Upgrading The W205 Burmester Audio

Looking for a write-up on the standard Audio 20 system? W205 Audio 20

This blog details upgrades I made to the Burmester audio system in my 2016 C300. I knew right away that, while the stock system didn’t sound terrible, I wasn’t going to be satisfied with it. The bass was too loose and sloppy, and the mids were too bright and harsh. Frankly it didn’t sound “premium” enough for my tastes. I want clean, powerful, accurate reproduction with distinctive and punchy mid-bass, a solid “thump” for the kick drum sound, and mids/highs that are clear without being brassy or harsh. I also like a wide sound stage, where the stock system seems to sound very directional and and overly focused to the front door speakers.

When I’m evaluating an OEM car audio system I trust my ears. I don’t care whose name is on the equipment necessarily.  I’ve been a musician professionally and for fun for thirty years, and while my tastes lean toward audiophile, my budget generally does not. But I am a hardcore audio geek with experience performing and mixing sound in the studio and live venue settings.

When I first get into a new car, I’ll spend a couple of weeks just listening. I’ll play source material I’m really familiar with, try the various settings, see if different sources sound better than others, and really try to pin down any deficiencies.  I’m never doing a “gut job” and replacing otherwise good gear. It’s more a surgical approach based on where I perceive any shortcomings.

I’ve learned that there are two potential areas of deficiency in any car audio system. Physical deficiencies, such as a lack of a full compliment of speakers due to space or design limitations, a lack of sufficient power, over-reliance on inexpensive components with inherent flaws, and a lack of sufficient user control over equalization.

Tuning deficiencies almost always result from a manufacturer’s attempt to compensate for physical deficiencies by equalization, delay, and other processing. Tuning deficiencies are “baked” into the system and cannot be modified by the user. Sometimes manufacturers do a convincing job. (Bose, for example, is notorious for coaxing somewhat decent audio from inexpensive hardware using equalization and post processing and then charging a fortune for it.)

W205 Burmester Deficiencies: No True Woofers, Too Many Midrange Speakers.

Most of the deficiencies in the W205 Burmester result from a lack of a full-range array of speakers, inexpensive components used for the speakers it does have, and tuning deficiencies created by the equalization scheme necessary to compensate. In short, the Burmester lacks any conventional woofers necessary to accurately reproduce the mid-bass range, which is what woofers do best. Additionally, the speakers that do exist are flimsy and cheap. (There are no “Burmester” components in the W205 Burmester system. Burmester was responsible for designing and tuning using  existing off-the-shelf parts from other manufacturers, a common practice in branded premium car audio systems.)

The W205 Burmester is essentially a sub/sat design, much like those all-in-one, “home theater in a box packages” that rely on a bass module for the lows and a bunch of little satellite speakers for everything else. Inexpensive and space efficient but not ideal.

Here’s the speaker array in the W205 Burmester, clockwise from the driver’s side front door.

  • 4” midrange & 1” tweeter left front door passive crossover*
  • 6” subwoofer left front footwell
  • 4” midrange center dash
  • 6” subwoofer right passenger footwell
  • 4” midrange & 1” tweeter right front door passive
  • 4” midrange & 1” tweeter right rear door passive
  • 4” midrange left parcel shelf (left surround)
  • 4” midrange right parcel shelf (right surround)
  • 4” midrange and 1” tweeter left rear door passive

*A “crossover” is a device that routes signal based on a frequency range to the speaker most optimal to play that range. So in a two way system, only lower frequencies would go to the woofer, and only highs to the tweeter. The cut off points are determined by the crossover. A “passive” two way or three way component speaker system has a physical crossover with fixed settings. An active multi-speaker system has separate channels wired directly from each speaker in the set back to the amp and the settings can be manipulated electronically. Active crossovers are preferred for their tuning flexibility.

One  look at the speaker array in the Burmester system and it becomes obvious that the W205 got a lot of 4” mid range drivers, seven in total, and four tweeters.So plenty of mids and highs.If I had to boil down the main problem with the Burmester, it’s the glaring lack of any proper woofers. Typically you’d use the nice cavities in the lower doors for a 6″ woofer, ideally suited for bass and mid-bass. For whatever reason, Mercedes decided to use that real estate for other purposes, namely an awkwardly placed and superfluous cup holder and a map pocket. It may have solved the “where do I put my second beverage?” problem but it ham-strung the audio designers.

To cover the mid bass gap that exists physically between the 6” subs in the footwells and the 4” mids that are everywhere else, the Burmester relies on a “baked in” equalization and surround processing scheme. It forces the mids to play a little lower than they’d like, and it forces the “”subs to play way both higher and lower than ideal. But there’s only so much digital hocus pocus you can do to compensate for an incomplete speaker array.

Which is why, when you’re listening to the Burmester and you’d like punchier, more well defined bass, adding more bass via the COMAND “Equalizer” makes the sound become loose and boomy. If you increase volume to get more grunt in the bass, the mid range becomes intolerably bright and harsh: A tuning deficiency necessitated by a physical deficency.

Here’s what we saved/replaced/added 

  • 4” midrange & 1” tweeter front doors (FOCAL KRS100)
  • 6” subwoofer left front footwell
  • 4” midrange center dash
  • 6” subwoofer right passenger footwell
  • 4” midrange & 1” tweeter rear doors
  • 4” midrange left parcel shelf (left surround)
  • 4” midrange right parcel shelf (right surround)
  • Dual 8″ Subwoofer (Trunk)

So not a total gut job as far as the speakers. Most of the work involved gaining control over the factory equalization.

Where’s the Burmester Stuff?

Not surprisingly, there is no actual Burmester sourced hardware in the W205. If I had to guess, based on their form factor, tri-lobe mounts and sound, the speakers are harman/kardon. The amp is not Burmester either. Burmester’s contribution appears to have been limited to design and tuning, and most importantly, lending its name to Mercedes to stamp on the speaker grilles.

Here’s a side-by-side of the “Burmester” 4″ door speaker and 1″ silk dome tweeter with a common harman/kardon 4″ woofer and 1″ silk dome speaker, found extensively in Mercedes and BMW systems dating back ten years.

From Top Left, Clockwise.

Rear view of Harman Kardon Tweeter (left) and Burmester Tweeter (right)

Front view of Harman Kardon Tweeter (left) and Burmester Tweeter (right)

Rear view of Harman Kardon 4″ woofer (left) and Burmester 4″ woofer (right)

Front view of Harman Kardon 4″ woofer (left) and Burmester 4″ woofer (right)

It’s common for manufacturers to use high efficiency, wispy little nothings for speakers in their systems. They’re inexpensive, and very easy to drive without a lot of amp power. That allows the amps to be smaller, be low heat producers and cost less.

