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HK Stereo Removal/Upgrade(long) (archive)

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Posted by Preston on November 11, 1998 at 13:45:12:

The HK Stereo came out my M3 on Monday and I have to say I was embarrassed at the quality of the factory stereo when I saw it. The speakers looked like they came from Radio Shack and the amp was a pitiful small plastic case which weighed less than 5lbs (weight proportional to quality usually in stereos), and less than a 20guage wire coming in for power. For those who are interested in real power specs of this amp: I hooked it up to a 4ohm load and a scope and found "real" (THD less than 1%, still a large number) to be less than 12 watts, and this was only with one channel loaded. Not very impressive...

As for the other parts, the rear deack is a wierd 6x9 with semi-seperate tweeter that is firing though a hole that is set up for the 4" component setup of the normal car. Basically this means that BMW didn't do anything but clamp a 6x9 under the same hole as the are using for the normal stero, probably doesn't make a huge sound difference, but still a little bit of a shortcut. The front components were about what I expected, nothing great nothing awful.

I replaced front components with the new Boston Acoustics 3-way (6.53) which dropped in very nicely and we built enclosures for the mids and kick panels to tighten things up a bit. The rears were replaced with BA 6x9's (RM-9's) which went in easily enough but because of the factory bracket they sit about 3 inches below the grill which makes things less than optimal. 2 JL 10's (10w6) went in the trunk in a sealed box along with 4 2-way amps (2x100 to front kicks, 2x60 to front mid and tweet, 2x60 to rear, 1x350 to subs). 3 of the amps are SONY ES, and the mid/tweet amp is Eclipse. Head unit, changer, and EQ are SONY ES. All of this stuff was left over from a previous show car or else it never would have been bought for this.

General impression is that things are going to come together nicely. The gains and EQ need some time to be tweeked correctly. The only major concern is the bass which just doesn't come through the rear seats. It is interesting that with the rear trunk open the bass is much louder/clearer inside the car so we must have a large standing wave being created back there. Maybe the EQ can take car of it, we will have to see.

Install took 3 of us 14 hrs, the other 2 were professional installers and I used to be in the business. The car doesn't seem to rattle and the only thing that came off was the front doors which are pretty easy. The front mids/tweets are running on factory wiring because we looked at rewiring and it would have been a major PIA to run decent wire into the doors. Everything else got replaced with 12 guage.

Thought you guys might want the info, if not, sorry for the waste of bandwidth.

Preston 98 M3/4

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