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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 11-27-2006, 09:29 PM
repus1 repus1 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 540i Sport
E39 Amplifier upgrade

Does anyone have any info on if the factory amplifier in my 540i can be replaced with aftermarket amplifier(s)? Where is the factory amp located? and does it have RCA type inputs? Any other pertinent information would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2006, 11:17 PM
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I moved you to the E39 forum for better visibility.

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  #3  
Old 12-04-2006, 10:08 AM
gprunnerman gprunnerman is offline
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I have a 2000 528i non-DSP that I did a complete after market amp upgrade on. The amplifier is located in the trunk behind the CD changer on the left hand side. It accepts standard 4V preout from the head unit, but is not in RCA form. You have to tap into the wires going into the AMP from the head unit. I found a wiring diagram on Google fairly easily.

I kept the factory amp in place, just tapped into the input wires. I also kept the factory speaker wiring and just snipped the wires for the speakers going into the amp and rerouted them to my new amp. The sound improvement was amazing.
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  #4  
Old 12-04-2006, 05:28 PM
Vortec4800 Vortec4800 is offline
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The upgrade with a non-DSP car is very easy, pretty much what was just written up - if you do have DSP then things get a little more hairy. The preouts on the DSP system use balanced outputs which a normal aftermarket amp can't receive. I seem to remember that the DSP balanced outputs are also unlike aftermarket balanced outputs but I can't remember what the difference is. The balanced outputs are better for noise reduction in the signal but are not nearly as common and easy to integrate with. The only amps I know off hand that work with balanced inputs are Zapco amps, they also make converters to make the balanced output a standard RCA for a regular amp. I don't know if these converters will work with the DSP output or not.

Anyway step one is to find out if you have DSP or not. If you don't then it's cake - just do like above. If you do have DSP you'll need to do a little more reading and digging.
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  #5  
Old 12-04-2006, 10:30 PM
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Vipsa Vipsa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gprunnerman View Post
I have a 2000 528i non-DSP that I did a complete after market amp upgrade on. The amplifier is located in the trunk behind the CD changer on the left hand side. It accepts standard 4V preout from the head unit, but is not in RCA form. You have to tap into the wires going into the AMP from the head unit. I found a wiring diagram on Google fairly easily.

I kept the factory amp in place, just tapped into the input wires. I also kept the factory speaker wiring and just snipped the wires for the speakers going into the amp and rerouted them to my new amp. The sound improvement was amazing.
Did you change the speakers too, or did you leave the stock ones in? Also what kind of amp did you use? I've thought about only upgrading the amp myself so i'd like to know more about that.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2006, 11:19 PM
Vortec4800 Vortec4800 is offline
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Originally Posted by Vipsa View Post
Did you change the speakers too, or did you leave the stock ones in? Also what kind of amp did you use? I've thought about only upgrading the amp myself so i'd like to know more about that.
Looks like he used some Boston Acoustics S-line speakers.
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2006, 08:03 AM
gprunnerman gprunnerman is offline
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That's correct. I used the Boston Acoustics S55s in the rear deck lid and the Boston Acoustics SX50s for the front woofers and tweeters. I've always been impressed by the products of Boston Acoustics. The 15 year old Boston's in my living room outperform my mother's 2 year old Bose system any day!

For cost reasons, I left the factory mid range and rear door tweeters in tact and operating off the factory amp. I used an Alpine 4 channel amp (FYI, most BMW OEM audio components are Alpine already). The Alpine amp was actually one of the less expensive ones I found, but the sound it produces is amazingly clear and crisp. I don't remember it's exact model, but I'll look on lunch and let you know.