I point this stuff out not to bum anyone out on their Burmester system. But if you were feeling bad about messing around with Dieter Burmester’s masterpiece, don’t.

The Cure: Use The Footwell Subs As Conventional Woofers, Add A Trunk Sub For The Lows, Strip Out The Factory EQ And Start Over.

Once I knew what I was working with, I was able to design the upgrade.  My goal is always greater fidelity and accuracy, not necessarily more power. I avoid adding big sub-woofer boxes (or subs at all if I can), and I’m not interested in huge impressive looking amplifiers in special custom enclosures.  I also avoid making any modifications to the factory system that would ruin the integration and controls. Any changes I make happen very late in the signal chain, right before the connections to the speakers. My systems are pure stealth and use the factory speaker locations and sizes, and the factory grilles.

To re-mediate the lack of “proper” woofers, it was necessary to re-purpose the dual 6” Frontbass subwoofers to become conventional mid bass woofers by changing their crossover points to cut out a chunk of the low bass signal to them. (This is all done by software…no physical changes are being made to the Frontbass subs themselves.)

Making the subs into  woofers allowed me to create a proper 3 Way component system for the front sound stage, consisting of the 6” woofers in the footwells, 4” midranges in the doors and 1” tweeters in the sail panels. However, the low bass signal being redirected away from the front subs had to be reintroduced, and that necessitated a subwoofer box in the trunk. That allowed me to tune the fronts to play a nice full-range sound without the bass getting loose or sloppy, but still have sufficient low end reproduction.

For this install I chose to replace the front door 4” and tweeters with a set of Focal KRS100 components which I already had on hand. The other speakers in the car were left stock. You could leave the front door speakers stock as well, although I do love the way the Focals sound and recommend them.

With the speaker array sorted out, my attention next was focused on removing  the factory equalization and tuning, so I could start from scratch with a clean, flat stereo signal from COMAND. There is unfortunately no way around this, and it’s expensive to do it right. You could replace every speaker in the car with high end alternatives and you’d still be stuck with the many of the same issues if you didn’t also address the factory EQ. If you had to pick the most efficient way to improve the system, start with a digital signal processor rather than speaker replacement.

For processing duties I’m using the  Audison Prima 8.9 DSP Amp already on hand, which combines a robust digital signal processor and an integrated 8 channel amplifier, with an un-powered 9th channel output for a sub amp and speaker. It’s a compact unit, about the size of a hard cover book. While the power output is relatively tame at 35 watts per channel x 8 into 4 ohms. it’s an honest 35 and proved more than enough for the W205. (In fact, it was more than enough for my 2010 S550, with a much larger cabin.)

The Prima is tuned by temporarily connecting a USB cable from it to a Windows laptop and running the Bit tuning software application. Each channel can be tuned individually for level, EQ, time correction, and crossover. Here’s a sample tuning screen for a single channel. On the upper left, clicking on a speaker in the car diagram brings up EQ, Crossover filter and Time Correction (delay) for that speaker. Here, the left front door midrange is being tuned.

Audison-Prima-AP-8.9-bit-Amplifier-3

Don’t get turned off if none of this stuff makes any sense to you. I’ll include the Prima tuning file for this W205 installation here. You can simply download it, load it to the Prima and save, and its done. If you want to play around with it as a starting point, just save your changes with a new file name.

To handle sub-woofer duty I used a 300 watt JL mono amplifier (also on hand), and a small JL sub box for the trunk. My preference would be to avoid a box entirely. They look aftermarket and take up trunk space, but one was necessary for the 205. I was able to find a shallow depth JL box with two 8” subs that fit perfectly and snugly up against the back seat of the 205. (Quick disconnects make it possible to remove the sub to gain access to the folding rear seats.)

One extra component I didn’t anticipate needing was necessary to defeat the Burmester’s Vehicle Noise Compensation circuit, which is supposed to listen for road noise and bump up certain audio frequencies to mask the noise. VNC got all discombobulated once the Prima was installed and was just throwing out random bursts of low bass. The cure was to add a JL Fix 82 OEM integration module, which was able to strip out the VNC interference.

The equipment list then is as follows. Prices are estimates.

  1. Audison Prima 8.9 DSP Amp OEM Integration Unit ($900)
  2. Focal KRS100 K2 Power 4” 2-Way Component Speakers ($350)*
  3. JL Fix 82 Processor ($300)
  4. JL Dual 8” Shallow Depth Ported Subwoofer ($400)
  5. JL 300 Watt Mono Sub Amp ($300)

The Sub amp and box are optional here. While it’s nice to have the bass drum sound reinforced, simply tuning the existing front woofers is a huge help. If you were approaching this in stages, just the JL Fix 82 and Prima are the only “must-haves”

amps

Installation included applying Hushmat sound dampening material on the interior panels of all four doors, plus the usual battery power kit, cables, ties, etc. I handled the Prima’s initial configuration and the tuning myself.Get a quote on installation from you nearest authorized Audison retailer/installer.

The signal-processing chain is as follows:

  • Speaker Outputs from the 9 channel Burmester amplifier are fed to the Fix 82.
  • The Fix 82 converts the powered speaker level signal back down to low voltage (line level). It digitizes the signal, removes the factory equalization, time correction and VNC and outputs flat 2 channel stereo via a single fiber optic Toslink cable to the Prima.
  • The Prima’s DSP stage is where the tuning magic happens, with immense control over every aspect of the sound on an individual channel level. Equalization, crossover points, level, phasing, and time correction can all be customized using a Windows laptop and a USB connection. Tuning the Prima in my 205 took four hours, but if this process is entirely foreign to you, I’ve included the W205 specific tuning map file below. Your installer can simply load it into the Prima and you’re done.
  • The Prima’s eight powered output channels are configured as follows:
    • Channel 1: Left front mid range and tweeter 35 watts
    • Channel 2: Right front mid range and tweeter 35 watts
    • Channels 3-4: (Bridged ) Left front subwoofer 70 watts
    • Channels 5-6: (Bridged) Right front subwoofer 70 watts
    • Channel 7: Right rear mid range and tweeter 35 watts
    • Channel 8: Left rear mid range and tweeter 35 watts
  • The 9th output channel is used to send signal to the outboard JL sub amp and box. The center channel and two rear deck surround speakers remain on the factory amp. The tuning blends these “orphaned” speakers into the mix.

Here’s everything, installed in the trunk.

C300 Trunk

And the sub box, which squeezed perfectly up against the rear seatback, leaving plenty of trunk space:sub

So there you have it. A system that now sounds as good as its speaker grilles look, all invisible and with no loss of COMAND control or functionality.

