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      08-26-2018, 12:22 PM   #1
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HK Audio system upgrade (with DSP)

I posted most of this over in the 2 series forum, but I thought I should share my experience in upgrading the M2 audio system here as well.

I took delivery of my 2018 M2 last October and decided a couple months ago I was tired of dealing with the stock Harmon/Kardon audio system.

Here's a pic of the subject:



Here's the list of audio upgrades I've added to the M2:

Audiotec-Fischer Match UP 7BMW 7 channel amp/DSP
JL Audio XD300/1v2 1 channel sub amp
Earthquake Sound SWS 8Xi 8 woofers
JL Audio 10W3v3 10 subwoofer
Musicar NW F22 sub enclosure
Morel Hybrid 402 component speakers

I'll be keeping the OEM HK center and rear speakers installed for now..

I was going to go with the MusicarNW Level 2 4-way package at first. But they couldn't provide me with the DSP I wanted. Then I happen to find out about the Match UP 7BMW amp made by Audiotec-Fischer; the same company that makes the Helix DSP.

The Match amp is a plug-and-play amp for BMW hifi systems in 3 series and higher cars. In 2 series and lower cars it will work with both the hifi and HK systems. This is because 2 series and lower cars don't use the MOST net for audio. Instead they use differential balanced analog connections to the rear mounted amp.

Also, the Match amp uses the same DSP that is in the Helix DSP. It's also rated at 5x65watts at 4 ohm and 2x160 watt at 2 ohm and has one line level pre-out for an external amp. Plus a optical digital input.





The amp came with a mounting bracket for the BMW and a custom wiring harness; no need to cut any wires.



It fits perfectly in the oem amp location. That other "amp" is the Active Sound Design amp; or the fake engine noise thingy. I don't know why BMW keeps putting this in new cars. If you can't tell by the pic, I have this thingy bypassed.




BTW, I'm surprised my 14 year old POS Windows XP laptop worked at uploading the sound file. I hope it handles the tuning session with my MiniDSP UMIK-1 hooked up as well.



One thing I noticed on the Match amp; while it's powered through the OEM wiring harness, you can also hook up 8 gauge wire directly to the amp. The manual says that if you have any system noise you should try that. I don't have any noise as of yet, but I'll keep that in mind.

I stuffed the JL XD300/1 on the right side of the trunk under the storage tray. It fit in there with about 1 inch of clearance. With it being right next to a cabin vent, I'm thinking it should get adequate ventilation.





I ran 4 gauge wire to the battery lug. JL says you can use 8 gauge-- F that...




The MusicarNW sub enclosure is built pretty robust. I didn't measure it, but it seemed to me that the fiberglass is about 3/4" thick. I'm not sure what the internal volume is though.



It's secured to the body by one plastic rivet up in the corner of the trunk. That and the fact that it fits VERY snug keep it from moving anywhere. It also comes with a quick connect for the speaker wire that runs through the hole where the 12V trunk outlet used to be.




While I was at it I installed the pair of SWS 8Xi's. I know the Jehnert XE200's probably sound better, but I got these cheaper and I was worried about the impedance difference between the two drivers. The SWS 8Xi is 2 ohm and the Jehnert's are 6 ohm.



The Morel Hybrid 402 speakers were not a direct drop-in replacement for the BMW HK speakers. I had to modify the OEM sail panels for the Morel tweeters. But since I got the Morel's from MusicarNW, the modifications to the crossovers were already done and the mids came with the correct speaker adapters.





MusicarNW set up the Morel crossover with OEM connectors so no wires had to be cut in the doors. The crossovers mount low in the front corner of the door panel.



The Morel's are a big improvement over the stock HK speakers. I'm still working out the tune. It's a PITA to tune in an oven of a garage. I'll probably get a better tune once the outside temps go down and I learn how to use Room Eq Wizard. For now, it sounds good to me. Way better than the stock system. I've got the center channel turned off and the stock rear HK speakers turned down to where I can just barely hear them. The soundstage is right up on the dash and centered on the drivers position. I rarely have passengers so the sound is all about me.

Here's the setup on the front Morel Hybrid 402's.



