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Thread: Stereo Installation Information and Gallery......

  1. #1
    Terry F.'s Avatar
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    Stereo Installation Information and Gallery......

    Hi everyone,

    In this thread we will document the various audio installations of the members. Stereos generate a lot of questions, let's see if we can get a thread going similar to the "Wheels" thread.

    Please add your data to the thread linked below. The main thread (this one) will remain locked and the moderators will update it.

    Many thanks,

    Stock Stereo

    Aftermarket specifications.

    Head unit is single DIN sized.

    Speakers. These sizes are not limits but what makes good choices in most instances. Stated depth, however, should be considered a hard limit. Spacers can be used to allow deeper speakers than the stated limit.

    Common front speakers choices are 5 1/4" with a max depth of2 5/8". 6 1/2" speakers will fit with possibly a small amount of trimming.

    Common rear deck speaker for roadsters are either 3.5" or 4.0" with a max mounting depth of 2 5/16" (top mounted). If the rears are mounted too low, be aware of possible interference with the gas tank, behind the panel. Try real hard to avoid driving screws into the gas tank.

    Roadster subwoofer. Stock HK subwoofer is two 5 1/2" woofers. Roadster Sound made a replacement box that would accommodate an 8" woofer. They are out of business but the basic design lives on, made by Intregal Audio. See

    Coupe rear speakers. TBD

    Coupe subwoofer. TBD.

    Amp location:
    xxxx TBD.

    ================================================== =============================================


    Alpine CDA9855 Head Unit. 18wrms x 4 internal amp. Single CD, MP3 & WMA formats, AM/FM. IPOD integration through optional Alpine interface. IPOD control via head unit.
    Alpine MRP-450A Amp - 70wrms x 4
    Classic iPod Color, 60gig
    Polk/Momo 6.5" Component speakers in the front panels with tweeters in the door panel.
    Infinity 4002CFX 4" Co-axial Speakers behind the seats. 1 7/8" deep.
    Roadstersound 8" sub-woofer enclosure. At this moment, budget 8" subwoofer.

    I drive the small, rear speakers from the Alpine internal head unit amplifier. 18wrms x 2
    I drive the front speakers from the Alpine amplifier, channels 1 and 2. 70wrms x 2
    I bridge channels 3 and 4 of the Alpine amplifier and drive the sub.
    125wrms x 1


    Alpine HU(CD,USB) can't remember model.
    Alpine PDX-F4 100w/channel RMS.
    Alpine 6.5" components replacing stock footwell and tweeter speakers; Kicker CVT65 in parcel shelf
    Cost: ~350. In my opinion it was worth the time/cost.

    Much improved over stock (nokia?) audio. Not really an audiophile; just looking for a good, more substantial system to listen to while enjoying the roadie.
    The system is completely aftermarket.
    No pic, unfortunately of my long gone stock HU. It was a C33 tape player unit.


    2001 post facelift with 4-1/2" rear speaker opening

    Head unit -- JVC KD-HDR50 with two Power Acoustic PS2-150 power amps (2 channel 150w). Those units are very small and one amp is located in the stock position in the trunk, the other is mounted under the dash inside a driver's knee bolster.
    -The front amp powers 5-1/4" Infinity Kappa in the kick panel. Those run off the head unit sub channel on 120 hz low pass.
    -The rear amp powers two Kappa 4-1/2" two way speakers in the stock behind the seat location. Those speakers run off the rear channel of the head unit.
    -The door speakers are Peerless PLS 2-1/2" full range and Kappa 1" tweeters. These speakers power directly off the head unit front channel. Infinity crossover was used here.


    1998 pre-facelift with the 2" rear speakers.

    Head unit Kenwood KDC BT742 and a single Arc Audio XXD2080 power amp (2 channel, 200w) mounted in the driver's knee bolster. In this car I replaced the right side trunk/amp cover with an early non-amp panel and gain a lot of trunk space.
    - The amp powers Peerless SLS 5-1/4" speakers in the kick panel run off the sub channel on 120 hz low pass. I need to be very careful with power on these speakers as I can push enough pressure to make them pop in a not good way, but it is very clear and powerful with no whine.
    - The rear deck speakers are the Peerless PLS 2-1/2" full range powered directly off the head unit
    - and the door speakers run identical to the 2001.


    Some links to old threads...

