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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
The X5 SAV Forum

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  #1  
Old 02-15-2012, 08:14 PM
mylifeasapc mylifeasapc is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 39
Mein Auto: 04 X5/05 545i
Talking 2004 X5 iAudio Upgrade (Non-DSP)

I'm a gadget guy. I've had all sorts of gizmos but my iPhone is my most loved/hated of them all. I've been waiting for a complete iPhone/car audio solution and think I just stumbled upon the closest thing I've seen so far today.

Recently, the pixels on my radio decided they have had enough and gave up doing their job. They've been perfect for years until the past 3 months. Now all functionality other than a few of the more useful functions such as Range and Consumption are all but useless. Its an eyesore I'll admit.

To add to my pixelated frustration, I've been jealous of my wife's 545i iDrive setup. It wasn't hard setting up the AUX in a decent place so she has full control of her phone and music without having to spend much money. Say what you want about the system itself but being able to control everything in one place is what I've been dying to figure out in my X5.

I've got one of the rare Sport but not Luxury, Premium but non-Navigation or DSP models making it both frustrating, since I'll need to overhaul everything audiowise eventually, but reasonable, since its not anywhere near as hard as the other systems. There are some great sales going on right now for last year's models of head units, speakers, amps, etc. I stopped in on a few today and walked out a happy camper.

What I wanted:
1. Decent Sound
2. Bluetooth Handsfree
3. iPod/iPhone Ready
4. Touchscreen
5. Looks

I first considered one of the Dice Mediabridge solutions that many of you have. For those that aren't familiar, these units are wired into your existing OEM system through the CD Changer connections and allow full control of your MP3/iPod/iPhone etc. Song titles, playlists, everything shows up in text on your OEM radio and is controllable from the steering wheel when your phone/iPod is plugged into the sync cable. For $299, I seriously thought this was going to be the way to go since it would retain the interior and controls all without having to do any heavy lifting. Why I decided against this option was above, the dead pixels and the lack of functionality along with having to pay for the install anyway. It didn't seem to add anything more than my current AUX line-in offers which isn't what I was looking for. Thats just me.

For a bit more, $399, I picked up a Pioneer AppRadio SPH-DA01 including install (read: $399 is its normal price tag in stores.) This thing looks pretty friggin' sweet.

What it has:
-Complete iPhone/iPod Control
-Ability to use Apps on screen such as Pandora, Netflix and Motion-X GPS; all things I use regularly anyway.
-GPS Antenna to improve Navigation
-No CD Player (I haven't burned/bought a CD in years)
-A 6" Screen

For the Geeks:
Having played with it for 20 minutes I can tell you its exactly what I've been looking for. My only concerns have nothing to do with the unit itself and more to do with AT&T and Apple iCloud. (I'll rant on that later) Its an awesome head unit with a great interface.

For the audiophiles:
I don't think this is for you, yet. It only has one pre-amp with the next version coming out sometime this year will have one each for front/rear and sub. This will still sound better than stock as is but don't expect the world, this is just another pretty face with an assload of widgets to play with.

The deal is live right now if you're interested.

What's missing in the $399?:
-4 Year Warranty - $50
-The Double Din frame - $40
-Wiring Harness - $15
-Antenna Connector - $10
-Steering Control Harness - $100
-Additional Labor (Steering Controls/Microphone) - $60

None of the above was instock at BB so I had to head to Car-Toys and a small speaker store for the rest. One finished however, the steering controls will work for everything including the phone option which I've been really looking forward to. I'm going to have the mic wired into the existing yet unused mic location near the sunroof controls from another user's install recommendation.

Here's a look at the deck:



Here's a complete install in a new Mustang so you can get an idea:


Here's a recent review.


Out the door, this ran me $675. A little more than I would have liked to have spent but its step one of many towards completing this audio system. Normally I wouldn't let BB anywhere near my car but this was too good of a deal to pass up. For those familiar with BMW audio systems, I'm not going to bypass the existing stock amp for at least a week or two so anyone else thinking of doing this can get a feel for how good it sounds as is as well as how long they have before the OEM dies.

