One of our clients recently approached us here at Handcrafted Car Audio about building a custom audio system in a 2000 BMW M5 that he had purchased for his wife. The car was immaculate, and he wanted a clean and simple audio system that would sound great. This client took the time to prepare a list of ideas for the system, including questions about keeping the factory head unit and where to mount speakers, amplifiers and subwoofers. He dropped the car off and told us to take our time looking over the car and reviewing his preliminary plan.
We went over the car for a day and a half, and made our own notes about upgrade options. We listed the pros and cons with respect to each of his ideas and came up with a few of our own. After meeting with the client and reviewing the four pages of combined notes, we came up with a plan for an elegant system.
Premium Source Unit Replacement
We removed the factory navigation system from the dash of the M5. Metra makes a dash kit for the E39 chassis M5 vehicles. We ensured the kit fit the dash and radio perfectly, then sent it out to be hydro-dipped with a wood-grain finish that would match the dash trim. The client chose a Pioneer AVIC-7200NEX because it has CarPlay and Navigation, and he liked the touchscreen. Once he tried the “pinch to zoom” function, he had to have this radio. Bluetooth music streaming and iPod playback were the icing on the cake.
Multi-channel Audio And Processing
We ran an Audison Connection interconnect cable from the Pioneer source unit to the factory amplifier location in the corner of the trunk. We removed the factory amp from its bracket and installed an Audison AP8.9 bit and an AP1 D amp on that bracket. The AP8.9 bit powers the front and rear speakers while the AP1D powers a pair of subwoofers. The “bit” designation on the AP8.9 bit means that the amp has built-in digital signal processing. The processing allows us to set up crossovers, time alignment and equalization for each output, including a mono output for the subwoofer amp. The battery feeds power to the amps through Stinger wiring.
Interior Speaker Upgrades
We installed a set of Audison Prima APK130 5.25-inch components in the front doors. The woofer from the APK130 kit is in the factory woofer location. We made an adapter plate or the tweeter from the Audison set and installed it in the factory midrange location at the top of the door. The factory tweeter location holds a very small (1 inch) tweeter, and it wasn’t cost-effective to rebuild it or the new little tweeter. The client chose a set of Audison APX5 5.25-inch coaxial speakers for the rear factory location to ensure the sound would envelop the listener nicely.
Subwoofer Upgrade In OEM Location
The factory subwoofer is a somewhat large bandpass enclosure that bolts to the underside of the rear parcel shelf. We removed the enclosure and created a new one for a pair of 8 inch Hertz ES200 subwoofers. We used the stack-fab method to construct the new enclosure. This method entails laminating several horizontal layers of wood together to create the sides of the enclosure. It is one of the easiest ways to create complex vertical shapes. The new enclosure bolts in using the factory mounting locations.
To give the trunk a little style, we created a trim panel that mounts to the rear of the enclosure. We placed a BMW badge in the center of the panel and surrounded it with a small raised accent piece. Then we wrapped the trim panel in vinyl for a classy look.
Tuning, Configuration And Delivery
We wrap up every system with a thorough tuning session. For this vehicle, that step included setting the amplifier sensitivity controls and configuring the digital signal processor to create a realistic soundstage across the dash of the vehicle.
Client Excited To Surprise Wife With BMW M5 Audio Upgrades
The client returned to Handcrafted Car Audio in Chandler, Arizona, to pick up the car and loved the way it looked and the way it sounded. He was very excited to deliver it to his wife.
If you are looking for an audio system upgrade for your car, truck, boat or motorcycle, stop in at the store or contact us here.