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st_o_p
11-02-2003, 10:58 PM
After having my new car for about a week I find it perfect in every way except one - the factory audio is a bit more than dissapointing (I have the Harman/Kardon).

I am no audio expert (or even close), but I'd like to know if there is any way to improve it without major modification. I find the basses more than sufficient, but the mid to high range is practically missing. Is that because of the amp or the speakers? I would think that 12 speakers is more than enough, but if it's the speakers maybe replacing/adding couple speakers can solve the problem? I don't know if anything can be done to improve the amp without ripping the whole thing out.

Anybody tried improving the system without completely replacing it (and without spending a fortune) - did it work?

Terry Kennedy
11-02-2003, 11:10 PM
I am no audio expert (or even close), but I'd like to know if there is any way to improve it without major modification. I find the basses more than sufficient, but the mid to high range is practically missing. Is that because of the amp or the speakers? I would think that 12 speakers is more than enough, but if it's the speakers maybe replacing/adding couple speakers can solve the problem? I don't know if anything can be done to improve the amp without ripping the whole thing out.
That's odd - most people complain about a lack of bass. What did you think of my car when you listened to the PhatBox in it? That's also the stock H/K system, aside from the PhatBox and some tightening of the speaker mounting hardware in the doors (to fix rattles, not for any other acoustic reason). Have you tried fiddling with the tone controls? Have you listened to each speaker to make sure they're all working?

If you want to bring the car by sometime, we can compare sound. Drop me a PM if you're interested.

st_o_p
11-03-2003, 08:05 AM
Yes, I did try fiddling with the tone controls. But even when I max out the treble and reduce the bass that only distorts the music - it cannot put back something that's not there.

I don't remember how your system sounds in that regard, but a comparison sounds like a great idea - I'll drop you a PM and see if we can arrange something.

mickey513
11-16-2003, 06:30 PM
That's odd - most people complain about a lack of bass. What did you think of my car when you listened to the PhatBox in it? That's also the stock H/K system, aside from the PhatBox and some tightening of the speaker mounting hardware in the doors (to fix rattles, not for any other acoustic reason). Have you tried fiddling with the tone controls? Have you listened to each speaker to make sure they're all working?

If you want to bring the car by sometime, we can compare sound. Drop me a PM if you're interested.

Lack of Base? I don't think so. Bass is fine but the HK system sounds like crap. The Bose sound system on my Acura sounds 10x better.

doeboy
11-16-2003, 06:39 PM
I don't know how you have yours set up but I find this to work for me....

Speed Vol (GAL) set to 1 (lowest setting)
Treble up about 3 notches
Bass flat.
HK Button off.

This seems to help make it sound pretty good at moderate levels. I generally don't go around blasting my music though. At low volume levels, there could be some improvement though. Maybe the speakers arent' very efficient as I always have to have it at moderate listening levels before the music starts to come alive.

With the Speed Vol set at stock (3 for me I believe) everything would get distorted once I started moving. Pretty ridiculous IMO. So that's why I set it to 1. (I'd turn it off if it was possible)

lsedels
11-16-2003, 06:41 PM
I am going through some of the same decisions with my 325XI (except I knew better than to order the HK). I feel that the power on the factory head-unit is fine, but I need more definition ... especially in the base. I've been to a local car audio dealer. He recommends that I start by replacing the front speakers (where I am sitting), and then go to a sub if I still need it. He sells A/D/S speakers (excellent), but they are very expensive. He recommended a brand called AVI that is about half the price of A/D/S. I listened to them in the store and wasn't all that impressed ... possibly the acoustics in the store. I am getting mixed reviews on the AVIs on Roadfly and on sounddomain.com. I getting recommendations for JL, AVI, A/D/S, CDT, Focal, Quart ... and I think I am going to go crazy trying to decide :-).

st_o_p
11-17-2003, 10:00 AM
I compared the sound in my car with that in other BMWs - and unfortunately it's not a problem with my car; all H/Ks sound like that.

I got different recommendations ranging from "replace the front speakers" to "replace everything". I didn't want to make major modifications, but now I'm thinking that I don't want to make a change at a time and wonder if that made enough of a difference. So I'll probably cough the bug bucks and replace the amp and all the speakers (replacing the head unit is not an option - I have nav). But since that's going to be a 2-3K upgrade, I'll hold on for around 6 months to make up my mind.

I am really dissapointed that after spending 4x,000 on that car I have to spend even more money right away; but the alternative - getting upset with the sound every time I get in the car - is even worse. I didn't think I'm that picky about the sound - but I guess high quality home theater grows on you.

Kaz
11-17-2003, 12:06 PM
Simply replacing the speakers won't give great results, simply because the crossover points built into the amp aren't going to work with aftermarket separates, which are typically 2-way systems. Look around on Fanatics for people who've done that and they'll say that the system ends up becoming tonally off.

From the specific weak points I've discovered about the factory system, if you're really not up to replacing everything after the head (which is the only right way to go), it might be possible to replace just the factory tweeters, using the factory amp and its internal crossover, and maybe get positive results.

lsedels
11-17-2003, 06:58 PM
Simply replacing the speakers won't give great results, simply because the crossover points built into the amp aren't going to work with aftermarket separates, which are typically 2-way systems. Look around on Fanatics for people who've done that and they'll say that the system ends up becoming tonally off.