Next steps:
-Rewire and replace factory amp
-Replace factory speakers
-Install hidden sub and amp in cargo right trim

I'll put up finished photos tomorrow after the install is complete.
__________________
His: 2006 M5
Hers: 2005 545i

Selling: 2004 X5

Last edited by mylifeasapc; 02-15-2012 at 09:31 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2012, 08:19 PM
mylifeasapc mylifeasapc is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 39
Mein Auto: 04 X5/05 545i
This is basically what my dash looks like today:
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His: 2006 M5
Hers: 2005 545i

Selling: 2004 X5

Last edited by mylifeasapc; 02-17-2012 at 03:52 AM.
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2012, 01:49 AM
mylifeasapc mylifeasapc is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 39
Mein Auto: 04 X5/05 545i
Stage 1: Head Unit Install Complete

We're making progress...

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(Sorry for the night iPhone photos)

Stage 1:
-Steering Controls Work
-Microphone is wired in factory location by sunroof button
-GPS Antenna located behind speedometer
-iPhone cord routed through ash tray
(thanks for the ideas XOutpost users)

How it looks:
The double din kit I picked up from a local stereo shop looks a lot better than I had originally thought. I'm not sure if it needs anything more, I might order matching black vinyl as the dash and wrap it so it looks a lot less obvious but for now it'll do.
Its not quite as clean as some of the other touchscreen installs I've seen but for a first effort I'll take it.

So how good is the AppRadio deck?
Waiting for the install I ventured online to read up on some user reviews along with a few how to's so I could lessen the learning curve. This is hands down the best head unit I've ever bought functionality wise but it does have its quirks. The most obvious is the missing clock from most screens, which doesn't bother me that much. The touch gesture is a little more frustrating as the screen essentially is running apps off of your phone yet you cannot interact with it the way you would with your phone, only sometimes. Let me explain, when I'm making a call through my iPhone I go to contacts and scroll by flicking my finger vertically on the screen until I find the person I want to get a hold of. When I pull up my contact list on the AppRadio, its in the same order and format, however I have to use arrow buttons to go one by one (unless I've missed something), until I get there. Another glaring omission is the lack of any AUX input. There's none. Its Radio or iPhone. Which I'm actually fine with since that's centrally where all of my music/apps/etc. are anyway.

The overall App/iPod control is actually pretty impressive. A lot of reviews will pick this aspect apart when in fact its actually the best piece. Many of the reviews say you can't listen to music while navigating using Motion GPS-X. You can. You can listen to music the entire time whether you're in that app, another, or just changing settings. To do this, before you go into the navigation menu you need to simply launch the iPod or Pandora or anyone of the 6 streaming music apps available and play something. Then go to navigation or whatever else you were doing, no different than if you were on your iPhone. Its that simple.
Overall, the interface was not that difficult to get used to based on its iPhone similarities; add in the little extra bonuses such as functional steering wheel controls, bluetooth handsfree, GPS antenna and Pioneer quality and you've got yourself a really nice media station.

If you're thinking of doing this too, I'd recommend it with an asterisk. Its a really nice setup. It looks good. It sounds good. But I do have one issue, the AppRadio2 will be out later this year. Based on the recent CES, it does solves a few of the minor issues above but will also come with a $7-800 price tag. I'm really, really happy with this setup and who knows, that warranty might come in handy when its my time to upgrade in the future.

Ok, but how does it sound?
Currently the HU is wired into a conversion harness just as if it was a stock deck. I've made no modifications to the speakers, wire, amp, etc. Today I only had a few hours to listen to it but made sure I ran it through its courses of various music types, especially music I know well and can listen for the added or missing intricacies. As a reminder, since I didn't bypass the existing factory amp (My X5 is non-navi/non-DSP), we're sending an active signal to a passive 10 channel amp with crossover built-in.
In general, it actually sounds better than expected. This is only a 50x4 deck. At what I would call 'normal volume' which is 50% power (Volume setting at 25 on a scale of 50) from the HU through the factory amp, it is at its best. You can use a 10 foot voice and still talk if you want another volume gauge. Mids are thumping but not blaring, highs are high but not screeching, lows can be felt. Anymore than that and all of the channels start to peak and bleed into a mess of distortion approaching maddening eardrums of crappy sounds of your favorite music.
To be fair, some more balanced songs can be played louder and sound really good. Led Zeppelin is a good example.

