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    Stereo upgrade in 2003 dsp system

    Hello Group,

    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)

    Best Regards,

    Michael in MD

    2003 540i 6-speed
    Sterling Gray / Black

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    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
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    '98 323is Arctic Sil./Blk, SP
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    Yes | No

    contact http://www.bavsound.com/

    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







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    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.

    Thanks,

    Michael in MD

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    Bavsound...

    ...taughts alot of their products as "do-it-yourself", especially the speaker upgrades. Check 'em out. It's a pretty decent site.

    '00 M5
    -Carbon Black
    -Blk/Blu interior
    -Rogue short shift kit

    '97 528i
    -'99 Double VANOS motor
    -Jet Black
    -Sand Beige interior
    -Black Dashboard (upper/lower) and Center Console
    -Black all leather shift handle
    -Debadged
    -Mr. MPL lower mesh grille
    -Shadowline (diy) ext. trim
    -Frenched high beams
    -Clear front turn signals
    -Red/clear taillights
    -Clear side markers
    -Amber fr. fog lamps
    -Rear fog lamps
    -In-dash CD player (CD53 Business)
    -Dice iPod integration kit
    -CMT5000VR cell phone (old tech.)
    -Bav. Autosport mats w/ B/A icon (blue)
    -Burlwood e-brake handle
    -///M dead pedal
    -Rear view mirror w/ compass
    -Chrome instr. rings
    -...and a rebuilt GM 4L30E transmission!!

    '86 528e

    '87 Chrysler Conquest TSi w/5spd.

    '89 Merc. Grand Marquis

    BMWCCA member since 1998

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    Re: Bavsound...

    Thanks ... I did check them out and there is a lot of good info, especially their sub upgrade package.

    ... but I didn't see anything about upgrading the amp(s) in our cars and IMHO that is the weak link in the chain (although the speakers may well be crap too, even when powered properly ;-)

    I want to get more clean power to the speakers in my front doors, and since all the crossover action happens inside the amp (dsp processor??) I need to remove it all.

    I really need to find the source signals inside one of those 3 plugs (if it is really there) and then discover the best way to get said signal from there to my new amps.

    Thanks again,
    Michael in MD

    2003 540i 6-speed
    Sterling Gray / Black

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    Ok.

    '00 M5
    -Carbon Black
    -Blk/Blu interior
    -Rogue short shift kit

    '97 528i
    -'99 Double VANOS motor
    -Jet Black
    -Sand Beige interior
    -Black Dashboard (upper/lower) and Center Console
    -Black all leather shift handle
    -Debadged
    -Mr. MPL lower mesh grille
    -Shadowline (diy) ext. trim
    -Frenched high beams
    -Clear front turn signals
    -Red/clear taillights
    -Clear side markers
    -Amber fr. fog lamps
    -Rear fog lamps
    -In-dash CD player (CD53 Business)
    -Dice iPod integration kit
    -CMT5000VR cell phone (old tech.)
    -Bav. Autosport mats w/ B/A icon (blue)
    -Burlwood e-brake handle
    -///M dead pedal
    -Rear view mirror w/ compass
    -Chrome instr. rings
    -...and a rebuilt GM 4L30E transmission!!

    '86 528e

    '87 Chrysler Conquest TSi w/5spd.

    '89 Merc. Grand Marquis

    BMWCCA member since 1998

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    Try here...

    ...for stereo info, wiring diagrams, and possible upgrades. At the home page, click on "Tips and Tricks" and scroll down to the stereo section.

    www.bmwtips.com

    '00 M5
    -Carbon Black
    -Blk/Blu interior
    -Rogue short shift kit

    '97 528i
    -'99 Double VANOS motor
    -Jet Black
    -Sand Beige interior
    -Black Dashboard (upper/lower) and Center Console
    -Black all leather shift handle
    -Debadged
    -Mr. MPL lower mesh grille
    -Shadowline (diy) ext. trim
    -Frenched high beams
    -Clear front turn signals
    -Red/clear taillights
    -Clear side markers
    -Amber fr. fog lamps
    -Rear fog lamps
    -In-dash CD player (CD53 Business)
    -Dice iPod integration kit
    -CMT5000VR cell phone (old tech.)
    -Bav. Autosport mats w/ B/A icon (blue)
    -Burlwood e-brake handle
    -///M dead pedal
    -Rear view mirror w/ compass
    -Chrome instr. rings
    -...and a rebuilt GM 4L30E transmission!!

    '86 528e

    '87 Chrysler Conquest TSi w/5spd.

    '89 Merc. Grand Marquis

    BMWCCA member since 1998

  9. #9
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    Re: Try here...

    '00 M5
    -Carbon Black
    -Blk/Blu interior
    -Rogue short shift kit

    '97 528i
    -'99 Double VANOS motor
    -Jet Black
    -Sand Beige interior
    -Black Dashboard (upper/lower) and Center Console
    -Black all leather shift handle
    -Debadged
    -Mr. MPL lower mesh grille
    -Shadowline (diy) ext. trim
    -Frenched high beams
    -Clear front turn signals
    -Red/clear taillights
    -Clear side markers
    -Amber fr. fog lamps
    -Rear fog lamps
    -In-dash CD player (CD53 Business)
    -Dice iPod integration kit
    -CMT5000VR cell phone (old tech.)
    -Bav. Autosport mats w/ B/A icon (blue)
    -Burlwood e-brake handle
    -///M dead pedal
    -Rear view mirror w/ compass
    -Chrome instr. rings
    -...and a rebuilt GM 4L30E transmission!!

