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Old 12-30-2016, 12:54 AM
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PropellerHead PropellerHead is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: At the wheel of a Bimmer
Posts: 1,898
PropellerHead is on a distinguished road
You people suck. 12 years later, I finally replace speakers.

So inspired was I by Jay's work on his JL speakers, that I found myself open to the notion of a speaker upgrade in the E53.

That's not entirely true. I've always been a bit of a speaker fiend, but I haven't actually fiddled with speakers in a BMW since the early 90's when I replaced the once-upgraded units in my 1975 2002. Since then, I never found the value prop behind spending money on a system through which I normally listen to news radio, classical radio, and radio radio. I did install the AUX input a couple years ago, so I can at least get streaming digital, but that's more ab something to keep my ears busy than it is a passion for music. I certainly don't care much about symphonic reproduction, accuracy, or any of the other things that have some folks replacing entire OEM audio systems. Not for me.

But what I learned through the most recent threads is that the speaker upgrade I thought was impossible without a BavAuto offering was not only possible, but it could be done for a nominal price, return very nice sound, and retain the OE look, brackets, and connectors. Sign me up, Coach.

And so it was that I found myself out and about faced with a JL Audio set much less expensive than it was online. It was a sign that they had two of them- one for the front and one for the rear.

Now, against the advice from Jay's work, I found these at 6.5" instead of 6". The key here is that they are not 'oversized' 6.5" which are closer to 6.75". Another poster there mentioned that they could be 160mm and would fit with a little encouragement. Indeed, while others cut with a dremel or snips or something like that, I found the metal mounting ring of the speakers was easy to simply shape up and inward with a small pair of flat nose pliers. Once carefully turned upward, the physical fit was fine. We used silicon rather than hot glue for the bond to the OE housing. We put a bead down on the lip behind the speaker and a bead along the top once seated. They're not going anywhere, and they're not vibrating either.
We lined up the new speaker connections to the OE leads so that a little solder would bridge the connections.
Indeed, a little solder and voila. circuit complete.
Now the cool part happened when we got lucky with the tweeters in the door. The JL tweeters are WAY smaller than the OE ones, so that presents a challenge for the mount. We looked around for some foam and could not believe how lucky we were to discover this perfect solution.

The tweeters in the door are difficult to remove, but not impossible. Once removed, the opening from the back of the speaker grill is the exactly the same size as the foam insulation for copper water pipe. The 'test fit was nearly impossible to believe:
Once cut to fit for depth, trimming the foam to fit the new tweeter was a simple matter. The results arent exactly OE, but they're not going anywhere.
When viewed from the inside, the speakers appear no different from OE. They do not rattle, and the sound... Well...

I'm more than 25 years older than I was when I did this the last time. What I've noticed is that I don't hear so well. In fact, I suspect that one reason I don't listen to the radio much with the girls in tow is that I need it a bit louder- just to hear the words.

We only got through the rear doors today, but the sound improvement is amazing. For $113, this may be one of the more incredible 'bang for the buck' mods I have done. Just hearing the rear speakers makes me confident that the fronts we do tomorrow are going to be transformative.

We'll do the front doors tomorrow. If there's time, we'll do the BSW sub that I bought this summer. It was on clearance and I couldn't resist having a bit of E53 legend in my own X5.

More to come.

Last edited by PropellerHead; 01-02-2017 at 03:52 PM.
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