Sound System Repair
Prestige cars come with premium sound, and we restore just that
While we advocate instroduction of new technologies to complement the outdated ones, sound system is what we will try to preserve as much as possible. You don't have to be an audiophile to agree with that.
Luxury cars sound system is well engineered and integrated with the car. Fitting an aftermarket system that matches the quality and cosmetic presentation, if possible, usually outprices the cost of repair.
In this page we list down most common sound systems for currently popular prestige cars together with their common faults, if your car is before 1994 please refer to Vintage Audio System.
BMW and Land Rover Sound system
Depending on the car's communication bus system, the sound system can be grouped in 2 types.
1. I-bus system: most of BMW and Land Rover cars from late 90s up to to 2006. Sound system is very different for car with and without navigation:
* Cars with navigation: the sound is controlled by a module at the back, called sound module or radio module. There are 2 generations that can easily be identified by the connectors at the back. Unlike many people think, they are interchangeable with proper wiring harness.
- - Round pins (or 17 pins) module: labelled as C23 (most popular in Australia), BM23 (UK, US) and BM24 (with TMC). This module is known to be stable, faults that we repair usually related to power supply or bus communication circuit.
- - Flat pins (40 pins): labelled as BM53, or BM54 (with TMC). This module is notorious for multiple failures: amplifier stage failure (losing sound channels, to completetly silent), losing AM and/or FM radios, not turning on and so on. Some BM54 modules has round pins, but inside they are the same and thus, suffer from the same list of problems. We are among a few companies around offering sound restoration for BM53/54.
* Cars without navigation: Started with radio-cassettte model C23 for 7-series E38 in 1994, all the way to CD53 in E39, X5 E53 and Land Rover. We offer repair for all kinds of fault found in BMW radios from 1994 to current models.
* Cars with amplifier: there are 2 types of amplifiers found in BMW and Land Rover:
- - DSP Amp: It's the big black box with huge heatsink fins. Called DSP because it has a complex high-performance digital audio processing circuit to produce very clear sound, at the same time it takes signal from CD changer in digital format, eliminating any possible noise to get into analougue circuit. Reparing this is a hard job because its construction is like a German tank, however it's the only way to fully restore the car's audio system. It's even a bigger job to fit in an aftermarket amp and make all speakers working as original. On the other hand, it's also very tricky to make an aftermarket "headunit" working with BMP DSP amp.
- - Non-DSP Amp: There are 2 flavors, one manufactured by LEAR and the other by Harman Kardon. Both are easier to repair compared to DSP, and more possible to be replaced by aftermarket amp.
- * CD changers: BMW and Land Rover use a changer made by Alpine, which changed a little during its 10 years lifespan (1995-2005). We offer repair for all known faults of this changer.
2. iDrive System: BMW switched to use CAN-bus in its headunits with iDrive. The radio/CD player is integrated with navigation so repair of iDrive sound system becomes part of navigation system repair.
Mercedes Sound System
Evolving from vintage stereos, modern Mercedes cars are bascailly fitted with 3 generations of radios
* Audio 10: these are basically 1-DIN units made by Becker with CAN-bus and fiber optic support (D2B). There are cassette version and CD version. Due to the fact that the CD version doesn't play MP3 and you can add CD changer to the system, some drivers even prefer to have cassette head unit that can be modded to have an auxiliary input. These are known faults with Audio 10 that we fix:
- - Not turning on
- - Not reading/ejecting disc: Need new laser lens, sometimes the whole CD mechanism need to be replaced.
- - Draining battery: The system doesn't turn off when key removed, or turns on errantly.
- - Display failure: "flowers" shown permanently, not readable.
- - Doesn't recognize CD changer: D2B fiberoptic ring problem.
* Audio 20: this model is known to be stable. The new fiberoptic system (MOST) is also better than the system it replaces (D2B).
* CD changer and amplifiers: There is virtually no option other than repair, due to the proprietary D2B and MOST fiberoptic circuit that Mercedes uses. We fix the following common faults:
- - "No CD changer", "No Magazine", "Magazine empty", "No disc" faults.
- - Amp failure: no sound.
- - Amp draining battery: doesn't go to sleep, or wakes up intermittently.
* Audio 50: With graphic LCD display, it looks very similar to "poor man" NTG 2 small-screen navigation system and many people think that can be upgraded. In fact it's not possible to upgrade, NTG2 system has a "NAV" button and construction inside is also very different. Not so much of known faults, rather Audio 50 and NGT2 are a kind of "All-in-one" system that promises a big potential for tweaking and even hacking. We are doing some of those and will post information up as soon as we done the testing
In this page, we list only the most common problems. Please contact us if you want to find out more about other cars .