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      12-12-2015, 04:16 PM   #1
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DIY: Audio Upgrade (Measurements)

About a month ago I picked up a used 2010 135i with 48k miles on it and have been getting to know the car, its features and capabilities ever since. Being my first BMW I have been both amazed and intrigued by how easy this car is to work on and how friendly it is to someone like me who loves to tinker and modify his car.



While I have tons of other ideas as to how I want to “tastefully” upgrade my little coupe, one of the first changes I need to make is to the oem base Stereo that was equipped in my car.

Being an old school car audio fanatic, a former installer and IASCA competitor I have no stranger to installing both simple and complicated audio systems. While I could go any number or routes to upgrade the system in the 135; some research has shown me there are more than a few capable pre-configured upgrades available, surprisingly inexpensive and built specifically for our cars.

While there are brands and lines designed for our cars that I am sure are better, I picked up a set of MB Quart QM200.3 BMW speakers to start with. I may or may not keep them and I may or may not use all of the drivers in the set, but they offer a “plug-in-play” that is unprecedented in car audio of yore.



Through out this thread I will go through the motions of installing the components in my car and as I go offer some wisdom and additional information that might be useful to others who are contemplating doing a similar install. While I know others have documented their work in the past, I hope that what follows will be easy enough for beginners to follow, and useful enough for pros to garner some information.

In the next few post I will high-light my steps as well as profile some additional information that I found through testing and research. One of the things I found lacking in my research were the actual specs of both the MB Quart and the oem speakers. I have some equipment that I will use to do some comparisons that hopefully will be useful.

...stay tuned.
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      12-12-2015, 04:20 PM   #2
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First things first… one of the things that I have yet to be able to find are true and accurate specs on the speakers inside the MB Quart component set. Being an old School MB quart Fan; pre-2000 ear stuff, I wanted to do some measurements on these speakers so that I knew a little more about the drivers.

For this thread I will start with the 8-inch mid-woofer. I call it mid-woofer because I have no illusions that the factory driver or any of the drop in replacement, at any price could preform as a subwoofer without major modifications to the car and the enclosure under the seat. A mid-woofer in general is designed to play frequency between about 80 hertz up to around 800 or so, depending on how the system is designed and how the other components fit together. So I am curious to learn more about the woofer included in the quart package.



As you can see by the photos, it is extremely thin.





To do a fair comparison, I wanted to get the oem driver out so I could measure the two speakers together. So next I will have to remove the oem driver from underneath the seats.

In my next post I will highlight the steps I took to do that.
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      12-12-2015, 04:26 PM   #3
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Errr... with a user name like "Quart" could it be you work for MB Quart?


Just curious...
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      12-12-2015, 04:34 PM   #4
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To remove the speakers under the seat you will need the following tools. It’s actually an easy process, and the entire installation from start to finish for removal of the oem speaker and installing the replacement was about 25 minutes per side.



- 3/8” Socket set
- 3/8” star socket, size 50
- Philips head screw driver
- T10 Star Driver
- “Panel Popper” trim removal tool
- Wire cutters
- Plastic trim tool

The first thing we need to do is remove the seat since the woofer is located under the seats of our car; the seats are secured to the floor with four size 50 star bolts. If you do not have the right tools and plan on working on your car a lot, go buy them. I have this set that I bought when I did a similar project in my old Mercedes SLK.



I can attest that these star bolts might move with other tools, like an Allen key but you will strip them as I did in my SLK and you’ll have to drill them out and re-tap the holes to get your seats secure again. Spend a little money and buy the right tools ahead of time. This seat I bought at Lowes for about $30 and I know I will use it on this car.





In order to make things easier, you may also want to pop off the carpet trim on the edge of the door opening of the car. It will make things easier once you get further along. I simply slide my fingers underneath and yanked it off.



A word to the wise though, and this is where the "panel popper" comes in handy. The little beige clips don't always come off with the panel, so you will need something to remove them from the car and reinstall to the panel before you reinstall it at the end of the project.



After you remove the four bolts you can lift the seat up and back out of the way. You should have to disconnect the air bag, or power seat harness (my seats are manual) if you go this route.



Once the seat is out of the way you will find a grill held in place by six Philips screws. Simply unscrew all the screws and lift up the grill to reveal the base stereo’s 6.5-inch speaker.



The speaker in the base configuration is inverted so you are looking at the bottom of the speaker bracket when you remove the grill. The speaker is held in place by four T-10 star head screw which once your remove you can simply pry the speaker out of the enclosure.