From the specific weak points I've discovered about the factory system, if you're really not up to replacing everything after the head (which is the only right way to go), it might be possible to replace just the factory tweeters, using the factory amp and its internal crossover, and maybe get positive results.

What about replacing the front speakers and adding a crossover network. That is what my dealer is recommending. He claims that will improve the response even more than simply replacing the speakers.

Kaz
11-17-2003, 08:38 PM
What about replacing the front speakers and adding a crossover network. That is what my dealer is recommending. He claims that will improve the response even more than simply replacing the speakers.

OK, but solve this:

There are 3 sets of outputs coming to the front speakers (low/mid/high) from the amp. None of these are full-range. How are you going to find a full-range signal to feed the input of the crossover? The only place in the system where there is a full-range signal is the unpowered one in the path between the head and the amp.

The above works great for most non-premium cars that have power in the head and no external amps, but not this car.

st_o_p
11-18-2003, 10:00 AM
Speed Vol (GAL) set to 1 (lowest setting)


Hey doeboy,

What is Speed Vol? I cannot find such control in my car. I presume it is the adjustment level of the DSC (speed-sensitive volume). Is it with the sound controls (like bass & treble), or somewhere else?
(BTW, I have nav)

st_o_p
11-18-2003, 10:08 AM
...if you're really not up to replacing everything after the head (which is the only right way to go), it might be possible to replace just the factory tweeters, using the factory amp and its internal crossover, and maybe get positive results.

Kaz,

Any particular recommendation as to what to replace the tweeters with?
Thanx

doeboy
11-18-2003, 10:38 AM
Hey doeboy,

What is Speed Vol? I cannot find such control in my car. I presume it is the adjustment level of the DSC (speed-sensitive volume). Is it with the sound controls (like bass & treble), or somewhere else?
(BTW, I have nav)

DSC has nothing to do with the stereo. :confused: Did you mean DSP?

Speed Vol is a setting that controls the volume as your speed varies... (yes.. the speed sensitive volume) the faster you are moving, the louder the stereo gets. I got annoyed with the varying volume levels real fast, so I went as close to turning that off as I could.

It is a function that is described in your Stereo's manual. Not sure about this, but I believe it is an HK function. I'm told that if you don't have HK, the setting doesn't do anything. Anyway... if you have HK, press and hold the musical note button on the left of the headunit until SPEED VOL appears on the screen... then you can adjust it up or down.

Kaz
11-18-2003, 10:58 AM
Kaz,

Any particular recommendation as to what to replace the tweeters with?
Thanx

Not really. The first place to start would be to see what impedance the stock HK tweeters are (they're different than the non-HK). Since you're not going to be able to find out the T/S parameters of the thing, the best you're gonna be able to manage is nominal impedance, then go from there.
The tweeter pods in the sedan are big enough to fit most modern component dome tweeters, but something no more than about a 1.5" diameter chassis.
Yeah, it's a bit of a crapshoot, but it's probably better than nothing.

st_o_p
11-18-2003, 02:13 PM
DSC has nothing to do with the stereo. :confused: Did you mean DSP?

Speed Vol is a setting that controls the volume as your speed varies... (yes.. the speed sensitive volume) the faster you are moving, the louder the stereo gets. I got annoyed with the varying volume levels real fast, so I went as close to turning that off as I could.

It is a function that is described in your Stereo's manual. Not sure about this, but I believe it is an HK function. I'm told that if you don't have HK, the setting doesn't do anything. Anyway... if you have HK, press and hold the musical note button on the left of the headunit until SPEED VOL appears on the screen... then you can adjust it up or down.

Yes I meant DSP, sorry.

My stereo manual definitely does NOT mention Speed Volume control, and I cannot find it anywhere. From your description, you're probably on a car without nav. I have nav, so most controls are on the screen. I don't have a musical note button (I presume that is not the H/K button).

The funny thing is, if it is available on cars without navigation - it should be available with the navigation also. I doubt that you pay $1800 and end up losing functionality. But I cannot find this anywhere, and it's definitely NOT in the nav/stereo manual.

Anybody know where the Speed Volume control is on cars with Navigation?

doeboy
11-18-2003, 03:53 PM
Yes I meant DSP, sorry.

My stereo manual definitely does NOT mention Speed Volume control, and I cannot find it anywhere. From your description, you're probably on a car without nav. I have nav, so most controls are on the screen. I don't have a musical note button (I presume that is not the H/K button).

The funny thing is, if it is available on cars without navigation - it should be available with the navigation also. I doubt that you pay $1800 and end up losing functionality. But I cannot find this anywhere, and it's definitely NOT in the nav/stereo manual.

Anybody know where the Speed Volume control is on cars with Navigation?

:doh: Doh! Yeah, I have the Business CD headunit. I don't have NAV on my car. Maybe the setting is buried somewhere in the menus on yours. And you are correct in that it is not the HK (speaker) button at the bottom of the center console.