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  #1  
Old 06-18-2003, 03:27 PM
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500E Becker upgrade suggestions

Well, drat. One of the DIN cables into the Silverstone 980 trunk unit in my '93 500E is coming apart. The system worked acceptably beforehand, but I am now figuring on an upgrade and replacement job.

Part of that is Becker themselves. They sell a replacement cable for forty-odd bucks, which seems fair, but that obviously requires a lot of fuss to get at the back of the headend. I had a need for the car for a long drive, and requested on the Becker Board for a pinout/color code for the unit to see if I could effect quick temporary repairs (and not have to spend many hours with no audio).

Becker's staff couldn't be bothered to respond. I thus can't be bothered to spend even small amounts of money with them. Feh! How to lose a customer in one easy step.

I am not a heavy audiophile, but I do have a couple of design points in mind. I'd like MP3 capability, but I don't want one of those horrible Ginza-by-night overilluminated animated displays that seem to be in most modern MP3-capable headends. Save those for teenage rice racers in slammed Civics, please! Entirely inappropriate in the calm understated mature 500E interior.

What suggests itself is that I get at second hand one of the older Alpine cassette headends which speaks AI-net. Those are inexpensively available, visually restrained, offer decent clean amplification, and would let me put one of the new Alpine multidisc readers in the trunk -- there is at least one AI-net unit which takes MP3 discs.

I'm not sure what to plan on for speaker upgrades or additional amplification under this scheme. I am aware that the stock '93 500E speakers are going to be impedance-mismatched against a new system. Norm Anthony posted that he actually found his to be acceptable -- and I can try that myself -- but I should be thinking about options.

I don't want to sacrifice the tire well for a sub -- I carry tools and flares and emergency kit in there, and I am not sure that even much low-frequency sound gets out of the W124 trunk. It's sealed like a vault!

Perfectly happy to put a small amp either in the trunk or under a rear seat if it's called for. Plenty of room.

I know that the dash speaker slots want a five-inch instead of a 5.25 speaker, and that Scott at La Jolla Audio can get a drop-in Rainbow unit of good repute. Any others? Any numbers on mounting depth?

I will be pulling the door panels to reglue pulling of the leather over the map pockets, so that lets me think about doing the door speakers while I'm in there. Again, if memory serves, those are subs. And since they mostly face the seat sides, I don't see any point in putting anything other than subs behind those grilles.

I wonder if just decommissioning the door subs and making the grilles into snap-out hiding spaces might be a good idea. I try to take the V1 detector with me when I leave the car, but I can't always manage that, and internal places to hide it (plus a headend faceplate) would be nice.

Please, by all means, tell me what I'm getting wrong in the above, and chime in with any words of wisdom. Given the hassle of taking the 500E apart, and the respect and care it deserves, I want to get this right on the first pass.

s/b
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2003, 06:34 PM
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If my memory serves me correctly, the speakers in the doors are mid-range speakers, not subs.

I have a W124, and just installed a new 12" subwoofer (in its own enclosure) in the trunk. The subwoofer is powered by a separate amp.

Even though the trunk on a W124 is supposed to be sealed like a vault, I get a lot of bass into the cabin, so much that I can make the front seats vibrate like a back massager.

I also have a 1993 car, and if your system is the same as mine, ( and you are using the original amp in the trunk), the system runs off of 2 ohms of resistance, instead of 4. You can use the current setup to run your original speakers, but they will run hot and wear out quickly. But, it goes without saying that if you are running the original speakers, they are surely shot by now.

Soooo, if I were you, I'd buy a new (or used) Alpine or Nakamichi head unit, and purchase two amps - one to run the six speakers in the car, and one amp to run a subwoofer that you put in the trunk (in its own enclosure). I'd have the audio shop mount the two amps on a carpet covered board in your trunk that would mount at the back wall of your trunk - it will take up virtually no space there. The back wall of your trunk is your gas tank and you can't screw into it.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #3  
Old 06-20-2003, 01:04 AM
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500E Stereo

I've been putting a lot of thought into sounds in the 500E. In terms of headunits, Nak is a good call but the future of the company is in question. Knowing your price range would help my suggest a few units. If you plan on getting a CD/MP3 changer, I'd look at some of the newer alpines that have the fold out screen. The have a very minimalist look and a very laid back display.

