Neal

E46 M3 Stereo Build

95 posts in this topic

Thought I'd write up improving the factory E46 10 speaker audio system.

I'm going down the intergation with the factory system route which is $$$ debatable when you consider what a Dynavin can do and how easy it be to put a couple of amps off the back. I'm doing this as a techincal challenge as I work in IT communications and for my sins Manage staff rather than do much of hands on these days.

Project Objectives

Entry level home hifi sound quality in E46 M3

Use Factory Nav system as system control as much as possible

Use Netbook PC as System Source for multi media Control

Ability to 7000 track lossess audio libaray including flac and 96khz/24 bit Audio files

Keep factory look in interior

Choose Audio componets for Sound Quality with an eye on value for money

Have a usable boot that's not clutered amps / sub box

Resist the tempation of using neon and led lighting.

Learn about the e46 Ibus communications protocol

Learn more about the componets that are in the factory nav system

Do mods in a manner that car can be returned factory state later on

CD / DVD / Bluray capable system

The Factory system

6 inch Mid Bass in each front door. Tweeter & possbile midrange speaker top of doors

6 inch Mid Bass in rear pacel shelf , wider range tweeter in rear side pannel trip

Factory 16:9 Wide Screen with built in MD player ( I suspect Alpine brand)

Factory Alpine 6 CD changer (Analog out and Ibus controlled , but also look like it has SPDIF output)

Factory Lear TV tuner (not freeview capable)

Factory BM53 Tuner / preamp (Becker Brand) , System is pre MP3 firmware but supports basic RDS and maybe MD track tittle

Retrofited Mk4 Nav computer

Deleted JBit2 Telephone system (voice pre-wired with snap in box / mic etc)

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Audio System Source / Control

Going for Netbook rather than building in carpc , Andriod device, Tablet / Ipad

Thinking behind this has come down to open source software that will communicate with BMW ibus system and easy to add 1 TB+ of disk as media collection grows. Easier to run windows derived software at this stage.

Netbooks also have lower power consumption and you can manage the startup / sleep modes easier with having in built battery rather than timers and relays.

Source

Acer Netbook , Atom Procosser, 250 gig drive (will change to 750 gig when full) , wifi , 3g data via USB vodem

Windows 7 & Winamp for audio playback

Riderunner software with skin by "Reborn" http://www.mp3car.com/rr-released-skins/13...-5-17-12-a.html

Isus USB Blu Ray player

Jaycar VGA to Video Converter

Bluetooth 2.1 (100 meter standard) dongle and bluetooth Keyboard

Rolf Resler IBUS to USB adaptor and driver software ( http://reslers.de/ )

7 port USB Hub

12 Volt 40w netbook power supply

Will add freeview USB Tuner at later date (Looking to do BMW diversity Aerial intergration)

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What you have in mind looks exciting and very interesting!

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Audio System

It's largely a re-use of my old E36 system

Speakers

The e46 is currently running 6 inch mid basses in the doors and parcel shelf. Some larger 6.5's will fit but require mods to the factory mounts. Some people go as far as cutting holes in the door metal to give them a larger enclosuer. However , I believe this would make it too large and give boomy uncontroller midbass.

I'm staying with 5 1/4's as replacements as the rear magnet will fit within the gap available.

Speakers

Componets

A.D.S marketed a series of good sounding car component speakers in the mid 2000's . It turns out Percision Power was the OEM for these. For a while they made 5 1/4 speakers with smooth sounding silk tweeters and nicely built crossovers. They were PPI 355cs's with an NZ retail of around $1200. The first pair weren't far off this price , but as they are an old model they can be found on Ebay for around $400 NZD landed. I will be running these front and rear in passive mode.

Sub Stage I

I've had an old boston C110 for 12 years now. It's a small 10 inch box with a 10 inch passive radiator and rated for up to 850 watts. It has a nice tight sound is great on different styles of music. It won't make your ears bleed but can still do high 120 db's if cranked. I'll use this intially.

Amps

Soundstream is a brand thats been around for a while. A few year back they brought out the Stealth Series Amps which have a smaller footprint. They are designed for us older ones who don't want a boot full of audio and are unlikely to run them near maxium output where ideally you'd have larger heatskinks.

Models chosen where the 600d (600rms on class D design) and the 680 (4x120 rms on class AB design) Plenty of power and control and have reasonable sound quality for the price.

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the great thing about the INTERNET is that people share there knowledge.