Installation:

Burmester_WiringDiag (1)

  • Come off the high side of the factory amp, and using the Burmester wiring diagram identify the speaker wires by color code as follows:
    • Left front door
    • Left front sub
    • Right front sub
    • Right front door
    • Right rear door
    • Left rear door
  • Cut those leads and run them to the input side of the Fix 82.
  • Run the Fix 82 set up CD.
  • Connect a Toslink fiber optic cable from the Fix 82 to the optical input on the Prima.
  • Run leads back from the high (output) side of the Prima and connect them back to the car’s speaker wires.
  • Run a cable from the subwoofer out of the Prima to your outboard sub amp and speaker.

Prima Configuration Wizard

  • Set the physical configuration switch on the Prima to Zero.
  • Connect a USB cable from the Prima to a Windows laptop and run the set up software.
  • Skip the level set up and de-equalization as the JL Fix 82 has that handled.
  • Here’s the speaker configuration. Note the boxes checked beside the front subs, denoting a bridged connection (two channels combined to double the power). Also note that each speaker set connected together by a passive cross over has a green bracket. To combine two speakers, click each one. A white bracket will appear joining them. Click the X in the middle of the bracket to tie them together, and the bracket will turn green.

Prima Speaker  Config

Here’s the output configuration channel assignments. Note that two channels are assigned to each front sub.

Prima Output Config

Be sure to select Optical for the input.

Tuning

The first time you turn this system on you’re not going to like what you hear at all. With the factory EQ removed, the raw sound is pretty awful. All of those mid range speakers doing their thing. Luckily you have a monster digital signal processing suite at your finger tips and all of those speakers can be bent to your will.

Save this file to your laptop:

W205 Prima Tune

In the AP Bit program, select “Load” and browse to this file. Select Device>Finalize The Device to write the tune to your system. Feel free to poke around in the tuning app and see how changes to things like the filter and EQ affect the sound. Use the Solo feature (yellow light at the top of each channel’s level fader) to see how each individual speaker sounds in isolation and how it contributes to the overall mix.

Try soloing the front subs plus the subwoofer to tailor the bottom end. Do the same with the four doors to fine tune the mids and highs. If you get something you like, save it with a new file name. Use the car’s COMAND equalizer and surround functions to make fine adjustments. I have Treble on 6+, Midrange -8, Bass +2. My most common source are AAC files on an Iphone, both local and streaming, and Tidal.  Fine tune to whatever you listen to most often. Every source imparts its own characteristics. If you’re using Bluetooth Audio, pull the jog wheel down to bring up the bottom menu, select Options>Volume>Boost.

I use Front Surround, and have the Automatic Volume Control on. (Vehicle screen, pull down on the jog wheel to bring up the lower menu, go to Vehicle Settings and scroll down.

Burmester himself famously stated that the best system is the one you never need to touch, because everything sounds good on an accurate, balanced, neutral system. I agree!

 

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125 thoughts on “Upgrading The W205 Burmester Audio

    1. great article. but i have some question wanna ask, my car is ML350, i have the basic audio, right now. i wanna upgrade to burmester, could u told me where i can go and upgrade?

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      1. You cannot, nor would you want to, upgrade to Burmester. Burmester does not make car audio equipment. If your ML has the typical Harman Kardon you essentially have the same gear. Any audio shop can give you upgrade options.

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  1. First off, thanks for the wiring diagram. I am in the process of buying a c450 and one of the first upgrades will be the stereo. I will be using Helix p-six as my amp/dsp. I had a couple of questions:
    1. Do you think a 4.5″ midrange would fit in the door? Considering using a Scanspeak 12m but it’s about 0.5″ larger than factory.
    2. Instead of using the JL piece, did you just try cutting the wire to the ambient mic?
    3. Looks like you’re using optical out but I don’t see any remote unit for the Prima. Did you retain steering wheel controls?

    Thanks,
    Dan

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    1. Not sure about the 4.5″. Might go with some modification. Depth may be a factor as well. We did not find an ambient mic in the cabin for the VNC, and Burmester was zero help. Not sure about question #3. We’re optical out of the JL Fix82 into the Prima. Everything we did came after the output stage of the factory amp. Nothing in the signal chain before that was affected. Factory integration was unchanged. No need for a remote unit.

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  2. Hello Mike, i am near speechless with your thorough review and advice. On a side note, have you listened to or reviewed the Burmester 3D premium in the new S Class? You’d make even happier a lot of folks from the MB forum who are already praising your effort on this blog. Congratulations.

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    1. Thanks. I have not auditioned the ($6400!) Burmester 3D, but if MB stays true to form it’s the same underwhelming speakers, but more of them with more amps. I’m sure it sounds fine but I think if you got the base system and spent half the $6400 on aftermarket stuff you’d be ahead.

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      1. I appreciate your sensible input once again. Brother in-law asked for a second opinion on his coupé order codes and my first query was the value of a £6000 sound system. Thank you.

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  3. Such a great article and thanks for your post about using the equalizer as well. I use it along with my Audio 20 system without even the Command but it still worked like a charm. Much better than it used to be.

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      1. Exactly! A20 sounds very thin without it. Upgrading the whole system would be great but I am unsure if its worth it without the Command Online. But for now, getting the cockpit rattle-free definitely comes before anything on my list.

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      2. Or the audio so loud you can’t hear the rattles 😉. I had to do some rattle proofing myself. Just packed the seams wherever two pieces of trim were creaking against each other with 1/4″ foam speaker sealing tape and a butter knife. Top arch of the gauge cluster where it meets the upper dash, and where the infotainment screen mounts to the dash.

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      3. You are 100% right, you can’t enjoy driving this car without havng music cranked up! I will definitely bother the service about this. Especially high mids cause this issue, last time they told there was nothing remaining to insulate lol. But even if rattles triggered by the audio are fixed, there needs to be some further rattle proofing done just like you did. Btw I also have something coming from the gauge cluster! Some gremlins near the armrest and some very freaky loud stuff from the trunk, especially when you would go uphill on a stone road. No idea what that would be. Overall these are details I am quiet disappointed with.

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  4. great article Mike,
    I have bought 2016 C300 without the Burmester upgrade, does this mean that the sound coming out of speakers flat? any recommendations for adjustment? mid-low is very weak, definitely needs a Sub-woofer.. do you have any info about the basic amp? and how much could it handle? or do I need external power for it? and other modifications necessary? please advise

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  5. Mike,

    Just leased a C 300 2017 coupe and the Burmester system is incredibly bad. I did go through your write up and not being tech savvy, I will not be able to attempt this on my own. I did have the shop stick a custom box with two, six inch subs powered by an Alpine Amp into the trunk but no luck, still sounds bad, too much mid range and the highs are garish. Do you think a high end car audio shop could make these changes that you have made? I am based in Las Vegas.

