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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-27-2013, 09:34 AM
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Dking078 Dking078 is online now
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M Audio Subwoofer Retrofit Review

Thought it would be nice to share my expirence with this retrofit.

After finishsing my BSW stage 1 retrofit, I have have always wanted some M Audio subwoofers!

I'm not audiophile, but I found the DSP system in the E39 very good after I put in the BSWs. Having compared it to my non-DSP E39, it blew it out of the water. The Nokia subwoofer is generally good, but my problem with it was that it was lacking low end bass. If anyone has heard the song "Spectrum by Zedd" you'll know the bass. The nokia sub would be more loudness over thumping bass. It's good, but it has room for improvement

Here come in the M Audio subs! Two by 10 inch subwoofers in the rear deck and a couple pounds lost after taking out that heavy plastic nokia box! I wanted a perfect setup and this ment cutting out the pre indented holes in the rear deck. Reason being that all the displaced air from the sub was forcing its way out through the little 5.25 hole left by the old Nokia. It also created a horrible vibration/rattle in the rear deck metal before i even reassmbled it.

As for wiring these babies, I was lucky enough that the donor car (M5) had done the retrofit and used the old Nokia wires. The bad side is that to have a flush and tucked away look, i had to elongate each wire by about a foot and a half to hide them in the empty space to the right of the amp. The best way i find to feed the wires is to go form the panel on the sub side to the dead space hole that crosses the car where the back of the seat and trunk meet, then route it to the subs. I then used the holes in the space to zip-tie down the wire to prevent any ratting.
For those how manage to get the M audio harness, IIRC you would still need to spice the wires to connect to the AMP's sub harness .

Overall, the M Audio subs gave me more bass where i needed it and can top out at a ridiculously high level! When you turn them up, these thing are so darn powerfull compared to the Nokia I had to lay a thin layer of cloth between the sound insultaion and metal on the rear deck to stop rattles. You can also feel the bass in the seat!

Retrofit worthyness- 9/10
Cost- 6/10 ...Most people want $300+ for these babies without a harness... Not really my cup of tea, hence why I waited 1 year!
Bass Responce- 9/10 ...Near Perfect.
Intallation difficulty- 3.5/10.. As long as you know how to remove a bunch of screws and know how to crip wires you're all good. Cutting the hole may be a bit harder.(The BSW rear deck removal will help greately) I do suggest a friend or a jack lift to help mount the subs.

+ This is a preview to my upcomming interior project... There may be some Technical Graphite content












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2003 BMW 540i [Sterling Gray / Gray]
[Msport] [Mods from A-Z] [Two-Tone Interior]


For Sale! PM for info
1 Set of E38 OEM Illuminated Interior Door Handles $72 Shipped
E39 OEM High Polished Black Piano Trim set $265 Shipped [Click]
E39 OEM High Polished Gray Trim set $280 Shipped [Click]
E38 OEM Rear Quarter Window Sun / Window shades $50-$80 Shipped [Click]
E38 Heated / Dimming Exterior Mirrors $65 Shipped Each [Click]
E39 / E38 OEM Navigation 16:9 Monitor $250 Shipped [Click


Last edited by Dking078; 02-27-2013 at 03:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-27-2013, 10:26 AM
BadBrad BadBrad is offline
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Just did this same thing myself except I used a pair of 10" shallow depth subs (Rockford Fosgate, R2SD4-10, DVC 4 ohm). I mounted them to the rear shelf using rings I fabricated from some 3/4" MDF sheets I got from Home Despot. I cutout the stamped area using a Dremmel tool the same as when the M-Audio is factory installed. I used the old wiring that I stripped from the Nokia box as the new harness. Look at this thread on the other site for some pics of the installation.....

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...light=speakers

BTW, I replaced the other speakers with two sets of Boston Acoustics SC50 component kits.

My other car (wife's really) is a 2012 Mazda CX-9 Touring AWD that came with the optional Bose Surround with Centerpoint upgrade. The 540i M-Sport blows it away!!
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Last edited by BadBrad; 02-27-2013 at 10:32 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2013, 07:10 AM
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mng mng is offline
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Both of you keep the stock amp?