I used a small plastic trim tool to lift it out. I read on the forum that others had difficulty, but it came out with little effort for me.





Now that the speaker is out I have everything I need to take some measurements. I want to compare the original 6.5-inch speaker with the 8-inch that comes with the MB Quart package. I am specifically interested in knowing the efficiency of the speakers. I will go into this in my next post though, so for now. Cheers....

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      12-12-2015, 04:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Errr... with a user name like "Quart" could it be you work for MB Quart?


Just curious...
LOL... would you believe I am just a fan boy. I never worked for them, but have used their equipment for nearly 25 years. If you have any doubts that I am anything more than an enthusiast... I will go on the record and say their new stuff is crap, compared to the old.

I am a fan more of the older stuff than the new stuff and as I move through this project you will see me pull out some of the classics from back in the day. The only reason I am even contemplating the new stuff is that it is such a perfect fit and the price was right on the speaker set.
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      12-13-2015, 01:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Quart View Post
LOL... would you believe I am just a fan boy.
Cool. Thanks for posting these awesome DIY pics.
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      12-13-2015, 08:37 AM   #7
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My car came with the base stereo which only has a 4-inch in the door and a 6.5” under the seat (also a 4” in rear deck). Upon removing the 6-incher I wanted to see what its specs were.

Several years ago I bought a device that allows one to do some rudimentary testing of drivers called a Dayton Audio WT3. This device connects via USB to a computer and evaluates the speakers inside the software. While you’d think every speaker produced by a company would be identical within a model and speaker line. The truth is that because of a variety of nuances individual speaker specs can differ by a small percentage.



I use to make my own home speakers and used this to get accurate measurements of a driver so I could design crossover networks more accurately, but that is a different story.



I first measured the oem woofer and found that as I suspected it was designed to play frequencies much higher than one would ask a subwoofer to play. The numbers I was interested in was the F(s), or Driver free air resonance and the Drivers and the Sensitivity of the speaker measured in SPL.



The F(s) is the point at which all the moving parts of the driver sympathize or resonate. Resonance is a hard thing to explain simply, but a rule of thump is that you will find it hard to produce lower frequencies than the driver’s fs. So a driver with an f(s) of 60 Hz will not produce 35 Hz very well. A driver with an f(s) of 32 Hz will produce 35 Hz, if the box is tuned low enough.

The SPL sensitivity refers to a measure of how loudly the speaker will play given a certain electrical input level and is measured in dB’s. The numbers we are using is roughly equivalent to the output you’ll get by placing a microphone 1 meter away from the speaker to measure the sound output (in decibels) with 1 watt of sound played through it.

Another important measurement is Qt(s). Q as it is referred as, is basically a describing word, it is used to describe a quality or characteristic about an electrical or mechanical part of the driver. So Qt(s) is the overall Q of the driver, both electrical and mechanical. Qt(s) can be thought of as how strong the motor and magnet system are. A driver with a low Qt(s) of around 0.20 would have a large magnet and be able to move the cone with a lot of force. This makes for a tight driver. A driver with a Qt(s) of 0.45 would have a smaller magnet and less control over its cone.

Here is where the value of Q is important and will help us figure out what is best in our cars. Low values of Qt(s) give a tight and punchy sound but with little weight or low bass and high Qt(s) values give a slow and heavy sound that will give you lots of low frequency output. Watch out for drivers with really high Qt(s) values of 0.6 or above, these would require such a big box to work correctly that in normal size boxes you don’t get much low end. They are better of being used on the rear parcel shelf of your car, where they can enjoy a massive rear chamber.

Here are the specs for the two speakers we measured:

OEM BMW under seat woofer
F(s)= 63.25
Qts=.8393
Vas=.9565
SPL=89.83 dB

MB Quart QM200BMW 8-inch woofer

F(s)= 56
Qts=.9747
Vas=.1536
SPL=84.4 dB

In comparing the two drivers we first look at the SPL numbers and one could say, not surprisingly that the BMW driver is more efficient than the BMW. The 90dB rating (89.93 rounded up) vs. the 84 dB of the Quart, means that you will need less power to make the BMW speaker play as loud as the Quart. With the BMW speaker only seeing a small amount of power from the oem headunit this explains how you get so much sound out of the little speaker.



With the Quart the lower and rather disappointing SPL rating means that it will require a whole heck of a lot of power to make it sound really good. Even though we are going to use an external amplifier on these, I would have hoped to have a high sensitivity on these. Strike-one for the MB Quarts.

