Stereo upgrade in 2003 dsp system
I'm new here, having just bought a low mileage 03 540i 6 speed (37k) and have been researching a stereo upgrade. This is the worst sounding car I've ever owned (may be a bit of an exaggeration but its bad)
I have dsp system with MID in dash
I do not have NAV, cell phone or a cd changer
I have read that once I unplug the dsp amp from the system that I should have 4 channels of 4+V of output from the radio control box
Problem is I don't know where the radio control box is. All I see in the trunk is what looks like the amp itself (a black box about 2x8x12") and plugged into the top of that box are 3 plugs
1 - a 15 pin plug (larger pins then the other two)
2 - a 18 pin plug
3 - a 26 pin plug
I would like to completely eliminate the factory amp and replace it with aftermarket. I would like to add simple Ipod integration
I would also like to upgrade the front door speakers, but do away with the rear door speakers. I will put a coax or some such speaker in the package shelf for rear fill and add a small sub box in the trunk.
My question is can someone walk me through the specifics of the factory wiring I'm seeing in the truck? Is everything I need to tap into right there, or, is that radio control box hiding somewhere else?
I do not want to cut into the wrong stuff and am looking for a very simple system ... good/great soundstage up front with a little rear fill.
I am very confused about what is present at those 3 plugs in the factory amp and would appreciate any / all advice you can give me. Pictures and/or links to previuosly installed systems would be a plus. I have read the old articles but have not seen pictures / descriptions of my later model car. Most of those write-ups seem to be from the late 90's as folks were still learning about the dreaded DSP systems.
(I really expected to see the radio control box back there as a second box which I do not)
Michael in MD
2003 540i 6-speed
Sterling Gray / Black
Re: Stereo upgrade in 2003 dsp system
The radio (three circuit boards) is up above the MID, behind the cassette or in-dash CD player. Can't help U with wiring, but I did want to point out in case U didn't notice it, there is already a subwoofer attached across the underside of the rear parcel shelf. I presume that you are already familiar with turning the DSP system on and off and setting all the various frequencies and echo effects.
'03 525i Sapphire Blu/Grey, SP, Nav
'02 325it Orient Blu./Grey, SP, Nav
'98 323is Arctic Sil./Blk, SP
'95 M3 Cosmos Blk./Blk
you need professional help with this upgrade
Jay Gans 2000 528 MT Non-sport.Titanium Silver, Grey Leather. Premium Package, Cold Weather, Fold down seats. Oct 99 production.ash try mod so not bone stock. CD changer. Garmin C510 Nav..Honda CH150D scooter
Re: contact http://www.bavsound.com/
Professional help ... nah ;-) ... but specific help yes
Mainly I need to know where to pull the signal from and suggestions of how to get that signal to the aftermarket amp(s). Since most amps I've used in the past need RCA inputs, this is an area I'd like to hear about from folks who have been there, done that. Pulling signal from the factory truck harnesses don't look straight forward.
I have experience with stereo installs in past vehicles but all of those started with a new head unit. Here I want to keep the factory source (including the single cd player in dash and all its controls ie volume, balance, fader) and add more power to upgraded speakers in the doors and a new sub (a real sub not those 5" things in there now)
I was hoping that this was one of those items that lots of folks here did themselves, or at least knew the details of when having a car audio shop do it for them.
I also wonder how folks dealt with the interface of factory plugs to new speakers / amps ... are there now plenty of aftermarket wiring harnesses available to plug directly to factory plugs I found in the trunk, or ... well some other way this must be done.
Michael in MD
This isn't really going to help answer your
questions, but I thought I'd share some details of my system since you sound like you are going to do what I had done. I had my stereo system professionally installed a couple weeks after I bought the car new. Like you, I thought the sound quality was awful, and felt that I had better sound in a Ford Crown Vic that I had at the time. Really pitiful. I chose to swap out the front door speakers with MB Quart components, disconnected the rear door speakers, and swapped out the rear deck speakers with MB Quart coaxials, pretty much like you are planning on doing. I also added a 12" sub in the trunk and an AudioControl equalizer. The sub has it's own 100 watt Alpine mono amp and there is a another four channel Alpine amp for the other speakers. The component speaker crossovers were mounted in the trunk on a board in the location where the stock amp used to be. I've recently disconnected the trunk CD changer and installed a Dice unit so I can use my iPod Touch in the car. It uses the steering wheel controls and is so much better than CD's. By the way, my stock stereo was not the DSP version, which I've heard is more difficult to upgrade. Sorry I can't provide any technical details. I used to install stereos myself but with the complexity nowadays that is a thing of the past for me.
What head unit are you using?
Every car i owned i always did a custom stereo install. (used to be an electrician) This is the only car i didn't do a custom install on cause i don't want to lose the obc controls and didn't like the gap with regular DIN and double DINs
86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
87 325 (project for life)
00 540is 6spd (daily driver)
Stock head unit for the same reasons you said
Re: This isn't really going to help answer your
You can help with some things though ... how did it sound once you were done? Did the imaging improve substantially with the components up front?
I cannot get the stock configuration to image off the doors EVEN with the balance moved way right and fader controls basically all the way to the front!
Did you use the stock tweeter locations up high for you MBQ's or did they move them down in the doors where the mid speaker is [was]?
I was even thinking of moving the tweeter right down to the woofer location to keep the separation of the components to a minimum.
A couple of more questions if you don't mind ...
Did you retain fader controls or adjust your rear fill with amp gain? I ask because what I'm reading in the archives seem to say picking up the front signal will be easier then adding the rear signals from my dsp system into the mix ...
I guess I'm wondering how well the stock speaker locations performed once you added great equipment (I see EQ too ... was that in your original plan and layout or did you find you needed it afterwards to dial in great sound, fix holes, bumps, etc??)
Sorry for all the questions but you are right ... your system is just about as close to my plan as I've seen ;-)
Also, thanks for the pix ... I look forward to tracing out the color wires I see in your car and compare them to my harness.
Michael in MD
2003 540i 6-speed
Sterling Gray / Black
The sound is exactly what I was looking for....
The stock system was so bad it sounded like I had cotton balls stuffed in my ears. Absolutely no clarity or punch. Since the upgrade I've got crystal clear highs, great mids and real bass. I'm not a hip-hop or rap fan by any means but I do enjoy hearing all the octaves that are in the music. Occasionally I will remove the sub if plan on loading up the trunk for a day and I can definitely hear the loss of the lower octaves. The fader controls still work just like stock. The imaging is fantastic and I have it set so that the sweet spot is just to the right of my head (trying to give the passengers some decent imaging too). The installer recommended mounting the tweeters in the upper stock door location and they are angled perfectly. I think it's better this way as the highs are very directional and if the tweeters were mounted down by the door woofers the highs would end up by your legs. The equalizer was not installed to correct any deficiencies but I had it from my previous E30 and decided to use it just to dial in everything. The only negative in my system is the loss of trunk space from the sub but I think it's worth it for the great sound. As I mentioned, if I need the extra space I just unplug the sub and take it out.