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Old 02-28-2010, 09:52 AM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Mein Auto: 05 330ci 6MT
2005 330ci - Sound System v2.5

I've been busy reworking the sound system in my 2005 BMW 330ci and thought I'd share some of the design decisions and work I've done, not that there is anything spectacular here, but maybe someone will benefit from some of my approach.

History
I ordered this car new with factory navigation and the Harmon Kardon sound system which was standard equipment on the coupes. It was decent and I lived with it for about a year before I got around to installing equipment I've had in two previous cars.

Originally I installed a/d/s/ 335is 2-way component speakers in the front doors with the tweeters in the stock midrange location (next to the door handle) and mid-bass in the stock location mounted to the door card. I had a 10" DVC sub in a sealed box in the trunk and all was powered by an a/d/s/ P840 amp. The equipment board was under the floor in the spare tire well, unvented and no cooling fans.

This system suffered from a few problems. The first was a lack of midbass in the doors. I never could get a good blend with the sub and it just sounded poor. The second problem was a lack of subbass mainly due to lack of power to the 10" sub. I had four channels of the P840 bridged to send 120w to each coil separately for a total of 240 watts... it wasn't enough. The third problem was lack of ventilation for the air coold amp. The first legthy road trip I took with the car resulted in a total amp melt-down one hour from my destiation which was 6-7 hours away from home. The return drive was tune-less, but the sweet music of the 3.0l I6 was entertaining... if not a little lacking in variety as I traversed the unteresting California I5.

Enter version 2.0
Since I fried my amp and had a few other issues to deal with I revamped the system. I used the same front components, but this time I cut a hole in the door shell behind the speaker location, fashioned baffles out of MDF and sealed the baffle to the door with non hardening modeling clay. I purchased an Image Dynamice IDQ12 D4v.2 sub, built a new box for it, and replaced the P840 amp with a DLS Ultimate A5. The midbass improved greatly as did the sub bass. This was fairly decent for a couple of years, but something changed and the front stage became harsh, shrill, and lacked midbass and midrange which made me not even want to listen to it anymore. I deduced that something had gone wrong with the tweeters after 10 years of use in three different cars. The midbass disappearance was another puzzle.

Enter Version 2.5
I decided I had to do something with my system or I was just going to rip it all out and go back to the H/K stuff. I started looking into component sets and was pretty set on DLS until I found a post by Scott Buwalda offering a sizeable discount on some demo sets of Hybrid Audio Technologies Claris and since another member at E46Fanatics had installed a set of these in his M3 (dumptyhumpty here too) I knew they would fit. I corresponded with Scott and had a demo set on the way to me at a considerable savings over the DLS system I was looking for including a full year of warranty and trade-up value assurance.

Since I was going with a 6.5" mid-bass vs a 5.25, new baffles were needed. I used solid oak and MDF to make these new baffles. The MDF was used for a 1/2" thick ring largely because I had it around and didn't have access to 1/2" oak so I improvised.

I cut the rings with a Japser jig, but it wasn't an easy thing to do (at first) mainly because when I purchased the jig I asked the guy at Woodcraft to get me a router bit that would work well on the solid oak. He recommended a spiral bit and I was off to work on the rings. I fussed with the setup to get the perfect size ring testing out on some 3/4" MDF and I wasn't getting a very smooth cut from that bit. It took me several tries before I gave up on it and went with a straight fluted bit I had from some previous projects, this worked much better.

Here you see the spiral bit result vs the fluted bit result. Both are solid oak and the front ring shows the rough cut of the spiral bit. It chewed up the oak pretty badly no matter how many passes I did, but the straight bit produced a smooth cut with just two passes.



Once I figured it out I made four rings: two were 3/4" solid oak, two were 1/2" MDF. I also cut a 1/4" thick ring out of masonite to be used to simulate the thickness of the speaker rim to help determine the thickness required to mount the driver with the proper depth. I ended up with a 2" thick baffle/ring setup and just enough space between the grille and the driver, perfect!



Making the baffle
Since I had done this before and all the hassle of aligning the baffle with the door and card was already done, I used the old baffle as a template for the new ones. The main benefit was size and position of the mounting holes which saved a lot of time.

