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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-27-2010, 05:10 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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HK Midrange Speaker Replacement DIY

The following is a HK midrange speaker replacement DIY that I performed on my coupe with the HK Midrange/tweeter combo that exist in the door directly in front of the door handle.

If you are like me and have suffered from a busted stock speaker for way too long yet do not want to spend the $200+ on the upgaded BSW speakers or another $100 on ONE stock replacement that will likely blow prematurely again then pay attention and we will get you on your way to happy listening again while sticking to an affordable budget.

I found the information regarding the speakers I used from a post on another forum. Below is the link for the speaker I used and a tweeter and subwoofer that others believe will work just fine.

2" MIDRANGE:
$35 for a single or $54 for two.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...umber=264-1046

1" TWEETER:
$43 for a single or $57 for two.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=264-865

6" WOOFER:
$43 for a single or $66 for two.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=295-372

DSCN0884

DSCN0886

Tool/parts need for the midrange replacement:

- Torx T20 Socket
- 10MM Socket (For disconnecting battery)
- Ratchet with 2"+ Extension
- Pliers
- Phillips Screwdriver (With smaller head size)
- Narrow Headed Screwdriver (for prying)
- Six (6) Count of #4 - 1/2" -or- #6 1/2" Metal Screws (Phillips head)
- Interior Panel Removal Tool (or the like)
- Super Glue of your choice


As always, begin by disconnecting your batteries negative cable. You can then move your attention to the door containing the speaker to be replaced.

Removing the door panel:

- There are five (5) T20 screws that hold the door panel on the door. Three (3) of these screws are located under the armrest and are easily accesible. The other two (2) screws are a bit hidden. One is behind a small circular disc that exist in the concave area of the door handle and the other is hidden behind the "Airbag" badge.

- To remove the small circular disc, pry it with a small headed screwdriver or whatever you have that will work best. To access the screw behind the "Airbag" badge, pry at one side of the badge first, then the other until it is free. The badge is simply held in with a christmas tree type design that grabs the panel ( /^\ ).

- On all screws beside the one hidden by the door handle, it is easiest to use a 2" or more extension with your ratchet to get the reach needed.

- Proceed to remove all five screws, taking note that the shorter two are for the two hidden areas and the longer three are for the others. While removing the screws, some will be completely retracted out of the metal yet remain "in" the panel...either use a magnet to retrieve these or simply leave them and they will fall out whe you remove the panel from the door.

DSCN0912

DSCN0911

- Now that the screws are removed, you must pry the panel off the door. Begin with inserting your panel tool at the bottom-front of the door and prying the panel away from the door. Once it has some space between the two, simply use your fingers to "pop" the rivets out of the door by pulling away. Work along the bottom towards the back then work up along both sides until you can free the entire panel from the door.

DSCN0909

- There are three (3) connections that have to be disconnected before you can actually remove the panel: The Mid/tweeter audio feed, the lower mid-bass audio feed and the interior door latch cable. The two audio connections remove by compressing the tabs on the clips and freeing them while the door latch is removed by prying at one side of the connector then simpy pulling it out (see photo/arrows)

Looking from over the top of the door panel:

DSCN0903

Panel off, looking at speaker connections:

DSCN0905

Panel removed to show the three connections:

DSCN0902

- Once the panel is off, you will need to unscrew three (3) more T20 screws to remove the mid/tweeter assembly from the panel:

DSCN0901

- Now, to replace the speaker. There are two phillips screws that hold the midrange in. With those removed, you will need to peel off the grey foam that borders the speaker.

- Now you need to remove a hard plastic "O ring" that is on the face of the speaker. With those two out of the way, it is time to pry the speaker out of its housing. The speaker was origionally glued in (as well as the two phillips screws) so it will take some careful prying to free it, but it will come free. (I used the three areas circled in red to pry from).

DSCN0891

- Once you have freed up the blown/busted speaker from the bracket, you can begin the install of the new speaker. You can reapply some super glue around the back edge of the speaker where it rests in the bracket. Then, using your #4 - 1/2" metal screws**, can mount the speaker while making new mounting holes simply by apply pressure to the screwdriver. ** I tried using #6 - 1/2" screws and they did seem like they would work, it just proved to be a bit too thick of a screw to easily create the new mounting holes with...and my drill had a dead battery so I resorted to the smaller gauge screws which worked fine as well.

- Take note that the + and - terminals for the speaker MUST be located appropriately before you begin screwing down the speaker.

