Changing Head Unit

Head units and speakers, MP3 and CD changers, GPS and SatNav, plus PDAs, mobile phones, Bluetooth, TalkAbouts...

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Joined: Sat 19 Jul, 2014 20:23
Posts: 6

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Changing Head Unit

Post by Joolz » Fri 05 Sep, 2014 16:48

Hi All,

I am going to change the head unit from the old BMW Business tape player in my 2.8. I love the noise the car makes so don't use the stereo that often but for when I do, the sound quality is the worse I have ever experienced, so it's time for a change.

I am not going to spend a huge amount on a new head unit, here are a couple in Halfrauds that seem reasonable and they also sell the wiring adaptor plug. I am thinking of a "mech less" head unit to hook my ipod up to.

I have a couple of questions:

1) Will changing the head unit increase sound quality significantly or slightly?
2) Having not looked at the back of one of the mech less units, do they generally have inputs to hook up the CD multi changer that is in the boot or will that automatically hook up when I plug the new unit in with the wiring adaptor? Or will the CD changer become redundant?
3) Should changing the head unit not significantly improve sound quality and I therefore will need to change speakers, what sizes will fit straight in to replace OEM speakers without cutting anything?
4) Is changing the head unit likely to improve radio reception as the current system again is awful?

Thanks all,


Joined: Fri 07 Aug, 2015 14:43
Posts: 7

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing Head Unit

Post by Rixster89 » Mon 10 Aug, 2015 13:06

1. Changing my head unit slightly increased the sound quality, however it's not that significant and if you want a significant increase you'll want to change the amp/speakers.
2. No idea sorry
3. ... p?t=344646
4. Probably not, but you could purchase a signal booster and fit it while you fit the stereo, wouldn't cost much at all and is simple to do.

Joined: Tue 25 Jun, 2013 22:47
Posts: 260

  Z3 roadster 2.0

Re: Changing Head Unit

Post by therealdb1 » Mon 10 Aug, 2015 13:42

The sound comes from the speakers and the standard fit ones are not the best.
Better electronics will still sound poor if the speakers are not up to the task so I would start here.
Having said that part of the allure of the Z, particularly the 6 pots, is the exhaust note so why would you want a radio?
I'll now duck below the parapet! :lol:

Joined: Sat 03 May, 2014 22:32
Posts: 42

  Z3 roadster 1.9
Location: Swadlincote

Re: Changing Head Unit

Post by MarkAP68 » Mon 10 Aug, 2015 18:17

I fitted some edge speakers from Halfords and the sound quality is a massive improvement: ... r-speakers

I didn't use the grills and the component boxes and fitted the tweeters into the spare hole in the door speakers next to the original tweeter and just wired them into the original ones so I have 8 speakers in the Z3 instead of 6 :)

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Joined: Tue 29 Jun, 2010 15:49
Posts: 58

  Z3 roadster 1.9
Location: Lytham St Annes

Re: Changing Head Unit

Post by HPFirenza » Mon 10 Aug, 2015 18:29

Mark AP68, Have you any pic's, diagrams of your audio setup in the Z. I want to change my headunit and speakers but also keep it very simple, and the Edge speakers look very reasonable in price.

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Robert T
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Joined: Mon 12 Jun, 2006 11:35
Posts: 10025

  Z3 roadster 1.9
Location: Cheshire

Re: Changing Head Unit

Post by Robert T » Mon 10 Aug, 2015 22:15

CD multichanger is unlikely to work with anything other than the original headunit. If you are fitting something more modern, then it will be pretty much redundant as you will be able to connect an iPod, USB key or even a USB hard drive. I've run mine off an 8GB USB stick for a few years now - equivalent of about 50 CDs - and I can't remember the last time I actually put a CD in it!

Cheers R.
Arctic Silver '99 Z3 1.9 & Black '59 Frogeye 1275cc

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