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-   -   Sound quality of standard sound system (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=536267)

cornet579 04-21-2011 06:29 PM

Sound quality of standard sound system
 
Just ordered a 2011 X3, my first BMW, in mineral silver with black Nevada leather and Fineline Wave wood trim. I went with the standard sound system in order to get some of the other option packages. For those of you already driving your X3, what is your impression of the sound quality in the standard package?

a4guyiam 05-20-2011 01:16 PM

I have the same exact question. Was going to post it on here but ill kick back to see the responses to yours. haha

mole7374 05-20-2011 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by a4guyiam (Post 6079237)
I have the same exact question. Was going to post it on here but ill kick back to see the responses to yours. haha

search the forum...topic has been discussed at length...lots out there on it

Glen E 05-20-2011 01:57 PM

It's pretty much the answer you would expect: if you buy/download the occasional CD and consider yourself a normal music lover, it's fine.

If you are an ipod head with 4500 songs, have modded your cars before for sound, Know what a JL Clean sweep is, no, it's not good enuf...

and I'm not being sarcastic, it depends on how much you're into tunes....

harplayr 05-20-2011 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Glen E (Post 6079320)
It's pretty much the answer you would expect: if you buy/download the occasional CD and consider yourself a normal music lover, it's fine.

If you are an ipod head with 4500 songs, have modded your cars before for sound, Know what a JL Clean sweep is, no, it's not good enuf...

and I'm not being sarcastic, it depends on how much you're into tunes....

I agree.
I find the standard sound system to be better than most, but not on the level of a high end custom system.

For myself I have a good sound system at home for my listening pleasure. If the standard system is adequate in a car I have stopped getting high end sound upgrades for my cars. With all the road noise and the auto environment I just find it is not worth it personally.

mole7374 05-20-2011 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Glen E (Post 6079320)
It's pretty much the answer you would expect: if you buy/download the occasional CD and consider yourself a normal music lover, it's fine.

If you are an ipod head with 4500 songs, have modded your cars before for sound, Know what a JL Clean sweep is, no, it's not good enuf...

and I'm not being sarcastic, it depends on how much you're into tunes....

+1


And in my opinion (yes I've one of those "have mod in the past people") the BMW hifi upgrade is not all that great compared to an equal cost aftermarket of just swapping out the speakers and sound processor.

even doing it the easy way with bavariansoundworks speakers and a simple alpine sound processor, that setp will sound 4x better than bimmer's hifi

Want the Thrill 05-20-2011 04:36 PM

I think the regular system is sub-par and is not great. I love music though so.......

harplayr 05-20-2011 06:19 PM

I don't think anybody is saying it is a great system.

I'm comparing it to base systems in other cars I've owned and find it decent.
I think it's much better than the base stereo I had in my previous X3 and 3 series, and is WAY better than the base (or even upgraded system) in the Subaru Outback or Mazda Tribute. Most people with find it ok, audiophiles will not.


There is no doubt that if you want to get a better system after market you can easily do that. It certainly isn't on a par with even mid-range after market systems.


By the way I'm a musician and listen with a critical ear. I've just never been satisfied with higher end systems given the ambient noise and acoustical environment in a moving car. I have given up on them. I don't find the bang for the buck in spending thousands to still be disappointed. But if somebody else does, all power to them.

imtennisgoddess 05-20-2011 07:02 PM

I have the premium sound in my new X3 and I will say it is much better than the basic sound that I had in my 2010 3 series. I was always frustrated with the sound on my 2010 and if I hadn't traded it, I would have had it upgraded. I am very satisfied with the premium sound on my x3.

Cat7771 05-21-2011 04:16 AM

I have the premium sound system and I have owned many BMWs. I am very picky about the quality of the sound. I am displeased with the sound system in my X3 and I also find it a bit scratchy at times.

mole7374 05-21-2011 04:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cat7771 (Post 6080266)
I have the premium sound system and I have owned many BMWs. I am very picky about the quality of the sound. I am displeased with the sound system in my X3 and I also find it a bit scratchy at times.

That's a shame...for real. BMW could have EASILY solved this buy just going the extra mile and putting Dirac into this X3..it's a shame they didn't. Without a sound processor the "upgraded" speakers and stronger AMP don't amount to much more than a larger dial on the volume meter....and again it's a shame they are getting people to drop 800-900 on it. I realize that not everyone knows or is comfortable with the conctp of 'aftermarket', but it's not like people go to work in your car with razor blades and hammers...if you go to a professional insursed shop, you will have an awesome setup for not much more than BMW charges you.

