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Richman
10-11-2012, 08:53 AM
Looking to order an X1 and am not sure if the HK stereo is worth the extra $. Can anyone comment on their experience. I am an avid Jazz fan and would look forward to hooking up my ipod. thanks

Beamerboi
10-11-2012, 11:02 AM
Looking to order an X1 and am not sure if the HK stereo is worth the extra $. Can anyone comment on their experience. I am an avid Jazz fan and would look forward to hooking up my ipod. thanks

The HK stereo rocks!!!:sabrina::bow:

faustas
10-11-2012, 11:18 AM
I am considering that upgrade as well. Common consensus on the forum seems to be "bring your music and try it out yourself."
Couple reasons for that:
-Music quality is very subjective.
-The baseline speakers good (per multiple reviews).
-The upgrade isn't cheap.

I will post a reply when I get to try it out myself. Will probably try out multiple kinds of music, including jazz, classical, trance/techno, pop.

Beamerboi
10-11-2012, 11:29 AM
I am considering that upgrade as well. Common consensus on the forum seems to be "bring your music and try it out yourself."
Couple reasons for that:
-Music quality is very subjective.
-The baseline speakers good (per multiple reviews).
-The upgrade isn't cheap.

I will post a reply when I get to try it out myself. Will probably try out multiple kinds of music, including jazz, classical, trance/techno, pop.

All Music sound GREAT on this system and Im a major HI FI buff and Im very picky when it comes to sound and video! Although each person likes different things but is it worth the upgrade ? YES!

:eeps:;)....

the_fox
10-11-2012, 11:56 AM
Here's how this thread will go:

Normal people will say the standard system sounds great.

Then audiophiles will say the standard is crappy, go for HK.

Then "real" audiophiles will say the HK is crappy too, so go for standard then upgrade aftermarket.

I say, go with your favorite music to the dealer and have a listen. This is one of those things in life you have to experience yourself...

Beamerboi
10-11-2012, 12:00 PM
LOL Im a "real" audiophile and think it sound is great for the amount of $ your spending on an upgrade thats factory installed !

whitby
10-11-2012, 09:15 PM
The_Fox is correct. If the standard system is not good enough for you, try the HK. If that is not good enough, fit a third party upgrade (usually easier if the better system is the starting point).

Me, I found the standard system a little boxy and went for the HK. It is fine but not the best. I am a very fussy audiophile having designed loudspeakers for a larger well know British hi fi manufacturer. However I am aware that just because I do or do not like it, it does not mean you will agree.

IAS
10-12-2012, 06:28 PM
it is sad to say but the truth is, most of the cheap entry level compact cars have better sound system than BMW stock system. One has to upgrade the H/K system to get decent sound quality.

faustas
10-12-2012, 06:38 PM
it is sad to say but the truth is, most of the cheap entry level compact cars have better sound system than BMW stock system. One has to upgrade the H/K system to get decent sound quality.

What reviews/articles do you have to back that up or compare them side by side?

IAS
10-12-2012, 06:50 PM
What reviews/articles do you have to back that up or compare them side by side?
no reviews or article needed, personal experience and ownership of many vehicles. the sound system were lot better in those vehicles which were lot cheaper than BMW. What I am trying to say is expectation level is much higher when you are in BMW, first time buyer of 3 series will be surprised how thin stock radio is, if he/she did not paid attention to stock sound system. my 07 3 has better stock system than 2008 -2009 MY 3's, when i picked the 2011 i made sure i get H/K with it.
A $40K+ should not ask to shell out $1K for sound system.

whitby
10-12-2012, 10:12 PM
I think BMW have been listening. I would agree that BMW had one of the worst standard sound systems in a car I had ever heard (I once traded a BMW after 3 months because the system was so bad, the car drove well, but I need all functions to be up to the same standard) and I subsequently always ordered the so called Premium system in the past (we are on our 12th BMW). However I just took delivery of a 2012 5 series and the standard sounds system is really quite good (some people like a lot of digital processing and a lot of power, but I am happy without the digital processing and the power of the standard system is more than adequate, the 5 series is a quiet car). Good enough that I was not willing to spend the money on the so called Premium system (they now offer a B & O option at some ridiculous price and B & O have never been considered Hi Fi, more form over function - but again I am biased).