Here's the setup for the rear stock HK's.



Here's the setup on the SWS 8Xi's.



Here's the setup on the JL 10W3v3.




I'm sure I'm not done tuning; I'll always be tweaking it. I'm think of getting a Helix Director just so I can have more than 2 sound profile presets, we'll see...
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      08-30-2018, 08:45 PM   #2
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Dude. Just stumbled into this writeup. OMG! First class work. I'm sure it must sound awesome. Did a similar upgrade to the HK audio in my MINI JCW. Without the sub. I had more amps though. JL Audio speakers in the front doors. I have a template for adapting the 4 mounts to 3 if you ever need it.
Please update your post when you have got it completely sorted!
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      10-02-2018, 02:48 PM   #3
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I decided to upgrade the rear speakers. I said I wouldn't, but just knowing the HK's were still back there was bugging me, lol.

I decided to go with the Eton B100N components. Despite what the box says, these are only rated for 50w RMS.



Side by side shot of the drivers with the passive crossovers for the tweeters.



Looks like the Eton tweeters have a better crossover with a capacitor and an inductor (2nd order), but I don't know the crossover point. The woofer has no crossover so it's playing full range sound. I have the high pass on the Match amp set at about 200hz to the rear speakers.



Installation didn't take long at all. Maybe 20 minutes per side, but I was taking my time making sure I didn't scratch anything.

I can say that I noticed quite a difference between the HK's and the Etons when playing only the rear speakers. But with the way I have the system set up, it's hard to tell. I have the rear speakers set to where I can just barely hear them. They are more for rear-fill. Could I have lived without upgraded the rears? Sure. But it was just nagging at me knowing the HK's were still there...


Oh, I also got a Audiotec Fischer Director to hook up to the Match amp.



It'll give me a bit more control over the DSP and 20 more DSP presets. I'm waiting for some more electronic goodies to come in so I can install it all at once.

Last edited by Dirtboy; 01-10-2019 at 08:52 PM.
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      12-17-2018, 06:47 PM   #4
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I found some more time to do some updates. My OCD was kicking in and I wanted a full digital signal from the headunit to the amp/dsp. So I went ahead and ordered a Mobridge DA1.

I got my inspiration for installing the DA1 and running the MOST net to the trunk from 2addicts user gtmax500 His build thread is here: https://www.2addicts.com/forums/show....php?t=1350726

First step was to rip apart the dash to get behind the headunit to connect the MOST net Y-cable. I was sweating bullets the whole time scared I was going to scratch something.



Next was running the 4m MOST cable to the trunk. Once again, scary stuff to do to a new car.



DA1 in the trunk



Final product. I have the DA1 mounted behind the ASD amp. I know it looks like the MOST cable is being pulled too tight but it's not. It's pretty stiff cable and that's just the way it lays in there. There's about 3-4 inches of slack in the cable.



While I had the interior torn apart, I ran the control cable for the Director. I temporarily mounted the control unit in the center console until I can get a proper housing made for it.



Now I wish I could say my install went as easily as gtmax500's. I'm currently having a issue with the DA1 not wanting to be programmed to the "BMW" MOST net standard. When I use the Mobridge setup software, the DA1 always reverts to "Audi" no matter how many times I select "BMW". I'm still waiting for a reply from Mobridge support about that.

One the plus side, the Director is working beautifully.

Last edited by Dirtboy; 01-10-2019 at 08:53 PM.
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      12-18-2018, 09:39 AM   #5
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In what way were you having trouble "dealing with the stock Harmon/Kardon audio system"?
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      12-18-2018, 06:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Fifty View Post
In what way were you having trouble "dealing with the stock Harmon/Kardon audio system"?
The highs were too harsh, no real bass, and the sound stage was coming from my left knee (and this was after I unplugged the center speaker).
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      12-19-2018, 06:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtboy View Post
The highs were too harsh, no real bass, and the sound stage was coming from my left knee (and this was after I unplugged the center speaker).
The second half is, I think, the major demon of car audio. Different surfaces with different reflective properties (and road noise) aside, the huge challenge of audio in a car is that we don't sit in the center of the "room" and we're WAY too close to one set of speakers.

