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  #1  
Old 07-06-2003, 01:10 PM
Dennis Dennis is offline
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Location: North Bend, WA
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 530i
BMW 530i and subwoofer

Hi All:
I'm new to this forum so forgive if i am asking a question which has been beat to death. I'm also a new BMW owner - 2003 530 sedan. I have the stock sound system (no DSP) and am in need of subwoofers. I had a Mark Levinson system in my prior Lexus and I miss the ooomf of the subs. I don't want to just throw a Kicker box in the trunk, but rather am interested if any one here on the forum has invested in or investigated customer molded subwoofer boxes for the rear panel in the trunk? what kind of enclosure, what kind of sub, what kind of amp?

thanks in advance.

dc
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2003, 11:32 AM
BillP BillP is offline
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You're right, it has been beaten to death, but there is no good FAQ or similar summaries out there so you have to hunt around to find the good posts. Perhaps this post can serve as step#1 in an E39 stereo FAQ (something that a couple of us are considering building).

There are tons-o-choices, here are four approaches you should think about***********:

1. Plug-and-play solution: Infinity Basslink. Not great, but OK, and it is easily removed so if you need the space or if you have a leased car, this is your best alternative. $400-$500 or so for the 10" sub/amp combination, $100-$200 less if you buy it on ebay w/o the connectors and hardwire it yourself (and basically lose the plug-and-play aspect). Only about half of the folks that go this route are happy since it is just plain hard to get bass ported into the main cabin - our trunks are like vaults. You *could* have this installed in the floor of the backseat, but that is a bad choice for folks who frequently have backseat passengers. BTW, if you have the ski pass-thru or fold-down seats, it is easier to get bass into the cabin. I have neither so I cut out the hole over the armrest.

2. Subbox: If you go this route and trunk space is any consideration at all, you need to go with a sealed enclosure. Vented and bandpass enclosures typically require double the box volume and have "peakier" responses so they tend to be the choice of the rap bump crowd (not always, of course, but generally). Buy a premade box or have one custom made, either way the box should run you $200-$300 for a good one. www.jlaudio.com has an excellent set of articles about enclosure types, read them. You can have a sealed enclosure molded into your battery cover. I've heard a few of these and they are OK. The problem is that you are limited to a single 10" sub. You can also have an enclosure molded to fit the rear deck, that would be cool too, but I believe it is not necessary. If you want to mount your subs on the rear deck, think about ...

3. Free air, aka infinite baffle, aka boxless subs: These are subs mounted to your rear deck. Saves trunk floor space. Slight reduction in quality of sound, but really not a big deal. A bit cheaper than a subbox solution since no box is required. Absolutely need to make sure the subs are appropriate for this type of installation (a sub designed for a box uses the air as a spring, no such spring in a free air sub installation.) The can't-state-this-enough benefit to this is direct porting of bass into the cabin, thus the vault-like trunk is then not a problem. Although I have a sub box (mounted in my spare tire well), free air is what I am recommending to folks these days.

4. Cabin-mounted solutions: You can vastly improve the bass response of your main speakers with good speaker selection. You can also add small subs into the doors or kick-panels. You could put a small sub under the front seats (never seen, but it is possible). None of these will give you the big bump of a large sub, but can improve the lower mid-bass (50Hz-100Hz).

Gear: Subs can be as expensive as you want them to be, but $100-$300 per sub (you only really need one, but many go for two) is a reasonable range for good subs. Choosing a brand of sub is not as important as brands of main speakers, but check out the car audio magazines for some reviews. I run a 12" Alumapro Alchemy sub (~$250) but quite frankly I hear only minor differences between mine and those of friends with different brands/models. If you go with a sealed box, you really should get at least a 12" sub or two 10" subs, though a pair of 8" subs may also be OK. Bigger does not equal better but does *typically* mean more volume at the very low frequencies. Amp selection should be made based on quality, then features, then power. Much better to have a 200 watt high-end, full featured, amp than a POS 1000 watt sub. Features include flexible crossover points/slopes, built-in EQs, capacity to match voltages of different cars, etc. Do make sure you match your amp size to your choice of sub. Run between 50% and 100% of your subs rated wattage capacity. I have JL Audio amps and am EXTREMELY happy with them as is everyone else I have ever spoken to who has them. Other good (but not esoteric) brands include a/d/s/, Soundstream, Phoenix Gold, and Xtant. Rockford Fosgate and Alpine are a bit more blue-collar, but also make good products. Your car will either need an amp that natively accepts high voltage signals (10V+) and differential balanced signals, or you'll need a Line Output Convert (LOC) like the VEN4.

