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View Full Version : Speaker, Sub, Amplifies choices (E46, OEM HeadUnit)


damills
11-09-2005, 04:47 PM
Looking for some feedback to the questions below for E46 owners who have upgraded their audio system, I want to keep the OEM headunit for a stealth install and dont care about loss of trunk space, only need to put 1 set of golf clubs in the trunk:


What type of speakers front/rear (model), how much, where to buy on-line?
What type of amplifier, model, specs and how many 1 or 2?
Opinions on the sub setup from BavarianSoundWerks (bimmerfest sponsor) http://www.bavariansoundwerks.com/products/product.php/II=364/_cid=196
Would you use a deck mounted enclosure or floor mounted?
Opinions on using 1-12" or 2-10" subwoofers in an enclosure.
Front speakers, whats the maximum depth that can be used, what can be used since most component woofers have a bulkier diameter?
Its time to upgrade the audio in my 2004 325cia, Ive done this before in a 2000 323cia. This time I would like to go with different speakers, subs and maybe a different ampilfier. The 2000 323cia has the following installed (no engine whine, no line converter:

Sony XM-5046, 50Wx4 Ch, 4 Ohms at 0.04% THD (12V) 75Wx4 Ch, 2 Ohms balanced differential inputs
Sony 10 band Equalizer
Bazooka RS10a Power Subwoofer
Rockford Fosgate FNX1614F Component Speakers (fit the front)
Rockford Fosgate FNX2514 Component Speakers
DID NOT use a line converter like the VEN4, wasnt needed with Sony Amp

IMO it sounded good but could have sounded better, I would appreciate anyones suggestions on speakers, amplifier, and everthing. Im not bias to any brand, just want it to sound good. In your opinions, try to be un-bias, I dont care if its a k-mart brand as long as its a quality sound reproduction.

Money is always a factor but give me your unbiased opinions given a budget of $4k, then what if money was no object (still keeping the headunit and stealth interior install meaning no-one can tell sitting in the car you have upgraded the audio system). Instead of $4k, if you can get a quality setup for $2k, what components would you use? Im doing the installation, so installation cost are $0.

One other thing, IMHO I really liked the Sony XM-5046 Amplifier, I also used it in a 1998 323isa with a Sony mobile ES headunit, kicker speakers (i think, been so long ago) and a powered bazooka sub, no eq, re-wired everthing.

el_duderino
11-09-2005, 06:17 PM
YOu may be tired of hearing from me, but I'm OK with that...

Two systems: one purchased from my store, one from onlinecarstereo.com.

My store: DLS UP6 components up front, DLS MW110 10" or MW112 12" woofer in the back, DLS Reference 3-channel amp (50x2/170x1 RMS, 70x2 and 250x1 nominal, bass knob). $1200 with wire and cable.

If you have to have rear speakers, get the Reference 5-channel amp and use some coaxials. Should run an additional $300.

From online car stereo, I'd get a JL Audio 500/5, a 12W3, and some kind of mids and highs. Since you always turn the highs up, might as well get MB Quarts front and rear. With wire and cable, about $1500.

But mine would sound better.

damills
11-09-2005, 06:41 PM
YOu may be tired of hearing from me, but I'm OK with that...

Two systems: one purchased from my store, one from onlinecarstereo.com.

My store: DLS UP6 components up front, DLS MW110 10" or MW112 12" woofer in the back, DLS Reference 3-channel amp (50x2/170x1 RMS, 70x2 and 250x1 nominal, bass knob). $1200 with wire and cable.

If you have to have rear speakers, get the Reference 5-channel amp and use some coaxials. Should run an additional $300.

From online car stereo, I'd get a JL Audio 500/5, a 12W3, and some kind of mids and highs. Since you always turn the highs up, might as well get MB Quarts front and rear. With wire and cable, about $1500.

But mine would sound better.
Not tired of it at all, maybe Ill start sending PM's, someone else will probably say we are putting garbage on the board, you know how it is, if you dont search for something, the first thing someone tells you to do is search or if you ask for a carfax, someone replies back with carfax.com when everyone on here tries to save money and is no different than anyone else, its a forum, its disk space, as long as there is some left, post about subjects that pertain to BMW should never be ridiculed, but post that have nothing to do with BMW seem to find there way here, Im amused by it.

