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Boggie
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What HiFi

Post by Boggie » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:37 pm

Having removed the modern (and rather incongruous) after-market head unit and CD changer fitted to my car, I am looking to refit something period-correct and would really appreciate some bigcoupe input. For future reference, it might be useful to compile a list of all the officially supplied (from factory OR supplying dealer) 80's ICE that was fitted to the E24. Here is what I have so far:
  • BMW branded Bavaria Mono Radio
    Becker Mexico Radio-Cassette
    BMW Branded Bavaria Stereo C Business
    BMW branded Alpine CM5905
I would be very grateful for any input, especially around any high-end ICE that might have been fitted, with or without separate amplifiers. What was the top option?

Cheers!
Ian
Last edited by Boggie on Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
1985 M635CSI
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Brucey
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Re: What HiFi

Post by Brucey » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:43 pm

in the UK most BMW dealers also offered Pioneer stereo systems as 'dealer fit' options. I think there must have been a deal between BMW UK and Pioneer; they even published brochures listing the various pioneer options, which included having decent size (~7") speakers mounted in the kick panel under the rear seat (my 3/87 build had those). These pioneer fitments were considerably more popular in the UK than the OEM factory audio options.

In the USA a similar situation exists; IIRC US dealers would fit the radio antenna into the wing (front fender). That is 'standard' for those cars, but is virtually unknown elsewhere in this model of car.

You can find out if your car left the factory with a factory audio system or not, if you can find the original build sheet details (often on a piece of paper under the rear seats). Similarly if you can find the original bill of sale, it may contain details of any dealer-fit accessories, including radio etc.

Regarding 'top options', there are two flavours of rear headrest cover pods; standard (which accepts a 6x4 speaker provided the magnet isn't too big) and 'premium' (which has a multi-way speaker mounted in the centre of the pod) . In the UK the premium speaker pods didn't appear commonly prior to the introduction of the Highline models. The highline models had 6x4s in the A-pillar mounts as normal but also had an option to have additional tweeters mounted higher up. Early four-speaker setups had a front to rear fader control that is wired into the dash, with or without an auxiliary amplifier. [NB you cannot use this fader if you have a modern amplifier]

It must be said that apart from the provision for an electric antenna, and four speakers the standard audio provisions in E24 were pretty basic. The factory speaker wires (standard parts of the wiring loom) are very skinny and are even installed incorrectly in many cases. You can fit out a UK car with all kinds of genuine BMW audio equipment that was (say) fitted into 7ers etc and it may be period correct. However I don't recall seeing any UK supplied 6er which has had this kit fitted from new; maybe I just have not looked hard enough though.

Options for having good sounds (as opposed to period correct sounds per se) include

- Mounting better speakers in the rear kick panel (I have 6x8" there in place of the original dealer-fit pioneers)
- fitting a subwoofer ported into the boot
- fitting extra speakers into the rear side trims and/or the doors
- fitting tweeters at the front eg on the dash, in the door tops, or in the mirror mount triangle trims (as per E36)
- fitting an auxiliary amplifier eg under the rear seat
- converting rear pods to accept better drive units, with better sealing at the edges and ported into the boot
- mounting 5-6" round speakers in the A-pillars using special mounts (NB this is a bit trickier on a RHD car because there is a padded bolster next to the accelerator that is likely to foul on such mounts).

You will notice that most of the above options are to do with the speakers and involve cutting the car about. This is because the standard speaker options/enclosures are the things that soonest limit the sound quality that you will get; even the 'premium' speaker pods are a bit crap by modern standards. If you fit better speakers you will soon find the limits of 1980s amplifiers; they mostly didn't have grunt by modern standards, in good part because the speakers wouldn't have been able to reproduce it anyway.

If you are stuck with 4x6" speaker mounts (which you don't want to modify) and want really good sounds then unless you fit a sub as well, prepare for a disappointment; there just never will be much guts to it because the standard enclosures are just not very good. The best 4x6 speakers I know of are JBLs or Infinity ones but these don't fit easily behind standard BMW grilles in the A-pillar, and in some case the magnets are too big to fit in the opening in the metalwork too. Mounted in the right enclosures, these drive units can produce a decent sound, but the enclosures on an E24 fall well short of what is required.

