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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have to start this with a BIG THANKS to fellow DIYMA member Chris at Creative Autosound (username: CREATIVE_AUTOSOUND). For anyone in San Diego, California he is the one of the few SQ orientated car audio installers around with his level of attention to detail and knowledge of car audio. He's been mentored in the trade by several big names on this site and in car audio. He can care to elaborate if you hit him up. Stand up guy with top notch quality work. He knows how to install and tune!

This holiday season I was fortunate enough to be able to fanangle 'gifting' my wife an audio upgrade for her 2016 BMW 328i F30 sedan. This build is pretty straight forward due to her constraints that the upgrade needed to look and function as stock as possible in all regards.

This build entails a center channel with center channel processing courtesy of ALPINE H800, OEM integration to BMW stock hifi system via harness, sound dampening treatments, upgrading all stock speakers, and installing a mini trunk sub.

CAR:




SETUP:

Since the DSP being used is the Alpine H800, I wanted to setup a 5.1 system to experiment with the Dolby, DTS, and Euphony processing the unit is capable of.

The Matrix constraints are as follows:


I opted for the Center + 2 Way Front + Rear Fill + Subwoofer matrix. I decided to hack the 2 Way front and do a hybrid 3 way by running the tweeter and mid-range off a passive crossover along with a mid-bass under-seat driver as the "2 way front".

SPEAKERS:

Physical driver size was a major factor in selection to maintain stock appearance of stock speaker locations. Not a lot of room in this model BMW.

For the center channel, the stock location is in the dash behind the iDrive screen and point up towards the windshield. Because there would be reflection of the window, i decided to try a warmer toned point source speaker. I opted for the Morel Integra 424 4" raw driver from partsexpress.



This is not a coaxial but a point source speaker that is better for phase coherence between the mid-range and tweeter within it. It has 2 separate wire terminals for the dome tweeter and mid-range cone in the speaker. I was able to score a single Morel Integra 402 Crossover on Ebay for $15!!

Building a center pod (Chris is skilled in fiberglass and thermoplastic fabrication) would have been ideal but that was a big no no with the wife. It was a challenge to get the speaker to fit because it is slightly larger than the stock center but Chris worked it a bit and was able to budged it in the tight space. The passive crossover unit is installed in the passenger side foot kick panel:















The 3 way R and L front stage is Focal ESK100 K2 power 4" component set and Focal IFBMWv2 8" Under-seat mid-bass woofers:





To start BMW's have reasonable road noise blocking so the focus was more so on resonance dampening. Chris applied Dynamat Extreme to the outer and inner door skins. He also installed some more in the under-seat woofer compartment area as well as the under-seat woofer boxes themselves:

Under-seat compartment and woofer box:










Doors:

terminals soldered,


heat shrink wrapped,


and tesa taped












Crossovers are on inside of the door panels:








For the rear fill, I decided to keep it simple and have Chris drop in a pair of BMW IFBMW-C coaxial integration speakers. To me these 4" coaxial speakers are on comparable build quality to the Focal polyglass line. Rear doors were also treated with Dynamat Extreme:













Subwoofer was a gamble. Something with a minimal footprint was a major priority and my hunting journey landed me on a pleasant surprise. The 8" Kicker Q-Class L7 QB8 loaded enclosure with a passive radiator. I was able to find this little guy at a steal on ebay for $368. I scoured the internet for any comments or reviews on this subwoofer but did not find much. You,ll have to hear it to believe it but don't let the little size of this sub deceive you. This sub is able to hit the lows with composure (to 28hz) and still deliver decent output. No it is not a W7 but it is a little beast to be recognized. The enclosure is made of 1/4" thick high quality Aluminum. It features has an 8" L7 Q-class woofer and an 8" passive radiator, all in a small 10"x10"x10" footprint.

Is it worth MRSP? I dont know. Is it worth the bargain i got it for? No question about it.

The output will shock you. Even better, it is not boomy sounding like some ported enclosures can be. In fact it is very smooth and blends extremely well. Bass is quick and transient, it is noticed and felt, and it is present and appreciated. This is an SQL enclosure not an SPL one so do not expect extreme body thumping bass from it when placed in sedan trunk.







