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      04-04-2011, 01:03 AM   #1
aksundog
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2010 135i base audio

I sold my original 2009 135i a while back, and I'm looking at getting a used 2010 135i. The car I'm looking at has everything I was looking for. However, I'm purchasing over the internet and I'm concerned about the audio system.

Does the base 2010 audio system have the same setup as the 2009 system in US models? If so then I should be happy, but I heard some groans over the 2010 audio system and I wasn't sure if it had changed in the US for that model year.

If anyone knows for sure what I can expect, then I'd be very grateful.

regards.
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      04-04-2011, 06:03 AM   #2
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This document is floating around in other threads, but here you go. It sums up everything nicely.

In short, the standard sound system in 2010 and early 2011 cars is indeed inferior to what is found in other model years.

If you dig around the Audio subforum you can turn up more info, including ideas for upgrades.
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File Type: pdf 1-series Audio Background.pdf (20.7 KB, 1031 views)
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      04-04-2011, 07:54 AM   #3
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I ordered from already made inventory a very late production 2010. It was to late to build one to my specs. I got everything I wanted except the hi-fi. The base system really is bad! I'll end up replacing it at some point.

thanks for the link. Does anyone know the total system wattages on the systems?
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      04-04-2011, 12:01 PM   #4
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I got the harmon kardon hi-fi system in my 2011, and I must say it sounds very good for a stock system.

The only people who have complaints about the system are the guys that turn the bass and treb all the way up, so of course the system ends up distorting.

If you keep everything in the middle like it should be it actually is a really good hi-fi system.
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      04-04-2011, 01:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aries932 View Post
I got the harmon kardon hi-fi system in my 2011, and I must say it sounds very good for a stock system.

The only people who have complaints about the system are the guys that turn the bass and treb all the way up, so of course the system ends up distorting.

If you keep everything in the middle like it should be it actually is a really good hi-fi system.
Thats great you're pleased with the hi-fi but this thread is about the base system.
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      04-04-2011, 02:47 PM   #6
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The "inferior" sound system in 2010 and early 2011 cars sounds OK.
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      04-04-2011, 02:50 PM   #7
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Thanks for the document. Very helpful, but I'm more confused now after the dealer is telling me this 2010 135 has the base speaker system, 'with 10 speakers' (non premium audio). Is this possible?

Here's what he sent me:

Nxxxxx,

This car has standard audio system only , but still sound pretty good !


Standard audio system

The standard system in all models has 10 speakers, including:

2 midrange in the doors
2 midrange in the rear shelf
2 tweeters in the doors' mirror triangles
2 tweeters in the rear shelf
2 subwoofers in BMW's patented positions under the front seats.

The 8 midrange and tweeter speakers are powered by 4 channels of 25 watts each, or 100 watts. The 2 subwoofers get 40 watts each, for a total system power of 180 watts.

Both systems include BMW's reception-enhancing diversity antenna system, with multiple circuits in the rear window frame. A fin-type roof antenna serves the phone and/or Navigation System as well as the GPS aspect of the available BMW Assist.

The head unit is the same for both audio systems, but does differ between vehicles with and without the Navigation/iDrive unit. Shown here is the standard version, although in a European model.

Benefits

10 speakers, even with standard system
2 underseat subwoofers, also even with standard system
BMW has a well-deserved reputation for excellent audio systems, both standard and optional
Diversity antenna gives excellent radio reception

Presentation tip:

Encourage the customer to try out the audio system for him- or herself; you might want to leave him or her alone with it for a few minutes.
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      04-04-2011, 03:36 PM   #8
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The 2010 base audio system does NOT have tweeters in the mirror triangles. I know, bc my car has the base system and does not have any tweeters in the mirror triangles.

IF the car you are looking at has the 2 tweeters in the doors' mirror triangles, that car has the HK option or someone installed the "Alpine amp/speaker/tweeter kit" on that car.


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      04-04-2011, 04:09 PM   #9
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My '10 base audio car doesnt have the tweeters either. Think someone needs to confront their salesman and WTF him. Its amazing how little some of them know about the products they sell.
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      04-04-2011, 04:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC6 View Post
My '10 base audio car doesnt have the tweeters either. Think someone needs to confront their salesman and WTF him. Its amazing how little some of them know about the products they sell.
Yeah. The frustrating thing is that he keeps quoting documents to me instead of just sitting in the darn car to confirm what it really has.
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      04-04-2011, 04:43 PM   #11
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You should take a drive there and have him sit in a '10 car and push his face into the mirror triangle asking him "Well, WTF is it?"
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      04-04-2011, 07:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diver View Post
The "inferior" sound system in 2010 and early 2011 cars sounds OK.
Totally agree. I have a 2011 with the base stereo system (no tweeters in front door triangles) and i'm very happy with the sound quality.

Its wayy better than most Jap cars i've been in.

