A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

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Old 01-18-2014   #1
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Default A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

about to install a system to a HiFi system (Not HK). No combox for direct iPhone connection from USB.

I think it's a complicated install. The installer is experienced, but have a feeling his F30 experience is low. Worked on a bunch of BMW's before, especially E9x

source improvement:
install an HRT iStreamer DAC to the Aux-in in the arm rest. This will allow a digital line out from my current iPhone 4s and be compatible with iPhone 5/6 (lightening) when I change phones. Also improved DAC but slightly redundant with the Alpine processor. The HRT iStreamer will also charge the phone so it's a clean one cable connection. Higher quality than BT streaming audio. Other main source is a 64GB key plugged into OEM USB port

front speakers:
install a set of Focal Polyglass 100V2. Concerned with the mounting depth as it's NOS that I picked up years ago but most new BMW's use the 100VRS or the 100KRS from Focal. the VRS/KRS have lower mounting depth.

underseat woofers:
Installer doesn't have a direct source with Gladden so doesn't have easy access to their OEM replacement drivers. No idea on the cost of these in Canada. In the short term will be reusing OEM ones and just power with a better amp.

center speaker:
most likely disconnecting. concerned with BT phone if it's used.

amp(s):
want to use the OEM amp to power the centre and rear fill but may still get a small 2 channel to power the rear and disconnect the center speaker. Will also add an Alpine PDX-5 (75W x 4 and 300W x 1). The PDX-5 will power the front components and the underseat woofers. The remaining 300W x 1 will be for a future sub. need to contact VP Electricity afterwards for a price on their 10" sub enclosure. May be easier than having my installer custom build one.

Sub:
want a custom enclosure in the trunk....left side or right. Undecided on specs/volume I can get and the sub woofer to use.

processor:
this is the big ticket addition recommended by installer. He's recommending the Alpine PXA-H800 with the RUX-c800 controller. The controller (C800) will either go in the glove box or under the cover behind the cup holders. Will need to relocate the 12V plug to under the glove box (OEM hole is there but CDN cars don't get the extra 12V plug) if I install here. The processor has two digital inputs and give me an option instead of using the iStreamer/Aux-IN, to install a transformer and power an Apple Airport express and run audio wirelessly to the processor digitally. Using a transformer complicates things but is potentially higher quality than using the Aux-In from BMW. update: just found Rocketfish makes a BT music receiver that has optical out.

--------

no real questions but opinions on this "planned" install would be great.
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Old 01-19-2014   #2
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Default Re: A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

seems that the newest and highest quality is with the Apt-X codec over BT. There are other BT music receivers that have digital out besides rocket fish.

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Old 01-19-2014   #3
 
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Default Re: A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

Seriously try the 4s headphone out rather than adding an external dac. It's actually very good with low noise and distortion. Performance over bt is ok but not as clean.

I've also tried iphone 5 which I've had for 4 months and 5s ( current phone) which are also excellent good via headphone jack using ACC / 320kbps audio files.

In terms of hrt it would pay to find out if it works with the down sampling that occurs if higher bit rate recordings are used. E.g 88.2 kHz & 96 kHz files are down sampled by half and are available via headphone socket. This may become important as higher bit rate content becomes available via iTunes etc.

If going down the pxa route I'd try the iphone directly via RCA first as an aux input.
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Old 01-20-2014   #4
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Default Re: A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

Thanks for the tips. I have used a line out dock from sendstation and it always performed better than the headphone jack. There isn't a line out solution for iphone 5/5s unless you use the apple dock, but I'll be at the mercy of the iPhone DAC. One of the reasons to use the HRT was the one cable line out while still charging. The HRT cables are an added mess but can be hidden. Higher voltage output also with the HRT.

I like the idea of direct connection to the alpine pxa h800. Maybe I will prewire an analogue aux input In the front from the alpine.

Only concern is that the BMW iDrive wouldn't integrate if I've switched to a different input on the alpine. This is an issue with handsfree phone use. I'd have to switch on the C800 controller before taking a call. May have to rethink using the extra inputs on the Alpine now.

the best integration is using the Aux-in from BMW. The USB key (64GB) is my only other source option, along with Sat radio and old school CD player.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NealfromNZ View Post
Seriously try the 4s headphone out rather than adding an external dac. It's actually very good with low noise and distortion. Performance over bt is ok but not as clean.

I've also tried iphone 5 which I've had for 4 months and 5s ( current phone) which are also excellent good via headphone jack using ACC / 320kbps audio files.

In terms of hrt it would pay to find out if it works with the down sampling that occurs if higher bit rate recordings are used. E.g 88.2 kHz & 96 kHz files are down sampled by half and are available via headphone socket. This may become important as higher bit rate content becomes available via iTunes etc.