Connecting into the factory E46 system is easy enough if you willing to make audio sacrificesis. The easy route would be to add the amp line outs into the speaker in on the amps. While the weak link in the factory system is the speakers I don't like the idea of having two amps in line before hearing the sound. Less is more ! Better to go closer to the source which in my case is the factory BM53 Tuner / mixer / pre-amp. (Pitty it wasn't the later dual tuner BM54)

The BM53 Tuner has 4 channels out Front L/R & Rear L/R . It's a very cleaver piece of electronic engineering for it's time. It will mix in nav audio with you music interrupt audio if a phone call comes in, Will switch and take over video inputs and the like. However , BMW & Becker decided that the line audio would use differential balanced audio which is great for it noise canceling over long cable runs. Typically the sort of thing that used to be run between mixers and pa amps in studios and rock concerts. Problem is that most after market car audio amps don't accept these pre-amp outputs. You can buy Balanced to standard unbalanced audio converters but they can leave their signature in the sound

Issues: Don't want to use speaker out inputs , don't want to use balanced / unbalanced convertors , my amps don't support balanced

Answer: Add RCA outputs straight off the pre-amp opamp outputs before they are changed to balanced outputs.

Photo one , The BM53 Tuner , Photo two , the NE4558's are the pre-out op amps. Solder RCA leads to the top capacitors. Note , use low heat as it's easy to have surface mounted components come off (Don't ask how I know :rolleyes: )

I though about upgrading the opamps for better sound quality but decided I'd end up spending days on re-working the audio stages. The BM53 NE4558 op amps aren't too bad and have been used in a few analog studio mixing desks. They aren't the most transparent opamp but finding replacements that can take varying car voltage changes and the cold / heat range proved challenging.

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Edited by Neal

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From memory PPI are in the Soundstream umbrella.

I've got a couple of BNIB subs left from my importing days. Image Dynamics IDQ10v3 dual 2 and IDQ12v3d2 if you're interested. Would take $175 ands $225 respectively + shipping. They are excellent sound quality and able to lay down a fair bass line too (130db+ in car with sealed enclosure). The Boston should still be pretty good though; if you're happy with that then no point spending extra cash.

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Cheers Rogan , Did notice the Soundstream rebadge of the latest PPI 3 ways. It sounds like PPI are no longer making speakers in the states to stay in business. Thanks for the offer of the subs.

I was going for a Boston spg555 as it mimics the shape of the Ski Port (13x9 inch) I brough the passive radiator and was going to buy the sub , but her indoors put the brakes on spending for a while pending new / first child.

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Cheers Rogan , Did notice the Soundstream rebadge of the latest PPI 3 ways. It sounds like PPI are no longer making speakers in the states to stay in business. Thanks for the offer of the subs.

I was going for a Boston spg555 as it mimics the shape of the Ski Port (13x9 inch) I brough the passive radiator and was going to buy the sub , but her indoors put the brakes on spending for a while pending new / first child.

interesting re the soundstream info....I have two sets of the PPI 356cs components in my e39. Sound is amazing.

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Been a while since an update. Been collecting gear , namely a Boston SPG555 and Pasive radiator and various electronic bits. Have a bunch of MDF in the garage and a box design software. Have mocked up a couple of designs , but they have failed the "Does the baby buggy fit in the boot if needed" test. Box was getting to 14 inchs deep to allow passive raditator to sit behind main driver and line up with ski port at a 70 degree angle to match back seat slope with a 28 litre internal volume.

Probably will end up with a slimmer box going futher across the backseat.

Also turns out my mid 2002 Bm53 tuner is pre - aux software and doesn't have Aux input. I've come across firmware for the eprom, but it's not clear if its for a bm54 or bm53. Rather risk turning the tuner into a teapot will go to plan B and go to an external aux source switcher.

Plan B, Would have solved the issue with a Alpine H800 processer and connected the PC and CD changer via digital connections and tuner via RCA. However , our new arrival last month has changed "projects" income.

Plan C, Go for a simple pre-amp crossover with AUX input. Have been watching out for the older Rockford Fosgate 3sixty.1 or 2 processors. There are two older versions (and a brilliant new version 3sixty.3). One with 1/3 octave eq and time alignment and one which is a basic crossover. Ended up finding a second hand 3sixty.1 which is the basic version which has high level and RCA in, plus Aux selectable via remote control switch.

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Edited by Neal

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Progress has been slow, it's amazing how much short the days seem since my daughter was born late last year.

Update

Tidied up none factory Nav loom and TV tuner loom. Brought a TV tuner retro wiring loom and removed old Jap Nav loom extras.

The CD stacker stopped loading CD's after the last track day. Took the unit out and cleaned up all the CD loading bits and re-lubbed with lithuim grease. Running good again.

Added a $30 E46 Ebay reverse cam, relay and wiring for power / video / reverse. Video Cam wasn't a great fit and required filing down and silicone around the edge. However , seems reliable enough.

Added a Reisler Ibus to USB adaptor and wired it into the BMW wiring loom. Simple exercise as it only needs power , earth and Ibus connections. Useful device as allows the PC to read Data on the Ibus. In turn I'm using software from the internet to interpret the Board Monitor Nav screen buttons and knobs to control Car Media software Rideruner and Carmedia

The E46 M3's have a reduced tyre well and only use a gunk pump rather than spare tyre. Not great if you get anything other than a puncture but perfect for dropping amps into. Did a bit of a boot mock up for an AMP Rack / Crossovers and Netbook. Looks like it will all fit. Not pictured is another set of crossovers and I still need to sort a USB powered DAC for the Netbook for better audio resolution.

