I disagree with this. You will need to do some wiring regardless - at least I did. The DSP amp is in the trunk and I presume the non-DSP is as well. All of the speakers are wired from the trunk to the doors, so if you replace the head unit and use its built-in amp, you'll need to wire from the head unit to the doors. That's a pain. Much easier to hook a harness to the back of the factory head unit and run 4 RCA lines to the trunk. You can install your Dice iPod adapter at the same time. Depending on the year of your car, you will need either a round pin or flat pin Metra harness which provides the RCA outputs. I can dig up one of my old posts or some info later today....but you would still have to run new wires to from the speakers to the amp....so if you want best bang for the buck, just swap out you head unit for an after market one. A descent amp will run you about $400-500 wiring will be about another $100 the line out converters will be about $70. The line out voltage will be less than average which amounts to crappy line out signals....even the best amp won't be able to remedy that problem with the best sound processing circuitry. Then there's the issue of amplified power to stock speakers you could pull it off for a bit, but you would eventually blow your stock speakers out or at least damage them so they sound like crap. To avoid this your best bet would be to just replace the speakers while your running the wires for the amp. Let's not forget the labor involved in this whole fiasco. 4 channel amp install is about $150...inline converter install is about $40-50...running wires into the doors will be an additional charge as well ($40 per door)....speaker install $70 per set.
I agree with this. If you will eventually put in something with a screen or navigation and will be replacing the factory head unit, you might want to start there. Otherwise, if you want to retain the steering wheel controls and factory look and only want to upgrade the sound quality, keep the factory head unit and run RCAs to the trunk. You can then spend whatever you want on speakers and amps and easily swap/upgrade parts.Before you make a decision you should ask yourself how far you are going to go with your sound system upgrade eventually...if you don't you will be wasting your $
That's funny - I didn't have one original idea here - it's guys like Douglas Baker and Pener who do all the work. That link is to his writeup where he went to all of the trouble to figure this stuff out. It sounds like he did a lot of legwork and research including using a multimeter to identify wires and calling around to manufacturers.JBURNHAM!!!
You are my hero!!
I have been looking for this explanation since I bought the car.
Everyone I spoke to said "You're f*cked! You have DSP!!"
Thanks for a GREAT post.
If there ever was a reaqson for a sticky, this is it.
I can't confirm that it's the correct harness, but I believe it is based on a few things - I don't see anywhere that anyone specifies DSP/non-DSP harnesses, and although the DSP/non-DSP MIDs are different, aren't the radios the same? One of the links leads to a post by Bob Hazelwood - another awesome contributor to E39 audio. I have seen EBay postings for E39/X5 radios that mentions that it works with both DSP and non-DSP. I should also mention that I have an issue which may be related to removing the DSP amp. The dealership claims they cannot change my remote unlock settings because an iBus component has been removed so the GT1 won't reprogram the locks. I still have my DSP amp and could reconnect it and see if it really bothered me.Can anyone confirm if the harness works on a non-DSP head unit?