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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 06-04-2015, 02:13 PM
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aa240sx aa240sx is offline
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It's 2015 - latest easiest way to add bluetooth/streaming audio - GROM?

Ok - did perform a search, but not much came up. Grom and DICE/Audiovox have been discussed several thousand times over the years and I myself have used 2 versions of DICE in two different BMW's.

I currently have a USA Spec Ipod only stereo adapter which came with the car. Nice, but no bluetooth functionality.

In my previous E39, I went so far as to set up very nice bluetooth setup with a parrot module and a unit I purchased from the UK.

Well, it's 2015 and I think there's a product from Grom Audio that seems to fit the bill nicely.

http://www.gromaudio.com/store/sb1_a...connector.html

There's several version of this unit and 2 of them will actually work in a non-dsp non-nav factory e39 radio with prewired cd changer. The two versions are BMWTSB1 and BMWSSB1 and designate whether you want to trunk mount it or put the unit behind the radio.

Either way the price seems reasonable at around $80 plus $10/15 for the microphone.

Anyone have any experience with the current Grom unit both installation and actual usage?

I pretty much no longer use my Ipod and from the demo video here, it's clear that you really only need the bluetooth to stream audio and make calls. Plus you get steering wheel compatibility.



Doubt there's anything better out there any better for the price? Outside of the Eonon/Dynavin units which I also happen to have in my E46 M3, so don't really feel like dropping hundreds on yet another unit.

*** - saw that bluebee did something similar in 2013, so I think this thread is timely enough....

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=674075
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Last edited by aa240sx; 06-04-2015 at 03:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2015, 06:28 AM
bigjppop bigjppop is offline
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Looks really interesting. I just bought a little bluetooth FM transmitter which does alright (a little stack when the music is turned down low) but it was only 30 bucks. I know the limiting factor on my setup is the FM frequency spectrum; with the Grom unit, the only limiting factor should be the bluetooth spec, correct? It's hard wired into the factory system so it should get full 20-20,000 hz?
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:40 AM
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DennisCooper! DennisCooper! is offline
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Hi,

aa240sx - There might be reviews across this and other BMW forums, so have a search around? if not, buy the unit and fit it and report back on your findings?!

bigjppop - BT audio streaming is great for convenience. For many the 'Sound Quality' of BT streaming is 'acceptable' and 'fine'. For anyone looking for 'excellent sonic performance, BT streaming isn't good enough at all. I forget the actual 'technical' aspects, but the frequency response you mention above might well be the case, but SQ isn't as good as the same frequency response when using other mediums for audio files/storage/playback.

Cheers, Dennis!
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:37 AM
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aa240sx aa240sx is offline
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Kind of reviving my thread here since I still haven't actually bought a bluetooth unit for my E39 quite yet. Basically been procrastinating and just using the speakerphone on my Iphone. Anyway, since this summer I now see that there is another relatively new offering for bluetooth out there by way of...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/121666859253...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Yes ebay. Anyway, I'm still leaning towards the Grom Audio option, but has anyone tried out one of these $75USD overseas units from ebay for their bluetooth connectivity? I like that it will do not only phone calls, but streaming music and retain steering wheel functionality too.

It also appears that this same BT unit is being sold for multiple vehicles, but reprogrammed to the automakers' respective CANBUS and wiring harness for steering wheel/stereo compatibility. I'm trying to do more research to see how the specific unit is performing for those vehicles such as Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, etc.
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Last edited by aa240sx; 09-08-2015 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:16 PM
michaelbe39 michaelbe39 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aa240sx View Post
Kind of reviving my thread here since I still haven't actually bought a bluetooth unit for my E39 quite yet. Basically been procrastinating and just using the speakerphone on my Iphone. Anyway, since this summer I now see that there is another relatively new offering for bluetooth out there by way of...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/121666859253...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Yes ebay. Anyway, I'm still leaning towards the Grom Audio option, but has anyone tried out one of these $75USD overseas units from ebay for their bluetooth connectivity? I like that it will do not only phone calls, but streaming music and retain steering wheel functionality too.

It also appears that this same BT unit is being sold for multiple vehicles, but reprogrammed to the automakers' respective CANBUS and wiring harness for steering wheel/stereo compatibility. I'm trying to do more research to see how the specific unit is performing for those vehicles such as Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, etc.
+1 on this question. They look very attractive.
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Old 12-08-2015, 08:59 AM
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aa240sx aa240sx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aa240sx View Post
Kind of reviving my thread here since I still haven't actually bought a bluetooth unit for my E39 quite yet. Basically been procrastinating and just using the speakerphone on my Iphone. Anyway, since this summer I now see that there is another relatively new offering for bluetooth out there by way of...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/121666859253...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Yes ebay. Anyway, I'm still leaning towards the Grom Audio option, but has anyone tried out one of these $75USD overseas units from ebay for their bluetooth connectivity? I like that it will do not only phone calls, but streaming music and retain steering wheel functionality too.

