A repeat client of Extreme Audio from here in Mechanicsville recently contacted our team to ask about upgrading the sound system in his new-to-him BMW 530i sedan. Our store in Midlothian had built a nice system in a previous BMW 5-series for this client. He wanted the new car to have even more clarity and detail than the old system. After inspecting the vehicle, we came up with a plan that delivers the precision and bass extension he wanted.
Speaker Upgrade Improves Sound Clarity
Because the planned sound system in this BMW will use high-power amplifiers, we started by upgrading the front speakers with new drivers from Audiofrog. We mounted a set of GS10/OE 1-inch drivers in the door sail panels. These speakers are a custom version of the GS10 tweeter that is designed specifically with a compact chassis that fits into OEM speaker mounting locations. Next, our fabrication team created a set of mounting adapters that would allow a set of GS40 4-inch midrange drivers to bolt into the original front door speaker locations. We used acrylic plastic for the adapters instead of wood so that there’s no chance of them swelling or mildewing should they ever get damp.
Custom BMW Subwoofer Enclosure
Last on the list of speaker upgrades was a JL Audio 10W6v3-D4 10-inch subwoofer. Our team created a one-off fiberglass enclosure that fits into the driver’s side corner of the trunk. We chose the left side because the vehicle’s power distribution components are under the floor on the right side. The client was clear in his desire that the vehicle remain easily serviceable at the dealership, should that ever be required.
We added a multi-component acrylic trim panel to the face of the enclosure to give it a little extra flair and style. While it doesn’t take up any significant amount of usable space in the trunk, we made the enclosure relatively large, so the subwoofer would provide excellent low-frequency extension while offering great impact and control.
False Floor Amplifier Mounting Rack
The new sound system is powered by a JL Audio VX800/8i eight-channel amp with an integrated digital signal processor, along with an ARC Audio X2-450.4 for the side and rear speakers and an XDi 1100.1 for the subwoofer. The amplifiers, along with a Wavtech LinkD speaker-level interface, are mounted on a carpeted rack that sits at the back of the trunk. We trimmed an acrylic opening in the amp rack with a vinyl-wrapped trim piece.
The audio signal from the LinkD feeds into the JL amp where we configured the crossovers, delays and equalization for each channel of the system. A JL Audio DRC-205 remote control that we mounted in the center console allows the client to adjust the level of the subwoofer or the center channel, depending on the music he’s chosen.
The JL VXi-Series amp powers the new Audiofrog speakers, the stock woofers under the seats and the center channel. The four-channel ARC Audio amp feeds the speakers in the rear doors and on the parcel shelf. Finally, the XDi 1100.1 provides up to 1,100 watts for the system’s subwoofer to ensure that the bass is always clear and free of distortion.
Stinger Pro-Series 0-AWG power cable runs from the battery to a four-position power distribution center that features integrated mini-ANL fuses. Four-AWG power cables run to the JL and big ARC amps, while eight-AWG power and ground wires feed the four-channel amp.
As we mentioned with the subwoofer, access to the BMW electrical system was part of the design process. The stop-start battery and associated connections and modules are easily accessible by lifting the rear panel of the false floor we created.
Richmond’s Car Stereo Upgrade Experts
It took our fabrication team two days to complete the construction of the amp rack, enclosure and mounting adapters. With those tasks done, it was another couple of days to finish the integration and tuning process. The client was absolutely thrilled with the way the system sounds and loves that he can fine-tune the bass and soundstage on the fly. If you’re interested in upgrading the sound system in your BMW, drop by Extreme Audio in Midlothian or Mechanicsville and talk to a member of our team. We’d be honored to design a custom audio upgrade that will make your commute or road trip more enjoyable.