    - - - Updated - - -

    98 M Roadster
    Alpine CDE-102
    18W RMS x4
    stock speaker system

    ipod integration (nano in center console compartment)
    No issues I like it. Sounds good to me.



    Last edited by Terry F.; 09-13-2014 at 09:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Terry F.'s Avatar
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    Alpine 7998 headunit (matches the stock amber lighting very well)
    Soundstream stl4.500 (80x4 RMS) for fronts and rears
    Soundstream stl2.560 (150x2 RMS) for subs
    2x JL 6W3 6.5" subs
    Soundstream RF3.6 6.5" 3-way components for front
    Diamond 5.25 M5 2-way component rears
    All wiring replaced with 14 gauge and 12 gauge for subs (around 120' of wire)

    I'm into it around $1200 in parts and I did all the labor. It definitely wasn't cheap but it was well worth it all when it was done because it sounds much clearer and louder than the stock mess.

    Here is my full thread


    Alpine HU(CD,USB) can't remember model.
    Alpine PDX-F4 100w/channel RMS.
    Alpine 6.5" components replacing stock footwell and tweeter speakers; Kicker CVT65 in parcel shelf
    Cost: ~350. In my opinion it was worth the time/cost.

    Much improved over stock (nokia?) audio. Not really an audiophile; just looking for a good, more substantial system to listen to while enjoying the roadie.
    The system is completely aftermarket.



    Headunit: Alpine - HD149BT with bluetooth, iphone integration, and pandora control
    Amp: Hertz Digital HDP5 RMS 100W x 4 + 550W x 1 (2Ω) @ 14.4 VDC, THD 1%
    Speakers: Hertz Hi-Energy 6 1/2" component - HSK165 . Stock locations behind stock grills
    Sub: Hertz Energy ultra flat 8" [COLOR=blue !important][COLOR=blue ! important]subwoofer[/COLOR][/COLOR], 200wrms -ESF20. Stock location with custom box firing "upwards"

    Summary: As close to "stock" as I could reasonably get. There's a couple of pioneer options and one or two alpine options that have existed in the past with full color control (so no blueish screen). However most of those have been replaced with newer models. Stock rear panel was modified to add a 12V outlet for secondary charing, and a hardwired line in and USB lines to the front head unit for future device compatibility. It also allows charging of the phone without the wires being all over the shifter area. Stock BMW wiring was in good shape and verified by installer to be of reasonably good quality. Only challenge was cooling the amp in it's hidden location below the trunk carpet. There's a gap where your safety triangle normally fits and a vent in the wheel well of the trunk. We installed a single fan to move air over the amp out of the vent. Also installed a layer of dynomat under the amp to isolate it from exhaust heat that tends to warm up the trunk. Seems to work in the AZ summers. (Note digital amps are inherently a little cooler than analog amps) Jury is out on long term longevity. There's room for custom ducting if we have to get fancy.

    Total cost of parts, custom fab work, and install was roughly $3k.



    Alpine cde 135bt head-unit running mostly through blue tooth on my Samsung phone which has a power amp app gives me a 11 band equalizer. It accepts phone calls as well but I haven't really opted for the set up on this yet.

    Main amp in the boot/trunk attached to the upper part.

    this runs I think they were 6" Alpine type R in the kick panels,
    and a set of sps410's Alpine behind the seats

    plus a set of eclipse 5 1/2 speakers that are in the boot in a single speaker box(original owner had a Eclipse unit in it) .

    Eclipse and Alpine tweeters in the doors these run of the head-unit power.

    The sub is a 11" Focal in a custom box 300w rms 600W peak
    run by a focal sub amp sitting behind the passenger seat, amp is fitted for the subs power.
    Focal sub is known for sound quality not so much sound power and it does hold very sweet bass notes the power subs can't.

    cost....sub fitted was $1300au and the rest was about the same although I fitted it. I didn't have the room/shed to do the fiberglass custom sub when it was done so had a shop do it, now would do it myself, most of the other stuff was new but sourced whatever deal was going, ebay was kinder than local shops.

    Stubby Ariel that is useless but I don't listen to the radio much.

    Sound is loud and clear when it is loud, the tuning took a bit because initially it was quit tinny until all the levels get set up right, but now am pretty happy with sound.
    Sub in the boot had to be vented through that back firewall, and have it in my mind to fit it inside between the seats as a project for the future. Boosted right up, the sub will pulse the roof and vib all the mirrors but being in the boot needs the boosting to have the sub effect.
    Usually playing very loud, I was a drummer in a few rock bands in my misspent youth.

