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ICE upgrade finally complete

Discussion in 'GadgetZ, GismoZ and Bling' started by zedonist, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. zedonist

    zedonist Guest

    Right I have tonight finished for good, chopping and changing the ICE components in the ZED....................and I have to say that i am very impressed with the final resultant sound, now you may laugh, but i set a goal that the system must make a good re-production of Ultra Nate - Free. If I could do that, then all other songs would sound good too.................my opinion, the other consideration was that when i hade my Volvo V50 last year I went for the top of the range sound system which with a gazillion speakers, amps, sub woofer and professional sound tuning by bods at Volvo sounds mighty impressive and that is playing Ultra Nate - Free, my favourite Spanish Guitar tracks, Bon Jovi, Queen and a little bit of Dino on the side, all are impressive in the Volvo - Bench Mark set!

    Now the Zed was not built for sound, other than listening to the fruity exhaust and the purring engine (Its a four pot, so it purrs). the previous owner had chucked the business head unit and inserted an Alpine EUB-100 HU, now that in its self at time was considered a decent HU, however if you dont buy the correct harness, dont have a clue about the BMW audio set up, you end up with a disaster that is part re-cabled speakers part crossed over tweeters, part BMW system and amps. Mix it all up with the lovely BMW paper cones and you have the equivalent of a symbol in a steel drum..................not good.

    Where do you start.............well, change the foot well speakers (pioneer 5.25 3 way coaxial) and rear speakers (pioneer 4" 2 way coaxial), yep it got louder, but it was a louder steel drum, also the drivers tweeter did not appear to be working??? Checking the wiring the left hand foot weel was spliced into the right hand tweeter, re-route new cables, by passed BMW amps, sound is now decent but no base, and driver tweeter is blown, and driving above 50, switch off and listen to exhaust, which is nice because new SS system fitted.

    Step forward Pyle Slim Active Sub (also known by other names), fitted in line with phono cables, power from ignition, now have bass, but can't play loud as speakers on driver side start clipping. back to drawing board. Problem current HU has pre out but uses rear channel, four speakers on from two channel requires more power and HU has no LPF or HPF, decision made New HU, AMP and another set of speakers required including tweeters required (Must be a component set up with passive cross overs)

    Shopping List:

    Alpine IDA-X311RR Digital Media Receiver £110 (Controls and charges IPOD from HU)
    Alpine KTP-445 Head Unit AMP 4 Channel Amplifier £75 (Inline Amp plug and play into HU)
    Pyle 8-Inch Super-Slim 600-Watt Active High-Power Subwoofer Enclosure
    FLI - Integrator 5.5" 225W Component Speakers (2 sets 4 speakers plus cross overs) £120
    MB Quart RTC 19 Tweeters and crossovers £40
    3.5" Hard drive (old laptop) and caddy £7

    I have been installing this gear since October 2011, finishing over christmas with the rear 5.25" speakers and cross overs when fitting my new heated M Seats.

    So first set up of the system produced a nice sound but again as the volume got to half way the speakers began clipping, problem?, power has been sorted by routing the sub lead direct to the battery, new HU has four channels plus pre-outs. I left this problem alone for a few weeks as i had a more fundamental problem, the HU would not recognise my hard drive or a USB stick?

    Turns out my hard drive was formatted in NTFS and not FAT32, no problem i thought , quick re-format on windows computer to FAT partitions, wrong, turns out the FAT Configuration on windows PC's XP and above is not FAT32, you need a special program to do do this......................or an Imac................so formatted to FAT32 on the IMac, copied all my music 200GB to the HD and hey presto the HU can now read the hard drive......lesson learned here i think.

