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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Dec 27th, 2013, 11:27 PM
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2nd opinion/ any advice on installing new head unit

Hi guys.

I called a local car stereo specialist today and was told that if I want to install an aftermarket cd player unit, I would need to replace all the speakers in my 2004 MC because the speakers aren't Harmon Kardon as they won't be able to connect the head unit with the speakers because they only connect to the factory head unit.

I'm surprised. I've been reading a lot of threads here and this hasn't come up before. So instead of just buying a Pioneer DEH-X6550BT unit that I wanted and pay for installation, do I have to get new speakers too?

Can someone please confirm or give me advice on this?

I'm feeling a bit ripped off by them at the moment. They quoted me $400+ for installation and that doesn't include the new head unit and speakers. They assume me that they'll install the adapter so the steering control still works. It would cost me nearly $1000 to get the whole job done. I'm in Australia by the way so all prices are in Aussie dollar.

Thanks heaps.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 02:37 AM
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The Harmon Kardon speakers only work with the Harmon Kardon Amplifier so Iím guessing your installerís solution was to not use the Harmon Kardon system at all and just replace the whole system with new speakers connected directly to the new head unit.

If you have a Harmon Kardon system in the Mini at the moment my understanding is to utilise it and the existing speakers you will need a HK Enabler to interface the new head unit to the Harmon Kardon amplifier.

If you want the steering wheel controls to work with the new head unit you will need a Multi-Function Steering Wheel adaptor.

These are both available from NewMiniStuff.

NewMiniStuff wire these two units together so you end up with a wiring loom (adaptor) that plugs in between the existing head unit plug in the car and the new head unit.

Iím currently doing an Alpine head unit install for my wife (just awaiting delivery of adaptors)

The HK Enabler and a Multi-Function Steering Wheel adaptor cost me about $220.00 Australian delivered.

If you email NewMiniStuff with the details of what head unit your planning to use they can advise you on what will work.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 05:18 AM
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No I don't have the HK speakers. I know they are factory standard speakers and HU is alpine? The speakers have not HK brand on the mesh covers.

I'm looking at getting the speakers and HU from JB coz they've got 30% off all car stereo and then find someone to install for me. I got quotes and roughly $420 and the quotes include all the adapters.

I can't decide between the Alpine or Pioneer speakers. Here are what I'm thinking:

Alpine SPS-610CG - $174.30
Alpine SPS-619G - $125.30
Alpine CDE-143BT - $165.90
$465.50 + installation

Pioneer TSD1720C - $207.90
Pioneer TS-A6965S - $97.30
Pioneer DEH-X6550BT - $188.30
$493.50 + installation

I prefer the Pioneer HU because its look is more low profile (Alpine has this massive square button which I'm not a fan of).

I read the Alpine speakers have cleaner sound. I tested the Pioneer at Autobarn and not really sure about the heavy bass on the 6x9". No demo for Alpine speakers which is a bummer.

Do you know if I can have the Pioneer HU with Alpine speakers?

Good luck with your install. I'm not confident to install myself.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 07:55 PM
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I would just select which head unit you like and use the same brand speakers ( but, yes you can use Alpine Speakers with Pioneer head unit).

Alpine and Pioneer are both good brands so if both head units have the features you want then pick the one you like the look of.

I would get a quote from another installer just to make sure you can’t use existing speakers. (Tell them your pretty sure you can use existing speakers)

Did they actually have a look at the specifications printed on the speakers in your Mini or just ‘know’ they won’t work? Maybe they are confusing the Harmon Kardon systems with the standard systems?

Or at the very least get them to have a proper investigation if they didn’t in the first place.

I’m no expert but from what I have found while sorting out the wife’s Harmon Kardon system I could get two types of adaptors to connect a new head unit to existing system:

A special one(smart with electronics) to suit the Harmon Kardon system
or
A standard one (nothing special just a couple of plugs and some wire) for the non-Harmon Kardon system.

I think it’s worth a second look.

Someone please correct me if I am mistaken.

Last edited by Byatt; Dec 31st, 2013 at 12:03 AM.
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Old Dec 30th, 2013, 11:10 PM
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I've got a 2005 Justa convertible, I replaced the factory CD player in it last year myself with a Kenwood HU.

I don't have a HK system and all I needed was an adapter to go from the Mini CD player to the Kenwood (cost me $20 from memory). I also purchased a fascia adapter (another $20 from ebay) as the Mini CD player is bigger than standard. Installing the HU itself was pretty easy.

I kept the factory speakers as they are perfectly fine and sound better with the Kenwood, plus I don't listen to the music super loud where I would notice the distortion.

I'm guessing most of the labour will be in changing the speakers as the HU itself is really only a 30min job.

