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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 04-01-2012, 10:15 PM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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DSP radio

I have searched everywhere and have found so many different answers that it has confused me. I have DSP radio in my car and really would like to install a new head unit. I know everyone says to change speakers first, but my speakers really don't sound all that bad and will suffice for now.

My question is, will this wiring kit work for my car with DSP radio?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/E39-5-Series...700dc3&vxp=mtr

If it is not the right one, then I am thinking that this one is the one that I need?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/290677358029
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  #2  
Old 04-02-2012, 12:45 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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The DSP system sends a digital bit stream to the trunk-mounted amp, which splits it up for the 12 separate speakers. You'll need to replace the amp with a multi-channel unit to drive the various speakers, and replace the head unit.

Some have replaced the speakers with pleasing results, and it's a lot cheaper.
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  #3  
Old 04-02-2012, 02:59 AM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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My main concern is ipod connectivity and add a little bass via sub and amp. I am wanting to leave the stock speakers in the car as they are. So what you are saying, then is that neither of those harnesses will work to install an aftermarket radio?

I had a toyota tundra truck with the factory amp and put a aftermarket head unit in it using a harness very similar to the one in the second link. It worked great. Will it not work with these cars?
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  #4  
Old 04-02-2012, 03:36 AM
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Hi,

There's no easy way of interfacing an aftermarket head unit to use the oem DSP amplifier. I think some enthusiasts have managed to do something, however it's time consuming, convoluted and requires electronic and wiring skills etc.

The harnesses above won't work. The DSP setup in these cars is a closed type system and has specific impedances and protocols. Ever since it was around in 1997, there's been next to zero demand to have an aftermarket head unit work with it.

To get iPod connectivity, you need an OEM iPod interface. There's hundreds of threads about getting this. DICE, Dension, Intravee and mObridge all do products.

To add a little more bass, you could go the 'phase' one upgrade and add a slimline powered subwoofer by tapping the input from the 'low' output of the dsp amp.

In this case, you've indicated you find the oem dsp speakers adequate for you, which is fine. To me and many other's they're very mediocre at best! and the potential sound quality increase by using high quality aftermarket speakers blows the oem out of the water - and can be had for very reasonable money.

The sticking point here as with many other BMW owners is the insistence on keeping the oem audio modules which limits what you can do. The iPod connectivity above will cost upwards of at the very least several hundred dollars and then theres the cost of fitting if you aren't able to DIY. I understand many want the oem looks in the dash, however things have moved on and bluetooth, ipod control, GPS as well as legal requirements to have a hands free car kit all mean it's getting harder to justify keeping those oem units...

As an example, here's my head unit;



It has built in hands free car kit, direct full speed iPod control, bluetooth audio streaming and all the other modern features you'd expect nowadays. GPS is optional, I don't need it as I use my smartphone. Yes, it doesn't 'look' oem but to me I don't really have an issue with that.

Cheers, Dennis!
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  #5  
Old 04-02-2012, 06:03 AM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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I like that setup. Are the speaker wires already ran to the area behind the dash, or are they all ran to the amp in the back (will I have to run all new wires through the doors and everything)? I'll probably just end up bypassing the amp and running speakers straight to my aftermarket headunit.
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  #6  
Old 04-02-2012, 06:22 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Silver540, all of your speaker wires are run to the amp in the trunk.
If you replace your HU with one that has it's own amp the easiest way would be to extend the speaker wires from the trunk to the dash.
There isn't much room behind to dash, before you buy anything take a look at that space.
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2012, 06:40 AM
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Hi

A little more to add to JimLev's input...

If you put in an aftermarket unit and wish to use it's built in amplifier, then you'll need speaker wire runs from the doors, rear parcel shelf area to the dash area to connect to the head unit.
If you don't wish to use the built in amplifier and use external amplifier(s) then you'll most likely install the amplifier in the trunk area somewhere. Each speaker location then needs a run back to the amplifier. You can perhaps get away with using the existing speaker wires by cutting them from the oem DSP amp and checking continuity to get the right pair(s)

When I installed my setup, I ran brand new automotive speaker cable to the front doors and my rear C pillars



My setup is deliberately simple. Head unit, 4 channel and mono tiny footprint amplifiers, 2 way components for the front and 2 way co-axial for some rear fill as I like it. Stealth installed single subwoofer.

