Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 28/6/2020)

Specific discussion about the E89 2009 Z4 (sDrive35is, sDrive35i, sDrive30i, sDrive23i)
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Pbondar
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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 4/9/2019)

Post by Pbondar » Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:44 am

john-e89 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:29 am
Pbondar wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:43 pm
Dru2000D wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:34 pm
How much was all that if you don't mind me asking?! Looks like a seriously interesting swapout for the standard speakers :thumbsup:
Well it was as follows approx...

Match DSP amp £600
Alpine subwooofer amp £125
Door speakers £225
Rear Speakers £205
Centre Speaker £110
Woofers £180
Subwoofers £330
Sample mic £125


Plus soldering iron/connectors/wire etc £50 ish

Plus probably around 10 man days total effort..

Not cheap....
Not willy waving but I’d be very interested to hear what that lot sounds like compared to the Burmester in the Boxster, a rather mad outlay of.....*cough*...£2700....It has a class D sub amp then a 850 watt class A/B amp for the rest, silk domed tweeters, Air motion transformers mids etc, it sounds very very good, for the outlay plus the fact it’s factory fitted so no need to rip the car apart it’s worth it imo, I don’t begrudge to price for the sound quality, would make an interesting comparison to yours.
I suspect that the highly subjective assessment of sound systems will make the forums discussions on tyres pail into insignificance :rofl:

I think a conclusion as you imply is that paying ‘lots’ for a sound upgrade when ordering a new car is small change compared to a ground zero re-work...bearing in my case that the head unit wasn’t touched with whatever limitations that has..

I’m off for a weekend to the Perth run, top down all the time, so will see how it checks out..

I can only be grateful it’s a car and not an aircraft..the decimal point would have moved at least one place to the right... :thumbsup:
2012 E89 20i MSport Auto Atacama Yellow, Fully loaded in its day.. changes /modifications (lots) full whippy here! 33 cars, 22 motorbikes,13 aircraft, 3 quad bikes and a tractor..the joys of the internal combustion engine..

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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 4/9/2019)

Post by john-e89 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:38 pm

Pbondar wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:44 am
john-e89 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 11:29 am
Pbondar wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:43 pm


Well it was as follows approx...

Match DSP amp £600
Alpine subwooofer amp £125
Door speakers £225
Rear Speakers £205
Centre Speaker £110
Woofers £180
Subwoofers £330
Sample mic £125


Plus soldering iron/connectors/wire etc £50 ish

Plus probably around 10 man days total effort..

Not cheap....
Not willy waving but I’d be very interested to hear what that lot sounds like compared to the Burmester in the Boxster, a rather mad outlay of.....*cough*...£2700....It has a class D sub amp then a 850 watt class A/B amp for the rest, silk domed tweeters, Air motion transformers mids etc, it sounds very very good, for the outlay plus the fact it’s factory fitted so no need to rip the car apart it’s worth it imo, I don’t begrudge to price for the sound quality, would make an interesting comparison to yours.
I suspect that the highly subjective assessment of sound systems will make the forums discussions on tyres pail into insignificance :rofl:

I think a conclusion as you imply is that paying ‘lots’ for a sound upgrade when ordering a new car is small change compared to a ground zero re-work...bearing in my case that the head unit wasn’t touched with whatever limitations that has..

I’m off for a weekend to the Perth run, top down all the time, so will see how it checks out..

I can only be grateful it’s a car and not an aircraft..the decimal point would have moved at least one place to the right... :thumbsup:
Yep that’s precisely why I think it’d be a good comparison. If you’d thrown your gear to an installer I’m thinking the total price fitted plus equipment might not be far off the Burmester.

Have a good weekend and please let us know your thoughts on the sound. :thumbsup: :driving:
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MR2 mk 2

Just too many toys.....

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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 9/9/2019)

Post by Pbondar » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:12 pm

Following on from the Perth sunday trip with the Forum guys and some twiddling I can update my experiences..