You can always just do the HU first and if you feel like you need better speakers then do that down the track unless of course they are replacing the speakers wires too?
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 10:55 AM
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if you don't have the HK speakers then replacing the head unit is just a case of swapping head units out and using the correct adaptor. One thing to note is to make sure the switched and non switched power leads on the adaptor are the correct way around. You can tell as all your settings will disappear on the head unit when you turn the ignition off if it's wrong. Having them the wrong way around also messes with how your windscreen wipers work. Figure that one out! I'd recommend swapping in a new head unit first then seeing if you like the sound before replacing the speakers.
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Old Dec 31st, 2013, 12:40 PM
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No problem using your standard speakers with an after market headunit.
If you wish to improve the sound quality at a later date, add some better
speakers. You could also add an amplifier, this will improve the sound considerably.
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Old Jan 1st, 2014, 03:13 AM
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The installer is a local car audio specialist and they specialize in loud pimped up car stereo for car shows. So when the guy told me the amp (from the head unit I presumed) won't work with the factory speakers. I just trust he knows what he's talking about considering he told he was referring to a manual they've got.

I like the Pioneer HU coz I can change the illumination colour to match my dash, and according to Pioneer's website, they have specified the adaptor I'd need for my car. I'm just not game enough to replace the HU myself. I installed a GTACar Kit to use with iPhone via cable on my own as I could follow instructions on from their video. Since then I noticed the electricity current on my MC pulses on idle.

That's why I would prefer a specialist to do it this time around, and the persistent pulsing prompted me to get a better audio system/solution.

I do play music loudly in the car. I think the hesitation is I didn't know how expensive all these would cost and whether it would be worth it or worse. I also drive my car occasionally. I'm trying to shop online to reduce the cost down. It would be good to upgrade the sound system because I'm going to keep the MC for another 5 years or more if it doesn't die on me as it's fully paid for.

I'm not familiar with car stereo/audio system so just want to make sure the models I'm looking at will sound better than the factory speakers.

I'm also looking at the Alpine Type-R 60C and SPR69. What amp I should look at if I were to get the Type-R speakers?

PS: the specialist did ask me if the speakers I have are Harmon Kardon or not and I have told him they are not. So he suggested to get new speakers, etc.
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Old Jan 1st, 2014, 12:05 PM
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Lightbulb

Sorry, I didn't make myself very clear did I?

The 1st route to improving the sound in your car is to Change the headunit.

2nd is to improve the factory speakers, if you have a local car audio specialist
have a listen to the speakers they have, any half-decent car audio specialist should let you audition different makes before you spend you money.

3rd is to add an amplifier, this is NOT just about volume!

Adding an amplifier will improve sound quality, for example,
better dynamics, stereo seperation, detail etc.

4th is to add an sub-woofer, this will give better 'bottom end' and
depth and 'believability' to the sound.

Do this in stages, as and when you can afford it.
Hope i've made more sense this time?!

Last edited by spikeyadrian; Jan 1st, 2014 at 12:05 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old Jan 1st, 2014, 09:12 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by spikeyadrian (original)
Sorry, I didn't make myself very clear did I?

The 1st route to improving the sound in your car is to Change the headunit.

2nd is to improve the factory speakers, if you have a local car audio specialist
have a listen to the speakers they have, any half-decent car audio specialist should let you audition different makes before you spend you money.

3rd is to add an amplifier, this is NOT just about volume!

Adding an amplifier will improve sound quality, for example,
better dynamics, stereo seperation, detail etc.

4th is to add an sub-woofer, this will give better 'bottom end' and
depth and 'believability' to the sound.

Do this in stages, as and when you can afford it.
Hope i've made more sense this time?!

Thanks. Yes, it's all making sense to me.

I know I can demo the speakers at the specialist place but I want to buy the speakers online because they're much cheaper. I'd feel bad if I buy the speakers from online store after I demo them at their store and go back for them to install. Unless I make myself clear at the start I'm buying them online.

I'm planning to buy the speakers from ryda.com.au because they're the cheapest and at the moment I think they have free shipping but their shipping is flat rate at $9.95 anyway.

Thanks. I've been wondering if I should upgrade in stages...not sure if it would save labour cost if I did it all at once. I have decided to get a subwoofer too. I was thinking of getting Type R speakers (which would have been nice) but they're much dearer. I have to sacrifice these quality for a sub. So the combo I'm thinking of is:

Alpine SPS-610CG
Alpine SPS-619G
Pioneer TS-W259S4 10" sub

I now prefer the look of Kenwood KDC X8019BT head unit. I think the illumination colour can also be customised. I will have to demo this at a store to confirm this.



Will the Kenwood head unit be suitable for the speakers combo I have in mind?

With this combo, I will definitely need an amp but I don't know which to get because I don't understand about mono or 2 or 4 channels. Any recommendation? Anyone has a second hand amp I can buy off?

I don't have a huge budget for this upgrade, maybe about $1000 all up including installation. Seeing how many things I have to get, I'm sure I'll blow the budget.

