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      03-28-2014, 10:14 AM   #1
sirfatty
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Talking F30 Audio Build Stage 1 Complete With Pics and Shop Review

Several months ago I reach out to Bing with Simplicity in Sound in California and asked if he had any recommendations for a High Quality Attention to Detail Shop in the Central Florida Area, and he passed me over to Danny at Amplified Autoworks. From the moment I stepped into the storefront I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for. Danny was an absolute pleasure to work with. Through multiple visits, email conversations and my constant questions we ironed out a three stage install that would continuously add to the sound quality of my Base F30 328i.

The first stage would be to add an additional Amp to power the front Mid's/Highs and the under seat 8's while retaining the factory speakers. We ended up deciding to go with a Mosconi One 120.4 Amp. More details on this stage below when I get to the install.

The second stage would to replace the factory speakers with Gladen's One Series speakers that are made to be drop in.

The third stage would to add a second Mosconi 240.2 Sub Amp and Gladen SQX 10 in a Custom Fiberglass box to fit in the storage cubby in the left trunk.

While we were ironing all of this out not once did I ever feel pressured to commit or feel that Danny was getting annoyed with all of my questions. He even gave me a shout when he had a 5 series come in to do the exact same install so I could hear what the finished product would sound like.

Truly a great guy who has passion and pride in his work, and wants to make sure he is selling the right equipment for what your goals will be. Now on to the install where you can see this first hand.


-----------------------------------------
--------- Install of Stage One -----------
-----------------------------------------

I wanted to make sure that everything would be completely reversible so when I go to sell the car I can take my equipment with me for the next vehicle. He was able to tap into the IDrive full bandwidth signal before the amp to get a clean signal and passed it over to a High/Low converter. The output RCA's were then run through all of the factory routes instead of just tossing it down and going the straightest route. All of the connections were soldered and wrapped in shrink wrap instead of just being crimped together, then zip tied to the main wire runs for a very clean look

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The same thing was done for the power.

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He then build a custom amp rack that sits in the storage bin in the trunk to keep it out of sight to maintain the factory look. You have no idea anything has been done anything until you turn it on.

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He also included a top to it to not only help protect the amp but to serve as the future mounting location of the Stage 3 Sub amp that will come later down the road. While also leaving enough room to the right to mount distribution blocks

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Then below with the cover put back on it looks like nothing was done

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As far as performance there is a significant jump in output and crispness even with the factory speakers. The issue that a lot of people have with the side skirts rattling has also been significantly reduced if not eliminated. I will update this once i get stage 2 done, But if you are looking for a great shop/with a great installer check out Danny with Amplified Autoworks in Tampa, FL. Tell him Jim sent you
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      04-02-2014, 11:42 PM   #2
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The amp doesn't overheat?
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      04-03-2014, 01:28 AM   #3
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Do you have the base audio or the upgraded HK system?
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      04-03-2014, 06:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _bdiddyb_
The amp doesn't overheat?
Not at all. The amp has a fan built in and I drive a little over an hour each way to work and have not had any issues.
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      04-03-2014, 06:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckrieg
Do you have the base audio or the upgraded HK system?
I have the us base audio. I have a factory amp but it is not the Harmon Kardon. This same upgrade can be done you just need a summing hi/lo adapter vs a simple one like was used with my install
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      04-03-2014, 10:26 AM   #6
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Thanks. Was just curious how much of a difference a new amp or drop in Gladen subs would make with the HK system. So far, no one has been able to answer that.
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      04-03-2014, 10:33 AM   #7
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yea sorry I know going from 25 watts with my factory amp to 120 watts with the Mosconi made a huge difference, just not sure what the HK amp puts out as far as watts. The other big nice thing is it is not "boomy" any more at all
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      04-03-2014, 12:40 PM   #8
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don't forget to budget for the EQ after all your speakers are installed. Makes a bigger different. Mosconi makes a good one if you want to stay within their brand.
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      04-03-2014, 01:37 PM   #9
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There was no need to use any LOC or even keep the OEM amp in this install.
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      04-03-2014, 01:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
There was no need to use any LOC or even keep the OEM amp in this install.
The amp I kept because I wanted the rear fill.

The verdict on the LOC I might not need but for the $30 to be sure I would not have any alternator whine was well spent.
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      04-03-2014, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by focal View Post
don't forget to budget for the EQ after all your speakers are installed. Makes a bigger different. Mosconi makes a good one if you want to stay within their brand.
Yep that is going to be stage 4. I might do it before the stage 3 sub but not sure. I am for sure sticking with the Mosconi one. Personally i fall into a single brand and think that things just work better together.
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      04-03-2014, 01:48 PM   #12
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The LOC is lowering the already low level, balanced iDrive output signal. Alternator noise is a ground problem, not conversion.

In the case of the Mosconi amps not being balanced-inputs compatible then what should have been used was an Audiocontrol Matrix balanced-unbalanced converter and line driver.

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Originally Posted by sirfatty View Post
The amp I kept because I wanted the rear fill.

The verdict on the LOC I might not need but for the $30 to be sure I would not have any alternator whine was well spent.
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      04-03-2014, 01:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
The LOC is lowering the already low level, balanced iDrive output signal. Alternator noise is a ground problem, not conversion.

