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Didn't order HK and regretting it....options?

20049 Views 32 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Technic
I'm new, but posted on a different thread so won't bore everyone with my background. I am waiting on a 335i sedan w/ M-sport and premium package, but did not add the HK sound system. I have it in my current car and for some reason didn't think I needed it when I ordered it. The problem is, I have no idea how different it is than the stock system because I have no basis for comparison. I like to listen to music when I drive, but wouldn't say I'm a hardcore technical guy, especially when it comes to my music. I was a pretty hardcore music guy before I became a boring 37-year old with a wife and three kids, so I do appreciate a good sound.

So my question is, is there anything I can do about this? What are the odds they could add this at the VPC? If not, is the difference really noticeable? I really don't feel like adding a bunch of aftermarket speakers, so I don't consider that an option. Thoughts?
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However painful you think it is, multiply it by 10X with this i-drive setup. :)
That's a myth that should have a quick and painful death.

The iDrive has never been any more complex to add aftermarket amps/processors than any aftermarket headunit. Not the F30 iDrive (be the Professional Radio or the CIC Nav unit), not the E90, E60 or any other iDrive since 2002.

All iDrive units can either output analog high/low level balanced or digital audio signals. The easiest signal to work with aftermarket is analog (Stereo, HiFi), obviously. The digital signals (Logic7, Individual Audio, Harman Kardon, Premium systems), can be bypassed by either OEM amp analog outputs, replacing the OEM amp with a MOST converter, or simply by coding the unit to output analog. This can be done without cutting any OEM wires.

In the particular case of the OP, there is no OEM retrofit of the HK system. However, a Logic7 processor can be added to the F30 HiFi system by replacing the OEM amp with a JBL MS-8 directly. No OEM wires to cut, splice or tap, just unplug the OEM amp and then plug the MS-8 instead. The OEM speakers do not need to be replaced, and the F30 in particular has a center speaker from factory so the Logic7 processing will fit right in without any other modifications. This is 100% OEM reversible.

So yes, any aftermarket audio device can be integrated to the iDrive without permanent modifications if the installer knows what to do. It is that simple.
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Just wanted to chime in here - I had to upgrade my E90 2010 base system to what is essentially the professional system so I know just enough about this stuff to be dangerous.

If you have HK, or if you have iDrive (this was on E90, don't know about F30 so don't swear on this), the head unit was on the MOST bus (fiber optic). The HK amp in the trunk ran off that bus - no wires per se. That made it very hard to upgrade just the amp.

And if you replace the head, seems like many people had problems re-programming the ECU, since the radio is actually part of the car's "system"; some people had to re-install the head unit to get programmed.

Just saying that this stuff is not for the Best Buy/Sams Stereo shops; you need someone that knows his ****.
Having iDrive does not mean that the car has a MOST ring, that's another myth.

MOST ring is present only if there are devices connected to it (Logic7, HK, MULF, TCU, Combox, external Sirius tuner, CD Changer).

The iDrive provides control, display and audio routing of those devices, not the other way around. If none of those devices are present then there will be no active MOST ring connector in the iDrive.
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Thanks for the clarification. Bluetooth is common, and adds it IIRC?
The F30 has a Combox Media standard, therefore it has MOST standard. However, the MOST connection in the back of the iDrive (also standard) is only used to control and route the audio of that Combox. It is not for music audio unless HK is also present.

In other words, even with a MOST connection the iDrive can also output balanced, low level, analog signals. Which can be interfaced directly with any JL Audio or Alpine PDX aftermarket amp directly and still not affect the MOST ring.

Outside the USA, the F30 may be configured without MOST in their most -no pun intended- basic/stripper modes even having the iDrive standard.
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I checked into the cost of a retrofit on the BT (something europeans do), the price listed from the UK people I dealt with: over $2000! Yikes. for BT!

Thinking an aftermarket system is a wee bit cheaper.
Which BMW model/year is this?
I checked into the cost of a retrofit on the BT (something europeans do), the price listed from the UK people I dealt with: over $2000! Yikes. for BT!

Thinking an aftermarket system is a wee bit cheaper.
Please send me the VIN of your car via PM so I can look up OEM Bluetooth options available.
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