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Thread: Does using a new head unit make sound better?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    M3 95'

    If I have to replace my head unit, wont there be noise, since converting to the factory amp signal?
    I've been told doing it this way doesn't really sound great. How about once the volume is cranked?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
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    1,622
    My Cars
    '97 328i
    yes
    '97 328i, Montreal blue
    '86 535i Champagne (sold!)
    Sandbox IT

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    is that a yes sound better
    or
    yes sound worse??

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
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    1,622
    My Cars
    '97 328i
    yes.....it will sound MUCHO better....

    the stock speakers arent too shaby once you get a good clear signal to them, the first thing to change would be the head unit.
    '97 328i, Montreal blue
    '86 535i Champagne (sold!)
    Sandbox IT

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    2,790
    My Cars
    97 M3 99 Z3M
    I'm going to have to agree. I recently put an Alpine 7863(60wattsx4 peak, 27x4RMS) head unit in my 97 M3 and the difference was amazing. The speakers really came to life(there not to bad once they have some power). I would definitely recommend you change your head unit.

    Joe
    1997 Dakar Yellow M3
    ADVANT123@aol.com

  6. #6
    cliff Guest

    RE: Does using a new head unit make sound better?

    Look over on unofficialbmw for info about the different vintages of headunits. The '95 had the lowest drive from head->amp, hence the most noise. The headunit drives the amp with a differential output, you can get other headunits that do this. This accounts for the signal weirdness with partial upgrades. On the other hand, if you want to get a newer ('98) higher output level headunit from the HK stereo, write to me! (cliff@spdcc.com), I have one for sale.
    -cliff

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    485
    My Cars
    '94 740i
    How did you guys hook up your aftermarket headunits to the factory M3 wiring? Did you use caps in series with the positive leads and hook the negative leads together to the radio chassis like the guy from ADS suggested? This is for a non-HK system.

    Thanks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Southern Cal
    Posts
    406
    On my 95 when I changed out the crappy stock unit with the JVC Kameleon the difference was day and night. The only draw back is that in some parts of LA, I don't get good radio reception. This doesn't really bother me because the system sounds great now.

    Late last year I also popped in all the HK speakers(direct replacement) and the system sounds pretty amazing now...way better than the stock HK systems on the 96+ cars. Oh and the adapter for the aftermarket head unit costs about $12-15 from Good Guys and Circuit City. It pretty much plug n play. Also depending on the head unit you may also need the antennae adapter which runs another $10.
    Last edited by Zippy M3; 03-10-2001 at 11:24 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Orange County, Southern California.
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    2,587
    My Cars
    BMW 530i
    to me, switching out the stock headunit to an aftermarket headunit was the biggest improvement. Those stock headunits suck ass. Go for an aftermarket.

    I have the Panasonic CQ-DF800U Headunit.
    Richard

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    NYC
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    E36 M3/2, 997 Turbo

    Stop the presses! Information? Misinformation! Blaaaah!

    Everyone tells me something different!! I'm so frustrated! Help me! Whiny message follows:

    I have a 97 328is with the HK upgrade. Treble is focused and sharp, midrange is a little empty, and bass is muddy and awful. I listen only to jazz. I figured I'd start small, so on the advice of Crutchfield, I bought 2 Infinity Kappa 52.1i's for the kick panels. Then, several people on bimmer.org and even a Crutchfield tech guy tell me that this isn't going to work, and that in order to get any real improvement, I'm going to have to change every component in my car: speakers, amp, headunit. I priced this all over and got estimates between 1000 for Pioneer and Kenwood, to 1800 for high end stuff. This is because the HK amp and speakers are so precicely tuned to each other that you can't really do much without replacing everything.

    I've got the Kappas in my entryway waiting to be ups'd back to them to get my money back, and that's okay, because at least I should get a component set instead of a coaxial (dumb me). But, I've basically given up.

    But now I hear you guys saying that buying a headunit does make a difference? So what should I do? I want better sound, but I don't really want to spend more than $500.
    Current:
    1999 e36 M3 coupe Titanium Silver
    2009 997 911 Turbo Meteor Gray
    Gone but not forgotten:
    2007 E92 335i Spacegrau/Coral : RETURNED
    2006 Lotus Elise Polar Blue/Red SOLD
    1997 E36 328is Arctic Silver: SOLD

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    135
    By changinig the stock head unit to an aftermarket one, you will here a world of difference. Its worth it. The stock set up ist that great. If you have the HK system with amp and just change the head unit, it will sound GREAT.
    Used to do car audio and Electronics for 8 years as pro installer.

    Mike

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Central, NJ
    Posts
    14,045
    My Cars
    just an old 328
    Change the headunit.. that was the best thing I could do for my system in the car. You can acutally hear the tweets. I wasnt even sure if they worked before or they were just for show.. As mentioned above.. the stock speakers arent too bad.. I acutally replaced one of the lower 5.25 speakers in the front with a Rockford and the Rockford actually sounded worse.. I just kept the OEM speaker back in.

    Of course then u need a box for some bass. :p

    I have a Kenwood 45wattx4 headunit. Got it 4 years ago so its old now in Stereo talk.
    06' BMW 530xi
    02' Porsche 911 Carrera
    11' BMW X3

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