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Risky BMW E90 audio upgrade
Risky BMW E90 audio upgrade
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Old 9th January 2019, 08:01 AM   #1
Mrcloc is offline Mrcloc  South Africa
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Default Risky BMW E90 audio upgrade

I've enjoyed the audio systems BMW have made in the E90 from the hifi system and up, but I believe I could make it a bit better. I hear the hifi system has no equalization, so it's an easier upgrade.


The two main challenges are mounting and size limits. I believe the mids/full ranges are 4", so that's what I have to work with. I don't have a large budget, otherwise this exercise would have been easier. My plan is to upgrade the mid and high for now, and then one day when I have a bit of money to upgrade the woofers (I have a question about that lower down).


I could buy an MTX drop-in upgrade, but it's R6000, and the rear speakers aren't upgraded. That's much much more than I can afford. So I spent hours and hours deciding what combination to use. I badly wanted JL Audio C1 402 for the rear, but I couldn't justify the R1100 spend on the rear speakers. I looked at Hertz DCX 100.3 and Alpine SPG-10C2. The Alpines were really attractive, I was just wanting a little more low end in the back.


For the front, I needed 4" components, and finding that is quite a task here in SA (for a budget). I considered Orion CO400C, and I still can't decide if I made the right choice, but I decided against them because they only have a HPF for the tweeter, and I don't trust midranges without a crossover. I could then decide between Targa TG-4020ZC (cheap stuff available here, but very good results) and a Starsound component system. I've had great results with Starsound 6" splits, but the 4" just didn't inspire me. The Targa have 25mm silk tweeters and proper 12 dB crossovers. I went with Targa's.


Because I decided on Targa, I used the shop which sold them the cheapest (out of 2, coincidentally a shop I like, and R100 difference (almost 20%)). So I could then choose my rear speakers. I probably should have gone with Hertz, but the price with a mylar tweeter, and I'm not sure, and..... So my final choice was down to <R500 speakers. My shortlist was JBL GT5-402 and MTX TR40C. Same price, very difficult choice. I like JBL. I looked up some pictures, and the titanium laminate tweeter was something I wasn't too sure about. The build quality of the MTX looked better, and MTX is a top brand, so I went with them.



Considering that I want to upgrade, but also limit my budget, the risk is that I spend money and get little to no improvement, however, I do have another use for the speakers if the upgrade fails.


I plan to install everything soon, and when I do, I want to see if I can add sound deadening at all. I'll do the install without cutting wires, and I'll put updates here. When I eventually do the woofers, I might put in 6" rather that 8". If I can get better 6" for the cost, is it a better option, or should I stick to the 8" size? In the distant future I want to eventually add an amplifier, but for now I think the BMW one is quite ok. I think it's 25Wx4 and 40Wx2. I'm wanting more of a sound quality system, not a panel-shaker.



I want to do this as an experiment as well. Is it possible to upgrade BMW audio significantly without buying a BMW drop-in system, and at an extreme budget?


What do you think of my choices?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Targa TG-4020 ZC.jpg (179.9 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg MTX TR40C.jpg (252.5 KB, 72 views)
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Old 9th January 2019, 08:12 AM   #2
Mario Pankov is offline Mario Pankov  Europe
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Risky BMW E90 audio upgrade
Get a pair of Faitalpro 4FE32 for the front midranges, some Vifa OC25 tweeters (very cheap and if used correctly, are ok) and underseat you`ll be limited to SWS-8 (price/performance) or have to design spacers and use the pretty good Morel MW266.

Changing the stock components to the ones shown in your post will not be an upgrade. Most basic BMW systems don`t have a tweeter - only a midwoofer run fullrange. Add the OC25 or a Monacor DT75 (both fit, the later has to be trimmed) with some passive crossover and you`d be much happier than putting a piece of Asia deep jungle designed and built junk.
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Old 9th January 2019, 08:19 AM   #3
Mrcloc is offline Mrcloc  South Africa
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Originally Posted by Mario Pankov View Post
Get a pair of Faitalpro 4FE32 for the front midranges, some Vifa OC25 tweeters (very cheap and if used correctly, are ok) and underseat you`ll be limited to SWS-8 (price/performance) or have to design spacers and use the pretty good Morel MW266.