It also appears that this same BT unit is being sold for multiple vehicles, but reprogrammed to the automakers' respective CANBUS and wiring harness for steering wheel/stereo compatibility. I'm trying to do more research to see how the specific unit is performing for those vehicles such as Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, etc.

Ok - Decided to drop the hammer on this device and will do a review/writeup possibly youtube video in the next week. I've had experience with just about every bluetooth device you can put in an E46/E39 including the Parrot/CK option and Dice Mediabridge. This will be my third B/T device leaving only the Grom unit, USA Spec and BMW's OEM unit as devices I won't have experience in. I can tell you right now that the benchmark (for me) has been the Parrot/CK unit. It's works perfectly and uses all the steering wheel controls, but does lack bluetooth music streaming.

I have learned that the Device itself, made by LaPower, is used in multiple vehicle applications including Audi, Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda and others. Here's a DIY for a Toyota

http://www.toyotaownersclub.com/foru...828-cd-stereo/

Installation looks like it will be a breeze, but I may also consider adding one of those Aux/USB ports shown in the link above to an existing part of our dash, if that's even possible.

Will let you all know how it goes.
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Last edited by aa240sx; 12-08-2015 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 12-08-2015, 01:06 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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If you go the BT route, make sure to get a BT transmitter and receiver with AptX technology to achieve the best BT sound quality. BT compresses audio files for streaming. AptX helps to maintain some of the lost fidelity.

Some phones have AptX BT transmitter built in. iPhone does NOT have built in AptX. You can buy and aptX BT transmitter to attach to the iPhone.

Last edited by seemyad; 12-08-2015 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:44 AM
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Jfudge01 Jfudge01 is offline
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Lame, that one is for 00-03 only with non dsp. I have the exact opposite setup. 98 540 w dsp and cd changer. Is there a product for me?
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Old 12-09-2015, 10:35 AM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Thanks for bringing this thread back. I have thought about replacing the headunit in my wife's car to get the bluetooth compatability, but I single din units often look odd in e39s and double-din are usually outside of my price range. The BT3 is about the same price as the Head units I have been looking at. This might be a good solution. Let us know how it goes for you.
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Old 12-09-2015, 12:35 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hans747 View Post
Thanks for bringing this thread back. I have thought about replacing the headunit in my wife's car to get the bluetooth compatability, but I single din units often look odd in e39s and double-din are usually outside of my price range. The BT3 is about the same price as the Head units I have been looking at. This might be a good solution. Let us know how it goes for you.
Here are some single din units that you may like

Single din stereos with touchscreen display
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_se...qid=1449693202
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Old 12-09-2015, 01:23 PM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Thanks. Yeah, i have been looking into those. It's tempting! I always get excited by the prices and then I have to remember that there's also another $50 worth of connector adapters, trim plate (I like this one), and steering wheel control hardware.
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Old 12-09-2015, 05:01 PM
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seemyad seemyad is offline
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Originally Posted by hans747 View Post
Thanks. Yeah, i have been looking into those. It's tempting! I always get excited by the prices and then I have to remember that there's also another $50 worth of connector adapters, trim plate (I like this one), and steering wheel control hardware.
Wait a week or two for the holiday sales. If you wait until Jan 2, you will find even better prices, but more limited selection.
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:57 AM
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aa240sx aa240sx is offline
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Lo and Behold - from order to delivered in one week from HK! Anyway, pretty simple unit and install should be straightforward. Will take care of that tonight and let you all know my thoughts tomorrow.



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Last edited by aa240sx; 12-10-2015 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:41 PM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Are you installing it tonight?

EDIT: I didn't read everything you said. Let us know how it goes.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:01 PM
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So, installed the unit last night (sorry no pics, but really doesn't need any) and overall I'm pleased. Here's some pros/cons

