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      08-06-2018, 02:58 PM   #1
wyatth
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E90 HiFi - Simple Audio Upgrade Recs?

Hi all,

I'll preface this by saying I'm an audio noob and I've read dozens of threads on this exact topic both on M3P and E90P. I know it's a common topic so I appreciate your patience and advice.

My new-to-me 2011 E90 has the base/HiFi sound system (note: in 2011, there are no rear door speakers). The sound quality at low speeds or with the windows up is actually fine. As noted above, I am no audiophile and I generally listen to my music on the quieter side. However, my issue is when I am on the freeway and I have the windows cracked. With the wind noise, the sound system cannot keep up - there is just not enough power/clarity to hear anything in this situation.

So I would like to give the system a modest upgrade (easy installation a must). After searching, it seems like I would be satisfied with an amplifier upgrade, and maybe some basic speakers.

Questions:
How does a XD600/6 with Technic harness compare to the BSW/Bimmertech amplifier? Any other PnP amp I should consider?
Will used OE EPS speakers be a plug-and-play speaker upgrade for me? I know the woofers won't work (2 vs 4 ohm, I think), but the midrange and tweeters should work. If so, would a kit from an E92 fit my E90 (I really only care to swap the front door speaker/tweeters, may or may not swap the rear deck pairs). I think they should be compatible, though I've read of some aftermarket speakers only fitting E90s and not 92s, so want to confirm.
I don't want to tune much, so if the crossovers require fine tuning, a simpler option would be preferable. In that case, I would imagine BSW Stage 1 is the best PnP setup. But there's also an OEM Alpine upgrade for our cars, the discontinued MBQ, Focal ES100K (maybe perfect for me), etc. Bottom line is I really don't need much, but if I am doing an amp then I would like a simple/balanced speaker upgrade as well. The Musicar Level 1 is probably great, but a little more than I want to spend, and I don't think I need to do the underseat woofers, at least near term.
I also love the look of the EPS speaker grills - I imagine those can be swapped easily when replacing the speakers themselves?

Any other tips or suggestions? Thanks!

Last edited by wyatth; 08-07-2018 at 01:33 PM..
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      08-09-2018, 04:57 PM   #2
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Thinking the best value (and easy installation) could be OE EPS front speakers/tweeters, OE HiFi underseat subs and rear deck speakers/tweeters, and JL XD600/6.
Thoughts? Confirm this will PnP into my HiFi E90? I wish the EPS woofers were PnP even though I don't think bass is the weak part of the HiFi system.
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      08-16-2018, 05:20 PM   #3
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Bsw speakers have good clarity in the higher volumes which I appreciate since my super sports are loud af on the highway. The amp will make a difference, especially with the recent bimmertech tune which gave it a more wider sound stage.
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      08-24-2018, 01:41 PM   #4
wyatth
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Thanks for the feedback. I wish I could do the full BSW stage 1 plus Amp. $1600 is more than I am looking to spend. I think I can find 2x EPS midrange (+crossovers) and tweeters for a couple hundred, and the JL amp and harness for ~$600. I am hoping that is 90% as good as the BSW setup for ~1/2 the price.

Can anybody confirm that the EPS speakers/tweeters are PnP in a base/HiFi car? And, are the subs? I know the ohms are different but I am not sure what that means as far as interchangeability.

Last edited by wyatth; 08-24-2018 at 02:26 PM..
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      08-24-2018, 11:51 PM   #5
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Very strange they got rid of rear door speakers...in a sedan.
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      08-25-2018, 10:50 AM   #6
wyatth
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Yup. There’s still a pair of mids in the rear shelf. BSW replaces those and adds a pair of tweeters there as well. But they’re far less important and I don’t want to tear apart my interior more than “necessary.”

...

Can anybody confirm that EPS speakers (and crossovers) and tweeters are plug and play into a HiFi car? I believe so, and that the subs and amplifier are not, but am not positive and am an audio/electronics noob.

If speakers are plug and play, it doesn’t matter if the donor car is an E90 or E92, yeah? And, will EPS speaker grill covers swap over as well?

That’s the end of my 21 questions.. for now.

Last edited by wyatth; 08-25-2018 at 11:11 AM..
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      08-25-2018, 03:37 PM   #7
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Yes...I'm running EPS speakers on my rear shelf (Focals up front).