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    1. Any Audison dealer can do a DSP. Either the Prima I used or a combination of the Bit One plus an outboard amp. If you have an iPhone and your files are local, the EQu app by Elephant Candy can make a huge difference. You can push the mids way down and tighten up the bass.

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      1. Mike I don’t know why these posts are not going through. This is my second attempt. Do apologize if the first one shows up too😎.

        First question is I am assuming that the Surround, Balance and EQ function in the head unit will become redundant after this modification. Is there any other equipment like a smaller controller available that I can keep in the glove box or center control. Really looking forward to getting this done, I have stopped driving the car because of the crappy sound system😳😳😳.

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      2. The existing controls still function normally. Adding bass adds bass, surround still functions, etc. The Audison does have an optional remote unit (DRC) as well.

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  6. Great writeup. I recently purchased a C450, and the car is great, except for one major issue. In my car the volume automatically adjusts to uncomfortable levels when the car gains speed and becomes exceedingly quiet whenever the car is stopped. The volume will not ever remain constant, which is extremely annoying, especially in stop-and-go traffic. The variation in volume occurs regardless of whether the “Automatic Volume Adjustment” box in the vehicle settings menu is deselected. Despite four visits to the dealer, they have been unable to resolve this issue. Would installing an aftermarket amp, such as what you have done, fix this problem?

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    1. I’ve heard about the runaway volume issue. It’s very puzzling. The only thing I can think of is the VNC (vehicle noise compensation) circuit is getting erroneous info and boosting/dropping volume erratically. If that’s the problem, the JL Fix82 would be able to strip it out and get you two clean low voltage channels. You’d need to then add an amp after the JL to get powered signal back out to the speakers.

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      1. Thanks for the reply. Appreciate it. I may have to go this route if I can’t get the issue corrected. Without swapping out the speakers, what sort of improvement in sound quality do you think I could get with just installing a JL Fix82 and a better amp?

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      2. Massive. 90% of the system’s shortcomings are with the baked in equalization. The Fix82 will give you a clean flat low voltage signal but you’d then want to go to a DSP amp to get all of the sound shaping tools necessary. Going right from the Fix82 to a plain multichannel amp probably won’t get you where you’d like to be. But yes, you can live with the factory speakers. I’d do them last.

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  7. I have a leased 216 C300. I want to boost bass without voiding warranty or making permanent changes to the vehicle. I like the Dual 8″ Sub (JL CP208LG-W3v3) and Mono Amp (JL Audio XD300/1v2).

    Question: Does the Factory Amp have a Sub-Woofer Output?

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    1. Hello Mike, Some brief feedback for you before testing out the A20 on your loaner,

      Today I connected my iphone to the car via following a dfu recovery. I could not believe it, I Was able to adjust volume. After a while things went south again. Possibly the touchpad becoming stuck is related to the issue as well.
      Strange thing, once things are fully being streamed from my phone, you can switch songs view album cover etc, it becomes impossible to change the volume. However if it is at the early state where it says entry 1 or gets stuck there, you can change the volume as much as you would like to. I even managed to stream audio through usb despite the screen telling me that there was no playable media on my device.
      You would expect this vol control not to work when you are having a dodgy connection. Instead it stops working when album cover, track and artist name, tracklist are loaded etc.

      Tomorrow I will check again with another cable and another phone!

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  8. Mike:

    I believe my 2016 C300 has a fiber optic loop from the head unit to the factory amp. With that in mind will the signal from the factory amp to the Frontbass channel be processed in any way that would negatively impact the signal’s usefulness?

    As you suggested, I want to send the Frontbass channel signal into the JL Audio XD300 Amp, but want to be sure the signal is pure.

    Thank You,
    Ernest

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    1. You’ll pull signal from the powered output side of the amp, which is just conventional old school analog copper wire. Tap into the + side of one Frontbass output and – of the other (or vice versa) but leave the original connections to the Frontbass speakers intact. You’re just pulling some signal to feed the sub amp.

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      1. Hi Mike,

        Great article. I have some questions though. I understand pulling the sub signal from factory amp (footwell subs) to power new external sub, but where are you getting the full range signal to redirect to convert the footwell subs to upper bass? Are you using the full range signal from the front doors then cutting out the extreme low end?

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      2. You’d pull it back in the trunk on the high power side of the factory amp. All of the speaker wires throughout the car emanate from there. You’d take the + from the left sub speaker leads and – from the right (or vice versa). That will get you all of the low end and a good chunk of the midbass as well. You’ll probably end up cutting some of that off at the sub amp. The front doors aren’t getting a full range signal.

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      3. Thanks. I understand the mechanics of it. I’m just not sure about the frequency range coming from the sub out of the factory amp? I know you’re cleaning it up, but what’s the upper level? What’s the crossover point you used for kick panel woofers?

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      4. Maybe I’m misunderstanding. Are you looking for a source to pull lows to feed an external subwoofer and amp? That would be from the signal to the Frontbass woofers. That raw signal probably runs from 50hz up to 150/200hz. It’s the only source of low frequency sound in the car.

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      5. Hi Again,

        Sorry for the confusion. I’m curious what the frequency range of “repurposed” front woofers are after the mod. It would seem to me, that if you’re pulling a factory signal that is between 50hz and 200hz, you couldn’t get those woofers to play any higher (i.e. up to 500hz) unless you could get a full range signal from somewhere on the factory amp, then cut it down?

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      6. Got it. The Prima is building a full range stereo signal from the Frontbass subs, the door mids and the tweet in. Once the Prima has it, it can put it wherever you want it. You could run the front subs full range if you wanted and the Prima would feed them full range. It’s up to you and your ears to decide how to apportion the frequencies around the car, but any speaker on any channel on the Prima has access to the full range.

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      7. Perfect! Thanks! :). Without looking at the tune, where did you set the upper level of the repurposed front woofers?

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      8. I’d have to jack into the Prima with the laptop to get those cut offs. I believe after a lot of listening I ran them from 80 to 175 on a band pass filter and added som EQ to take some boominess out.

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  9. Hello Again Mike,

    Like some other members I am also having trouble adjusting the volume when my iphone 6 is connected through the USB. A friend’s iphone 5 will work without problems when it comes to volume adjustment.
    It happened to me once that I was able to control it while trying out the voice recorder app. No luck whatever I do though and it is pretty annoying. No problems with the bluetooth however the latest volume setting will be stuck when running the USB mode.
    Any known TSB’s? By the way the Audio 20 sounds too weak even when the volume is cranked. Source: EQ for Spotify, Boost: Off because it terribly distorts everything.

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi Mike,

      Do you have any available solutions or thoughts?
      Tried resetting the settings of audio 20, reset my iphone’s network settings which arrange all the protocols, tried with my iphone 5, no help.
      When initially connected device appears as ipod, once I turn on an audio app, device name changes into iphone, a bit tricky to get things streaming, you need to leave the menu and click on the particular device again etc. also the jump to time option under settings menu while playback is constantly flickering,

      Really looking forward to hear from you, the service does not know anything about these systems!

