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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This question comes up a lot when people want to add an amp and maintain the factory head unit. because the factory head unit outputs a balanced signal you either need a converter to convert from balanced to standard rca's or an amp or processor that will directly accept a balanced signal. Either way, the signal should be taken from the inputs to the factory amp and not from the outputs to the speakers because that signal is already crossed over and proccesed.

in most cases using an amp or proccesor that accepts the balanced signal directly is a better choice because the less components you put in your audio chain the cleaner the signal will be. the problem is that there only seems to be a limited number of aftermarket products out there that can directly accept balanced signals. what i would like to do (with everyones help) is put together a detailed list of amps and processors that have been verified to be directly compatible with the factory e46 head units balanced signal. i will do my best to start the list with some of the basic known brands. i don't have exact model numbers so please feel free to add on or correct me if i'm wrong.

-Alpine PDX amps
-most new and old Xtant amps
-most JL Audio amps
-Zapco amps
-US Amps
-older Phoenix gold eq's and x-overs and some amps? not sure about the new stuff
-some A/D/S amps?
-older JBL amps with universal interface (on high level input)
-most Audiocontrol products

please contribute to the list or make known corrections. Thanks!:hi:
 

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This question comes up a lot when people want to add an amp and maintain the factory head unit. because the factory head unit outputs a balanced signal you either need a converter to convert from balanced to standard rca's or an amp or processor that will directly accept a balanced signal. Either way, the signal should be taken from the inputs to the factory amp and not from the outputs to the speakers because that signal is already crossed over and proccesed.

in most cases using an amp or proccesor that accepts the balanced signal directly is a better choice because the less components you put in your audio chain the cleaner the signal will be. the problem is that there only seems to be a limited number of aftermarket products out there that can directly accept balanced signals. what i would like to do (with everyones help) is put together a detailed list of amps and processors that have been verified to be directly compatible with the factory e46 head units balanced signal. i will do my best to start the list with some of the basic known brands. i don't have exact model numbers so please feel free to add on or correct me if i'm wrong.

-Alpine PDX amps (all)
-most new and old Xtant amps
-most JL Audio amps (all)
-Zapco amps (all)
-US Amps
-older Phoenix gold eq's and x-overs and some amps? not sure about the new stuff
-some A/D/S amps? (I doubt it, as the most known thread about upgrading the E46 system is based on an A/D/S amp non-compatibility with balanced signals)
-older JBL amps with universal interface (on high level input) (correct)
-most Audiocontrol products (all)

please contribute to the list or make known corrections. Thanks!:hi:
See above... :hi:
 

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I have a pdx 1.1000 and the RCAs go into a LOC and then into my headunit. Does this mean I can go directly into my headunit from the amp?
 

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I had my 4.150 PDX hooked up with the Sven Unit and I had terrible Alternator whine and I tried shifting cables, Isolating the power I gave up. Several days after my spaghetti struggle I found out that my PDX Accepts Balanced inputs, So I figured lets give it a go and I will never ever buy an Amp that doesnt accept Balanced inputs ever again. Its pure bliss.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Expensive Audison VRx
A few Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, JVC
Autotek
thanks for the info micura.:thumbsup: i was not aware that any Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, JVC amps accepted balanced inputs. do you know if they were the high end models like sony mobile es, pioneer premier, kenwood excelon, jvc arsenal ect..? the audison I believe and the autotek i was not aware of either

if anyone has more specifics or model numbers that would help narrow things down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
McIntosh
Some Crossfire
Some Hifonics
Most old school SoundStream
I forgot about the Mcintosh (very nice but pricey)

any idea on the years or model numbers on the crossfire or hifonics? i have repaired and used several crossfire amps and never saw any mention of balanced inputs.

i think there is a difference between accepting a high voltage input (above 4 volts or so) and accepting a balanced input signal. can anyone confirm this and explain the difference? I cound try but i don't want to spread wrong information. some amps may work with the balanced signals but they were not designed for it (ie more noise will be present).

as always if anyone can confirm these postings please do so as done above with my first post. the more people that can confirm these amps the better the selection will be for us E46 owners that want to retain the factory head unit and have hi quality sound without the added expense and possible signal degradation of an added adaptor or converter. the good news is that if you decide to go with anaftermarket head unit later these amps will still work great and in most cases they are high end models that will sound great in most any installation:thumbsup:.
 

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I really cannot remember off the top of my head, and much less with the older models (but they are out there), but a quick search turned up these:

Crossfire- http://www.crossfirecaraudio.com/frameset.asp

Hifonics- http://www.maxxsonics.com/hifonics/amps_brutus.html
http://www.maxxsonics.com/hifonics/amps_XXV.html

Autotek- http://www.caraudiomag.com/testreports/0610_cae_autotek_1400_1d_amplifier/index.html

SoundStream- here are the manuals for the old amps. My old Rubicon Angina accepts balanced inputs, but my A4 doesn't. So I'll get an AC Matrix for the bimmer.

Sony- sporadic older models
maybe http://www.sony.co.uk/view/ShowProd...geType=TechnicalSpecs&category=ICA+Amplifiers

JVC- many of them are supposed to have balanced inputs, but I have not tested any.

The list of "for sure"

JL Audio (all)
Xtant (all)
Alpine PDX (all)
Zapco (most)
JBL (older amps)
SoundStream (most older amps)
McIntosh (all)
HiFonics (some)
Crossfire (some)
Autotek (some)
 

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Older PPI amps too, I just bought a 1998 PC 650 I'm going to have modified (crossover delete and a third set of RCA inputs instead of summing the F/R channels for channels 5 and 6) and the manual clearly states balanced differential topology, though it only accepts regular RCA plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is s very helpful thread. Does anyone know if the Mb Quart RAA series amps have balanced inputs? I found notta in the manual so would assume no.
The following is from a friend on another forum:

"If the RCA shields for the left and right channels are directly connnected (~0 ohms between them -- with no RCA signal cables plugged in), they are NOT fully balanced.

You need to be careful when driving a strong signal (speaker level or preamp level from a source with a ±15v supply) into the input of an amplifier. If the amp is off or shuts down for some reason and the signal drives the input of the front-end op-amps above the power supply input of the op-amp (which is essentially at 0v since the amp has shut down), the front-end op-amps can be damaged.

Some balanced inputs REQUIRE a dedicated ground connection between the signal source and the amp. Without it, the amp may oscillate which could cause damage to the amp or to the speakers. Always monitor the output of all channels of the amp with a scope when experimenting".

I could not find any info as to wether or not the MB Quart RAA series amps can take a balnced input but you can measure between the left and right RCA's as noted above to check.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The old Orions.

Also the mono Genesis Amps.

Still, the affordable AudioControl Overdrive or Matrix will open the whole world of amplifiers to your bimmer without limiting yourself to these few amps. And it will also increase your signal voltage significantly for maximum S/N.
This is true but some people may not want to buy another peice of equipment and the factory head unit already has very high voltage coming out of it(at least 8volts if i'm not mistaken).
 
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