pros -
1 - sound quality is excellent. Basically as good as the Parrot unit I used to use except now I get music streaming through bluetooth, USB and even SD card and aux too. It's definitely superior to satellite/XM and slightly better than a super clear FM radio signal. Not quite as good as CD quality would be the best way for me to describe it.
2 - installation is super easy. basically pull out your mid panel, then pull out your cd or cassette unit. Behind that is your wiring harness, use the included adapter and run the actual unit whereever you want. I ran it to the glove box. Some torx sockets and a couple screwdrivers are litterally all you need to install it. I then ran my mic up through the passenger a pillar into the headliner and out through the convenient mic opening next to my OEM garage door opener
3 - in terms of convenience it's also excellent. Choose an audio source on your phone, pandora, etc and everytime you get in your car, it will automatically connect. You don't have to do anything
4 - Sound quality - call - excellent as well. As good as the Parrot unit not only in terms of hearing your caller, but your caller hearing you as well.
cons
1 - radio reception. because the unit uses and adapter as a go between for the unit and the OEM stereo, I found that there's increased radio interference that wasn't there before. I'll probably try to realign the harness, but this was a bit disappointing. I would say radio reception decreases by 5-10%.
2 - Scanning through usb disc songs - Here, you're asked to organize your songs into folders (up to 6 I believe, but you can put a ton of songs in each folder). You can use the radio buttons to skip ahead or go back on songs and you can use your steering wheel buttons to do the same. However, I can't seem to figure out how to go between folders, hope to figure this one out soon.
3 - No ID for phone on the radio. This one seems really petty, but it would be nice if an incoming call were showing up that you could see phone on the MID display.

Definitely worth it if you're considering this against say a Grom, USA Spec, or Dice/Audiovox option.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:25 PM
hans747 hans747 is offline
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Thanks for the writeup! This is very helpful stuff.

Some questions:
1. When listening to music via Bluetooth (i.e. iOS music app), can you skip to the next song using steering wheel controls?
2. Do any of the steering wheel controls work for answering or hanging up phone calls? (I'm quietly hoping that the "Sneezing Man" button on my steering wheel will actually do something now.
3. Do incoming calls ring on your phone? Or over the stereo?
4. Did you install this on a DSP or non-DSP system?
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Old 12-11-2015, 03:37 PM
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aa240sx aa240sx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hans747 View Post
Thanks for the writeup! This is very helpful stuff.

Some questions:
1. When listening to music via Bluetooth (i.e. iOS music app), can you skip to the next song using steering wheel controls?
2. Do any of the steering wheel controls work for answering or hanging up phone calls? (I'm quietly hoping that the "Sneezing Man" button on my steering wheel will actually do something now.
3. Do incoming calls ring on your phone? Or over the stereo?
4. Did you install this on a DSP or non-DSP system?

1. Yup, steering wheel controls and the Mid controls too
2. Nope, should list that in the cons but only the next and previous buttons work on the steering wheel.
3. Incoming calls ring through the stereo
4. Installed on a non-dsp system.

Also, figured out how to switch from folder to folder with music on your USB drives. Took some figuring out, but you have to hit the mode button a few times. For me, it's some kind of recognition bug, but once your USB device is properly identified it will show up as 'CD 1-1'. Below that is your buttons for the different folders (up to 6) found on the lower part of the MID (marked as 1, 2, 3 etc). Pick a number and it voila, switches to that folder. Again, use the prev/next buttons to change songs.

Also have to add, music quality for the USB is awesome. Depends on the bit-rate you choose, but sound quality is really good and access time is great too. You can switch from song to song and folder to folder instantly, zero lag.

The unit also has an SD card port and aux port, but for me, the USB slot and bluetooth streaming is all I'll ever use. Best 75 bucks you'll spend for this kind of tech!

I do have to emphasize that this unit doesn't do music ID tagging. It's just numbers, but hey our E39's are like 18 years old now. We're lucky we still get any modern tech like this at all. If this ain't for you, then I would definitely opt for the many nav screen options out there. Not down for the single or double DIN mods though. Our dashboards just don't look right with aftermarket stereos units.
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Last edited by aa240sx; 12-11-2015 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 12-14-2015, 11:59 AM
Mac.Concierge Mac.Concierge is offline
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Is your bluetooth phone call volume the same as the bluetooth music streaming?

Mine is not, so when I take calls I had to turn up the volume and turn it back down when the call is over.
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Old 12-15-2015, 12:39 PM
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aa240sx aa240sx is offline
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Is your bluetooth phone call volume the same as the bluetooth music streaming?

Mine is not, so when I take calls I had to turn up the volume and turn it back down when the call is over.
Looks like my unit does the same thing. Call volume has to be turned up (and down when finished) to hear caller during call.

Not sure there's any way to fix this. I'm not sure if changing the volume on your cell phone will help either.

Another gripe I have about this setup is that you have be in this mode on your stereo to take and make calls. If you're listening to the radio and a call comes in, you first have to change mode to cd, then answer call.

Kind of annoying, but something I also found to be the case with the Audiovox/Dice unit too.