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      1. Unfortunately I only experienced the A20 in the loaner I had before I bought my car. But it’s due for an A service and I can probably get another A20 for a couple of days. So the problem is when trying to stream from an iPhone 5 via the direct USB connection? Have you tried BT instead. It leaves control on the phone.

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      2. Thanks for the prompt response Mike.
        Yep, bluetooth audio control is fine.
        When its connected through bluetooth, I can both adjust volume using car or phone settings.
        When its connected through the USB, nothing helps. I can turn volume down on the phone but it won’t change anything. Only thing that can be done is to mute via car.
        Basically I hate it when something malfunctions and later we could speculate about usb quality over bluetooth. One thing is for sure, bluetooth volume capacity is really limited. I can easily stand the max volume where as a radio or CD maxed out would kill your ears. No idea if output will change once usb gets working properly.

        Mercedes shouldn’t place the cheapo A20 in C class, its a shame.

        Like

      3. Yes it does Mike, but I thought it distorts the audio. Maybe its my EQ settings. Because even right know I am very near to clipping.
        Would you like to try Audio 20 and EQ for Spotify app together?
        There are lots of guys with A20 at this side of the world and would appreciated it if the EQ ywas tuned for A20 as well. I am hearing from tons of people that Command changes the car dramatically whether it would be overall performance, sound output, quality etc.

        Like

      4. It’s possible to overdrive the amp (clip) with EQu/EQ for Spotify. I know EQu has an automatic gain control (safe mode) that keeps the volume just shy of clipping. I don’t use Spotify so I’m not sure the app has it. It would be under Settings.

        Like

      5. Unfortunately EQu (for Spotify) doesn’t have that option.
        I use the graph you uploaded to the forum along with 7 treble 2 mid 10 bass.
        Looking to hear your thoughts on how different these settings sondin a car with A20.
        Thank you Mike

        Like

      6. You can adjust the volume/gain of the whole EQ curve by swiping up/down on it. Just set Boost on in the car, then move the curve down until it stops distorting.

        Like

  10. Hello Again Mike:
    I am going to use quick splice wire connectors. What is the gauge of the wire for the Frontbass output from the factory amp?

    Like

  11. Mike,

    Thanks for this detailed install blog.

    1. Did you have to snip the microphone wires to defeat the VNC or was it all accomplished with the Fix82?
    2. Did you have a chance to demo the system with the factory speakers installed with the AP8.9 and Fix82? If so how did it perform?
    3. Would the same tune you uploaded work for the Focal speaker work with the factory speakers?
    4. Is it possible to not use the Fix82, snip the VNC mics and go direct into the AP8.9?
    5. Do you know what the impedance of the 6″ subs?
    6. Do you have a pic of or part number for the crossovers for the front door mid and tweet?
    7. We plan to build a customer box in the spare tire well and were wondering if you (or anyone chimed in) has any experience with an in car A&B comparison between the JL Audio 12TW3-D4 and Kenwood KFC-XW1200F?

    Thanks again,
    Nate

    Like

    1. We couldn’t find the VNC mics, and neither Burmester or MB could help. The Fix82 solved the problem though. I’m mostly factory speakers except front doors. Not a vast difference between the Focal and stock. I think my tune would at least get you started. Subs are likely 4ohm. There is no factory crossover on the mid tweet front doors. Just a cap glued on to each speaker. No idea on the two sub amps.

      Like

    1. It does. You’ll retain it by keeping the center dash and rear deck surrounds on the factory amp. The Prima gets the two front woofers and the 4 door speakers, plus an outboard sub (plus amp).

      Like

  12. Ok, so when watching a DVD the center info will go only to the center and not be spread abroad through the front stage as in a home theater setup? If so, we are entertaining the following setup and please let us know if you think this will work:

    The Fix82 will sum as you have it outlined the connect to Prima AP8.9 via Toslink but we would not bridge the Prima but run an efficient 3-way setup and put full range 4″ coax speakers in the remaining locations including the rear doors. The center speaker and rear shelf speakers would run into the Prima Hi level inputs so they can be amplified, eq’d, time aligned, etc., and there would be one blank channel not in use. The system would look like the following:

    Focal Performance 165AS3 (Front Doors and Footwell)
    Focal Performance 100AC (Center, Rear Doors, Rear Shelf)

    I”m more inclined to attempt to do much with little as each location would get 35w but a solid 35w and the sub would be a Prima AP1D and Focal 30A4

    Like

    1. No, surround is distributed normally. The Prima steps in after the factory amp has done its surround processing. The Prima just intercepts the signal going to the front speakers and then passes it through after DSP. Surround modes function normally, although technically the center dash will be a millisecond or two ahead of the fronts. Nothing you will ever notice. Not like a home theater where the center does all the heavy lifting. It’s a little 4″ that gets just enough signal to make the dialogue seem like it’s coming from the middle. The real output is still the front doors and frontbass.

      On the set up, it’s either/or to the Prima…optical input or hi level, never both at the same time.

      There really are no full range 4″. It’s a mid no matter what.

      Personally I wouldn’t sweat the surround stuff. I do use the surround modes for music but it’s such a minor element I wouldn’t compromise music playback by sacrificing main channels to get more control over DD movie audio.

      I’ve lived with the system now for six months or so. There’s nothing I would change. The frontbass need the bridged channels, and the surrounds are bit players that sound perfectly fine on the factory amp. If the Prima was 12 channels I’d get the surrounds on it just for the extra control, but you’re not going to be disappointed with them at all.

      Like

  13. Hello Mike. I can not find the remote turn on wire of the (Burmester System) factory amp. Does the 2016 C300 use a CAN bus signal to turn the amp on and off? Where should I connect the remote turn on wire?

    Like

  14. Hey Mike,
    Finally got this done. But had a lot of issues with tuning the Audison, finally just uploaded your file and started working with that. The guy who helped install has left the cable connected to the Prima available for me to use. I will have to fine tune this further. I hope I am not bothering you with too many questions, here is what is happening, firstly the sound is almost 200 times better. Doesn’t distort and I am able to get the highs and the lows where I want them, but here are the issues:
    1. There is not enough volume in the front and rear door speakers, the mid range and the foot speakers are kinds loud, even when I am turning them down. Anyway to manage this?
    2. The stock speakers are horrible, do you think swapping them out will make a difference here. I have the C 300 2017 Coupe, its a great car but this sound still keeps turning me off, I am using Tuneshell with my iPhone, I listen to a lot of classic rock and metal. Also could you send me a file that I can upload into the Prima that may help with this situation.
    Thanks in advance.
    Anjit

    Like

    1. Mike,

      On the heels of Anjit’s request can you send the tuning file to me also in email? My Prima AP8.9 came in and my appointment for install is tomorrow morning. The installer said they had an issue downloading the file you uploaded. Will let you know how things turn out. Thanks.