Edit: just read through the 'forums thread, good info, thanks...
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intro/clean up thread

Last edited by mng; 05-21-2013 at 07:31 AM.
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2013, 10:22 AM
BadBrad BadBrad is offline
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I kept the DSP amp in place, made the installation very simple. BTW, there are 4 separate subwoofer channels coming out of the DSP amp each one about 40 watts max. Since each new sub has a separate input to each voice coil, that effectively give you 4x40=160 watts max of output from the subs.
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Last edited by BadBrad; 05-21-2013 at 10:24 AM.
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  #5  
Old 05-21-2013, 11:26 AM
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mng mng is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadBrad View Post
I kept the DSP amp in place, made the installation very simple. BTW, there are 4 separate subwoofer channels coming out of the DSP amp each one about 40 watts max. Since each new sub has a separate input to each voice coil, that effectively give you 4x40=160 watts max of output from the subs.
you should make some extras of those rings and sell em. mine would not look very pretty

OP, clean install. Sorry for the threadjack, been looking around for M-audios, they're spendy...
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2003 540i/6
intro/clean up thread

Last edited by mng; 05-21-2013 at 11:35 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-21-2013, 12:20 PM
BadBrad BadBrad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mng View Post
you should make some extras of those rings and sell em. mine would not look very pretty

OP, clean install. Sorry for the threadjack, been looking around for M-audios, they're spendy...
You can buy 10" MDF mount rings on line for $13 ea on line here.

Also you can buy the 10" subs I used for $55 ea here.

Hope this helps.....
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:58 PM
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadBrad View Post
You can buy 10" MDF mount rings on line for $13 ea on line here.

Also you can buy the 10" subs I used for $55 ea here.

Hope this helps.....
Helps me to spend more money yep

Thanks for all the legwork and info
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intro/clean up thread
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  #8  
Old 05-21-2013, 07:03 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Nice, I have them as well. The versions you have are very early. The later ones (I got mine in 2003 I think) have different housings, with magnets that receive the magnets on the ski pass through door, to hold it open. They really do pound, and work very well.
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Factory 540 M-Sport (Canadian market), factory Bluetooth, factory M-Audio 10" dual voice coil subs, Homelink, M5 rear stabilizer bar, H&R 15mm spacers, Bilstein B14 PSS coil overs, Stop Tech ss brake lines, Akebono Euro Ceramic brake pads, oem Brembo and Zimmerman rotors, Dinan Stage 1 software, Strong Strut front upper stress bar.
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  #9  
Old 09-21-2013, 06:54 PM
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here is my , i replaced M5 sub and also M Audio component speakers ( rear shade )



http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...4#post23903054
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Last edited by champaign777; 09-21-2013 at 06:57 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2015, 02:08 PM
Parin Parin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadBrad View Post
You can buy 10" MDF mount rings on line for $13 ea on line here.

Also you can buy the 10" subs I used for $55 ea here.

Hope this helps.....
It is helping me for sure as I am attempting to use the same equipment as you!
Thanks!!

Since I will attempt to wire this myself (no real experience but I think I can do it)
I have a few questions:

What I have:
2 Alpine MD300 Amplifiers
2 Alpine multi channel Amplifiers (can't remember the model numbers but they were bought at the same time along with the 300's to power a previous system in a 330ci) They are pretty big in size is about all I can say for them for now. I am out of the country and can't go and look at them.
I also have some Polk 5.25's but I will be purchasing a pair of new ones (Boston Acoustics S50 5 1/4" 150 Watt Component Speakers with Tweeters, Mid-range, and Crossovers)
as well as (Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-10 10" Prime R2 Dual 4 Ohm Voice Coil Shallow Subwoofer with 400 Watt Peak / 200 Watt RMS).
In addition to the above pieces I want to add a sound processor (Kicker Front Row™
6-channel digital signal processor) since I do not want to upgrade the headunit at all.
And an AUX plug in there somewhere sourced from...??? not sure yet.
Of course fatmat and MDF will be used in both locations for sound deadening and mounting
Questions:
Should I use both MD300's for the subs or just one?
Does it make sense to add speakers to rear door? I have the polks laying around...

Also, any recommendations + or - are welcome as I am new to car audio installations and planning.

Dennis Cooper, where are you?.....lol
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  #11  
Old 06-06-2015, 03:02 PM
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DennisCooper! DennisCooper! is offline
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Hi Parin,

First thing that strikes me from your list.. is to simplify !