It leaves us with little choice but to time and tune the system so that it sounds good from the driver's seat alone. The Dolby Surround two-seat tune that MusicarNW did in my 340 was the only effective compromise I've seen, and that requires doing what you did (getting a digital connection from the head unit and using a Mobridge to translate it) or starting out with the digital HK system from the bigger cars.

I don't think it can be done setup with the Match DSP's we have (no Dolby Surround). I have an Alpine DSP that handled it in my last car. That setup was great, but it was never as good from the driver's seat as the "single seat" setup was with most of the same equipment in my 328i, so I don't intend on doing it again.
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      12-31-2018, 04:16 PM   #8
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Finally got some time to do some more tuning. I had to buy a new Windows laptop to get the DA1 programmed to "BMW". So now I am running digital from the headunit to the amp.

Here's a pic of the latest tuning session:



This is the closest I could get the eq curve to match the "house curve" in the Audiotec Fischer DSP program.

I've got all crossovers set to 24db Linkwitz-Riley.
Crossover points are:
200hz high-pass for front/center/rear
70hz high-pass/200hz low-pass for underseat woofers
70hz low-pass for trunk subwoofer

To try to combat the mid-bass hole the SWS 8Xi's have, I actually boosted their gain higher than the rest of the channels. That way, the eq could cut the frequencies that were too high while leaving most of the mid-bass at the appropriate level. While this improved the sound a lot, you can see that there is still a dip around 160hz. Honestly, I don't notice it while playing music.

I also took the opportunity to setup some more sound profiles in the Helix Director:
1. All speakers playing, including center and trunk sub.
2. All speakers and sub playing; center off.
3. All speakers and sub playing; center and rears off.
4. All speakers playing, including center; trunk sub off (this involved deleting the high-pass crossover point of the underseat woofers so that they play down to 20hz.

I may add more sound profiles in the future, but for now this will do.
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      01-05-2019, 05:41 PM   #9
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Thanks for posting this! Lots of interesting info!

Just curious here but have you considered running your front speakers active and ditching the passive crossovers? This is what I'm going to do when I get my match 7 UP amp (or Helix P SIX MK2...still undecided)
Most people choose to unplug their center speaker and rears and run an extra set of cables to the 4'' mids, which gives you more flexibility as well as some extra headroom in terms of power.

The OEM underseat woofers are said to perform quite well with the extra power at 2 ohms provided by the Match amp (160 WPC) since they're badly underpowered from factory, especially considering they wouldn't play anything below 80hz in your system. I assume they would also have an easier time reaching up to your Morel mids than the Earthquake woofers. Did you try them before swapping in the new drivers? Do you still have them? In my case I'm considering the Jehnert Flatlines 3 way set which includes the xe200 woofers. They are quite efficient at 91db/W at 1m and don't need much power, but need a real subwoofer depending on material being played.

Most importantly, I'd like to know how you feel about the corner-loaded subwoofer in custom enclosure. I believe you're only adding about 25 pounds to the M2 (10w3v3 driver + enclosure + amp) which is not too substantial. You probably notice a nice increase in volume when you open up the ski pass? Rattles? How do you like it with various types of music?
I'm considering going IB but it's a lot more work, more costly and most likely heavier depending on drivers used, materials (plywood vs mdf), rear deck vs ski pass, etc.

Here are 2 links you might also find of interest:

https://www.audiotec-fischer.de/en/h...ssories/sdmi25

https://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1489778

(6spdcoupe is amongst other things the Jehnert distributor in the US and seems quite impressed with the new alpha one underseats.) They're expensive, but from what I understand they go just as low as the Earthquake, are more efficient and can play a lot higher just like the xe200 woofers. They're probably not as clean and tasty sounding as those (TBD), but should represent a good compromise for people not willing to deal with the added weight and complexity of a trunk subwoofer...to a certain extent of course. Oh and they're available at 2-ohm so perfect for the Match 7 UP!!

Cheers,

David

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtboy View Post
Finally got some time to do some more tuning. I had to buy a new Windows laptop to get the DA1 programmed to "BMW". So now I am running digital from the headunit to the amp.

