The below article will inform about the best practices for upgrading the audio on the BMW 3 Series
(2014 – Present) Models F30, F31, F34

BMW 3 Series (F30, F31, F34) (2014-Present)

Synopsis:

The BMW 3 series is a good compact sedan for a premium audio upgrade. The car has a total of between 8 to 14 speaker slots which are evenly distributed in the car, majority of them being in front, to give the driver and co-passenger a rich and clear music experience. Due to this configuration, even the basic built speakers in the non-HK premium variant do sound pretty good to passive listeners or beginners. BMW have designed the front stage (front speaker setup) in such a way that brings good lows (bass) right up front without causing any long-term rattling on the door pads. This is achieved by placement of down firing mid bass drivers (speakers) under the seat, and mid-range drivers (speakers) in the doors along with tweeters and a center channel speaker in the dash board on the HK Premium / Highline variant. The base variant does not come with the door tweeters and center channel dash mount speakers.

Standard Speaker slots / locations of equipment:

6-8 speakers in 4 doors, 2 speakers under the driver and co-passenger seats, 2 speakers and 2 tweeters on the real parcel shelf (on HK premium variant) and a center channel speaker up front in the dash board (on HK premium variant). The HK premium variants come with an amplifier which powers the speakers in the car and is located on the left side in the car’s boot.

Pros:

Due to the compact build and overall cabin volume, the 3 Series does not need very powerful speakers in order to produce a clear and balanced music experience. Due to the intelligent positioning of the mid bass speakers / subwoofers, under the seats the listener experiences good bass (lows), without causing any rattling on the doors like most other cars. Due to a stock 3-way speaker configuration in front, the driver and co-passenger experience good separation in sound.

Cons:

Almost all BMW cars have very limited additional space beyond their stock drivers (original equipment speakers). This makes it tricky to choose good products as most higher end speakers usually have deeper magnets and bigger build. This also limits the number of choices we have to do upgrades on BMW cars.

Solutions:

Full Upgrade on Non Harman Kardon Variants:

The cleanest method of upgrading the audio on any premium car is to follow the least evasive wiring method. The right way of upgrading the audio on the non-hk variants is to start with configuring an aftermarket sound processor / signal processor connected to the player acting as the master controller for the rest of the equipment to be added. The next step is to select set of speakers and matching amplifier(s) staying well within the provided space within the car, which in case of a 3 Series is very limited. The final configuration is a Front 3Way only setup (Tweeter and Mid-range speakers in doors, Mid-bass speakers under front seats) Or a Front 3Way and Rear 2Way (Tweeter and Mid-range speakers in doors) speaker setup. “ A Digital Signal Processor sums up the signals from the BMW OEM stereo and flatten the input signal to provide a clean and controlled output signal to the amplifier(s). “

Full Upgrade on Harman Kardon, Harman Kardon premium, HK Logic7 HiFi Variants:

The cleanest method of upgrading the audio on any premium car with an existing premium audio solution is to understand the workings of the car, dependent on the OE entertainment system and to follow the least evasive wiring methods. The right way of upgrading the audio on the hk and hk premium variants is to start with configuring a pre-amp unit and an aftermarket sound processor / signal processor. This gets connected to the factory OE entertainment system (digital or analog). The Pre amp and DSP acts as the master controller for the rest of the equipment to be added and the primary point of integration with the factory systems. The next step is to select set of speakers and matching amplifier(s) staying well within the provided space within the car, which in case of a 3 Series is very limited. The final configuration is a Front 3Way (Tweeter and Mid-range speakers in doors, Mid-bass speakers under front seats) and Rear 2Way (Tweeter and Mid-range speakers in doors) speaker setup.

Numbers on the Images are as follows:

  1. OE Factory Player
  2. Front Door Speakers
  3. Under Seat Speakers
  4. Rear Door Speakers
  5. Front Tweeters
  6. Rear Tweeters
  7. Factory Amplifier
  8. OE Entertainment System Screen
  9. Front Center Channel Speaker
  10. Rear Parcel Shelf Speakers

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