    Most important sound improvement was the Alpine 4" behind the seat, they really make the sound complete.


    Roadster, came with a C33 tape deck and the single amp HK system. I replaced the C33 with a CD43 and the following components:

    Intergral Audio 80S subwoofer enclosure and JL Audio 8" driver
    Rockford Fosgate P200/2 amp to drive the sub
    Rockford Fosgate PB1 sub remote
    BSW Stage 1 speaker upgrade with optional rear speakers
    Grom Audio USB adapter with bluetooth dongle and car kit
    Escort Passport Max Radar Detector and live cable

    The sub is driven from the Fosgate P200/2, the rest of the system is driven from the original HK amp. I include the Passport Max and live cable in the list because they are integrated into the system through my iphone and the Max announces alerts through the audio system (very useful at speed with the top down and the system blasting). My iPhone is the basic play back device for everything and is connected via bluetooth through the Grom. The P200/2 is mounted under the trunk carpeting in the recess where the empty jack tray goes on an M.

    I wanted to replace the HK amp with a JBL MS8 amplified 8 channel digital signal processor, but the system sounds so good in its current configuration I decided to back off and just enjoy it.

    The stereo is my favorite thing about the car--even better than the supercharger.


    - - - Updated - - -

    -Sony DSX-S300BTX head unit with bluetooth and integrated/hidden ipod dock/charger. (Great feature!).
    -17 watts RMS CEA-2006/52 peak x 4 channels
    -MB Quart 5 1/4" in the kick panels.
    -JBL 4" behind the seats.
    -6" Kicker subwoofer replacement.

    Attachment 512715

    All in, right around $400. Well worth it.

    ================================================== ====================================

    Roadster (HK, single sub stock)

    Alpine CDA-117
    Soundstream amplifier, 250RMS x 2 + 500RMS x 1
    Kicker Comp VR 6.5" dual 4-ohm Sub (stock location)
    Infinity Reference 6.5" 2-ohm Components (stock front kick panels & tweeter pods)

    This was one of my first mods to my car, and was an all-in effort/plan. I blew my stock HK sub on my very first top-down drive with the car. If that wasn't a sign that the factory system just wouldn't keep up with my demands I don't know what is. So I started shopping. The whole setup was done on a budget (maybe $500 total?) and aimed for great sound control in the headunit, MP3 CD & USB mass storage capability, stock speaker locations, and last but not least, big silly power for top-down freeway enjoyment.

    The stock rear speakers are disconnected, so the sound is strictly from the front 6.5" components and single sub. Headunit amp is off. Final impedance to the amp is 2-ohm all around for maximum power (it's stable to 2-ohm). USB keys are my primary source of input, with the wire peaking into the storage area under the armrest. Amp is wired one channel to each front crossover then the remaining two bridged to the subwoofer. The amp itself is velcro'd down in the far area of the trunk on top of the carpet. Stock subwoofer box was dremeled down to fit the Kicker as is common on the forums. Box is filled with a stabbed stuffed animal's stomach/crotch area.

    I love the sound overall. Clearer, better sound that can get as loud as I can stand at any speed. Limitation is still the subwoofer, that is my one area I'd like to improve but would have to give up my stock appearance rule. I can live with it, but I still like I can't feel anything below 30-40hz out of a 6.5". But I digress. The headunit has a great 5-band parametric EQ, crossover control, time correction, etc etc that when finally all set up lead to happiness. Wish I had amber lighting, at night I usually set the display to blackout just to get rid of the glaring blue/white "BioLite" (fml) display, even dimmed all the way. Miss the old simple Alpine ambers (7xxx, 98xx, etc) for this, but the tradeaway is modern sound control and inputs. I'll take it.

    Overall happiness with my setup: 8.5/10. Can see improvements to both bass quality and quantity as well as some admittedly very small headunit annoyances (lighting, I miss speed-sensitive volume, etc). Ideally a smaller amp that could be hidden would be nice but keeping 1000rms and 4ch in a small package is tough. For the relatively tiny investment, I'm very very happy.

