The owner of this 2015 BMW 328i recently contacted the team at Extreme Audio in Midlothian about improving the sound quality of the stereo in his car. He wasn’t happy with the dynamic range and overall tonal balance of the system. After inspecting the vehicle and talking to the client about his listening preferences and budget, we designed a simple but effective upgrade that addresses all of his concerns.
ARC Audio PS8-50 Amplifier Upgrade
This upgrade is based around the new ARC Audio PS8-50 eight-channel amplifier with integrated digital signal processing. This unique system tuning and amplification solution serves up a rated 50 watts of power per channel and includes a DSP that will allow us to tune the sound system to meet the client’s preferences for overall tonal balance.
We assigned channels 1 and 2 to the factory tweeters, channels 3 and 4 to the factory midrange speakers in the doors and channels 5 and 6 to the original woofers mounted under the front seats. The last two channels were bridged together to drive the system’s new subwoofer.
We added the LR1 remote bass knob to the PS8-50 and configured it as a remote level control for the subwoofer. The knob is mounted in the center console to the left of the iDrive controller.
Vehicle-Specific Subwoofer Upgrade
BMW and Mini decided to use 8-inch woofers under the front seat that deliver adequate mid-bass performance but don’t play low enough. Our solution was to add a vehicle-specific subwoofer from Musicar NW. Their F32/F82 OE-Look Subwoofer Enclosure is constructed from fiberglass to ensure that every cubic inch of space is used efficiently. The front face of the enclosure features a color-matched carpet that mimics the factory carpet on the trim panels perfectly. For this client, given the available 200 watts of power from the PS8-50 amplifier, we chose a JL Audio 10W1v3-4 for the system to balance efficiency and low-frequency extension.
BMW Stereo Upgrades and Tuning
The client supplied us with an Apple CarPlay upgrade from BimmerTech, and we completed the installation process using their instructions before setting to work tuning the audio system. We delivered the car with a smooth and natural frequency response curve that is both realistic and, thanks to the addition of the sub, a lot of fun to listen to. In terms of a soundstage, we used the signal delay and level control features in the amp to make it sound as though the music was coming from the windshield.
The client returned to Extreme Audio to hear his BMW stereo for the first time and was thrilled. It did everything he wanted and looked great! If you are interested in upgrading the sound system in your car, drop by our store in Midlothian or Mechanicsville, or send us an e-mail.