for the stock system provided you do all the labor yourself (figure about a weekend's worth of work). Check the archives for wiring details -- there are a few good websites. For about $600 you can get a decent 5 channel amp (Sony XM7557 -- 4x75w + 1x150w). You can get decent 2-way seperates for the front speakers for about $250. Put a pair of coax speakers in the rear deck - $200. Add another $300-400 for a subwoofer.
My install is going to be more (currently in the shop) because I have a DSP system which is very complicated to work around if you want to do it right. The labor alone for my install is around $1000, so that is where you can really save. If I didn't have the DSP system, I would have done the work myself -- I am not confident enough in my knowledge of the complex wiring issues the DSP poses (although there is quite a lot of info in the archives).
I am putting in a Mcintosh amp which is 440Watts - 6channels. The sub will be mounted in a custom box firing through the fold-down rear armrest. The sub box will go across the front of the trunk along the rear seats, and will have the amp mounted on the back of it (it is a huge amp).
It is amazing how much better a good system will sound than the factory system. It doesn't even need to be too complex to rock. All you really need for a very good sounding system is a good multi channel amp with decent power, good speakers, and a subwoofer. My old VW Passat had a nice system which I installed myself that was fairly simple. I had a 4 channel Hifonics amp (50x4). I had Polk seperates in the front mounted in the stock locations, and a Kicker 12" solobaric sub mounted in a homemade box in the trunk. I had 2 channels up front (high pass) and bridged the other two channels to the sub (low pass). The amp had a built in crossover making life easy. This simple 5 channel setup blew away any factory system I have ever heard. Nothing even comes close. Oh yeah, I forgot to add that I had a Sony head unit with a Sony 10 disc changer in the trunk. The entire system cost me about $1300 and I installed it in about 10 hours.
Good luck.
: How about for around $1200, can I still get a descent upgrade? Thanks.
:
: : The best thing to do is get the stock system and upgrade it by replacing the amp and speakers with quality stuff. You can keep the stock head unit so the interior looks stock. Don't by the DSP unit because it makes the upgrade much more complex. You can have an awesome system installed for about $2000-3000. If you like good sound, that is the way to go rather than waste $1200 on the DSP system which is horrible.
: :
: : : Is the Harmon Kardon worth the money in the BMW ??



(archive) Jim Cash Advice).

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Posted by Dan B on February 03, 2000 at 18:00:28:
In Reply to: Re: Alternative Mounting posted by isamu on February 03, 2000 at 17:15:46:
I believe that you can buy the correct cable (Or alpine cable with adapter) and leave the stock one in its existing location. (More trouble than its worth to take out) Remove the passenger seat by the four bolts at the ends of the seat rail and unhook the wiring harness from the floor that powers the seat. Plan on routing the cable through the same carpet hole as the power wire to the chair. Now you'll want to remove the panels from the underside of the console leading to the rear of the head unit. (The left side of the passenger leg compartment)I don't know how to do this (Jim?) but once the trim is off, you'll want to thread the CD cable through to the back of the console and into the plug on the back of the head unit. Coil the excess up and tie it off. Put the chair back in and reconnect the power to it before you actually install the changer. With the changer hooked up and before you put your whole interior back together, make sure that the changer works. Now you can go ahead and resassemble the interior.
This is basically how to do it. I usually play this kind of thing by ear and have fun with it. Just make absolute sure that you get the right kind of cable, and that you remove and reinstall your seat carefully so that you don't gouge the interior or paint on your car.
-Dan B

: cool! is the wiring hard to work out? i imagine there's a wire already running to the trunk so not sure how'd get that baby routed under the passenger seat. please advise as this sounds like a great alternative to the problematic nak unit.
:
: : If you feel adventurous I know that an Alpine 6 disk, and possibly the 12 disk with adapter will fit in the first aid kit spot under the passanger seat. I'm planning on moving the stock 6 disk changer to that location this summer when I have more time.
: : -Dan B
: :
: : : How much of the glove box does it take up?
: : :
: : : : I have one.
: : : : $400
: : : : Had it choke on one set of CD's. Dealer replaced it free of charge.
: : : : It is REALLY slow.
: : : : I'd still get it again. I hate changing CD's in the trunk.
: : : : : anyone have the nakamichi glove box CD changer? price? problems? thanks



Re: In defense of BMW's head units (archive) ).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on December 28, 1999 at 10:57:03:
In Reply to: a/d/s/, DSP, sub & amp. But still not satisfied, posted by D Kang on December 28, 1999 at 07:17:01:
In my prior life at a/d/s/ I had the opportunity to have a mobile audio demonstration system made which travelled with our trainer that demonstrated the a/d/s/ level 1/2/3/ upgrades. Some of you may have seen this at some of the seminars a/d/s/ had with the various CCA chapters. I assume it is still being used. In this system, the BMW head unit correctly interfaced with an aftermarket amp could be compared with a high-end aftermarket head unit. While I was there we used an Alpine. The interesting thing to note was that listeners universally agreed that: on CD, there was no appreciable difference in performance between the BMW head unit and the aftermarket unit! . This goes counter to the experience reported by many people on the various boards, but in a controlled experiment it is clearly the case. FM however is another story, the BMW radio is somewhat rolled-off in the high end, and has limited separation. This is a trade-off for lower noise and less multipath distortion. You will get lower fidelity with the BMW radio, but will most likely get more stations, so "better" becomes a matter of what is best for you. On CD at least I would have to attribute at least some reports of better sound with an afermarket head unit to outside influences, not something intrinsincly second-rate about the BMW unit. I say this primarily because changing the head unit itself will change the situation. For example, putting in a new head unit usually results in adjusting amp levels. This alone negates the ability to compare sound quality alone, as system balance will invariably be shifted. Also, as the result of the mis-conception that installers have, where most erroneously think the BMW radios are high powered, some install powered head units driving the BMW amp. This boosts the level high enough so that when you turn it on, it sounds like the system is more powerful at low settings. In fact, the system really doesn't play any louder, since this is ultimately determined by the point where the BMW amp runs out of power. The listener gets fooled though by the louder sound at "normal" volume control settings. Studies have shown that a product playing as little as 1/2dB louder will be perceived as "better" even when it's the identical product! I've demonstrated this effect to roomfulls of people in seminars by telling them I was switching components when what I was really doing was switching in a 1/2dB attenuator. The level difference was so small that no-one heard it as louder, but the overwhelming response was that the louder one was "better". What I'm saying is that what you perceive may have more to do with tweaks done during the process than the equipment itself. Sometimes I wonder if installers do not adjust the OEM head units as carefully on purpose. Here I go getting cynical again, of course that would never happen ;-). The other mistake installers generally make is to install line-output converters in the BMW radio output lines. These are not necessary with almost all modern-day amplifiers, and most absolutely ruin the performance potential. The correct approach is to choose a power amp (or DSP unit in your case) with the proper input sensitivity range and plug the BMW Radio directly into the amp. This is not to say that some head units are not better than others, it's just a defense that the BMW unit itself is not as bad as it's reputation. Without a controlled AB comparison, its almost impossible to draw the true conclusion of the performance comparison.
Now FM, that's another story! You are almost guaranteed to get a cleaner, more open and well-defined sound from an aftermarket radio here. However be prepared to trade off some weak station performance, and put up with more fluttering in urban areas to get it. This is particularly acute in the BMW because of the rear window antenna system.
Cassette is probably a dead heat. It's performance has more to do with unit-to-unit azimuth adjustment differences than either the BMW or aftermarket unit actually being superior.
So in conclusion (finally!) I'm not saying you're wrong to want to upgrade the head unit. I'm not even saying it won't end up sounding better. What I am saying is that it is possible to get excellent sound (on CD at least)while maintaining the stock radio. I suspect that there is still a bit of tweaking that could be done with your existing equipment to squeeze out more performance for less than you will spend on a new head unit.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
: I have installed a/d/s/ 335is.2 in front, 336is in rear, Alpine ERA-G320 DSP(It is right on top of the main radio control unit and cassette player is in glove box), Rockford Fosgate Punch DVC 10"sub and RF Punch 600a5 Amp with factory radio. It is much better than stock radio, but, I'm still not satisfied with my systems(Although I spent around $3000). I think the problem is caused by the stock radio. So, I'm getting a new head unit. I think this is the only way to get the sounds that I'm looking for. If you are looking for the killer sound system, than you will definitely need to get a new head unit along with other things. That means you will have to sacrifice integrated steering wheel controls... If you want to maintain factory finish(want to keep that "flap") on your vehicle while installing a new head unit, than you can get trim panel from Germany which is just made to fit E39. a/d/s/ upgrade will make sounds much better than stock system, but if you are planning to use factory radio with that upgrade, I think it is just waste of money. You can also get the similar sound with cheaper speakers and amp. If you are considering to get a new head unit, than try Nakamichi MB-100 or Sony ES CDX-C90, MB-100 has a 24Bit D/A converter and Sony has a 20Bit D/A converter. Most of the cd players have only 1Bit D/A converter. If you hear and compare them, you will notice the differences in that numbers... I'm getting a MB-100, because it handles 6 cd instead of one...
: I will keep in post when I get a new head unit.
: 98 528i sport w/5sp.