Here's a pic of the latest tuning session:



This is the closest I could get the eq curve to match the "house curve" in the Audiotec Fischer DSP program.

I've got all crossovers set to 24db Linkwitz-Riley.
Crossover points are:
200hz high-pass for front/center/rear
70hz high-pass/200hz low-pass for underseat woofers
70hz low-pass for trunk subwoofer

To try to combat the mid-bass hole the SWS 8Xi's have, I actually boosted their gain higher than the rest of the channels. That way, the eq could cut the frequencies that were too high while leaving most of the mid-bass at the appropriate level. While this improved the sound a lot, you can see that there is still a dip around 160hz. Honestly, I don't notice it while playing music.

I also took the opportunity to setup some more sound profiles in the Helix Director:
1. All speakers playing, including center and trunk sub.
2. All speakers and sub playing; center off.
3. All speakers and sub playing; center and rears off.
4. All speakers playing, including center; trunk sub off (this involved deleting the high-pass crossover point of the underseat woofers so that they play down to 20hz.

I may add more sound profiles in the future, but for now this will do.
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      01-06-2019, 10:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david45 View Post
Thanks for posting this! Lots of interesting info!

Just curious here but have you considered running your front speakers active and ditching the passive crossovers? This is what I'm going to do when I get my match 7 UP amp (or Helix P SIX MK2...still undecided)
Most people choose to unplug their center speaker and rears and run an extra set of cables to the 4'' mids, which gives you more flexibility as well as some extra headroom in terms of power.

The OEM underseat woofers are said to perform quite well with the extra power at 2 ohms provided by the Match amp (160 WPC) since they're badly underpowered from factory, especially considering they wouldn't play anything below 80hz in your system. I assume they would also have an easier time reaching up to your Morel mids than the Earthquake woofers. Did you try them before swapping in the new drivers? Do you still have them? In my case I'm considering the Jehnert Flatlines 3 way set which includes the xe200 woofers. They are quite efficient at 91db/W at 1m and don't need much power, but need a real subwoofer depending on material being played.

Most importantly, I'd like to know how you feel about the corner-loaded subwoofer in custom enclosure. I believe you're only adding about 25 pounds to the M2 (10w3v3 driver + enclosure + amp) which is not too substantial. You probably notice a nice increase in volume when you open up the ski pass? Rattles? How do you like it with various types of music?
I'm considering going IB but it's a lot more work, more costly and most likely heavier depending on drivers used, materials (plywood vs mdf), rear deck vs ski pass, etc.

Here are 2 links you might also find of interest:

https://www.audiotec-fischer.de/en/h...ssories/sdmi25

https://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1489778

(6spdcoupe is amongst other things the Jehnert distributor in the US and seems quite impressed with the new alpha one underseats.) They're expensive, but from what I understand they go just as low as the Earthquake, are more efficient and can play a lot higher just like the xe200 woofers. They're probably not as clean and tasty sounding as those (TBD), but should represent a good compromise for people not willing to deal with the added weight and complexity of a trunk subwoofer...to a certain extent of course. Oh and they're available at 2-ohm so perfect for the Match 7 UP!!

Cheers,

David
Thanks for the comments. I'm not going the full active route because I like the ability to run all channels or switch off certain channels using separate sound profiles in the Director. Although I have been toying with the thought of using a Match UP 7 in a another car in a setup like you're describing.

Quite honestly, I never tried the OEM underseat woofers with the Match amp. I got the Earthquakes kinda cheap so I went straight with them. I've got them tuned pretty good according to my ears. I was worried about the impedance mis-match of the Jehnert's 6ohm to the Match 2ohm and that's why I didn't go with them. But Match has a new 2ohm sub- UP W8BMW-S. I'm wondering if it will perform like the Jehnerts.

https://www.audiotec-fischer.de/en/m...ers/up-w8bmw-s

The corner loaded sub enclosure makes all the difference to me. MusicarNW told me they designed their enclosure for the 10W3 and I can tell. I have a sound profile setup for the underseat woofers to play all the way down to 20hz. Although you can hear the music that low, you can't feel it. Once I switch to the trunk sub you can feel the music. I don't have any noticeable rattles inside the cabin yet; I'll address those as they develop. Oh, btw, I'm not lucky enough to have the ski-pass; I wish I had that option. I don't think any US models got that option.