      Nate

      Like

      1. Thanks will send it to you, is there anyway I can download the Audison software from a web site. The disc which came with the amp, pulls it onto my Mac but doesn’t open.

        Like

  15. Great blog! I noticed you specced the JL Audio Fix to flatten the EQ and neutralise the VNC. Could one use another brand like an Audison bit One for instance? Or is the JL Audio the best tool for this job?

    Like

    1. Technically the Prima is a less powerful but very similar DSP to the Bit One, so my guess is if the Prima couldn’t strip out VNC the Bit One won’t either. Bear in mind, none of us know exactly how VNC works or how the JL defeats it. There is an industry only database for installers where they share tips and tricks, and a shop out in California posted the fix they’d done on a C63.If I had to guess it’s getting stripped out in the redigitization from analog to optical digital.

      You can always start with the Bit One and if VNC starts booming at higher volume add the JL. Probably an hour of extra wiring to add it after the fact (which is what we did).

      Like

      1. Mike
        I see that JL Audio makes a nice 6.5 inch subwoofer. The bridged Audison Amp with 75w will run it nicely
        (1) Can it fit into the frontbasss stock 6 inch space? Is it easy for an installer to get into?
        (2) Is it worth replacing the stock 6 inch driver (ie can one tell the difference)
        (3) Will it produce enough low bass to obviate the need for a dedicated enclosed sealed subwoofer in the trunk?

        Like

  16. Mike,

    I wanted to share with you and the fellow W205 Burmester group that our install and tune has been completed. Hands down the MTX XTL110P may be the best value to boost the low end. No, you may not win any SPL contest but you will get a solid bottom end fill, you can clearly hear the bass outside of the car and the seats do shake! The front subs are crossed up at 80hz with a 12db slope and the sub is crossed down at 80hz with a 12db slope. The MTX piece fits very nicely in the tray underneath the floor board that lifts up to give access. I will probably execute a few more tweaks in the upcoming weeks but as for now it sounds really amazing. Thanks again for displaying your passion for quality sound and being moved to put this blog together!

    Nate

    Like

  17. Mike,

    It’s been a couple weeks motoring around with the new system upgrade and we notice now that the sound decreases when we come to a stop and then increases when we start driving again. This reminds me of when I did systems way back in the day when the amps where very sensitive to getting 14.4v or 12v. Do you think it is the VNC kicking in and if so what would you suggest we do? If not we may move forward with adding a cap to help keep the voltage constant.

    Nate

    Like

  18. Also,

    It’s not just the bass but the bass and highs lowers when coming to a stop as if the volume button was reduced two or three settings.

    Like

  19. I believe so. The installer ran a 4G power wire from the engine bay but I didn’t look to see if connected directly to the battery. If not connect to the battery what else could it be connected to? If it is a direct connection to the battery what do you think may be the cause of the volume dip when the engine is at idle and do you think a cap would be a good idea?

    Like

      1. Hi Mike and Nate

        I’m very interested to see if you guys can come up with a solution to this. As noted in my post on September 7, 2016, the stock Burmester stereo in my C450 is exhibiting the exact same behaviour. I haven’t installed the JL Fix82 yet, but was wondering if the problems I’m experiencing is coming from a faulty VNC circuit as suggested or something else… Great blog.

        Like

      2. FD135,

        This is probably going to sound weird but the Automatic Volume Adjustment I had it unchecked and after Mike’s last suggestion I checked that box and now the sound seems to be consistent and does not drop out as it did before.

        Like

      3. When I check that box, the entire sound profile drops about five decibels (compared to when the box is unchecked) but the volume keeps automatically adjusting when I accelerate and stop; however, the adjustments seem to become more erratic the longer I drive. Even worse, when I switch radio channels, the sound increases to the maximum level it was preset at before. That said, glad that your issue seems to be resolved. Hopefully I can get my problem fixed one way or another…

        Like

      4. I think that this is where the Fix82 shines! Since checking that button the volume did initially drop as you mentioned however the volume now stays consistent irregardless of vehicle speed.

        Like

  20. Hi Mike,

    I noticed you were on active poster on the w205 forums and have posted some great information that I found really valuable (especially upgrading the Burmester audio, although I don’t have as much courage to perform that upgrade just yet). I just wanted to get your advice on an issue regarding my C300 w/ Burmester sound system.

    I’ve noticed that my front speakers (especially the right one) produce a really irritating buzzing noise when playing tones at frequencies between ~240 Hz and 280 Hz. This can be heard when using a tone generator app, normal music, and can be heard very clearly during a phone call if the other person’s voice is rather low (for example the Apple Customer Service automated voice). I am taking the car to the dealership tomorrow, and I wanted to know if you have experienced this issue on any of the W205s you’ve tried and if you are aware of any definite fixes to the issue. I’ve noticed that if I push on the wood trim on the doors, the buzz almost disappears but is still kind of there. I am not sure if I should ask them to insulate the doors further, replace the speakers and/or grilles or something else. I have prepared a flash drive though with different tracks that demonstrate the issue and am planning on leaving the flash drive with the technicians so that they can test it.

    Anyways, I just wanted to see if you had any suggestions or ideas that might be helpful when I take the car in tomorrow. Thank you so much 🙂

    Best,
    Aly

    Like

  21. Hey Mike,

    Did you run new speaker wire to the doors for the tweeters/4” mid range? Noticed that there is only one set of speaker wires running to the doors since the tweeters are capped at the speaker. Thanks

    Like

    1. No, we just used the existing wiring into the crossover. It would be a big job getting another set of wires to the doors, but it also would be nice to be 3 way active up front.

      Like

  22. Mike
    I just had my C63 AMG wagon upgraded as per you advice except with
    (1) Mosconi Gladen 60.8 DSP. No need for JL FiX as the Mosconi works well with the VNC.
    (2) HAT tweeters and mids in the front all actively powered with no crossover
    (3) Custom enclosed Alpine R 10 inch shallow sub with Alpine PDX-M6 AMP
    I noticed my installer has equalised with significantly higher levels of bass from 150Hz down compared to the higher spectrum. My RTA tells me I’m getting a strong signal down to 45Hz (30Hz is much lower in level and may be the problem). Yet, I’m not getting the “low down” sensation I was getting with Range Rover Vogue Meridian 825W system which only has a underseat sub.
    Is it because the C63 is significantly noisier than a RR with more road, engine and exhaust noise coming into the car and competing with the lower frequencies. Do I need to boost the lower frequencies even further? I know most installers recommend a flat (no more than 3dB difference) in frequency response except for the very low and highest end of the spectrum.
    I would appreciate your advice.
    Bernard

    Like

    1. Wow, that setup sounds amazing. Personally I try to tune by ear rather than getting hung up on the metrics or using a real time analyzer. I’m not familiar with the Gladen but presuming it’s configurable like the Prima, I’d save a copy of the current config, put on a track with a solid bass drum hit in it and fiddle with the low end until I had it where I wanted it. With any incremental improvement, save the config with a new file name. I use the date and a letter (1124A, B etc. so its obvious which is the most recent. Don’t be afraid to play with it. The beauty of a DSP is the tuning flexibility.

