A client from Stafford recently contacted the team at Extreme Audio in Mechanicsville about upgrading the audio system on his 2019 BMW K1600 Grand America motorcycle. As with most bike owners, he’s concerned that the sound system that came with the vehicle doesn’t have enough power and that the speakers don’t sound very good. He wanted something that would sound clearer and play louder. Thankfully, we’ve worked on several BMW touring bikes in the past so we knew exactly what would deliver the performance he wanted.
Motorcycle Inspection and Amplifier Upgrade
The first step in upgrading the sound system on the bike involved our technicians measuring the frequency response and amplitude of the signal coming out of the factory radio. We need this information to make sure we know how the factory entertainment system works. Thankfully, and unlike many other bikes, the output from the radio didn’t include any equalization. Another plus was that the built-in low-frequency filtering would work perfectly with our planned upgrade.
Using this information, we upgraded the motorcycle with a Rockford Fosgate TM400X4ad four-channel amplifier. We mounted this compact amplifier on the back of the right-side saddlebag to minimize the amount of space it would take up. We ran 8-AWG power and ground cables directly to the battery and connected the speaker-level inputs to the output of the factory radio. The output of the amplifier feeds the new front and rear speakers we’d be installing next. All of the adjustments on the top of amp are easily accessible, so it will be easy for our team to configure the system.
As always, we protected the wiring around the amplifier and that runs toward the battery with an automotive-grade cloth tape. The tape not only keeps the wires bundled and protected from wear, but it also prevents buzzes or rattles as the bike moves down the road.
Motorcycle Speaker Upgrade Improves Clarity
The next step was to upgrade the speakers on the BMW. We started by removing the factory-installed speaker enclosures from the front fairing. Though these enclosures have a well-thought-out vented design and separate tweeters, the speakers are small and are limited in terms of how much power they can handle. They’d certainly never last more than a few minutes when driven with 100 watts from the new Rockford amp.
We copied the shape of the enclosure face into our CAD program and created a new mounting plate to mount a set of Polk Audio MM522 speakers. The 5.25-inch coaxial component speakers feature ultra-compact neodymium magnets to keep the weight down while providing excellent efficiency. The woofer cones and tweeters are made from UV-resistant materials so that the speakers will function reliably for years of direct sun exposure. Finally, Polk MM1-series drivers are IP56 rated, so they won’t fail if they get rained on or become dusty.
The mounting adapters were cut out of acrylic plastic using our laser cutter so that every fastener location is aligned correctly.
For the rear speakers, we sourced a set of rear box speaker adapters from Fullcomp. These Russian-made mounting adapters attach to the top of the saddlebags and give us room to install a set of Polk Audio MM6502 6.5-inch component speakers. The shape of the adapters aims the speakers up and forward toward the rider for improved sound quality and clarity. We used the grilles that came with the Fullcomp adapters to protect the woofers. The tweeters from the set mount nicely in the provided openings just below and inwards from the woofers.
Visit Richmond’s Motorcycle Audio Upgrade Experts Today!
With the equipment installed and the settings on the amp configured to work with the new speakers and radio, it was time for the client to return to Extreme Audio and hear the upgraded audio system on his BMW. He loved the improvement in clarity and was thrilled with the attention to detail we demonstrated in the installation. If the sound system on your touring bike isn’t putting a smile on your face, drop by our store in Mechanicsville or Midlothian. A member of our team would be happy to help. You can also reach us by phone or by e-mail using the contact page here on our website.