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I have a 2000 528i with DSP radio system i would like to at least replace the radio with a 1 din DVD unit, and install a ipod , can this be done without replacing the entire audio system. if so what do you guys recommend
 

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No. The system is digital. The head unit sends a digital bit stream to the amp in the trunk. It does a D-to-A conversion, and separates the audio band into several channels, and drives the various speakers with an appropriate signal.

You'll have to rip all the electronics out and start over.
 

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The head unit is actually quite good and with a $15 harness, you can get L/R F/R RCA outs and send them to an aftermarket amp in the trunk. Add a Dice iPod adapter and some front speakers and you'll be rocking.
 

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jburnham,

Would you care to elaborate?

I would LOVE to upgrade my dsp.
How about specific mfg's for your suggestions.

THAT would be rockin!

Thanks,

HB
 

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I agree...if you want to keep the stock stereo that's a good way of going around it...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 :eek: 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. So for all that money to not be considering building a complete sound system is a bit rediculous :tsk: .... I think you had it right when you were considering just swaping out the head unit. I have to say that i's stay away from a single din navi screen...there's just more parts that can break plus they are more expensive. I have a Pioneer AVIC-F700bt in my 528i and it's great. You can find them for really cheap ($500-750) and install is about $150....it has an aux in, a usb in, sd card in, navi, HD radio ready, and satelite radio ready. Pretty much everything you need. Install is about $200....so with all the bells and whistles, you should just get a screen. 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 $....hope this helps.
 

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...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 :eek: 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 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.

You have a wide range of options when replacing the factory amp. You can get a much more powerful and better sounding amp for around $150 or can spend >$1000 for a really nice Zapco amp if that's what you want. The factory headunit outputs have high quality outputs that don't work with every amp - if I recall correctly, they are balanced differential. Search around - I think Douglas Baker had some posts about what you need. I went with an inexpensive MTX amp which works great - something like this:
http://www.woofersetc.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=3980

I did not use lineout converters or do any tricky wiring. It's really easy to install an amp in the trunk - the power and the speaker wiring are all right there. It's also very easy to add an additional amp and subwoofer later.

Over-driving an amplifier is what typically kills speakers, not too much volume. Your factory speakers would last longer when driven at the same volume with a more powerful amplifier than the factory amp. Regardless, I recommend replacing the front speakers at a minimum (actually, just replacing the fronts is a good idea - better sound and imaging).

You can go anywhere from an inexpensive set of 5 1/4 components, or 6 1/2 components with "Pener Panels" (search this forum). I started with 5 1/4 components which were fairly shallow depth and used the factory tweeter and woofer locations. I cut the bottom out of the factory woofer pods so the speakers were free-air. I went with these speakers:
http://www.woofersetc.com/p3079/EF51NEO--CDT-Audio-2way-525"--Slim-NEODYMIUM-Speaker-System.htm

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 $
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.
 

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J,

Great info!

This is by far the most informative post on DSP upgrade I have read.
Maybe, like Jenny, you have put this in a way I can understand it.

I think I make this happen.

Looking forward to your update.

Forrest
 

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Ah, that Douglas Baker rocks:

http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/blogs/douglasabaker/

That is everything you need to know about getting rid of the factory DSP amp and getting four RCA outputs from your factory head unit. I believe the same harness and adapters apply to the non-DSP, but someone will need to confirm. He also discusses the DSP amp balanced differential output and compatible amps. I initially bought some of the wrong parts and messed around to get my Dice unit installed in the dash/console so the wiring would be shorter and I wouldn't have anything but amps/crossovers in the trunk. I'm very happy with how that worked out.

I used inexpensive MTX amps, but understand that some high-end amps like Zapco will also work if that's in your budget. I started with two 4-channel amps. I use one amp for the four locations, and one for the subwoofer. I started with 5 1/4 cdt components. I wouldn't bother with the rear channel speakers - it just messes up the imaging. If you want fill, install some 5 1/4 drivers in the rear deck (lots of work) and leave the tweeters disconnected. If I had to do it again, and had a very tight budget, I have some suggestions below. Pricing is from one website, and I'm sure that with some research, you can find better components at better prices. You'll have some shipping costs, amp wiring and miscellaneous costs to factor in.

for around $350 and with a few hours, you'll have much better sound than factory amp/speakers and can easily expand / upgrade your system while retaining factory look and steering wheel controls.
1. Read Douglas Baker's post completely, budget and plan including possible upgrade path
2. Metra harness to get 4 RCA channels $15
3. 2 channel MTX amp TC3002 $130
4. 5 1/4" components cdt EF-51NEO $180

if I had $525 - this makes a great starting point since the 6 1/2 give enough low bass until you add a subwoofer later - and you will ;)
2. Metra harness to get 4 RCA channels $15
3. 2 channel MTX amp TA7402 $240 or Zapco I-2100 $225
4. Pener Panels $100 + 6 1/2 componets cdt EF-61NEO/DRT-25PRO $170 or DLS UP6i $300 or Focal or......

