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      09-13-2012, 11:39 PM   #1
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Location: Ft Lauderdale, Florida

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Notes on a 2012 E92 M3 HiFi Audio Upgrade with Alpine PXA-H800

As Part II of this thread: I decided to replace the JBL MS-8 with an Alpine PXA-800 for one particular reason: the damn Bluetooth echo. I got tired of tweaking volume levels, recalibrating and other tricks to minimize -never eliminate- the echo at the caller end.

A call to MusicarNW got me a PXA-H800 in a week, and two hours later it was installed:

MS-8 out:

PXA-H800 in:

Got a Dremel tool and modified the sunglasses OEM bin (and relocating the factory 12V socket to the OEM mount under the glovebox):



- The H800 ImprintEQ takes way, way longer to autotune than the MS-8 acoustic calibration. However there is no initial crossover setup to be done and still it produces a well balanced sound -depending on how many measuring points are chosen. For example, 1 measuring point sounded better than 6 points... go figure. Autotune results are slightly better with the MS-8 despite the elaborate and time consuming microphone positionings of the H800. However adjustments after the autotune produces a better sound than the MS-8 overall, IMO.

- Logic7 is slightly better than Euphony in setting the front stage with a center speaker in 5.1ch mode, IMO. Euphony requires tuning after the autotune -as stated above. However, Euphony allows a much better control of the center speaker effects than Logic7.

- No Bluetooth echo issues, no midbass drama: the main reason of the swap. It is great to have some midbass coming from the front doors mids at last, and no tricks required to get great midbass from the underseat woofers. And that is with all the PDX amp gains at minimum.

There are enough input and output level adjustments to not be bothered with adjusting amp gains.

- No noises, no hiss (-12dB master volume level).

- I found the parametric EQ much more effective in getting the custom tuning that I was looking for than the graphic EQ. I never got the best out of the MS-8 graphic EQ.

- It is great to be able to change crossover setting after the autotuning. Much better when I can overlap frequencies between Front High and Front Low.

- The PC software is not intuitive right away, it takes quite some time to "get it". For example, to custom adjust the Euphony ambiance levels the system input needs to be in 2-ch mode, although the main inputs are 4-ch in my particular case (AUX1 is 4-ch, AUX2 is 2-ch). However, set the custom modes in 2-ch mode and then they will be selectable in 4-ch mode. That's a WTF moment in software development.

- The controller requirement is stupid. Yes, Alpine... stupid.

So far, I like it very much overall, but this a DSP that takes quite some tuning. If the MS-8 is complicated for some then this is at another level.