Neal

E46 M3 Stereo Build

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Box finished, Front baffle surround removable so subwoofer can be removed for track days etc.

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Edited by Neal

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Working on building amp rack next to Sat Nav rack. Trial fit stage. Looks like I can use existing frame and holes by adding brackets.

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Managed to get time again this week to work on the car.

Started on the front door builds. Going 2 way passive rather than the 3 way active factory system. While this sound like a downgrade the quality of the two way PPi 355CS have greater clarity and headroom. These speakers will have 100 rms on tap from the amp with a low pass filter of 80 hz. I'm trying the factory door locations this time for tweeter rather than my usual dash / pillar location.

Factory doors & Speakers

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Tweeter install

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Mid Bass & Crossover install

Used a combination of the mid bass mounting ring and a e46 to 5 1/4 adaptor ring

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PPI crossovers are huge ! just managed to fit the cross over in with 3mm to spare on depth.

Used hot glue to mount which can be removed later if needed

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Added wiring and door card finished

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Running 14 Gauge cable to all speakers. Want to leave the old cable intact so the car can be returned to factory if need be.

Getting door connectors to accept new speaker wire is a bit of a misson. Took a while to remove trim panels , glovebox , side trims etc.

The connector on the car interior comes apart and the door speaker connector can be removed. This allows room for speaker wire to be added.

Audio is contained within the left hand rectangle

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Speaker wire through first connector

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Door side connector is not as straight forward. However , the connector can be taken apart and carefully trimmed to remove the audio section.

 

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Then a case of threading it all together. Old fashion washing line is great to use as a pilot wire to pull the speaker wire through the connectors and door garter.

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Door card ready to re-attach.

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Edited by Neal
missing picture

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The rear seat card has a factory 2 inch mid range. I'm going to try this location for mounting the rear tweeters (Also using PPI 355Cs two ways in the rear)

The tweeter can with a number of mounting cups. I've installed the version that tilts the tweeter up slightly.

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Old and new

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Next

The rear speakers. Ran into some issues with mounting the mid basses in the rear factory locations. Speakers sit 5 mm too high. Will need to modify the baskets and make up some custom spacers. Looks like crossovers will be able to sit on parcel tray. A few mm of height to spare.

To be continued .....

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Hi Neal,

Looking at the last photo what a mission looks like you had to strip the interior and the boot total. Nicely done on the door card lay out and tweeters hope the remainder is a breeze if I may what is your goal with this?.

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Cheers Tim

I guess in terms of goals a man has to have enjoyable projects. For me I've been tinkering with audio since my first kit set amp at the age of 12.

Until recently it's been easy to improve on BMW sound systems. With this build the focus is on improving clarity and dynamic headroom of the system. Also the reason of integrating a PC means I've got my music catalog on tap in lossless format .:

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Progressed to rear parcel shelve. My original idea was to mount the crossovers in the tyre well . After taking the interior out I released that the rear parcel shelve had the potential to conceal the rear PPI 355cs crossovers. A quick check revelled there was just enough height to do so.

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14 Gauge speaker wire has been added to ensure minimal cable loss.

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The sound damping was trimmed to allow the rear parcel tray to fit

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Rear speaker replacement proved to be problematic. The 355cs are a similar depth to factory speakers. It initially looked like simple adaptors would mean the speakers would just bolted in. The best part of a day later I finally managed to mount them.

Adaptor rings were offset mounted and trimmed down. This stopped the rear speaker magnet assemblies fouling on the inner basket. The bottom of the speaker has 2 mm clearance .

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The cone excursion comes within 3 mm of the covers. I'll see how these sound , otherwise will make up an alternative.

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Car came with the japan eject box. The iphone 5 was too wide to fit in. Idea is to add charging , passive aerial , audio and video out from the phone. Used a rotary tool to trim the plastic so the phone would fit. More work to do.

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Has anyone recoated the rubber console trim on their e46's ? Mine needs a good tidy up and not sure if I should plasti coat it , wrap it or go leather covering like the BMW individual consoles ?

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seen people use plasti dip, looked pretty good....extended leather is always nicer but more $$$$

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I wouldn't plastidip any surface I have to touch - wrapping would be my preference.

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I wouldn't plastidip any surface I have to touch

+1 jusr going to come away again.

leather it is :D

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Had a good look when adding extra cables for processor and iPhone audio and video. Based on the above I might try spraying or replacing the ashtray and aircon relation panel and getting the main console covered. Probably similar price to replacing with new bits but should be more durable.

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Neal, have you consider holesawing a hole in the front doors behind your speakers so they can breath?

An added benifit is the speakers can then be mounted to the actual door, instead of the door card as this is far from ideal.

Nice fabrication and workmanship btw.

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I think you could be right. I modelled the mid bass and looked best between 2 - 2.5 litres if put in an enclosure. I'm just loathed to cut the inner doors on the M3 and suspect the total area of the door will be too large. Will check with RTA later on but with 130mm drivers it's hard to get punchy lower mid bass.

I connected up a home hifi amp and ran the speakers up and compared the fronts to the backs. Wasn't a huge difference but the mid bass did sound better at the back where it has the whole boot to vent into. However , been a while since I'd heard PPi's and they are sounding good and a substantial setup from factory 10 speaker hifi.

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Yea, should be a huge improvement over the terrible stock system.

There are a few diys on the net of guys doing the hole in the door mod on the e46 with great success.

You make up a large spacer out of mdf or similar and that mounts to the door, and the speaker mounts to the spacer.

It looks completely stock as the doorcard remains unchanged and just sits over the top as normal.

On the two door part of the window mechanism is behind that hole, so once you are through the sheetmetal stop straight away.

The other thing I would suggest if you havnt done it already would be sound deadener in the front doors.

IMO both things are worth doing considering the speakers you are using.

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Started work on mounting the 3sixty.1 electronic crossover and source selector. One the base tune is done the unit can be controlled and configured via Bluetooth on the netbook.

The factory amp has been removed and the space will be taken by the 3sixty. The Amp was also acted as a brace for the equipment rack so a bracket was modified to take it's place.

The old Japan Telephone module bracket looked about the right size.

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The bracket was trimmed down, rivnuts added and sixty was mounted at roughly 45 degrees to allow room for audio interconnects.

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The angle here was important so that the interconnects can fit without obstructing the boot corner tray that the amps will be mounted on

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Edited by Neal

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