-Mark in St. Louis

Quote:
Originally Posted by wyatth View Post
Yup. There’s still a pair of mids in the rear shelf. BSW replaces those and adds a pair of tweeters there as well. But they’re far less important and I don’t want to tear apart my interior more than “necessary.”

...

Can anybody confirm that EPS speakers (and crossovers) and tweeters are plug and play into a HiFi car? I believe so, and that the subs and amplifier are not, but am not positive and am an audio/electronics noob.

If speakers are plug and play, it doesn’t matter if the donor car is an E90 or E92, yeah? And, will EPS speaker grill covers swap over as well?

That’s the end of my 21 questions.. for now.
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      11-24-2018, 12:54 AM   #8
wyatth
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Bumping this up again. Has anybody with HiFi swapped in EPS speakers and tweeters? Would this alone be a noticeable upgrade? I may or may not do an amp later but EPS speakers are always for sale used for a decent price and I figure that alone may be a simple upgrade if they’re PnP in the front. Not sure how they’d work with the HiFi amp, I don’t know anything about ohms and whatnot.

And are EPS speaker grill covers interchangeable? They look nicer IMO so may as well swap to those when the door cards are off, if so. Mixed results when searching.

Last edited by wyatth; 11-24-2018 at 01:25 AM..
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      01-28-2019, 06:14 PM   #9
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Bump.

Can someone confirm if the EPS amp and/or subs are PnP? Lots for sale at a reasonable price. Only looking for a modest, but simple and cost-effective upgrade.
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      02-06-2019, 02:34 AM   #10
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You were on the right path by going with the Technic harness and JL XD600/6 amp, but going with the OEM EPS amp would be a step backwards IMO since that amp is designed to work with the factory EPS headunit which sends an eq'd signal to it. Factory signal from the HiFi headunit to the factory HiFi amp is a clean (un-eq'd), 5v signal you'll get once you bypass the factory amp with the Technic harness.

Curious, why not spend roughly the same if not a little more on a aftermarket 4" component set for just the front stage and leave the rear and under seat speakers as is? You'll notice a significant improvement in sound from the OEM HiFi 676 system with the JL amp upgrade along with the front stage upgrade and powering the OEM rear and underseat subs with the remaining 4 channels of the amp while keeping cost down.

For the money these would be hard to beat, and direct bolt in:
https://www.crutchfield.com/p_975MS4...42C-BMW-1.html
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      02-07-2019, 11:10 PM   #11
wyatth
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Thank you for that feedback, very helpful.

I’ll plan on the JL amp (or Bimmertech, Match (now same as BavSound) - thoughts on these?) and some front speakers/tweeters. No idea how to choose or tune an amp. JL is cheaper and more powerful but missing the DSP and canned tune.

I don’t need much more bass so I thought the EPS woofers would be a modest and cheap PnP swap, same for the speakers. There are a ton for sale for cheap and some audiophiles say they’re actually pretty good. Otherwise I wont plan on swapping woofers or rear speakers at all.

Thanks again.

* This amp seems to be the same as the one on preorder from BavSound. Would probably work well with the components linked above. ~$1K for all of the hardware.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_975UP7...SABEgJlnvD_BwE

$750
https://www.ebay.com/p/MATCH-up-7bmw...d767c0fff54b07

https://www.bavsound.com/Product/bmw...lifier-upgrade

Last edited by wyatth; 02-08-2019 at 12:31 AM..
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      02-08-2019, 12:36 PM   #12
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There's not much tuning on a amp like the JL or other after market amp as most only have selectable crossovers. The unique thing about the BMW specific amps you mentioned is that they DO include DSP functions in along with amplification, and they don't require any additional harness to plug into your wiring (not sure on this as I don't have one of these units). It's these DSP functions that will require tuning (X-overs,level control, time alignment, both parametric and graphic eq). But from your previous posts cost looks like it's a major concern so I was directing you towards taking DSP functions out of the equation to start to save money and just do a simple amp and speaker change to start with and go from there. This way you can add to your system as money becomes available and still be able to enjoy each step of improvement.

