PDA

View Full Version : Basic audio upgrade in E90


el_duderino
05-24-2007, 10:43 PM
Here are some pics of a basic audio upgrade in an 05 E90 sedan.

The ground rules were:

- No cutting, everything reversible

- OEM look

- Had to be below $2K retail installed

- Better sound and louder than stock

- Retain non-fading bass on the subwoofer

The first thing we did was upgrade the front speakers. Unlike older BMWs, these have 4"/100mm midranges and 28mm tweeters. We installed a set of DLS PS4A components. The tweeter fit loosely in the OEM location, we glued it into place after this photo was taken.

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/E90Ftweeternoglue.jpg

The 4" mid from the DLS just fits. I would rather have used the Morel Dotech or Hybrid 4, but budget was a factor.

We made an MDF ring with a shelf for the speaker frame, sealed it to the door with foam tape, and used the OEM studs to bolt it over the speaker to the door panel.

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/E90doorspeaker.jpg

The passive crossovers went in the door, on brackets which bolted to the OEM bolt. Sturdy and no holes.

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/E90xoversindoor.jpg

The 10" sub went in this enclosure:

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/E90subdisconnect.jpg

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/E90sub.jpg

We wish the upholstery was 100%, but as with many BMWs, there doesn't seem to be any available. The disconnect allows easy battery access.

The amp was a Zapco DC 360 4-channel. It's partially visible in some pics. We left the OEM rears and underseat woofers playing on the OEM amp, and used the Zapco BTL adapters. More pics tomorrow on the way we neutralized the EQ curve of the BMW OEM system and then tuned the system!

el_duderino
05-28-2007, 10:26 AM
As promised (though late) more pics. Having trouble with the memory on my Sony camera, and some pics are not coming out properly, so the RTA images will be described by me for now.

The E90 we worked on - an 05 328 - has a HU with analog copper wire F and R outputs to the amplifier. This amplifier sends F, R, and Sub out to the OEM speakers. It is almost identical to the X3 system we interfaced with a year and a half ago. The preamp outputs are flat and unEQd other than a slight auto-loudness feature which is not objectionable at all.

I don't expect most E90s to be like this one - I suspect that most will have a MOST fiber-optic green cable at the amp. While the BMW service manual implies that there are only MOST amps in Logic 7 E90s, we have seen one non-Logic 7 06 330i sedan with a green fiber optic cable at the amp.

Since this customer wanted to retain both rear speakers AND the non-fading woofer output that the OEM system has, we did not do what we did with the X3. In the X3, we used the true balanced input of the Zapco amps, along with some series resistance which ended up being important to prevent the HU going into overcurrent audio muting, and we bypassed the OEM amp completely for our signal (we left it in place to run the OEM 6.5 under the seats, which we kept for their midbass properties). This is my preferred method, because it's easier and it allows the fader to be used as a subbass level control - but it's not the only approach.

In this E90, we left the OEM amp in place, and we used the DSP features of the Zapco to reverse the drastic EQing done inside the BMW amp.

We took the F outputs of the amp and ran them into a Zapco BLT speaker level adapter (no transformers used!) and into the front half of a Zapco DC360 amplifier. We took the Sub out of the factory amp and tapped off of it - leaving it running the BMW underseat subs - and we used that as the signal for our new 10" sub, running that into the rear channels of the Zapco DC360.

Here is the amp rack under the rear deck:

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/bmws52707031.jpg

Here is the sub in the assembled trunk. The color is not a perfect match, but as usual, the camera makes it look worse tha it really is:

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/bmws52707001.jpg

Here is a rear view of the assembled trunk:

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/bmws52707013.jpg

Here is a detail of the disconnect for the sub, for battery access:

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/bmws52707030.jpg

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/bmws52707029.jpg

How did it sound? Well, really very good, especially for under $2K, and it is a ton better than the factory system.

The sub transfer into the cabin was great - far better than older BMWs. It was esy for this single 10" to outrun the rest of the system if we let it.