Where will you place the current thought of four amplifiers?
For the front doors, either 5.25 inch or 6.5 inch 2 way co-axials mounted in the 12V electronics MDF or Birch Ply baffles will be what you'd need. The 6.5's will take more time and effort to fit properly depending on cone excursion and mounting depth.
Nothing is required in the rear doors - forget this idea.
Rear shelf - for 'some' rear fill, all you'd need is some 5.25 inch co-axials.
As you wish to keep all the oem head unit etc, that means keeping the oem amplifier in situ. Is it the 'DSP' that you have in your car? as you mention the 6 channel Kicker sound processor, I'm assuming so. This and other 6-8 channel input processors should be fine.
For subwoofers, so long as you make a solid enclosure, you can go with one or two subwoofers easily - 8, 10 or 12 inch will work, just adjust the enclosure internals to suit.

Have a look at this thread for a setup that's simple and straightforward in terms of audio equipment - its a processor, one 5 channel amp, 2 way components in the front, 2 way co-axials on the rear deck and 2 10 inch subs. The owner went with sound deadening the cabin floorpan and roof and all doors as well. You don't need to go to this level though and can save come cash. If you go with the very very powerful ultra tiny/small footprint amplifiers say from Rockford Fosgate, Arc Audio, Alpine PDX range etc, you can hide the amps better and not have to worry about cooling or uprating your car's power systems.

http://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/43926-...t-saloonsedan/

Sound quality and performance is way ahead of the above 'oem & M audio subs upgrades' so value for money Vs performance gained is significantly better going the quality aftermarket route. However, as per the title of this thread, I know there's plenty of E39 owners who are happy with the 'oem products/upgrades'

Cheers, Dennis!

Last edited by DennisCooper!; 06-06-2015 at 03:05 PM.
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  #12  
Old 06-06-2015, 05:43 PM
Parin Parin is offline
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Thanks for replying so fast DC!
In my haste to write the post I probably was not clear as to my intentions.
To your first question...I didn't really plan on using all of the amps I was more or less giving an account of my current inventory.
Same goes for the 5.25 polks I currently have, no plans but I listed them in case you or others thought they could be useful.
As for the front doors the plan was to replace stock units with the Boston Acoustics S50 5 1/4 as you suggested, in the MDF of course along with fatmat\dynamat.
The rear doors I have no issue with leaving blank if they are not going to add to the overall experience.
As for the rear shelf, this is where I wanted to place the two Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-10's. I read that the shelf is essentially ready to accept placement of these speakers (10"ers)...
So with that setup in mind, how do you suggest I power the 10" subs in the rear deck? Should I use 1 300 watt amp for both speakers or one amp for each? or should I run all 4 (the 5.25's in the front & 10's on the rear shelf) off of one of my 5 channel amps?
I do have DSP system. How does that affect what amps I can or can not use? I was under the impression I could and should power the new speakers with the Alpine amps for better sound and by-pass (remove) the BMW amp...
Forgive me if my question(s) is stupid, as I stated in my first post I am new to this aspect of car audio...-)
Note: I am not totally against upgrading the HU. I have to figure out or think about the gains vs the losses (computer options mainly), I could deal with the aesthetics...I think

I have not looked through the thread you attached but I will shortly....have to get some brain food first!
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:35 PM
Parin Parin is offline
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Okay, I just read through the thread you sent.
first things first, beautiful car. and the system looks great as well.
Nice work!!

So I think I answered one of my questions. I do not need to use the stock amp at all.
with that said my other questions remain.

Also do you have any recommendations on using different speakers in the same price range?
I am not opposed to spending a couple of more dollars.

One of the main things I am trying to avoid is the problem I had in a previous system, where as the sounds didn't seem to mesh well. The highs were to high and the system dare I say was too loud. I would not have mind the loudness if it all just sounded better!
The equipment in that system was all Alpine amps and head unit (I think above entry level at that time), polk 5.25's all around and a 10" Aluma pro in a box in the trunk.
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  #14  
Old 06-07-2015, 03:21 AM
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DennisCooper! DennisCooper! is offline
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Hi Parin,

If you *must* retain the oem head unit, I'll guess you have the 16:9 widescreen monitor? .. then you *must* retain the oem amplifier. The exception to this is '*IF* you wished to change the head unit *AND* you wished to retain the oem DSP speakers, in which case you could remove the monitor and amplifier and replace with the G.A.S. E39 specific crossover and use a suitable 5 channel aftermarket amplifier.