DSP sound system upgrade update. (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on December 20, 1999 at 19:06:32:
Maybe I've been watching Blues Clues with my 3-1/2 year old daughter too much, but once I finally got to see one of these new fangled DSP systems in person, a coupla (sic) things led to the fact that the system is
a lot simpler than we all thought. Ya gotta just love German logic!
As it turns out, the DSP "radio" is exactly the same radio that is in the non DSP system! So, all the same
functions and connections are present to do the same amp and speaker upgrades as the DSP cars. This is good news for those of you who are looking to upgrade.
Here is how it works:
1. The present DSP system has the controls up front, which appears to be irrelevant to the discusson (at
least in the car I saw with Nav.)
2. The front conrols operate a separate "radio" chassis, the Nav, the CD player etc. through the
communication bus. The radio itself is a small box about 2 x 7 x 5 with the same connector that BMW uses
for it's in dash radios in one corner. Present on this connector are the left and right audio signals from the
radio. These are only two channels, containing only radio and cassette signals, and they are unaffected by
any of the volume, balance, or tone controls. They happen to be in the same pin locations as the Left front and right front connections on the in-dash BMW radios from E36 and E34 models. (Clue #1) Below this
connector are two smaller rectangular connectors which will soon play a part in the solution.
3.The CD changer has a power and digital bus connection. There is a digital connection from the CD
changer to the box which contains the DSP plus amplifier. There is a rectangular connection which is
unused, and matches the unused connector on the radio. (Clue #2)
4.Finally, investigation of the radio showed that the PCB was fully stuffed, (no missing parts) and the PCB
around the large connector showed designations for LR and RR signals. (Clue #3)
As in Blue's Clues, we now know pretty much all the important facts.
It became apparent that the only difference between the DSP electronic hardware was the addition of the
DSP "box" itself, and a different wiring harness! And, oh yeah, that laughable "subwoofer".
Then the final test: disconnect the DSP box, fire up the system and, Voila! The DSP selection dissappears
from the menu, and Bass Treble Balance and Fader appear. The darn thing is Plug and Play! When you
don't have the DSP on the bus, the radio output starts to work like the standard system, and its basic
functions return to the analog outputs. The two things which remain are to get the signal from the CD
changer to the radio, and to get to the rear channel connections of the radio output. The first involves buying the short wiring harness used for this purpose in the non-DSP systems. This is a standard BMW part. The second involves buying four of the connector sockets which mate with the radio connectors and inserting them into the open holes of the plastic plug which goes to the radio. They go into the same positions used for rear speakers on he conventional radio. Then just take the DSP box and post it on E-bay, or save it for the
end of the lease. Unfortunately, I do not know part numbers for the BMW cable and the connectors, but you sould be able to get them from your BMW parts dept. Since Rich was nice enough to let me share the broad knowledge, I respect his desire to keep the finer details of these findings from his immediate market area competition by not posting pin locations and part numbers. However, there should be enough information in this post so that those of you who are knowledgeable enough that you should be attempting to do this yourself in the first place will be able to take it from here. Or, if you're in New England, drop your car off at Rich's Car Tunes and have them do the job. If you're not in the Boston area, give Rich a call and ask him to put a kit together with the parts you need and instructions. Of course, your local installer should be able to figure it out from this post as well. If they can't, DON'T LEAVE YOUR CAR WITH THEM!
Disclaimer: I have no connection to Rich's other than to acknowledge that since they were a key player in
figuring this mystery out they deserve some gratitude, or is that "gratuity" ;-).
Best regards,



Re: DSP stereo (archive)).

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Posted by Andrew on November 16, 1999 at 15:59:41:
In Reply to: DSP stereo posted by Peter on November 15, 1999 at 20:10:40:
The gist of the problem is that there are 12 amplified channels comming out of the DSP amp. There is no pre-amp level going to the DSP unit. FM / tape, enters the DSP amp, at a pre-amp level, but it is not volume adjusted, doing you no good. Anyway, while most decent amps will take the amplified channels as input, most people want to use 5 channels of amplification (2 fr, 2 rear, 1 sub). Getting from 12 -> 5 is the hard part. This is compounded by the fact that the DSP filters the output for their (crappy) speakers.
The most successful upgrades on the DSP unit is to take out the factory subs under the rear deck, add your own, and add some venting to the rear deck to allow the subs to pass through. In this case you'd just amplify the subs. Another variation is to replace the speakers in the factory sub enclosure and add amps as mentioned previously.
In my car I have the rear speaker inputs combined using some gizmo my installers have used before. This then runs four channels. So I have no fade, and ~100-300 Hz is missing. I have 2 solobaric 10" subs where the spare tire used to be. It really sounds bizarre in most cases as there is great sub-bass, but no "hit". For example the snare drum is basically missing all together.
My plan is to grab the full spectrum pre-amp signal out of the amp if I can ever find it. That's another long story.
Hope that clears it up for you ;-)
: I know there has been many posts about DSP stereo, but nothing very clear.
: A stereo place is saying without a doubt they can add subs to my system that will sound great.
: They plan on firing sub into trunk but remove part of rearseat firewall so sound will travel through.
: They said they will take amp signal from DSP amp and add additional amp.
: Any addvise, I would love to hear a system before doing it.
: thanks



Re: Hmmm... so you are saying... (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on November 01, 1999 at 17:20:36:
In Reply to: Hmmm... so you are saying... posted by Chris Sawwa on November 01, 1999 at 13:43:17:
: that basically I should be able to tap into the wires going from the radio to the amp and get a decent 4V pre-amp like signal?
Yep. Most modern radios use a "BTL" output stage for high power. The BMW radio uses a single-ended output, with common ground, which is basically the same as a typical preamp output. The difference is that the BMW radio has a high current output which could drive speakers in a pinch. However, when you connect this to a power amp input, the high current stage effectively turns itself "off". The result is that the onew amp is driven with the output of the prevuious stage, which is a class-A voltage amplifier stage exactly the same thing as a "preamp" output. except at a higher than usual voltage level. Now, this higher level is a good thing, as long as the amplifier is a high performance amplifier with enough input level adjustment range to handle this high voltage properly. Presently, the vast majority of high end amps will have no problem with this requirement. The only amps which may be confused by this are the low and mid priced stuff in the department stores.
: I believe my installer has done that, at least that's what he told me ;), and according to him, the signal is there but in the bacground there is some kind of digital switching noise (which I hear from the Navi challenged folks, is not present in their systems). It sounds kind of like a fax machine. I personally have not heard it so I can only rely what I was told. But... I am thinking that maybe this was some external noise... ?
I suspect some sort of ground fault specific to your system. If the noise was truly in the audio signal from the radio, the factory amp would also amplify it and send the same noise to the speakers. One mistake often made by installers is to connect to the four (+) wires from the radio, and take a chassis ground for the (-) connection. This will not work in the Bimmer. There is s finite resistance in the vehicle chassis, and a current resulting from all the various signals travelling around the vehicle results in a voltage which modulates the ground. This in turn can be picked up and amplified by the amplifier and BINGO! You have noise. The ONLY place to get a ground reference for the audio signal is from the radio chassis, and the easiest way to get it is from the BMW harness itself. I know many people who have done this (including myself) without noise problems. NAVI may be the device which is creating the noise, but it MUST be a ground-related mechanism which is causing it to be audible. I know of a few people with alternator whine problems, but this is specific to a few systems and is not universal, since the vast majority of people I have communicated with have quiet systems. Since your experience is unusual, I suspect that either your installer made a mistake (even good ones do now and then) or there is an unusual fault in your particular wiring harness.
: Because, logically, if it's an analog signal, then if there was a digital component to it, how could the amp (or whatever it is) possibly extract it from the analog signal and leave just the analog sound signal intact!? It makes no sense to me, but then again I have not mastered the electronics to the point that I could definitely say that it's impossible.
You've got it right. If the noise was there, the BMW amp would reproduce it too. It MUST be some sort of ground fault or connector problem.
Also, the installer is a very good and experienced guy, so I really don't have any reson to distrust him.
I'm sure he's not being dishonest. He is probably just confused by something which didn't do what he expected. I know of a local dealer who has done a lot of E39's here in the Boston area who uses this connection scheme regularly with good results. Maybe he can help your installer figure it out. He is Rich Inferrera at Rich's Car Tunes www.cartunes.com
Best regards,
Bob
: Hmmm...



Re: Radio Volume Control (archive)).

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Posted by Jim Cash on June 12, 1999 at 11:42:14:
In Reply to: Radio Volume Control posted by Rob on June 11, 1999 at 21:31:32:
: Last month I got into an argument with an arrogant salesman at the BMW dealer in West Palm Beach, Florida (a young guy named Mike.) I was looking at an M Roadster in the showroom and asked him if it had speed-dependent radio volume control like the 5-Series. He responded that it didn't and that the 5-series didn't have it either. I told him that I own a 5-Series currently and that I was sure that it did. He said he has been selling BMWs for 10 years and that the 5-Series do not have volume control - period.

Time to go back and ask that 10 year wonder if he is so sure will he accept your bet for ( $ you name any amount you want here) that the 5 has speed dependant volume control.
(I get half the winnings - OK !)
This is fact:
There are 3 stereo systems for the5 series on the world market ( plus different radio types)
The base stereo has 6 speakers - we do not get this in North America - i only mention it because I do not know if it has speed volume or not, but I suspect not.

The HiFi system we get as standard with 10 speakers. This does have speed dependant volume control. It adjusts the volume in 4, or 6, stages of 1.25 DB each. The process starts at 40 km/h if the program is set to the lowest setting, or at about 90 km/h if it is set to the highest setting. These settings are designated "GAL 1 to GAL 4 (or 6 - I am not sure of the number of stages).
These settings can be changed to suit your needs by putting the radio into set up mode.
Turn it on and within 10 seconds hit and hold the "M" key till you get a different display. It takes about 10 seconds and the first item you will see is the software version. Use the < > keys to move back and forthe to the different items. When you see GAL - that is the speed setting. Higher numbers start the process at lower speeds.

Now the DSP stereo is different again. It has 6 GAL settings, but rather than adjusting the volume, it adjusts the equalization - giving more base at higher speeds.

Be careful making any changes to any of the other items. Note where they are set befoe you start. Depending on you model and year tere are several differences and I am only sure of the 1997 model that I have.
I know that on some you get a "TP" (traffic report" volume adjustment for areas where this service is available.

So armed with this info - go bet that guy a bundle - remember I get half - it's a sure bet !
Just tell him to ask his technician and look up the data in the disgnostic information. (sorry I do not know about he roadster unit).

Cheers
Jim Cash
London, Ontario, Canada
E39 97 540i/A



E39 Sound System Upgrade (cost-effective idea) (archive)).

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Posted by Trent on September 09, 1999 at 15:19:04:
I recently upgraded my sound system in my 528i sport 5-speed. It sounds 10 times better that the standard setup. One of my concerns was having the ability to un-install the system if I were ever to get rid of the car. For about $550.00, I added two 10" JL Audio Subs in their "Powerwedge box" (made for these speakers) in the trunk powered by the Alpine 503 mono amp. A Audio store installed the subs quite easily and never had to leave the trunk to do it since the stereo amp is located in the back left and the battery is located in the back right. From inside the car, I simply lowered the Bass control two notches and raised the treble control two notches and now enjoy a great sounding stereo. By adjusting the bass down, it puts less stress on the factory speakers so they can be played louder and still sound crisp. The bass is then provided by the subs in the trunk. It can further be adjusted with the gain control on the Alpine Amp itself (mounted on the roof of the trunk under the rear center brake light. If you know much about car audio, you could easily do this for under $500.00.