Cheers, Dennis!
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  #8  
Old 04-02-2012, 09:07 AM
haolibird haolibird is online now
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OP,
I have a USA SPEC IPod adaptor, and it works well.

I would LOVE to get me a powered sub, but my wife drives the car more than me, so it can wait.

One thing I don't understand...my '90 535 sounds WAY better, and the 540 DSP is/was a $1200.00 upgrade!

Go figure?

Aloha!
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  #9  
Old 04-02-2012, 10:06 PM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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So the consensus seems to be that I should just by pass the DSP amp completely? If I were to go ahead and put in speakers, I would really only have to buy tweeters and regular speakers right? The BMW has three speakers in the front doors and I'm guessing that they are highs mids and lows, but with aftermarket speakers you get that all in one.
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  #10  
Old 04-02-2012, 10:26 PM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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OP i recently modified my DSP sound
let me tell you it sounds better than my friend 2003 M5

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...&postcount=133

+ Aux adapter

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...&postcount=138

the DSP sound system is good , just need to tune it a bit
about all these china head units i say stay away from them
GL
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Last edited by champaign777; 04-02-2012 at 10:37 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-02-2012, 10:50 PM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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All right, I have decided that I am going to ditch the DSP amp, get rid of the factory head unit and put in all new speakers that will be wired to an aftermarket head unit. There will be an amp probably one or two 12 inch subs in the trunk. My question now is since I am ditching the factory speakers, what sizes are the tweeters? I know the door speakers are 5.25" are the backs the same? Can I hook the tweeters directly into the headunit/door speakers, or will I need to install crossovers. Would I be better off just buying 5.25" woofers with tweeters built in?

So what I'm getting at is if I buy two sets of the speakers in the link below, and I also buy the headunit with mouting hardware below, then I should be able to get rid of all my DSP crap and install those speakers and not need tweeters or crossovers since they don't need them right? After that, all I have to do is wire up an amp and install my subs right?

Speakers:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/300680770392...84.m1423.l2649
Radio:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/360439025389...84.m1423.l2649
Mounting kit and harness:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/E39-Car-Ster...70073d&vxp=mtr

After all of the above is installed, I can then put my amp and subs in the trunk and run RCA cables from the the amp to the preamp outputs on the back of the radio right?

Sorry for all the questions, but I've only installed systems in Amercan vehicles and I am new to this factory amplifier DSP stuff.

Last edited by Silver540i6; 04-03-2012 at 03:13 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-03-2012, 03:23 AM
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Hi

I'd suggest getting better quality 5.25 inch 2 way component speakers for the front. They'll come with crossovers. Mount the tweeter in the oem location which is in the corner of the window. For the rear, use the co-axial type. The 'budget' speakers you've linked will be much better than the oem ones for sure, but driven off the head unit built in amplifier, the result will be limited although still much better than oem.

Have a look at this recent writeup and post with a forum member I was in discussions with;

http://forum.bmw5.co.uk/topic/64113-...rade-update-6/

Cheers, Dennis!
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  #13  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:09 AM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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Thanks for the link to that dennis. If I'm thinking correctly I can replace the 5.25s with some good quality speakers and wire them straight to the new headunit and I wont' really need to do anything else other than wire my amp and subs later on.
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  #14  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:13 AM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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I think I got it figured out. Here is a link to what I am going to get minus the kenwood amp and sub that will go in the trunk. The door speakers and rear deck speakers will only be amplified through the new headunit,

http://www.crutchfield.com/app/cart/default.aspx

How much can I get for my DSP radio and the BMW business tape player? Are they going for a decent price, and is the 6 disc changer worth anything? They all work great and all the pixels on the DSP work.
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  #15  
Old 04-04-2012, 09:52 AM
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Hi

You can run the replacement speakers directly from the head unit you choose. Typical RMS outputs from modern premium brand head units is perhaps 20-25W RMS per channel so the component speakers will be better performing but still quite a way less than if they were driven by a dedicated amplifier.

have a look at classifieds for approx values of the oem equipment you have and set a good price to try and move your non required modules.

