It can be tricky when you're looking for BMW Speaker Upgrades or Audio System Upgrades. There are a sea of potential upgrades leaving what should be a simple choice quite confusing. Meanwhile, taking you down a path of forum investigation where everyone's a professional installer and the information is flakey at best.
Introducing Audison Prima BMW - OEM Replacement
Leading Car Audio Manufacturer Audison offer a full range of BMW Speaker Upgrades and Audio System options. These are also modular, meaning you can add extra functionality at a later date.
Audison have built a fantastic configurator for the different levels of system, available for pretty much every production BMW up until 2021. We'll get to that a little later. However, the basic layout as we see it, goes as follows:
Audio System Upgrade Levels
Level 1 - System from £269.99
- Front Door Speaker Replacement - Simple BMW speaker upgrades from the stock OEM BMW speakers. Replaced by direct fitting Audison drivers.
Benefit over the OEM System - Elevated high frequency and mid-range presence. This upgrade will make things sound "clearer". No volume difference will be had from this upgrade.
Level 2 - System from £729.97
- Front Door Speaker and Tweeter Replacement - Rears (if you spec that way)
- Under Seat 8" Midbass Drivers.
- All of these drivers are direct replacements for the OEM speakers and require no modification. (OEM under seats may require some elbow grease to remove from enclosures).
Benefits over Level 1 System - Stronger, deeper, tighter bass, high frequency and midrange presence lead to a better sound all around. This upgrade also paves the way to adding a DSP amplifier in the next steps. No volume difference will be had from this upgrade.
Level 3 - System from £1,429.96
- Front Door Speaker and Tweeter Replacement - Integrated to the car at a "high level" (speaker level) point.
- Amplifier Replacement with DSP
- Replacing the Front 8" Midbass
Benefits over Level 2 System - Great step up in volume/output meaning you can actually turn your system up! With the addition of DSP in this step we get to tune the sound to our own preferences, including EQ, time alignment, phase adjustments, levels and so on.
The 3-way speaker upgrade included in this step will come to life with this new DSP amplifier.
Level 4 - System from £2,029.94
- Front Door Speaker and Tweeter Replacement
- Amplifier Replacement with DSP
- Secondary Amplifier and Subwoofer installation. Again, all plug and play and similar to level 3, but with a slave amplifier such as Audison AP1D and Subwoofer APBX10. Integrated at speaker level as per the Level 3 System.
Benefits over Level 3 System - Genuine LOW bass output. The 8" under seat speakers are great at creating mid-bass but they'll never play sub-bass. With the addition of this compact subwoofer set-up you can enjoy low, powerful bass all the way down.
Level 5 - System from £2,628.94
- The same spec as the Level 4
- Utilising the Audison DMI module to relieve the system of its analogue input, coding the car to speak digitally to the DMI such as the HK system (HK cars WILL NOT require coding) therefore leaving us with a far more linear noise-free digital input signal.
- This option can be added at any stage from 3 on.
Benefits over Level 4 System - Adding digital integration to any of these systems will give the amplifier the cleanest possible full-range signal.
Coded and working effortlessly alongside the cars OEM system, nothing needs to change about the way you control your original system. If you're serious about sound and want to keep everything in the car in its original place, this option is what you want to go for.
Individual product costs can be found here- Audison BMW Upgrade systems
**ALL PRICES ABOVE ARE PRODUCT ONLY - INSTALLATION COSTS SUBJECT TO SPEC**
Of course, all stages depend upon the spec of the original car. However, with this M3 we have a base model stereo. We went for Level 3 BMW Speaker Upgrades, so we need to add the OEM Harmon Kardon tweeter panels for the mirror backs at approx £50.
We also used a retention loom allowing the use of the OEM cabling for a seamless installation with minimum stress on this brand new car.
Audison Installation on the BMW M3
We're long-term fans of Audison and their constant drive to push forward. Audison's product has impressed us time after time and when on-song they have a particularly sweet sound to their equipment regardless of price point.
