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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 F10 Technical Topics Navigation, iDrive, Audio, Video, Bluetooth, Phone, Coding F10 HiFi Upgrade - A DIY Journey
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      07-15-2014, 01:18 PM   #1
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F10 HiFi Upgrade - A DIY Journey

Like most of you, I found the standard HiFi system equipped F10 sound quality to be inadequate at best (lacking clarity and soul). However at this time, Im not willing or have enough justifications to spend a lot of hard earned cash to upgrade the sound system on an already expensive vehicle. One would think or expect a $50K plus vehicle comes with some decent audio setup (I dont mean BOSE). If you have not seemed the OEM speakers, you will surely be very disappointed on the quality of the speakers upon discovery (look at the size of the speaker magnet, they dont even make good refrigerator magnet).

Name:  IMG_0503 (640x480).jpg
Views: 11920
Size:  150.5 KB OEM Door and rear deck speakers

There are a lot of decent aftermarket speaker out there (Focal, MB, Gladen, BSW, Eton, and etc.), however they are a bit pricey and not all are available in the US. Frankly, you are not going to maximize the sound quality by just upgrading the speakers. We all know that the weakness link in the system is the OEM amp (rated at 2 ohm) and there is no point in replacing the 8 woofers without an amp upgrade. However that does not mean we cannot achieve high quality sound without breaking the bank. The goals for my design are as follows:
o Replacement speakers must be at least as efficient as OEM, (no loss of SPL from OEM amp),
o Tweeter and mid play nice together to eliminate resister padding,
o Low crossover component count to minimize cost and ease of installation, (first order preferred),
o No modifications or cutting of door panel or rear parcel shelf, (everything must fit as OEM), and
o All harnesses used will be plug and play (PNP) to avoid cutting factory harness and to be reversible if ever needed to go back to OEM.

The hardest part of the design is to find the tweeter and mid combination that meet the design goals. There are a few highly regarded 4 (100 cm) mid that have very nice specifications but the efficiency is just not high enough or the depth is too tall to fit the bill. For the door application, the speaker mounting depth must be less than 50 mm, not good but better than F30 which is 20 mm less. Through many hours of research, I found a 4 (100 cm) mid made in Italy that has high efficiency (90 dB) and less than 50 mm in depth. It uses the more expensive neodymium magnet instead of ferrite. Focal uses the same type of magnet in its speaker for BMW application. The cost for the mid is reasonable given the neodymium magnet used. The cone is not made out of exotic materials, but with decent treated paper with rubber surround and stamped steel basket. The OEM rear speaker is also a 4 mid but the mounting point is smaller than the door speaker; therefore you cant use the same mid in the door for the rear deck unless you want to hack up the rear parcel shelf which Im not willing to do. Lucky, the same Italian manufacturer makes the exact speaker in a 3 variety. This is no sonic difference going from a 4 to a 3 mid. Since there is no depth constraint for the rear deck, I use the ferrite version as a cost saving. The OEM tweeter is a 1 textile dome and is wired parallel with the mid. All of the 1 aftermarket tweeters have a slightly larger overall diameter and will require some physical hacking to the sail pane and rear mount in order to fit in the OEM locations. So for the tweeter, I went with a soft dome instead of the normal 1. Again there is no sonic difference between a and 1 tweeter, may even have better dispersion due to smaller dome. For the sail pane, simply pop out the OEM tweeter and hot glue the new tweeter in place.

Name:  IMG_0510 (640x480).jpg
Views: 9378
Size:  139.5 KB New Tweeter Hot Glued in Sail Pane

Any visible gaps will be covered up by foam backing. For the rear deck mount, you will need to remove the existing hot glue used to hold the OEM tweeter and re hot glue the new tweeter in place.

Name:  IMG_0487 (640x480).jpg
Views: 9400
Size:  123.0 KB OEM Removed from Tweeter Mount
Name:  IMG_0489 (640x480).jpg
Views: 9178
Size:  113.2 KB New Tweeter Hot Glued in Rear Decker Tweeter Mount

For the crossover design, I maintained the same topography as OEM, mid at full range and first order for the tweeter. This was done to reduce overall cost/complexity and simplify the installation. I used metallized film capacitor instead of the electrolytic, no reason here to save a penny or two for the capacitor. After many hours of listening and adjustment cap value, I settled on a crossover point that let the tweeter blends with the mid. HiFi equipped F10 also comes with a center mid and tweeter just like the one used in the rear deck, I just simply remove them since I didnt found it necessary to have a center channel for sound/stereo imaging effect. I made my own PNP wiring harness and CNC plastic speaker adaptors for the door and rear deck.