So with a JL XD600, you could add a stand alone DSP later to integrate in with JL amp. Depending on funds when you get the DSP, I would recommend a minimum 6 channel unit or if you want more flexibility of running front, rear, under seat and rear sub channel then a 8 channel would be best. Helix DSP's are nice and I believe they are made by the same company who OEM those BMW combo units you are referring to:


https://www.audiotec-fischer.de/en/helix/processors/


There are other DSP's on the market but from my own ongoing research not all stand alone DSP's can handle the incoming differential balanced signal our BMW head unit sends back to the factory amp. The Helix units can handle this signal.

Here is another 8 channel unit that gets good reviews for the money but not sure it can handle the Differential Balanced signal:

https://www.minidsp.com/products/car...-dsp/c-dsp-6x8

But know that once you go with a DSP unit you'll need to tune your system or have it tuned for you. There are no "canned tunes" as every system is unique. You may be able to get away with some simple crossover settings on your own but to get the most from these units you'll need to have a pro tune your system or you can learn on audio forums and do it yourself. DSP will also allow you to go fully active later if you want, which will allow you to ditch the passive x-overs for the factory tweeters and tune to a higher level than what those BMW amp/DSP units can do since with those units still treat the front component set as a front left and right 'speaker' and not a mid and tweeter as separate audio channels.

Regarding the front components, the match set I linked is really the first level to look at. There are other higher performing component sets for more money if you have some extra money to spare. There is a Morel 4" "HYBRID 402" set (w/ tweeter and passive x-over) with a shallow mount woofer that will work in your door and these are a improvement over the match set I linked. For a step up above the Morels look at the AudioFrog GB 40 mids & GB 10 tweeters. With these, it's ala carte so if your going active you don't need to worry about the huge passive x-over they sell so that they are handled as a 2 channel set.

Regarding bass, this is subjective. If you want more than the stock under seat woofers then the consensus is upgrading to one of the Bav sound or other all sub frequency subs is the way to go if you don't ever want to run a rear sub. If there is even a 'chance' you would want a rear sub then I would recommend first using the Jenhert XE200 under seat woofers as mid bass drivers as these perform the best compared to other woofers when they are bandpassed. You'll need to bandpass them as they do not play frequencies down below 50-60Hz as well as dedicated subs but these speakers shine with higher frequencies from where your front stage picks up at their high pass frequency, say around 150 Hz to 200Hz or so. Above 80-100Hz dedicated subs sound like crap. High passing your a 4" mid door speakers at low 80-100Hz frequencies where the sub is low passed from in order to eliminate any missing frequency ranges is not recommended. So the Jenherts allow you essentially a 3 way front system with a rear sub.

This is where I am headed myself with my HiFi system. Slowly buying parts and still planning myself. I really want to run the Audio Frog GB's and they are NOT cheap and I still need to figure out a solution to where I would put that huge x-over in order to avoid going active to start. I found some Jenhert XE200's on ebay for $200 recently. Keep an eye on the sister E90/E91/E92/E93 forum classifieds as it seems there is more activity and listings there than here on our M3 audio classifieds.

Last edited by jv92red; 02-08-2019 at 12:49 PM..
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      02-08-2019, 02:42 PM   #13
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So helpful, thank you. Beer on me if you're in the Bay Area.

Cost is certainly a factor, but it's also just that I am not an audiophile and don't want to tear apart my car. So the easiest installation for the lowest hanging fruit and best bang for the buck is probably right for me. At low speed with windows up, the HiFi is actually acceptable to me. It's just at higher speeds with tire noise or windows cracked, I turn up the volume a little and it gets muddy/distorted, sounds stressed.

I surely can't tune an amp, nor would I ever add a trunk sub, and don't know what active/passive crossovers are, so it sounds like a front component set + JL amp would be sufficient for me.

Reading more, people say the EPS speakers are actually comparable to the BavSound speakers. I might go back to looking at 2x EPS speakers with crossovers and tweeters and adding the JL amp. EPS woofers are apparently no better than HiFi woofers. Not great, but not terrible, improve with more power, and I don't need deep shaking bass. I'll read more into component sets and see if they're worth it over the ~$150 I could get EPS hardware for (I have to admit I also like the look of the EPS speakers/grills, though this isn't a priority).