I appreciate any info you can give me, the more the better, I like to go thru the decision process, this is a hobby, should be fun!

damills
11-09-2005, 06:51 PM
YOu may be tired of hearing from me, but I'm OK with that...

Two systems: one purchased from my store, one from onlinecarstereo.com.

My store: DLS UP6 components up front, DLS MW110 10" or MW112 12" woofer in the back, DLS Reference 3-channel amp (50x2/170x1 RMS, 70x2 and 250x1 nominal, bass knob). $1200 with wire and cable.

If you have to have rear speakers, get the Reference 5-channel amp and use some coaxials. Should run an additional $300.

From online car stereo, I'd get a JL Audio 500/5, a 12W3, and some kind of mids and highs. Since you always turn the highs up, might as well get MB Quarts front and rear. With wire and cable, about $1500.

But mine would sound better.I think I got most of that, but your saying based on my preferences get MB Quartz front and rear, what size MQ Quarts will fit the front, I found the the MB Quartz (PCE 213) for $289 from http://store.yahoo.com/discave/mbquart3.html, bavariansoundwerks sells for $449, they offer what looks like 1 step up that says (call for pricing) which is the QSD-213, are those better for what Im wanting or are the PCE-213 good enough, will I be able tell the difference, know a place I can get the QSD-213 for a reasonable price?

What do you think about the sub setup from bavariansoundwerks I listed above, is it better than the bazooka rs10a, Im thinking it is?

I wished there was a shop around here that carried some of this stuff so I could compare, I dont look at the price in a sound room, I just listen but when told the price and out of my range, I start like everyone else, "how much are those over there", ha!

If you want to PM me go ahead or email me at damills@charter.net. If you could spec out, even give a source or if you sell it at a good price, let me know.

What is DLS, any sites I can read up on it, how does it compare price wise to what Im trying to do?

Ive not purchased from bavariansoundwerks, what do you think of the equipment (sub setup), is it reasonably priced, I like the desk mounted unit, can still get a set of golf clubs in the trunk but if it sounds better dont care if all I can get in there is a gallon of milk, maybe be better to talk off-line, email me what you think about the sub setup Im looking at.

One other thing, you said dont put something in the back, said in another post detracts from what you can spend on the front, what do you recommend for the front and an amp to drive them? Also the cost?

If you were doing my 04 325ci (keeping bluetooth), what would you put in it if it were yours, email me if you dont mind, may have additional questions where i can buy, how it needs to be hooked up (if you dont mind answering, I would appreciate it)

Thanks again, I really do appreciate it, no offense taken.

Orangefiv5
11-10-2005, 01:18 PM
As far as bavariansoundwerks goes I think they are your best bet. I have a 1991 325ic and I bought a amp and speaker box with speaker and all wiring and I am installing it my self with a couple of hook ups so no big deal and it sounds great. I used to have all that bass and stuff in my car when I was younger and I always just bought the most expensive one. You know you get what you pay for. After doing some research I think without doubt sound, quality product and a total package I would recommend bavariansoundwerks. Just my opinion but they are built just for our bimmers so it's all good. Good luck and post what you end up doing.

damills
11-10-2005, 02:30 PM
As far as bavariansoundwerks goes I think they are your best bet. I have a 1991 325ic and I bought a amp and speaker box with speaker and all wiring and I am installing it my self with a couple of hook ups so no big deal and it sounds great. I used to have all that bass and stuff in my car when I was younger and I always just bought the most expensive one. You know you get what you pay for. After doing some research I think without doubt sound, quality product and a total package I would recommend bavariansoundwerks. Just my opinion but they are built just for our bimmers so it's all good. Good luck and post what you end up doing.
Which one did you buy on their site? Is the sub upgrade all you have done, how to you rate it versus some other cars with high end, aftermarket amps, does it approach systems like that? I know its very subjective, just the best you can describe it?

I will post what I end up doing, thanks for the feedback for BSW, Im heavily leaning toward the deck mounted 2-10" subwoofer solution, then in a month or so replacing the HK amp and speakers, I want to insure replacing those components will not effect bluetooth (ie. is bluetooth just ran thru the radio, out the speakers or does it use an extra connection @ the amp I need to consider :dunno:

Thanks again!

