Notes on a 2018 i3S with HK OEM amp swap for a Match UP 7BMW and front Eton tweeters - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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BMW i3 I01 (2014 - Current)
The BMW i3 and BMW i8 are the first two cars launch under BMW's new sub brand BMW i. The i3 is an all carbon fiber, all electric vehicle meant for urban mobility.

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Old 12-24-2018, 08:13 AM
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Notes on a 2018 i3S with HK OEM amp swap for a Match UP 7BMW and front Eton tweeters

Wondering what kind of sound improvement a Match UP 7BMW amp would do to an i3S with HK(674) system, I dedicated less than 10 minutes swapping the HK OEM amp with the UP 7BMW as a first stage of this effort.

Removed rear bench -just lift up, no harness or connectors to unplug.

Unplug HK(674) OEM amp, plug UP 7BMW amp:




Placed UP 7BMW with Velcro to the right of the OEM fan as there was some space available:


Notes 1:
- First, the reason of leaving the OEM amp in place is because the HK(674) OEM amp is part of the CAN bus, thus is part of the diagnostics of the car. In the case of dealer service I can unplug the UP 7BMW amp, and re-plug the OEM amp in no time as it is right there.

- Sound: just plugging the UP 7BMW, no tuning, no channel assignments, no features set, the sound improvement -loudness, clarity and bass response- is significant at any volume with OEM speakers. The first thing to notice is the front stage -stereo separation and height level is the most impressive. Kind of listening the music from below the neck with the OEM amp and then listening at ear level with the UP 7BMW.

Then some DSP/TA/EQ tuning... set all mid/tweeters to high pass at 100Hz at 18dB slope, center at 150Hz at 18dB slope, and woofers to bandpass from 40Hz to 200Hz at 18dB slope at both ends. Then time alignment to all speakers from the driver seat. Fantastic.

The UP 7BMW includes enhancements to bass, center and front stage. For bass it has both an adjustable loudness curve by volume (0, 3dB, 6dB, Max) which increases bass by such amout based on the audio volume set by user, and a "Bass Enhancer", a feature that adds harmonics to the bass. Never liked any Bass Enhancer before, this one is no different. The i3 woofers are the worst in any BMW at 5"x 8", so any bass is very limited to be extracted from these. The UP 7BMW get better bass than the OEM amp just because of the adjustability but its power (more than double of the OEM amp) is too much for these OEM woofers. Unfortunately no one offers aftermarket PnP woofers for the i3. A trunk sub is a must so these OEM woofers can be used strictly as mid bass above 80Hz. That is where they belong, not in the 40Hz range.

The UP 7BMW comes with a gain adjustment, so it can be increased to match the i3S NBT EVO2 balanced signal output level. At max gain the UP 7BMW does not distort, and the NBT EVO volume level better matches the expected loudness curve of turning the volume knob -meaning, at half volume level the music is quite loud. The problem with all NBT units since 2014 is that BMW seems to have cheapen out in the output electronics of these OEM HU. For the music to be quite loud, the volume level must be above 3/4 of the volume range. Anything between 0 and 8 (in a range of 20) volume level it is significantly quiet, then at 10 it jumps in level which does not follow the first 8 steps. What BMW did was to hide the excessive hiss of this unit behind the volume, so there is no noticeable hiss for the first 8 levels of volume travel and then at 10 the audio overcomes the hiss. Cheap electronics.

The problem with this is that if the UP 7BMW gain is increased then when the volume is at 0 the hiss is overwhelming. After all, this amp is several times more powerful than the OEM amp. So the gain must be set at minimum and just crank the volume past half to really notice the audio quality improvement over OEM.

Overall, the amp swap is way worth it.

Notes 2:

But then I remember that with any amp swap the OEM tweeters must go.

Had some Eton B25 tweeters in stock which I like a lot in BMW systems. Full PnP, full fitment in OEM tweeter sockets, come with their own PnP high pass filters:





All front OEM tweeters (both A pillars and center) were replaced, OEM HK mids were kept.