Before I left I used the PC based DSP tool to set up the time delay between each speaker and the drivers position..the difference was very noticeable..the sound stage image appeared for the first time, not perfect but it was there..nothing that radical to standard stereo amp users..but marked..

I adjusted the relative gain on each amp taking into account the published sensitivity per watt so they were 'normalised'

I set the crossover points on each of the 8 channels based on the published frequency responses of the speakers

I then set the equalisation to 'flat' as the the supplied settings were for the 'cheap' BMW Hi-Fi speakers..

I set off..

Mindful that the speaker suppliers state that 10-50 hours of 'running in' is required of the speakers..

Well..the detail was awesome..like looking at a politicians indvidual nose hairs on a 4k 65" TV!!!

The sound was very bright..a bit like someone who has set up max bright /max contrast on the TV, quite wearing..

Plenty of power / woomph..but...

What worked bass wise in the garage was lost over the wind roar /road noise at speeeds greater than 60 ish mph..

So better but..

Got back..read the excellent and now more understandable DSP magazine..

http://audiotec-fischer.de.dedivirt284. ... 08e6b1.pdf

So today got the sample mike out

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1

Followed the sound real time analysis section (still with me??) and played 'pink noise' whilst sampling each set of speakers in turn..

Then pressed the 'eq' button which then loaded a 'corrected' equaliser set up for each of the pairs of speakers, except the cenre one on its own..

Result...'smoooooth' and effortless sound..power and fidelity without any of the brittleness or harshness..

Bit like driving a 50l turbo diesel..effortless power and capability ..

Quit whilst the going was good..

The advice is to make lots of itertive changes and refine your sampling / adjustment technique..which does seem the way forward..

A far cry from 'plug n play'

So the journey will continue..probabaly now 80%+ on the way to the final set up..

To state the obvious..its difficult to have a compromise that works at all road speeds, top up, top down, top down windows down..

So I'm going for the top down, windows up, national speed limit perfection..requries more bass uplift..
2012 E89 20i MSport Auto Atacama Yellow, Fully loaded in its day.. changes /modifications (lots) full whippy here! 33 cars, 22 motorbikes,13 aircraft, 3 quad bikes and a tractor..the joys of the internal combustion engine..

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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 9/9/2019)

Post by john-e89 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:25 pm

Really enjoying this thread, hats off for your perseverance and attention to detail. It won’t happen but I’d love to hear this install. :thumbsup:
M roady
E89 35is
MR2 mk 2

Just too many toys.....

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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 9/9/2019)

Post by Pbondar » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:09 am

A further issue has become more apparent, that of the Active Sound Design

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_sound_design

The new setup has ‘amplified’ pun..the artificial sound generated by the ASD unit that sits between the head unit and the amp...

I now have a much more pronounced ‘boyze noize’ fake set of engine sounds...it’s very cleverly done but fake...

Reading up the ASD is effectively a DSP device with a repertoire of ‘brum brum’ Sounds taking its inputs from the usual suspects of mode, throttle position etc...

Unfortunately you can’t simply disable / remove it as the logic circuitry for the amp goes through it...so if you remove it no audio for anything period..

Some people allege it can be coded out with a serious coding toy...seems a bit hit n miss..

So I think I’m going to get one of these bypass wiring harnesses

https://technicpnp.com/product/asd-bypass-harness/


To remove the increasing unpleasant effect..

A side effect alledged is that the quality of the audio going into the amp will be improved...

I’ll let interested parties know in due course..
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2012 E89 20i MSport Auto Atacama Yellow, Fully loaded in its day.. changes /modifications (lots) full whippy here! 33 cars, 22 motorbikes,13 aircraft, 3 quad bikes and a tractor..the joys of the internal combustion engine..