Anyone know what brand makes the base stereo system & speakers for BMW?
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      04-04-2011, 08:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer_Freak View Post
Totally agree. I have a 2011 with the base stereo system (no tweeters in front door triangles) and i'm very happy with the sound quality.

Its wayy better than most Jap cars i've been in.

Anyone know what brand makes the base stereo system & speakers for BMW?

I think Nokia makes some of BMW audio speakers. I know they made them for BMW for the e36 cars. Not sure about the one series cars.
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      04-04-2011, 09:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aksundog View Post
Yeah. The frustrating thing is that he keeps quoting documents to me instead of just sitting in the darn car to confirm what it really has.
ya, have him send you pictures of the sail panels showing the speakers either being there or not.
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      04-05-2011, 01:02 AM   #15
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So your CA sounds like he probably wasn't aware of the audio decontenting that took place in 2010 and early 2011. It's somewhat understandable, as it was a realtively short period of the total run that US cars received the Stereo system as standard instead of the HiFi system.

However, one simply needs to sit in the car and confirm the presence or absence of the tweeters. If it's a 2010 US car, and it has no tweeters, then it has Stereo. If it does have tweeters, well then someone ponied up for Premium Sound and you in fact have Top HiFi, or somebody installed something aftermarket (possibly the Alpine retrofit as Dackel mentioned, although not super likely in the US).

However, what the car definitely does not have is HiFi. US cars of model year 2010 just didn't get it, either standard or as an option.

Something else you can do is take a look at the amp. No amp = Stereo, black amp = HiFi, silver amp = Top HiFi. The Alpine amp is also black, but it is clearly labeled as an Alpine product. I'm not sure of the markings on the other amps, but I would guess you could at least get a part number or something off of them to help ID them.

Last edited by Bimmer-Bob; 04-05-2011 at 01:08 AM..
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      04-05-2011, 06:10 PM   #16
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I am puzzled by all this and the dealer was of no help when I asked.

I have a 2011 135 convertible with a build date of 06/10. I bought it new and did not pay for a sound system upgrade and there is no upgrade on the window sticker. The head unit says "BMW Professional" and has only bass and treble controls, no 7-band equalizer. But I definitely have tweeters up by the mirrors, 4 inch speakers in the doors and in the rear side panels, and speakers under the front seats. It also seems to have a decent amount of power for a factory system. I've replaced the sound system in every new car I've owned except for the Mazdaspeed3 and 370z which each had the extra cost premium system, but I'm satisfied with this one and I didn't pay extra for it.

It sounds to me like I have the Hi-Fi system, which the PDF document above says is not available in 2010 or 2011, or what the dealer told aksundog was in his 2010.

I've read in several places that the standard sound system in 2010 and early 2011 cars is inferior to other model years. Were the convertibles somehow exempt from the sound system downgrade over that period? Or is a 2011 with a 06/10 build date be considered a later 2011 rather than an early one?
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      04-05-2011, 10:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee123 View Post
...I have a 2011 135 convertible with a build date of 06/10. I bought it new and did not pay for a sound system upgrade and there is no upgrade on the window sticker. The head unit says "BMW Professional" and has only bass and treble controls, no 7-band equalizer...
Your car is NOT a 2010, nor is it an early 2011 early build. Our 2010 (built 11/09) vert has the same head unit markings as yours, also has the little tweeter grilles in the door triangles, but no tweeters are visible behind them. Just darkness.

Its not a good enough radio for this car. The decision to provide it as standard was a serious, cheap omission, and very dissapointing, but they did the right thing by upgrading the "standard" syetem back to the prior (2009) included sound system for MY 2011.

The Harmon Kardon system was always an option in both our years. What was considered the "base", included system was cheapened below your level system in 2010. The white, silk screened markings on the head units are the same on all levels of system.
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      04-05-2011, 11:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee123 View Post
I am puzzled by all this and the dealer was of no help when I asked.

I have a 2011 135 convertible with a build date of 06/10. I bought it new and did not pay for a sound system upgrade and there is no upgrade on the window sticker. The head unit says "BMW Professional" and has only bass and treble controls, no 7-band equalizer. But I definitely have tweeters up by the mirrors, 4 inch speakers in the doors and in the rear side panels, and speakers under the front seats. It also seems to have a decent amount of power for a factory system. I've replaced the sound system in every new car I've owned except for the Mazdaspeed3 and 370z which each had the extra cost premium system, but I'm satisfied with this one and I didn't pay extra for it.

It sounds to me like I have the Hi-Fi system, which the PDF document above says is not available in 2010 or 2011, or what the dealer told aksundog was in his 2010.

I've read in several places that the standard sound system in 2010 and early 2011 cars is inferior to other model years. Were the convertibles somehow exempt from the sound system downgrade over that period? Or is a 2011 with a 06/10 build date be considered a later 2011 rather than an early one?
In the US, all head units are of the "BMW Professional" type. Other markets get a "BMW Business" type as well, which is inferior in some way.
My understanding was that HiFi did not become standard until the second half of MY2011 - cars with build dates from 09/10.