- Also note that the polarity of the terminals. The two have switched sides from what the stock speaker looked like. This is a problem as the positive cable isn't quite long enough to reach its terminal now. I solved this problem by freeing up the wire from its holder (see photo, circled in red) and bending the connector from 180 degrees to 80 degrees or so (see photo). It is worth mentioning that the male terminals on the new speaker are a bit smaller than the stock ones and so some pinching of the female terminals must be made to provide a good tight fit thus preventing the wires from rattling loose in the future.

DSCN0900

DSCN0896

- Once you are satisfied that your audio connections are solid and the speaker is secure in the bracket, you can begin super glueing the grey foam back in place.

- Simply reinstall everything in reverse order and take the car out for a test drive to enjoy your new (crisp) sound.


Hopefully this will help others, if nothing else it should show that the speaker is a good fit.

As far as a review on the speaker quality: It seems a bit better but that might be subjective to what I've had to listen too for the last six months. It DEFINATELY doesn't sound bad

This is my first DIY write up so let me know if any clarification is needed and I will update it.

Jake
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING

Last edited by jmanscotch; 11-08-2010 at 12:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2010, 08:50 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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is this a replacement or an upgrade? i'm wondering what i can use to upgrade my speakrers
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  #3  
Old 10-28-2010, 06:18 AM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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I did it as a replacement for my blown speaker. You can't really tell in the first pictures but my stock mid was torn around 60% of the circumference.

If you browse the Parts-Express website, they have plenty of options to choose from.
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING
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  #4  
Old 10-28-2010, 07:31 AM
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kunal_D kunal_D is offline
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Great write up!! It's concise and has nice clear pictures. I'm sure this will come in handy for many people.
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  #5  
Old 10-28-2010, 07:48 AM
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jetblackbimmer jetblackbimmer is offline
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Great job!!
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  #6  
Old 10-29-2010, 07:52 AM
warpig warpig is offline
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I have been considering replacing my speakers as well. Will definitely turn to this if I decide to.

Thank you.
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2010, 02:54 PM
truajb truajb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmanscotch View Post
I did it as a replacement for my blown speaker. You can't really tell in the first pictures but my stock mid was torn around 60% of the circumference.

If you browse the Parts-Express website, they have plenty of options to choose from.
Hi Jmanscotch, congratulations to your installation. A few questions for you. Since you have a HK system, I believe your tweeter is 3ohm. The replacement you got from parts express is 4ohm. Did you have any issue with that? I always find vocal from the stock speakers a little weak and imbalance compare to the rest of the music. Does that improve on these new speakers?
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  #8  
Old 12-26-2010, 03:31 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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^ I only installed the one speaker on the passenger side door, haven't made it to the other yet. I can honestly say it sounds no worse than my other HK midrange. I did my best to listen to both, with doors open and ear up to the speaker, to get a verdit. I'd like to say it sounds better...but trying to pinpoint the sound coming out of a single midrange speaker in a car with 13 (subwoofer included) is a joke with the human ear.

Regarding the resistance...going from the 3 ohm to the 4 ohm is only going to increase the circuit resistance slightly therefore decreasing the power to it slightly, especially on a speaker with such a low power input. I haven't noticed a big drop in output from it, so I feel the loss of power feeding the speaker is indeed insignificant.

The stock speakers, even with upgraded HK, do leave something to be desired. I know BSW has had great success in simply replacing the stock system with their speakers made of better material...so I do feel the speaker quality is a big factor in the subpar sound, so in theory, switching to a better set of speakers from say, parts express, should do the trick if they are indeed better made. The main reason I went to that outfit for a replacement is simply price and availability. I could not find a good (read working/not torn) HK midrange for my car. I found a few new ones...but the price was a joke as you could imagine.

So, do these speakers hold potential to get your sound system on par with what you'd like: I highly doubt it. From what I can tell, they are a good option for replacing a set or so of speakers that have lived out their useful lifes, but are not an upgrade really.