 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
SOUND PROCESSING and AMPLIFICATION:

The stock BMW amp was removed and an integration harnessed was used to connect stock steering wheel and iDrive screen and touch controller to the after market DSP, an Alpine H800. Chris was able to cleanly install the Rux C-800 controller in the center dash for a nice OEM stock look.





C-800 Controller and a seperate JL amp Bass knob for the wife to use easily without having to touch the DSP controller.













Video of Chris using controller:

All components are receiving 100 watts from a JL XD800/8 v2 and the Trunk subwoofer is receiving 600 watts from a JLXD600/1 v2.



The JL XD600/1 was a perfect fit in the stock bmw amp location.






The JL XD800/8 and Alpine H800 where also a perfect fit in the trunks mini "spare tire" well. Everything stealth and out of sight.



















Chris did a bullet proof wiring job with everything labeled and techflexed. (Knukonceptz OFC 14ga speaker wire, KnuKonceptz OFC 0ga and 4ga power cables, and Esoteric Audio Digital Coaxial D4 cables for all the RCA connections.







 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
The system is alive! Tune Time!!


Switched illumination to red setting to better match stock BMW interior.

Chris knows his way around tuning. He is comfortable with RTA use and finalizing by ear. Solid sound stage, crisp sound, and tune is good for several genres of music. This guy has talent.







Speakers are still breaking in but so far this is an Audiocontrol iphone RTA measurement:



I had him tune for a warmer house curve to balance the colder holographic K2 tweeters.

I will be playing around with the processor and exploring the center channel options using Dolby Prologic II and Euphony upmixing.

Can't thank you enough Chris. The car sounds awesome. Very fair on pricing and communicative the whole way through. He'll also fine tunes the car again after the speakers break in. Couldn't ask for more.

Stay tuned for a 10 channel active Helix DSP Pro build on a 2016 Honda Civic that I will be using Chris for. Creative Autosound is my spot as long as I'm in San Diego or SoCal for that matter!

I'll post crossover settings soon.
 

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am I right in thinking rear fill is mono with only eight channels but nine drivers? 6 front, center and two rears..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think the 4” and tweeters are running off passive crossovers. So only two channels there. So 7 of 8 channels running on the XD800
Correct!

8 channels out of the H800 DSP go to the following:

XD800/8:
1: Front R 1” Tweet and Front R 4” Midrange (with passive crossover)
2: Front L 1” Tweet and Front L 4” Midrange (with passive crossover)
3: Front R Under-seat 8” Midbass
4: Front L Under-seat 8” Midbass
5: Rear R 4” Coaxial Rear fill
6: Rear L 4” Coaxial Rear fill
7: Center 4” Point Source (with passive crossover)

XD600/1:
8: Trunk 8” Subwoofer with passive radiator
 

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It was a job well done, and thank you not only for sharing but given credit where credit is due.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It was a job well done, and thank you not only for sharing but given credit where credit is due.....
Most def! Chris is awesome. I came to him with a plan and gear then he made it all happen! I’ll be using him again to update the build on my daily driver Civic build.

More leeway on that build since it’s mine and not the wifey’s.. so expect custom sails and center dash pods coming soon!

I’m really happy with how the BMW build came out. Once everything is fully broken in, I will whip out the calibrated UMIK and REW then get to experimenting with the 5.1 capabilities of the processor. So far I find Euphony processing much more enjoyable than the Dolby Prologic II upmixing but there are some more settings to dive into for the Dolby music
 

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oh yeah! I read it, remembered the passive mid/tweet, and still typed my daft question haha!
 

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Ben,

Great thorough write-up bro. Appreciate the kind words man. Can't thank you enough for trusting me with this build. Cheers to a new Client and friend :beerchug: I can't wait to start on the Civic build :D:D

Ps. The RTA Screen shot was at the beginning of the tune. We cleaned it up and fixed most peaks and dips...Lastly brought out the vocals and upper range )
 

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It must be a conspiracy with all of us “ Ben’s “ being on this forum lol.

Benjamin
 
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