Cheers, Dennis!
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  #16  
Old 04-04-2012, 02:28 PM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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I was going to get some better speakers, but crrutchfield had a deal going on with kenwood speakers. Buy a certain headunit and get 50 bucks off if you buy two sets of speakers. It says that those speakers are direct replacement for the e39. They supposedly have tweeters built in. If that is true I won't need to buy tweeters for the corner of the door right?
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:56 PM
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Hi,

If you put in co-axials in the doors in place of the 5.25 oem speaker, then the tweeter frequencies will of course be heard, but they'll be firing towards your knee. If you don't mind the resulting drop in audio performance, then go right ahead, but chances are you'll hear it and it won't sound so great. I mean that in terms of the sound will be 'emanating' from lower down. The reason BMW put the tweeters high up as they could is that it helps with stereo imaging.

It does sound as though you are trying to upgrade based solely on prices - so it's up to you!

Cheers, Dennis!
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  #18  
Old 04-04-2012, 09:45 PM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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Yeah I'm not really trying to put a 1200 dollar system in the car as it is just a second vehicle. Can I run a set of tweeters with the speakers that are in the link above? Do I just wire them to the speaker inputs then only have two wires per speakers running to the radio? I hardly ever change the stock speakers in my vehicles, but all of them have had great stereos right from the factory. The Bimmer's speakers suck something awful and need to desperately be replaced. Let me put it this way, I put a touch screen headunit and one Pioneer 12 with an amp in my Ford F150 and it sounds awesome. The door speakers in it are fantastic compared to the BMW.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:11 PM
teklord69 teklord69 is offline
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I was also getting ready to ditch my DSP system.. Until I read more about how to tune the DSP stereo. Basically I created my own preset and adjusted the frequencies and now the system sounds very decent. Seriously, the DSP system is not as bad a folks here make it seem. If anything, the only thing I would add is an amplified subwoofer as the oem DSP subs (nokia), is just barely enough to produce proper bass. In my opinion, there is no aftermarket headunit that looks proper on the E39. I like the OEM stereo look much more. And really to me the DSP just needs more bass. Again adding an external amplifier is cheap and easy and will make your DSP system 10x better.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:31 AM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teklord69 View Post
I was also getting ready to ditch my DSP system.. Until I read more about how to tune the DSP stereo. Basically I created my own preset and adjusted the frequencies and now the system sounds very decent. Seriously, the DSP system is not as bad a folks here make it seem. If anything, the only thing I would add is an amplified subwoofer as the oem DSP subs (nokia), is just barely enough to produce proper bass. In my opinion, there is no aftermarket headunit that looks proper on the E39. I like the OEM stereo look much more. And really to me the DSP just needs more bass. Again adding an external amplifier is cheap and easy and will make your DSP system 10x better.
yeah but how do I go about adding an external amplifier to the system. I can't run it to the DSP radio because there are no pre amp outputs on it. Do I have to run a crossover to the factory speakers to get my volume control to work? I read an article about adding a sub, but it made almost no sense to me. I couldn't figure out how one would get the volume to work if you can't run anything to the headunit.
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:15 AM
teklord69 teklord69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver540i6 View Post
yeah but how do I go about adding an external amplifier to the system. I can't run it to the DSP radio because there are no pre amp outputs on it. Do I have to run a crossover to the factory speakers to get my volume control to work? I read an article about adding a sub, but it made almost no sense to me. I couldn't figure out how one would get the volume to work if you can't run anything to the headunit.
You need to get a line level converter..they are cheap:



Get the wires from the sub you have on the rear deck and feed them to this line converter.

Then get the line converter's RCA jacks and feed that to an amp (whatever amp u want).

Then the amp will then power an external sub box (whatever sub u want to use).
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:28 AM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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Hmmm...that sounds easy enough. I could leave the subs on the rear deck hooked up with this and still have maybe one or two 12s right? I have put in a hundred stereos, but I have never dealt with one as complicated as this BMW stereo.
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:33 PM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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Teklord can you snap a pic of you setup? I'm about to pull the trigger on buying the line level converter and sub and amp, and I would like to see what it looks like in the trunk before I do.
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:02 AM
teklord69 teklord69 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver540i6 View Post
Teklord can you snap a pic of you setup? I'm about to pull the trigger on buying the line level converter and sub and amp, and I would like to see what it looks like in the trunk before I do.
Apologize..I never said I have a setup. Im still running on stock DSP system. I showed that pic and procedure from searching the other forums and will plan on doing this in a few months. I would however just leave the oem subs alone and will probably run a single 10 inch subs with a mono amp powering it. Search bimmerforums and u might see some install pics of people who just added a sub.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:11 PM
Silver540i6 Silver540i6 is offline
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Does the amp have to by mono, or can I just bridge a 2 channel?
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