Yes, but with a few caveats. (archive)

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on September 07, 1999 at 11:57:31:
In Reply to: Disconnect Original DSP sub and connect it to new? posted by KL on September 06, 1999 at 13:42:36:
What you are proposng will work, with a few things thay you should be aware of:
1. There are four subwoofer outputs from the BMW amp. The woofers are both dual voice coil, and BMW uses two relatively low powered amps onm each woofer instead of a single higher powered one. You don't need to use all four, since all the outputs are the same.
2. Each output is floating ground (Neither the + nor - wire is grounded). Therefore you will need either an amplifier which will accept floating ground inputs, or a floating ground line output converter between the BMW amp and the new amp. This is not a problem as far as sound quality is concerned for a subwoofer output like this, although it is not optimum at high frequencies.
3. There is no way to bypass the pre-existing BMW crossover settings, so you're stuck with them. This isn't distaster, since they are usable as is, but it would be nice to have a bit more tunability. JimL installed an EQ between the BMW stuff and the new amp, which is the ideal scenario, but I've heard systems without the EQ which sounded very good also.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
Product Manager, Cambridge SoundWorks
BMW CCA (Boston)
: Hi, i am thinking about increasing the base in my car by doing the following modifications. I have the DSP premium sound system. I know this topic has been covered a thousand times but I really do need help on this and this question has never been asked in the previous message archive. I am thinking about cutting the wire to the factory sub-woofer and connect that wire to a separate amp to power a stronger sub-woofer. Is this possible?? Can this be done or has anyone done this? Or does the DSP make is impossible?
: kent



You missed the important point Re: voltage! (archive) ).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on September 03, 1999 at 11:43:09:
In Reply to: Re: B*llsh*t (very long diatribe!) posted by nathan on September 02, 1999 at 19:52:20:
Which is that; THE VOLTAGES WITHIN THE AUDIO SIGNAL PATH HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH the power supply voltage!
Here's an example, using a theoretical power amp:
Lets say we want 50 watts of output power. Power(W) = Voltage (E) * Current(I)
(I'm ignoring the phase angle of the reactive loudspeaker loads for simplicity, OK?)
Ohm's Law states: E=I*R, by rearranging things, it becomes apparent the W = E^2. Therefore if we have a typical 4-Ohm load we need to swing an output voltage of slightly under 15V (I'm rounding). 15V^2/4Ohms=56.25W. (For an 8Ohm load we'd need 20V^2/8=50W)It doesn't matter if it is home audio or car audio, to get that power into that load you need that voltage. Period.
Now, where does the voltage that powers the amplifier circuit that powers the speaker come from? BZZZT! Wrong! Not the battery. Not the wall.
It comes from a separate power supply inside the amplifier, receiver, or whatever. The wall socket, or the battery powers the power supply. (I'm simplifying, but I think you know what I mean, right?) That power supply supplies the amplifier with bipolar voltages of a level appropriate for the power of the amplifier. In our 50W amplifier, the typical voltage might be anywhere from +/- 20V to +/- 30V depending on the efficiency of the particular output stage chosen and the load impedance that the unit was designed to drive. So, in a car audio amp, a switch-mode power supply takes the 12V input, switches it rapidly on and off under the control of a Pulse Width Modulator, sends this to a transformer, rectifies, filters, and regulates the output, and sends the resulting +/- DC voltage to the amplifier circuit. In a Home amp, the 120V AC comes in, goes to a transformer, the output is rectified, filtered, and (sometimes) regulated, and the resulting +/- voltage is sent to the amplifier circuit. The Important point is tht THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE in this +/- voltage at this point in the circuit between a home amp or a car amp. Anybody who tells you it is has held their fingers across their outlets too long.
Now, since the actual audio circuitry is operating off the same voltages with the same capabilities in home and car audio, where is the difference? It just ain't there!
: Let's stop and talk about MOSFET power designs.
Uh. Why? Its a non-sequitur. The point is not that "higher voltages create less distortion" (which I would also argue with, but not now), but that the voltages in the signal path (which is all that matters) are the SAME regardless of the power supply voltages that power that device. Since the laws of conservation of energy apply, to get a given power out, you must get that power in to the "box" somehow. Arbitrarily assuming a 50% efficiency (A reasonable assumption based on practical analog power amps), we must supply our theoretical 50Watt per channel stereo amp with 200 Watts to achieve rated power. Working backwards we find that the home amp requires 120V at 1.6Amps, and the car amp requires 12V at 16.6Amps. But it still comes back to the fact that, once you get through the power supply, the audio signal is exactly the same, home or car.
MOSFET, as you might know is an Electrical Engineering discovery in which diodes with doped ions in them gate or negate the flow of electrical current. In this study, the higher running voltage on the circuit will clearly get cleaner sound because of two things which you forget to mention: 1) Electrical signals in the circuit are created by the voltage drop.
However, it is imperative to know that all diodes, and MOSFET in particular react to higher voltage sources better and maintain a higher degree of excellence in quality in carrying the signal through. In digital media, this means that the digital input (CD) will probably most likely retain a higher level of quality because of the better matching of the digital signal. You might argue that all diodes create a 0.7 voltage drop no matter what the voltage source is, but it is particularly interesting to see that if there is a higher voltage source through the circuit, the standard in which the signals are traveling are maintained and hence bring better reliability and qualtiy in producing that signal because sometimes that 0.7 drop may not be maintained due to high resistance in copper wire. It is always a known fact that higher voltage source leads to better quality. And to the noise at home, maybe you haven't used a good surge protector which filters some of the hum.
There is too much uncorrelated nonsense in the above statement to respond to in detail. I recommend actually gaining some knowledge of the subject before continuing. Just a few points.
1.)Of course I know what a MOSFET is, but it is irrelevant.
2.) A MOSFET is not a Diode. Perhaps you are mixing this up with a Bi-polar transistor. Gate to Source voltage in the typical MOSFETS used in audio are more on the order of 4-6V, not .7V.
3.) It is not "always known that higher source voltage leads to better sound". Our head EE is rolling on the floor laughing. Take a look at THD vs output for a typical amp, you'll eat your words. It is true that a higher signal voltage level will lend itself to a better signal to noise ratio, and to greater immunity to outside interference, but this is not a guarantee based on higher voltage alone. It's all up to the individual circuit.
4.)A surge supressor will not have any effect on Hum. A surge supressor uses avalanch diodes to simply clamp voltage spikes which exceed (approx)140V and short them to ground, protecting the connected device. If you're talking about a "power line conditioner", that won't do anything either. It still sends 60Hz AC to the device. Hum comes from the nature of the 60HZ AC voltage coming into the device. The rectified voltage coming off the transformer is at double the line frequency at 120Hz, bith are well in the audible rance. It is up to the power supply filter capacitors inside the device to filter this out. Because of the low frequency of residential AC, these caps need to be large and expensive. With a switch-mode supply, like those in car audio and some of the newer home equipment, the operating frequency is much higher, often above 20hHz, which not only gets it above the audible range, but also allows the use of small value caps to filter the residiual ripple.
By the way, In all fairness I should mention that I do not completely disagree with your initial premise that the BMW DSP system is pretty good. This I would agree with. If I were not so entrenched in the audio business, and spoiled by how good a car audio system can sound I would probably be happy with it too. My only argument is that it could be even better for the money BMW must be spending on the hardware, and that there is a place for "better" depending on the individual's driving habits and degree of interest in music. I see it more as an issue of how big a part music plays in ones life as opposed to an automotive issue. Outside of the gross technical inaccuracies of your argument, the area I disagree with is the premise that one cannot get truly good sound in a car. Same as home? No. A rewarding experience measured with its own different set of guidelines? Absolutely.
Sorry again for the WOB, I'll be quiet now and talk about cars again next time.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
Product Manager, Cambridge SoundWorks
'93 525i 5-sp. Sharked, BL/ss'd, H&R + Bilsteins
BMW CCA (Boston)