However the basic system in the X1 is not as good as I need, but certainly better than in the past as a standard system from BMW. So we ordered the HK and it is quite decent. Not Hi Fi by any stretch of the imagination, to me at least, but it is respectable.

Beamerboi
10-12-2012, 10:45 PM
We could all give what we think is good the best or just real bad but its really up to each individual ears and sound taste and decide what works for them and their budget. Go to a dealer that has and upgraded stereo and hear it before you buy it or order it... simple

or do this:
http://www.bavsound.com

WillInDenver
10-13-2012, 08:48 AM
We could all give what we think is good the best or just real bad but its really up to each individual ears and sound taste and decide what works for them and their budget. Go to a dealer that has and upgraded stereo and hear it before you buy it or order it... simple

or do this:
http://www.bavsound.comI've got the Bavarian Stage I upgrade in my E60. It's worthwhile upgrade, but I found that the weak link in the E60 standard audio setup was the amp. It was horribly underpowered - something like 15 watts to the 4" speakers throughout the car and 40 watts to the subs. That amp wasn't going to make any speaker sound good.

I was able to DIY upgrade the amp too with a Blaupunkt OEM replacement amp that's no longer available, and now my audio sounds pretty good. But I spent well more than the Logic 7 upgrade would have cost, plus several Saturdays in the garage.

I'm a stereo guy - but in the future I'm going to find a car with the upgraded audio and call that good.

iamthewalrus
10-13-2012, 12:17 PM
it is sad to say but the truth is, most of the cheap entry level compact cars have better sound system than BMW stock system. One has to upgrade the H/K system to get decent sound quality.

Slightly off topic, but I do wonder how long BMW can keep this up. The standard sound system in a $30K VW GTI is miles better than the standard in a $45K 328 or X1.

I've owned two BMWs and a Mini and upgraded to the HK stereo every time. For me, without question, it was worth it.

-James
San Francisco, CA

WillInDenver
10-13-2012, 01:32 PM
Slightly off topic, but I do wonder how long BMW can keep this up. The standard sound system in a $30K VW GTI is miles better than the standard in a $45K 328 or X1.

I've owned two BMWs and a Mini and upgraded to the HK stereo every time. For me, without question, it was worth it.

-James
San Francisco, CA

Fair point, although I think they are doing it because they know they can. Are you going to buy a GTI because it has a better stereo? Me either.

faustas
10-14-2012, 03:01 PM
So I went to the dealership and listened to an X1 inside the dealership with HK and one without. Didn't get a chance to listen to them white test driving outdoors due to time constraints.
Music I listened to:
Classical Piano Concerto
Dance/Electronic Music (beat/bass heavy)

Impression with the non-HK sound quality:
-does the job well enough if you are the everyday listener.
-bass is ok. not overwhelming (I don't think one will complain the bass being weak unless you want everyone in the car and a block away to listen to your beat.)
-very much stock quality type audio system.

Impression with the HK sound quality:
-noticeably crisper sound in mid and high tones. But it's a different story if I will be able to tell while driving on the highway.
-bass seems a bit stronger, not the mirror shattering kind.

IAS
10-14-2012, 06:27 PM
The sound is crisper and more detailed in H/K system, BMW should listen to customer $900 is too much to ask on a car already $40K.

Beamerboi
10-15-2012, 03:59 AM
[QUOTE=wilfredes;7134412]Normal people will say the standard system sounds great.


Normal?:eeps: so I guess Im abnormal?:rofl::rofl::p

mismaloya
10-15-2012, 11:58 AM
The ultimate driving machine deserves the ultimate audio experience, there is no reason they can't offer an awesome system for $900.00
It's an upgrade from the standard, but could be better IMO

Michael Schott
10-15-2012, 12:41 PM
it is sad to say but the truth is, most of the cheap entry level compact cars have better sound system than BMW stock system. One has to upgrade the H/K system to get decent sound quality.

I disagree. The std system in my 2011 328i is pretty good and is crisp with some separation. It's definitely not high end but far better than the system in my wife's Honda Insight. I also travel a lot and am usually renting upgraded cars. My car's system is definitely better than in the cars I rent.

