Harman Kardon 2 way speaker upgrade with oem 3 way wiring

Discussion in 'E46 M3 (2001-2006)' started by sak83, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. 30 Jun 2020 at 11:26 AM #1
    sak83

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    I know there are a lot of threads covering HK upgrade info already. I've read pretty much all of them, they have been really helpful but I still can't find the answer...

    My car came from factory with HK audio. The front speakers consist of a 3 way set up consisting of:
    1. 6" midbass in the lower door
    2. 2.5" midrange in the upper door
    3. 1" tweeter in the upper door

    The 2.5" midrange has blown, i considered a vifa replacement driver but decided to upgrade the front speakers for some aftermarket components. I have a set that fit the E46 without adapters and are rated at 3 ohms. I'm only looking for adequate sound that doesn't buzz because of blown speakers so i'm not interested in upgrading the factory HK amplifier.

    From factory the HK amp has an inbuilt crossover and splits the audio frequencies and sends the corresponding audio to each of the front 3 drivers in each of the front doors. This was quite clever as it saves on weight by not having separate passive crossovers for each speaker. But this has also posed a problem now i want to replace with aftermarket components. Usually i would take a full range speaker wire to a passive crossover and connect each of the speakers to this. The passive crossover would ensure that the correct frequencies are sent to each of the drivers. But there is no single full range wiring going to the front speakers.

    So whats the best way of wiring the speakers? I think the aftermarket crossover is not needed. I can wire the 6.5" midbass direct to the factory wiring. I can also wire the 1" tweeter directly to the factory wiring. But then i'm missing a 2.5" midrange unit. What frequencies would this cover in the oem setup?

    Is there anyone else out there that has only upgraded the front HK speakers without the amplifier, if so what have you done?
     
  2. 30 Jun 2020 at 11:43 AM #2
    mitesh33

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    My advice is if you are not going to upgrade the factory HK DSP/AMP, stick with factory HK speakers. You can pick up used HK midsranges, tweeters and woofers from eBay very cheap. You will not improve the sound by adding after market speakers without changing the HK DSP/AMP, it will sound worst.

    For me factory audio is never good enough for me, but HK will have spent a lot time in tuning them factory HK setup to sound the best they could for that car.

    You will throw away good money. Either spend the money and rip it all out and start again, add decent combine DSP/AMP such as a HELIX, however you'd then need to change all the speakers then get it professionally tuned. This will cost in excess of £1500

    I've had various E46's for over 15 years and installed car audio equipment for over 20 years. I've went to the extreme in my M3 and built kick panel speakers, sail panel midranges and added DSP then separate amps for each speaker, running active. However it's not option for everyone as it means chopping up the car kicks quite a lot. See here: https://www.icloud.com/sharedalbum/#B0TGdIshaGoGewA
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  3. 30 Jun 2020 at 12:07 PM #3
    sak83

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    Nice setup, i been there in the past with upgraded amps, speakers and subs but I'd rather not mess with the car and carry around extra weight with this one.

    The funny thing is i disconnected the HK midrange speaker and left the HK mid bass and tweeter connected and it sounded fine to me. But i have the components now so not sure what to do.
     
  4. 30 Jun 2020 at 12:27 PM #4
    mitesh33

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    As you said if it’s blown, then that’s why it will sound like that. Look on eBay or on here sure someone will have spare laying around.

    Cheers
     
  5. 30 Jun 2020 at 2:45 PM #5
    sak83

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    It definitely buzzing because of the blown midrange, since the surround has deteriorated its unable to control the speaker cone properly. Unless there's some other suggestions i will most likely return the components and repair my existing midrange with a new foam surround or go for a vifa replacement driver.
     
  6. 1 Jul 2020 at 9:27 AM #6
    Turbosmed

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    I brought an interior off a guy recently and he might still have the HK stuff sat around I can ask him if you like? I didn't want it as my car already has the full HK setup.
     
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  7. 1 Jul 2020 at 10:09 AM #7
    sak83

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    Thanks for the offer but im likely to repair my existing unit. I think another second hand unit will already have the same issue or likely to develop it in the future
     
  8. 1 Jul 2020 at 11:09 AM #8
    Turbosmed

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    No worries don't think he'd want a deal for them he asked me if I wanted the chucking in with the interior. Surely easier just to swap out rather than fix what you have?
     
  9. 1 Jul 2020 at 12:10 PM #9
    sak83

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    Replacing the blown driver is straight forward. I was reluctant to go this route initially as i thought some components would give me better sound but fitting them is not straight forward with the oem HK wiring. Either i have to install an external amplifier or miss out on the frequencies sent to the midrange driver. So i've returned my 2 way component speakers and bought a pair of vifa midrange drivers for £70 delivered

    Here's a thread on replacing the blown midrange driver...

    https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=494644


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. 1 Jul 2020 at 1:12 PM #10
    IanB

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    sak83 - Do Vifa make tweeters and the bass speakers to go with those kids that would fit in our cars?

    Please ignore me - just gone on your link and see they do, thanks.
     
  11. 3 Jul 2020 at 12:03 PM #11
    sak83

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    Just to update this, I replaced the blown mid range with a vifa unit. When i was fitting to the car i fitted it to one side first so that side had all three drivers connected. The other side had the midrange disconnected so only the lower mid bass unit and tweeter were working. That side had a very apararant range of frequencies missing.

    So to conclude its not possible to use aftermarket 2 way components with the oem 3 way harman kardon wiring. Or you can but you will be missing some frequencies in the middle.

    After fitting the vifa replacement midrange speakers i fitted a late model 215 code alpine cd53 business cd unit. This has further improved the sound. I'll make a separate thread about my thoughts on that.
     
  12. 3 Jul 2020 at 12:19 PM #12
    mitesh33

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  13. 3 Jul 2020 at 12:58 PM #13
    sak83

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    Bavsound stopped selling separate speakers a few years ago. I'm happy with the sound now, i think there would be minimal difference unless i went with external amplification and proper speaker mounting..
     

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