If you’ve spent any time looking at the oem system in the Beemer, then you know the little enclosure these speaker sit in are tiny. The Qt(s) number implies that both would need a box five times larger than what could fit under the seat to play well, not to mention I would use the term box very loosely when describing the cavity they sit in. Neither driver is designed to play very low and I doubt changing or designing a more suitable box, if we had the space would benefit them much.

The F(s) of the two drivers basically shows us that they are midrange or mid-woofers more than subs. The Quart can play a little lower than the BMW speaker, but not by much. Leaving me wondering what other options are out there?

With this information, I will do some more research and see what other options are out there. I know Focal makes a direct fit 8-inch, as does Earthquake in their SWS series. The challenge will be finding a driver for a reasonable price and getting anything to sound good in the oem enclosure.

For now, I intend on eventually adding an amplifier along with upgrading the door speakers. Since I have the Quarts and do not want to have to pull the seat again, I will go ahead and install them for now with the expectation that they will not be as loud or even “hit” as hard as the OEM 6.5-ncher as long as I have them connected to the oem headunit. But I suspect once I add my amp and get 50-80watts going to each one, it will make a difference.

In my next couple of post I will go ahead and install them and work through the next phases of my install. In addition take a look at the 4-inch midrange that comes with the oem system, versus the one that comes with the MB Quart BMW system. I also have a few other MB Quart midrange speakers that I am considering using. I will evaluate them all to see which offer the best potential sound.

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      12-13-2015, 09:00 AM   #8
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As I think I stated before it really only took me about 25 minutes per side to do the install of the under seat speakers, start to finish. Since I took some time out to do my measurements with the driver from the passenger seat I used up most of an afternoon on the project, but if you weren’t messing around like I was you could install both speakers in under and hour. As a side note, I would remember this especially if you are paying a shop to do it.

Once the OEM speaker was out, replacing it was a drop in affair.



After screwing the Quart speaker back into the enclosure I noticed that it didn’t have the same connector as the BMW speaker. (As a side, the Focal speaker like this comes with the same connector as BMW places on their drivers).



The connector on the oem speaker has four wires, one pair coming in from the headunit and another going out to the door speakers, so all the front speakers in our cars are wired in parallel.

The MB Quart only has two spade connectors, despite this MB Quart offered a solution. It’s hard to explain, but basically you stick the two ends of a space connector into the oem harness. Pretty rudimentary and to be honest not what I would have liked to see. So that is strike two for me with the Quarts… for now it will do, but I want to find a better solution and will look into this down the road.



For now I make the connections and tuck the wires up out of the way. I hate electrical tape, but being that this is a temporary install and I do not want either the connections to come loose, or their to be a short I tape the spade connectors into the oem harness and zip tie the whole bunch to the wire look running along the side of the car.



Once that is done I basically reverse all my steps that I did in the first post of this thread. I have my doubts about the MB Quart woofer, but will with-hold any further ideas until I get my amp installed and replaced. For the meantime I am expecting a little less output from it over the oem speaker, but am hoping for maybe a slightly lower playing speaker, if only a little.



For now that is it for my work on the car for this week. I will do some additional research, but I would be curious what other solutions or alternatives others have used over the MB Quart and before mentioned Earthquake and Focal drivers.

What other speakers can be had for a reasonable price and purchased individually. Feel free to offer me feedback, or if you see something I am overlooking please let me know. I plan on tackling the doors next, but it may be a while before I have the time to jump on that aspect of the project. So for now, I’ll leave it here and get back with it as soon as I can….
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      12-13-2015, 09:19 AM   #9
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Great info so far, enjoying it. Thanks for taking the time. reisf would probably enjoy this too.

A comment on the underseat enclosures, I have read but not personally verified that they may spill into the door sill, adding a lot more volume than might be apparent. This could be total BS but if you end up back in there might be interesting to check out.

In my system, I didn't expect much from the 8"-ers in a small enclosure either, and rely on a trunk mounted sub for the lowest octaves. I amped the 8"-ers (stock HK / Logic 7) speakers, and bandpassed them, and that alone even without the sub was a significant improvement.

[Also small note on some typos, you mention rocking the seats back means you have to disconnect the wires, I think you meant the opposite? Also when looking at speaker efficiencies you mentioned the BMW being more efficient than the BMW.]
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      12-13-2015, 04:43 PM   #10
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Subscribed... I have the base professional system in my 1er. She's quietly screaming for an upgrade (pun intended).
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      12-15-2015, 10:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer bullet View Post
Great info so far, enjoying it. Thanks for taking the time. reisf would probably enjoy this too.