If you want an upgraded system, they are several good reviews on the BSW, Bavarian Sound Werks, guys. They offer a plug-n-play kit that contains the 10 main cabin speakers for around $600. If you have the budget, this can be the easiest and best solution. http://www.bavariansoundwerks.com/pr...-Series-Sedan/
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING

Last edited by jmanscotch; 12-26-2010 at 03:34 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-27-2010, 03:24 PM
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charlesberry charlesberry is offline
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Dude - seriously - what a great post!!!
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  #10  
Old 12-27-2010, 08:24 PM
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SC4ME SC4ME is offline
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Nice write up. Will have to refer to it if I decide on some audio upgrades.
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  #11  
Old 12-27-2010, 08:35 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charlesberry View Post
Dude - seriously - what a great post!!!
Appreciate the feedback sir.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SC4ME View Post
Nice write up. Will have to refer to it if I decide on some audio upgrades.
Like noted before, this isn't really an "upgrade" so much as an alternative to replacing those speakers that are blown. If you are looking for a worth while investment into speakers that are better...you might just need to look further.
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING
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  #12  
Old 02-04-2011, 02:30 AM
blantto blantto is offline
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Midrange Speaker

Hello all interested in the Vifa speakers. I am the original poster on the 'other' forum who took a chance installing these in my 328is. I wanted to see if others have used these and have had the same results as me. Glad to see others enjoying them as much as me! I wanted to point out that Vifa is made by the same Danish company that manufactures Scan-Speak drivers (over 75 years) and they are sourced by many mid range speaker companies like Bowers & Wilkens (B&W), nOrh and Dunlavy to name a few. These are speakers that probably sell in the $5000 range at least. I guess what I wanted to do is reassure people that these Vifa drivers are indeed many times better than the lesser HK's they replaced. These certainly are an upgrade, just evaluating the materials and workmanship with a side by side comparison this is evident! Also a Google search of the companies that source Vifa drivers will show you that these aren't in the same league as HK or the likes. Happy listening!

By the way mine have been installed since March 2010 and still sound excellent, well actually they warmed up a bit from initial installation and sound better than when first installed.
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:07 AM
Oldskool67 Oldskool67 is offline
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Great Post Jmanscotch! I have a buzzing drivers side mid/tweeter HK speaker that I'd like to fix or replace this summer, will definately refer to your experience THANKS!
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  #14  
Old 04-29-2011, 06:07 PM
ELCID86 ELCID86 is offline
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Has anyone replaced the HK tweeters? What about in the rear (coupe) panels? Looking for economical alternatives to the BSWs.
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  #15  
Old 04-29-2011, 06:19 PM
silvergrau silvergrau is offline
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Thanks for that post.
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  #16  
Old 04-30-2011, 12:23 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ELCID86 View Post
Has anyone replaced the HK tweeters? What about in the rear (coupe) panels? Looking for economical alternatives to the BSWs.
It looks like a few have, it is unclear to me reading through the post if some minor changes were needed to make them drop into the brackets or not. Either way, if minor modifications are required it shouldn't be anything crazy though so I say go for it!

Here is the original thread concerning the part-express speakers that inspired me to do this: http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=677322

You'll see a few note they used the tweeters linked, there just isn't much detail on how it all went....so lack of "it was a PITA to get these in" makes me think it went smooth.

Good luck and as always, feel free to do a write up for it if you give it a shot
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:50 PM
tiage46 tiage46 is offline
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jmanscotch, with the 6" can you feel the door shake pretty well when a little midbass hits or are they pathetically not making any bass at all? Because that's the main problem I have the OEM Hk midbass.. there's really no bass aspect to i
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:33 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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^ Sorry TiagE46, I never installed the 6" speakers only the 2" midranges.

For the price, I say give it a shot! I bet it will be better, probably not night-and-day comparision, but better.
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:24 PM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmanscotch View Post

- Also note that the polarity of the terminals. The two have switched sides from what the stock speaker looked like. This is a problem as the positive cable isn't quite long enough to reach its terminal now. I solved this problem by freeing up the wire from its holder (see photo, circled in red) and bending the connector from 180 degrees to 80 degrees or so (see photo). It is worth mentioning that the male terminals on the new speaker are a bit smaller than the stock ones and so some pinching of the female terminals must be made to provide a good tight fit thus preventing the wires from rattling loose in the future.