For probably more than half the people that use their X5 as a daily driver, this is probably more than enough. It sounds good for the price and will play next to any type of music at a pretty high volume cleanly.

But this is Bimmerfest.

Stay tuned for my next install: speakers, amp, swearing at wires and more. Stage 2 starts this weekend!
__________________
His: 2006 M5
Hers: 2005 545i

Selling: 2004 X5

Last edited by mylifeasapc; 02-17-2012 at 03:53 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-18-2012, 08:31 PM
mylifeasapc mylifeasapc is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 39
Mein Auto: 04 X5/05 545i
Amazon delivered today. All door panels are off.

Tweeters are installed. 4 new speakers are sitting in all stock pods with glue curing overnight. Photos and links to come following completed install tomorrow.

Special thanks to Bavarian Soundwerks for their installation write ups and videos. HUGE help!

Eventual Final Product:
1x Pioneer AppRadio
4x Planet Audio 3.5" TQ322
4x MB Quart 6.5" PVI-216
4x MB Quart Tweeters and Crossovers (Came with PVI-216)
1x MB Quart Onyx 1000W
1x Rockford Fosgate 1 Farad Capacitor

Additional Amp and Sub in custom enclosure to follow.

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__________________
His: 2006 M5
Hers: 2005 545i

Selling: 2004 X5

Last edited by mylifeasapc; 02-20-2012 at 10:07 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2012, 01:03 PM
mylifeasapc mylifeasapc is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 39
Mein Auto: 04 X5/05 545i
Installation is complete minus a few hiccups. Pics are coming soon.

Like an idiot, I used the splice and electrical tape on a few speakers. Never a good idea. Lesson re-learned after the smell of adhesive burning caught my attention. Time to take the damn door panels off again and recheck everything. Just so its done right, I've soldered the connections then covered them with heat shrink and electrical tape. Its added a lot of additional time to the completeness of the install but ensures I won't have to worry about it.

For a complete writeup, what does everyone want to see?
-Stock Speaker removal
-Mounting New Speakers in Stock Pods
-Tools Used List
-Wiring Diagrams for the Amps
-Wiring Routing Locations
-Inside/Out of all 4 doors
-Test Video of how it sounds
-How to properly charge a Farad Cap
-Any others?
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His: 2006 M5
Hers: 2005 545i

Selling: 2004 X5
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  #6  
Old 02-24-2012, 05:48 PM
mylifeasapc mylifeasapc is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 39
Mein Auto: 04 X5/05 545i
iPhone 4 is now jailbroken. With iOS 5 you'll need AppRadio Extensions, TVOutTuner and SBRotator 5.

AppRadio Extensions is a homebrew effort by Mike DeCaro. It allows you to customize the appearance with different backgrounds, home buttons for supported apps, and a few other useful shortcuts such as disabling the intro video.

TVOutTuner is just like Display Out and allows you to mirror your iPhone onto the AppRadio. Since all sounds from the iPhone are played, this makes streaming anything from videos, apps, etc. a breeze. The touch interface is one way only from the phone to the screen for now, but its really frickin cool.

SBRotator 5- Install this with SBSettings. This will allow your screen to display properly on the AppRadio.
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His: 2006 M5
Hers: 2005 545i

Selling: 2004 X5
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  #7  
Old 09-01-2013, 01:06 AM
itscoo2pyopants itscoo2pyopants is offline
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Location: Kent, WA
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 62
Mein Auto: e46 / e53
any updates? i would love to see how the aftermarket speakers mounted in the stock locations. any need to modify? or did they fit without an issues?
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