Eric Genname
10-16-2012, 01:09 AM
Is it such a big deal to replace the stock X1 speakers and amp as a DIY project? I wouldn't think so. I did it for my current vehicle. HK is a surround sound system; most audiophiles distain surround sound. I'd rather choose my own components and install them, which is my plan at this point. Anyone else taking this route?

WillInDenver
10-16-2012, 07:15 AM
Is it such a big deal to replace the stock X1 speakers and amp as a DIY project? I wouldn't think so. I did it for my current vehicle. HK is a surround sound system; most audiophiles distain surround sound. I'd rather choose my own components and install them, which is my plan at this point. Anyone else taking this route?

It's possible, but a little more complicated than you'd expect.

The BMW audio system is integrated with everything else in the car that makes sound, and the "head unit" is part of the car's computer system. By result, the connections into and out of the OEM system are more than speaker-level or preamp lines. The largest challenge in upgrading the stock system lies in preserving all of the car's functionality not exactly connected to the stereo system.

And of course it only takes one look at the dash to tell that we're not able to toss some Alpine aftermarket unit in there.

Eric Genname
10-16-2012, 10:27 AM
Right, leave the "head unit" and replace the amp(s), crossovers and speakers, pretty much one-to-one. You'd be stuck with their DAC, I suppose, but that should be OK. The audio upgrade packages on the market just seem to be sets of matched components and installation instructions. True?

I've already been looking at aftermarket replacements for iDrive/nav, because I will not pay $2,500 for the Technology package. There are Chinese products for $500 that seem to offer about the same feature set. In terms of the interface between iDrive and the audio system, am I correct that the audio system owns its own UI and merely sends a video signal to the iDrive display? That is, what BMW calls iDrive consists of a display, controller, wire harness and top level menu system, and that each menu option knows how to format its own data and ouput video and audio signals?

vic
10-16-2012, 11:26 AM
Specifically regarding the X1, I really didn't like the base stereo. As I mentioned in another post somewhere, the biggest downfall of the base stereo for me was the sound staging. It sounded like it was coming from the area around my waist. So I went with the HK, without actually having heard it. So glad I did! Got the car last week, and the speaker on the dash makes all the difference in the world. I would say the HK sounds better in the X1 than it did in my 2009 335 coupe, a little tighter at the bottom end and crisper overall.

Even "normal" people will hear the difference between the base stereo and the HK stereo in a side by side comparison. It's really a question of how important that difference is to you. If you care about music at all, get the HK (or go after market, if so inclined).

afshawnt
10-16-2012, 02:27 PM
Does HK require the Tech Pkg? It doesn't on the order sheet I believe. However, on BMW USA's online configurator, it automatically adds the tech pkg.

WillInDenver
10-17-2012, 10:53 PM
Right, leave the "head unit" and replace the amp(s), crossovers and speakers, pretty much one-to-one. You'd be stuck with their DAC, I suppose, but that should be OK. The audio upgrade packages on the market just seem to be sets of matched components and installation instructions. True?True. The premium price we pay for this stuff is for the integration rather than the technology present in the upgrade. The only thing special about the discontinued Blaupunkt plug-n-play amp series was the cable they also made that plugged right into the back of the head unit.

I'm not sure the stock head unit is totally OK though. The one in my E60 sends a signal that is far from flat and attenuates the auxiliary input signal a bunch. I have it sounding OK as long as the source material is really good. I think I would need to spring for some post-preamp signal processing to get it where I'd want it to be. On an 8-year old car that probably won't be happening.

I've already been looking at aftermarket replacements for iDrive/nav, because I will not pay $2,500 for the Technology package. There are Chinese products for $500 that seem to offer about the same feature set. In terms of the interface between iDrive and the audio system, am I correct that the audio system owns its own UI and merely sends a video signal to the iDrive display? That is, what BMW calls iDrive consists of a display, controller, wire harness and top level menu system, and that each menu option knows how to format its own data and ouput video and audio signals?Unsure, and swapping components that far up the signal path seems like it might confuse IDrive and send error codes to the computer, which would just be a pain in the ass.