if I had $600, I'd add a subwoofer to the 5 1/4 components
2. Metra harness to get 4 RCA channels $15
3. 2 channel MTX amp TC3002 $130
4. 5 1/4" components cdt EF-51NEO $180
5. subwoofer amp connected to the sub-out on the MTX amp - Profile HA1000M ([email protected]) $115
6. 8 inch subwoofer firing through ski-passthru or armrest cutout - cdt EF-80 ([email protected] single voice coil) $60
7. Build your own enclosure to match the required volume and dimensions of your subwoofer and fit against the seat/trunk bulkhead $100

if I had $1000, I'd add a subwoofer to the 6 1/2 components
2. Metra harness to get 4 RCA channels $15
3. 2 channel MTX amp TA7402 $240 or Zapco I-2100 $225
4. Pener Panels $100 + 6 1/2 componets cdt EF-61NEO/DRT-25PRO $170 or DLS UP6i $300 or Focal or......
5. subwoofer amp connected to the sub-out on the MTX amp - Alphasonic PMA2150A ([email protected]) $230
6. 8 inch subwoofer firing through ski-passthru or armrest cutout - Kicker Solo-Baric L5 8" $140
7. Build your own enclosure to match the required volume and dimensions of your subwoofer and fit against the seat/trunk bulkhead $100

What I'd like (Santa Claus?) $2500
2. Metra harness to get 4 RCA channels $15
3. 2 channel Zapco DC750.2 with DSP $800
4. Pener Panels $100 + 6 1/2 componets DLS UP6i $300
5. subwoofer amp - Zapco 750.2 ([email protected]) $560
6. 8 inch subwoofer firing through ski-passthru or armrest cutout - Kicker Solo-Baric L7 8" $165
7. Custom built enclosure to match the required volume for SQ and dimensions of subwoofer and fit against the seat/trunk bulkhead, with amps and crossovers mounted with quick disconnect plugs so I can remove everything for autocross/track $400
 

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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.

Mucho Mahalo,

HaoliBird Tom
 

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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.

Mucho Mahalo,

HaoliBird Tom
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.
 

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Can anyone confirm if the harness works on a non-DSP head unit?
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.

http://www.unofficialbmw.com/e39.html

http://bimmer.roadfly.com/5series/messages/archive/msgsy1999w06/11357.html
 

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jburnham,

OK, I agree with you.
The guy doing the legwork should get the credit.

I will be sure to pass along my respect to Mr. Baker.
It shows my myopic view of the world.
I rarley stray outside the bounds of this forum.

That said, I still appriciate the time you put into this post.
You could have read over it and said "You're f*cked! You have DSP!!", like many before you.
I have asked for direction on this no less than 4 times, and have checked other newbie posters as well.

Thanks again.

T
 

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Fantastic thread. I've often wondered what the upgrade path would be but because of DSP, I always thought it would be an all or nothing type of thing.

I have no big plans, maybe just a speaker and sub upgrade but it all seemed so difficult. Until now!
 

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Just a brief comment about speaker installation. The factory wiring is really good - it's twisted pair and cleanly run from the trunk. The front doors have three speakers. A tweeter in the upper corner which is aimed nicely; a mid speaker; and a midbass which is in a black plastic pod enclosure to give maximum volume from its low power. Nearly everybody goes with two-way components - some install the tweeter in the stock location, some use the mid. I easily fit a 1" silk dome tweeter in the stock location and really like the imaging. I went cheap initially and installed a 5 1/4 driver in the midbass location. I cut the bottom out of the factory pod and put some sound deadening in it. It sounds much, much better than the factory system and is fairly flat (evenly reproduces all frequencies) except for the lower frequencies you would expect out of a midbass. I think that is both a function of the small 5 1/4 and maybe also being a lower priced speaker. I added a subwoofer and things sound even better, but there is a gap between what the subwoofer produces and what the midbass produces. It is still much better than the factory system (and most of my other cars), but a good system would include a 6 1/2 speaker. The easiest way to install 6 1/2 speakers is to use "Pener" brackets (Pener designed them and shared his work with other forum members and at various times, people have sold brackets). You'll have to search around for a forum member who has some or will make some, or will share the design and you can make them yourself. Search the forums for "Pener". I found a set and am upgrading to 6 1/2 cdt components. Or if you really want them right away and are willing to pay extra, a vendor will make them for you - including some tweaking to optimially fit your specific speakers.

12V Electronics
 

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BrazeauRacing figured out which wires on the DSP harness in the trunk provide the signal from the head unit. If you are only going to run a front channel, this might be a better approach than using the Metra harness. When you disconnected the battery, then the amp, when the battery is reconnected the headunit will provide a balanced differential signal for Left/Right which can be accessed in the trunk. You can wire this to RCA plugs and connect it directly to amps which support a balanced differential signal (like MTX amps).

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showpost.php?p=8743523&postcount=12
 
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