B*llsh*t (very long diatribe!) (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on September 02, 1999 at 13:18:59:
In Reply to: Premium sound system posted by nathan on September 01, 1999 at 17:01:35:
: For all you out there looking for an awesome sound system in your car, the premium stereo option is great.
I'd agree with good. But certainly not great!
For those who are looking for the studio perfect sound, stay at home, because there is one thing that the car stereo will always find itself short in, low distortion. This fact is true,
Not in your wildest dreams, bucko.
and being a fine audiophile, I find that car audio will never sound as good as the stereo at home, and updating your stereo for thousands of dollars for your car is only worth it to you if you practically live in your car.
An interesting "fact" is that, in a consumer survey done a few years ago, the vast majority of people (somewhere around 87%) admitted that they spent, on average, three times as many hours listening to music in the car vs. in the home. I for one, commute on the average 2-1/2 hours per day, and the stereo is on every second. I certainly do not spend 2-1/2 hours a day at home using my FAR more expensive home theater/audio system. I'd say that the enjoyment received vs. expense is hands down in favor of the car system. Besides, its the only chance I get to listen to what I want, as loud as I want, and without interruption. (I keep the Cell phone OFF - this is MY time!) Those 6-hour trips to visit my Mom in NJ sure would seem long without the system too. And sure, my Apogee ribbons at home sound better than the stuff in the car, but that doesn't mean the car system shouldn't sound as good as is practical. I'm not advocating the science-project installations like you see at sound-offs, but a bit og rational upgrading can add a lot of enjoyment to the driving experience.
For those who would like to fight about this issue, please consider the voltage drop in the car with a car battery, while at home, which you probably use a receiver or separate amps for a total voltage drop of nearly 120V. This difference gives a greater potential for distortion, meaning the distortion you find in your car will always be higher.
You know, my Circuits 1 professor always used to chastise his students when they made inaccurate statements with "It's Ohm's LAW, Not Ohm's OPINION, Dammit!" I think that is appropriate here. The 120V vs 12V argument holds no merit whatsoever. The actual circuitry doing the signal amplification runs on neither. In fact, an audio engineer's wet dream would be to be able to convince people to use batteries in their home systems since this would eliminate Hum problems. The circuits in any high power amp, whether it be car or home, run on a power supply appropriate for the power the am is designed to deliver. Typically this internal supply will have no relationship to a particular value of input voltage. In home equipment, a step-down transformer is used to drop the voltage to a useful level. For example, a typical 50 watt power amp will have internal voltages of (approx) + and - 30V. (Thats right, two mirror imaged supply voltages) In a car amp these same voltages must be present also. The only difference is that the car amp uses a DC-to-DC switch-mode power supply to increase the voltage from the 12V. The difference is that in the home amp you start with lots of voltage, but very little current wheras in the car amp you have less voltage, but it draws a lot more current to deliver the same power. Now this only affects how the circuit is powered and wired and has absolutely NOTHING to do with any audio characteristics whatsoever.
The fact that everybody in this newsgroup is discussing the stereo being sucky, please consider buying a home stereo and listening to that at home.
Well, yeah. Do that too! ;-)
As far as the bass with all those bass nuts out there, your car is the worst place to hear bass. Because of the small enclosure of the car body, wavelengths of truer bass models are in the double digit hertz, or even the teens, which take 50 to 60 feet to actually get a high amplitude in the wave.
You're right about wave propigation theory, I'm afraid I must differ with the conclusion however. In a small space, where the wavelength exceeds the largest room dimension, the bass transmitted through compression and rarefaction _of the entire volume of that space_, not wave propigation. It is almost as if you are inside a cylinder with the woofer acting as the piston. In fact, at low frequencies, the coupling of the woofer to the car becomes VERY efficient, and you actually get an increase in bass response with decreasing frequency. The resulting transfer function results in a rise in response which approaches 12dB per octave below 50 Hz. Knowledgeable music loving car audio folks use this fact to help them reduce subwoofer enclosure size yet retain good bass response. Bassheads use this to get more bass (whether it's musical or not).
For the BMW 5 series, the stereo is superb for being stock and will probably deliver comparable sound to that compared to a Sony receiver you can buy at Best Buy attached to a set of normal polks, which is not bad.
You won't get an argument from me on that! But there is a lot of equipment out there which sounds far better than either of the two options you mentioned.
The fact that there are practically 14 speakers also brings the point that some people don't understand, the most speakers, the larger potential for range.
Oh no! Here we go again. "It ain't the meat, it's the motion". All that having the "most" speakers guarantee you is that you have used the "most" speaker wire and have the most holes. The theoretical ideal is a single infinitely small full range speaker. Anything beyond this opens up all sorts of problems with destructive phase interference and the search for the non-existent perfect crossover network. Fewer loudspeakers, of higher quality is the way to go. Would you prefer one BMW or 4,000 Yugo's?
In this case, the 5 inch bass drivers are plenty. Hope those who are considerring buying an upgrade, the BMW is for driving and not listening.
So this means you'll let me take your radio fuse out and you promise you'll keep it that way until you get rid of the car? I think NOT. Driving and listening are not mutually exclusive! I'll step down off my soapbox now. Sorry for the WOB, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but innacurate statements of "fact" without apparent knowledge of the subject push my buttons.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
Product Manager, Cambridge SoundWorks
'93 525i 5-sp. Sharked, BL/ss'd, H&R + Bilsteins
BMW CCA (Boston)



) Re: Another a/d/s/ Stereo Answer (archive).

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Posted by Tracey B on September 01, 1999 at 16:53:06:
In Reply to: Another a/d/s/ Stereo Question posted by Noah Nordrum on September 01, 1999 at 14:55:11:
Yes the standard system has 10 speakers. I went with upgrade III, a/d/s/ 335is in the front and 235is in the rear. The tweeter with the 335is is in the upper panel of the front door and the woofer is in the lower location of the front door. In the rear the tweeter is in the door and the woofers is behind the headrests. The mirror tweeter location still has the factory tweeter just no longer connected. I think the speakers went into the existing locations without any problems or need for cutting. Can confirm with installer. Existing wires are used. I don't recall the installer mentioning any need for cutting anything. If I get hold of a digital camera I will take some pictures, will only have the finished project.
Hope that helps.
Tracey
98 528i w/sports pkg, BL/SS, a/d/s/ upgrade



Uh. Can I be second? (Only partly) (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on August 31, 1999 at 17:56:15:
In Reply to: Audio questions..........answered posted by josh on August 31, 1999 at 01:14:23:
Actually, I'm going to agree up to a point. My perspective comes from someone in the audio bizness for far too long. I was the designer of the a/d/s/ system Range Rover installed in County and County SE's from '90-'93, and was responsible for a lot of the a/d/s/ stuff you folks have been talking about. (Specifically; 325is, AL series, 335 and 336is, A-series, and the new 2-series which just hit the market after I left a/d/s/) From this viewpoint, I think considering it's an OEM system, the DSP does have a pretty decent overall presentation. I personally find it weak in dynamic range, and somewhat two dimensional in its imaging. However, the frequency response is unusually smooth throughout the mid and high ranges, even if the speakers themselves are middle-of-the-road quality. It's the wonders of DSP that give the engineers the latitude to get the most out of the least. My gripe with the BMW system is that it could be so much better without really adding any cost. The engineer in me gets frustrated by underachievers. The big weakness, as has been pointed out, is bass response. The frequency balance is good, but the bass does not play very low, and it does not get as loud as the rest of the speakers without gross distortion. Not that you will want to play it all that loud all the time, but the result is that the instantaneous peak levels that give music that lifelike character get "squashed".
Upgrading this part of the DSP system can work wonders, as dine by Jim L and described on his site,http://209.249.65.123/organization/e39sound.htm.
On the other hand, the basic system is pretty bad for a car in this class. No bass, and a distinct lack of clarity are the hallmarks of this engineering marvel. Fortunately, the base radio is actually quite good, and proves to be a good source for an upgraded system. There is no real "performance" difference between this radio and the one included with the DSP system. It's basically a feature difference.
The sonic disparity between FM and CD is quite common. FM by nature is limited to a 50-15kHz bandwidth at best, where CD of course is 20-20kHz with much greater dynamic range. BMW's radio supplier has chosen to limit bandwidth further and separation for the sake of reducing background noise. You could get better highs, but more interference will come along for the ride. It's the nature of the FM beast. I don't think that an antenna is going to help a lot with the factory radio. (It may however help with an aftermarket radio that was not optimized for the BMW style window grid antenna.)
Bottom line is that for a great many people, the DSP system will be quite enough, thank you. But for the rest, a good aftermarket upgrade based on the standard system can take it much further than the DSP system does. With a bit of creativity, there is no reason to butcher the car either.
Happy listening,
Bob Hazelwood
Product Manager, Cambridge SoundWorks
'93 525i 5-sp. Sharked, UUC Shortshifter, H&R + Bilsteins
OEM Pioneer deck and CD with a/d/s/ amps and speakers
BMW CCA (Boston)
: I have the DSP in my car and love it. This is coming from a guy who has spent thousands of dollars in previous cars on good sounding tunes. To me, the only shortcoming is the bass. The mids/tweets are excellent and to be quite honest the bass isn't necessarily bad, it just isn't great. Overall, the system is one of the cleanest sounding systems I have heard in stock form.
: One thing I have noticed is that CD's sound ten times better than the radio. bass even sounds good on some CD's/songs. I think that is a problem with the BMW antenna and not the actual radio, so you would have that no matter what unless you bolted a new ugly antenna somewhere and disconnected the rear window antenna.
:
: About the sound fields, I never use them. the cool part about the DSP is that it has more power, more speakers, and 5 equalization options. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on an aftermarket system that sounds marginaly better than the DSP and cuts up the car. IMHO, you would have to spend almost twice the cost of the DSP to get something that makes a night and day difference. and you'd have holes in the car.
: If you did want to upgrade (I'm against this) you would want ot order with standard somewhat ****ty radio (only ten speakers vs. 12, not much amplification, no equalization - only "bass" and "treble" settings). this is because the system is much simpler and thus easier to install new components to.
: Others will probably oppose all I have said, but take it from a former stereo geek, the DSP is the best way to go considering everything.
: let the flames begin...........
: : I've heard countless times on this board that the audio system in the 5-series, even the premium sound option, sounds like sh*t. When I test drove a 540i, I was paying more attention to the sound of the motor rather than the audio system. So the question is: What is the major shortcoming of the 5-series' audio system (standard and premium)? Is it just the bass? Or is it the mid/tweet speakers as well?
: : Assuming it's everything and I wanted to go balls to the wall and upgrade everything with the a/d/s/ speakers/amplifiers, is it better to order the car with the standard/non-premium stereo? Or is there a reason why I'd want the premium sound option? Quite honestly the DSP feature of the premium sound option offers no value to me. My Onkyo home theater system offers several DSP modes like Stadium/Arena/etc that add echo and reverb effects but IMHO they are all stupid and gimmicky. I never use them at home and I definately won't use them in the car.



Re: another question - # Speakers & Size, etc. (archive)).

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Posted by Jim Cash on August 28, 1999 at 12:02:14:
In Reply to: another question posted by josh on August 26, 1999 at 19:36:08:
:
: Does anyone know how many speakers the DSP system has? I own a '97 first production ('96) and have heard that my car has 14 speakers and then BMW switched to 12 speakers in later models. Is this true? Also, what size are the bass speakers (woofers)? A post earlier said 12"!!!!! I can't believe that a 12" sub only puts out that little bass.
: Josh

Josh
You have 12 speakers. The 7 series has 14 (4 subwoofers inside the package shelf). Early advertising for the E39 sometimes used info taken from the "Top Hi-Fi" option for the 7 series - this confused lots of people.

Here is the info about numbers of speakers, etc.
There are 3 audio systems.
1. Stereo (6 speakers) this is the base system - not marketed in North America
2. HiFi (10 speakers) - this is the standard system in NA.
3. Top HiFi with DSP. (12 speakers as follows)
Front doors: (total 6 speakers)
- 5" woofer (this is upgraded from system 2 to 3)
- midrange - beside the vent
- tweeter - in triangle by the mirror.
Rear doors: (total 2 speakers
- midrange
Rear Package shelf (total 2 speakers)
- 5" woofer (same speaker as the front door but in a different enclosure)
Subwoofer.
This has 2 5" or 6" subwoofer speakers mounted on either side inside the subwoofer enclosure. I have looked at them but not measured them exactly
Each speaker is bi-directional and is powered in each direction therefore powered by 4 channels.
The sound comes out of 2 reound ports on the top of the subwoofer enclosure that is directly below 2 round openings on the bottom of the metal base for the package shelf. The sound then comes up through the package shelf chamber and out those long vents at the back window (those vents also allow air to escape from the cabin where it is vented out the car on the lower outside fenders)
Soooo - your DSP system has 12 speakers, driven by 440 watts in 14 channels ( I do not know what power each channel is).
I also do not know what power standard is used for that wattage - but I suspect it s not RMS (like my 600 watt McIntosh home amp is).
Cheers
Jim Cash



Re: volume adjust diagnostic mode (archive) ).