The factory EQing has a TON of energy between 500 Hz and 2k, and I ended up cutting that area a lot to bring the midbass up. I'm not certain that an auto-EQ system would get this acoustic problem (like the Clean Sweep). I think you need something with user/installer EQ settings, like a 360.2 or the Zapco, or maybe this H650 thats coming someday from Alpine, to solve this problem. I EQd the amp's output to flat, just like the auto EQ systems do, but we didn't like the sound until we cut that 1k-centered hump even more. It may have been an artifact of these speakers in this car, but what we were struggling with on the tuning side was keeping the midbass from the underseat woofers in the sound picture, without letting the rear speakers overpower the fronts. Took some time.

The biggest upgrades from this car would be the speakers. I'd use a DLS MW110 woofer and a set of Morel Dotech 4 or Hybrid Ovation 4 front components on the very same amplifier. Only kink is, we had a $2K ceiling, and any of these speakers would have broken our budget, by $350 and $700 total respectively.

JPWheelr
06-04-2007, 10:08 AM
pictures don't show for me. Install seems incredible though.

el_duderino
06-04-2007, 08:18 PM
Grr...

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/BMW%203-series%20E90/bmws52707029.jpg

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/BMW%203-series%20E90/bmws52707001.jpg

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/BMW%203-series%20E90/E90xoversindoor.jpg

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/BMW%203-series%20E90/E90doorspeaker.jpg

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/BMW%203-series%20E90/bmws52707031.jpg

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/avincar/BMW%203-series%20E90/bmws52707013.jpg

Supr7
06-09-2007, 08:17 AM
I'm curious about the sub. Which one did you use? Is it in a fiberglass enclosure over the battery? I have an 07' 328i E90 (non Logic 7)and am wondering if a free-air 10 inch sub mounted on the back side of the plastic panel behind the rear seat armrest might work, with a bit of cutting to the larger panel behind it that forms the rear of the trunk (there's about a two-inch space between them)? It seems like a logical place for the sub, and would not take up any room. Also, various people seem to use the MB Quart 4-inchers in the door, with good results, and not too much money. The E90Post website has several different experiments on the 8-inch underseat midbass speakers, which I'm watching with interest. Nice work, though- this upgrade is something a lot of E90 owners are asking about.

el_duderino
06-09-2007, 09:01 AM
Thanks for the kind words.

I've done freeair subs many times (most recently in a classic 6-series) , and in a non-folding rear seat car it should work fine mechanically - but it will always be worse in the transient response department than a sealed enclosure, unless we're talking lots of power and lots of cone area and not trying to make a system that's livable for a consumer (I'm thinking of Scott Buwalda's three DLS subs IB in a Nissan here winning IASCA SQ years ago - I wouldn't have wanted to play Black Eyed Peas at 98% of the volume in that car). GOOD IB subs are hard to find. The DLS OA10 is pretty good (what I used in the 6), and I hear good things about the Alumapro, but IB is usually a budgetary tradeoff in the SQ department.

I don't cut cars unless the client specifically requests it. Most shops will cut without asking and without telling, but I would resent this as a client and avoid it in my work.

Logical? Actually, I think this IS the logical place for the sub :). If we accept the postulates that sealed sounds better than IB, that we don't want to lose any cargo load floor, that we'd like the 6dB+ or more that we get from corner loading the sub, and that we don't want to cut metal out of the car, then logically, this is the answer.

IB subs DO take up room. They protrude into the luggage space, they look decidedly non-stock, and they can be damaged from inside the trunk. No sub can be added without some encroachment of the cargo space. This approach eliminates none of the cargo floor, which I thought was kinda cool about it.

The 10" driver is a DLS MW110 Magnesium cone woofer - one of my favorites, and a very musical and fast woofer. (Someone will now post and tell me that the DLS web site says that this is best in vented enclosures. Again, this woofer sounds great, and I've spoken with several shops around the country that have had great results using it just like I have here. I probably have used 40 of these in the last 2 years, each in single-woofer situations, and we have lost one and had NONE returned. There are some nice reviews of the SQ of this woofer on bfc, audiworld, and acurazine.)

The enclosure is molded off of the battery door. The battery door is still in place beneath it and the battery is still accessible. The tools should be taken out and wrapped in a cloth below the tray, in my opinion.