So you need to decide on your priorities and act accordingly. For a long time I have had a cheap modern head unit and four decent speakers, properly wired (including 6x8s at the rear etc) which cost a lot more than the head unit did, and this sounded pretty good; many others have said so. I could add about 100lbs of other gear which would give me a bigger better sound but this is marginal gains stuff unless you are doing it for the 'benefit' of folk who are not actually in the car.... :wink:

cheers
~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Boggie
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Re: What HiFi

Post by Boggie » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:11 am

Thanks Brucey,
Excellent info around the challenges of getting decent HiFi into an E24!

When I lived in Australia, I worked at setting up and managing a custom-fit ICE shop, designing and installing ridiculous kit for clients with more Au$ than brain cells. However, if I were still in the industry and someone came to me with an E24 to ICE but wanting to retain an OEM look, I might suggest something along the lines of:

Front End
Retain the standard HU.
Add a Bluetooth after-market media streaming and hands-free telephone system.
Use a 4ch, high-level input amp, driven by OEM stereo speaker O/P.

Front Sound Stage
LF: Alpine Low profile 6" Powered-Subs, under driver's seat.
MF: 4" Rockford Fosgate mids, in the kick panels.
HF: 1.0 - 1.5" Rockford Fosgate? tweeters. either satellite fit on the A-posts or behind the dashboard side window demister vents.

Rear Sound Stage
LF: 16x9" RF Subs, forward firing in rear seat bulkheads.
MF/HF Rockford Fosgate 6" 2-Ways, in the rear shelf pods

Subwoofer
1x10" enclosed cabinet, centre-mounted in the boot OR 2 16x9" " forward-firing subs under each rear seat.

The main question is around the head unit. What is the best for the above setup?

Thanks,
Ian
1985 M635CSI
Classic Car Collector & Restorer.

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raykoke
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Re: What HiFi

Post by raykoke » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:22 am

I think for a head unit, something like a vintage Nakamichi would be pretty cool.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nakamichi-TD-5 ... Swl9RaKZSO

Cheers,

Ray
'85 ///M635

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hornhospital
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Re: What HiFi

Post by hornhospital » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:31 am

I wish the Nakamichi head unit that came with my '85 worked, but it was toast. Not economically justifiable to repair. :(
Ken Kanne
'84 633CSi "Sylvia"; '85 635CSi "Katja";'87 325is "Odette"; '93 325is "Elvira"; '95 M3 "Ashlyn"

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Brucey
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Re: What HiFi

Post by Brucey » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:25 am

if you are not using the amplifier in the HU then this makes things easier but IMHO really it is mainly about the functionality of the HU first (does it accept the sources you want to use?) and the look/layout of the thing second. Annoyingly very many HUs are designed for LHD cars and these have the most commonly used controls on the LHS of the HU. A few HUs are laid out in a more RHD-friendly way.

However there is a third consideration; if your car has AC then fitting a full-depth ISO HU is problematic in an E24; there just isn't much space at the back, it is a really tight squeeze against an AC duct. I have known owners give up on trying to fit some HUs because of this.

In addition there is one further place that you could mount speakers in a stealthy way; at the bottom of the doors is a trim panel which is large enough to accept a couple of 4" units. I think that you could even hope to hide them behind the OEM cloth trim, too. A caveat is that positioned thusly, they may be vulnerable to damage through being shaken about if the doors are slammed shut.

BTW on a practical note it is not difficult to fit an amp under the rear seats and to run wires under the carpet along the transmission tunnel. Also note that the way the front seats adjust (not to mention sag when you sit on them) there is very little space for a sub under the front seats. What little space there is can diminish to almost nothing if the rear of the seat is lowered and then the seat is folded forwards; details vary with the particular type of seat you have fitted.

cheers
~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Boggie
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Re: What HiFi

Post by Boggie » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:37 am

raykoke wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:22 am
I think for a head unit, something like a vintage Nakamichi would be pretty cool.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nakamichi-TD-5 ... Swl9RaKZSO

Cheers,

Ray
Ohhh, now that is nice. Were Nakamichi supplied with E24s in the US?
1985 M635CSI
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Boggie
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Re: What HiFi

Post by Boggie » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:52 am

Brucey wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:25 am
if you are not using the amplifier in the HU then this makes things easier but IMHO really.