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Posted by keithb on August 18, 1999 at 21:03:13:
In Reply to: volume adjust posted by BUCK on August 18, 1999 at 09:38:23:
To the best of my knowledge this is the diagnostic mode of the radio:
First to enter the mode, turn the key to the on position and hold the "m" button for approx. 10 seconds.
The diplay will show the serial no. of the radio.
Press the + and the display will move to the service date of the radio.
Press + again and the display will show GAL and a number. This is the speed volume control. Press the appropriate number to determine the subtlety of the adjustments. Number 6 is the maximum level.
Press + again and the display will now show DSP 1 if you have the DSP and the volume of the radio as a numerical value.
Press + once more and the display TP-V will show. I believe that this is the volume control for traffic report break in, but I am not 100% sure.
Press + and the display will move to the area of use.
Finally press + again and AF with either on or off will be displayed. This controls whether the steering wheel controls will scan the presets "AF on" or scan to the next station "AF off"
Sorry for being so long and I hope I did not make any mistakes.

Keith
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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on August 17, 1999 at 16:59:14:
In Reply to: Cool Bob - more... posted by jvr on August 16, 1999 at 14:50:59:
: Glad to see you back Bob. And you're right, the sound is crap, but the driving experience is awesome. I'm about 80% done with my upgrade. All the equipment is in, but I'm still messing with the sub position and routing of the remote volume control - oh and configuration too.
Never really left. It's just that I don't get to the boards every day due to time constraints. I'm supposed to be working ;-)
: I've currently got the 310RS sub firing through the ski-hatch, wired in parallel mono, bridged 7/8 channels, crossed over at 45hz, and mounted in a Q-Logic sealed box. I find the sound tends to bleed in to the front imaging and cancels out the stereo image when fired through the hole. Do you think wiring it in stereo (5/6 coil 1, 7/8 coil 2) will help this? I can't see how it could, but what do I know.
Best thing is to try a lower crossover point. I'm using (approx) 65Hz low pass for the sub, and there is no real image problem. Of course I'm using a P2110 for the sub, which has a 24dB/octave option, which is twice as steep as the P840's 12dB/octave. This helps cut the midrange out of the woofer much more quickly. You might run into a problem getting the sub crossover high enough to blend smoothly with the satellites yet low enough to not affect imaging, but this will be trial and error to get the best compromise. Turn up the amp gain a bit as you reduce the crossover frequency. Also try reversing the polarity of the woofer relative to the front system and see what happens acoustically. Stereo vs. mono should not really help.
: Prior to this setup, I had it just in the trunk firing towards the back of the seat. I found I had to crank it WAY up to get the sound in the passenger cabin, but it was tight and non directional - which I prefered. Front imaging was much better with this configuration.
The seat cushion and car between the sub and your ears was acting as an acoustic low-pass filter, blocking the upper frequencies from the woofer.
: I also think I may have damaged the coil as I hear some crackling when I crank up the volume. Is this possible? I mean I have only 120w going to it. It should handle 600w from what I read.
It's REALLY hard to damage a 310rs from just a little extra volume. More likely is something physical, like a wire touching the back of the cone (check the routing of the tinsel leads, the little wires that run between the terminals and the cone). It also is possible that you are running out of amplifier power, and you are hearing amplifier "clipping". The last wild card is that it is not impossible that a portion of the dust cap has come loose along its perimiter and is flapping against the cone. Rare but possible.
: My next step is to remove those port holes from the DSP system's sub and see how that works. I may consider trading in the 10" single for two 8" subs and mount them under the deck firing up. If I need to that is. I rather not lose all that trunk space. Maybe I'll do one of those custom boxes that fit in the battery compartment. I rather test stuff out with the Q-Logic box before investing the time in a custom box I may not like. Already been there once!
: Any ideas?
Well, with the caveat that I haven't actually tried this, my instincts tell me that the box in the battery corner, with the DSP port openings open, has the best potential. That's where I'd start if it was my labor. (Since I'm inherently lazy, I like to start where I think I'm going to finish ;-)
Best regards,
Bob
: Jeff
: '99 528i Sport




Stereo Upgrade - The saga continues... (archive)).

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Posted by jvr on July 01, 1999 at 23:25:07:
Ok, I may be losing my mind here...
I have gone with the a/d/s/ Upgrade II. So far I have the 335is components in the front doors, the A5i/m's mounted in the rear deck. With me so far? Now I have the crossovers in the trunk, rear's are connected to the speakers only. Fronts are connected to NOTHING. No amp installed yet, no wiring done in the car, NOTHING! Only the front speakers (and rear tweets) are connected to the factory amp using the factory wiring as is. Are you with me?
So, tonight I run to the store and I have alternator whine coming from the rear speakers. Remember - THEY ARE NOT HOOKED UP TO ANYTHING!!! I HAVE NO AMP INSTALLED!!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???????
I've got $1800 worth of stereo equipment to put in my $46k car and I have alternator whine without any amp hooked up. Incidentally, the noise was not there until I wired in the crossovers. AND IT'S THERE WHEN THE STEREO IS TURNED OFF!!!
Bob Hazelwood, please set me straight! Anyone else that has done this upgrade (Willard) care to comment? I have never experienced such strange behavior before and I've done about 7 cars. I'm totally baffled...
Jeff
'99 528i Sport (possessed)




(archive) Re: Aftermarket amps w/DSP HELP(JimL or Bob Hazelw).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on October 05, 1999 at 10:53:50:
In Reply to: Aftermarket amps w/DSP HELP(JimL or Bob Hazelwood) posted by JimR on October 03, 1999 at 23:46:28:
Oh No, Not the DSP system again! ;-)
But seriously. This is a "problem" system, as you are finding out. My information is second-hand, from a handful of Bimwads who have communicated info back to me as we have worked together to solve problems. I have no direct hands-on experience. Therefore, if someone who does, like JimL., contradicts what I have to say take his word for it, not mine.
First. Overall architecture:
1. Two-channels of analog audio pass from front to rear from the radio.
2. The CD signal is a digital bitstream which goes directly to the DSP electronics. All the control and equaliztion is done within the DSP electronics in the rear, so the radio and front of car controls don't do anything to the analog signal. There is also no way to get the CD signal into a "new" amp without first going into the DSP electronics.
3. Even once you get inside the DSP box, there is still no place to get a full-range signal. The crossover is done within the DSP processor IC's, and short of changing the software of these processors, you're stuck with the BMW curves and frequency bands. Summing the outputs of these bands is technically possible, but they may be at different levels to compensate for the different sensitivities of the various transducers, and there is no guarantee that the outputs will sum to flat response.
So, what to do? I can't say with authority, but here's how I would begin to tackle the situation if I were going through the process:
1. Use 11 or 12-channels of amplification (Subwoofer can be mono) to match the BMW frequency bands. Since the Diamond Audio speakers are wider range transducers than the BMW parts, you should be able to use the BMW crossover curves without exceeding the Diamonds capabilities. The Diamond crossovers will just screw things up more in this environment. You don't need a lot of power per channel, since with the limited frequency bands, there will not be a lot of energy in any individual band. 30-50 WPC should be sufficient, with about 200-300 for the sub.
2. In the front, I'd keep the BMW upper midranges, and replace the BMW "woofers" and tweeters with the new components. Replacing the BMW upper mids with the DA tweeters may overdrive the DA tweeters by feeding them frequencies which are too low. There is no danger of this at the higher frequencies delivered by the BMW tweeter crossover. Also, the DA tweeter is not particularly good at low frequencies, so at the very least it will sound a bit edgy if its pushed too low. Unfortunately, you'll need to use the speaker-level connection for all these channels. While this is not ideal, with the proper conversion this will still sound better than the factory amp.
3. Rear and subs are more straight-forward in their replacements, and should present no real obstacles if you follow the same strategy. In the rear, the BMW crossover should be high enough to not present tweeter issues.
4. Before the subwoofer wiring is made permanent, try the subs wired in and out of phase. The BMW uses a bandpass enclosure. There is often so much phase shift in this type of enclosure that the reverse polarity connection yields the smoothest response. If your final system does not have the same phase shift, the connection which looks "right" may in fact result in an acoustic hole between the subwoofer and woofer crossover. Now that I am thinking about it, doing this with all the drivers may be prudent since we don't really know what BMW is doing regarding polarity in the DSP.
5. Phone or write BMW and tell them that while you can understand that a state of the art system may not be commercially feasable for a car manufacturer to offer, at least they should include a set of full-range outputs for add-on capability. It will not add more than a lousy buck to their cost and would prevent a lot of headaches.
BTW, as a somewhat "interesting" anecdote. I was Autocrossing this weekend, getting frustrated by not being able to break below 85 seconds. On my fourth run I left the stereo cranked and made up three seconds! The only thing I can figure is that I was more relaxed, and therefore smoother. And the purists say that an audio system doesn't make your car faster! ;-)

Good luck!
Best regards,
Bob


: My 1999 540i is in the stereo shop getting a sound system overhaul. They've built an awesome fiberglass subwoofer enclosure that replaces the batter compartment cover and it looks GREAT. I am using a single JL Audio 10W6 powered by a PPI PC1800 amp. I am also replacing the front and rear speakers with Diamond Audio, two-way separates up front and two-way coaxials in the rear package shelf all powered by a PPI PC4800 amp.
: However the problem that they encountered is hooking up two PPI amplifiers to the "premium" DSP/amp.
: I have read numerous postings in this board pertaining to this DSP/amp, but I have not found a difinitive solution. The shop tells me that I MUST keep the DSP/amp and use the speaker level outputs from that as the inputs for the new amps. Is this true? They also said that all of the radio controls (tuner etc.) are contained in the DSP/amp and the head unit is really just acting as a remote control. Is this true?
: Is there anyway to bypass the DSP/amp all together and get a clean signal to feed the PPI amps?
: By using the existing DSP/amp, each set of speaker level outs are already crossed over to the BMW crossover specs and therefore a full frequency signal can not be obtained to feed the amp for the mids and highs. They suggested that I add a third amp into the system, so there would be 1 amp for the sub, 1 amp for the mids (front and rear) and 1 amp for the highs (front and rear). However the problem that I see with this is since the premium system in the 99 540 has 3 speakers per side up front, the DSP/amp is crossing over highs, mids and mid bass for the front, but my replacement speakers are only two way, so do I use the mid or the mid-bass from the DSP/amp as the feed for the midrange? Either way I do it there will be a hole in the soundfield.
: The other thing I have read about here and have considered, is if the DSP/amp is indeed Alpine and controlled by the AiNET, could the stock DSP/amp be replaced with an Alpine product such as the PRA-H400 frequency processor? Does anyone know if there is a product that is compatible the signal from the head unit and would work with the head units controls for tonal adjustments as well as the DSP settings?
: As you can see, this is a very frustrating process. If anyone has figured out how to correctly install aftermarket amps with the DSP system, I would love to get your feedback.
: Thanks,
: Jim-



For serious audiophiles only. LONG (archive) ).