      Like

  23. Hello Mike, I’m writing from Italy and I congratulate you for your great blog that’s really the only serious source on the web about how to improve the sound of this beautiful car that Mercedes unfortunately has equipped with this fake Burmester system. I’m trying to imitate what you did with some minor modifications (Dynaudio tweeter+Center dash). But I didn’t understand a couple of things: will the changes made via Comand on the sound (high-medium-low, Surround, etc.) still have effect or will be neutralized by JL Fix before and DSP then? And then my installer said that it’s a problem to pass the battery wire (!!!) from the engine bay to the trunk, because he said he has to disassemble half interior of the car(!!!). Did your installer have the same problem? Here all the installers are trying to avoid the job, saying it’s a very difficolt car to work with. Anyway thank you very much in advance for your advices! 🙂

    Like

    1. When your installer runs the initial config on the Fix82, set the COMAND tone controls to “0”. That will strip out the factory EQ in the amp but you’ll then retain tone control in COMAND. Everything in COMAND will function normally. Surround is still surround, etc.

      My shop ran the cable to the battery directly from the trunk. It’s necessarily to power the Prima, plus the Fix82 and the sub amp. A good shop will insist on it.

      They will need to remove some interior trim panels down the left side, door sills, kick panel etc and find a place to go thru the firewall, but it’s not a nightmare job for a good shop.

      Like

  24. Hello Mike,
    Did you run separate ground wire to the battery or did you use chassis ground?
    On the picture above it seems like 2 positive wires are taken from the battery.
    Did the installer run one thick plus wire and then distribute it to the Audison, Fix 82 and the Sub amp?

    Like

      1. Hi again Mike, yesterday I’ve changed the front speaker like this: 2 Dynaudio MD102 tweeter, 1 Dynaudio MD142 center dash midrange and the well known couple of Focal K2 midrange on the doors. I have to say that with this components the sound is already much better. The tweeters are non comparable with the cheap OEM ones, and now I can hear some really good treble! Also changing the center speaker greatly helps to turn up the sound stage. It was a bit difficult to install it, because it’s a bit too big for the compartment, but after cutting a bit of plastic (well… more than a bit 🙂 ) we made it. Now I said to my shop that I want to put a DSP amplifier like you did to specially to change the crossover point of the “frontbass” speakers, but they said that a speaker under the moquette and the carpet will be too much covered and won’t do a proper midwoofer job. They don’t believe that you had a good result doing the job that way. Mike I’m asking you then a reassurance about the sound that you hear in the cockpit coming from the woofer: is it really good or does it feel a bit muffled? At the store they told me that the operation will be counter-productive … they have also proposed to me to cut 😦 the door panel and to make a couple of fiberglass woofers for the housings of a 10″… What do you think? I have so far found your precious advice… Thank you again and have a good week end!

        Like

      2. Marco,

        I personally hope the install shop is not telling such so they can charge you more as it most likely will be very costly to fiberglass 10’s in the doors on top if the fact that you’ll be in a rental while they execute the work. I trust Mike will chime in soon yet I can tell you firsthand that being able to control the crossover points via the Prima along with the Fix82 has cleaned up the sound stage tremendously and this is with keeping the stock speakers! We have the 2 woofers in the footwell crossed up at 80hz and we have a very inexpensive MTX MTL110P subwoofer in the spare tire well that’s fits very snuggly in the partial tray. At first the subs woofer was facing up and the amp down but due to the laws of physics we flipped it over with the woofer facing down and the amp up to help with heat generated and it sound really good. If you go with how the upgrade is layer out in Mike’s blog I don’t think you will be dissapointed and you would save a good amount of cake.

        Like

      3. On the Frontbass, bridging two channels to each gives them more power than OEM, and the ability to set their crossovers points, plus the ability to tweak their individual EQ, compensates to a large extent for them having to cut through pad and carpet (which they’re designed to do). But it’s true the OEM locations aren’t ideal.

        It costs practically nothing to hook them up on the Prima (the leads are in the trunk) and play around with the tuning. I’d do that first before I messed around with fabrication and all that other stuff. You’re doing a sub box/amp in the trunk correct so the Frontbass can be repurposed correct?

        Like

  25. Yes my idea is to add a Sub box in the trunk to help the bass compartment. Unfortunately to import in Italy the same JL sub that Mike has will cost me about 700 Euros… a bit too much! So I’m deciding between a cheaper JL CS210-WXv2 (230 Euro) + 200Watt RMS amp that I already have on hand or a powered MTX RTP8X3 sub, wich declares 360Watt RMS, that really tempts me…
    I’ll insist with the shop (the only one that accepted to work on my C-Class!) that I want to follow in your footsteps and mount a DSP amp. It’s incredible that they don’t trust producers like Audison or Mosconi that are… italian brands!!!
    Thanks again guys, I will let you know how the “italian story” will continue (because it WILL continue ;))
    Bye

    Like

  26. Hi Mike
    Great blog ty
    Relative novice
    If I only do your basic recommended to start:
    1. Can i pull power just from fuse box/local rather than battery if not installing sub?
    2. If not installing sub, are there any recommended changes to your download? Ty
    Eddie

    Like

    1. The Prima has a feature that monitors demand vs available voltage and it will momentarily reduce volume if it doesn’t have the power to reproduce it at the desired level, so it’s theoretically possible to pull power from the 12v cable at the factory amp, but I haven’t tried it.

