A client from Cockeysville contacted Westminster Speed and Sound about upgrading his 2016 BMW M235i audio system. In typical WSS fashion, we scheduled time for him to come by with his car and have an audio consultation. This allows us to sit in the vehicle with the client, hear the audio system and see how this particular vehicle is equipped. We listen to what the client likes and dislikes about the current setup.
After we spend time in the car, we go into our soundroom with the client and listen to equipment that we think is a good fit. We also give the client an opportunity to sit in one of our demo vehicles to get an idea of just how good a car stereo system can sound. Armed with that information, we draw up a proposal that our team feels is the best solution for the customer’s individual needs.
This exact scenario happened with our BMW client. After listening to our 335i demo car, he knew he’d come to the right place. After he went over the proposal, he approved our idea, so we set a time to begin working on his car.
Audison AP8.9BIT Makes for the Perfect Start
Right out of the gate, we knew the factory-installed stereo system in the dash was going to stay. In most modern vehicles, there is no reason to change that out. The lack of sound quality is not caused by what we call the source unit, but rather, by low-grade speakers, lack of power and inferior factory-added equalization circuits.
This particular M235i had a hi-fi audio system that included 8” woofers underneath the front seats and 4” full-range speakers in the doors. It didn’t come with tweeters for the high frequencies, but tried to improve high-end frequency response by using equalization in the factory amplifier in the trunk.
Our team knew early on that the Audison AP8.9BIT amplifier would be a great solution. This particular amplifier gave the client many benefits. It allowed us to strip the equalization out of the musical signal, giving us a great signal on which to build. We reconfigured the eight channels of amplification down to six channels, giving us 130 watts per channel to the under-seat woofers, 35 watts per channel to the door speakers and 35 watts per channel on the rear speakers. The Audison also gave us an infinitely adjustable crossover, allowing us to match all the new speakers perfectly in the system. Each channel comes with a nine-band parametric equalizer that we used to maximize the sound quality from each speaker.
Finally, we used the digital time alignment to improve the staging in the car, moving the sound from the typical left door bias to staging in front of the passengers. All in all, this amp is a great investment for the client. Did we mention it is ridiculously small and fit perfectly in the rear driver’s side compartment, right near the factory amplifier?
Audison AP8 Gives the Client Real Bass
The next step in the upgrade was getting the client some real bass in his music. We went back to Audison, using their AP8 8” woofers. Our team of fabricators was able to fit them perfectly in the floor area underneath the front seat, where the inferior factory woofers were located. When we were finished, the factory grilles went back on, keeping the factory look intact. The new woofers have dramatically improved output and frequency response, resulting in more output coupled with increased accuracy.
Audison APX4 Rounds out the Front Stage
The final piece of the puzzle in the speaker area was a pair of Audison APX4 4” coaxial speakers. Our team mounted them in the factory door locations, again, keeping with the stock look. Since the new speakers use a midrange and tweeter combination, the result was dramatically improved upper-frequency response compared to the stock BMW speakers.
HushMat in the Doors Reduces Noise and Improves Clarity
Any good car audio upgrade benefits from adding sound-damping material to the doors, and for us, that means HushMat. Our team installed a layer of material to the inner door skin that lowered road noise, as well as eliminated any possibility of rattling or vibration in the door. The benefit to the client is better sound quality since the noise would have colored the music negatively.
Fine-tuning Makes All the Difference
Once our team installed all the equipment, it was time to sit in the vehicle with a laptop and begin the task of fine-tuning the system for the best sound quality. In the hands of a skilled tuner, an Audison amp with the integrated BIT processor goes from good to simply amazing.
BMW M235i Audio Upgrade A Hit with the Client
At this point, it was time to deliver the finished BMW to the client. When he arrived, we showed him how the vehicle looked the same as when he dropped it off to us. Then we sat in it together and listened, and the longer we sat together, the bigger his smile became. He marveled at the improved sound quality and output, and thought his stereo system now matched the performance of the car. That made our day.
When you are ready to upgrade the audio system in your vehicle, we invite you to stop by Westminster Speed & Sound in Westminster, Maryland, or simply click HERE. One of our team will have an audio consultation with you so we can determine the best solution for your needs. Let us show you why we are the Mid-Atlantic’s most-awarded vehicle customization facility.