Frank Rizzo
11-13-2005, 09:49 PM
Here's what I did:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84784&highlight=Rizzo

I can tell you from experience that you dont really need the rear speakers in an E46 coupe. I'd avoid the 500/5 if you can and go with two amps. Two pitfalls: Getting the bass into the cabin; I leave one of my rear seats folded down a lot. And, the stock (non-nav) head unit is really a POS. Even with the balanced outputs it adds this color to the sound like it's overdriving the input stages of the amplifier. I should probably try a VEN-4 LOC, but I'm really sick of lying on my back and messing with the stereo stuff..

.

el_duderino
11-14-2005, 10:28 AM
Here's what I did:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84784&highlight=Rizzo

I can tell you from experience that you dont really need the rear speakers in an E46 coupe. I'd avoid the 500/5 if you can and go with two amps. Two pitfalls: Getting the bass into the cabin; I leave one of my rear seats folded down a lot. And, the stock (non-nav) head unit is really a POS. Even with the balanced outputs it adds this color to the sound like it's overdriving the input stages of the amplifier. I should probably try a VEN-4 LOC, but I'm really sick of lying on my back and messing with the stereo stuff..

.

Uh, FYI, Frank, I've gotten these HU's to sound pretty good. If you're hearing a lot of coloration, I suspect there's some sort of impedance mismatch going on.

This is why I've been using the Iso-Max as an interface lately. It seems to give the OEM HU outputs a load that they really like, it doesn't affect the frequency response in the audio range below 7 V of signal, and its transformers don't pick up any noise from EMI because they live in metal cans grounded to the board.

It's definitely better made than a SVEN.
It is just a 2-channel ground loop isolator, but the best sounding one ever made. I'd recommend trying one out in your car with a set of RCA Y adapters and see what you think of the sound.

And I think you nailed the sound of the Quarts and the effect of rear speakers : )

Just Bryce
11-14-2005, 10:34 AM
I think I got most of that, but your saying based on my preferences get MB Quartz front and rear, what size MQ Quarts will fit the front, I found the the MB Quartz (PCE 213) for $289 from http://store.yahoo.com/discave/mbquart3.html, bavariansoundwerks sells for $449, they offer what looks like 1 step up that says (call for pricing) which is the QSD-213, are those better for what Im wanting or are the PCE-213 good enough, will I be able tell the difference, know a place I can get the QSD-213 for a reasonable price?

What do you think about the sub setup from bavariansoundwerks I listed above, is it better than the bazooka rs10a, Im thinking it is?

I wished there was a shop around here that carried some of this stuff so I could compare, I dont look at the price in a sound room, I just listen but when told the price and out of my range, I start like everyone else, "how much are those over there", ha!

If you want to PM me go ahead or email me at damills@charter.net. If you could spec out, even give a source or if you sell it at a good price, let me know.

What is DLS, any sites I can read up on it, how does it compare price wise to what Im trying to do?

Ive not purchased from bavariansoundwerks, what do you think of the equipment (sub setup), is it reasonably priced, I like the desk mounted unit, can still get a set of golf clubs in the trunk but if it sounds better dont care if all I can get in there is a gallon of milk, maybe be better to talk off-line, email me what you think about the sub setup Im looking at.

One other thing, you said dont put something in the back, said in another post detracts from what you can spend on the front, what do you recommend for the front and an amp to drive them? Also the cost?

If you were doing my 04 325ci (keeping bluetooth), what would you put in it if it were yours, email me if you dont mind, may have additional questions where i can buy, how it needs to be hooked up (if you dont mind answering, I would appreciate it)

Thanks again, I really do appreciate it, no offense taken.

Look at DLS results this year from IASCA competions. I think they placed 6 cars in the top 10. Pretty impresive stuff.

Frank Rizzo
11-14-2005, 09:55 PM
Uh, FYI, Frank, I've gotten these HU's to sound pretty good. If you're hearing a lot of coloration, I suspect there's some sort of impedance mismatch going on.

This is why I've been using the Iso-Max as an interface lately. It seems to give the OEM HU outputs a load that they really like, it doesn't affect the frequency response in the audio range below 7 V of signal, and its transformers don't pick up any noise from EMI because they live in metal cans grounded to the board.