The only bug I'm still working out is the alternator whine at higher volumes, which I'm sure can be corrected via a ground leveler that I just haven't installed yet.
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  #8  
Old 12-06-2006, 08:34 AM
gprunnerman gprunnerman is offline
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I'd also like to point out that even the BMW factory speakers sound MUCH better with an after market 4 channel amp. Thus, if you have to choose which to replace: amp or speakers, I would highly recommend replacing the amp first.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2006, 10:25 AM
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Vipsa Vipsa is offline
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Originally Posted by gprunnerman View Post
I'd also like to point out that even the BMW factory speakers sound MUCH better with an after market 4 channel amp. Thus, if you have to choose which to replace: amp or speakers, I would highly recommend replacing the amp first.
Ok that's what i wanted to know. Right now i can find better things to blow $400 on, but i can get a 4 channel amp pretty cheap so i might do that for now.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2006, 10:32 AM
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jvr826 jvr826 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gprunnerman View Post
I'd also like to point out that even the BMW factory speakers sound MUCH better with an after market 4 channel amp. Thus, if you have to choose which to replace: amp or speakers, I would highly recommend replacing the amp first.
I honestly don't know how you could have replaced the factory 10 channel amp with an after market 4 channel amp, unless you also put in a crossover. The factory amp has built-in crossover points, no external crossovers at the speakers. Each channel is fed independently from the factory amp - 10 speakers, 10 pairs of wires coming out of the amp. This would mean you'd need a 3-way crossover for the front speakers, 2-way for the rears.

You can swap speakers out with the factory amp as plug-n-play, but doing the opposite is not possible without some additional equipment.
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  #11  
Old 12-06-2006, 05:33 PM
NSXtoBMW NSXtoBMW is offline
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How do you know if your car is DSP or not???
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2006, 06:22 PM
Vortec4800 Vortec4800 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
I honestly don't know how you could have replaced the factory 10 channel amp with an after market 4 channel amp, unless you also put in a crossover. The factory amp has built-in crossover points, no external crossovers at the speakers. Each channel is fed independently from the factory amp - 10 speakers, 10 pairs of wires coming out of the amp. This would mean you'd need a 3-way crossover for the front speakers, 2-way for the rears.

You can swap speakers out with the factory amp as plug-n-play, but doing the opposite is not possible without some additional equipment.
He said he left the factory mids and tweets in place running from the factory amp. I'm guessing he took the inputs from the front and rear mid-bass drivers and fed them to the alpine amp, and then left the other stuff alone to run as it did before.
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  #13  
Old 12-07-2006, 08:34 AM
gprunnerman gprunnerman is offline
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Vortec4800 is correct. I spliced into the inputs from the head unit for the source input on the 4 channel amp, not the speaker outputs from the OEM amp. The inputs from the head unit are standard 4V pre-outs. I then snipped the speaker wires coming out of the factory amp and re-routed them to the new amp's output. Thus, at least for speakers driven by the new amp, the factory amp and all of its built-in crossovers is completely bypassed. Since I spliced the inputs going into the factory amp, not cut them, the factory amp can still drive the mid-range and rear tweeters.

I did use the crossovers provided with the Boston component system, but that goes between the new amp and the front woofer/tweeter set.

IF you are not replacing the speakers and only replacing the amp, you would need to either only move the four woofers to the new amp or add a cross over if you want the tweeters driven on the new amp as well.
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  #14  
Old 01-13-2007, 02:18 PM
jeffgoetz1 jeffgoetz1 is offline
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Wiring Diagram

I have a 2000 540i with DSP and NAV. Where can you find the wiring diagram for the DSP amplifier? Some have said it is easily found on Google, but i cant seem to find it. Also, if i want to swap out the amplifier, do i need to add something else because of the DSP? Someone mentioned the variable outputs from the headunit, but i cant find anything else about it.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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  #15  
Old 01-14-2007, 01:26 PM
rezak rezak is offline
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GPrunnerman,

Great things you have done there. I was thinking hard for a long time trying to figure out what to do. Now I will be doing the same.

As for speakers, How much space is there in the rear deck woofer? I am thinking of putting in 5" subwoofer from Focal. http://www.focal-america.com/Product...ower.html#13ks The 13KS one. Spec mention 74mm ~ 2.91" depth.

Do you think we have 3" space in front door for the woofer as well?

Thank you,
Reza
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  #16  
Old 07-18-2008, 06:34 PM
prv1981 prv1981 is offline
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is there a way to buy an aftermarket amp and have it completely replace the stock one? Are there any companies that sell a plug and play amp replacement for a non dsp 2k 528i?
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  #17  
Old 07-18-2008, 10:46 PM
tdawg183 tdawg183 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prv1981 View Post
is there a way to buy an aftermarket amp and have it completely replace the stock one? Are there any companies that sell a plug and play amp replacement for a non dsp 2k 528i?
No there's not, but with about an hour or twos worth of wire tapping you can use practically any 4 channel amp though and have a tremendous sound improvement. Just make sure your taps are the correct gauge... I had the wrong size and half my taps didn't tap and it took me a while to figure that out.

