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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This go around, instead of pumping a bunch of money into the "go-fast" parts, I think I'm going to keep it to wheels/tires, and a nice stereo.

What kind of options are there in the 5 series for a solid stereo? I'm listen to many different types of music, (except rap/hip-hop) but mostly listen to hard rock. 3 things need be present for my new 'system'. It must sound clean/crisp, I gotta feel the bass, and it's gotta go loud.

What options are there, and what kind of price am I looking at?
 

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Since you're looking at 540s, your stereo plan is highly dependent on whether or not the car is equipped with the DSP option. If it is, you're very limited in what you can do since all the audio signals in the car are digital, and the amp itself has built-in D/A converters and electronic equalization for ALL of the speakers. If you have DSP, the best way to go is to replace all the factory speakers with MB Quart (or equivalent, your choice), and replace the OEM DSP bandpass subwoofer box with the M-Audio 10" free-air subs (only avail. on M5s but you can retrofit them), and optionally, an external subwoofer amp. The good news is that the factory DSP amp is actually pretty darned good. I've heard it drive MB Quarts to near-deafening levels. It sounded great!

If you don't have DSP, the head unit-to-amp connection is analog and it's easy to tap in to these connections (which are 4V, BTW). This is what I did. Non-DSP systems don't come with a factory subwoofer.

 

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well i don't know about your DSP, but if you want the best stuff spend the money, it all depends on how much you want to spend.
YOU NEED TO GET ALL AFTER MARKET PARTS. If you want to spend around $6g then i would suggest getting Diamond audio for the speakers and sub, one word AMAZING, blows MBQ out of the water, like a Regular 528 to an M5, both very good cars just one is better, same with these speakers. Go with the HEX speakers and the a TDX sub. These are the clearest, cleanest speakers for the price. To get the system as clear as possiable you need to have good amps and headunit. I would suggest a Diamond amp for the speakers and sub, very good and they are built using there speakers so the sound is unbelievable. For a Head Unit i would suggest either Eclipes or Kenwood Excelon. One of the higher end models, there are both very good and will sound the best. And get the best wires you can afford, those are the weaklink in most systems.

As a side note, for the best reproduction of bass an 8" sub sounds better than a 10" or 12", they reproduce a more natrual sound. If you want it louder than get two 8" or maybe 3 but that could get to loud. For Hard rock music or fast music a smaller sub like an 8" will be better, because it can move faster than a bigger sub, the biggest i would go for hard rock is an 10" and 12 or even a 15" can not move fast enough to go with the music.

This is just a few suggestions, It can be very pricey but it will be well worth it. If you need any more help setting up a system i will be glad to help, and no i don't work for Diamond, they just make really nice stuff, feel free to email me at [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info guys. I'm hoping to keep the costs in the $1500 range. So Diamond is probably out. I like the idea of the 2 8" subs, I'll probably go with that. Unless, I find the right 540 with these mods already done. I'll deffinately look for a car now without DSP.

And jvr530i, thanks, that is a nice site.
 

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For a $1500 system i would go with The lowest end model of a Kenwood Excelon, very nice deck for $300, very nice, blows all other out of the water in that price range. For speaker is would run Kenwood Excelon Dual Mags coaxials, very good sound for a really good price, they sound almost like MBQ. For about $200 a pair, for subs go with JL W0 great speakers. They make a 3 10" box for $400 and that this is great, i mean amazing. It can get really loud, but still sounds good. For an amp, just get Like a little 50 or 75 watt by two and bridge it to run the subs, it will work sell, because you sould be able to get an amp that will put out about 250-300 watts bridged, and that is plenty of power for the subs and it will still be loud. I would run the speakers off of deck power, the kenwoods sound great off of deck power. And a good amp will run around $300.

So lets say deck at $300 + Speakers, 2 pairs at $200 a piece thats $400 + the Subs at $400 + the Amp at $300 your looking at about $1600, you can do a little better on the subs, if you go with two 8" W0's instead.

