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-   -   Sound System Improvement Stage One (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=451804)

Evlengr 04-27-2010 08:26 PM

Sound System Improvement Stage One
 
I have been asked on numerous occasions about stereo equipment for the X3 since I have installed them in two separate X3's (07 and 08) and helped dozens of others including some dealerships.

Stereo installations can be done in stages just like performance or handling enhancements can be done in most vehicles until the desired impact is achieved. This helps to not only spread out the cost, but keep it to a minimum.

At the end of this whole series I will post some pics and "DIY" instructions.

For those that are new to the forum my recommendation come from over 35 years in the music industry as well as 20 years as a radio broadcast engineer with such big radio station names as DC 101 where Howard Stern started, and doing sound for a number of popular bands or groups.

Please bear in mind with my experience and even more --- these are only suggestions since the human ear is the most perfectly diverse piece of audio test equipment available and what sounds good to me might sound like (expletive) to you :).

This will be done in five stages:

Since there are so many different variations I will make suggestions in what I consider to be each stage of improving your X3's basic business sound system. IF you have the higher grade sound system, you are probably content and don't need my meddling.

First (Stage One): Speakers

speakers like tires can be an easy change but make a world of difference. I will not go into the full details of what specs are what, but only recommend ones I know will fit and have the proper electrical acceptability to the OEM sound system. Prices are approximate and taken from Crutchfield as it is an easy link and has good descriptions.


Alpine SPS-400 $70 all around good sound most popular http://www.crutchfield.com/p_500SPS4...ures_and_specs

Infinity Reference Series $130 favors the brighter side of music if your hearing is dulling these will certainly let you hear the sound of Santana as well as the violins of Tchaikovsky. Will also take more power if and amp is later added. http://signature.crutchfield.com/s_1...9i.html?tp=102

Focals 100 VRS $600 not cheap. This is really pushing it. I won't spend this kind of money, but if you have it and are serious about sound these are the best that will fit in your X3. Please be advised that they will never sound great with out additional power, like an external amp. http://signature.crutchfield.com/s_0...RS.html?tp=102

Stage Two will be HU and external components that allow you to keep your HU but add other equipment. As there are a number of new things out (that even I have my eye on) I want to do more research before I post this. Plus too much will bore you to death.

Hope this helps,

EE:thumbup: Please PM questions (for greater detail) with regard to each stage as posted

06BMWX3 04-28-2010 04:18 AM

This should be a sticky :thumbup:

kenza 04-28-2010 06:17 AM

Thanks Ev! +1 for a sticky.

LvdB 04-28-2010 08:11 AM

+3 for the Sticky :thumbup:
Seen so many related quaries in just as many different threads. Can't remember any of them for referrals...
...it will keep you busy Ev :rofl:

Evlengr 04-28-2010 08:17 AM

Thanks all. I think I will ask for a DIY thread to be created. That way we can all share what we do best. I think SNA77's work is phenomenal and should be part of this.

Wongway 04-28-2010 11:40 AM

Anyone have any comments on Polk Audio's DB401s for the door speakers? Compared to the Alpine SPS-400s?

Evlengr 04-28-2010 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wongway (Post 5141568)
Anyone have any comments on Polk Audio's DB401s for the door speakers? Compared to the Alpine SPS-400s?

Great speakers (little warmer in sound), but depth and circumference of speaker magnet makes them a little difficult to fit. Same with Boston Acoustic which imo are really nice sounding speakers.

enamoured 04-28-2010 02:00 PM

Great thread EE. +1 to make it a sticky.

spokelizard 04-28-2010 06:48 PM

Thanks!

I'd like to do the speaker upgrade but don't want to DIY. Could you add some advice about choosing an installer, and especially about how best to increase the likelihood that the vapor barrier isn't breached. All the horror stories about the vapor barrier have deterred me from the upgrade up till now.

Evlengr 04-29-2010 06:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spokelizard (Post 5142800)
Thanks!

I'd like to do the speaker upgrade but don't want to DIY. Could you add some advice about choosing an installer, and especially about how best to increase the likelihood that the vapor barrier isn't breached. All the horror stories about the vapor barrier have deterred me from the upgrade up till now.

I think the safest bet is to make sure you get an insured installer and inform them not to tear the barrier.

I worked with an installer when we did work on mine. My insurance company required it, in order to cover the equipment.

Since neither of us had run into this before we didn't give any thought to it. It really doesn't tear that easy and if it does the part is all of $17.50. We just didn't know.

Bottom line is they paid for the fix since they were insured and admitted to the damage.