Name:  IMG_0490 (640x480).jpg
Views: 9623
Size:  156.7 KB Plug and Play Wiring Harnesses

The result is best described as fanatics; even other family members noticed the difference right away. The clarity on the vocals and individual instruments come through unlike the muffled sounds from the OEM speakers; you can hear the subtle details in the vocals and each string instrument in particular. The mid bass is much tighter than OEM, but dont expect very low since the OEM woofers are still handling that range of frequency. The results definitely justify the minor investment (price to performance ratio vs. other aftermarket offering). I can live with this new setup for a long time without feeling the need to upgrade the OEM woofers and amp. Be warned, crappy recording will sound even crappier in the new setup than in the OEM. Please PM me if you are interested in upgrading your F10 setup, I can put together a package for you, front only or front plus rear (speakers, adaptors, and wiring harnesses as shown).

Name:  IMG_0511 (640x480).jpg
Views: 12562
Size:  221.0 KB New Mid Installed (front door)
Name:  IMG_0493 (640x640).jpg
Views: 12531
Size:  293.1 KB New Mid Installed (rear deck)
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Views: 9321
Size:  158.0 KB New tweeter and mid (front door)
Name:  IMG_0509 (640x480).jpg
Views: 9135
Size:  145.5 KB New tweeter and mid (rear deck)
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      07-17-2014, 03:42 PM   #2
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Nice clean install.
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      07-18-2014, 12:48 PM   #3
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Cool DIY, do the speakers look any different once put into place? How is the sound difference, (% wise?) am pretty interested in upgrading.

PM a price for front, and for front and rear.

Thanks.
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      07-23-2014, 11:26 PM   #4
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IMHO its 100% better than OEM HiFi, of course Im a little biased. I have forgotten the awful OEM sounds and would never go back. If anyone in the OC area and would like to do a comparison with their OEM, HK or other PNP OEM amp systems, Im open to a local meet and listening evaluation. I interested in getting honest feedback from other forum members since sound quality is very subjective.
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      09-19-2014, 01:23 PM   #5
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By your description, it sounds like you're using the FaitalPRO 4FE32 speakers for the front doors, and the 3FE25 speakers in the rear deck. Is that correct? If so, nice find, as those are a very inexpensive upgrade, only costing $37 per 4" neodymium midrange, and $19 per 3" ferrite mid.

Which tweeters did you go with?
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      09-19-2014, 02:08 PM   #6
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Yes, you are corrected. The FaitalPro are not the best looking speaker out there, but you can't see them behind OEM grills, completely stealth installation. They sure sounds very nice with emphasis on vocal range. I'm using the Dayton 3/4 silk dome tweeter to argument the very upper frequency and to keep the impedance to 2 ohm as OEM.
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      12-11-2014, 05:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAF10
Like most of you, I found the standard HiFi system equipped F10 sound quality to be inadequate at best (lacking clarity and soul). However at this time, Im not willing or have enough justifications to spend a lot of hard earned cash to upgrade the sound system on an already expensive vehicle. One would think or expect a $50K plus vehicle comes with some decent audio setup (I dont mean BOSE). If you have not seemed the OEM speakers, you will surely be very disappointed on the quality of the speakers upon discovery (look at the size of the speaker magnet, they dont even make good refrigerator magnet).

Attachment 1059790 OEM Door and rear deck speakers

There are a lot of decent aftermarket speaker out there (Focal, MB, Gladen, BSW, Eton, and etc.), however they are a bit pricey and not all are available in the US. Frankly, you are not going to maximize the sound quality by just upgrading the speakers. We all know that the weakness link in the system is the OEM amp (rated at 2 ohm) and there is no point in replacing the 8 woofers without an amp upgrade. However that does not mean we cannot achieve high quality sound without breaking the bank. The goals for my design are as follows:
o Replacement speakers must be at least as efficient as OEM, (no loss of SPL from OEM amp),
o Tweeter and mid play nice together to eliminate resister padding,
o Low crossover component count to minimize cost and ease of installation, (first order preferred),
o No modifications or cutting of door panel or rear parcel shelf, (everything must fit as OEM), and
o All harnesses used will be plug and play (PNP) to avoid cutting factory harness and to be reversible if ever needed to go back to OEM.