This would be a kick ass system for the money, and you will love it. It will not be as nice as the other system i suggested but that is really pricey, this one will do you well and i am sure you will have a lot of fun with it.
 

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solmagic2 said:
For a Head Unit i would suggest either Eclipes or Kenwood Excelon. One of the higher end models, there are both very good and will sound the best. And get the best wires you can afford, those are the weaklink in most systems.
Replacing the head unit in a 5-series is a bad idea. I've NEVER seen a 5 series that had an aftermarket head unit that looked halfway decent. Besides, you lose the MID/OBC display and the steering wheel controls.

If you don't have DSP, the factory head unit (made by Alpine) is actually very good!

The wires are not the weak link in these cars, trust me.

As a side note, for the best reproduction of bass an 8" sub sounds better than a 10" or 12", they reproduce a more natrual sound. If you want it louder than get two 8" or maybe 3 but that could get to loud. For Hard rock music or fast music a smaller sub like an 8" will be better, because it can move faster than a bigger sub, the biggest i would go for hard rock is an 10" and 12 or even a 15" can not move fast enough to go with the music.
My car has the two 10" subs mounted infinite-baffle (free air) as pictured above. I couldn't be happier with the way they sound. VERY tight, deep bass, not boomy at all. NO rattles whatsoever. The E39 trunk is sealed very tight so free-air subs work awesome. I highly recommend retrofitting the M5 "M-Audio" 10" free-air subs. They come with adapters that bolt right up real easy (as opposed to the custom job in my car).
 

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AK said:
Please please please...find a way to hide those wires.. ! They being exposed like that don't do justice to the sweet amp & car
 

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i can understand why you wanted to replace the head unit if you have DSP, but if they don't why not, i have seen it done very well.

The wires are the weakest link in any audio system, that is a fact, you need to send the "sound" from a source i.e. Headunit, to the speakers or amp. I know you won't beleive me because the guys at BMW say their wires are really good, well that may be true for a factory car, but in general they are not that good, most of the wires are small and to not carry enough current through them.

Wires are the Weakest Link in any audio system.

If you are spending the money on a really nice system then invest the extra money into the wires, it will make a huge differnce in the sound. For the $1500 system i discribed i would not change all the wires, just get the best ones you can afford for you amp and the speakers wires from amp to subs. That is it, don't change all the wires in the car.

Once again the factory head unit maybe made by alpine and be good for factory. But getting an aftermarket headunit will give more options, like a repeat button for the cd player, i don't know if the factory one does but most of them don't. You will also get more options to control the sound, with a sub control, bass, treble (yes, most car audio stereos have Bass and treble control) but you also get Mid level control, this is a great control, it will really bring out the sound and will help keep the speakers longer, an aftermaket head unit also gives out more power, say 50 x 4 as unlike a factory even the Alpine is only like 20 x 4, more power better sound.

These are just the facts go to any audio shop and they will tell you the same.
 

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AK did you not read a thing i posted

I said an 8" has more natrual sounding bass than a larger sub, once again this is a fact, a 10" will give very good sound even a 12 will, but not as good of sound as the same speaker in an 8" form, yes if you want SPL then go with a 12" if you want SQ go with the 8".

For Hard Rock music a Free air sub does do well, the best for Rock is a Sealed box, because this will give a tighter sounding bass, it will also be a little deeper sounding than the free air. If you want the loudest box get a Banpass they rock for SPL, but if you want sound quality go with a sealed or a free air. :thumb:
 

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solmagic2 said:
i can understand why you wanted to replace the head unit if you have DSP, but if they don't why not, i have seen it done very well.
You don't understand.. if the car has DSP, the connection between the head unit and the amp is *digital*. The wiring harness for a DSP car is different than for non-DSP.. there aren't any analog twisted pair lines for the preamp signals to tap into.