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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 9/9/2019)

Post by z4pilot » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:13 pm

Have to say I can appreciate the level of work and effort that's gone into this and I'm sure it sounds way better than a standard system, but I always think high end car systems are all a bit 'emperors new clothes'. How good is good enough? Surely at the end of the day, you're still listening to music in a wind tunnel/tin can - you'll never reach a level of fidelity that justifies the outlay - or am I just missing the point?
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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 9/9/2019)

Post by Pbondar » Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:18 pm

z4pilot wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:13 pm
Have to say I can appreciate the level of work and effort that's gone into this and I'm sure it sounds way better than a standard system, but I always think high end car systems are all a bit 'emperors new clothes'. How good is good enough? Surely at the end of the day, you're still listening to music in a wind tunnel/tin can - you'll never reach a level of fidelity that justifies the outlay - or am I just missing the point?
Hi you are right on both counts :thumbsup:

But then you get to

Why not a Kia Picanto
Why Michelin vs Kumo
Why 35is vs 18i
Etc etc...

Your right on this one..with what I know now I wouldn’t ..well maybe ..consider it my gift to mankind / Z4 forum....

I do enjoy my music and I do enjoying driving my Z...so therefore it’s not a bad combination...

Trouble is now I have it’s like the Kia..do I want to go back? No..
2012 E89 20i MSport Auto Atacama Yellow, Fully loaded in its day.. changes /modifications (lots) full whippy here! 33 cars, 22 motorbikes,13 aircraft, 3 quad bikes and a tractor..the joys of the internal combustion engine..

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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 21/10/2019)

Post by Pbondar » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:33 pm

I thought I'd update the follower of this thread now that I got my ASD bypass cable, fitted it today and did another re-tweak of the Fischer DSP BMW amp..

So the new ASD bypass cable is straight forward to fit, unplugging the existing harness into the ASD and inserting the cable was easy, trying to fit it into the ASD in situ proved vexing so I unbolted it to get a better look.

BMW use a 42 way connector for the ASD and 676 Amp..its got an overlock action with a cam and little spigot to ensure once in it doesn't come adrift...once the technique was understood, fitting/refitting the connector was easy enough.

The ASD takes the 2v ish signal from the radio/multi media units and boost it up to about 8v prior to going into the amp..

I was ready to adjust the input gain on the Fischer DSP/amp but in practice seemed unnecessary and better not to overdrive these things..class D digital amps destroy speakers, especially tweeters if overdriven.

I did a fresh rebase of the DSP sampling /equalisation to 'adjust' for the lack of ASD..and took the opportunity to adjust the relative gain on the woofers and subwoofers, reducing the gain on the mid range/tweeters in the doors/rear shoulder and centre speakers.

The combination of all those made the sound much much better..finally getting there..

Took the car for a quick run, with the audio off the car sounded completely different, no boy racer exhaust sounds, subdued noise from the real exhaust, altogether far more pleasant.

A limited test of Jackson Browne The Pretender and For a Dancer was quite splendid!

More testing/setup required now a basline has been reached..

I'll write up about the ASD seperately in more detail..its been fitted to most BMW since 2014 ish..

BMW E89 18i 20i 28i have it fitted as standard.

If you are in doubt then the only easy way to check is to remove the rear boot trim..amp on RHS, ASD and Phone boxes on LHS..
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2012 E89 20i MSport Auto Atacama Yellow, Fully loaded in its day.. changes /modifications (lots) full whippy here! 33 cars, 22 motorbikes,13 aircraft, 3 quad bikes and a tractor..the joys of the internal combustion engine..

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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 28/6/2020)

Post by Pbondar » Sun Jun 28, 2020 1:50 pm

A further update on my 'minor upgrade'..

Time has gone by and I consider the speakers run in.advice being that 20-50 hours are required before premium speakers sound their best.. :thumbsup:

I used the Audiotec Fischer DSP configuration tool to re-adjust the sound setup using the Match 7 BMW specific AMP/DSP driving the Eton door, centre and rear speakers along with a pair Rockford Fosgate Punch woofers in the floorwells, along with an Alpine 300w RMS class D amp to drive the Audison BMW subwoofer replacements..over 1kw RMS of power available...good job the 210 amp alternator is fitted.. :rofl:

A review of the Match 7 is here.. https://www.audioexclusiv.ch/fileadmin/ ... Cr_BMW.pdf

I felt, at the time, slightly underwhelmed with the results relative to the expenditure and effort.. :tumbleweed:

However, I did an interim tweak with the DSP s/w and it got better.