The hardest part of the design is to find the tweeter and mid combination that meet the design goals. There are a few highly regarded 4 (100 cm) mid that have very nice specifications but the efficiency is just not high enough or the depth is too tall to fit the bill. For the door application, the speaker mounting depth must be less than 50 mm, not good but better than F30 which is 20 mm less. Through many hours of research, I found a 4 (100 cm) mid made in Italy that has high efficiency (90 dB) and less than 50 mm in depth. It uses the more expensive neodymium magnet instead of ferrite. Focal uses the same type of magnet in its speaker for BMW application. The cost for the mid is reasonable given the neodymium magnet used. The cone is not made out of exotic materials, but with decent treated paper with rubber surround and stamped steel basket. The OEM rear speaker is also a 4 mid but the mounting point is smaller than the door speaker; therefore you cant use the same mid in the door for the rear deck unless you want to hack up the rear parcel shelf which Im not willing to do. Lucky, the same Italian manufacturer makes the exact speaker in a 3 variety. This is no sonic difference going from a 4 to a 3 mid. Since there is no depth constraint for the rear deck, I use the ferrite version as a cost saving. The OEM tweeter is a 1 textile dome and is wired parallel with the mid. All of the 1 aftermarket tweeters have a slightly larger overall diameter and will require some physical hacking to the sail pane and rear mount in order to fit in the OEM locations. So for the tweeter, I went with a soft dome instead of the normal 1. Again there is no sonic difference between a and 1 tweeter, may even have better dispersion due to smaller dome. For the sail pane, simply pop out the OEM tweeter and hot glue the new tweeter in place.

Attachment 1059787 New Tweeter Hot Glued in Sail Pane

Any visible gaps will be covered up by foam backing. For the rear deck mount, you will need to remove the existing hot glue used to hold the OEM tweeter and re hot glue the new tweeter in place.

Attachment 1059792 OEM Removed from Tweeter Mount
Attachment 1059785 New Tweeter Hot Glued in Rear Decker Tweeter Mount

For the crossover design, I maintained the same topography as OEM, mid at full range and first order for the tweeter. This was done to reduce overall cost/complexity and simplify the installation. I used metallized film capacitor instead of the electrolytic, no reason here to save a penny or two for the capacitor. After many hours of listening and adjustment cap value, I settled on a crossover point that let the tweeter blends with the mid. HiFi equipped F10 also comes with a center mid and tweeter just like the one used in the rear deck, I just simply remove them since I didnt found it necessary to have a center channel for sound/stereo imaging effect. I made my own PNP wiring harness and CNC plastic speaker adaptors for the door and rear deck.

Attachment 1059791 Plug and Play Wiring Harnesses

The result is best described as fanatics; even other family members noticed the difference right away. The clarity on the vocals and individual instruments come through unlike the muffled sounds from the OEM speakers; you can hear the subtle details in the vocals and each string instrument in particular. The mid bass is much tighter than OEM, but dont expect very low since the OEM woofers are still handling that range of frequency. The results definitely justify the minor investment (price to performance ratio vs. other aftermarket offering). I can live with this new setup for a long time without feeling the need to upgrade the OEM woofers and amp. Be warned, crappy recording will sound even crappier in the new setup than in the OEM. Please PM me if you are interested in upgrading your F10 setup, I can put together a package for you, front only or front plus rear (speakers, adaptors, and wiring harnesses as shown).

Attachment 1059786 New Mid Installed (front door)
Attachment 1059798 New Mid Installed (rear deck)
Attachment 1059813 New tweeter and mid (front door)
Attachment 1059788 New tweeter and mid (rear deck)
Hey you mentioned that speakers for the front doors need to be less than 50mm. Is that the absolute MAXIMUM allowed or would a speaker that is 52mm fit??
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      12-11-2014, 06:39 PM   #8
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I believe you can get away with 52 mm. I think 55 mm is the max.
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      12-11-2014, 07:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAF10
I believe you can get away with 52 mm. I think 55 mm is the max.
I really hope that is the case. I went to a shop that stated they could put jl audio c2 or c3 components. I told them about the mounting depth issue but they stated those speakers would be fine. This particular place is very popular, has been around for 20 years, and has a reputation for good work. But I still can't help but think they are wrong in the fact that those speakers will not fit, if they did we would have seen other fellow owners with them here on the board. The shop also quoted me about $800 for an audio control lc7i installed because "it involves taking out the backseat and takes most of the day." True? Or ripoff?
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      12-11-2014, 10:23 PM   #10
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poor stock speaker

omg you see this little chick
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      01-09-2018, 01:19 PM   #11
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Where can we buy the center dash speaker mid adaptor and the door mid speaker adaptors?

what about the wiring with builtin capacitor for tweeter?

what else is needed?
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      06-11-2018, 11:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steeve13m View Post
Where can we buy the center dash speaker mid adaptor and the door mid speaker adaptors?

what about the wiring with builtin capacitor for tweeter?

what else is needed?
Hi Stevie,
Did you make any progress on this?

