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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well it turns out the used car I found ('01 325i) is what I want, EXCEPT the stereo is stock (Non HK). I'm a big time music fan (mainly rock) and I know the sound is going to be horrendous, so I'm thinking of upgrading the speakers and in dash unit. But, my dealer told me that if I upgrade, I can NOT change the OEM speakers, that they must remain. This cannot be true, right? He insisted that I would have to remain with the stock unit and purchasing an aftermarket wouldn't be an option, nor would it be advisable, because the BMW has different size speakers (???) and would be pricey. I'm utterly confused..

Anyways, assuming he is incorrect:

1) What components would I need to get a better system? I understand 10 speakers, an amplifier, and a better in dash receiver. How much would upgrading all this really cost? Would it cost more than $700 (the HK unit) to purchase all this (I would like high quality but not necessarily the best)?

2) Is the in dash unit a receiver AND an amplifier? I'm not interested in putting "extra" stereo components in the trunk (i.e. subwoofer).

3) What brands for speakers/in dash receivers would you recommend that would fit my price range and quality?
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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The dealer monkey is partially correct. Do a search here for 'speakers' and you'll find the info you're looking for.

But NOTHING is impossible. Look at the pics of the E65 front end grafted onto an E36

FWIW all my stock speakers have been replaced/disconnected...
 

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The Original Dr. Phil
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The sizes are in mm's but basically you can easily get 5 1/4 " in the doors. In the deck you can go 6 1/2".

They try to tell you can't switch because each of the speakers run at different Ohm's which are derived from the seperate channels of the amp.

The current head units do not have a rca out signal so easy add on of amp can only be down with a line convertor.

For better info do a search. I have not done anything to my system just going from memory.
 

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The Original Dr. Phil
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Kaz said:
The dealer monkey is partially correct. Do a search here for 'speakers' and you'll find the info you're looking for.

But NOTHING is impossible. Look at the pics of the E65 front end grafted onto an E36

FWIW all my stock speakers have been replaced/disconnected...
Kaz

Have you changed over your amps yet?
 

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King of Rear Clunks
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PM 325xiT said:

Kaz

Have you changed over your amps yet?
I'm ready to start working on it. Took more measurements and pics of the stock connector so I can build a harness. Even though I got the smallest 4ch amp I could find, I still may have to mod the stock amp area to make it fit, but I'm determined to do it.

Having the good speakers connected to the stock amp makes em sound like crap. :thumbdwn:
 

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The Original Dr. Phil
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Kaz said:


I'm ready to start working on it. Took more measurements and pics of the stock connector so I can build a harness. Even though I got the smallest 4ch amp I could find, I still may have to mod the stock amp area to make it fit, but I'm determined to do it.

Having the good speakers connected to the stock amp makes em sound like crap. :thumbdwn:
Good luck on getting it to fit. I'd love to see before and after pics of the location:)

If my bass withdrawal does not go away I may need to come up with a spare tire well solution;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Shit, so would I have to try and modify the speaker holes to fit the speakers in? That sounds too hard and expensive. Plus, I'm not good with installations, so I'd probably take it somewhere. Shit!

They try to tell you can't switch because each of the speakers run at different Ohm's which are derived from the seperate channels of the amp.

The current head units do not have a rca out signal so easy add on of amp can only be down with a line convertor.
So what would I have to do so I can achieve this? If the speakers run at different ohms, what would I have to do so I can get upgraded speakers to work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
replacing the speakers and the in dash unit..how much is this gonna cost me? i don't want to run over the price it would've been for the HK..like i said, i'm not looking for bass that's going to give me neck pains..

i looked at that website and it didn't really answer my questions..how would i fit in different sized speakers? of course anything is POSSIBLE, but i don't want to spend a thousand dollars on retrofitting the car etc.. so in other words, is it possible to find direct replacements for the speakes without having to bust out the drill?

about the "different ohms" i don't quite understand..if the speakers all run at different ohms, how can i solved this problem? wouldn't getting a new receiver solve this, as i wouldn't be using the bmw receiver.
 

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The Original Dr. Phil
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SpeedKing9 said:
about the "different ohms" i don't quite understand..if the speakers all run at different ohms, how can i solved this problem? wouldn't getting a new receiver solve this, as i wouldn't be using the bmw receiver.
You need to replace the amps to get unilateral Ohms.

The stock unit sends signal to amps that in turn send seperate signals to each speaker.

IMO you will be hard pressed to get anything of moderate quality for less then the HK price. You could use the stock head unit and but 1 reasonable amp to fun 2 sets of components. You might get away with less then $700 but to do it right (not going to the Ack level) I think you'll need to invest a little more.