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Posted by Zack on July 28, 2000 at 11:49:25:
(posted from: 1cust187.tnt12.sfo3.da.uu.net (63.23.33.187))
With the recent posts asking about stereo upgrades I thought I would re-post this.
Originally posted Feb 23, 2000 on the 6-series board.
I have been doing car audio work for ten years now, almost all of it in BMWs. Both of the other suggestions posted to your question are at odds with what are to me central principles of dealing with car audio in general, and BMWs in particular.
I first dealt with this subwoofer problem in an E-34 535-- it has a steel back seat and package shelf that is a lot like a 6er. The thing is, you have the same choice as car manufactuerers do when they engineer their cars: you can engineer your stereo system with an eye towards RESULTS, as most car companies build their cars, and to hell with how you get there. Or you can do it the way that BMW does, where only ELEGANT results count. In other words, you have a problem-- now do you want to 'fix' the problem, or engineer it out of the system altogether? There is a little fact I know about the development of the E-36 325 motor that illustrates the point: The intake plenum (which is made of plastic) made a horrible buzzing noise at one particular
engine RPM. What was happening was, the flat portions of the six intake pipes (which are shaped like a rounded rectangle
inside) were sympathetically resonating with the engine. It made an 85dB noise, definitely noticeable inside the car (most cars have 80-90dB of road noise at 60mph, and that's cars that are 'pretty quiet' to most people). The first 'fix' they came up with was a plastic plate that would cover the entire plenum, which was backed with molded sound-deadening foam to completely surround the six pipes on the plenum. This reduced the noise to where it COULDN'T be heard anymore... but the noise was still being made. Now, at this point, Ford would've started counting the beans to figure out how much the foam and plastic would cost; and how much it would impact production. BMW told the engineers, "not good enough". The engineers remembered that while FLAT surfaces do resonate, ROUNDED ones cannot. So they remolded the plenum with a groove running down the exterior of each pipe-- now it was (and is) shaped like a figure-eight or a heart on the outside-- all continuous curves. No more flat surfaces, no more noise. Note that the INSIDE of the pipes is exactly the same as it was-- those grooves you see on the outside are only to deal with this problem, and they are not replicated inside the thing (it looks like it, from the
outside). So rather than cover up a problem to where it wouldn't be noticed anymore, they REMOVED the problem itself, with superior engineering. In my experience, if you want your BMW to keep being "like a BMW", and especially if you want your stereo to be an EXTENSION of that ideal, not a dilution of it, then you need to stick to the principles that made the **** things so great in the first place.
First of all, let me say something about unibody car construction: That sheetmetal is the FRAME of your car. Don't cut huge holes in it and expect the car to be the same as it was-- it won't be. You are directly attacking what makes the car solid in the first place, and; since the suject here is AUDIO, it is germane that this stuctural integrity is also your best friend against NOISE.
What good are your subwoofers to you if you just introduced 10dB more of road noise? Which is mostly bass, by the way. Of course, if tearing out the sound deadening that BMW put there, then adding your own to kill the rattles you just created sounds reasonable, I suppose chopping the hell out of your sheetmetal is no biggie. But like I said, this is not a question of "works/won't work" it's a matter of philosophy about how it gets done. Rather than try to let everything in from the trunk, then get rid of what we don't want; why not bring JUST the part you want (the bass) into the car and leave the rest out there where it belongs? Remember that every dB in road noise you get rid of is a de facto dB rise in the appearant loudness of your system.
It takes a DOUBLING of amplifier power to achieve the same 1dB gain-- welcome to the logrithmic nature of sound, my
friends.
There is only one solution to this problem that appeals to me-- and it's the one I'm currently using in my 6. What you need to do is build a so-called fifth-order bandpass enclosure for your subs and port the sound DIRECTLY to the interior. A fifth-order box is one in which the subwoofer has a SEALED back cabinet, and a PORTED front cabinet. Really all it is is a conventional sealed enclosure with a big filter on it. The port into the front cabinet allows certian frequencies to pass through it, while keeping
all others out-- hence "bandpass," it "passes" one "band" of frequencies. The beauty of this for you and me is that we can ENTIRELY ENCLOSE the subwoofer, isolating it from the trunk, then use the ports to bring the sound directly into the car.
It's also a relatively easy type of enclosure to build. Many of the new subs are designed for a really small sealed enclosure-- so this is especially ideal. I'm using two 10"s that call for less than half-a-cubic-foot apiece. Envision a rectangle... now put lines at 1/4 and 3/4 of it's length. The lines are the sub plates. The big square in the middle is the common ported section (both woofers face this way). The smaller boxes on each end are the sealed sections. Two three-inch ports nine inches long are called for, so I
cut two three-inch holes in the center section of the package shelf (take everything off of it, and you will see how perfect this is-- a big flat right in the middle, between two HUGE depressions for those storage compartments. Personally, I'm making an overlay for the shelf out of MDF (which you should build your enclosure out of, incidentally), so the ports will go through that, too. By placing sound deadening between the MDF and the metal, and on both sides of the back seat sheetmetal, and putting sound deadening in the trunk where it's never been before, I think I can actually bring the bass in with even LESS noise than the car had stock! (BTW, I'm talking about using that felt-like padding, not a real heavy product like Dynamat).
If you want more details about how to do all this, get in touch with me. It's really not hard, and I honestly believe that it's much better than cutting 10" or larger holes in your shelf, or cutting everything possible out just to let in the bass (along with everything
else). There are other places to put the ports (in the 'armrest hole' between the seats is another good choice)-- but the principle is the important thing: Cut as little as you can get away with... structural integrity is paramount... let in only what you want while attacking what you don't at the same time. I chose the middle of the rear deck in part becuse the metal is so thick there, and
wider than three inches. So the metal will not rattle from being cut (big expanses of thin sheetmetal will), and the structural impact is minimized. Get in touch with me if you want more about all this... (I'm running out of steam for typing)
Andy



How to adjust DSP settings. (archive)).

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Posted by S5 on July 16, 2000 at 19:51:47:
In Reply to: Sorry for the prior 2 mistake posts, READ THIS ONE posted by JIMMY =) on July 16, 2000 at 17:34:24:
(posted from: spider-th041.proxy.aol.com (152.163.213.61))
OK, Ill do my best to explain how you can adjust the DSP settings. If you have a Navagation System click on the DSP item on the MENU screen. The screen will then display what looks like an equalizer. At the bottom you will see MEMO, DEMO, & SWITCH OFF/ON. Make sure the DSP is on. If you do not have the NAV System get into the DSP area where it displays MEMO 1, MEMO 2, & MEMO 3. Im not sure how to get there. Maybe some else can help with this? Now everyone go to MEMO and click it. Select either MEMO 1, MEMO 2, or MEMO 3. Do not select CONCERT HALL, JAZZ CLUB, or CATHEDERAL. Ok now for the hard part. There are 9 "lanes". They are 80, 200, 500, 1k, 2k, 5k, 12k, ROOM & ECHO. The 80 on the far left is for the lows. The 12k on the right is for the highs. Everything inbetween are for the mids. What you want to do now is form an inverted bell shape curve or the letter U. Set 80 to the maxium or all the way positive. Set 200 inbetween the middle mark and negative. Set 500 and 1k all they way negative. Set 2k one level below 200. Set 5k the same as 200. And finally set 12k half way between the middle positive. As for the ROOM put it at pos 2. And put ECHO at pos 3. Another significant adjustment is with the TONE. I prefer to set the BASS and TREBLE all they way to the right or at maximum. At these settings your music should sound more "alive". If you set the mids too high then your music will sound "hollow". If you dont like this setting play with it untill you hear something you like. Hope this helps EricS any all you antiDSPers out there!



Re: DSP (archive) ).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on July 13, 2000 at 09:36:00:
In Reply to: Some estimates and opinions posted by BillP on July 12, 2000 at 20:15:59:
(posted from: (12.11.181.79))
The advice to go aftermarket is a good one from the perspective of cost-effectiveness. However, in weak defense of the BMW system, the DSP amplifier uses a series of Philips chip amplifiers which are actually pretty good . There are four woofer channels feeding the two dual voice coil woofers. Each of these channels can produce 40W RMS into 8-Ohms at low distortion. (Philips rates it at 55W, but this is @ 10% THD.)So you get 160 Watts on the woofers alone. I don't have the information at hand, but working from memory, I think the front and rear 5-1/4" speakers used the same 40W amp chip, and the mids and tweeters use a 15W/ch (into 4-Ohms) I.C. The non-optimized sound from the BMW system is more a matter of system engineering choices made by the designers than it is of mediocre quality. Somebody evidently chose that sound. The parts quality and technology used to create the DSP system are capable of much better sound than you get from it as supplied from the factory.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
Product Manager, Cambridge SoundWorks
BMW CCA (Boston)
: The DSP amplifier is rather low quality. The number of *clean* watts/channel (i.e. circa 0.05% THD, not 5% THD) is probably on the order of 5-10, maybe less.
: If you already have the stock system and want to upgrade, there are many choices. Check www.adst.com and look for the BMW upgrades, scan the archives, or just go down to the local car stereo shop.
: You can spend $1K-$2K and get a rather kick-*** system. Just make sure the installer is experienced in E39 installs - all cars are not equal, each has its quirks.
: Let us know area you're in, other board members may have good installer recommendations.
:
: Bill
: : Is the DSP "amplifier" worth purchasing? What are the stat's on the DSP amp. any way...how many watts/channels/etc.? I cannot STAND the stock system, and would like to upgrade my speakers, and amp. If I purchase the DSP amp, I would be purchasing different speakers & subwoofers.
: : Should I purchase the DSP amp. and hook some good speakers up to it, or should I purchase another amp. all together, and leave it alone???
: : Thanx,
: : SS



