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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2001 BMW M5 with the factory M-audio setup which includes double DIN size GPS, 2 open air subs and a DSP (digital amp). I bought a Kenwood DNX9980HD 7" Double-DIN GPS Nav. I will have to cut the HVAC duct because the factory screen is not a true double DIN size. I also have 2 JL 10W3's in a sealed box.

Here is my plan, and I need suggestions/input. I have to delete the factory amp because it won't work with anything other than the factory head unit, and it's junk anyway. I will install the Kenwood head unit and JL W3's, with the intentions of later upgrading to 1 or 2 W6's or a couple of JL TW5's in a custom box. Besides the subs, I was planning on using the factory speakers until I could upgrade to some Focal components (not sure which model, but kevlar material around $700/pair retail).

I was thinking of getting a JL 900/5 amp, which would give me enough power for the Focals and W3's, enough for one W6, or maybe barely enough for 2 TW5's (probably on the weak side for 2 TW6's).

What I'm trying to achieve: good, clean, powerful sound in my daily driver, and good bang for my buck. Questions:

1. Does it make sense to upgrade in stages?
2. Can I run the stock speakers off an external amp safely? Should I instead run the speakers off the head unit until I upgrade the speakers?
3. Can I use the factory speaker wire and still get good sound or do I need to change it out?
4. What amp should I get to drive my 2 W3's if I want to get good, clean thump but go a little cheaper in the nearterm?
5. What other products would you recommend instead of the ones I list above. I don't understand all of the nuances of audio, but I do know that I returned some cheap Kenwood subs that sounded like garbage and fell in love with JL, and heard a very clear difference in speakers at an audio shop, hence the Focals. I'm not deadset on anything, even the equipment I already have if there are better options/cheaper options for sound quality/better options for the money. For example, if I can get 95% of the sound quality of the Focals for 1/3 the price, I would probably do that.
6. What kind of amp power kit do I need to get (brand, model).
7. Do I need a capacitor?
8. Anything else I'm missing?
9. My BMW is already fairly quiet (particularly compared to cars like my Honda), do I need dynomat? If so, how much and which locations?

Thanks!
 

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1. Sure, as long as you are doing it yourself and don't mind taking of the panels, or re-tuning more than once it's fine.
2. I've ran my stock nokia's of a JL 600/4 active, using the JBL MS-8 as a DSP. At this point, I was not using the stock headunit, nor the stock DSP anymore. With the gains turned down a lot, the factory tweeter and midbass sounded...surprisingly phenomenal. Of course, the 5.25" lacked midbass, but it was a 300% improvement over stock without a doubt.
3. You should be fine with factory wiring. Make sure you know where each wire is going as it's a little confusing since there are wiring diagrams for two setups (DSP Only, and M-Audio).
4. I've been really fond of JL amps recently, so go for an amp that has enough power than the subs ask for, or more. You can always turn them down a bit.
5. I'm not familiar with your headunit but I can tell you that with the MS-8, or many of the other aftermarket DSP's, you will really enjoy the benefit of being able to tune and tweak your settings, such as T/A as well as EQ.
6. Knukoncepts has great wiring kits.
7. No
8 & 9. I'd get some sound deadening to lay on the trunk floor. It's surprisingly not as well dampened as the sides of the trunk and it will also reduce some NHV if you have to open your rear armrest to let more bass through. Check out sounddeadenershowdown.com as he has a nice guide on what deadening is appropriate.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. I'm rethinking the JL HD900/5 because I'm concerned it doesn't have enough power to drive 2 W5's. I was thinking I could get a JL HD750/1 to drive my W3's which I would convert to W5's later.

I've read some posts saying there are better amps than JL, and cheaper. I'm not really sure where to research this. Can someone please help? I'm looking for good sound quality for the best price I can get. I'm also open to suggestions for component speakers.
 

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If you want to retain a factory look I have a modified CD53 that has RCA outs and upgraded caps and power supply.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I just google the CD53, it looks like a single DIN size unit? I already have a double DIN size opening with my factory Nav screen. Thanks, but I'm trying to get away from any stock components and I already have my head unit and custom bezel.
 

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Also, I haven't heard the focal's, but I really like my hybrid audio L6/L1's so far. Now, keep in mind, upgrading to 6.5's require a new baffle in the door. I'm planning on mounting my mids in the kicks since mine are 7" drivers.
 
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