Now, whereas we've done a large number of new M cars, this is our first F80 M3. This particular M3 being pre-run-in service mileage and spec'd particularly nicely. The owner anticipated this upgrade, booking it before delivery and had spec'd it without top HIFI from new.
With all the logistics sorted and penned in the diary, the day came to carry out the installation. The brief was to have the system complete within the day ready to return home that evening. We were to install, tune as far as we can on new speakers and then book our standard 30-day re-tune.
Under-Seat Midbass Install
We set about with the under seat installation first, two installers working left/right sides of the car.
The eagle-eyed may notice a few pry marks on the OEM mounts. However, trust me when I say these things are particularly tricky to remove. We've seen others snap them clean in half before now!
So, with these enclosures treated with Skinz Liner, we mounted them back in the car with the factory grill replaced.
After that, we sent a loom back down the car to feed our amplifiers input, then we moved onto the doors fitting Audison's K4M 4" and tweeter component set.
We installed BMW's OEM Harmon / Kardon tweeter panels and in these panels we fitted the upgraded Audison tweeters.
Amplifier and Subwoofer Location and Installation
We fitted the door panels as per OEM and moved through to the boot of the car. This was stripped back to gain access to the rear left quarter. In the quarter of these cars is the location of either the H/K amplifier, the HIFI amplifier or an empty space on base audio option. In all cases, the Engine "active sound" module is here also. An ingenious device that ploughs engine noise into the cabin through the cars audio system. Great right?
Regardless, we disconnect this in all cases. Unless the car hasn't had its run in service, we'd rather it didn't throw a code on its first service. In which case we disconnect on the 30 day tune.
This is in the position of a factory amplifier in this car. This particular car didn't have one given its base spec audio, so we filled that gap with our amplifier. After that, we then covered it with the top panel and put the boot back together.
We tested the system for switching on/off and the car was re-assembled. After reassembly we went through the prompted set up procedure for the Audison AP 8.9 BIT amplifier to assign its input/output channels and we had sound. From here it was a case of tuning some safe crossover points in, some basic alignment and EQ to pinch back a little base and the car was ready to go!
The End Result - What does it Sound Like?
It's taken me a couple of weeks to get round to writing this post, we've since had the M3 in twice for simple tuning. The first time around was to remove the Active Sound Module and retune whilst we had no interference from this unit. Unfortunately, the 2018 software upgraded cars won't allow for the disconnection of this unit so we did some simple tuning to try and combat this issue. From here the car had the ASM coded out which made a huge difference to our original tuning, creating a far quieter environment in the car had made our tuning overly boomy/bright.
Since writing this article Audison have released a simple solution to remove the ASD from BMWs. This means that the struggle written about in this blog is no longer an issue.
This car doesn't sound like an OEM upgrade, it sounds far better than that. Whilst we do have a level of expectation when it comes to monetary value over sound, this set up has exceeded that by some margin. I'm particularly impressed with the midrange/tweeter definition and the de-equalisation process. We don't often use de-equalisation, however, in this platform it really works and has opened up the entire top end of the system.
A few stand out points for us are:
- Overall Volume is vastly improved
- Midrange/top end definition is fantastic
- Hard hitting midbass
- Midbass/midrange/tweeter integration is the best we've heard at this price point
Summary and Conclusion
So, we're a fan. It's made its way into our stock room on our " BMW Speaker Upgrades" shelf. There are so many of these kits available, all with their own fans, so this is simply our findings with this particular set up.
This is a higher cost OEM upgrade, which is largely the reason our findings are as positive as they are. However, we would argue that the increase in cost over lesser products pales into insignificance when comparing the end sound.
They've nailed it with this setup.
Please see also our Youtube Video we've put together for this particular install
The configurator can be found here, we can help you with this should you need it just shout - Audison Sound Package Configurator
Be sure to get hold of us as we can't fit everything into a blog like this, it would become quite boring to read! Please take a look through some other images we grabbed during the day.
As always, thanks for reading about these BMW Speaker Upgrades and I hope it goes some way to explaining how these BMW Sound Upgrades systems work.
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