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Old 03-07-2004, 11:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What I thought would be a simple upgrade, has turned into something of a Crusade. The sound in my 2000 540i was not sufficient enough. So I led myself to believe that I could take the amp and sub from my previous car '99 SVT Contour (MTX Audio 5-Channel 800W & 10in box) and have a quick remedy to my problem. The sound from this setup (w/ 3-way Pioneers in the doors and back with a Blaukpunt unit) was awesome!! So one would think a simple swap would be a "Good" thing...WRONG!! After my favorite shop spent nearly 10 hours working on my car, the sound is actually worse than before!

I was given the MA Audio Y3K5C 5.25in 250w component system as a gift, which I figured had to be an improvement over the factory. With a more powerful amp and a big sub...where could I go wrong??

Here's the current setup on the new MTX 5 Channel Amp...Keeping the OEM BMW head unit, I have the front doors (5 1/4 and 2 components each) occupy the first 2 channels, the rears (5 1/4s rear window and 1 component in doors) take another 2 channels, and the sub box in the trunk take the 5th channel. This was a nightmare for the installer, as he had to disconnect every component connection from the original OEM amp and re-route everything to the new amp. I was surprised to find out that I had two tiny little subs hidden above the trunk! Surprised, because I have never been happy with the level of bass the OEM setup produced. These subs are still being run by the OEM amp. The OEM speakers were a killer to get out of the car, as they had to literally remove my entire back seat. I was nearly in tears. So, 10 hours later I had a banging new sound system right??? WRONG AGAIN!! It sounds "Ugly".

My installer is confident the outputs are all correct, but before blaming the speakers, he's going to test the polarity of the inputs (??), but suggested not buying new speakers before he tested it later this week. Of course I did not listen, and just bought some MTX Audio Thunger8000 T8.5 components, thinking that the MA Audio's are too weak/cheap for this setup. I'm taking my car back in later this week for the test and to install the MTX's, hoping that this does the trick.

Has anyone successfully upgraded the speaker setup on their 5 series w/out changing the Head Unit? I'm stuck now on this "expensive" Sound Crusade and would appreciate anyone who could let me know there is an eventual happy ending in sight!! Thanks. ghead
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Old 03-08-2004, 09:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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MTX is pretty entry level, that could be a source of your SQ issue.

Replacing the stock HU is the only way to radically improve the sound, even with another amp powering the speakers.
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Old 03-09-2004, 07:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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chaing the HUs in 5 series newer than 96 is a pain. There was a local install shop who thought about tring on my GFs 528i and called back saying they didn't want to risk breaking it.
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Old 03-19-2004, 11:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I had some success when I took it back to the installer. They played with it for another 3 hours, hooking up alot of diagnostic equipment to it. The sound is alot better, but is far from my expectations. The final analysis is that the BMW OEM head unit limits one's ability to get any real sound improvement.
I see alot of experience w/ sound upgrades from 3 series on this forum, but no one ever talks about 5 series upgrades. Am I the only 5 unhappy with how their system sounds?
Calling all 5 owners....what's up??
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Old 03-20-2004, 02:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah B we were just discussing this yesterday.......
....NICE CAR
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Old 03-20-2004, 07:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm not sure what that last post was about jllphan, but okay...."B".

Well, after much searching (with very little help from this and other forums) I've been able to find out some great advice for greatly improving the OEM 5-series head units that have the DSP option. I made the adjustments and my system sounds a heck of alot better!! So much in fact, that I'm sharing the information with anyone who'd like to try it. This advice came from an old archive back in 2001 about the DSP systems, specifically for the 5 series.

To begin with, the stock DSP settings are only good at moderate volume settings and on certain cd's or stations. CD's and some Radio stations are using reverbs and echo's - DSP amplifies that. It also has the ability to FOOL the Bass response at higher volumes. It is sending 2 signals to the bass driver when that speaker is only expecting 1. Distortion is eminent in this case and worse when I added a high power amp and subwoofer.

But, programming Memory settings 1-2-3 adjusts to the ideal sound setting, giving really impressive improvements.

Memory 1
Set the Room to position 2
Set the Echo to position 2
Set the EQ to the following positions:
#1 - max, #2 - 1 short of max, #3 - +3, #4 - flat, #5 - +2, #6 - 1 short of max, #7 - max.

The separate Bass and Trebel on the tape deck are also set at MAX. - With this set-up virtualy everything sounds incredible even at very high volumes. But if you're adding an additional power amp and subwoofer like I have, you'll probably want to keep the Bass flat.

Memory 2 is set the same with the only change to EQ positions #1 - 2 short of max and #2 is maxed. - This allows for certain high Bass cd's - Rap/Hip-hop to be played without the bass distorting. These CD's tend to be recorded with ultra low bass in the 18-20 hz range. This will distort sound with the DSP set with any echo or room size.

Memory 3 is set the same as Mem1 except all Room and Echo is removed. This will allow for max Bass response at High Volumes.

If you are used to $1500-$5000 aftermarket systems with 100+++watts and 2-4 10-15 inch subwoofers, than yes, the OEM Head Unit and electronics will never bounce quarters off of your roof or win any parking lot contests....but then again, I'm now happy with the fact that I can put off the expensive decision of having to replace my head unit and potentially loose my computer and connected functions.
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Old 03-21-2004, 01:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was merely alluding to the fact that a thread posted the day prior to yours contained much information pertaining to your dilema. My casual use of vocabulary "B" was a humble attempt to not come off as offensive and condescending. Had you clicked on my link you would have found that this forum can be very helpful contrarry to your remarks.

I'm glad you have learned how to use your oem head unit, if you need help opening your sunroof, the owner's manual will undoubtedly contain such info as well.
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Old 03-21-2004, 08:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 03-21-2004, 09:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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jllphan...youre a funny dude. Sarcastic as all hell, but funny. I can appreciate that. I didn't recognize your "...." as a link. My ignorance on not understanding yet the language of the forum...but I digress.

Your attempt to help was gone unthanked...so thank you. I would have been just as frustrated w/ the commentary provided, but I appreciate the effort. I'm a noobie (obviously), and I have to get use to seeing a mess load of "views", but no posts when someone asks for help. I'm sure I'll get several posts responding to your witty remark (which was deserved) like the guy, but I've been looking for a forum that mugs actually got something personally out of giving advice from their experience and love of the BMW....especially to noobies.

Patience is not one of my stronger virtues...if that was the case, I would be driving a 3 series! Just kidding...my driving instructor drives an M3 and my pops owns a 330...but I bet I'll get more posts about that comment than if I'd asked how to open my sunroof.
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Old 03-22-2004, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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funny you mention the 3series remark, i just downshifted (poor college kid)from a 5 to a 3. It most certainly was not a big 8, but your remarks are certainly justified (still adjusting to all the plastic pieces--ha ha).

Keep me abreast of what ultimately emerges as your new sound system, my father is searching for a newer certified 5, and i'm sure upon purchase, i won't be able to leave his "stock rocker" alone!!!

At any rate, I'm relatively new to this forum as well and have found it to be useful, I hope you find it the same.
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