Can I use and Alpine ERA-G320 dsp/equalizer with a stock 03 BMW head unit? - diyAudio
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Old 26th May 2010, 01:40 PM   #1
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Default Can I use and Alpine ERA-G320 dsp/equalizer with a stock 03 BMW head unit?

i bought a 2003 BMW M3 convertible and badly need to upgrade the HK sound system, its junk... my old 1997 BMW 328 vert had an awesome Alpine setup in it with the ERA-G320 DSP/equalizer hooked in via the AInet - but i'm wondering if i can install the ERA-G320 in my 03 M3 with the stock BMW head unit?

i loved that equalizer, and the detachable faceplate was perfect to fit in the dash, as there is no room for a full on dsp equalizer to install in the new car.

can it be done? are there any other detachable face dsp/equalizers worth considering? (the pioneer dep-9200 has detachable face, but its only a 3-band equalizer, kinda weak...)

THX
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Old 26th May 2010, 02:25 PM   #2
Glowbug is offline Glowbug  United States
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Why not use an external integration processor? JBL MS-8, JL Cleansweep, etc...

Gives you the ability to use either the unit's own processing or a clean line level output for whatever you want to use downstream.
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Old 26th May 2010, 03:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Glowbug View Post
Why not use an external integration processor? JBL MS-8, JL Cleansweep, etc...

Gives you the ability to use either the unit's own processing or a clean line level output for whatever you want to use downstream.

I'm not sure what an "external integration processor" is... i'm a noob trying to figure out how to upgrade my system myself. i loved the dsp equalizer i had before as it had 6 programmable sound curve buttons, so i could adjust the sound output on the fly based on mp3 quality or high/low bass of the song. i'd like to replicate that flexibility and preprogrammed buttons for output shapes i choose.

thoughts?
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Old 27th May 2010, 02:03 PM   #4
hispls is offline hispls  United States
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Originally Posted by garrettmarvel View Post
I'm not sure what an "external integration processor" is... i'm a noob trying to figure out how to upgrade my system myself. i loved the dsp equalizer i had before as it had 6 programmable sound curve buttons, so i could adjust the sound output on the fly based on mp3 quality or high/low bass of the song. i'd like to replicate that flexibility and preprogrammed buttons for output shapes i choose.

thoughts?
Those sort of processors are about the best way to take the signal source from factory head unit and get it to RCA outs and give some flexibility to process it and split it up however you like.

Sadly AFAIK there isn't a simple/cheap solution for your issue.
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Old 15th June 2010, 02:28 PM   #5
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i got the alpine era-g320, but i'm confused as my stock H/U has 4 wires for 2 front R&L and 2 rear R&L outs to the amp but the dsp equalizer brain only has 2 rca inputs...

so how do i resolve more wires than inputs to insert this between the H/U and amp?
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Old 15th June 2010, 05:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by garrettmarvel View Post
i got the alpine era-g320, but i'm confused as my stock H/U has 4 wires for 2 front R&L and 2 rear R&L outs to the amp but the dsp equalizer brain only has 2 rca inputs...

so how do i resolve more wires than inputs to insert this between the H/U and amp?

Your deck supplies a four channel output to speakers that is faded front to rear inside the deck. Your EQ will replace this function inside its brain. I bought this same EQ for friend for his stock infinity Chrysler HU system.

I would remove the HU and then open it up and pull a set of RCAs off the input electrolytic caps on the high power output chip. As daunting a task as this might seem its actually very simple to someone that has been inside lots of HU's. You will only need two RCAs out to connect the Alpine EQ, and the fade function you had on your deck will be inside the EQ from here on out.... Hope this helps some....

Oh and if there is a line level difference that is too large a simple off the shelf line driver can be inserted between the EQ and HU to allow for any major level adjustments that may be needed. The line driver sells for as little as 30 bucks on auction sites, and even a cheap one will work fairly well in this application.