I don't mean to sound curt, but I've used those MB Quarts, I've heard those MB Quarts, and if you haven't heard them, I wouldn't stick up for them. Sounding better than stock is not "good". MB Quart RUA-210s are just not that good. They are pretty, and they are German, but they are not great sounding speakers. The mid is just OK - kinda flat and cold, and the tweeter is lousy - bright, harsh, argh - and you can't even upgrade the sound with their better Musicomp passive xovers any more.

I've used the MB Quart RUS-210 in the X3, and I've been looking for something better for a long time. See my other post (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=210057)about the lengths I went to to avoid the MB Quarts in the second X3 I've done. (The owner of the first X3 I did is in his 50's, and I rationalized that the highs wouldn't be as bad for a guy with declining high-end hearing. When he came back to upgrade with new rear speakers, his treble control was -2! :)

I found the DLS to be much better sounding than the RUA-210 - similar midbass and smoother, warmer mids, and highs that didn't make me want to cry.

However, the best sounding speaker for this car is indubitably the Morel Hybrid Ovation 4 component set. The Dotech Ovation 4 set is less costly and is still FAR better than the RUA-210. Both use 28mm silk tweeters and 2" voice coil woofers. The Hybrid Ovation also has a xover point of 1800 Hz, which greatly improves the upper midrange detail. Another speaker better than the Quarts, and lower-cost than the Morels, is the Hertz HSK100 4" set.

The E60 5-series Logic 7 brochure states that the car comes with "9" woofers".

If you look at the underseat woofers from the E90 here (http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=VB33&mospid=48523&btnr=65_1526&hg=65&fg=20)[/URL], and the E60 here (http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=NA73&mospid=47758&btnr=65_1301&hg=65&fg=20), you will see that either the E90 woofer has a voice coil and magnet which is 2X bigger than the E60 woofer, or the E90 uses a 6" woofer and the E60 is the one with the 8/9".

E90:

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/i/l/198.png

E60 (stated as 9" in the 5-series Logic 7 brochure):

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/w/r/177.png

Have you seen any pics of these?

I have been thinking about amping the OEM woofers and seeing how they handle aftermarket 50W - especially with a 24db subsonic filter and some judicious eq-ing.

I'm curious about the sub. Which one did you use? Is it in a fiberglass enclosure over the battery? I have an 07' 328i E90 (non Logic 7)and am wondering if a free-air 10 inch sub mounted on the back side of the plastic panel behind the rear seat armrest might work, with a bit of cutting to the larger panel behind it that forms the rear of the trunk (there's about a two-inch space between them)? It seems like a logical place for the sub, and would not take up any room. Also, various people seem to use the MB Quart 4-inchers in the door, with good results, and not too much money. The E90Post website has several different experiments on the 8-inch underseat midbass speakers, which I'm watching with interest. Nice work, though- this upgrade is something a lot of E90 owners are asking about.

el_duderino
06-09-2007, 09:10 AM
Oh, I forgot to mention, that sub enclosure is made from a mold - we've had orders from out of our area and we make it to order without the car :)

jadsemail
08-06-2014, 05:38 AM
Have you ever done an audio upgrade to an E93 (convertible)? I have the base audio system, and it's pretty awful. Not sure if woofers could be installed under the seats aftermarket (as BMW does with the H/K system), and if not there then that pretty much leaves the trunk, which has to stay clear of obstructions for the origami hardtop.

Is the DLS woofer still your favorite? If so, which one?

Thoughts? Many thanks for all the great info on the E90 upgrade.


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app

drstein
08-06-2014, 04:33 PM
Your on a 7 yr old posting.....are you asking a general question or asking the OP ??

jadsemail
08-06-2014, 04:51 PM
Asking anyone in this forum who might be reading what their advice might be on upgrading the audio in the E93. Yes, realize this is an old discussion, but some of us either just acquired our BMW or are just (finally) getting around to addressing the problem!

Thanks for any suggestions.

drstein
08-06-2014, 05:02 PM
Thats fine, just wasn't sure you were aware you were resurrecting a 7 yr old post....