Even with this issue out of the way, I would never go with a company that doesn't have a solid reputation and insurance. Same way I wouldn't go to a mechanic without that background.

kenza 05-04-2010 12:00 PM

Hey Ev, what about Stage Two? :)

Evlengr 05-04-2010 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenza (Post 5156914)
Hey Ev, what about Stage Two? :)

Sorry, got side tracked between getting an A3 and now the possibility of making the changes on the X3 itself and maybe not having to sell the bugger.

I should have some time Friday night to post stage two.

Thanks for asking :-)

kenza 05-04-2010 12:42 PM

Thanks for not telling me to shut the f*ck up :)

haribo 05-04-2010 02:47 PM

just a quick (silly) question: are the speakers that are recommended, for use in the front or back? or do I change all four?

sorry:eeps: new member having purchased my X3 last week.

Did a quick online search for the sps 400 but couldnt find a seller in the UK.
ps. Look forward to Friday:)

Supercourse 05-04-2010 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haribo (Post 5157495)
just a quick (silly) question: are the speakers that are recommended, for use in the front or back? or do I change all four?

Did a quick online search for the sps 400 but couldnt find a seller in the UK.

1. If something's worth doin' ....
Yea, I'd do all 4.

2. This Calif. vendor ships to just about any country except an interesting list of the usual suspects (i.e. El Qaeda-friendly, Communist regime, presently at war with, considering war with, endorse sweat-shops and child-labor, drug-dealing governments, etc.).

Depending on the results of the upcoming General Election in England & Wales, you should still be O.K.

The actual cost for shipping might not be too practical though.

http://www.sonicelectronix.com/shipp...ernational.php

haribo 05-04-2010 05:21 PM

Thanx:thumbup:
I wasnt sure if all 4 speakers were same size/fitment. Ive found Infinity Kappa 42.9i in the UK for around £60-70 so I may just go for that:)

spokelizard 05-04-2010 07:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evlengr (Post 5143715)
I think the safest bet is to make sure you get an insured installer and inform them not to tear the barrier.

I worked with an installer when we did work on mine. My insurance company required it, in order to cover the equipment.

Since neither of us had run into this before we didn't give any thought to it. It really doesn't tear that easy and if it does the part is all of $17.50. We just didn't know.

Bottom line is they paid for the fix since they were insured and admitted to the damage.

Even with this issue out of the way, I would never go with a company that doesn't have a solid reputation and insurance. Same way I wouldn't go to a mechanic without that background.


OK, thanks, good advice. I'll put it on my upgrade list, hopefully this summer.

Evlengr 05-04-2010 09:28 PM

Always all four.

Just like tires you want to match them up unless told otherwise:).

And, just like tires there are times you will have front and back different, but that is on a case by case basis.

My recommendations are to appeal to the broader sense, but happy to help with custom type questions on PM's so not to get off track.

kenza 05-05-2010 06:48 AM

Ev, is there a need to disconnect the battery before installing front door speakers (because of airbags)?

Evlengr 05-05-2010 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenza (Post 5159154)
Ev, is there a need to disconnect the battery before installing front door speakers (because of airbags)?

I do that as a safety precaution when working on any voltage. After disconnecting it is best to wait several minutes beforing diving in to work.
Some electrical components are designed to hold energy and can really bite hard if you don't know.

Also, rule of thumb: take off all jewelery. This is SOP when working with any voltage and should be common practice for all work. Wedding bands are typically gold and great conductors.

Don't want to scare anyone, but always smart to follow this rule with any electrical work, whether the car, house, etc....

This also avoids shorting any low voltage stuff you may not notice.

kenza 05-05-2010 09:04 AM

Ok, just as I thought. Thanks

Evlengr 05-07-2010 09:10 PM

Haven't forgotten my promise to post stage two.

Some new H/U and amps have been recently released and I want to check them out before I post. Plus I am tired this evening.

I do plan to give stage two this weekend though. :thumbup:

kenza 05-08-2010 05:19 AM

Thanks :)

harplayr 05-08-2010 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evlengr (Post 5167359)
Haven't forgotten my promise to post stage two.

Some new H/U and amps have been recently released and I want to check them out before I post. Plus I am tired this evening.

I do plan to give stage two this weekend though. :thumbup:

Is there a “how to” for removing the grills and replacing the speakers?
Do they just slip into the existing mounts?

Evlengr 05-08-2010 07:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by harplayr (Post 5167832)
Is there a “how to” for removing the grills and replacing the speakers?
Do they just slip into the existing mounts?

Yup..that is going to be part of stage 2 or 3..depends on how long winded I get.


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