Audio Upgrade For BMW Mini
Audio Upgrade for BMW Mini is a much used search term in Google. Having listened to a few in their ex-factory state, I am not surprised. Like all BMW’s, they are set up to impress during the statuary 30 second demonstration in the showroom, then disappoint once you hit the open road.
If it was just me, then we would’t see so many requests for information on audio upgrades. During the creation of Driving Sounds Magazine we have had the unique opportunity to interview Mini owners and they all offer the same feedback regarding the standard equipment.
Common complaints include; lack of bass, lack of dynamics, lack of clarity, no top end, now mid bass, no definition in mid range and the list goes on.
Download a free Driving Sounds Magazine article from one such complainant here: Heaven’s Outside The Gates Of Hell
So why is the standard audio so bad? Let’s start with the under seat woofers. Although sitting in cunningly engineered enclosures, the driver units are so cheap and nasty that they handle hardly any bass before distortion sets in. Whatever you try, they sound fat and flabby and swamp what little midrange there is. When the vehicle is in motion most of their output is lost to road and wind noise. Considerable improvement can be achieved by replacing the standard units with Audison Prima AP BMW S8’s. Of course the job is not properly done unless they are driven by amplified channels. The output of the standard head unit is not enough to control the underseats properly.
Moving on to the mid range speakers. The standard positions have them firing across the car directly at each other. This is not ideal. The mids are also of the cheap and nasty variety. Shame as this is where most musical content lies. Such disregard for sonic pleasure leaves me wondering why BMW bother to fit these at all. In contrast, a pair of Audison Prima AP BMW K4E components completely transform the sound. The mids from this component set are built for the rigours and sometimes lunacy of standard speaker mounting positions. A lot of effort has gone into ensuring that the sound leaving the speaker reaches the ear of the listener rather than their knees! A wide dispersion characteristic is vital in order to improve the audio in any car and the Prima’s really fit the bill!
Tweeters from the aforementioned Prima component set are also designed to deliver maximum fidelity “off-axis” (i.e. not pointing directly toward the listeners ears). This part of the sound spectrum is where most of the clarity defining information is. In some base models of Mini, there are no tweeters fitted at all. If you want tweeters you have to pay for an “Upgrade”. To a music lover, this is like a driver having to pay extra for a steering wheel!
BMW Mini do offer some audio upgrades, but none of these tackle the basic issues with the standard offering and do not offer value for money compared to an aftermarket upgrade.
Although I speak here of an Audison Prima upgrade, this is simply because all of the equipment mentioned is of a plug and play nature. For those music lovers with a larger budget, there are other options. The car pictured at the head of this blog has had custom A-pillar builds made to house some rather special tweeters. These new positions put the tweeters closer to the listener’s natural ear position. Things like this are achievable at a cost and can take even the suggested Audison Prima upgrade to new levels of sonic engagement.
Click the image below to download a free Driving Sounds Magazine article on a more bespoke approach to a BMW Mini audio upgrade.
There are many options available that will help Mini-owning music lovers to get a lot more satisfaction from driving their cars, The FOUR MASTER network of installers have a wealth of knowledge and experience in upgrading the sound in these popular vehicles, or you can ask FOUR MASTER head office for an obligation-free quotation for your own vehicle by following this link: https://www.fourmasterscaraudio.co.uk/your-car/audio-upgrade/bmw/mini
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