As you don't wish to retain the oem DSP speakers, then to keep the oem head unit, you *must* retain the oem DSP amp. From there, as per the link, you connect all the outputs from the DSP amp to a signal processor which will 'Sum' those to provide a single output which has the full range of frequencies via RCA/Phono leads. That output is then connected to either a single 5 Channel amp or, via a crossover network if you wish to run an 'active' setup (where theres individual amplifiers, or channels used on a multi channel amp) to output specific frequency ranges via the RCA low signal level output.

In turn, you can then put in the 2 way components at the front and 2 way co-axials on the rear.

In relation to the above you've asked, Boston Acoustics withdrew themselves from the retail car audio market some years ago now. Any stock you find now is old new stock that's been lying around. There's plenty more choices which can provide you with excellent performance - look at brands like Hertz, DLS, Hybrid Audio Technologies, Focal, Arc Audio, Gladen...

This thread is about fitting oem M audio subwoofers in the oem location, they're designed as 'free air' subwoofers. This means they use the boot/trunk space as their 'enclosure'. This method has declined in popularity for the most part due to subwoofers desgined to work in a small enclosure have increased their performance so much over the last 10-15 years that it takes out all the negatives associated with running a free air setup for the novice to mid level car owner looking fo rsome audio increases. No need now to calculate volumes of trunk spaces and choose from an array of free air subs which suit etc. It's now possible to get fantastic, clean, smooth and musical sub bass out of enclosures that are tiny (I use a very very small enclosure in my E39 Touring for example). That's not to say free air isn't still used as a method, it is.. just a lot less often. As a result, there's less free air subwoofers on the market than their used to be. Take a look at this thread which shows a recent install of aftermarket subs in the undershelf location and all the extra work you need to do
http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...ofers-from-DSP

Make sure you read through and look at the pictures included.

For me, the undershelf method is a second choice over the sealed enclosure type that fires through the cabin ski hatch. The reason is due to consistent performance. With the sealed enclosure, you'll have the same performance over time. With the free air method, if you put items in the boot/trunk it affects the sound as the volume has altered.

I'd suggest you perhaps sell off the current equipment you have and use the funds to partly pay for new and better products to use in your audio setup.

Cheers, Dennis!
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:44 AM
Parin Parin is offline
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I'll guess you have the 16:9 widescreen monitor?...I don't have this.
Does this mean I don't have the DSP system? I need to verify this first and foremost
Time lapse...I just googled pics of DSP radio and realize mine does not have the DSP button on it, just the "AUDIO" one alone. I assumed since I had the black funny shaped speaker enclosure under the rear shelf this meant DSP was present...maybe not.
Since I am currently away from home and can't do the required checks I will take more time researching this upgrade.

Based on your statement Boston Acoustics withdrew themselves from the retail car audio market some years ago I will be in the market for new components.
In regards to the free air subs this design was preferable as I did not want to loose any trunk space but I see your point about consistency once the trunk has various items in it.
I will need to research just how small of an enclosure I can get away with and the location of said box...I am appreciating more and more the setup from the previous thread you sent

If I don't have DSP it seems to me that my initial thoughts (factory HU and aftermarket speakers and AMPs) are possible, which seems to me pretty straight forward.
If I do have DSP then I will need to plan differently as I would not want the DSP amp or OEM speakers in the new setup.

I'll be sure to read through the latest link you attached and others during the next couple of weeks.
I would rather start a new thread once I start the build, this way I am not wasting any more of your time with all of these "what if" scenarios especially since I cant readily reply to you with answers to your questions and it is not exactly on topic with this thread as you stated.

Dennis you are a GEM and I appreciate you brother!!


I'l start a new thread when I return home and I am actually ready to build...education time now
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  #16  
Old 06-12-2015, 05:39 PM
BarryM BarryM is offline
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I went with the Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-10 and a set of BA S50s in my doors - the thread is here.

I've been very pleased with the results but I also think upgrading the BM54 unit has helped.
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  #17  
Old 06-12-2015, 08:39 PM
Parin Parin is offline
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BM54 is the head unit?
I actually ordered the BA's as well...actually my wife surprised me with them so the decision was made
With that said, I will finish up with the RF's too since they are so cheap!
I have been doing some more reading and it turns out the DSP amp matches really well with the specs of the RF's so no aftermarket amp needed I believe.
My only issue now is that I have the DSP (3 plugs) amp but somehow not the head unit.
I am looking for the DSP HU to replace what I have now.
Do you really feel the base? how would you describe it now?
I am going to check out your thread...
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