Wires are the Weakest Link in any audio system.
You obviously haven't spent any time listening to the factory audio system in an E39, DSP or non-DSP.
These are just the facts go to any audio shop and they will tell you the same.
The audio shop will tell you whatever they want to pressure you into buying more hardware from them. :) Now THAT is a fact!

Aftermarket head units are mostly just a bunch of flashy lights and gimmicks that would look horribly out of place in a car like a 5-series. I am speaking from my own personal experience with aftermarket audio and *my* own 5-series, and I'm here to tell you that the factory head unit (non-DSP) is just as good, sound quality wise, as ANY aftermarket unit.

By far the weakest link in a factory sound system in a 5-series, whether it's DSP or non-DSP, are the stock speakers. They are complete POSes. They do not belong in a 20 year old Zenith TV set, let alone a state of the art German luxury car. By simply replacing the speakers with any number of decent aftermarket brands (MBQ, Diamond, Boston, Soundstream, whatever), you will improve the quality of the sound 100%! I have heard the difference for myself, and I assure you my hearing is plenty good! I'm still young enough to hear up to 20khz :)

As far as subwoofers go, I've had the chance to audition a sealed box in a 5-series vs. my own free-air setup. IMHO, the free-air setup sounds better. As I said before, free-air works very well in an E39 due to the tightly-sealed trunk, and with the new availability of the M-Audio subwoofer mounting brackets, it's now relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

My car has a Crossfire CFA-555 5-channel amp. It's 40x4 to the mains and 240x1 (2 ohm) into the pair of subs. It f*****g ROCKS in this car!

BTW, as far as the exposed wires go and the fact that it isn't the most aesthetic looking in the world... I don't really care. Covering them up with a panel is just a matter of spending time and money. It doesn't change sound quality at all. I'm a cheap bastard.

YMMV
AK
 

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I miss wrote the first line i ment to say i can understand why you would not want to replace. That was my bad.

First let me say that i am an audiophile, i have a dream home system and a great car system, i have installed many car audio systems. I know stereos.

I never said that the stock stereo in the BMW was BAD, some one wanted advise on the subject so i gave recomendations. That is it. The best sounding stock system in any car is the Mark Levinson in the Lexus, it rocks for stock, but it can still be upgraded. I know a lot of aftermarket stereos are all flash, that i why i use an older RockfordFosgate, they look like nothing but are amazing stereos. and some people really like all the flash, that is why they call it ICE.

I know that the speakers suck, and are the weak point, but if you would read a little closer i said that when you put all the money into a nice system the wires are the weak link.:thumb:. you can not hook the speakers right up to the cd player, the sound has to travel distence, which will kill the orginal sound, to the speakers. the more effective and more effeicent the wires get the sound there the better the sound, i don't understand how you can not understand this. It is basic stereo knowledge.

I know any shop will tell you what you want to hear to get the sale. I am in Marketing i think i know this very well. AND I KNOW THAT IS A FACT.

I said that a free air system would be good, this is because of the sealed trunk, it acts like a big box, and it is cheap. But when listening hard rock music a small sealed box will work better with the music because of the fast beat. In the free air the box (created by the trunk) is to large and the soundwaves are going to interfere with each other because of the fast beat. THAT IS ANOTHER FACT. If you listen to classical, Jazz, Rap, Country and all the other, a free air systems like yours will sound just as good. It will sound really good with rap because of all the air and space in the trunk.

How many volts is your amp getting?

I understand you with the exposed wires, i don't care much about that either, unless the car is in a show.

I did not mean you get you all hot headed about this, i was just making a suggestion, calm down. IF YOU THINK YOUR SYSTEM F****** ROCKS THEN THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS. Make youself happy first. for my self i am anal about it. I will change evey thing in any car, no matter what do make it sound better. even the wires. Sorry if i like good sound and enjoy this stuff. I was never saying that your system sucks, never once did i say that. All i was doing was giving advice to some one you needed help.
 
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