    Looks like just a headunit, and no install pics so I could just be lying about all this. Just kidding it's all in there:

    - - - Updated - - -

    Alpine CDE-BT 148. Gives me the bluetooth which I felt was a necessity along with separate preamp outs and selectable color...yummy BMW amber!
    Alpine amplifier, forget the spec number, but power is 50W x 4 for the full-range speakers.
    Alpine mono amp MRP-350, 350W x1. Amps are mounted in trunk; unit A is attached to top right corner of sloping "wall", B is attached using brackets I made right above and to the rear of RR wheel well. This is my daily driver, so I had to retain as much trunk space/usable dimension as possible.
    Front speakers: Focal 5.25" coaxials
    Rear speakers: Focal 4" coaxials. My car was made before the factory started doing rear speakers, so I just took a hole saw to the rear console and made provisions myself. The location I chose was basically close to center, one on each side of the factory sub grille. Importantly, the Focal coaxes feature tweeters that can be moved about their axes, so have been rotated towards center so they don't just fire into the seatbacks. The rear console has been modified internally so that each of these speakers has a sealed "box" behind it.

    Subwoofer: I cut a hole into the top cover of the console to accomodate a bargain 6.5" sub, which yielded unacceptable vibrations. So, I junked it and made a more solid false top for the console out of MDF into which I mounted an 8" Kicker unit. Fits fine, but a half inch or so "crescent" of the rim peeks out behind the biggie. The "box" below the sub is sealed, but vents out about half of the speaker grille the original sub used. The stock console cover is retained, though all the hinges, liner, etc. were scrapped. The sub is covered by a grill purchased off eBay...for a JL 6.5" sub, IIRC. Scrounged a roundel off an owners manual pouch for the grille. Sounds great, but I've got to be careful not to blow the sub...

    All in all, I'm pretty satisfied with the arrangement. The weak link was the el cheapo sub, and the 8" kicker has transformed the bass into a pleasingly thumpy experience. I did all the work myself, and (except for the sub) used all factory reason I used coax speakers rather than component systems. The bluetooth mike I ran up the "A" pillar. I shopped for all the stuff pretty aggressively, and I think my total cost has ended up somewhere just under $600.

    ================================================== ==========================

    Blaupunkt Heidelberg 50WX4RMS
    No Integration
    No Amp
    Memphis Component 5 1/4 in Kick Panels and Rear Deck (Top of Sub Enclosure)

    The difference is well...WOW!

    I'm into it for about $400 so far in parts alone.

    ================================================== ===========================
    Last edited by Terry F.; 09-09-2014 at 10:33 AM.

  3. #3
    Terry F.'s Avatar
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    In order to hide my 6.5" MB Quart speakers behind the kick panel, I had to trim the plastic ring inside the cover. While I had the driver's side out, I filled the dead pedal area with polyurethane foam and shaped it with woodworking tools to add strength to it.

    My pre-1999 roadster came with the two-speaker subwoofer and the more desirable single-6.5-inch box is impossible to find, so I made a box out of fiberglass to hold a single Kicker speaker. I started with a piece of wood needed to screw the speaker to (fiberglass doesn't hold screws) and built a mold out of Styrofoam. After adding the fiberglass, I dug the Styrofoam out, leaving the cavity.

    I tried to use every bit of space available, but the box is still under-sized according to the Kicker specs. It's held in-place with two foam blocks plus a little sound-deadening foam on the bottom.

    Finally, on hot days, my roadster trunk would get too hot for the amplifier, and it would turn off. I solved the problem by adding liquid cooling as described in this thread:

    My head unit is an un-remarkable Kenwood unit, but the controls and display are optimized for IPod use, which is all I use. Just hours and hours of songs under a playlist called "Road Tunes".

    - - - Updated - - -

    GROM Install

    I just got done installing a a GROM audio AUX unit in the trunk of the M roadster. It was really simple once you know how to route the wires. I Had a 6 disk CD changer in the trunk. and a stock tape deck/ 6 disc unit). I don't know if this guide will work for any other car setup....

    I'll try to get pictures up a bit later. (but wanted to get the words down before I forgot )

    I chose a grom BMWTA1 because I wanted a cheap AUX only. I also got the 3' female-female extension so I would have a nice jack to plug stuff into.

    step 1: Remove the front, trunk linear (where the 6disc changer would mount) Maybe the passenger side on other cars.

    step2: locate the the 2 cables for the CD-changer. Plug these into the GROM unit.

    step 3: Test it!!! Plug a phone or other audio device into the grom. Turn on car/radio and ensure volumes levels are good via am/fm. select CD. Play audio on your device. Turn the devices audio ALL the way UP. or until it matched your radio. If any issues, consult the GROM people.
    step3B: make sure your top is UP, as we will be working in this area.