It's definitely better made than a SVEN.
It is just a 2-channel ground loop isolator, but the best sounding one ever made. I'd recommend trying one out in your car with a set of RCA Y adapters and see what you think of the sound.

And I think you nailed the sound of the Quarts and the effect of rear speakers : )


Wuz an "iso-Max ?:dunno:

I thought the issue was the headunit put out near 8v and it's overdriving the input stages of the amp(s) ? I have to turn the gains down really low (even when in the "high" setting) so I made and a$$umption that a LOC could "gain down" the signal.....a ground loop isolator would not.

el_duderino
11-14-2005, 11:11 PM
I don't think that that's the problem.

Based on how many of these BMW amp interfaces we've done at my shop, the HU OP is not too high. I'd say that it's a plausible assumption - but I assign it a very low probablility.

Where are the amp gains? And the input level switch? Just curious.

Many balanced to single ended line output converters are 98% ground loop isolators anyway. (I don't think the SVEN uses transformers, but many do.. like the Soundgate LOCPREA).

The JLs are supposed to be able to take speaker level in on those RCA inputs. But if you really ARE on the HU preamp outs, then SOMETHING is wrong, sounds like. If you connect an iPod or Discman to the amp directly, does it sound better?

And if you haven't tried it, don't knock it, Frank... or people will assume you're an EE...
: )
We did a listenting test in another BMW with the LOCPREA, a LOCB.2 (both Navone pieces w/Sopundgate stickers), the CL-2RR Iso Max, a Stinger converter, and another Iso Max device that is a pro balanced to single ended device. I was gonna try the SVEN but ran outta time.

The CL2RR was the best sounding, the quietest, and had the tightest sounding bass of the group. It was a pretty grossly obvious improvement.

http://www.audioxpress.com/bksprods/equipment/pj-cl2rr.htm

Frank Rizzo
11-15-2005, 10:39 PM
I aint knokin it!!.....maybe yer a little sensative? :D I'll give it a try. If it does not help, I'll sue! Seriously, at this point I've spent so much $$ with such disappointing results - it can not hurt. I just cant understand how it would help. Right now the signal comes out of the HU and directly into the amp. What is an isolator going to do? I do not have any gound loop noise/whine.

FYI: The input switch in on "Hi" and the gains are in the first quarter (approximately 25% on a scale of 1-100)

You sound pretty confident, so I'll try one. I've never purchased from audio express, are they OK ?

THanks.

el_duderino
11-16-2005, 12:05 AM
I aint knokin it!!.....maybe yer a little sensative? :D I'll give it a try. If it does not help, I'll sue! Seriously, at this point I've spent so much $$ with such disappointing results - it can not hurt. I just cant understand how it would help. Right now the signal comes out of the HU and directly into the amp. What is an isolator going to do? I do not have any gound loop noise/whine.

FYI: The input switch in on "Hi" and the gains are in the first quarter (approximately 25% on a scale of 1-100)

You sound pretty confident, so I'll try one. I've never purchased from audio express, are they OK ?

THanks.

I've never bought one from them either.

Tell you what. Buy it from Markertek instead. (Google it, I do't have a link). If it doesn't make your system sound better, I'll buy if from you for what you paid for it. We'll use it.

Is ther any possibility that you have a phase issue with the wiring in the conversion? If you had the +/- polarity backwards on one channel, on the side you're using for the mids and highs, wouldn't you have a weird frequency response issue?

Before you order anything, get a "Y" adapter and try running both L and R front off of one channel - "Y" one channel into both L and R inputs for the front. Make sure it sounds the same. If it has a dramatic improvement in tonal quality, then check your wiring.

Frank Rizzo
11-16-2005, 08:42 AM
:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Orangefiv5
11-18-2005, 11:16 AM
If you are big on customer service and knowlege of Bimmer then I would at least check out Bavarian Soundwerks. Just a thought and with my personal experience I wouldn't have change it for the world. Just my $.02

Hoppy6698
03-19-2006, 05:00 AM
If you are big on customer service and knowlege of Bimmer then I would at least check out Bavarian Soundwerks. Just a thought and with my personal experience I wouldn't have change it for the world. Just my $.02

Okay, the rest of you guys were scaring the crap out of me! So much lingo, I got lost halfway down. Thanks for the $.02, Orange. Sounds like BSW is where I will go for simple simplicity. I dont do much work myself, but as I have built my own PC from the ground up, I figure I can replace some speakers easy enough.