Re: Yes, it does sound a bit better (more) (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on July 10, 2000 at 10:21:56:
In Reply to: Yes, it does sound a bit better (more) posted by beewang on July 10, 2000 at 00:08:39:
(posted from: (12.11.181.79))
Hi Bee;
You're right! If the sound system quality is inportant to you, you are probably better off spending your money on an aftermarket upgrade. However, the DSP may actually be the best choice if you are not as picky about sound as some of us are. There are a lot of people that are happy with it once they finally get it set-up right.
However, with judicious choice of equipment, you can dramatically improve the sound quality over and above the DSP system capabilities. However, you must be prepared for certain hassles inherent in the process:
1. You will most likely have to wade through a series of unknowing installers before you find one you trust. Maybe there is someone on the board that has some experience with good installers in your area. Or, maybe you'll do it yourself?
2. Once you find a good installer, you will need to convince them that you don't want to win a car stereo competition, but that you just want something that sounds like real music. A lot of these guys are so used to dealing with the serious car audio lunatics that they lose perspective on what is really needed to put a good system together.
3. You'll probably end up spending more than you initially thought. (But what purchase doesn't end up this way?) For $1000 - $1500 you can get a very good sounding upgrade from the aftermarket. You'll hit the point of diminishing returns at about $2500 or so. Of course you can spend a whole lot more, see item #2. ;-)
However, thanks to the mediocrity of BMW's system offerings there is copious information in the archives, and great sites like JVR's (http://www.bimmer.org/5series/messages/messages/62410.html) and others documenting their solutions. There is no reason to give up on any of the stock system features, like the steering wheel controls, as people once thought when these systems were new.
NAV and DSP also no longer represent any real obstacles, but still there is no point in buying the DSP since upgrading a DSP based system means taking out most of what you pay extra for anyway. In the standard system, all the front-end electronics: i.e. radio, CD changer, NAV, etc. may be used as-is. These components are the same in DSP and non-DSP systems, in the DSP system, the stock amp is replaced with the DSP + amplifier module and a subwoofer is added. The DSP equipped amplifier module is the first thing to remove in a DSP system upgrade, so you get no benefit from the additional money spent on the DSP upgrade unless you choose to keep the BMW subwoofer.
Good luck on the new ride. Hope the wait is short!
Bob Hazelwood
: Thanx for your reply Alex, DSP is a lil' better than stock, but my problem is, I don't think it is worth the $1,000 extra. Wouldn't the grand be better spend on aftermarket upgrades??
: your thoughts,
: beewang
: : Hey, before you killed that option, this is my opinion on the DSP. I had a 97 528i with standard stereo and I tried my friend's 97 540i with DSP. The DSP sounds much better, I repeat MUCH BETTER than the regular sound system. The regular stereo is not good at all, it is even worse than my Bose Premium on my Acura Legend LS Coupe 93. So, my recommendation if you didn't have plan to change your stereo, GET THE DSP, it is definitely worth it. I regret that I didn't find pre-owned 528i that has DSP on it, oh well. Hope you pick your option wisely.

· http://www.bimmer.org/5series/messages/messages/62410.html



DSP Amp Connector Pinouts (archive)).

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Posted by Dwayne on June 19, 2000 at 11:18:22:
(posted from: proxy2-external.rdc1.sc.home.com (24.4.252.193))
I mentioned in an earlier response that my dealer had printed out the schematics for my '00 540i DSP system. I
had several requests to post them here for sub hookups. Here are pinouts for all 3 connectors. These were originally printed during January, 2000.
The pinouts for the 15 pin connector are:
PIN - CONNECTION
1- Sub 1 +
2- Sub 2 +
3- LH Rear loudspeaker + (Touring LH rear speaker ground)
4- Radio on/antenna signal
5- RH rear loudspeaker + (Touring RH rear +)
6- Sub 4 -
7- Sub 3 -
8- Terminal 30 connects to Fuse 56
9- Sub 1 -
10- Sub 2 -
11- Touring LH rear +
12- Touring RH rear -
13- Sub 4 +
14- Sub 3 +
15- Terminal 31 connects to Ground Point
The pinouts for the 18 pin connector are:
PIN - CONNECTION
1- Not used
2- Low freq. negative (-) signal - Transceiver/charging electronics
3- Not used
4- Not used
5- I-bus Signal Line - Splice X18344
6- Not used
7- Not used
8- RH front speaker - Connects to Radio
9- LH front speaker - Connects to Radio
10-Not used
11 Low freq. voltage (+) signal - Transceiver/charging electronics
12-Not used
13-Telephone mute signal - Transceiver/charging electronics
14-Not used
15-Telephone ON signal - Transceiver/charging electronics
16-Not used
17-RH front speaker + - Connects to Radio
18-LH front speaker + - Connects to Radio
The pinouts for the 26 pin connector are:
PIN - CONNECTION
1- LH front woofer +
2- LH front woofer -
3- Not used
4- RH front mid-range -
5- LH front mid-range +
6- Not used
7- Not used
8- Not used
9- RH front mid-range +
10-LH front mid-range -
11-Right rear mid-range speaker/tweeter +
12-RH front tweeter +
13-RH front woofer +
14-LH front tweeter +
15 LH front tweeter -
16-Left rear mid-range speaker/tweeter -
17-Not used
18-Not used
19-Left rear mid-range speaker/tweeter +
20-Not used
21-Not used
22-Not used
23-Not used
24-Right rear mid-range speaker/tweeter -
25-RH front tweeter -
26 RH front woofer -


540i DSP Amp Pinouts/Sub Schematics (archive) )).

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Posted by Dwayne on June 18, 2000 at 23:48:49:
(posted from: proxy2-external.rdc1.sc.home.com (24.4.252.193))
I mentioned in an earlier response that my dealer had printed out the schematics for my '00 540i DSP system. I had several requests to post them here for sub hookups.

The pinouts for the 15 pin connector are:
PIN CONNECTION
1- Sub 1 +
2- Sub 2 +
3- LH Rear loudspeaker + (Touring LH rear speaker ground)
4- Radio on/antenna signal
5- RH rear loudspeaker + (Touring RH rear +)
6- Sub 4 -
7- Sub 3 -
8- Terminal 30 connects to Fuse 56
9- Sub 1 -
10- Sub 2 -
11- Touring LH rear +
12- Touring RH rear -
13- Sub 4 +
14- Sub 3 +
15- Terminal 31 connects to Ground Point
Hope this helps.
Dwayne



Re: Finding the antenna wire in the trunk (archive)).

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Posted by Jim Cash on June 17, 2000 at 10:49:28:
In Reply to: Finding the antenna wire in the trunk posted by Robert Brinson on June 17, 2000 at 05:17:37:
(posted from: ppp16741.on.bellglobal.com (206.172.137.101))
: I am installing a TV in my 1997 528i. I am trying to find the antenna in the car so I can add a FM Modulator(to transport the audio to 88.7 on FM Dial. Where can I find the antenna wire. All my goodies are in the trunk so if it is back there things will be great. Also is there a larger power wire located in the trunk that i can get several amps from. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
: Thanks
: 1991 525i
: 1997 528i

Antenna wiring is not in th trunk.
The antenna outputs are on the antenna amplifier - at the side of the rear window behind the C pillar trim panel.
But it is more complex than that.
There are actually 2 TV antenna sections in the rear window antenna. One is fed through the "remote key" blocking circuit on one side of the window, and the other antanna is fed through the 'diversity" amplifier unit on the other side.
I do not know how these two feeds are combined - but I think they are both fed to the On Board Monitor for TV reception (if you have the TV feature - not in North America)
Your dealer might be willing to give you a printout of hte actually wiring drawing - they have it in a CD readout version only.

Cheers
Jim Cash



re:responses to clarify both CB & years q.... (archive)).

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Posted by Franz on March 20, 2000 at 11:52:03:
In Reply to: Please post more information - I have a '97 w/DSP posted by What year is yours? on March 20, 2000 at 10:41:54:
I have a 540i '6/98 build with DSP upgraded stereo. I am not referring to the GAL settings, they still work like they did before. Have a BMW authorized dealer put the car on their diagnostic machine, and go into Car Memory. There are many very cool things that can be programmed, just one of them being two different DSP settings. The stock setting has DSP=min, ave, or max set to ave. and the frequency set to 40, 50, 60, 70hz, etc and it is stock at 50hz. They need to be set to max & 50hz.
Other great changes I made are for the remote to open all four doors with one touch, no chirp on the alarm, lock all doors at 5MPH among others.
I would enjoy feedback on the various settings, as the dealers & tech guys appear to have no knowledge of what most of these settings actually do!

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More wrong info from a hi-fi shop. (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on June 02, 2000 at 09:06:35:
In Reply to: Hmmm......and audiophile...maybe you can help me.. posted by PLEASE read NAV people!-S5 thanks=) on June 02, 2000 at 02:02:38:
(posted from: (12.11.181.53))
Ok. Since I've been involved in the design of more than a few car amps in my carreer, I'll simply say that IMHO you have been fed misinformation. It was probably unintentional, most shops just don't know about the technology within the box and therefore often end up mis-diagnosing.
It is highly unlikely, no, let's say nearly impossible, that you "blew" the amp by "the stock amp giving you a bad signal". The only thing you will get from a bad signal is bad sound. The way an amp works is that it senses the voltage present at the input, and usually, (I'm generalizing and simplifying a bit)increases whatever voltage is there while simultaneously increasing output current capability enough to drive speakers. Insignificant current is delivered from the driving source to the amps input, so the driving source, in this case a BMW amp, dies not actually deliver "power" to the driven (PPI) amp. You need voltage x current to make power. A "bad" input will either:
1. simply give a distorted signal to work with. 2. cause the input stage of the amp to "clip", resulting in severe distortion, but no damage.
I suspect your PPI amp failed because of either just a random failure, or some other installation related problem such as overheating or an improper load impedance of the woofer. With most of today's good quality products, which is a category which certainly includes PPI, the occasional random failure is the most likely candidate. However, a bridged amp, driving a 4-Ohm woofer load would likely cause the amp to run very hot. I don't know what the impedance of your woofer was, but it is conceivable that failure was caused by overheating or overcurrent.
If you feed the input of the PPI amp with a signal taken from the speaker outputs of the BMW amp, you need a floating ground line output converter. If you take it from the input to the amp (Non DSP systems only) then you can connect this directly to the PPI with no special precautions. Both ways will wotrk fine as others who have done it will attest. There is quite a bit in the archives on audio you might wish to research.
Best regards,
Bob
: I had a PPI amp (360watt bridged) installed and a small 10" fosgate in a box. However within 2 days the amp and woffer both blew. First the amp then woffer. Both were replaced without cost to me. Anyways the shop told me my stock amp was giving a bad signal to the PPI so it was frying the amp when ever I played it too loud. They said if I wanted to keep the system I wouldnt be able to turn it up high! So I had them remove everything. Now is this a NAV amp design problem or do I have a faulty amp? Any ideas?