I saw that Helix came out with their MOST adapter about a month after I had already installed my Mobridge DA1. They both do basically the same thing. If the Helix unit had been available when I was shopping I would have gone with that instead.
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      01-07-2019, 02:50 PM   #11
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It must be fun switching profiles depending on your mood or presence of passenger(s), but that Director is quite expensive! My plan is to get everything dialled in for the driver seat and use that profile 99% of the time. As profile number 2, I'll use mostly the same parameters but everything is going to be passenger focused (time alignment, etc) so that they can get the real experience from time to time if I choose to. You had the URC.3 remote before getting the director I assume?

As for subwoofer, I'm happy to hear that the musicarnw enclosure loaded with 10w3 is working well for you, even without the ski pass through that comes standard in Canada. I'm usually not a huge fan of JL Audio and other big name companies (except for the Fathom and its 13W7 driver in my home-theater) but we don't have too many options and at least the 10W3 driver is very light!
IB would be nice and relatively stealth looking if done through the rear deck so I'm still looking into it, but will most likely end up with a corned loaded subwoofer just like you. Musicarnw or custom.

By the way I didn't realize the MOST adapter from Helix was a recent addition. It looks very plug and play which can be a good thing sometimes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtboy View Post
Thanks for the comments. I'm not going the full active route because I like the ability to run all channels or switch off certain channels using separate sound profiles in the Director. Although I have been toying with the thought of using a Match UP 7 in a another car in a setup like you're describing.

Quite honestly, I never tried the OEM underseat woofers with the Match amp. I got the Earthquakes kinda cheap so I went straight with them. I've got them tuned pretty good according to my ears. I was worried about the impedance mis-match of the Jehnert's 6ohm to the Match 2ohm and that's why I didn't go with them. But Match has a new 2ohm sub- UP W8BMW-S. I'm wondering if it will perform like the Jehnerts.

https://www.audiotec-fischer.de/en/m...ers/up-w8bmw-s

The corner loaded sub enclosure makes all the difference to me. MusicarNW told me they designed their enclosure for the 10W3 and I can tell. I have a sound profile setup for the underseat woofers to play all the way down to 20hz. Although you can hear the music that low, you can't feel it. Once I switch to the trunk sub you can feel the music. I don't have any noticeable rattles inside the cabin yet; I'll address those as they develop. Oh, btw, I'm not lucky enough to have the ski-pass; I wish I had that option. I don't think any US models got that option.

I saw that Helix came out with their MOST adapter about a month after I had already installed my Mobridge DA1. They both do basically the same thing. If the Helix unit had been available when I was shopping I would have gone with that instead.
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      01-09-2019, 11:31 PM   #12
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OP is the Match UP 7BMW plug and play for an LCI M2 with HK system? When I say plug and play I mean plug it in and it works as I don't have a PC laptop (I'm a Mac guy) to set it up. I don't mind the stocks system but I feel it's underpowered but don't want to start replacing speakers and adding amps.
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      01-10-2019, 06:51 AM   #13
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Both of Helix's (7BMW and the PP86DSP) are going to require some setup time. The speaker timing will need to be adjusted for your height and seating position even if it's loaded with a decent tune (the 86DSP is not from the factory, OP can speak to the 7BMW).
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      01-10-2019, 08:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyD^2 View Post
OP is the Match UP 7BMW plug and play for an LCI M2 with HK system? When I say plug and play I mean plug it in and it works as I don't have a PC laptop (I'm a Mac guy) to set it up. I don't mind the stocks system but I feel it's underpowered but don't want to start replacing speakers and adding amps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bri1042 View Post
Both of Helix's (7BMW and the PP86DSP) are going to require some setup time. The speaker timing will need to be adjusted for your height and seating position even if it's loaded with a decent tune (the 86DSP is not from the factory, OP can speak to the 7BMW).
The Audiotec Fischer amps (the Match UP 7BMW and the Match PP86DSP) will require a Windows PC to set them up properly. A sound file HAS to be loaded into the DSP of the amp. I'm a Mac guy as well. I went ahead and bought a $180 Dell laptop just to use for my audio system. I would have gone the Bootcamp route and installed Windows on my MacBook Pro but it's too old to support Windows 7.
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      01-11-2019, 09:16 AM   #15
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Dirtboy if I understand the Audiotec doesn't list the Match UP 7BMW as a match for the M2 but it appears to be plug and play in regards to installation. I assume the sound files they have at their site are not quite matched to the M2 system and would require tuning?
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      01-11-2019, 02:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyD^2 View Post
Dirtboy if I understand the Audiotec doesn't list the Match UP 7BMW as a match for the M2 but it appears to be plug and play in regards to installation. I assume the sound files they have at their site are not quite matched to the M2 system and would require tuning?
Yes. Their sound files are tuned for the HiFi systems; so no tweeters. And they don't have sound files for coupes. I tried the limousine sound file and it sounded like garbage.

