Blissful BMW

Tell you what I want, what I really, really want

Blissful BMW


Jeremy Hyde is a man who knows what he wants and what he wants in his car is excellent audio. Having installed systems in previous cars himself, he gave FOUR MASTER John Kleis Car Audio a chance to impress with an install into his BMW E-90.


Company director, Jeremy, travels a lot. When he is not flying around the world closing deals on behalf of his company, he is driving around the UK. With a background in car audio installation, he is as hooked as anyone can be on having a great sounding system in his car. Jeremy allowed us to have his car for a few hours but being an incredibly busy man, his story came later by email. Here are the results of that communication.


DS: Where are you from and what do you do?


JH: I am from Wiltshire. I am a director of a company specialising in lubricants and spend a good deal of my time travelling all around the world. When driving in the UK I want to enjoy what I am listening to.


DS: What led to your appreciation of good sound?


JH: My dad was a drummer in a successful band in the 60’s. I can't remember there not being music in the family home whilst I was growing up. It left me with an unfortunate condition of having an ear that appreciates good quality reproduction. Realising audio excellence has always been a terrific challenge for me as a result.


DS: Is there any other music in your background, do you play anything yourself?


JH: I play guitar but not very well. I have always appreciated good musicianship though.


DS: What bought you to car audio in the first place?


JH: I have a background in car audio in the dim and distant past. I have always installed systems to my cars myself, using stock mounting positions.


DS: Did you research much of your system before you got to JK. If so, where did that search take you?


JH: As already stated, I travel a great deal and had the opportunity to visit several major companies in the US, Musicar NW in Portland, Oregon, USA, were very helpful and started me on the hunt to find a solution that worked for me and this particular car.


DS: How did you find John Kleis Car Audio in the first place?


JH: My research led me down the Audison Bit 1 route and I discovered John Kleis Car Audio were both local and an Audison dealer.


DS: How did you find the service? Was your mind completely made up as to what you wanted before you got there or did JK advise you? If the latter, what was their style, heavy sell, gentle persuasion or personal recommendation?


JH: They didn’t attempt a hard sales approach, possibly because I kind of knew that I needed a custom installation rather than a simple speaker upgrade and addition of an amp, sub and head unit. They were very professional and delivered a demonstration after asking what kind of music I liked. They sat me in their Demo car, which has custom door-builds, custom sub enclosure and multiple amps and a Bit 1. We listened to some of my own CD’s and I was very impressed with the openness of the sound from the Bit 1. It confirmed that this was the right way to go with my system.


DS: How long did the install take? What brief did you give to JK with regards to the physical look of the installation?


JH: JK had the car for 5 days, I explained that I wanted the install to look as stock as possible although, I understood the door builds would change many aspects of the look of the car, however, I feel it still looks stock and does not lessen the overall quality of the car. The Bit 1 made a dramatic change to the delivery of sound and the quality is such a major improvement on what was there before.


DS: Did JK get it right first time or were additional visits necessary?


JH: We are still tweaking the system to be honest. My availability hasn't helped but the speakers have bedded in now. I skimped somewhat on sound deadening and I wish I hadn’t as there are some obvious rattles that need to be sorted out. I also want to have the car set up properly and hopefully, that will be part of the next stage.


DS: What media do you mostly listen to? Radio, CD, iProduct or other portable device?


JH: CD only!


DS: What was your first impression on collection of the vehicle? Did this change over time?


JH: I felt the Install was very good, and obviously expected the speakers to need time to bed in. The installer had gone the extra mile however, there is still more work to be done.


DS: Has your system been Bit Tuned?


JH: No it was due to be, however the sound deadening fitted in the boot area by BMW means that further work needs to be done to get more sub bass into the car. This should be possible by modifying the parcel shelf.


DS: How does the new vehicle compare in sound to your previous one?


JH: I have never invested this much in a car system and have always wanted cars to remain “stock” I am very impressed, with the overall improvement in sound and staging.


We got hold of the car while it was having some upgrades done to it. This meant that there were certain elements that I could not properly audition, including the sub bass. However, the equipment fitted I am familiar with and so with a bit of imagination and a couple of favourite tracks I was able to make some judgements on the front end of the system, but first, the technical bit:


The full range speaker system Jeremy has selected is a slightly unusual configuration of Audison Voce featuring two bass drivers (AV 6.5) for each channel. These are fitted into a proprietary pre-built cabinet that is finished to match the rest of the vehicle interior.  Although by no means standard, they are well integrated and to the untrained eye, look as if they were put there by BMW. The builds are able to accommodate up to three drivers, but one of these has been blocked off in this install. Voce mids (AV 3) and tweeters (AV 1.1) are mounted in the stock positions in the doors and the filler panels by the wing mirrors, respectively. An Audison Voce 5.1K amplifier drives the dual bass drivers which are wired in parallel reducing their impedance to 2 Ohms, mids and tweeters are driven from the other pair of channels using a specific passive crossover (AV CX 2W MH) designed for running Voce three-way systems.


A pair of speaker outputs from the original BMW source unit are processed by an Audison Bit One processor and this processed signal is fed digitally into an optional digital input on the amplifier (AV Bit In) This means that the longest signal runs are made in the digital domain ensuring signal integrity and improving immunity to interference from other on-board systems.


I began by listening to “I Wait” by Mumford and Sons. I immediately appreciated the work that the two woofers were doing. I was without subwoofer and expected a far weaker sound as a result but, I was getting plenty of bass and mid-bass which is essential for energetic music like this. Instrument separation was fantastic which is particularly difficult in a track where there is so much going on in the middle frequency range. This can often lead to a certain muddiness as amp and speakers struggle to sort out all the competing information. I felt that Bit One and the AV Bit In were contributing much to this clarity. Top-end was rounded and refined adding to the huge open spaces in image height, width and depth.


Not expecting the full experience I put on the DJ Fresh/Rita Ora track “Hot Right Now” This was delivered with enormous energy despite the lack of sub bass and had me “dad dancing” throughout the track. Fortunately, no one was watching and especially not my daughters who would have been appalled! Finally, I wanted to check out the mid bass so I put on Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick” with drum work by the best rock drummer that has ever lived, John Bonham. You could imagine him inside the door panels knocking seven shades of whatsit directly out of the speakers themselves. The effect was absolutely breathtaking. Any qualms I had about reproducing old rock music in a car were completely flattened by this system. There was punch and kick and low guitar work and lots and lots of percussion, just what I needed for a musical journey back to the 70’s


Ideally, I would like to hear this car again once John Kleis and Jeremy are perfectly happy with the sub bass. However, I would drive this car and enjoy listening to it now even without a sub. I think the install is a triumph and running two woofers on each side makes the very most of the amplifier and the digital processing power in this system. If we gave stars in our reviews, I would be looking toward the next galaxy for more by now.




Jeremy’s top five Driving Sounds


Gone – Daughtry                

Grenade - Bruno Mars       

Far away - Nickelback                    

Poker Face - Lady Gaga

Radio Active – Imagine Dragons


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