    step 4: routing time! I found the best place for the grom was on the driver side, tucked in the corner where the wires exit the trunk. make use of the factory wire tie downs to route the cables neatly.

    step 5: Remove the rear, cabin, liner grommets. This is where the rear shock mounts are on the roadster, and the top fold into. use a grommet remover to not damage things.

    step 6: remove the subwofer (or let it set near by) AND the 3 screw that hold the plastic behind it, to the liner.

    step7: pull the back of the driver side and middle of the liner forwards, until you can see driver side rear shock mount. and a cable going to the subwofer.

    step 8: Push the AUX connector from the trunk through the driver side wiring harness grommet. Mine had a empty whole the perfect size.

    step 9: from out side of the car, reach inside to the rear shock mount. You should be able to look through the rear window and see the harness grommet, and your wire! Pull it through!

    step 10: Now back inside, lift the plastic behind the subwoffer just enough to force the AUX thorough. You want to go on the passenger side of the subwoffer cable.

    step 11: Run the cable around the passnger side of the sub woffer, reinstalling, to make sure it doesnt hit (Dont screw anything down yet!

    step 12: I removed the rear coin tray, and drilled a whole for the female headphone jack. and installed.

    step 13A: remove the front subwoffer face plate, and stuff the other end of the female-female cable from the coin tray, into the front subwoffer face plate area, Connect to the AUX cable.
    step 13B: Get the cable where you want it! I chose this location as it allowed my phone to sit nicely with a USB charging cable, and AUX plugged in.

    Step 14: TEST! make sure it still works!

    step 15: re install liners and things.

    p.s. this shouldn't be moved to the main post until/if I get pictures added in

    Stuff. I got stuff.

  4. #4
    Terry F.'s Avatar
    Terry F. is offline ONLY BMW Content is + Moderator
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    From thingfisher
    After spending a lot of time researching the various alternatives, here's what I just did with my 2000 M Coupe with stock Harmon Kardon system:

    1) Replaced the cassette head unit with Business CD(CD43). Part Cost $275. Self-installed.

    2) Added Soundplicity One Ipod integration kit from BAVSound. Part Cost $110. Self installed.

    3) Added Alpine PDX-V9 amp. Part cost $400. Professionally installed.

    4) Replaced front mid bass and tweeters with JL Audio 6" (JL CS-600) in stock locations. Part Cost$120. Professionally installed. [Side Note: One of the mid bass speakers was DOA, and my installer replaced it with a JL CS-650. I decided on the CS-600s since the midbasses fit in the existing kickpanel location without modification. The CS-650 required cutting to make it fit. So I have one 6” mid bass, and one 6.5” midbass. The specs on the the two are almost identical (one is more sensitive by about .5 dB), and after visual inspection and talking to JL Audio technical service the crossovers appear to be the same. I can't tell the difference] Disconnected midrange indoors. Disconnected rear roof speakers.

    The installer left the HK amp in place and just used T-taps to connect to the head unit input, and speaker outputs. Amp power is directly to the battery,without any capacitor.

    5) Replaced Subwoofer withJL Audio 6w0. Part cost $80. Professionally installed. Partially covered the subwoofer with Dynamat and added poly-fill to the box.

    6) The amp and speakers were professionally installed, which included wiring kit to battery, adding spacer to subwoofer, adding poly-fill to subwoofer, and adding Dynamat to kick panel speaker wells and to the subwoofer. Installation cost was $650. The work wasn't the best, and it wasn't the worst.

    I've had it a few days, and the difference is incredible. There is much more tonal quality and volume headroom. Stereo separation and staging are much more detailed. The bass is much louder and deeper,almost too strong on certain CDs and files. I will need to add the Alpine bass control remote to easily adjust that.

    In the process of the installation, the metal grill covering the subwoofer port was bent. I tried flattening it and painting it, but I couldn’t get it to look right. I ended up completely taking the metal grill out of the black plastic frame. I then bought a pair of cheap black pantyhose and used one leg to create a screen over the black frame. I was very happy with the way that turned out.

    The Alpine amp controls line up with the faceplate where the CD changer would go. I took the faceplate off, and used a piece of speaker grille foam to insert between the amp and the CD changer access port. It looks clean, and can be easily removed without taking everything apart.

    This was a lot more than I would have expected to spend, but I have no buyer's remorse.


    Stuff. I got stuff.


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