Thanks all (even though I didnt originate the thread, it does give a good laydown of BSW vs. others. BSW = simple, Others = get a pro to help).

rpeeples
03-20-2006, 01:53 PM
Looking for some feedback to the questions below for E46 owners who have upgraded their audio system, I want to keep the OEM headunit for a stealth install and dont care about loss of trunk space, only need to put 1 set of golf clubs in the trunk:


I had the same concerns about wanting a stealth install and not wanting to spend thousands, and spent the better part of a year mulling it over. Well, I ended up spending about $1300.

I just installed the Bavarian Soundwerks Stage 1 MBQuart speaker upgrade and their dual 10" deckmounted sub box/amp. I know there's a lot of opinion here both pro and con re: BSW, but I gotta say that these upgrades make a huge difference in the sound of the whole system. Looks like most people here seem to know what's in these upgrades.

I did it myself, with some trepidation, using BSW's vaunted instructions. For the most part, they're pretty good instructions, and if you're good at following directions, and don't mind injecting a little of your own creativity and common sense when occasionally the instructions don't answer, ah, all your questions, you'll probably get through it OK. I have installed car audio gear in my cars since I was a kid, but not any time recently. And having just turned 50 does not help when you have to crawl into the trunk to install the sub; some things are still sore.

I gotta say, I think there could be more pictures illustrating the install, and the directions are sometimes a bit awkwardly worded, so that it's hard to discern exactly what they mean. Some of the pictures are evidently of very early e46's because my '03 330i had some distinct differences in the trunk. But overall, not bad. The gear is first-rate, and BSW does supply everything you'll need (except, in my case: 1 screw, the speaker cable from amp to sub, and banana plugs). But you'd better know how to solder a bit (which they don't tell you), and you ought to have a set of body panel remover tools, which they sell extra, to help keep your interior unscratched. And you should be younger than me, or at least more flexible. :yikes:

Another thing: it took me awhile. The Stage 1 upgrade took me two afternoons to complete: 1 for the front speakers, 1 afternoon to do the rear doors and deck. The subs took one long day of about 10 hours. Granted I worked slowly because I hadn't done it before and didn't want to wreck my car or the gear; it would go much faster if I had to do it again.

I think the difference these two upgrades make in the sound of the OEM HK system is pretty great. Lots more detail, much smoother & extended high end (the new MBQuart drivers), and the dual 10 sub just rocks; the 400W Elemental Designs amp has a great crossover adjustment and gain control which lets you really match the new subs to the system. Impression is that you get much more clean volume out of the system, very smooth and clean, just about as punchy as you want, although probably not enough for hardcore hiphop fans. Amazingly, these subs don't turn your ride into a thumper, you can barely hear the subs outside the car. And they don't take up that much room because the enclosure is suspended from the rear deck and doesn't extend downwards much further than the OEM subs did; should be plenty of room for golf clubs.

I actually did look around for lower prices, as the gear is available elsewhere for less. But in the end, the know-how and support are not; I think the BSW packages are priced pretty fairly when you factor that in.

Hoppy6698
03-21-2006, 12:32 AM
Quick question - Is there a sub alternative that might fit in the spare wheel well? I had seen this somewhere on other vehicles, but cant remember how/where. If I recall, it looked like a smaller sub but it fit inside the actual spare tire rim, raising the floor only about an inch. I would like to keep the extra space under my rear deck if possible.

rpeeples
03-21-2006, 04:12 PM
Quick question - Is there a sub alternative that might fit in the spare wheel well? I had seen this somewhere on other vehicles, but cant remember how/where. If I recall, it looked like a smaller sub but it fit inside the actual spare tire rim, raising the floor only about an inch. I would like to keep the extra space under my rear deck if possible.
I've seen sub solutions that do away with the spare tire completely, but I think those are mainly custom jobs; i.e. don't know where you could buy something like that off the shelf.