In the case of the Mosconi amps not being balanced-inputs compatible then what should have been used was an Audiocontrol Matrix balanced-unbalanced converter and line driver.
Technic, I know you are way more knowledgeable on the topic than i am so i'm not going to argue. I just posted this as what was done to my car and my personal results and views of the system in case people wanted to copy it.
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      04-03-2014, 04:41 PM   #14
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Exactly.

Your system is not wired correctly, that's all. Anybody that copies your install will do it incorrectly.

You may like how it sounds but in reality it can sound even better if done the right way.

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Originally Posted by sirfatty View Post
Technic, I know you are way more knowledgeable on the topic than i am so i'm not going to argue. I just posted this as what was done to my car and my personal results and views of the system in case people wanted to copy it.
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      04-03-2014, 06:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
The LOC is lowering the already low level, balanced iDrive output signal. Alternator noise is a ground problem, not conversion.

In the case of the Mosconi amps not being balanced-inputs compatible then what should have been used was an Audiocontrol Matrix balanced-unbalanced converter and line driver.
Sorry T, but I had to laugh when I read this...four times over. I'm going to assume there's like two other people on this forum that even know what you just said, lol. Next time, dumb it down for the rest of us in helmets on the short yellow bus dude.
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      04-04-2014, 06:01 AM   #16
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All the iDrive output specs are already posted, discussed and analized several times over in this forum. So the assumption is that when another install discussion shows up then all is already known or searched about and no further explanations are required.

However, here is the PG-13 version:

The LOC is a Line Output Converter. It is a device used to convert a high level signal (speaker level) into a low level signal (amplifier inputs level). The standard OEM audio system in all F30 in the USA is HiFi. The HiFi system iDrive outputs balanced, low level signals.

Thus, no LOC required. The signal is already low level.

The balanced part means that if you look at these outputs as RCA, then there will be positive voltage in the inner contact, and the same voltage but negative in the outer contact of the RCA. There is no ground contact in those RCA like standard RCA.

So balanced signals must be used only in balanced-inputs amps; for example, all JL Audio amps are balanced-inputs. No conversion required.

For those amps (most of them) that cannot accept balanced signals (the RCA inputs require a ground terminal) then the iDrive balanced signals must be converted into non-balanced signals. The device used for that conversion is an Audiocontrol Matrix. The Matrix takes a balanced signal input and convert it into non-balanced outputs while also performing as a line driver.

A line driver takes a low signal and makes it stronger; stronger means that the same low level signal can be used to drive several amps without a significant drop in level. In the case of the Matrix theoretically it can drive up to 42 amps using the iDrive outputs -and the iDrive would not even notice.

Using a LOC with a low level signal as its input makes it weaker. That means that the aftermarket amp gains must compensate for that signal weakness. Raising gains can create hiss.

In this particular install there was no need at all of even looking at the iDrive for anything, much less unistalling it and tapping any wires. All the wires required for any install -all possible installs that can be thought of- are located at the OEM amp connector. All the inputs, outputs and remote turn on. Less install hassle, less chances of scratching the dash and trim.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LagunaSecaBlue View Post
Sorry T, but I had to laugh when I read this...four times over. I'm going to assume there's like two other people on this forum that even know what you just said, lol. Next time, dumb it down for the rest of us in helmets on the short yellow bus dude.
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      04-04-2014, 07:15 AM   #17
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Ok, that I understood. Great explanation T. Thanks.

LSB
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      04-04-2014, 10:26 AM   #18
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if you have an HK system, you will need a LOC to tap AFTER the OEM amp. You have to use the high level outputs. A de-eq box like the JL Clean Sweep will be needed but some processors like Bit One will have it built in.

The US HifFi is definitely the easier to build an aftermarket system on.
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      04-04-2014, 11:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
In this particular install there was no need at all of even looking at the iDrive for anything, much less unistalling it and tapping any wires. All the wires required for any install -all possible installs that can be thought of- are located at the OEM amp connector. All the inputs, outputs and remote turn on. Less install hassle, less chances of scratching the dash and trim.
We did not touch the I-Drive in this install at all. We tapped into the wires in the back of the trunk right before they went into the amp. I know we could have used a harness to not cut any wires but i wanted to leave the oem amp connected to provide rear fill.

Yes i know there have been multiple threads saying that it is not necessary but it was my personal choice.
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      04-04-2014, 12:14 PM   #20
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I swear that I saw a photo in here of some cables coming from the center console to the trunk... most probably I'm crazy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sirfatty View Post
We did not touch the I-Drive in this install at all. We tapped into the wires in the back of the trunk right before they went into the amp. I know we could have used a harness to not cut any wires but i wanted to leave the oem amp connected to provide rear fill.

Yes i know there have been multiple threads saying that it is not necessary but it was my personal choice.
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      04-04-2014, 01:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
I swear that I saw a photo in here of some cables coming from the center console to the trunk... most probably I'm crazy.
LOL you got to much knowledge swimming in that head of yours. The first picture has the rca's coming from the top of the trunk so it might look like they are coming from the front but they actually wrap up and around the side to the stock amp location.
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