Eric Genname
10-17-2012, 11:40 PM
Good point about signal processing. After all, we're talking about trying to get "natural" sound while sitting in a small, noisy box a few feet from speakers that are pointed in all manner of directions. And it's not like you can choose your listening position.

I traded e-mails with the folks below. They are really knowledgeable on BMW audio. For those who would prefer to put money into sound rather than trim and wheels (or who can afford to have it all!), they're worth a look:

http://www.musicarnw.com/

I was encouraged they find the HiFi "head unit" to be acceptable. That makes a DIY upgrade a manageable task.

kosmo
10-21-2012, 09:54 AM
Previously, I would have said standard is perfectly good for non-audiophiles.

Now that we no longer have the melodious inline-6 to listen to, I'd so go for the upgrade!

Bmwlvr60
10-27-2012, 09:17 PM
I've heard the HK and the standard audio systems in the X1. HK has fuller bass and sounds much clearer than the standard Audio system. I highly recommend the upgraded sound system if you can afford it. I consider myself a bit of an audiophile- its not the best Audio system out there, but it's quite good.

stonex1
10-27-2012, 09:55 PM
I am considering that upgrade as well. Common consensus on the forum seems to be "bring your music and try it out yourself."
Couple reasons for that:
-Music quality is very subjective.
-The baseline speakers good (per multiple reviews).
-The upgrade isn't cheap.

I will post a reply when I get to try it out myself. Will probably try out multiple kinds of music, including jazz, classical, trance/techno, pop.

Would love to hear your results!
The HK system is almost a show stopper for me, and here's the quirk.
The 28i in Canada (AFAIK) has no option for HK, but the 35i does.
So if I wanted Hk, I need to spend the extra $ for a 35i.

I'm not close to a dealer so I can't run down and test the stock sound.
I'm on the fence for a 28i vs 35i, but want a premium sound system regardless.
argh!, what is a guy to do?

Tirpitz
10-27-2012, 10:03 PM
I am an audiophile and I decided to go with the stock system. I had some concerns about the HK setup and how it handles the signal. My intention is to spend the money the HK would have cost doing upgrades to the stock system. I will probably live with the stock stereo until BSW issues their package for the X1. Or until I get tired of waiting for BSW! When I get my X1 I will report on my thoughts about the stock system and what upgrade options might make sense.

FWIW I used to have a Honda del Sol that I had extensively modified purely for sound purposes. I was designed to be a basic two way system with very good tweeters in kick panels and 8" woofers in the doors. The doors were heavily modified to make them acceptable speaker enclosures. Since it was such a small car a pair of 8" woofers was more than enough bass and I never felt the need for a subwoofer. An excellent amp and crossover/EQ went into the trunk. Everything was stealth- you would never know there was anything expensive in the car just looking at it.

That system had an amazing stereo spread and because it was a two seater you did not have to worry about how it might sound in the back seats. Now with a wife and child I'll have to do something that is a bit more of a compromise in terms of sound but I'll still want to keep it as stealthy as possible.

faustas
10-28-2012, 03:39 PM
Would love to hear your results!
The HK system is almost a show stopper for me, and here's the quirk.
The 28i in Canada (AFAIK) has no option for HK, but the 35i does.
So if I wanted Hk, I need to spend the extra $ for a 35i.

I'm not close to a dealer so I can't run down and test the stock sound.
I'm on the fence for a 28i vs 35i, but want a premium sound system regardless.
argh!, what is a guy to do?


See my "quick impression" post here:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7133715&postcount=16

Basically, I want something better than the stock sound (but not eager enough to want to do aftermarket stuff) so I'm leaning towards the HK. But like others have pointed out, you can find better aftermarket solutions that seems clearly superior to the HK sound.

I can tell the difference because I play the piano, have crappy stock speakers in a noisy old SUV, and a set of B+W speakers in my living room.

Evlengr
11-05-2012, 09:24 PM
What reviews/articles do you have to back that up or compare them side by side?


I can tell you from an objective POV that the entry level systems use sub standard materials for their sound systems. I have seen entry level ford focus with better standard systems.