Here's what I'm doing.

I got the "base" (12 speaker in US) setup in my X3.

I'm going to buy the bavariansoundworks stage 1 speaker setup (b/c I want the plug and play factor without cutting tips off cables) (about $600)
I'm goign to buy an Alpine sound processor (better or same quality as Dirac--$250)
I may or may not upgrade the 200W amp, but probably not...I'm into quality of sound not volume of sound

So right there I'm into it for $850 which is the same price BMW charges but the above equipment is WAY better than anything BMW puts in ....I don't want to get into a back and forth on that but you won't find many audio folks who'd argue with that...BSW is a moderate upgrade in aftermarket standards but definitely better than stock (even upgraded stock) system. The fact that nobody really even knows who makes BMWs "upgraded" speakers is disturbing...and don't say HK b/c I've read at least one post of someone who pulled the speakers out and there is no manufacturer on them.

From there, I'm taking the $850 in equipment and am going to pay a professional shop to install it...I'm keep the same head unit so there is no integration issues with idrive...so nothing changes inside the cabin. The above work will take a professional shop 1/2 day at most to install.... even at 80-90 an hour I'm into this for 1200-1300 bucks...well worth it.

Again all of this is my opinion and I respect those who just dont' want to be bothered with the above...but again what are you being bothered with....you just buy online, take your stuff in your X3 to a shop, go to the mall for 4-5 hours, come back and it's done....what was awful about that? And oh yea...if music is that impt then the above will get you a system that is hands down nicer than the BMW upgrade

guitarpath 05-21-2011 04:55 AM

I have the factory premium h-fi on my F25. While I do not consider myself an audiophile, I am a musician and thus I am obsessed with tone. After some tweaking of the settings, the hi-fi sounds great. Very crisp and loud.

Skygal 05-21-2011 10:16 AM

I have the standard sound system and will probably have to get after market. Guess I didn't realize how much I like a decent sound system. My Hyundai Azera had way better sound system than this car. LOVE driving my x3, like all the add ons I did, nav is not always street friendly at times, but it is rather frustrating to see that a bmw doesn't live up to some of the features in the "lower end" market. How did you tweak the settings @ guitarpath???

Want the Thrill 05-21-2011 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skygal (Post 6080697)
I have the standard sound system and will probably have to get after market. Guess I didn't realize how much I like a decent sound system. My Hyundai Azera had way better sound system than this car. LOVE driving my x3, like all the add ons I did, nav is not always street friendly at times, but it is rather frustrating to see that a bmw doesn't live up to some of the features in the "lower end" market. How did you tweak the settings @ guitarpath???

Go on your I-drive to settings, then choose Tone. From there you can adjust the Base, Treble, Fade L & R and front & back. The premium sound system gives you a lot more you can tweak.

Evlengr 05-21-2011 07:48 PM

Much as I like to mod every car stereo I have ever owned. In fact I was installing car stereos at the age of 12 before I could drive. I was the 'goto" kid on the block for these things.

Nowadays I would not change out the H/U on today's vehicles. Thought long and hard about this one. There is enough "interface" type components that will allow you to keep all orig H/U and its control and update the sound system.

How it works is to basically bypass the factory installed amp. You insert the component which is anywhere from the size of a pack of cards to a 12 pack of golf balls. This allows the addition of more amplifiers or fine tuning of the sound.

The very first thing I would replace if I had the new X3 is the speakers. All BMW speakers (now matter how good their electronics) are made of basic paper and plastic. Most speakers are made of much more durable and stiffer material and the basket (what the paper sits in) is made of metal. This translates to tighter bass (not thumpy) and more accurate highs. The difference between generic tires and michelins is a good comparison. Both will work, but one is oh so much better.

If any are intereested I will be happy to research for you. I am currently trying to track down the new DICE to retro engineer that for pandora users. Stay tuned :)

Bottom line as someone said and I paraphrase, It all depends on how much you are into your tunes. Good sound does not mean thumpy thumpy thump. It means hearing the third violin in the back row of an orchestra or the subtle reverb on Tim McGraw to the twang of Flea's bass string of RHCP.

guitarpath 05-21-2011 09:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skygal (Post 6080697)
How did you tweak the settings @ guitarpath???

