Is the 5er's premium sound DSP worth $1200 [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

Is the 5er's premium sound DSP worth $1200

02-13-2003, 04:13 PM
Below is the description from I am getting ready to order a 530i and I'm wondering if it is worth it?

Thanks in advance!

This audiophile system features:

• Increased audio power

• 12 top-quality speakers, including two subwoofers

• Digital Sound Processing (DSP)

DSP provides the option of selecting from three preset acoustic environments: concert hall, cathedral, or jazz club. You can also custom-tailor three environments on the basis of acoustic parameters, such as room size, reverberation time and equalizer characteristics, and capture them in three memory settings. Also included is a DEMO function to demonstrate the system's capabilities.

This system cannot be installed in any other vehicle and is therefore anti-theft by design.

02-13-2003, 06:32 PM
I have it in my 528. Can't really comment since I've never been without it except to say I do have the EQ tuned, and do enjoy the sound.

Reports I've read call both systems weak, the non-dsp easier to upgrade. I prefer to keep my cars stock, so I went with the best stock system available.

Ndna Jnz
02-14-2003, 10:32 PM
I have the DSP option in my 97 540i/6. I bought the car used, so I did not actually "opt" for the DSP. It can be difficult to tune and still does not sound much better than non-DSP. Plus, having DSP makes it quite difficult to change/upgrade any aspect of your sound system. And the subwoofers are really a joke. Add the M-audio subs after you get your car.

02-15-2003, 02:50 AM
My E39 Touring does not have DSP, and I myself am wondering what upgrades are possible. :dunno:

My last BMW was a 320d Touring and I found it really difficult to "upgrade" anything. No room for a sub-woofer and changing/upgrading speakers sounds labor intensive.

Anyone have any thoughts on stereo upgrades for a 5er Touring?

02-16-2003, 08:37 PM
My two cents:

Let your ears decide. If you listen to the stock stereo and like it, stay with that. If you don't like it but do like the DSP stereo, get that. If neither satisfies you, get the stock stereo and upgrade. As Ndna Jnz points out, getting the DSP stereo and then upgrading is not the optimal path.

The stock stereos suffer from three problems: pathetic lows, an underpowered amp, and speakers that sound decent at low volumes but get very distorted at higher volumes (no, it's not just the amp that causes this problem). The head unit is pretty good and replacing it would cause other problems, so most E39 stereo upgraders leave it alone.

Upgrades can include replacing interior speakers, replacing the amp, and adding a sub/amp. Obviously you can do it for dirt cheap with crappy equipment or sky-high with esoteric stuff, but here are some reasonable estimates (parts/labor) for audio gear appropriate for a car as nice as ours:

* Replace interior speakers - $500/$200
* Replace four channel amp - $400/$100
* Add sub and sub amp - $600/$200

So, doing all of the above would run you about $1500 for parts an another $500 for labor. The equipment would be a bit lower-end if you get it retail at the audio shop. I bought all of my gear on eBay, mostly new. Also, consider leaving the stock rears as-is saving you $200-$300.

Make sure the installer knows E39s. Two specific problems: very high "low-level" signals from the head unit and those signals are differential balanced, not unbalanced. A good shop will understand both issues and make the right equipment and installation choices. Hint: don't let them run new speaker wire through the car. Yeah, the stock wire is thin but thicker wire won't sound any better.


02-16-2003, 08:41 PM

Replacing the front speakers is fairly straightforward. Check under tips&tricks for some articles.

Also, there are some interesting subwoofer enclosures out there. I'm not familar with the Touring, but a good stereo shop can mold a sub enclosure to blend in with your interior. On the sedan, several folks have enclosures that replaced the battery cover.

Also#2, wise selection of replacement speakers will greatly increase your bass response.


03-10-2003, 05:34 PM
As BillP stated, use your own ears.

The BMW DSP/Premium sound with the addition of the nearly plug n' play M5 subwoofer sounds great to my ears.

Sound is so, well, subjective.

Chris :)

03-12-2003, 10:24 AM
can anyone point out the speaker sizes for each location? i.e. 5" up front, etc......and also, what type to use: components? 2way, 3way?

Thanks in advance!