August 31, 2016

Variances between HiFi and BASE Audio Systems in BMW Automobiles – Why they’re not interchangable

Many customers wonder why they can’t simply order a HiFi upgrade for their BASE audio-equipped BMW – it must be better, right? Let’s start with the electro-acoustical differences, and from there we’ll get into the more obvious physical hurdles of taking this path.

But first, a quick summary (it gets pretty detailed down there…)

  • Our BASE audio upgrade is optimized to perform within the confines of the IC amplifier built into your source unit – the results are nothing short of amazing considering the cost of the kit
  • It’s very expensive and endlessly complex to upgrade your BASE audio vehicle to a HiFi system – our Stage 1 can get you 80%+ of the way there if you’re not trying to wake up your neighbors when you’re listening to music.

Electro-acoustical Differences – Stage 1:

Efficiency Differences

In short, the HiFi systems use drivers that are markedly less efficient than the coaxial drivers used in the BASE systems, and therefore do not yield the acoustical results we’ve intended when being powered by an IC amplifier (Internal Chipset – in other words, there’s not a supplemental amplifier powering the speakers/woofers). The HiFi vehicles have a dedicated, component amplifier with a built-in DSP and ample power for our Stage 1 drivers.

  • Motor Structure Differences:
    The drivers used in the HiFi system use ferrite motor structures, which are less efficient and require more power to produce the desired acoustical results.
    The BASE audio drivers, on the other hand, use a Neodymium motor structure which allows a smaller amount of power to produce the desired acoustical results.

Mechanical Variances

The front midrange drivers used in the BASE audio cars have integrated filters to protect the 100mm drivers from frequencies below 100Hz, as the IC amplifiers in the BASE audio system power both the front midranges and GHOST under seat woofers from the same two channels.
If the HiFi upgrade was installed in a BASE audio vehicle, the 100mm front midranges would attempt to play frequencies that would yield nothing but aggressive distortion and render the speaker unlistenable.

  • The HiFi system uses a dedicated component system in the front soundstage, consisting of a 100mm midrange driver and a 25mm tweeter.
  • The BASE audio system uses a point-source coaxial system, which consists of a 100mm midrange driver and a 13mm tweeter at the base of the midrange cone.

On that note, what is a point-source coaxial driver, and why is it better in my BASE audio car?

  • A point-source coaxial is a unique design that we’ve employed for the BASE audio cars, in that we’re able to “create” an additional speaker in the space of the factory speaker. In other words, as it stands, there’s a single full-range midrange speaker in each of the four factory locations. We’ve engineered a speaker that resides in that same location, but integrates a dedicated silk-composite tweeter to completely transform the upper frequency range of your music (as it’s not currently able to be reproduced by a full-range speaker). We are effectively adding 4 new speakers to your car without any further necessary modifications.Why Point-Source? Well, by placing the tweeter at the base of the midrange cone we’re able to “time-align” the music as it leaves the speaker. What does that mean? Higher frequencies travel at a much higher speed than lower frequencies, and by placing the tweeter where it is the spectrum of frequencies is effectively leaving the surface area of the speaker at the same time and allows for a seamless blending of the music. In other words, while you’re listening to two speakers you’re only hearing “one”. This design is used in many high-end home/studio audio applications, and is the inspiration for our drivers.

GHOST Subwoofers:

As it relates to the GHOST USW, if a customer attempted to use a HiFi woofer (2 ohms) in a BASE system (4 Ohms), the IC amplifier would go into protection and potentially damage the entire system, including all of the speakers.

Upgrading from BASE to HiFi – how is it done, and is it worth it?

We get tons of questions about upgrading from the BASE audio system to the HiFi system. How’s it done? What’s involved? What do I need to buy? How much does it cost?

The answers are as follows: It’s not easy. Removal of the entire interior to route a new body harness from the radio to the trunk, along with reprogramming the factory head unit. You’ll need a new amplifier, speakers, and woofers, along with a custom body harness to allow for re-wiring of the GHOST woofers. It can cost up to $3500USD in parts and dealer labor alone to make this upgrade happen when all’s said and done (not including labor to install the amplifier/speakers/woofers)

Can you get mind-blowing sound by pursuing this upgrade? Absolutely. Is it worth it? That’s up to you,

Can we get you a HUGE improvement in sound for a small fraction of the cost by opting for our BASE audio upgrade? Absolutely.

Visit www.bavsound.com for even more information, and to place your order. Rock on!