Joseph Loomis has seen it all, at least as far as mobile electronics is concerned, and he hasn't quite reached his 30th birthday yet. After a stint in the U.S. Navy where he got a serious education in both electronics and computer technologies (Navy Advanced Electronics), he's moved up right into the engineering side of consumer electronics with strategic positions at MA Audio and Rockford Fosgate. It was during his time at Rockford Corporation that he hooked up with Brian Sherman, MB Quart's brand marketing manager, and together they've hatched one sweet 2001 BMW E46 M3. A pre-production model virtually hand-built in January 2001 (regular M3 production ramped up in March 2001, according to Loomis), this M3 combines German craftsmanship with good old American high-tech know-how. It was one of the first cars to fully incorporate Rockford's revolutionary Omnifi music player in a system that uses a WiFi interface to get song files from Joe's PC into the car's hard drive-based server.
Loomis departed Rockford Fosgate in the Spring of 2004 to concentrate on his own venture, Net Enforcers Inc., an intellectual property and brand management company that has developed proprietary systems, logistics and software to monitor online activity concerning unauthorized use of trademarks, as well as to police retailers who try to circumvent manufacturer policies with regard to the sale of product over the Internet. This is a problem that plagues both manufacturers and retailers of some of the best known mobile electronics brands. Net Enforcers also helps manufacturers monitor the sale of their products online and works to shut down sites that are not authorized to sell certain products. The company is currently working with U.S. government agencies and large pharmaceutical corporations in the war against online pharmaceutical sales abuse and the activity surrounding counterfeit manufacturing.
I asked Loomis to outline the goals behind the design of this particular system, which started early in 2003 while he was still at MA Audio. "I didn't want anything ridiculous anymore," said Loomis over a tall brew at the Hooters by the Arizona State University campus in downtown Tempe, Ariz., where he now makes his home. "I was tired of the upkeep and hassle of highly detailed and fragile sound systems. I wanted a system that was high quality, but I didn't want to worry about not being able to use the car as it was intended. The easy part was replacing all the interior speakers with the MB Quart separates. All were drop-in replacements for the speakers that came factory installed, QSD216 components up front and a set of RCE216s in the rear. The subwoofers are from the MB Quart premium series, a pair of PWE254s on each side of the trunk compartment.
"As for the amplifiers, it was my plan from the start to mount them in the floor of the trunk since the M3 doesn't come with a spare tire anyway. I thought it made sense to just flush the amps into the floor, in this case a four-channel 250-watt MB Quart Q Series QAA4250 amplifier for the four high-pass sets of separates along with a QAA1000 1000-watt monoblock Q Series amplifier for of pair of subwoofers. This gave me almost the same amount of trunk space as before the install. The enclosures were custom molded into the sides of the truck, out of the way of anything that needed to be put in the trunk. It's elegant in its simplicity." The power source is a Ohio Generator high output BMW alternator. Loomis chose Ohio Generator because they're the leader in rebuilding stock alternators to produce the necessary power for high current systems. The install was completed in early May at Sound Xpression in Phoenix, Ariz. While they did the bulk of the installation, especially amp racks and the very cool subwoofer enclosures, Loomis was responsible for the interior speaker upgrades and interfacing the Omnifi unit into the factory BMW radio's CD changer input. The controller for the Omnifi unit is logically mounted in the center stack below the factory radio. It is accessed by selecting the CD changer input on the factory radio.
While the system is stealth in the extreme, even beyond the Omnifi system it bristles with high tech, especially where the all new MB Quart amplifiers are concerned. "The amplifier board assemblies are arranged one above the other," Loomis related, downing his second tall brew as we watch the Hooters girls pass by. "Their power supply is insulated from the end stage. The analog operating elements are installed at the top and combined with a digital display. All connections are located on the left side of the amplifier. And finally, a unique bypass mode ensures maximum amplifier performance and high loading. A proprietary circuit simplifies the signal path of the amplifier, allowing the signal to travel through the amplifier at a low voltage. This results in greater reliability, cleaner performance and exceptional musicality with the speed, durability and power of MOSFETs."