      Like

  27. Hello Mike, and hello to everyone. I finally completed the evolution of my Burmester system. In the compartment under the trunk was created a housing tailored in wood and covered with carpet for two Mosconi Gladen amplifiers: a One 130.4 DSP that drives the front stage (Focal K2 Slim midrange + Dynaudio tweeters MD102 + center Dynaudio MD142 – this one on the stock amp) and the two original Frontbass that, following your advice, was a good idea to keep 😉 . A second Mosconi Gladen amplifier One 130.2 pilots a sealed subwoofer box: JL Audio CS210WXv2. Here we found a problem because the Mosconi does not like 2 Ohm loads if not in stereo. So we modified the sub with a second terminal and now each channel pilots a single woofer. As Bernard wrote last year the Mosconi works well with VNC and there was no need for a JL Fix or similar.
    I must say that the sound is now not even remotely comparable to the original! I can now hear all the details of the songs, there is greater control and dynamic, the sound is warm and defined, not anymore muffled and annoying. Turn up the volume now gives true enjoyment! …I just hope that the two Frontbass will survive at the power released from the Mosconi. Actually the volume of the unit with DSP is set at 70%, while the sub amp power is set at 60%… this especially because I’ll have to soundproof the license plate: it shakes terribly under the blows of the two JL 10″ woofers! 😀
    The project came very well also aesthetically, a friend of mine did it all. He has been italian champion of hi-fi car in the recent past, so he knows the job. if you like to see some pictures let me know, I might post them on mbworld.org/forums/c-class-w205/621659-so-much-whole-burmester-myth
    Thanks again for your advices Mike, this blog is still the only place in the web where you can find so much detailed informations!
    Let’s enjoy our C-Class now!
    Bye

    Marco

    Like

    1. That system looks amazing. If you want to do a write up with pics and email it to mikephone5215@gmail I’ll either add it to this blog or give it its own and link out to it.

      Like

  28. You’re right, the center Dynaudio is just sleeping with the stock amp. I’ve changed it because the original midrange was very irritating. But to tell you the truth I could save some money just replacing it with another Focal like the one we have in the front doors (it costs more than 3 times a Focal…). I may give him some extra power with another little Sony amp that I already have in hand, but I think it’s not worth it. The sound stage is already high enough and the center won’t help much. I tried to blend the left stock speaker with the front amplified, but I really hate the sound they make, so now with the volume I’ve set only the rear passengers can barely hear them

    Like

  29. Hi Mike,

    I posted about adding a rockford p300-12′ in the trunk. I want to add the prima and jl fix. The sub has an amp built into it. Will that affect anything?

    Thanks,

    Andrew

    Like

  30. Hi Mike, thank`s too for your proper work and your engagement for an audiophile “environment”. By the way I am German so I hope my English is OK for you.

    I just want to buy a brand new S 205 (T-Model), and so I have to decide about the configuration of my new car in the next days. Reading both of your articles about the standard and the Burmester audio system, I ask myself if it make sense to order the Burmester system and upgrade it, or should I better save the Euros and order the standard system, and put my money on upgrading this one. Beside the costs, which one (included the upgrade of cause) is, in your opinion, the better sound system at the end?

    Greetings, Gunnar

    Like

      1. Thank`s for your reply. That`s what I thougt on my own, but I wasn`t shure at all. I will get a test car from my mercedes dealer in two days at wednesday, a C 200 4motion T-Model with a Burmester, for one day. I will see, or better hear, myself.

        Gunnar

        Like

  31. Hi Mike, Thank you for supporting the community. It is possible for you to see the number of part of the plastic support where the OEM amplifier and the new JL Fix and JL Sub Amp are placed. My idea is to make an stealth and cleaner installation. I have been looking for this number on my self but I have not been able to find it.
    Thanks in advance

    Like

      1. Thanks for the prompt response. I have the basic audio system and I do not enjoy the basic audio either. This w205 lacks this plastic carrier so I will be forced to make a stand. I’m trying to make the installation in the trunk seem little apparent because the MB has extented warranty and I do not want to weigh it in risk. I know there is a write up on upgrading the non-Burmester system but I have the same equipment listed for you and I want to attach as much as possible to your recommendations.
        Thanks again

        Like

  32. Simple question for you Mike, you said you cut into the high side of the factory amp for the 4 doors and 2 subs, did you cut into the wires coming out of the Sound System Amplifier Control Unit (the grey box in your trunk picture)? The wires coming directly out of the factory amp don’t seem to be that many to get 6 sets of +/- wires.

    Like

    1. Hey the components in the trunk picture are mislabeled. The unit I have as the amp is actually the Sirius XM module. The amp is behind the trunk liner on the right quarter panel. I need to fix that pic.

      Like

  33. Just got myself a C-class with Burmester audio and I am looking to upgrade. I read through your post and I am starting to buy equipment little by little. I might be using some different equipment for my setup. Only thing that I am confused about is how to wire everything. I know where the factory amp is but I am not sure how to break into those wires and run them to an aftermarket. I thinkkkk I know, but not 100%. I am new at this car audio stuff so any clarification would be highly appreciated. Thanks!

    Like

    1. Congrats on the C. Since MB uses its own unique fiber optic connection from the stereo to the amp, you’re stuck having to splice into the standard wire coming out of the amp and going to the speakers.

      For every channel you want to be fed by an aftermarket amp, you cut the speaker lead coming out of the factory amp and feed it into the new amp’s inputs. (Your new amp has to be capable of accepting high level inputs).

      Then you take that channel coming out of your new amp and connect it to the other side of the wires you just cut.

      Basically you’re splicing your new amp in between the factory amp the factory speaker leads.

      Chances are you’re going to have to extend the leads on both sides of the cut to reach wherever you end up mounting your new amp. That involves soldering extensions and then insulating them, ideally with heat activated shrink insulation.

      Also, in addition to mounting the new amp, power has to be run from the battery to the trunk, so a lot of interior trim has to be pulled. You’ll need the wiring schematic with the factory speaker wire color codes.

      It’s a lot of specialized work, and if you haven’t installed audio before this is not the car you want to practice on.

      Like

      1. Mike you’re the man. The one thing that had me confused was how the factory amp was getting it’s signal from the HU. I thought it was somehow magically tied into the speaker wires and if I cut those i’d lose the signal. My plan is to cut all the speaker wires, splice in wiring to a JL Fix 86, then RCA to the amp, and take new wiring from the speaker level outputs of the amp to the cut factory speaker wires. Sound right?

        As for the work itself, I will try and do it myself and hope I don’t mess anything up. I haven’t wired audio before but I’ve wired 747 jumbo jets 🙂

        Like

      2. Yeah, those Jumbos have a few feet of wiring I suppose! The Fix has 6 regular input channels and two sub. The Burmester has 7 regular channels and two sub. (1 per door plus 3 surround, and two Frontbass)

        Since all the JL puts out is 2 channel stereo regardless of how many inputs it has, you’d lose the 3D surround function if you ran everything into and out of it. I prefer to have surround.

        I’d leave the three 4″ surrounds (center dash and left rear/right rear) on the factory amp.

        Like

  34. Yep, that’s the plan! Thanks so much for the help Mike, you really cleared things up for me.
    Do you have any thoughts on Audiocontrol’s LC-6.1200? I’m in between that or the JL Audio XD700/5. Either one will be powering a JL Audio 10TW1.

    Like

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