If your car has AC then fitting a full-depth ISO HU is problematic in an E24; there just isn't much space at the back, it is a really tight squeeze against an AC duct. I have known owners give up on trying to fit some HUs because of this.

In addition there is one further place that you could mount speakers in a stealthy way; at the bottom of the doors is a trim panel which is large enough to accept a couple of 4" units.

It is not difficult to fit an amp under the rear seats and to run wires under the carpet along the transmission tunnel.

Also note that the way the front seats adjust (not to mention sag when you sit on them) there is very little space for a sub under the front seats.

cheers
Thanks Brucey,
Useful stuff! I was looking at the space in the rear of the centre console for the amp too but agree that under the rear seats is a good idea. Perhaps the amp under one and the under seat Alpine sub under the other. I haven't looked under the front seats yet but the Alpine sub enclosure needs 80mm clear height. I will look into the door spaces too.

Bottom line is I want the car to be as original and unmodified as possible but improve the sound quality by using modern components. So, perhaps a period HU modified for Bluetooth streaming and hands-free calling, small subs in the doors, mids in the kick panels behind the original grilles, tweeters behind the dash vents, amp and sub enclosure under the rear seats and 2-way mid/HF under the rear pod grilles.
Last edited by Boggie on Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1985 M635CSI
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olympia57
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Re: What HiFi

Post by olympia57 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:59 am

Brucey hits the nail on the head in stating that in essence the end result relies entirely on speaker choice and position.

I too wished to retain the originality of my series one and pondered on what to do .
After consideration I went with Brucey's suggestion and fitted 6 x 9 Infinity's ( thanks Ron ) into the rear seat kick panels . I appreciate that cutting large holes into the sheet steel sort of defeats the originality aspect but by retaining the original carpet the holes can easily be replated with steel further down the line if desired. I made a new covering in the same perforated vinyl that covers the door thus retaining the stock look of the interior.
IMGP2728 (Large).JPG
IMGP2728 (Large).JPG (313.9 KiB) Viewed 2266 times
At the front I replaced the original Pioneer 6 x 4 's with modern equivalents ( can't recall the model off hand ) and all that was needed here was a 6mm spacer to allow the magnets free air space . The bonnet lever is still free to move unhindered.
In addition a pair of Infinity tweeters were fitted on top of the dash tucked into the base of the A pillar . The design of these allows them to be rotated to give the best directional sound passage . These were attached with a good quality double sided tape to prevent any holes being drilled. IIRC I used circa 15uf capacitors ( can confirm ) .
DSCF3788 - Copy (Large).JPG
DSCF3788 - Copy (Large).JPG (337.03 KiB) Viewed 2266 times
Initially I used a BMW business head unit which was a perfect fit in both size and appearance . This gave an excellent sound quality with more than sufficient volume for the car without disturbing everyone within 50M when being played. :roll:
However... I got a little fed up having to keep a dozen CD's in the car and thought time to get into the 21st century.
For over 20 years I had an old Goodmans radio cassette with CD/aux input that I had never used or played, don't even recall where it came from.
I thought I'd use it as a test mule to see if fitting a quality similar unit with aux in would allow me to play direct from MP3 or Phone and retain the sound quality .
In it went and, surprisingly , the result was most satisfying . The HU has limited sound adjustment but that is infinitely adjustable within the source unit. Volume is as was with the previous HU and a quick rub with thinners removed the Goodmans logo thus satisfying my enormous ego .....
Since then I have added a compact discreet Bluetooth receiver to the aux port and now I have the appearance of a period radio cassette with the advantage of seamless bluetooth transmission from the convenience of my phone with no clutter all with a superb sound quality.
I realise that sound systems in cars are an emotive issue with small fortunes being spent to achieve the "holy grail " but frankly I've compared the above with some complex and expensive installations and unless you want a volume level of 11 and a boot full of components that would require you to have to use Tesco's home delivery service for your shopping ,then less is more .
Good luck with your choice .
Don
PS Contact Ron as he may still have some high end, quality ,period systems for sale .
Last edited by olympia57 on Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ron
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Re: What HiFi

Post by ron » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:02 pm

They are ALWAYS rustier than you thought!!!!!!
'88 High line.
'85 M #228
'85 M #207
'80 735i

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Re: What HiFi

Post by olympia57 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:14 pm

1981 635 series 1

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raykoke
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Re: What HiFi

Post by raykoke » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:54 pm

Boggie wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:37 am
raykoke wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:22 am
I think for a head unit, something like a vintage Nakamichi would be pretty cool.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nakamichi-TD-5 ... Swl9RaKZSO

Cheers,

Ray
Ohhh, now that is nice. Were Nakamichi supplied with E24s in the US?
I don't know. But Ken's car had/has one.