I strongly recommend you hear a few different setups and make up your own mind about the type of installation you want. That is the big decision to make. Equipment is secondary. In fact, once you find the type of installation you like, just mimic (within reason) someone else's brand/model selection.

If I had to do it over again, I would install a couple of small (6") subs in the main cabin and go with a pair of 12" free air subs in the rear deck. that would give me the best of both worlds: better staging (keeps the sound from appearing to be in front of me) and better boom at the lower end.


Bill

Last edited by BillP; 07-07-2003 at 01:26 PM.
  #3  
Old 07-07-2003, 01:44 PM
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Ågent99 Ågent99 is offline
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...uh, yeah...what Bill said!




I would add (but it doesn't matter in your case since you do not have the DSP/Prem Audio option) that the addition of the M5 subs to a car with DSP, was good enough for me as far as low-end bass in concerned. It is a pure plug and play for upgrading the paltry box and 2 6" subwoofers BMW gives you for the DSP/Prem Audio option for non-M5s for the E39.

You don't lose too much room since you are removing the existing subwoofer box and replacing with the M5 free-airs. However, like I said, this does not apply to your car.
  #4  
Old 07-07-2003, 02:33 PM
Dennis Dennis is offline
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Location: North Bend, WA
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 530i
Thanks for the detailed and great response. I'll wander over to the highend auto sound dealer in Bellevue (Innovative) and see how many zillions they want to charge me... seriously, if anyone has experience putting these things in, I think they do. My fear, of course, is spending a big chunk of change only to find out that it just sounds "ok". If it's gonna be just "ok", i'll just skip it. I want it to sound great.

thanks all.
dc
  #5  
Old 07-09-2003, 11:44 AM
jacksprat jacksprat is offline
what?
Location: seattle
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 397
Mein Auto: e65
pssshh...

innovative give u no bang for the buck. they are outragousely overpriced just because of their name.

I have seen their $20K installs and it looks the same as a $5K cartoys install. They pride themselves in twisting wires together, wrapping them in plastic sheilding, running them and securing them very nicely....blah blah...when all is said and done...can u see that those wires are wrapped nicely? Another thing they dont drill any new holes in your car (unless u go for some extensive custom install) but whats wrong with drilling a hole here and there? y would you want to run an extra 5ft of power or ground cable or speaker or RCA just so you can get it to a factory hole to go where u want to go?

I have just one 12" IDmax v.3 sub in my car and I hit 123db. I did the install myself and it looks very clean and concealed. the sub is firing through the ski hole (I enlarged the hole though) in the rear armrest.

Go to Magnolia Hi-Fi. you will get a clean system that will be boomin but you will still have money left over for lunch.
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  #6  
Old 07-09-2003, 01:02 PM
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Flavio Flavio is offline
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You could always get some Jehnert doorpanels like I have. They have 4 16cm woofers per door and you can run them with no hi-pass filter, they go pretty low!

Flavio
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  #7  
Old 07-09-2003, 04:28 PM
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Ågent99 Ågent99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flavio
You could always get some Jehnert doorpanels like I have. They have 4 16cm woofers per door and you can run them with no hi-pass filter, they go pretty low!

Flavio

Flavio, VERY NICE! Do they sell that stuff over here in the states? I can think of one guy right now, BillP, who might right now be drooling over your door panel!

I found Jehnert


Last edited by Ågent99; 07-09-2003 at 04:30 PM.
  #8  
Old 07-09-2003, 09:15 PM
BillP BillP is offline
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Very nice. I would love to be able to run at least a single 6.5" (16cm) speaker up front in each door. Do those way-cool door panels include the entire panel, or just the lower piece?

Also, do they come with plastic speaker enclosures or do they need to be fabricated by an audio shop?


Bill
  #9  
Old 07-10-2003, 01:23 AM
Flavio's Avatar
Flavio Flavio is offline
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Location: Zierikzee, the Netherlands
 
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Mein Auto: BMW 635d Coupe
The Jehnert panels come conplete with the speakers, 4x16cm woofers, 1x 10cm midrange and 1 tweeter and passive crossovers. The speakers are made by MB Quart.
You can buy them in real or fake leather that matches your interior.
Fitment is very good and they look almost OEM! Th Jehnert panels fit on top of the exisiting doorpanels, you only have to cut a hole in the lower part of the stock doorpanel so the door acts as the enclosure.

Flavio
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