In terms of bass, it all depends on what you like and what you listen to. For me, a sealed trunk that vibrates the cabin will never be acceptable. I can't stand the sound of muffled bass, no matter how hard it hits. If you want a subwoofer in the trunk, you must port the sound into the cabin some way and there aren't many options given the location of the gas tank.

I'm really leaning towards trying free air which is a dying setup but which can provide very good results if done right. I've heard that a single 12 or 10 in the rear deck where the first aid kit is will impress anyone but the biggest bass heads. Unfortunately, I can't comment first hand.

In terms of component speakers, I would get my head unit and full range amp and see what I liked and didn't like about the factory speakers. Sometimes a factory speaker will sound better than anything else you replace it with -- especially if it's an irregular size.

In terms of speaker placement, you said you weren't an audiophile. Well that's important because if you aren't hell bent on getting great imaging from your music, there is NO reason to cut the door panels.

In short, I believe you can get good clean sound with a new headunit, the factory speakers and an amplified subwoofer that either fires through or is ported through the rear deck. I've been putting high end car stereos in my vehicles for the past 15 years and I know you cas get good sound without spending lots of money. Great sound in a car, well that's another story.

Sorry for the long post. I'm kind of tired now. Must go sleep.
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  #4  
Old 06-20-2003, 01:44 PM
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The only problem is that his 1993 factory system runs off of 2 ohms of impedence instead of 4 ohms. i believe only 1993 (but also possible 1992) run off of 2 ohms. He can't use the original amp in the trunk if he changes the head unit.

If he runs the six speakers off of his head unit, his original speakers will run hot because they are designed to run off of 2 ohms. He will also have to rewire the whole car (all six speakers and the antena) back to the head unit because everything is currently wired to the trunk.

If he is going to go through the trouble of intalling an amp to run the subwoofer, he is going to have to run all the wires to go to the head unit. If he is going to go through this much trouble, then I would go ahead and install a second amp to run the six speakers in the car (two in the rear deck, two in the doors, and two in the dash).

He would also be advised to buy new speakers, too, that were designed to run off of 4 ohms of impedence.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2003, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by suginami
The only problem is that his 1993 factory system runs off of 2 ohms of impedence instead of 4 ohms. i believe only 1993 (but also possible 1992) run off of 2 ohms. <snip>
He would also be advised to buy new speakers, too, that were designed to run off of 4 ohms of impedence.
I think you're entirely correct. My understanding is that the '92 and '93 cars had a more or less identical system. The '94 models went to a more standard and reportedly better sounding system.

If anyone has any recommendations in re particular models of speaker for the six stations in the 500E, I'd be all ears.

The parcel shelf looks easy, fitwise. Doors, marginally tougher. I suspect that finding something suitable for the dash will be the hardest gig.

I did pull the right rear seat to trace wires. Hey, it's easy up to that point! But looking forward from there, groan, it probably is one steep hill.

s/b
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  #6  
Old 07-03-2003, 12:13 AM
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Hi,
I'm doing a major install on a 93 300d 2.5. The doors are a lousy location for any speaker (although I installed some 5 1/4 woofers just in case). I had to make a template which is a major pain. Running the speaker wire in the door jam brought some expletives as well. I didn't wire them up to the amp and probably won't. I fabricated an entirely new rear deck. I cut an off-center 12.5" square hole in the rear deck for an Infinity Kappa Perfect 10". It requires only a .6 cu ft box. I wanted to hear the bass, not my spare tire. I had a body shop reinforce it with 1.25" angle iron. It's stronger than it was from MB now. My number one priorty is sound with trunk space, because I actually use it sometimes.

But to get to your dash dilemma. . .I removed the dash speakers and cut the cone and magnet off at the top of the speaker basket. This left me a ring with only the clips and the hook that mounts the speaker. I installed an MB Quart DKD 110 discus line 4" in the ring with HD adhesive. The speaker snapped in perfectly and fits behind the stock grille. The sound they make is beautiful. Nice little crossover network right on the speaker. Tin snips work great. If you'd like a better description, let me know.
I took step by step pics and downloaded them to my PC just before the harddrive went south.
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