A comment on the underseat enclosures, I have read but not personally verified that they may spill into the door sill, adding a lot more volume than might be apparent. This could be total BS but if you end up back in there might be interesting to check out.
You're right, i do Keen to see the rest mate.

Yea the underseats have an opening that slots into a hole in the chasis that opens out into behind the side skirt
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      12-16-2015, 04:39 AM   #12
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Thanks for posting the new pics OP!

This is becoming quite the Audio DIY thread.
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      12-16-2015, 05:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reisf View Post
You're right, i do Keen to see the rest mate.

Yea the underseats have an opening that slots into a hole in the chasis that opens out into behind the side skirt
I've been thinking more about the enclosure itself and want to look more into it, although have no clue when I will have time to tackle this project with holidays approaching.

I've looked at pictures of the enclosure outside of the car and it definitely not your typical sealed or ported enclosure. Its way to small to produce real bass frequencies and the plastic is very flimsy to beat.

I'd love to look into making a new custom enclosure in this space, but would defeat my original intent of doing what I call a "drop-n-swap" of the speakers. I may go back into the enclosure and dampen it with sound deadening material and add some acoustic foam to give the after market speakers the impression they are in a larger enclosure.

While I do not expect much out of the under seat speakers I do feel that at least with the MB Quart's and I suspect every aftermarket "drop-in" out there you must had at least 50watts or more to them to get them to come alive.
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      12-16-2015, 07:12 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quart View Post
I've been thinking more about the enclosure itself and want to look more into it, although have no clue when I will have time to tackle this project with holidays approaching.

I've looked at pictures of the enclosure outside of the car and it definitely not your typical sealed or ported enclosure. Its way to small to produce real bass frequencies and the plastic is very flimsy to beat.

I'd love to look into making a new custom enclosure in this space, but would defeat my original intent of doing what I call a "drop-n-swap" of the speakers. I may go back into the enclosure and dampen it with sound deadening material and add some acoustic foam to give the after market speakers the impression they are in a larger enclosure.

While I do not expect much out of the under seat speakers I do feel that at least with the MB Quart's and I suspect every aftermarket "drop-in" out there you must had at least 50watts or more to them to get them to come alive.
In my first audio upgrade, i installed the (OEM) Alpine Hifi upgrade kit - comes with an 4 channel amp (2 for underseats, 2 for front doors).

I then threw out the stock underseat subs and installed the Individual Audio subs and it sounded a bit better, but there was no punch.

So then i installed an aftermarket amp with 100W going to each sub and oh my god the things came alive

So yes you will need more than 50W for the underseat subs.
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      12-23-2015, 10:51 AM   #15
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I don't have any pictures to post, but I had a few hours to kill and was able to tear into the doors and install the mid and tweeters from the MB Quart set. While the sound over the stock stereo system is night and day, even with the iDrive driving the speakers I have determined that an amp is indeed necessary for any upgraded speaker.

Since I won't have time for a few weeks, I will live with this combination for now. However by doing this install it has afforded me the opportunity to get more familiar with the car and learn how hard it is to get to the various components.

I have a 6channel x 85watt amp and have ordered an Audison Bit 10 as my processor. I am on the fence as to whether I want to use the MB Quarts or another ready fit set like the Focal, or go more custom and build my own brackets. At a minimum I will probably replace the Mid and Tweeter and eventually will add a sub in the trunk, but for now I'm just doing the planning.

Since Technics has his harnesses on back order, I decided to design and am planning on building my own harness. I have a batch of Molex connectors and wire that I will build and design a harness from the doors to under the seat, then combine each side of the car into its own harness to carry to the trunk and amp. I will post info on my design when I get to it, but for the most part. This project is on hold until after the holidays and after I can fix a headlight issue which will require me to remove the front bumper to get the assembly outs.

In the meantime, Happy Holidays to all.
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      12-23-2015, 11:24 AM   #16
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I've been following your thread. I've talked to Nelson at Bimmertech at length about what to do with upgrading the audio in my car. He said the amp should be first. So I did the amp upgrade being part of the Bimmertech amp group buy here. I definitely agree with the sentiments about needing more power definitely when it comes to bass performance. I definitely have deeper and cleaner bass response coming from the stock speakers.