Example: In the X3 they use a paper cone and plastic basket for the door speakers, the head unit was built in Czechoslovakia, and the amps circuitry does not dissipate heat well (heat is a contributor to distortion). Most speakers are made of a plastic or alternate material that will take the constant heat, cold, and moisture you subject your sound system to. Think about this: Go home take your bookshelf speakers throw them in the freezer overnight, then take them out, hit them with a blow dryer, and then crank them up. This is essentially what you do on a cold winter morning everytime you start up your car. Paper just isnt designed to handle that stress and in most cases neither is generic plastic.

A simple set of $50 Alpine speakers sound much much better.

I am in the crowd that gets the entry level stuff and upgrades it. however, everyone is different and way too many variables to make a hard and fast recommendation for you. Find a CD you really know well and hear for yourself.

IAS
11-06-2012, 07:47 AM
I hope BMW is listening and paying attention, their stock sound is terrible at that price point of x1, x3 and 3 series, consider this you could have a crappy sound on $50k vehicle if you do no pick h/k audio which many 1st buyer could choose expecting the stock radio better than a compact 15k car. Audi, Nissan and even Cadillac ATS has closed the gap on BMW, as cars and drivers said in the review so far BMW is ahead but they need to pay attention.
I want to have total experience of BMW and sound system is big part of it. Most luxury cars stock sound is very good and optional premium is really premium.

Funkypapa
04-27-2013, 06:37 PM
Looking to order an X1 and am not sure if the HK stereo is worth the extra $. Can anyone comment on their experience. I am an avid Jazz fan and would look forward to hooking up my ipod. thanks

Hey I love jazz and use my iPod/phone and I am very happy with the sound!

MrT-Man
04-28-2013, 07:11 AM
I got my X1 with the base (HiFi) system recently, and I'm a little disappointed. I'm an audiophile. I'd describe it as being the minimum acceptable quality, where I can listen to music & not get TOO annoyed at how bad it is. But I do really wish I could have gotten the HK upgrade. (it wasn't an option for me -- I got the 28i & in Canada you can only get the HK on the 35i)

LePew
04-28-2013, 07:12 AM
I was in a newer X3 loaner this week and couldn't believe how bad the stock sound was compared to my stock X1. Are there differences between the two?

I'm very happy with my stock x1 stereo.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Bimmer App

kbass
05-13-2013, 10:45 AM
I am a professional classical musician with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Ctr. - Got the HK audio. It has it's pluses and minuses. The plus side is that it is relatively clear on the upper end down side is the boominess of the low end. It takes quite a bit of fiddling with the EQ to get it to sound good. I do think that it is worth the price, but really it is not a super high end system. It was definitely not engineered for classical music. I wish there were EQ presets that could be customized.

dgkfl
05-13-2013, 10:56 AM
I am a professional classical musician with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Ctr. - Got the HK audio. It has it's pluses and minuses. The plus side is that it is relatively clear on the upper end down side is the boominess of the low end. It takes quite a bit of fiddling with the EQ to get it to sound good. I do think that it is worth the price, but really it is not a super high end system. It was definitely not engineered for classical music. I wish there were EQ presets that could be customized.

I have had HK audio on 3 BMW's: a pre-LCI E90, my wife's 2012 X3 and my new X1. On both the E90 and the X1, I found the bass to be unsatisfactory. You call it boomy, I would call it "thumpy" (not in a good way). I've found I need to set the EQ to reduce the low end. I suspect the problem is poor reproduction of sound below 100 hz or so (as opposed to just too much bass altogether). Perhaps the woofers are just not large enough. For whatever reason, the X3 does not seem to have that problem.

However, I still think the HK is worth it for both the high-end clarity and the fact that you get the EQ in the first place. It's a real pleasure compared to my 335d which was one of the ones that had the base (below HiFi) system.

stonex1
05-13-2013, 11:31 AM
I love the HK sound, and love the surround feeling it gives.
Its nice also to have the option to turn the surround off.
I think some prefer it this way.

But I find it strange there is no volume meter. You can turn it up, and up, and up, but how high will it go. :p
What if you have it loud, and then push it off with the volume knob.
Does it come back that same loudness the next time you get in your car and turn the system on? I should probably try it. :D