My advice go talk to a local stereo shop and pick their brains.:)
 

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In Mod Heaven
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You can replace your headunit for $200-300. Depending on the speakers, you can spend anywhere from $50/pair to $500/pair. If you got 5 1/4" speakers for the front and 6 1/2" for the rear deck, you shouldn't have to do any modifications what so ever. An install shop shouldn't charge too much for this, maybe $100 to install new speakers and the headunit.

I can help you pick out an entire system. You won't really need an amp if you don't want it. Most headunits will put out 45-50 watts/channel or about 15 watts RMS (constant power). Amps are rated in RMS watts.

If you wanted new speakers, an amp and a new headunit, you will easily be going over your $700 ceiling. You can get really nice speakers and a new headunit, including installation for under this price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey ack! thanks for the explanation.

for a better than average sound..how much a pair are speakers? are 10 speakers really a necessity? i would only think 6 is enough really.

as for the amp..i thought if you wanted to use non-oem speakers, you had to change the amp? how much would a better amp run? i'm very confused about this amp business..where is the amp located anyways? would just changing the head unit suffice (for loudness and good quality sound?)
 

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SpeedKing9 said:
Hey ack! thanks for the explanation.

for a better than average sound..how much a pair are speakers? are 10 speakers really a necessity? i would only think 6 is enough really.
Depends on what you want. I love Boston Acoustics and JL Audio speakers. The Bostons are quite expensive, but JL makes three different levels of speakers. I would go with the VR Series; which is the second best speaker that they make. For the fronts, a 5.25" component set (4 speakers - 2 woofers and 2 tweeters) and for the rears, 6.5" two-way speakers (they have the tweeter built right into the speaker itself). Total cost for this would run you $315 from US Car Audio. I bought almost all of my stereo equipment through them; great pricings, fast shipping, no tax for non-CA residents.

as for the amp..i thought if you wanted to use non-oem speakers, you had to change the amp? how much would a better amp run? i'm very confused about this amp business..where is the amp located anyways? would just changing the head unit suffice (for loudness and good quality sound?)
Nope. If you replace the headunit, you don't need a separate amp to run these speakers. The aftermarket head unit will sound fine. You won't get thumping bass (which isn't what you were looking for anyway) but you will get a sound that is worlds apart from the stock system. If you did decide to get an amp, it would be mounted in your trunk, and you would need to run RCA cables from your headunit back to the amp. From the amp, speaker wires would be run to your two sets of speakers. Then you need a power wire, ground and remote wire. You're better off staying away from the amp at this point. If you wanted to add one later, it would only cost about $50 to install.

Here are the pics of the front speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the pics! i'm very greatful for you being so helpful!

Those speakers you posted..will they fit directly on without having to do any custom mods?

so replacing the head unit will be enough for better quality and being a little bit louder, without having to worry about putting in non-oem speakers? if this is the case, this sounds like a good idea!

i don't see why the bmw dealer lied to me if these speakers are a direct fit, and buying a new in dash unit would solve the "different ohms" problem..

if those speakers run about $300~~ and a head unit will run $300~~, why did everyone say that installing putting in a new stereo system would cost more than $700?
 

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SpeedKing9 said:
Thanks for the pics! i'm very greatful for you being so helpful!

Those speakers you posted..will they fit directly on without having to do any custom mods?
The install shop should be able to install these without any modifications. The doors are pretty deep, so there will be plenty of room for both the speakers and the cross-over units.

so replacing the head unit will be enough for better quality and being a little bit louder, without having to worry about putting in non-oem speakers? if this is the case, this sounds like a good idea.
It will be louder, crisper, and more enjoyable.

i don't see why the bmw dealer lied to me if these speakers are a direct fit, and buying a new in dash unit would solve the "different ohms" problem..
I have been to dealerships where these guys have no clue what they are talking about. It's annoying, but part of the business. Don't believe everything you hear. That's why its good to have a site like this. :D

I don't know with the last question. Depending on the setup, it can get costly very quick.

Let me know if you need help picking out a headunit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
i could definitely use help with the head unit. what's a good one that's not TOO pricey but looks cool too ;)

So, here's what I should do (correct me if i'm wrong):

Front speakers:
VR525-CS

Rear speakers:
VR650-CX

From what I understand, this is 6 speakers total? This would be sufficient for a good sound system, correct?

Once again, BIG thanks Ack.
 

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The Original Dr. Phil
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SpeedKing9 said:
if those speakers run about $300~~ and a head unit will run $300~~, why did everyone say that installing putting in a new stereo system would cost more than $700?
Because the majority of the time when upgrades are done people will use amps to power the speakers. FTMP cleaner power is obtainable from amp v. head units (unless you go high $$)
 
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