DSCN0900
Doing this mod right now and I have one correction. Polarity. What I found out that '-' and '+' marks on Vifa speakers are the opposite to original polarity. Meaning - the black wire should go to '+' and the red to '-' therefore wires shouldn't be twisted. I figured this out by connecting a 1.5V battery to the original speaker ('-' went to black wire terminal with narrow connector and '+' went to red wire terminal with wide connector). Remembered how the diffuser moves (it moved inward). Connect the same battery to the vifa speaker - '+' to '+', '-' to '-' and... it moved outward, the opposite! Therefore, red wire should go to '-' and the black one to '+'. Never rely on '+' and '-' marks on speakers, they are very relative.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:34 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nervous View Post
Doing this mod right now and I have one correction. Polarity. What I found out that '-' and '+' marks on Vifa speakers are the opposite to original polarity. Meaning - the black wire should go to '+' and the red to '-' therefore wires shouldn't be twisted. I figured this out by connecting a 1.5V battery to the original speaker ('-' went to black wire terminal with narrow connector and '+' went to red wire terminal with wide connector). Remembered how the diffuser moves (it moved inward). Connect the same battery to the vifa speaker - '+' to '+', '-' to '-' and... it moved outward, the opposite! Therefore, red wire should go to '-' and the black one to '+'. Never rely on '+' and '-' marks on speakers, they are very relative.
I understand what you are saying...and maybe it makes sense somehow when dealing with the BMW specific setup, but the part I'd like to discuss further, for sake of learning on my part, is normal operation of a speaker (i.e. pulsating outwards versus inwards).

All subwoofers/speakers I've ever dealt with have an outwards pulse to create vibrations we note as sound.

What is your quote about how the diffuser moves inwards? I don't follow where you gathered this...or I guess I don't really follow what your saying in general about how/why the speaker should move inwards since as far as I've ever been able to gather, it should pulsate outwards during proper function.
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING

Last edited by jmanscotch; 07-06-2011 at 07:35 PM.
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  #21  
Old 07-06-2011, 07:46 PM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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Sorry, English is not my first language. I am saying that when you are dealing with speakers you shouldn't trust those '+' and '-' marks on speakers, these marks are not absolute. Generally speaking, speakers do not have '+' and '-' like batteries do. Therefore, you should always check how the speaker's diffuser behaves by applying low voltage DC with known polarity (like a 1.5V battery) and observing how the diffuser moves. This is what I did with both - original and vifa speakers. New speaker should behave the same way as the original one. And I found out that black wire should go to the terminal marked as '+' on vifa speaker and red wire should go to the terminal marked as '-' on vifa speaker. Otherwise, the speaker will work with the opposite phase, affecting sound quality.
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Old 07-06-2011, 07:57 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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Your english is just fine! I follow what you are getting at now though.

To expand some though; the "+" and "-" indications on the speaker does mean something as the speakers do have a direction in which power flows through them and thus is noted by the positive and negative markings...so yes, not quite like a battery, but the idea polarity on a speaker is indeed worthwhile.

I understand that you are saying you had to switch the polarity on the newer Vifa speaker to get it to react in a manner comparable to the stock speaker you were replacing (aka to get it to pulsate inwards when power is applied)...but that still confuses me since BOTH should be pulsating in an outwards motion....so I'm not sure why there is a contradiction between the two.

I maybe dead wrong is everything I've learned about speakers in the past...but I'm really thinking there must be another problem here besides that...something like your stock speaker being wired backwards or shorted, etc. I'll have to dig up some more information on the speakers to see if my gut is right or wrong
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING

Last edited by jmanscotch; 07-06-2011 at 07:59 PM.
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  #23  
Old 07-06-2011, 08:07 PM
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RSPDiver RSPDiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiage46 View Post
jmanscotch, with the 6" can you feel the door shake pretty well when a little midbass hits or are they pathetically not making any bass at all? Because that's the main problem I have the OEM Hk midbass.. there's really no bass aspect to i
There's an excellent write-up on e46fanatics about installing upgrade speakers (called "how to properly install door speakers" or something), and it involves using MDF rings mounted to the actual door, not the door panel. Alternatively, for an 80% install, BSW does/did sell adapter rings for this.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:28 PM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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There is no issue with wiring. I performed this test on the midrange speaker that was already removed from the bracket and disconnected from wires. If you still have your broken midrange speakers just connect 1.5v battery and see how it behaves.
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Old 07-07-2011, 05:37 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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I no longer have the busted speaker to mess with.

The more I think about it (now that I'm not half asleep ) the more it makes sense that you cannot be correct.

A speaker works by pulsating outwards and creating vibrations. Those vibrations flow away from the front face of the speaker and into the cabin area where our ears pick them up and translate them into sound.

IF the speaker pulsated in a fashion that the main stroke was an inward stroke, then the vibrations being created would be flowing from the rear facing side of the speaker into the cavity that is between the door panel and the door, so they would not be flowing into the cabin, as one would consider is the intended direction.

There has to be something wrong with the polarity of your battery, the way it was all hooked up, the speaker wiring itself, etc.
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING
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