And when (and if) you sell the car it will be near impossible to see that anybody has fiddled with the wires back there if you decide to take the aftermarket amp with you.
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  #18  
Old 07-19-2008, 10:56 AM
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WHITE E39 WHITE E39 is offline
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i also need some advice. i'm running a single Hertz 12" ported subwoofer box in the trunk with an Audison 1 channal amp. i need to find which wires will give me the lower hrtz. will it be in the 12 pin conn? or will it be the 24pin conn? non-dsp

i was told that i need the wires with the best low freq. most people just go for full-range.

thanks, Freddie
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  #19  
Old 07-19-2008, 07:35 PM
justlikemusic justlikemusic is offline
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Guys check out ebay. Bavsound is the user you want to search for. I spent an hour last night, and now I know which wires are the input to the amp which I can splice into for my sub amp, and which wires I can connect my aux input into also.

However what I want to know is the wiring layout for the six and three pin connectors where the cd stacker normally bolts into and whether I can just cut and wire my Aux input jack onto these instead of buying a $100+ cable!
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  #20  
Old 11-30-2009, 04:24 AM
Allen Nugent Allen Nugent is offline
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I haven't seen any 2009 postings (anywhere) on upgrading E39 audio, so I'm wondering if there are any new products or advice out there.

I'm thinking of going with the BSW speaker upgrade for now, and later upgrading the amp and adding woofers (maybe replacing the rear deck speakers with heavy duty woofers, if that is advisable).

Could anyone comment on the BSW kit? Is it still woth the money, or are there better alternatives in the same price range? Is the 'sound deadening' option worthwhile?

Thanks for any advice!

- Al (1997 540i Executive, non-DSP)
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  #21  
Old 11-30-2009, 09:08 AM
jburnham jburnham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prv1981 View Post
is there a way to buy an aftermarket amp and have it completely replace the stock one?
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdawg183 View Post
No there's not.....
I disagree - it's easy and highly recommended. There's a fairly detailed post which includes info on replacing both the DSP and non-DSP amps - the key info is in Douglas Baker's blog which is linked.

Replacing DSP and non-DSP amps - and some recommended components by price bracket
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  #22  
Old 12-12-2009, 11:59 AM
essohhbee essohhbee is offline
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In regards to replacing the e39 amp...should I try to get a used one on eBay (non DSP's go for around $100) or get a new amp? If I get either, do I need to reprogram either of them to work with the head unit...or any reprogramming at all??
Thanks...
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  #23  
Old 12-14-2009, 02:13 AM
Allen Nugent Allen Nugent is offline
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After many more hours of research, I'm leaning towards MB Quart or Focal components for the front, fading the rears until they are just barely audible (so as not to ruin the soundstage, as per Bob Hazelwood's advice), and hanging a subwoofer (don't know which one, yet) under the rear deck, along with (if I decide I can afford it) a Zapco DC650.6 amp to drive the lot.

Anybody out there done this?

- Al
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  #24  
Old 12-14-2009, 05:44 AM
jburnham jburnham is offline
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I went with CDT components, including rears. I wish I had skipped the rears completely and spent the money on the fronts in the first place. Once you get a decent tweeter, even driven at low volume, it messes with the imaging. I also started with 5 1/4 components. I've since upgraded to 6 1/2 inch to get a little more low frequency. I went with MTX amps. I dream each night of nice Zapco amps with DSP.... You get the idea - it's never perfect and it's a good idea to start with a plan and a budget. My tweak to your plan would be to skip the rears, get Pener Panels $100 + 6 1/2 DLS UP6i components $300 and drive those with a Zapco DC350.2 $430 and a separate amp for the subwoofer.

Last edited by jburnham; 12-24-2009 at 05:30 AM.
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  #25  
Old 12-17-2009, 12:35 AM
Allen Nugent Allen Nugent is offline
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You make a lot of sense. (And, you might have just saved me a bundle!) I'll have to think about this some more.

Thanks for the advice!

- Al
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