If going down the pxa route I'd try the iphone directly via RCA first as an aux input.

Last edited by gsdye; 01-20-2014 at 10:41 AM..
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Old 01-23-2014   #5
 
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Default Re: A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

Have an idea which you'd need to research and also check with your installer. I haven't had hands on with either the F30 CIC or the PXA so its theoretical

On the e90 CIC there is a large connector that deals with the analog sides of the audio sub systems. I suspect the F30 CIC still works in the same fashion.


Idea

1,Tap the TEl + & Tel - Balanced audio inputs on the connector. This is a mono signal.

2, Put these through a Balanced to unbalanced rca convertor.

3, Connect the RcA unbalanced side to the Nav sound input on the PXA

4, Configure the Navi audio mix feature on the PXA

Operation

You have the iphone with it's clean DAC connection connected to PXA aux/digital input
You also pair the phone via BT for headset mode.

Result

You fav music is playing via Iphone via the dac & pxa in all its hi res glory.

A Call comes in or you place a call. The Iphone will give audio priority to the BT headset mode.
The Iphone will mute the audio stream.
The Idrive is putting the Call Audio into the NAV mix function whilst in PXA AUX mode so you can still hear the call without changing source.


As above , a theory that would need further research , but could solve the Idrive Call audio problem.
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Old 01-23-2014   #6
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Default Re: A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

Pick up is in a few hours. Pretty excited. Thanks for the idea on how to merge the idrive sounds to the alpine. I will discuss with the installer as I expect many more hours to build and retune when the subs are put in. Right now I have left the installer to his own.

He did test the system with OEM speakers but rest of gear is in with my alpine amps and processor. His words "marked improvement! Stock woofers under seat aren't that bad with good power". I haven't got the feedback with the polyglass installed. We had an issue or concern with the mounting depth but last update they are in. One of the tn47 tweeter was blown. The seller of the component set had them on a board and blown one. Didn't know since they were in the box. I pulled out of storage my old tweeters and crossover from my focal 136kx mistral set. These are better tweets but bought in 2000 and well used for 10 years.

Given the tweeter problem, didn't want to impulse on a new set so I pulled the old tweets out. The money is for the custom sub. The installer sells focal 100krs and had access to model hybrid 402 but my heart is to use hybrid audio L3/L1 combo if I change.
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Old 01-23-2014   #7
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Default Re: A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

You may be correct about the headphone jack. The early HRT istreamer tests weren't promising. It didn't show much improvement and actually hint of distortion. Very odd as in theory the whole point of the istreamer is to improve on the iPhone line out and DAC. Installer was still tuning with CD and was going to test the HRT later to finally decide/test using an analogue 30pin line out vs the HRT. With the early findings I have a feeling we may keep the simpler solution and use analogue out instead of outboard DAC. I don't live at the installer. We had a lengthy chat at the beginning when I dropped off. A few calls to update and that was it.

I have a feeling I am not paying for his install abilities only. He had a staff put the physical gear in. We decided on very little if any fabrication. I am paying for his ears and tuning abilities.

Last edited by gsdye; 01-23-2014 at 06:21 AM..
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Old 01-23-2014   #8
 
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Default Re: A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

Great progress and sounding like the installer has developed your trust.
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Old 01-23-2014   #9
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Default Re: A F30 BMW build pre planning. Need opinions

The car is still a work in progress. A few issues but the basics are sounding really good.

Positives:
- the focal polyglass woofers with my old tweeters from the mistral series match up well. We used the crossovers from the mistral
- underseat woofers aren't bad at all with better amps. They produce a reasonable mid bass
- the installer created a good preset for cd playback. The sq is very very good. Better than any prior car I had built. Adding a sub next should really complete this system.
- the BMW deck produces a pretty clean signal. The alpine pxa didn't detect any distortion playing a cd almost at full volume. The pxa and amps are set with conservative gains to protect speakers though.
- the alpine software is pretty good.

Issues
- the amp and processor didn't fit in the trunk area on the left. It is about 1/2" too thick to be a clean OEM fit. Since I will built a custom sub we can build over the amp and processor. This will leave me the two compartments under the trunk cover unused.
- the system is more revealing now. Radio, poor mp3 and internet radio are hit and miss now. The alpine h800 has settings to compensate but that will mean using the c800 controller. We didn't fabricate the mount for the controller. Saving it until all issues are solved
- the installer only had the older 30pin connector that didn't charge. Will have to go back to change to the correct one. We ditched the HRT istreamer.

Last edited by gsdye; 01-23-2014 at 09:54 PM..
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