OEM or using the Parrot/CK setup is definitely more integrated.
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Old 12-16-2015, 01:48 PM
V8Mike V8Mike is offline
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If you have an AUX-in there are some really inexpensive units out there to stream on bluetooth.
This is the one I got - works really well
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...rch_detailpage

As long as you have an AUX input. I have a DSP system so all I needed was an inexpensive aux adapter and now I have full bluetooth capability.
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:43 PM
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I picked up one of these Lapower devices for my 02 530i. I like it so far. A couple peeves though, and no one else had mentioned these: while using sdram card for mp3 playback when I turn off my car and return to it, the device goes back to FM radio mode everytime. So i am constantly hitting mode back to CDC which is a pain since I never listen to radio. It does retain track/disc memory though. Was wondering if anyone else noticed this, and perhaps this is only a glitch in sdram mp3 mode; I have not thoroughly tested a usb stick for mp3. Another thing I have noticed is bluetooth music seems to emit a slight static buzz or some kind of feedback, though it streams from my phone well. Perhaps the feedback is normal for bluetooth as I don't have much experience with this. Testing bluetooth voice calls seem fine though, no noticeable buzz. Still messing with volume levels. Overall though a great low cost solution for our cars!
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Old 01-13-2016, 03:55 PM
mcglick mcglick is offline
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One other thought, I was considering contacting Lapower. Perhaps there will be firmware updates, or perhaps they would be so kind to allow us to tinker. Sure would be nice to add functionality to bluetooth steering wheel buttons and add ID3 tags and caller IDs to the display.
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Old 01-14-2016, 10:31 AM
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aa240sx aa240sx is offline
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like the idea of a firmware update too. it's frustrating to only have access to the rev/fwd and vol buttons only on the steering wheel. Would be nice to have the call and reject button active too and for using Siri, holding down the call button on the steering wheel. I actually had this feature on a CK3000/Parrott setup I used to have on another E39 I owned.

Anyway, I can confirm that the default when hitting the power button is always stereo, but I do use both functions so don't mind it as much. I will say that in my situation I seem to get a little less reception from my radio stations since installing this unit, which is a definite bummer.

As for sound quality, I actually thinks it's superior to anything I've used before both in terms of the bluetooth audio streaming, phone calls, and use of the SD cards. Plus, it connects automatically to my b/t stream from my phone automatically.

kind of a side note, but I just randomly saw a video on youtube by mightycarmods and they setup an older airport express by apple to be used as a bluetooth audio streaming device for your car, a bit hacky and probably more time and $$ than lapower, but it's another option.
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Last edited by aa240sx; 01-14-2016 at 10:33 AM.
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  #24  
Old 06-14-2016, 06:49 AM
SuperBMWauss SuperBMWauss is offline
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I registered specifically to this forum, to share with you that I have bought the following product today,

http://http://www.ebay.com/itm/121543181090?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I noticed that it is the same guy (023jordan) selling the product shown in the photos of this thread.

Will give feedback on the matter as soon as the long wait on arrival is over.

Cheers _sl_

Last edited by SuperBMWauss; 06-15-2016 at 03:24 AM. Reason: *spellimg
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  #25  
Old 06-21-2016, 06:02 AM
SuperBMWauss SuperBMWauss is offline
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Hi again

I bought the following product on ebay
http://www.ebay.com/itm/121543181090...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I received it in good order from the guy called 023jordan and will recommend anyone to deal with him. Delivery was USD 8.00 with DHL, and took only four working days. I am very pleased with that.

As for the product advertised at USD 82.5, I need to be honest and state that I hoped the case would be of an alloy material. I expected a bit more quality and feel for such an expensive luxury. The case feels flimsy and fragile, as if it will fall apart if a two year old dared to touch it. Apart form that, the overall quality of wires and cables supplied are good. The installation guide is basic, and can do with an update to be e46 specific.

The installation was quite tricky, to some extent at least. Firstly, some mods had to be made to the glove compartment to give access for wires. To get the radio out and test the unit was fairly easy, but to get all that cabling and connectors back into the dash was tricky. The housing/clip of the original big radio plug died in the process.

This probably could have been conducted easier if I got the climate control and air louvers out, but on a 15 year old car I didn't want to force any plastics out for the risk of it shattering. So it was the the plug that had to be sacrificed. Also the instructions state that the 6 CD changer needs to be unplugged completely, and this was also annoying. More because of the fact that I wanted to get the job done quick but also since I knew the CD changer was not operational at all, and thought it was an unnecessary hassle to unplug it.

Once everything was back in, the product worked. Again, the ****ty plastic holder does not do it for me and at $82.50 I truly expected something made of metal. There is some "swheeishy-swheesihsy" interference sounds in the background when the bluetooth mode is selected and the music is paused, and continues softly when the music is played. Also, my radio made a "kkrrrrrrrr" sound a bit louder than usual, which subsided after a while.

All in all: I am glad I purchased the product, but it is lacking in quality for the price I paid. On the upside, this was the cheapest solution to the problem om me having no bluetooth, aux, and USB connectivity.


Anyway - best regards,



SuperBMWauss
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