But I still feel the mid to highs still leave some to be desired. So I also plan on upgrading those too. I looked at the drop in kits from Focal, Musicar Northwest, etc. Nelson recommended the Jehnert speakers based on the speakers I told him I liked in past cars I've tinkered with. I mentioned I liked the sound from Canton and McIntosh speakers. I heard the MB Quarts a long time ago and didn't like them too much. Same with Alpine.

One thing I'm curious about is if other model years have what look like mid bass/subs under the rear seats. I didn't get a chance to measure them out when I had the rear bench pulled recently. But they are certainly larger than the door mids. I was suprised to find them there when I pulled the seat out.
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      12-26-2015, 10:17 AM   #17
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I have the Logic 7 / HK in my car, and went through MusicarNW for a trunk mounted sub and an amp for it that also powered (and X'd over) the underseat mids. When setting my gains and X-over points I ran only the underseats without the trunk sub for a while, and I too noticed the difference in the additional power. Lower frequencies didn't just get louder overall, they really noticeably filled out. I have no regrets adding the sub but if I'd had a chance to audition just the additional power there without any other changes, if I'd have still felt a need to add a sub at all. Agreed, yeah, big difference w/ the additional power.
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      01-04-2016, 10:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quart View Post



The connector on the oem speaker has four wires, one pair coming in from the headunit and another going out to the door speakers, so all the front speakers in our cars are wired in parallel.
Are you sure about this? I was under the impression the factory amp was a 6 channel, and the under seats were powered separately from the doors.
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      01-04-2016, 02:54 PM   #19
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I am not 100% certain, no....but will be finding out soon.

what I understand from reading from others who had the base stereo that one can tap into the signal from the factory head unit at this location. I am under the impression that with the base system, amp is in head unit and is only four channels. front door and under seat are in parallel on two channels, the rear on the remaining two channels.

I am planning to make my own custom wiring harness which will take the full range signal from this location and feed it to a bit 10 processor which can de-equalize signal. if my assumption is wrong, I will find out.

to test thinks I will connect an external speak to the wires under the seat and test; when I get some time to work on it again and let you know.
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      01-04-2016, 05:36 PM   #20
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I'm still learning about my car and the 1 series in general. But as a data point, my 2013 with the HiFi (base system for my model year with the door tweeters) has a single amp located in the trunk. I upgraded the stock amp with the Bimmertech plug and play amp.
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      01-05-2016, 04:45 AM   #21
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Yeah, the newer cars changed things up a little. My 2010 doesn't have an amp with the base, but the factory location is ripe for placement of an aftermarket. I know there is a JL audio 6 channel that fits and I found a Clarion with almost identical specs to the JL that fits as well (makes you wonder).

As an update to my post. I have ordered OE brackets for both the HI-Fi amp in left corner of trunk and a CD changer bracket. Which I plan on experimenting with to find the best mounting scheme for my 6 channel amp. I plan on placing my Audison Bit Ten in the factory Satellite radio receiver location under the floor.

I will post pictures ones I get the parts and start mocking up my brackets, etc.
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      01-06-2016, 08:43 PM   #22
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Tonight I started a new project which is more about can I than it is about me saving money, or creating something unique.

While there are a number of vendors selling or custom making wiring harnesses for our cars that tap into the existing speaker wires. I wanted something that would ensure good transmission of signal and provide me with an option to upgrade or swap things out easier and also should someone else own this car down the road, offer them a solution which was easy to follow and understand.

I decided to make my own speaker wiring harness from the doors back to the trunk and create multiply connection points which would allow me to swap both drivers (speakers) and relocate things as well.

The first part of this "experiment" is below and it entails two wires which will be connected to my tweeters and two wires that will be connected to the mids (probably soldered) that terminate into a Molex style plug.

From this point I will run all four wires to a location under the seat where I will pickup the wires for the sub and the signal wires from the front headunit output and terminate them into an 8-connector molex. Then that will feed into the trunk and the left and right will meet in a 16 pin connector and from there the wires will go between my amp and the signal processor.

I am only working a few hours a night, but hope to have the harness built outside the car in a week or so and then maybe start installing things in the next week or two.

If anyone knows where I can find more appropriate connectors (BMW styled) let me know. I already had most of this laying around from building computers but would guess if I added it all up it wouldn't be cheap to replicate. I am guessing I have about $150 in wire, connectors and related. I will wrap the wires in cloth tape once I get the stuff I did have to order.
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