Thanks again, really appreciate it.
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      02-08-2019, 04:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDPLV View Post
Very strange they got rid of rear door speakers...in a sedan.
HI FI doesnt have rear speakers on doors, 2 front, 2 tweet, 2 rear deck, 2 subs, premium has the center and rear doors/
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      02-08-2019, 06:06 PM   #15
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That distorted sound when you start turning up the volume is the factory HiFi amp struggling to keep up. I hear this as well past about a third to half way up the sound quality changes and hurts my ears even before the volume gets loud. This level is still much before where the HiFi speakers would be reaching their limit.

I have read that many HiFi users have just replaced the factory amp with the JL XD600 and have been happy with that level of improvement from their stock speakers. I'm not sure on how much changing to the EPS speakers at that time is really attributing to an improvement from just the EPS speakers themselves as the amp change is now in the equation. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you're on a serious budget then I can see your point of just an amp and EPS speakers and being done. If it were me on the same tight budget, while I'm pulling apart my door panels to install EPS speakers, putting in a aftermarket front component set rather than the EPS drivers would be the same amount of work at that point. Just save up a little longer perhaps? Maybe another hundred or two?

About crossovers, if your running that JL amp you'll need to at least have a little knowledge on this as you don't want to be sending a full range signal to your front components and under seat subs. 4" mids would blow sending them a full range signal at any decent volume and subs, while they won't blow up reproducing high frequencies, they make horrible sounding tweeters. Remember that by bypassing and running a aftermarket amp like the JL, you're removing any safeguards via crossover points that were put in place by the factory. The actual x-over points will vary depending on the drivers you get. You could start at a high pass for the 4" mids at 150 to 200Hz then low pass the subs at 125hz to see how they sound. Adjust from there. Try not to high pass those EPS 4" mids any lower to make up for the inability for the subs to play at that higher end frequency or you might blow the 4" mids up.

And by the way, if I read your earlier post you say your E90 HiFi system has no rear speakers? (my 2010 E92 HiFi has rear speakers) If that's the case then you won't need the 6 channel JL XD600 amp. You can get by with a 4 channel amp. Front two channels to run the front component set, and rear two channels for the under seat subs. The benefit is not only additional cost savings as 4 channel amps are less expensive than 6 channel amps, but unlike that JL 6 channel amp, the JL 4 channel amps have a RCA pass through so if you want to run additional channels through to another amp later to run speakers or a sub you can do this without having to use a RCA Y adapter to split the RCA's from the Technic harness. I have confirmed with JL audio tech support that the RCA pass-through on their amps can then be treated like normal, un-balanced outputs so you could run ANY amp from that feed and not worry about the balanced differential signal being an issue.

Or you can stick with the 6 channel amp and bridge 4 of the 6 channels to feed the two sub channels with more juice if your upgrading those. Make sure if you do this you note the impedance of the woofers, some multi channel amps won't let you run 2 ohm bridged, only 4 ohm bridged.

Any time when your doing things on your own to save money, in turn it's more to learn. I've installed audio systems in my previous cars and now time learn again myself since our M3 HiFi system presents unique challenges. It's no wonder most BMW owners just buy the preconfigured Bavsound and other BMW specific audio kits and just plug them in and go since not only do they sound better, but they've also taken away all of the technical stuff you need to know when you start doing things on your own. There's a reason why places like Musicar Northwest are in business.
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      02-08-2019, 06:19 PM   #16
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I was mistaken, I thought prior to MY11, even HiFi E90s had speakers on the rear doors. It looks like HiFi never had rear door speakers. They do have rear shelf speakers, though. EPS adds speakers to the rear doors.
E92s do have rear/side speakers, all years, HiFi or not.

I will certainly have someone else install and setup the system. I just want to figure out what hardware is best for me, and ultimately easiest to hand off for install and setup. The speakers, EPS or Match, are the cheaper part of the equation, and I probably could not hear the difference. I guess it's really down to the amp, I think any speakers (maybe even HiFi) could suffice.

Ideally, I would just get the BavSound stage 1 and amp, but that's $1500 and requires more work in the rear shelf than I want to have undertaken. It's not a matter of saving up more, it's just a matter of finding the sweet spot on value. Other priorities in life and I cannot justify that much on a stereo upgrade.

Thanks again, I appreciate this all. I think the Match PP82DSP and the Match front component set is probably the best for me. Looks like $1K + install, more than I wanted to spend but should be really nice, PnP, and dummy proof. Although I'm not yet ruling out the EPS speakers/tweeters, since they're cheaper, surely sufficient, and look nicer.

