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Old 11th August 2009, 10:46 AM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Anybody with BMW E39?

Hey guys,

I was wondering if there are owners of E39s here on diyaudio ( i bet so ). What i was looking to do with my car is:
- Keep the factory look of the car, but uprade its soundsystem, which sucks.

Initially, I started with an Alpine head unit, Audison LrX series amplifiers ( two amps, one LRx2.80 for the front component system and another of same kind, bridged to a woofer crossed at 80Hz, 2nd order active ), a Focal polyglass 130 V2 component system on the front and a B&W 8" woofer placed in the ski pass ( i got it from a friend of mine, a replacement part for the DM603 speaker ). Cables were Audison as well. For a car with all of its limitations and compromises, the sound was good.
A few weeks ago my car stereo got stollen, but luckily only the Alpine head unit.
Now I want to keep the stock look of the car, which I have always prefered, but actually to make it sound even better. My idea is:
Take the factory head unit and remove the pre- and power amplifier sections with the inbuilt crossovers for the factory speakers. By using the current regulated power supply of it, to install a new custom built ( i will do it myself ) tube preamplifier and to use the trunk mounted Audison power amps. This small tube preamp should fit into the stock headunit. The problem is that I have not seen anyone who has done that and also, the volume control knob is on the MID.

Has anyone done any modifications to his E39 and can you provide more information and pics?

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Old 11th August 2009, 07:36 PM   #2
ECM is offline ECM  United States
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Dubai
That's a tall order Mario. Sucks to have your head unit stolen.

I'm sure it's easy enough to remove the stock amp from the head unit. It's a little more difficult to integrate a tube preamp in the chassis. I suggest you also consider a tube buffer between your head unit and amplifiers.

So basically, remove the power amp section from the head unit and tap the preamp signals for the output. The headunit, volume, etc, will remain the same. Then build a tube buffer to boost the signal to the amps in the trunk.

Of course, you'd have to dig around and find the preamp signal BEFORE it get's processed, but I'd be willing to bet you can find a clean signal at the output of the volume pot. Unless it's digital.

Please keep us posted, it sounds like an interesting diy project.

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Old 11th August 2009, 08:30 PM   #3
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Hello ECM, thanks for the reply and nice to know another interested in such project

I will keep you posted and I will also include pics, I would bet many other E39 owners are cursing BMW`s "Premium" sound system. Thanks for the hints, I would add a tube buffer for sure
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Old 22nd August 2009, 02:43 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2006
I don't know if this will help you but I have a few things saved for the E39 radio system. The pinouts are for the amp in the back. I'm still procrastinating on upgrading my E39's system
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Radio_Pinouts.jpg (143.4 KB, 88 views)
File Type: jpg Radio_Schematics.jpg (125.2 KB, 82 views)
File Type: jpg RearSpeakers_Schematics.jpg (88.1 KB, 79 views)
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Old 22nd August 2009, 02:49 PM   #5
luka is offline luka  Slovenia
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I would/will just use Rockford 3sixty... so you can have stock radio + all the best features for your system... go and check it out
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Old 30th September 2009, 07:27 AM   #6
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Hello, the European E39s usually do not come with the trunk mounted power amp that you guys in the US get...On the top of this the E39 was more expensive here when new. The issue is that the amplifier is inbuilt in the cassette head unit ( BMW Business RDS ). As far as I was able to find ( there`s really no info on the net ) it employs two TDA7315 chips for amplification/bass/treble which are located at the end of the unit. As the regulated power supply does not have outputs for heaters and etc. the tube buffer shall be avoided. I will open the unit this weekend and I will try to locate some clean preamp signal, I hope at the volume pot as suggested. If I could do so, then the signal should go to a pair of RCA jacks and the power amps in my trunk should get running.
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Old 30th September 2009, 07:38 AM   #7
ECM is offline ECM  United States
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Location: Dubai
Even if you are able to grab a low level signal right at the pot, I suggest a line driver or some sort of buffer to ensure a strong enough signal with a low enough source impedance.
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Old 30th September 2009, 07:43 AM   #8
ssanmor is offline ssanmor  Spain
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Madrid
I also own one, but at this moment haven't found the time to look into the audio system, that, as you say, doesn't sound very good.
Have a look at, you will find lots of info there.

Best regards
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