You can read about and learn how to tune the Audiotec Fischer DSP PC-Tool here:
https://www.audiotec-fischer.de/en/d...ning-magazine/

Download the "DSP Special Vol 2". It's based on version 3 of the software, but it's very similar to the new version 4 software.
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      01-13-2019, 12:37 AM   #17
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If you don't mind me asking, where did you get your Match Up7 BMW? And Modbridge DA1? I'm located in LA, but don't have a dealer I have a good relationship here (as of yet.) I also got a sub enclosure from Musicar with a 10w3 for my F30, and am just trying to get the last few items to complete my system.

Thanks!
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      01-13-2019, 08:43 PM   #18
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Question for you, Dirtboy:

How do you feel about the Musicar enclosure when it comes to its fit and finish and most importantly the way it is secured with their acclaimed mounting solution?

I'm asking you because I was told many M4 owners had their fair share of problems with theirs when taking hard turns with some G's. Granted it's a different design and I'm hoping the issue has been addressed by Musicarnw, but as you can imagine having my $500 enclosure break free and fly around in the boot is not something I'm interested in.

How about some canyon carving just to make sure it's not going to be a problem?
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      01-13-2019, 10:31 PM   #19
Dirtboy
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Originally Posted by audioenginela View Post
If you don't mind me asking, where did you get your Match Up7 BMW? And Modbridge DA1? I'm located in LA, but don't have a dealer I have a good relationship here (as of yet.) I also got a sub enclosure from Musicar with a 10w3 for my F30, and am just trying to get the last few items to complete my system.

Thanks!
I got the Match UP 7BMW from Crutchfield. Looks like they have low stock though. As soon as I clicked the "Buy" button it said they were out of stock. But I just looked again and it say's "Low Stock" again.

I got the DA1 from MusicarNW. Pretty sure the F30 enclosure won't fit in the F22/F87, if that's what you're trying to do.
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      01-13-2019, 10:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by david45 View Post
Question for you, Dirtboy:

How do you feel about the Musicar enclosure when it comes to its fit and finish and most importantly the way it is secured with their acclaimed mounting solution?

I'm asking you because I was told many M4 owners had their fair share of problems with theirs when taking hard turns with some G's. Granted it's a different design and I'm hoping the issue has been addressed by Musicarnw, but as you can imagine having my $500 enclosure break free and fly around in the boot is not something I'm interested in.

How about some canyon carving just to make sure it's not going to be a problem?
I'm pretty sure the enclosure is not going anywhere with some spirited driving on the street. Now on the track is a different story. I'll be taking mine out for track days. It's soooo easy to take out and put back in.
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      01-14-2019, 07:11 AM   #21
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The F30 enclosure absolutely won't fit. I have one, it's not the same shape as the F22/87 right-side space. I should probably sell it...
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      01-14-2019, 03:04 PM   #22
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OP, how did you get the grilles off the OEM sail panels? Were you able to put them back on without any damage or issues?

Also, does the center trim piece (surrounding the AC vents) simply pop off from clips, or are there screws to remove?

Thanks!
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