Thanks
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      01-13-2019, 05:46 AM   #13
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Is there any way to improve sound of quality of the car? Hifi is terrible for me. Unfortunately my budget is limited and I can not afford for expensive speakers. What do you suggest guys? :/
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      01-13-2019, 03:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KBC View Post
Is there any way to improve sound of quality of the car?...
Not without replacing components.
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      01-16-2019, 04:25 AM   #15
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If you own HIFI system, the first thing to replace is the amp with Match UP 7BMW. You can get it around USD 700 from ebay.
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      03-13-2019, 06:22 AM   #16
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If you replace the amp that goes with the Hifi-system, can you use the power-wire from the original amp? Or do you need to run a new one with heavier fuse?
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      03-13-2019, 08:58 PM   #17
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"If you replace the amp that goes with the Hifi-system, can you use the power-wire from the original amp? Or do you need to run a new one with heavier fuse?"


The Match UP 7BMW comes with the harness... No power wire needs added. The amp seems like its twice as heavy as the stock 205w amp though they are similar in size. The Match UP 7BMW has the same basic hardware as the Revenant Amp that Bavsound just introduced. I just purchased and installed the Revenant Amp, but it is too early to give any thoughts other than I don't like their preset calibration - sounds way too bright. The amp has several DSP technologies, some of which are poorly setup at this time, IMHO. I have confidence in the hardware, and I think I can get the calibration improved by eliminating some of the DSP enhancements and changing the EQ to solve the treble. The amp seems to have PLENTY of power.

Last edited by SC300T; 03-13-2019 at 09:03 PM.. Reason: quote
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      03-14-2019, 01:32 PM   #18
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When we're referring to hifi this is the HK (though not labeled) option right? Can tell by having the triangle tweeters in the door? Thought you couldn't replace that amp.
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      03-15-2019, 12:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SC300T View Post
"If you replace the amp that goes with the Hifi-system, can you use the power-wire from the original amp? Or do you need to run a new one with heavier fuse?"


The Match UP 7BMW comes with the harness... No power wire needs added. The amp seems like its twice as heavy as the stock 205w amp though they are similar in size. The Match UP 7BMW has the same basic hardware as the Revenant Amp that Bavsound just introduced. I just purchased and installed the Revenant Amp, but it is too early to give any thoughts other than I don't like their preset calibration - sounds way too bright. The amp has several DSP technologies, some of which are poorly setup at this time, IMHO. I have confidence in the hardware, and I think I can get the calibration improved by eliminating some of the DSP enhancements and changing the EQ to solve the treble. The amp seems to have PLENTY of power.
Hi, I also have a Revenant Amp as well. And I installed it on my 2013 F10 with the Bavsound tune file for OEM hifi speakers. I found that with this tune file, my center channel actually has no output or at least it has been tuned quite low. Is it the same with your center channel?
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      03-16-2019, 05:50 AM   #20
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Upgraded HK speakers with Faital Pro 4FE32 and Eminence SD28

Just done the upgrade from stock BMW HK speakers to Faital Pro 4FE32 and Eminence SD28 tweeter. I'm using 2nd order crossover around 3khz. My initial assessment is for lower volume, I can't hear much difference compare to stock speakers. But once I turn the volume up more than 50%, I can hear the new setup sounds more compose and willing to go louder without distortion. Normally for stock speakers once I hit 75%, will sound harsh.

Note that if you want to use 4FE32 for center channel and rear channel, you need to cut both lower mounting arm.
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Last edited by pierreye; 03-16-2019 at 05:56 AM..
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      03-21-2019, 12:41 PM   #21
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"Hi, I also have a Revenant Amp as well. And I installed it on my 2013 F10 with the Bavsound tune file for OEM hifi speakers. I found that with this tune file, my center channel actually has no output or at least it has been tuned quite low. Is it the same with your center channel?"

I'm returning mine largely because it has zero adjustability. The sound is far too bright. It does have lots of power and clarity, though. As far as the center channel, mine has some output, but not terribly noticeable. The electronics do a good job of summing center channel signals and blending it with the left and right. I think the soundstaging / imaging is very good. I'll just get the 7UP BMW version so that I can tune it. The other thing that I don't like is that it has a variable high pass filter on the sub channels that is designed to limit excursion of low bass at high levels. You can definitely hear the drop off in the low bass at high levels. I'm sure this is on purpose to prevent overdriving the stock subs.
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      03-21-2019, 05:56 PM   #22
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You can disable the sub channels protection for high levels.I would only do that if swaping out the stock underseat sub. As for the sound too bright, try to slope down 5 khz and above to 20 khz with 3db. Check out Harman target curve or JBL curve. I also found out that stock speakers do sound harsh and too bright at high volume. You might want to try out silk tweeter.

Last edited by pierreye; 03-22-2019 at 09:11 PM..
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