The difference between OEM tweeters and the Eton is that the OEM are metallic (aluminum?) and the Eton are silk. I like silk tweeters. A lot. Not as bright as metal, but to me are more accurate and clear. That was the biggest improvement in clarity with this Match amp. Voices are much more clear and delicate. No more that hearing the voices thru a very thin sock quality of OEM tweeters. One level of that "muffleness" comes from the OEM amp, but even with aftermarket amps that muffle stays as it comes from the OEM tweeter. Once they are replaced that high frequency "muffleness" is gone for good.

System is close to perfect for an i3S, still light, still powered by OEM amp power so no significant decrease of efficiency. But sub bass... I still need sub bass.
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Old 12-24-2018, 09:21 AM
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My experience was very similar, but I used the pp86dsp from AudioTec Fischer/Bimmertech. I loved the improved clarity and volume levels, and the customization of the sound stage so it was right where I wanted it. After the install I used the system with all OEM speakers for over a year, and eventually added a sub. Of course, had to redo my crossovers to move the woofers out of the subwoofer range(clearing them up in the process )

Here was my install video from the initial install:


Here is my review:


Sub added in the rear:


I added the battery to the side of it and a circuit breaker between the power supply for the box and the battery so that if I ever exceed 40A of power draw it trips the circuit breaker and isolates the unit from the car, running the sub off just the battery. Didn't want to run the risk of damaging my EME due to large peak current draw.

Note I only went with this sub and amp because I happened to have them laying around from an old project, and the sub was a weekend "I bet I can..." addition. I am only using 250W peak when measured with an oscilloscope on the amp primary side.
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Old 12-24-2018, 04:30 PM
The Other Tom The Other Tom is offline
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Thanks, Technic
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Old 12-28-2018, 06:21 PM
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... and then a trunk sub (kind of)

Unsatisfied with the OEM woofers lack of anything similar to deep bass, and the difficulty of replacing them -too many panels to remove, no replacement in this size that I liked at all- makes a trunk sub add-on a must do.

But no big box, no big amp, no big current draw can be part of this addition. Nothing big, but at the same time, whatever it would be it must fill that sub bass hole somehow. Then I found a Pioneer TSWH500A 8.25" Sealed Active Subwoofer. A 150W max built-in amp, 5.5 lbs, 17" x 11" x 4.5" size and a current draw of 7amps max -can be connected straight to the fuse box with an add-a-fuse cable.

And that's what was done:

10amp add-a-fuse cable inserted into empty 12V fuse socket -socket goes to sleep as most of the fuses in this block:



TSWH included 12V harness ran from fusebox to UP 7BMW, ground and remote:





Install under hatch cover (industrial velcro, until a more solid attachment is found):





Notes:

- tested this install with the sub under the passenger seat to make sure the wiring connections were correct and solid. This sub sounded like crap. Did not pay attention to what the install manual stated: this sub must be installed in a flat surface.

- plan was to install this sub under the hatch cover anyways. No trunk space sacrifice was also required. Now sub was sounding more like a decent, small, not much power sub. What it is, indeed. Sub comes with a remote 2-knob adjustment -gain and low pass filter cut-off, from 50Hz to 125Hz. Set gain to 10 o'clock, filter to 125hz. Then UP 7BMW tuning. Set low/bandpass pass filter from 25Hz to 80Hz, and a gain of 3dB. Used heavy bass songs and 35Hz tones to adjust EQ to cut any clipping bass at 80% iDrive volume level. Changed OEM woofers band bass filter to 70Hz to 200Hz.

- Result: the only song that I play to determine if the sub bass and bass/midbass is set to most of the music that I like is "Put that Pu**y on Me" by Spank Rock and Diplo. Just the first 30 seconds of that song are enough to know if the sub bass can be felt and deep, that mid bass is short and loud, and the highs are not overwhelmed by the quick transition from sub and mid bass while the highs are short played. And no clipping or distortion anywhere. It sounded quite impressive for a small self-powered sub.