Last edited by wyatth; 02-08-2019 at 07:40 PM..
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      02-08-2019, 09:20 PM   #17
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Also, my .02 on rear fill speakers: Your better off without them. With stereo sound rear fill only pulls the front stage back. (rear subs don't count as rear fill as sub frequencies are mostly non-directional meaning the human brain cannot localize these low frequencies) When you watch a concert, you see and hear what's going on in front of you on a stage. With really high end car audio systems you can place virtually where different instruments are playing on stage. With these high end systems the goal is trying to move the image farther forward if possible by physically moving door drivers higher and more forward using custom dash installs. Rear speakers have their place in a movie environment where surround sound processing requires these additional drivers. With stereo imaging, careful use of DSP is needed to introduce rear fill without ruining the front stage. If your worried about volume levels without the rear speakers, once you get the amp in place and change the front speakers, I suspect you won't have any issues with volume at freeway speeds with windows cracked as you mentioned.

With our HiFi system, we would be better off adding in a front center channel than adding rear fill but we won't get into that as it would require additional channels of amplification and proper DSP to integrate properly.

Just a quick note about me as you mentioned in your first post that you're not an audiophile; I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile either. Just a regular enthusiast who has listened to some really good car audio systems and thus I see this more as a curse so to speak because: 1) most factory audio systems now don't sound that good to me and 2) I've seen and heard first hand what car audio can become so now there is a insatiable craving for 'better' and I don't have the money to support this.
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      02-08-2019, 09:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jv92red View Post
Also, my .02 on rear fill speakers: Your better off without them. With stereo sound rear fill only pulls the front stage back. (rear subs don't count as rear fill as sub frequencies are mostly non-directional meaning the human brain cannot localize these low frequencies) When you watch a concert, you see and hear what's going on in front of you on a stage. With really high end car audio systems you can place virtually where different instruments are playing on stage. With these high end systems the goal is trying to move the image farther forward if possible by physically moving door drivers higher and more forward using custom dash installs. Rear speakers have their place in a movie environment where surround sound processing requires these additional drivers. With stereo imaging, careful use of DSP is needed to introduce rear fill without ruining the front stage. If your worried about volume levels without the rear speakers, once you get the amp in place and change the front speakers, I suspect you won't have any issues with volume at freeway speeds with windows cracked as you mentioned.

With our HiFi system, we would be better off adding in a front center channel than adding rear fill but we won't get into that as it would require additional channels of amplification and proper DSP to integrate properly.

Just a quick note about me as you mentioned in your first post that you're not an audiophile; I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile either. Just a regular enthusiast who has listened to some really good car audio systems and thus I see this more as a curse so to speak because: 1) most factory audio systems now don't sound that good to me and 2) I've seen and heard first hand what car audio can become so now there is a insatiable craving for 'better' and I don't have the money to support this.
I consider you an audiophile.. Phenomenal information that I've never even thought about.
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      02-08-2019, 10:53 PM   #19
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Seriously. If he’s not an audiophile, I’m deaf!
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      02-08-2019, 11:46 PM   #20
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Just an enthusiast like everyone else here trying to share the knowledge I have on the subject to help others as I've been helped reading posts on this board over the past few years.
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      02-08-2019, 11:52 PM   #21
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Much appreciated for sure!

Is it rational to think the PP82DSP would be easier on battery drain than the JL? Being lower watts and/or connecting like OEM. Maybe the dumbest Q yet, but audio is often mentioned when talking about battery capacity. I do not play music with the car off, so maybe irrelevant.

And, any clue if there’s a difference between Bimmertech/BavSound PP82DSPs versus the original from AF/Helix Match plus the Technic harness? Base specs seem the same and presumably you can set the “tune” on any of them?
I ask because Bimmertech is around $950, BavSound pre order now for $900, but Helix Match PP82DSP is $750 on eBay and the harness is $60.


Also,
https://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1531954

Last edited by wyatth; 02-09-2019 at 12:01 AM..
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      02-09-2019, 12:17 AM   #22
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Try the Technics PNP harness and JL 600/6 first.

My plan was to upgrade HiFi speakers but with the additional power I actually thought it was enough for me. Sound is cleaner too.

That way if you think you need more just swap out speakers with what you feel is lacking.
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