It probably also contributes to the relatively massive size of the amplifiers with regard to their rated output. When the amplifiers were formally introduced at CES this past January, almost everyone, yours truly included, commented to MB Quart on their size. When I visited Germany in the Spring and attended the Sinsheim Car + Sound Show, I was shocked at the buzz surrounding them in Europe. It seemed everyone at the show was talking about them (and the Alfa Romeo sport coupe that shared booth space with the Rockford Fosgate model decked out in nothing more than body paint).
Unlike so many demo cars, this one is no trailer queen, nor is it all show and no go. "The car gets constantly upgraded with performance parts to make it faster," said Loomis, who is currently known as "Jajja" on the BMW forums. "So far, my fastest quarter-mile time is a 13.06. With someone who knows what they're doing--no regard to clutch life--right around 12.30 is what it should do, maybe even faster."
The car benefits from the following upgrades courtesy of Evosport in Huntington Beach, Calif. Performance started with an AFE cold-air intake and custom Powerchip/Evosport performance software. Bosch Iridium spark plugs burn the mixture with a hotter, more consistent spark. Evosport also outfitted the M with its own underdrive pulleys to produce more horsepower while increasing alternator output current for the sound system demands. The exhaust was upgraded from the manifold to the tip of the tail pipe. Supersprint supplied top-of-the-line high performance headers, race catalytic converters, a mid pipe and race exhaust. This increased output by a claimed 27 hp and 35 lb-ft of torque. Because of the power increases, the OEM drivetrain was upgraded with a UUC stage two lightweight flywheel and a high performance clutch installed by Rob Rohn's Vivid Racing, Inc., in Chandler, Ariz. Evosport's Brad Otoupalik also recommended upgrading the OEM brakes to European two-piece, floating cross-drilled rotors, along with some Hawk HPS "low dust" brake pads.
Otoupalik installed a special H&R/Evo RSS Street coilover suspension accompanied by the Ground Control rear shock mounting kit. This is a special suspension that was built to Evosport's specs through a partnership with H&R Special Springs. The stock sway bars were tossed in the dumpster and replaced by a set of H&R high performance front and rear sway bars. Rolling stock finishes the upgrade with a beautiful set of HRE 546R gunmetal wheels (8.5x19 up front, 10x19 in the rear) wrapped in a full set of Toyo Tire's Proxes T1R ultra-high-performance radial tires mounted and balanced by Arizona's premier high end wheel and tire dealer, Wheel Specialists.
To stiffen the chassis, a Strong-Strut front brace was installed. Improved illumination was effected by an Umnitza Angel Eyes headlamp kit. Custom molded Hamann foglamp inserts and eyelids dress the front end up further. On the inside, AC Schnitzer's complete interior upgrades include new pedals, a gearshift knob, E-brake handle and seat belt pads. Shifting was made more accurate and smooth via the UUC EVO3 shift kit and double-shear selector rod. The interior was also upgraded with a "silver titanium" carbon-fiber interior trim kit provided by Evosport.Special thanks must go to John Wallace at HRE Wheels, Rob Lenvinson at UUC, Stan Chen at Toyo Tire, Gus and Tom at Ohio Generator, and Brad Otoupalik at Evosport for all their support and time.
2001 BMW M3
Longitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
3.2-liter inline six, dohc, four valves per cylinderAFE cold-air intake, Bosch iridium plugs, Evosport pulleys, Powerchip/Evosport software, Supersprint headers, catalytic converters, mid-pipe and exhaust, Ohio Generator rebuilt O.E. alternator
Six-speed manual,UUC lightweight flywheel, short shift kit and stage two clutch, Evosport 4.10 differential
Evosport/RSS coilovers, H&R front and rear sway bars, Ground Control rear shock mount kit, Strong Strut front tower braces
BrakesEuropean cross-drilled rotors, Hawk HPS pads
Wheels and TiresHRE 546R, 8x19 (f)10x19 (r)
Toyo Proxes T1R, 245/35-19 (f)275/30-19 (r)
ExteriorEuropean front bumper, molded Hamann foglamp inserts, Umnitza Angel Eyes headlamps
InteriorAC Schnitzer pedals, shift knob, E-brake handle, seat belt pads, Evosport carbon-fiber trim
ICERockford Omnifi DMP1, MB Quart amplifiers, speakers and subwoofers