This Pioneer small box fills the lacking sub bass in this system. This sub is not a 12" in a box, 1000W of pain. But it nicely fakes deep feeling, not overwhelming sub bass with just 70W rms/7amps when maxed out and tight complement at low and mid volume. UP 7BMW amp bass enhancer effects work better with a sub than with mid bass. OEM woofers can be heard with the sub, just with solid midbass, no distortion as before. Voices are slightly louder than the bass, but clearer, fuller and satisfying. All PnP.

Very happy with this project.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:09 PM
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Would adding a deadening material like Dynamat at the factory 5x8s location help any? Deadening the mounting surface and possibly parts of the 5x8s cavity?
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Old 12-29-2018, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMMGP View Post
Would adding a deadening material like Dynamat at the factory 5x8s location help any? Deadening the mounting surface and possibly parts of the 5x8s cavity?
Vibration is not the issue, the issue is the OEM woofer’s bass quality due to size and mounting position. Most probably their design is for electric vehicles - light, high efficiency, small. That’s the opposite for good bass. This is the first BMW OEM woofer that does not respond better at all to aftermarket power that I have found. Bass is louder with this UP 7BMW than with the OEM amp, but it is a flappy, clippy louder bass.

It could be possible to replace these OEM woofers with a pair of SWS-6 subs with a custom adapter, or with any decent 6” aftermarket shallow woofer for a real bass improvement. Removing the OEM woofers is my problem, not too enthusiastic with the effort and the number of OEM trims to remove.
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Old 03-10-2019, 12:55 AM
shiplake shiplake is offline
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great writeup technic - a fountain of useful information as always. Just one question - the match up 7bmw website says for option 676 only, did you have to do anything other than what you've said to get it to work? I'm not sure what the difference is between option 676 and 674 but wondered if there are any fundamental differences. I'm just about to shell out the cash for the up 7 so definitely interested if you can help? All the best.

Last edited by shiplake; 03-10-2019 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shiplake View Post
great writeup technic - a fountain of useful information as always. Just one question - the match up 7bmw website says for option 676 only, did you have to do anything other than what you've said to get it to work? I'm not sure what the difference is between option 676 and 674 but wondered if there are any fundamental differences. I'm just about to shell out the cash for the up 7 so definitely interested if you can help? All the best.
Two main differences between 676 and 674:

- More power output -205W(676) vs 360W(674)
- No CAN bus connection (676) vs CAN connection (674)

Other than that, connectors and channel assignments are exactly the same between the two OEM systems so UP 7BMW can be used in the 674 system as well. Just remember to plug OEM amp (674) back in if dealer requires a diagnostics read of vehicle.
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Old 07-19-2019, 12:23 AM
Aston-Vega Aston-Vega is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
Vibration is not the issue, the issue is the OEM woofer’s bass quality due to size and mounting position. Most probably their design is for electric vehicles - light, high efficiency, small. That’s the opposite for good bass. This is the first BMW OEM woofer that does not respond better at all to aftermarket power that I have found. Bass is louder with this UP 7BMW than with the OEM amp, but it is a flappy, clippy louder bass.

It could be possible to replace these OEM woofers with a pair of SWS-6 subs with a custom adapter, or with any decent 6” aftermarket shallow woofer for a real bass improvement. Removing the OEM woofers is my problem, not too enthusiastic with the effort and the number of OEM trims to remove.
The OEM Woofer dimension is 6x9 (4 ohms) for the HK version vs 6-3/4" (2 ohms) for the base version, and I suspect that the 6x9 is playing Bass and Midrange/High Midrange instead of the 6-3/4 probably only for bass.

With the UP 7BMW upgrade, in order to improve the audio quality which speaker model (brand , ref) would you choose ? and in which dimension ? (6"x9", 6-1/2", or 6-3/4") ?
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