    '86 528e

    '87 Chrysler Conquest TSi w/5spd.

    '89 Merc. Grand Marquis

    BMWCCA member since 1998

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    Re: Try here...

    Thanks ... that was the first link I found and have read everything there. I also found a nice index of articles compiled from this site. Between them I think I have a good "basic" understanding of our systems, what I lack is specific knowledge that I'd hoped someone here could add about the box and plug layout I see in the trunk of my 2003 car. It looks different from the photos posted in those articles.

    Although I have installed systems before, I do not really have the knowledge to prob and trace out or find the signals on my own. I don't even own a meter

    I am good at following specific instructions though and am hoping to find someone here to help walk me through it ;-)

    Michael in MD

    2003 540i 6-speed
    Sterling Gray / Black

  11. #11
    Dave S.
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    Yes | No

    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.





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    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

    Andreas
    Queens NY
    BMWCCA# 186796
    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 (project for life)
    00 540is 6spd (daily driver)

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    Dave S.
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    Yes | No

    Stock head unit for the same reasons you said


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    Re: This isn't really going to help answer your

    Thanks Dave,

    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

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    Dave S.
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    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.

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    Re: Wiring Info

    I did exactly what you are describing you want tod: exchange the front speakers with better component speakers, and add an after-market amp. This is the primary link I used when deleting the DSP amp from my 540.

    http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/blogs/douglasabaker/

    Doug was also very helpful in answering questions and providing addt'l intelligence along the way.

    Good luck,
    Nick


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    Re: Wiring Info ... more

    Hi Nick,

    Thank you for that link ... I've just read and re-read it and my main question is still this

    Where is the radio plug located where the newly made Metra harness (speaker wire to RCA plugs) picks up the 4 channel analog output?

    I think I see that harness in one of Doug's pictures but there is nothing else in the picture for location reference. Is this something found on components in the dash, or am I missing a key piece in the trunk somewhere?

    I completely understand everything about the speaker connections and it looks like he/you used the stock speaker wires already in place in the doors. I assume they can handle the 50-100W's of new power.

    I just don't know where those dang RCA pre-outs are coming from (if the new harness has to plug into some box in the dash then I assume longer RCA patch cables were installed and run from front dash to rear trunk ... but nothing like that has been mentioned in any write-up I've read)

    Thanks so much for all the help folks, much appreciated.

    We're getting there ;-)

    Michael in MD

    2003 540i 6-speed
    Sterling Gray / Black

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    Re: Wiring Info ... more

    Not sure if this will work but here is the harness picture I'm asking about ... what is the location for this connection?


    http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/blo...ness-w-rca.jpg

    I've left the full address in case you need to search that thread for the image

    Michael in MD

    2003 540i 6-speed
    Sterling Gray / Black

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    Re: Metra location

    Michael:

    The Metra connector that you are replacing with the new one is behind the MID unit in the center console dash; the MID comes out of the dash unit by turning a small torx/hex head screw located in the bottom left corner of the MID 1/4 turn to the left. This releases the MID from the dash, although you will still need to tug on it to get it to slide out. You will then see the Metra plug sitting below the cassette deck connecting to the MID.

    You may recall seeing Doug's instruction to run a set of 4 RCA jacks from the area near the DSP amp to the front of the dash along/under the driver's side carpet trim panel; this will carry the line signals from the MID (radio tuner) to the new after-market amp. Then he/I used the existing speaker wires to connect to the crossovers for the component speakers; I used bullet connectors as he suggested so that I could easily return the vehicle to OEM condition upon sale of the car (which I ultimately had to do).

    Let me know if this is clear and answers your question.
    Nick

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    Re: Metra location

    Hi Nick,

    Yep, that answers my question (not that I like the answer though ;-) ... I don't look forward to removing the seats, carpet, trim etc to get those cables to the rear of the vehicle.

    I did not see any reference in his write-up (or anyone else's for that matter) that mentioned running RCA cables to the trunk. That is why I was confused when I couldn't find that radio box back there. I was going to remove the dsp amp today just to see what was behind it (hoping it was that connection)

    Here is the last paragraph at Doug's link you gave me

    ***DSP Explained :
    The screen in the front of the car is simply a dumb terminal

    ---that passes commands to the 4 units in the back: radio receiver, navigation, cd changer, and amplifier---

    In a DSP vehicle, the nav unit is connected to the radio (analog), the radio to the DSP amp (digital), and the CD to either the DSP amp (digital) or the radio (analog). The output from the radio unit is 2 channel (front) only and does not vary with volume. All modifications to the sound (volume, fader, treble, bass, DSP equalizer, etc) are controller by the amplifier which then provides 10-12 channels of amplification (depending on M-Audio or not)***

    Doug wrote that all 4 boxes are in the trunk ...

    Hoping that you've read this far I have one more area to ask about

    In the quote above he says that all controls were handled by the dsp amp (volume, balance, fade, bass, treble etc ... )

    What controls these functions once the stock dsp amp is disconnected and removed? Are all of those controls also present in the radio box once it is restored to analog?

    Something else --- Did you have to re-energize ANYTHING in the three plugs, found at the stock amp, beside the new stereo equipment (meaning ... is there anything important beside speaker leads in those three plugs that don't function once they are removed from that stock amp box??)

    I haven't seen anything that mentions a problem but those dang pinout diagrams and terms do confuse me somewhat

    Thanks again for all your help,

    Michael in MD

    2003 540i 6-speed
    Sterling Gray / Black

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