This comes from a very good poster on "the other" forum (xbimmers) who very generously offered this after he ran a CD frequency sweep on the premium sound system. I made a few very minor alterations (for example, I prefer the Surround on, while he likes it off). I think this is a very good guide. As with everything in music, the best advice I can offer is: trust your ears.

Surround Off
Bass +2
Treble +2
Equilizer 100 Hz +2
200 Hz -2
500, 1000, 2000 Hz no change
5000 Hz +2
10000 Hz -1

mole7374 05-22-2011 04:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evlengr (Post 6081567)
Much as I like to mod every car stereo I have ever owned. In fact I was installing car stereos at the age of 12 before I could drive. I was the 'goto" kid on the block for these things.

Nowadays I would not change out the H/U on today's vehicles. Thought long and hard about this one. There is enough "interface" type components that will allow you to keep all orig H/U and its control and update the sound system.

How it works is to basically bypass the factory installed amp. You insert the component which is anywhere from the size of a pack of cards to a 12 pack of golf balls. This allows the addition of more amplifiers or fine tuning of the sound.

The very first thing I would replace if I had the new X3 is the speakers. All BMW speakers (now matter how good their electronics) are made of basic paper and plastic. Most speakers are made of much more durable and stiffer material and the basket (what the paper sits in) is made of metal. This translates to tighter bass (not thumpy) and more accurate highs. The difference between generic tires and michelins is a good comparison. Both will work, but one is oh so much better.

If any are intereested I will be happy to research for you. I am currently trying to track down the new DICE to retro engineer that for pandora users. Stay tuned :)

Bottom line as someone said and I paraphrase, It all depends on how much you are into your tunes. Good sound does not mean thumpy thumpy thump. It means hearing the third violin in the back row of an orchestra or the subtle reverb on Tim McGraw to the twang of Flea's bass string of RHCP.


+1 (and then some)
I was hoping EV would reply to this..... The speaker thing is the biggest let down with BMWs hifi upgrade b/c it's the one thing most people are very afraid of doing (b/c they are caught up in the "someone is rippnig my car apart thing) however it's the most impt element as EV puts it.... in reality changing out the speakers in these vehicles is very easy for a professional...find one and you wont' be let down. I was telling someone else on this board...a guy I work with was doing super super high end installations of people with lots of money, and for national competitions. I personally say cars in the 100-500K range (porsche/ferrari) with the entire interior removed b/c the sound system going in was costing more than our X3 was. (for real) In the most extreme example, my buddy ripped the entire interior out of this porsche, and the owner wanted all the leather replaced with the louis vuitton type leather....he called louis and got a bunch of rolls shipped (for real) and the put it back on the ferrari...crazy...and I mean crazy work. If someone can do that, they can certainly replace 12 or 16 little speakers in our X's.

My plan is to not go crazy with my X and just do modest upgrades....a speaker upgrade along with a sound processor is first...may leave the factory amp or put in something a little stronger (like 400w) and I'm DEFINITELY leaving the factory h/u. To me I can get this done wtih 1500 or less...and the bmw hifi is 875 I think...no brainer. I know people are nervous about this but have some faith....the only reason you are nervous is b/c you have never seen what these professionals do first hand.

I used to hang out with a guy who won a national competiation with a 90's M5. (can remember year but probably mid-90s) The owner bought it, drove it off the dealer lot and to my friend's shop...had less than 100 miles on it. My friend then took 8 months to do mod it and went to something as extreme as cutting the dash so customized/mechanical speakers popped up out of the dash and auto alighed, and he also cut into the area where your feet are b/c he wanted a speaker there for optimal sound and there was none there factory...but he made it work. The owner never saw what happened and the first thing my buddy showed him were the pictures... (I was there when this happened). The guy was like WTF but then 5 minutes later after seeing /hearing the M he was all smiles. Ok extreme example, but the point is to have faith people...I know factory upgrades are a convenience factor, but for a modest upgrade like speakers and a sound processory/amp you are talking 1 day (max) worth of work for a good insured shop..in reality theya re probably done in 4-5 hours.

mole7374 05-22-2011 04:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evlengr (Post 6081567)
If any are intereested I will be happy to research for you. I am currently trying to track down the new DICE to retro engineer that for pandora users. Stay tuned :)

EV -
I'm actually interested in seeing what you find in terms of aftermarket stuff for the X3. From what I can see, there aren't many places (crutchfield/bsw etc) who have gear identified and "certified" for the X. (ie speakers etc) I'm guessing it will take a few months for these folks to get their hands on one and actually come out with a matrix, but if you have stuff identified let us know.