I then did bypass the BMW Active Sound Design box fitted to most if not all N20 powered E89s, which injects synthetic engine sounds into the speakers whether you want them or not and irrespective of volume.. see viewtopic.php?f=23&t=119642&hilit=ASD

This resulted in a further improvement as well as getting rid of by now a grossly annoying set of engine sounds..

The ASD interferes with the audio signals as they route through their on the way to the amps/speakers adding distortion and noise (in more than one sense)..

The Tecnics PNP bypass cable got round that problem (there is a much cheaper cable now available from Audison)..
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So, COVID lock down, running out of things to do, I've spent two days revisiting the DSP programming..

The net result..a very impressive improvement in perceived quality..

How? Sadly by RTFM..there is so much functionality in these modern DSP amps..and given that there isn't a reference set up for the E89 its down to working steadily and methodically through and then going back an iteratiing..


The point is that with 8 channels and 8 speaker groups there is a lot that needs to be done..

The low pass and high pass roll off needs to be set to avoid speaker resonances for each speaker set and any uncessaary drive into freqeuncy ranges that the speakers are not designed for..eg on the sub-woofer..no point trying to drive frequencies much above 100Hz.

The sampling mike needs setting up with the appropriate 'reference curve'..that is..the frequency response curve best suited to a human in a small car, not in a large living room as an example listening to a hi-fi.

Each speaker needs to be set up for the time delay by measuring speaker to listener distance and entering that..

Each pair of speakers needs sampled with pink noise and then an equaliser correction factor applied to negate speaker and environmental aberations / factors..

Further adjusment of the time delay is then hand done to ensure correct spatial imaging between L/R and Front/Back for speech type imaging..

Each of these things needs to be done for each speaker set whilst disabling the others..

Trying to do this with a laptop /manual in the cockpit, doors closed, windows up, roof down (my preferred listening mode) is time consuming and potentially error prone..

However, after a night spent reading up and loading all the data from speakers etc I then did a 2 hour clean set up today and the results are now very impressive.. :thumbsup: :driving: :thumbsup:

I guess my point is..given how unique E89s are in audio shops..how much skill/patience/time/experience does the average installer have/expend to get these things right? :tumbleweed:

Anyway food for thought..
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2012 E89 20i MSport Auto Atacama Yellow, Fully loaded in its day.. changes /modifications (lots) full whippy here! 33 cars, 22 motorbikes,13 aircraft, 3 quad bikes and a tractor..the joys of the internal combustion engine..

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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 28/6/2020)

Post by Phil40 » Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:22 pm

Ohh nice sound system :D
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Minor Audio Upgrade (updated 28/6/2020)

Post by Pbondar » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:34 pm

Phil40 wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:22 pm
Ohh nice sound system :D
It is...just gone issue left which I forgot to mention..the Eton door mounted speakers’ magnet is too large to sit in the plastic backing shield that prevents water ingress from the door to the back of the speaker.

Originally I just tightened the 3 mounting screws down..the result was horrible distortion so I slackened then off so that the speaker was not fully tightened against the door frame and just resting against the plastic water shield..

I notice I’m getting on certain notes a small amount of resonance from the speakers against the plastic shield/ door ...so I’m going to take the door cards off again and use a hole cutter to punch a hole in the plastic trims so that the speaker magnet can go through, that allows the speakers to be fully clamped down..
2012 E89 20i MSport Auto Atacama Yellow, Fully loaded in its day.. changes /modifications (lots) full whippy here! 33 cars, 22 motorbikes,13 aircraft, 3 quad bikes and a tractor..the joys of the internal combustion engine..

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