Thanks all for the replies. I really appreciate that.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:13 AM
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The speakers you mention will work electrically with the headunit.
What i mean by that is, 99% of headunits and speakers will work together.
The important thing to mention is will they work together tonally ?
For example, in the perfect world, speakers would add or take nothing away
from the original signal, they would only reproduce the signal that it sent to them perfectly.

This never happens because we don't live in a perfect world.......so
some speakers have, for example, a 'bright' overall sound whilst others may
favour the mid-range and other may sound slightly 'bass heavy'.

This is the reason you need to listen to them.

A mono amp is used to drive your sub.....it has 1 channel.
A stereo amp is used to drive your front speakers....it has 2 channels.
A 4 channel amp is used to drive your front & rear speakers.....it has 4 channels.

It may sound a little confusing, stick with it as the rewards are awesome.
I have a very good 3 MTX amp system in my Cooper with an MB Quart 12'' sub MB Quart component 165mm front speakers, Infinity 6X9 rears and a Pioneer DEH-P88IIRS headunit + 6 disc CD changer and it sounds superb.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 11:44 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by spikeyadrian (original)
The speakers you mention will work electrically with the headunit.
What i mean by that is, 99% of headunits and speakers will work together.
The important thing to mention is will they work together tonally ?
For example, in the perfect world, speakers would add or take nothing away
from the original signal, they would only reproduce the signal that it sent to them perfectly.

This never happens because we don't live in a perfect world.......so
some speakers have, for example, a 'bright' overall sound whilst others may
favour the mid-range and other may sound slightly 'bass heavy'.

This is the reason you need to listen to them.

A mono amp is used to drive your sub.....it has 1 channel.
A stereo amp is used to drive your front speakers....it has 2 channels.
A 4 channel amp is used to drive your front & rear speakers.....it has 4 channels.

It may sound a little confusing, stick with it as the rewards are awesome.
I have a very good 3 MTX amp system in my Cooper with an MB Quart 12'' sub MB Quart component 165mm front speakers, Infinity 6X9 rears and a Pioneer DEH-P88IIRS headunit + 6 disc CD changer and it sounds superb.

Good luck!

Thanks for the explanation. It makes sense to me now. Yes, I do need to listen to the speakers. I'm trying very hard to find them here locally in the stores for demo but it's really hard as I live in a regional area.

Anyway, I'll keep searching. Thanks again!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 09:41 AM
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I have decided to get the Pioneer DEH-X8019BT head unit from eBay as it's the cheapest price I've seen anywhere.

After researching and getting all of your opinions, I'm going to give it a go at installing the HU myself with the pre-wired harnesses I can get from eBay as well.

Before I do, just want to make sure I understand what I'm doing, can someone please double check if I know what I'm doing? Thanks.

Once I remove the factory HU, I connect this harness (A) to the factory harness.
Mini Cooper ISO Wiring Harness Radio Stereo Plug Lead Connector R50 R53 2002 06 | eBay

Then, I connect this harness (B) to the new Pioneer HU.
Pioneer ISO Wiring Harness DEH X8550BT DEH X8500DAB DEH X9550BT DEH X9550SD | eBay

and then connect both female connectors of harness (A) to harness (B). (Just wondering do they have to match? Hope it comes with instructions)

I use this to mount the HU.
Mini Cooper 2002-2006 FACIA PLATE fascia kit dash panel trim single-DIN R50-R53

I also need an antenna adaptor which I can't find online. Anyone knows where I can find out? I can order from Autobarn I suppose...

I would really appreciate it if someone can tell me if I've got the steps correct.

Finally, if I've done all these, will the steering wheel control interface still work?
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 12:44 PM
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Hi again,
Those bits look correct.
Remember you will have to remove the downtubes to fit the new
facia.
The steering wheel controls will not, I don't think, operate you new
Pioneer headunit.
This isn't a problem as Pioneer do a steering wheel remote, which
I use and it solves the problem brilliantly.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 09:22 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by spikeyadrian (original)
Hi again,
Those bits look correct.
Remember you will have to remove the downtubes to fit the new
facia.

Thanks. Yes, last time I pulled the HU out, the down tubes were a pain to get off.

Quote: Originally Posted by spikeyadrian (original)
The steering wheel controls will not, I don't think, operate you new
Pioneer headunit.
This isn't a problem as Pioneer do a steering wheel remote, which
I use and it solves the problem brilliantly.

Where and how do you install the steering wheel remote to your steering wheel? There is a part Pioneer has recommended to keep the steering wheel interface working. I found the steering wheel control adaptor from eBay. I think I can use this adaptor with the Pioneer HU.

So now I guess I will get this BMW 3 5 Series Mini X3 X5 Steering Wheel Stalk Control Adaptor CTSBM004 and this Pioneer ISO Wiring Harness DEH X8550BT DEH X8500DAB DEH X9550BT DEH X9550SD instead. They'll give me a patch lead to Pioneer.

Now I just have to work out where and how am I going to put the microphone on. Any idea?

Thanks for all your help. I'm really grateful. =D
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