Recommendation for audio upgrade (archive) ).

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Posted by rick on May 30, 2000 at 23:49:31:
(posted from: slc269.modem.xmission.com (166.70.2.15))
On their previous web site, a/d/s offered 3 options to upgrading specifically bmws. they stated the 1st option was a amp/subwoofer, the 2nd including a 6ch amp + speaker replacement, the 3rd an 8ch + sp + 2ch amp w/2x subwoofers all diagrammed nicely. (its no longer on the site). Seems like a turn-key approach.
I then headed to the dealer and they were trying to talk me into everything but the a/d/s stuff until I showed them the diagrams I printed.
I don't want a booming sound, so a subwoofer doesn't interest me much + placement is a difficult proposition.
The electronics has me baffled. Is an 8ch (40w) overdoing things or does it allow for flexiblity? I don't think I can go wrong with the quality of speakers avail. right now in Boston, MB Quart or Diamond.
Please share experience/opinions/recommendations.

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Re: Sound (archive)).

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Posted by steve on May 17, 2000 at 17:03:31:
In Reply to: Sound posted by 98 540/6 on May 17, 2000 at 16:29:42:
(posted from: ifmxlenx.na.informix.com (192.147.111.2))
It's a waste of money, it still sounds like crap. The good news is that adding a nice amp and woofer subsystem is easy in this car. I just spent $2100 and it sounds GREAT!! Much better than ANY stock stereo that you can buy on any vehicle.
It turns out the the speaker components on the BMW are not bad at all. My system consists of the following:
1)Fosgate Punch 1000 Power Amp (to drive the woofers. I run 2 channels 500W each into each woofer))
2)Custom box/enclosure for dual woofers
3) two Punch 10" woofers
4) Fosgate Punch 100x4 channel amp for the highs/midrange
5) Pioneer 6 disc CD changer
6) Adapter for the CD player
Total cost with installation was $2100+ (I got about $350 off of list price). This system CRANKS and cost about the same as the DSP with factory CD!!!
I had the Bose system in my Maxima (I upgraded the Maxima after I bought it)and there is no comparison. The downside is that I take up about 1/4 of my trunk with the custom enclosure. I mounted both amps on the back of the seat/you can't see them.
Hope this helps...
: Hey everyone, had a question. I am coming from a 95 Maxima GLE which had the Bose sound system, which in my opinion, sounded great. I'm no audiophile, but I also listened to the stock 5 sound system, and it kinda sucked. So, does the DSP sound much better than the Bose in the Maxima, or is it also just a waste of money?



Re: DSP and other Stereo Comments (archive)).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on October 07, 1998 at 10:56:36:
In Reply to: DSP Stereo posted by John on October 06, 1998 at 14:01:11:
: I am getting ready to order a new 5. Is the upgraded stereo option worth getting? I have heard the DSP system, but have not heard the standard system. Is there a big difference?
: Thanks for the help!

Just so my bias is obvious up front, I'll start by letting you know that I am the VP of Product Management for audio company a/d/s/.
Now that that's out of the way, it seems from the many communications I have with other BMW owners that many (fortunately not all) aftermarket installers seem to have either a fear of Bimmer's, a lack of knowledge, or a desire to milk as much money as they can from us. Adding aftermarket electronics and speakers to the BMW system is a LOT easier than you would be led to believe by most dealers.
Point 1: The BMW radio's output is a pretty standard common ground high voltage preamp output. Dealers get confused by the fact that BMW uses twisted pair wiring instead of shielded cable, but the fact is it can be plugged directly into just about any competent aftermarket amp once you change the plugs. Unless you choose one of the very few incompatible amps, you do not need any sort of adapters, converters, or anything else that dealers keep trying to add on to the sale. Just remember to pick up the signal between the radio and the amp, not at the BMW amps speaker outputs.
Point 2: The BMW speakers are pretty common sizes, so there are many replacement choices which will fit with little or no modifications.
Point 3: Here's the only really strange thing about the BMW system architecture. The speaker crossover components are contained in the BMW amp instead of in line with the speakers as with most other systems. In practical terms means replacing the amp if you replace the speakers or vice versa. There are ways to work around this, but neither the BMW amp or speakers are really worth keeping once you replace the other parts.
Although I'm in the industry, I've "outgrown" the desire to make my car an audio science project. So like many of you, I've taken the route of keeping the factory radio and changer while upgrading the rest of the system. I won't bore you all with the details here but if anybody is interested feel free to E-mail me. I'll be happy to help out with any questions you all may have. BTW, my car is an E34, but the same ideas will apply to the E39.
Back to the original question. The DSP system definitely has advantages over the stock system. I'ts worth is subjective though, you'll have to listen for yourself to decide.
Best Regards
Bob Hazelwood
93'525i 5-sp. Sharked, BL/SS'd, H&R+Bilstein,



Re: DSP Max / 40 Mhz. Dealer Story?? -more (archive) ).

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Posted by Peter on April 17, 2000 at 20:02:26:
In Reply to: DSP Max / 40 Mhz. Dealer Story?? -more posted by Mike33 on April 17, 2000 at 14:05:56:
(posted from: cs2741-198.austin.rr.com (24.27.41.198))
The dealer needs no special sofware, its all on the DIS they use. However it depends on which revision DSP amp you have. There are four versions. 97 thru-1/98, then superseeded by 97 thru 6/98, then superseeded by 97-1/99, and then now DSP replaces all previous part numbers.
The first two build dates are not changable.
good luck



Re: Pin-outs for pre-amp signal. (archive) ).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on April 06, 2000 at 18:23:08:
In Reply to: Bob Hazelwood??? Pin-outs for pre-amp signal. posted by Russ on April 06, 2000 at 15:40:52:
(posted from: (12.11.181.53))
Hi Russ,
These are the pin locations on the large connector at the output of the "radio" chassis, not the amp input. Sorry but I don't know what they are, but you can figure that out from the wire colors once you know what wires are in the pins listed here. This is the same for the standard and DSP signal except that on the DSP cars, there are no wires in the positions for pins 6,12,13, and 14. For all channels the signal is full range at this point. The crossovers are in the various power amps used in the different systems. The signal is common ground, so pins 11,8,14, and 12 are electrically connected together and to chassis ground. Output voltage is about 4.7V RMS at maximum undistorted output.
If you haven't found it yet, the radio chassis is the small steel box that looks like it is the size of a standard in-dash radio except that it has no front panel. It is mounted behind the changer.

front left output + 2
front left output - 11
front right output + 1
front right output - 8
rear left output + 6
rear left output - 14
rear right output + 13
rear right output - 12

remote turn on lead 5
This info comes courtesy of Pat Molettieri at a/d/s/. I have not checked it personally but Pat is usually correct on stuff like this.
Best regards,
Bob
: Hello Bob,
: Do you know or can direct me to where I can find the pinouts for the pre-amp signal from the regular radio head-unit?
: Thanks,
: Russ




DSP settings (archive) ).

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Posted by Peter on April 01, 2000 at 16:00:51:
I have learned there are 4 Revs of the DSP amp, first being thru 1/98, the second thru 6/98, third thru 6/99 and now the new DSP which superceeds all previous PN 's . If you have the first one you can not change the Ave to max setting or the Frequency.
FYI


Mute is relatively simple (more) (archive) ).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on March 30, 2000 at 11:59:32:
In Reply to: Can a Nokia car kit mute radio & use front speaker posted by Eric J. on March 28, 2000 at 15:03:46:
There is a wire on the Nokia car kit which sends a ground signal when the phone is used. This can be connected to the BMW phone mute wire, which can be found on the large 17p connector on the radio chassis. I don't remember the color code for E39's, but it should be clearly marked on the dealer's documentation. It's either pin 4 or pin 13, but I can't remember for sure.
Not certain about where to pickup the speaker wiring though. I suppose the most direct and foolproof way is to simply connect the Nokia's speaker output directly to the second voice coil of the door speaker on the driver's side, leaving the BMW wiring unconnected. However, if you can talk your dealer into printing out a copy of the appropriate section of the schematic from his service documentation, the phone speaker wiring should be easily traceable to a more convenient connection point.
Best regards,
Bob
: as the phone's external speaker? I understand there are some aftermarket kits/parts (Stinger?) that automatically mute the radio and can tap into the door speakers when the phone is in the cradle. I know that you cannot use the phone controls on the steering wheel nor the MID with the phone but is anyone familiar with the mute and speaker functions?
:
: BTW, I have a June build 1997 540i/6 and am using a Nokia 6166 thru AT&T.
: TIA



Hold on, lets back up this bus a bit..... (archive) ).

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on June 11, 2000 at 05:56:39:
In Reply to: Re: Question on stereo posted by peter on June 10, 2000 at 13:59:42:
(posted from: (202.104.172.146))
Your intent i sa good one. Unfortunately you have the wrong system to do it with. There is a lot written in the archives, so I won't go into it again here for the sake of time, but the condensed version is that the DSP system preamp level analog signal is fixed level. It does not increase or decrease with the volume control. It only has analog signal for radio, cassette, and NAV. The CD SPDIF digital signal feeds directly to the DSP amp. All the volume, tone , etc is done in the DSP/amp module. Your only option, short of an internal connection inside the DSP/amp chassis (or ditching the DSP and converting to the standard setup), is to run your subwoofer from the subwoofer speaker outputs.
See JimL's site (check the archives and do a search for DSP & JimL) for a more thorough outline.
Best regards,
Bob Hazelwood
: Concerend about amp a amp signal, more distrotion. Also what wires did you use, connect to.
: thanks

Forest Gump-----------------------> " I guess I'll quit runnin know..."
hiha hmmm :eek: :typing:
 
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