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Re: Yes, it does sound a bit better (more) (archive)

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Posted by Bob Hazelwood on July 10, 2000 at 10:21:56:

In Reply to: Yes, it does sound a bit better (more) posted by beewang on July 10, 2000 at 00:08:39:

Hi Bee;

You're right! If the sound system quality is inportant to you, you are probably better off spending your money on an aftermarket upgrade. However, the DSP may actually be the best choice if you are not as picky about sound as some of us are. There are a lot of people that are happy with it once they finally get it set-up right.
However, with judicious choice of equipment, you can dramatically improve the sound quality over and above the DSP system capabilities. However, you must be prepared for certain hassles inherent in the process:
1. You will most likely have to wade through a series of unknowing installers before you find one you trust. Maybe there is someone on the board that has some experience with good installers in your area. Or, maybe you'll do it yourself?
2. Once you find a good installer, you will need to convince them that you don't want to win a car stereo competition, but that you just want something that sounds like real music. A lot of these guys are so used to dealing with the serious car audio lunatics that they lose perspective on what is really needed to put a good system together.
3. You'll probably end up spending more than you initially thought. (But what purchase doesn't end up this way?) For $1000 - $1500 you can get a very good sounding upgrade from the aftermarket. You'll hit the point of diminishing returns at about $2500 or so. Of course you can spend a whole lot more, see item #2. ;-)
However, thanks to the mediocrity of BMW's system offerings there is copious information in the archives, and great sites like JVR's ( and others documenting their solutions. There is no reason to give up on any of the stock system features, like the steering wheel controls, as people once thought when these systems were new.
NAV and DSP also no longer represent any real obstacles, but still there is no point in buying the DSP since upgrading a DSP based system means taking out most of what you pay extra for anyway. In the standard system, all the front-end electronics: i.e. radio, CD changer, NAV, etc. may be used as-is. These components are the same in DSP and non-DSP systems, in the DSP system, the stock amp is replaced with the DSP + amplifier module and a subwoofer is added. The DSP equipped amplifier module is the first thing to remove in a DSP system upgrade, so you get no benefit from the additional money spent on the DSP upgrade unless you choose to keep the BMW subwoofer.

Good luck on the new ride. Hope the wait is short!

Bob Hazelwood

: Thanx for your reply Alex, DSP is a lil' better than stock, but my problem is, I don't think it is worth the $1,000 extra. Wouldn't the grand be better spend on aftermarket upgrades??

: your thoughts,

: beewang

: : Hey, before you killed that option, this is my opinion on the DSP. I had a 97 528i with standard stereo and I tried my friend's 97 540i with DSP. The DSP sounds much better, I repeat MUCH BETTER than the regular sound system. The regular stereo is not good at all, it is even worse than my Bose Premium on my Acura Legend LS Coupe 93. So, my recommendation if you didn't have plan to change your stereo, GET THE DSP, it is definitely worth it. I regret that I didn't find pre-owned 528i that has DSP on it, oh well. Hope you pick your option wisely.

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