I know previously you recommended (to me) the alpine sound processor (like $250) which is a no-brainer. I was thinking about going with BSW speakers only b/c of the plug and play aspect, but I don't like over paying for them either....I think they have good stuff and like the fact that they are guaranteed to just snap in, but depending on what else flows into the market speaker wise I'll do soemthing else...right now I don't see anyone tagging speakers as "will work in F25"

AzNMpower32 05-22-2011 09:24 AM

Be thankful that once again, BMW has bowed down to the tastes and expectations of Americans. The "standard" system for US X3s is the Hi-Fi speaker system (SA 676), already an upgrade. It includes an amplifier and a 205-Watt output and 12 speakers. Priced at 590 (in Germany with 19% VAT).

The true "base" system is a 5 speaker system has an output of 4 x 25-watts. This is also what the Canadians get on the xDrive28i standard. (Yuck, they already pay more than the US). It's not awful if you think about what Germans typically use the radio for. Instead of massive music collections, more of them listen to talk radio and music at a limited volume compared to the US. My dad's X5 has the base sound system from 2010 and for classical music and radio, it works fine. It's awful for anything else.

The "Professional" or "Premium Hi-Fi" system in the US is the 16-speaker, 600 watt DIRAC system and surround mode. It's valued at 1200 in Germany so $875 is quite the bargain in the US. I'm a musician and can appreciate the finer details of these types of systems- my mother's 325i has the Logic7 in the same sense and I like it a lot. I don't listen to music loud so I never feel the need to go aftermarket.

mole7374 05-22-2011 11:19 AM

US spec is not Dirac...it's logic 7. Dirac spec did not make it to US for some reason... UK versions get the Dirac but for some reason BMW decided not to drop Dirac into the X3

Non_head 05-22-2011 11:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 (Post 6082160)
Be thankful that once again, BMW has bowed down to the tastes and expectations of Americans. The "standard" system for US X3s is the Hi-Fi speaker system (SA 676), already an upgrade. It includes an amplifier and a 205-Watt output and 12 speakers. Priced at 590 (in Germany with 19% VAT).

The true "base" system is a 5 speaker system has an output of 4 x 25-watts. This is also what the Canadians get on the xDrive28i standard. (Yuck, they already pay more than the US). It's not awful if you think about what Germans typically use the radio for. Instead of massive music collections, more of them listen to talk radio and music at a limited volume compared to the US. My dad's X5 has the base sound system from 2010 and for classical music and radio, it works fine. It's awful for anything else.

The "Professional" or "Premium Hi-Fi" system in the US is the 16-speaker, 600 watt DIRAC system and surround mode. It's valued at 1200 in Germany so $875 is quite the bargain in the US. I'm a musician and can appreciate the finer details of these types of systems- my mother's 325i has the Logic7 in the same sense and I like it a lot. I don't listen to music loud so I never feel the need to go aftermarket.

We had a long discussion with mole 7374 about this and concluded that the the 875$ price tag does not match the 1200

GingerJay 08-21-2011 10:34 AM

Trying to revive this thread. I am looking to purchase an X3 but out of country so I cannot test the base and upgraded system for myself.

Any more input about quality of the base and premium Hi-Fi?

Technic 08-21-2011 11:07 AM

Old thread... just to say, those that think that Dirac processing sound great in a BMW most probably have not heard a Dirac OEM system in any BMW.

The 16-speaker Dirac OEM system may satisfy those that really hate any aftermarket audio upgrades but in reality it does not sound as great as an aftermarket system for the same price. Actually, the "regular" Top HiFi system (Logic7 or Harman Kardon) is a much better OEM upgrade for $875 than the $1200-$1900 charged for the Top HiFi Dirac.

Technic 08-21-2011 11:11 AM

For the new X3, the standard HiFi system is a 5-channel 205W system that can be easily be upgraded to Logic7 by using a JBL MS-8 DSP/8-channel amp as a direct replacement to the OEM amp. The OEM speakers can be retained for an immediate sound improvement exceeding the $875 option.

Stan Lenci 08-21-2011 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Technic (Post 6269616)
For the new X3, the standard HiFi system is a 5-channel 205W system that can be easily be upgraded to Logic7 by using a JBL MS-8 DSP/8-channel amp as a direct replacement to the OEM amp. The OEM speakers can be retained for an inmediate sound improvement exceeding the $875 option.

Did you install this in your X3 yourself? If you did, can you provide any advise.
Thanks


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