The cleansweeps and JBL MS-8, and the such are all very nice units with very large price tags for some very simple tasks that they perform. Your paying for a simple solution to a rather simple interface task that is beyond most installers technical level by a fair piece. I know what I know because I and others I know of have been adding RCA level out and CD input to HU's since the early 90's when this exact issue start to show up frequently....again i hope this helps some...
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Old 15th June 2010, 06:09 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=1moreamp;2217559]I would remove the HU and then open it up and pull a set of RCAs off the input electrolytic caps on the high power output chip. As daunting a task as this might seem its actually very simple to someone that has been inside lots of HU's. You will only need two RCAs out to connect the Alpine EQ, and the fade function you had on your deck will be inside the EQ from here on out.... Hope this helps some....

Oh and if there is a line level difference that is too large a simple off the shelf line driver can be inserted between the EQ and HU to allow for any major level adjustments that may be needed. The line driver sells for as little as 30 bucks on auction sites, and even a cheap one will work fairly well in this application.
[QUOTE]

this helps immensely...BUT: how what are electrolytic caps and how do i identify them if i decide to play doctor inside the HU? can the output wires be spliced together in a simple(r) way?

and can you further explain the line level issue(s)? I've heard about the cleensweeps and auto-EQs, but it seems like this shouldn't be necesssary, which it sounds like you are saying, and i'd like to keep cost and complexity down if i am right.

thanks!!!
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Old 15th June 2010, 07:05 PM   #8
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Most HU's have a single output chip to drive the speakers, some have more but I am guess that yours has only one output chip mount on the back plate as a heat sink. This chip has a number on it, and if you could find that number and search the net I am sure you could find the technical paper on the device, a PDF file most likely from the manufacturer.
This document would show you each channels input to the chip and which pins you need to look for. I would do this if I were you. Each channel of input will most likely have a single 10 ufd electrolytic cap inline of the input to block DC from the chips input. You can tap just after this cap by soldering the tip wire of the RCAs to this point. The same for the other channel to get a left and right signal, and hopefully both of the front channels.
Simple bench testing can verify weather or not you have the correct pair of inputs by operating the balance and fade from the front of the deck.

The ground shield would be common-ed together and I would find the circuity ground of the output chip as this most likely will have sufficient strength for a good ground connection. < I have seen HU's RCA grounds blow out like fuses over the years due to bad installs.

VIOLA !!! you have RCA outputs off your stock HU. Any device you hook up will also have DC blocking caps on there inputs so no need or worry about issues like that.
And as I said if the line drive level is too low them just pick up a blister pack line driver off a auction site for cheap. These are actually better built then most HU's and have bi-polar power supplies in them and offer a huge voltage gain that is very adjustable. Some even provide HU ground isolation. These can cause engine noise issues simply jumper the rca Shield grounds together in most cases will solve this issue... Again I hope this helps save you $
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Old 28th September 2010, 03:24 PM   #9
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i just spoke to Alpine technical support, and they said I *MUST* install a Hi-Lo converter between the headunit and the equalizer because the H/U signal is too much for the equalizer... is that true? wouldn't the signel from the H/U be at a low pre-amp level allowing for the EQ install directly in line before the stock amp?

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Old 28th September 2010, 03:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garrettmarvel View Post
i just spoke to Alpine technical support, and they said I *MUST* install a Hi-Lo converter between the headunit and the equalizer because the H/U signal is too much for the equalizer... is that true? wouldn't the signel from the H/U be at a low pre-amp level allowing for the EQ install directly in line before the stock amp?

No.

Your BMW radio (picture would help a lot) probably has the power amp built in, and as such can put out around 8 volts. Or, if there is an external amp, it may be designed to accept the 8 volts out of the radio directly. In that era, I doubt very much the ERA-G320 had 4V preamp inputs, so the RCA inputs can only handle 2 volts. That's why Alpine is saying you need a converter.

But actually, EQs are just band-aids, and graphic or parametric EQs are not very good ones really. If you want better sound, you need to improve the system itself. For you, this means better SPEAKERS because what BMW puts in is generally poor. Problem is, they are also enamored of subwoofer-under-the-seat, woofer low in the door, mid up in the middle of the door, tweeter up in the pillar. That configuration doesn't help the speakers work well, either.

A convertible is a challenge, you need a lot of power to generate SPL to overcome road noise. Then you need strong speakers to handle the power. A sub is a huge challenge, due to the folding top interfering with possible locations and airflow. Your EQ cannot address any of those problems. At most it can punch up the midrange to make the vocals louder.
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