My approach for aligning the rings worked really well. First I had to shave all the plastic from inside the door card to allow the 6.5" driver to fit properly. This required me to cut one of the mounting posts for the factory speaker completely off, then using my dremel I shaved down as much of the remaining plastic as I could.



I mounted the baffle to the door...



Assembled the rings together with blue painters tape and stuffed them into the door card with double sided tape on the baffle side...





I reinstalled the door card with the rings in place and they stuck to the baffle for perfect alignment...



I then used the rings to draw cut/alignment lines on the baffle, cut out the hole, glued everything up and the speaker mount was ready to go. I also made an additional support which I glued in place.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2010, 09:52 AM
jvr826's Avatar
jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Location: In the woods. Santa Cruz County, CA
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 8,975
Mein Auto: 05 330ci 6MT
Deadening the door
I didn't do this before and since I was going for it, I loaded each door with RaamMat BXT II...

Original weather seal removed...



Since I demolished the weather seal I had to close up the access holes in the door. I purchased some galvanized screen, cut to fit and screwed in place with self tapping screws. To cushion the vibrations I applied deadener to the perimeter where the screen would be mounted.



I didn't want to make a mess of the window motor, so I sealed it up with heavy plastic and duct tape...



I then continued with the BXT II and covered everything up to seal the door shell.



Completed baffle mounted to the door.



This photo shows how I stuffed closed cell foam into the areas to fill the uneven surface of the door and seal the baffle to it. This provided support for more deadner to make the seal air tight.





Midbass mounted...



Door covered in Ensolite...



I decided to mount the tweeters to the sail panel using the surface mount cups that came with the speakers. They're off axis due to the natural angle of the sail panel, tho I'm not sure I'm going to keep them like this or not. I need to live with them like this for a few weeks and decide later if this will stick or not. The first change I may make is to angle them so they fire straight at each other using an angled shim behind them, but will decide later on after some heavy listening.

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"You drive like old people $#@%... slow and sloppy!" - George Carlin
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  #3  
Old 02-28-2010, 09:53 AM
jvr826's Avatar
jvr826 jvr826 is offline
Is it Trackday yet?
Location: In the woods. Santa Cruz County, CA
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 8,975
Mein Auto: 05 330ci 6MT
Trunk Work
I interface to the factory wiring harness using an old factory amp that I dismantled and used terminal strips to make the wiring connections. I hand rolled twisted pair wires for pre-amp in and speaker out and created one massive cable of eight pairs that is fished under the equipment board to the spare tire well. Since I have a space saver spare, there is room under neath for the wiring and connections.

Why did I do it this way? My car is dual purpose. I use it for transportation, but also I participate in autocross and high performance driving events that take place at road courses around California. As such, I wanted to be able to remove the entire system from the trunk when I'm thrashing the car at driving events.

In the previous incarnation I had molex connectors and had to remove the rca plugs form the amp as well as some other stuff that made removal and reinstall easier, but not easy enough. This time I beefed up the connectors for pre-amp and speaker and used 8-pot Deutch connectors. These are really easy to work with and really easy to plug and unplug and they're very durable and heavy duty and weather tight, but that's secondary.

You crimp the contact on the wire, then stuff the contact thru the weather seal. Each contact clicks into it's position in the connector, then a retaining clip holds everything together. This allows you to take the connector apart without demolishing it like a standard molex connector would be.







Cannibalized amp, terminal strips, cable...



I made a new equipment board out of 1/2" MDF and covered it with carpet from Parts Express (item #260-767) which I think matches the trunk panels pretty well. Reviewing build logs here made me go overboard on the wiring appearance on this equipment board that no one will ever see, but it does look neat and tidy!



Well, this isn't the finished appearance... the obviously out of place cables will be routed thru the under-side access cut-outs and everything closed up. More to come...

Next steps
I have some more plans for the trunk. I purchased heavy-duty break-away power connectors to allow me to unplug the power/gnd in one step. This will make quick removal of the board easier yet. I've got to get more 4ga cable to make this work.

I need to make a new trunk floor to reposition the cooling fans now that I've resituated the amplifier.

I also need to find a solution for the remote amp control module up front. I had originally intended to mount it in the ash tray, but it's not deep enough. I also want to run wiring for an LED connected to the fans so I know when they are running.
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"You drive like old people $#@%... slow and sloppy!" - George Carlin
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