It is strange then that you have tweeters as standard equipment. I have heard on a UK forum of some cars being delivered with the grills but no actual speakers behind them - "blanks," in ther words. I didn't think that happened in the US, as my US-spec car came stock with black plastic panels instead of the grills. However, according to Barry above, it appears that at least some US cars were fitted with blanks.

Can you confirm the presence of speaker cones behind the tweeter grills? Not sure how obvious they are in the HiFi system, but in my OEM Alpine retrofit, the cones are clearly discernable through the grills (pictured below).
You could also try to peek through the rear shelf grill, perhaps with a flashlight, and see if you can find either just mids fitted, or tweeters and mids both.

Finally, you could try looking for an amp. This should settle it beyond doubt. Go to your trunk, lift up the flap that covers your battery, and then keep pulling until that panel comes all the way out. On the driver's side there is a space where an amp might fit (my amp is also pictured below). If there is nothing in that spot, then you have Stereo. See my post above for a little more about the different amps.
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      04-06-2011, 06:39 AM   #19
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BMW Business Loud Speaker system

Hi All, Hope you do not mind me jumping into this post.
I have the BMW Business Loud Speaker system fitted to my 2011 build 1 coupe which has the following:
4 mid-range speakers (2 in the front doors & 2 on the rear parcel shelf) 4 x 25W output.
2 tweeters in the front doors, 2 x 25W output.
2 woofers under the front seats, 2 x 40W output.
Analogue Amp 180W.
My question is, will the wiring be available to upgrade to 2 x additional tweeters for the rear speakers and what difference if any could I expect to the overall sound. I have removed the rear speaker covers and there is a mount available for these.
Thank you.
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      04-06-2011, 07:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsapper View Post
Hi All, Hope you do not mind me jumping into this post.
I have the BMW Business Loud Speaker system fitted to my 2011 build 1 coupe which has the following:
4 mid-range speakers (2 in the front doors & 2 on the rear parcel shelf) 4 x 25W output.
2 tweeters in the front doors, 2 x 25W output.
2 woofers under the front seats, 2 x 40W output.
Analogue Amp 180W.
My question is, will the wiring be available to upgrade to 2 x additional tweeters for the rear speakers and what difference if any could I expect to the overall sound. I have removed the rear speaker covers and there is a mount available for these.
Thank you.
It will probably not make a noticeable difference for the front seats (unless you like to fade towards the back) but the upgrade is very simple...just plug in the tweeters into the mids and voila.
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      04-06-2011, 10:49 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer-Bob View Post
In the US, all head units are of the "BMW Professional" type. Other markets get a "BMW Business" type as well, which is inferior in some way.
My understanding was that HiFi did not become standard until the second half of MY2011 - cars with build dates from 09/10.

It is strange then that you have tweeters as standard equipment. I have heard on a UK forum of some cars being delivered with the grills but no actual speakers behind them - "blanks," in ther words. I didn't think that happened in the US, as my US-spec car came stock with black plastic panels instead of the grills. However, according to Barry above, it appears that at least some US cars were fitted with blanks.

Can you confirm the presence of speaker cones behind the tweeter grills? Not sure how obvious they are in the HiFi system, but in my OEM Alpine retrofit, the cones are clearly discernable through the grills (pictured below).
You could also try to peek through the rear shelf grill, perhaps with a flashlight, and see if you can find either just mids fitted, or tweeters and mids both.

Finally, you could try looking for an amp. This should settle it beyond doubt. Go to your trunk, lift up the flap that covers your battery, and then keep pulling until that panel comes all the way out. On the driver's side there is a space where an amp might fit (my amp is also pictured below). If there is nothing in that spot, then you have Stereo. See my post above for a little more about the different amps.
Thanks for all the information. I'm afraid that I'm going to add to the confusion, though. The tweeters are definitely there. You can clearly see them and hear them. I'll post a picture below (it's not as good as your picture). The system puts out enough volume without distorting that you can hear it well while driving with the top down. It is at least comparable to the last two cars I've owned with optional extra cost sound. But when I pulled the panel out of the trunk expecting to find an amp, I did not find one. There is a silver box on passenger side that is probably something else, but could be an amp. I'll post a picture below.

I haven't heard of any 135 with working tweeters and no amp, so I'm thoroughly confused at this point.



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      04-06-2011, 11:42 AM   #22
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The only thing I can think is that the convertible has a different arrangement than the coupe, which wouldn't be unreasonable given it's much different acoustic requirements and higher price-point.

In fact, scanning the "audio background" document, I found this quote: This early version 1.0 does not attempt to cover E88 convertible systems. A future draft will address these.

So it would appear that perhaps the convertible has a modified version of the Stereo system - still ampless, but with front tweeters running off of deck power (perhaps rear tweeters as well?).

Maybe you could PM the author of that document, forum member VPElecticity, and ask about convertible audio. If you learn anything, let us know, because my curiosity is piqued now.

Good luck.
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