    Now, after thinking i would never have Volvo-esque quality, i decided to research the HU and discuss with an ICE builder in Cannock, it turns out that the HU has a number of sub woofer settings and also the ability to set both LPF and HPF, after discussion we agreed that the best setting would be setting the LPF to 80 - 100hz and the HPF to 100Hz or above, at the same time selecting Sub Woofer system 2 and setting the LPF on the subwoofer to 120hz. The clipping was caused by the LPF and HPF not being set and consequently the Bass signals were also being sent to the main speakers, causing a power overload and hence the clipping (popping sound, like a blown speaker)

    The transformation is incredible, I have no clipping, crystal clear highs mids and lows (BASS), and if i needed can now have full volume.

    I am very pleased with the re-production on Ultra Nate and as guessed all other genres sound pretty good also. it is now very close to the quality of the Volvo, and close enough not to want to spend any more money.
     
  2. swamper

    swamper Zorg Guru (V)
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    good stuff...made an interesting read :-bd
     
  3. r37

    r37 Dedicated Member

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    might spurr me on to do the speakers in my zed now, only the drivers side footwell speaker and a passenger tweeter work and all the subs in the back are'nt in the car anymore. Excelent write up with good info.
     
  4. board

    board Administrator
    Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator British Zeds M Power

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    Any pics of the setup especially with the sub? Mine had the HK system so done half a job with a new head unit and amp with the old sub removed and new enclosure made with the speaker upwards where the storage box would be if no HK system installed.

    Would love to hear it sometime too :)
     
  5. zedonist

    zedonist Guest

    Thanks,

    I made a number of mistakes, the first thinking, that as per my usual sedan type cars just swapping out the speakers would make the difference. It won't, because if you use the existing BMW audo wiring system it can result in degradation of the signal and quality, which was my first mistake. I have left all the BMW wiring in situation, and i took the advantage while fitting my Aluminium Centre comsole of fitting all new speaker cable runs, so nothing in th enew set up touches the OEM system. The other key thing really, is to use really good quality copper speaker wire with a strand count of around 100, and ensure you use shielded phono cables, otherwise you will pick up the alternator signal.

    The other problem you will have is that because it is a soft top and some times it will be down, it needs to have a PA type attitude, so you need to go for powerful speakers and an amp, I took a gamble with the in line amp and it worked, I have only seen this type of amp available for Alpine, but from what i have been told you can use it on other HU but you will have to splice cables at your own risk.

    The final problem I overcome by accident was the ability to fine tune the HU, i did not know at the time this HU had the ability to set up th HPF and LPF which means you can really tune the sound stage, now it is like i have a band playing on my dash board, with the surround sound.

    This journey has cost me at least an extra £200 in speaker cjoices which are now sitting in my garage, but will soon be on Ebay, so not a total loss. Lesson Learned No2, do research and talk to experts, advice costs nothing from the right person.
     
  6. zedonist

    zedonist Guest

    This is the sub, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pyle-PLBASS8-8- ... B001RJMZRE
     
  7. board

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    sorry if i missed it - where did you mount the sub in the end?
     
  8. GazHyde

    GazHyde The Gaz Monkey
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    I thought I was brave changing the head unit on my Zed ^:)^

    Always meant to get round to the speakers and a sub at some stage. Lovely write up! Thanks for sharing.

    Gary
     
  9. zedonist

    zedonist Guest

    I thought long and hard about the sub, wasted £100 on a 12" Kenwood and amp for the boot, then looked at the bulk head over the rear axle and realised a waste of time. then i looked at the rear storage compartment, and realised a top mounted 6" or 8" would be playing above my head into the atmosphere and would not add to the sound stage. Then i looked at the HK system and wondered about buying the grille replacing the middle compartment and fitting a 6" facing the dash, but on review there was no real depth and would require a substantial fibrerglass build. So in the end I looked at active slim subs and bought the Pyle 8", this is mounted behind the passenger seat, as mrs zed is short 5'4"not a problem, but in all honestly i would mount it in the passenger foot well and build a bridge from MDF over it so the matts looked flush (May do this at some point). but current situation is fine and the cabin of the zed is small, the BASS from the Pyle is more than ample to fill this, now it is set up correctly.
     

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