Have added a USB powered hub so I can add more usb devices over time. So far will power and connect Bluetooth , 3G Data , Bluray , Ibus adaptors , video adaptor. Will add Freeview Tuner and Hi res audio Dac at a later date

Added a video Cable to TV Video Module Aux input. This will be used for displaying the Netbook via the 16:9 standard BMW screen. It's not the highest resolution screen but seems ok. Using a Dicksmith VGA to video convertor from the Netbook

Removed the Jap toll system card reader box from the glasses compartment. The USB bluray player seems to fit in it's place nicely. Will cover off any optical media.

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Edited by Neal

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This looks like great fun - wish I have the skills to follow suit - looking forward to the end result

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Been a while ! having a little one around the house certainly changes priorities and time.

Started on the ski pass enclosure. Have been playing around with a number of box designs for while. Rather than going deep into the boot have build the box to go along the back seat and follow the 20 degree angle of the back seat. That way I can still get the all important Baby Jogger into the boot.

Picked out a sub and a passive radiator again after having good experiences with Boston's old C110. This time will using a SPG555 and a SPG TR passive radiator. Main advantage is the it runs in a sealed box that's not too large. running 28 litre

Pics below is the box trial fit. , the box as seen via the ski port and the all important check to make sure the baby jogger will fit.

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very nice work :)

but this wont help it get around taupo any quicker :)

may i suggest what we use for kids , takes up no room.

http://www.trademe.co.nz/baby-gear/prams-s...n-588171573.htm

cheers .

i like the sound set up though

i used to do this sort of thing to all my cars , but have not bothered so much lately

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lol. I one had to plan an enclosure around a stroller. How priorities change. Nice work BTW. It'll now be another 6 months before you get another uninterrupted day to work on the car.

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cool stuff mate. love the sub box.

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Should consider one of these pram, takes up little space and goes well with the car.

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Now we are talking . Daughter still needs a 5 point as only just starting to sit up now.

Maybe not , $1300 NZ shipped :unsure:

Edited by Neal

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Don't know where you get that price from, it's no where near that.

Had a quick look on

Amazon + Shipito.com = US$550-ish landed

plus GST if you do get pinged on import.

Edited by SpikeyLemon

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How are you getting on with this?

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Sub box has had a good dose of filler. All wood work completed. Needs sanding and carpet / paint. Also need to make up a front baffle board this weekend. The idea is to fill the boot gaps around the edges to force more of the speaker via the ski pass in a manner similar to a IB baffle board setup.

Then next steps simple amp rack for / PC / Crossover to use area where gunk tyre pump sits.

Last step will be working out what quadloc / amp spade connectors to working in with Nav Speaker loom if I can't get aftermarket speaker cabling into the front doors without butchering the door wire connectors. Tossing up trying door install for tweeters rather than my usual front dash /A pillar corner installs.

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Sub box has had a good dose of filler. All wood work completed. Needs sanding and carpet / paint. Also need to make up a front baffle board this weekend. The idea is to fill the boot gaps around the edges to force more of the speaker via the ski pass in a manner similar to a IB baffle board setup.

Then next steps simple amp rack for / PC / Crossover to use area where gunk tyre pump sits.

Last step will be working out what quadloc / amp spade connectors to working in with Nav Speaker loom if I can't get aftermarket speaker cabling into the front doors without butchering the door wire connectors. Tossing up trying door install for tweeters rather than my usual front dash /A pillar corner installs.

Wow, good job.

Looking forward to seeing how it looks completed. Wish I had the skills to do something like this :rolleyes:

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Sub box has had a good dose of filler. All wood work completed. Needs sanding and carpet / paint. Also need to make up a front baffle board this weekend. The idea is to fill the boot gaps around the edges to force more of the speaker via the ski pass in a manner similar to a IB baffle board setup.

Then next steps simple amp rack for / PC / Crossover to use area where gunk tyre pump sits.

Last step will be working out what quadloc / amp spade connectors to working in with Nav Speaker loom if I can't get aftermarket speaker cabling into the front doors without butchering the door wire connectors. Tossing up trying door install for tweeters rather than my usual front dash /A pillar corner installs.

I'm assuming the M3 has integrated tweeters from factory? I recently upgraded the front staging in the Mrs' passat using factory tweeter mounts, was easier than I anticipated. Sounds significantly better than A-pillar locations too.

Enclosure looking good so far man, will be very interested to see what you do for the racking.

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Your comments are interesting on the VW. Does it have time alignment compensation ?

The M3 has mid and tweeter in the upper door. The mid doesn't sound to bad, but I'm not a fan of the tweeter, BMW sell blanking mid / tweeter blanking plates so I'd drop a tweeter into one of those.

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Made the boot baffle board today. Trial fit wasn't too bad. Will add some foam rubber to the edges and carpet over the foam. Should give a snug fit. Next stage carpet to match boot and spray front enclosure baffle gun metal.

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