Changing the stock components to the ones shown in your post will not be an upgrade. Most basic BMW systems don`t have a tweeter - only a midwoofer run fullrange. Add the OC25 or a Monacor DT75 (both fit, the later has to be trimmed) with some passive crossover and you`d be much happier than putting a piece of Asia deep jungle designed and built junk.

I live in South Africa, so access to everything you listed, other than the SWS-8, is impossible without big shipping costs.


As I said, I have the hifi system, which has tweeters in the front, and a dedicated amplifier.


SWS-8 is massively expensive.


I hear what you're saying with "get better stuff", but that defeats the point because better stuff is too expensive. How much better is Hertz DCX 100.3 than MTX TR40C, and is that bit of better SQ worth double the price? That's why I went with the MTX.


I hope you're wrong about this not being an upgrade. And thanks for the input.
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Old 9th January 2019, 08:38 AM   #4
Mrcloc is offline Mrcloc  South Africa
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Oh, I want to add that after this experimental upgrade, I do actually want to save up (depending on how good my upgrade is) and do a proper upgrade. I don't know if I'll be able to save and afford it, but it's on my plans.
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Old 9th January 2019, 11:17 AM   #5
Bret burrill is offline Bret burrill  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrcloc View Post
I hope you're wrong about this not being an upgrade. And thanks for the input.
Sorry but I agree with Mario on this and on the faital pro's which I am installing in my car now. If you like to tinker then go ahead and experiment, but the stuff you are putting in is likely to be inferior to the stock BMW audio.

Do you have wrecking yards there? Research what cars have high end audio and try and find stuff that way. I look for dynaudio stuff in Volkswagens and volvos. Also 4" is a perfect size for mids. People think that seems too small when actually you are lucky to have that size, because it is perfect. 8" is also perfect for midbass, I would not ever ever ever change that to a 6".

Last edited by Bret burrill; 9th January 2019 at 11:19 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 9th January 2019, 11:29 AM   #6
Mrcloc is offline Mrcloc  South Africa
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Thanks Bret burrill! I'll post my findings soon. I'm sure the MTX 2-ways will be an upgrade because at least I'm replacing a midrange with a 2-way. The Targa is a long shot.


If I could spend more right now, I'd have the JL Audio C2's by now. Faital Pro I'm not sure I can get here, and scrap yards are not ideal here. Mechanical parts, yes, but audio I think is impossible.



I'm going to see if my 10" subs will fit in where the 8's are now - they obviously won't fit in the enclosure, but possibly with magnet up and a little adapter, they might fit under the seats.


Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 9th January 2019, 11:40 AM   #7
Mrcloc is offline Mrcloc  South Africa
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All ye people with little faith! I'll show the world! My 4" splits are going to cause windows to break and people to scatter!


I just wanted to add that the Targa has been a happy surprise so far, in terms of physical properties. It has a magnesium cone with what appears to be a low mechanical Q - it's really stiff! The basket and materials seem to be much better than the price. I think the manufacturing cost is where money was saved - there is a bit of glue showing where the dust cap meets the cone, and the magnets aren't perfectly aligned... But at least the cone moves freely and the magnet is vented. I believe the voice coil is on a kapton former. My main concern would be driver matching, but this is in a car, so that's not all that important...

Last edited by Mrcloc; 9th January 2019 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 9th January 2019, 12:28 PM   #8
Bret burrill is offline Bret burrill  United States
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I have never scored a dynaudio system from a wrecking yard. By the time I got to the cars that had them, there were only holes without speakers in them. I did find a zapco st4xsq last time I went, and got it for $30.
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Old 9th January 2019, 12:30 PM   #9
Mrcloc is offline Mrcloc  South Africa
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Originally Posted by Bret burrill View Post
I have never scored a dynaudio system from a wrecking yard. By the time I got to the cars that had them, there were only holes without speakers in them. I did find a zapco st4xsq last time I went, and got it for $30.

That's good bang for buck!
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Old 9th January 2019, 02:47 PM   #10
Mario Pankov is offline Mario Pankov  Europe
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Risky BMW E90 audio upgrade
Wantitall.co.za, thesoundguy.co.za - both sell Faitals in South Africa. All it takes is a single search on google...

The scrapyard suggestion is indeed a smart way to find some good speakers - Volvos have a carbon fiber 8" front door woofer which is among the slimmest I have seen - can go underseat and these sell cheap over ebay. Then you go for the Faitals and some tweeter, whatever you can find. Cheap and will sound good.
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