Cheers,

Ray
'85 ///M635

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Brucey
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Re: What HiFi

Post by Brucey » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:18 pm

shame the photohosting sites don't let you see the pictures in those linked threads any more...

Here's a picture you can look at (although you may not want to.... :wink: )

Image

from this thread

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2154

argh it was twelve years ago.... :shock: :shock: and just in case you are wondering, yes my car is red...

I also did this

Image

for the front speakers; the (possibly half-arsed) idea was to fire some of the treble from the JBL 6x4" units through a right angle. Doubtless colours the sound but it still sounds OK to me, and is of course a visual pun; a shark with gills/grilles... (groan... :roll: )

cheers
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Re: What HiFi

Post by Brucey » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:30 pm

there is also this thread

viewtopic.php?t=136&highlight=custom which gives details of how to make an E30-fit tweeter to fit the mirror trim.

BTW the kick panel under the rear seats varies a little in how it is made; in the above thread there are square cutouts where I have fitted reflex ports whereas IIRC mine were more nearly round.

You will note that in the above thread the drive units are close to the transmission tunnel as are Olympia's. I had holes there already (from the dealer fit pioneers) but I could have extended them outwards or inwards. Inwards would have been a lot easier; in extending the holes outwards I had to cut away some double-thickness metal and it was hard work. I chose outwards because I thought it looked better and might give better imaging.

cheers
~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Re: What HiFi

Post by WelshBentleyBoy » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:22 pm

I appreciate the need to retain originality but in the 80's and 90's I bought about 8 new BMW's from a main dealer. Surprisingly none of them came with a radio and you could have anything that fitted in the slot. My dealer always offered a Pioneer or you could go to any ICE installer and take your pick.
When I bought my E24 four years ago it had a Pioneer fitted but as I need Ipod, telephone and Sat Nav as well as Radio and traffic news I fitted a Clarion NZ502E which gives me all of these and fits in the slot. With the screen withdrawn it is in no way intrusive but the screen is available for Sat Nav. I am not a HIFI aficionado but the music sound is fine for my uneducated ear.

I posted pics on:

viewtopic.php?t=24216
Paul
WelshBentleyBoy

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raykoke
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Re: What HiFi

Post by raykoke » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:44 pm

Brucey wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:18 pm
shame the photohosting sites don't let you see the pictures in those linked threads any more...


cheers
If you run the Chrome browser, this extension will permit the photobucket pics to load :)

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/deta ... nfo-dialog

Cheers,

Ray
'85 ///M635

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Brucey
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Re: What HiFi

Post by Brucey » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:45 pm

WelshBentleyBoy wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:22 pm
I appreciate the need to retain originality but in the 80's and 90's I bought about 8 new BMW's from a main dealer. Surprisingly none of them came with a radio and you could have anything that fitted in the slot. My dealer always offered a Pioneer .....
that tallies well with what I have been able to find out. BITD a few friends of mine bought new BMWs and none of them came with a factory fit radio IIRC.

I think that in theory you could have various options from the factory (to special order) but in reality a lot (almost all?) of UK-supplied BMWs were supplied 'for stock' or were limited to some options and not others.

cheers
~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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jps635
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Re: What HiFi

Post by jps635 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:39 pm

I have a somewhat basic setup, but sounds good and suits my needs. Continental head unit connected to a small Nakamichi amp and mid range polk speakers.

Relatively inexpensive, looks period, has all the connectivity and is simple to use. I opted for the non-cd version.

https://www.continental-automotive.com/ ... ent/Radios

http://bavarianretro.com/blog/?p=380

Can easily be heard answering phone with windows open and road noise - ran remote mic to centre of visor panel.
'85 635csi JPS (RA2-66)

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jps635
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Re: What HiFi

Post by jps635 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:07 pm

Here's a pic. One of the rocker switches below over rides aerial auto-up.
'85 635csi JPS (RA2-66)

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