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-   -   A Q for the audiophiles (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=668568)

esquilax 01-07-2013 12:50 PM

A Q for the audiophiles
 
Who here has the HK sounds system and uses Spotify premium on it? If you put it on extreme quality in settings, it streams music at 320kbps. Do you guys think it sounds better on the HK system?

Discuss

jdong 01-07-2013 04:05 PM

Sound perception is subjective, and everyone will have a different opinion on it.

Personally, I have Spotify and the HK sound system, and I think it sounds great. Honestly I don't notice a big difference in audio quality between the High and Extreme options, so I just keep it on High for faster buffering and reduced data usage.

I like the HK better than the base sound system, mainly because its bass is a lot thumpier without being distorted. The Logic7 Surround effect is also really nice, and highlights instrumentation that otherwise is hard to notice.

It is worthwhile to play with the equalizer settings though on the HK -- doing so can dramatically change the personality of the sound system. From the other threads floating around, it seems like there's quite some people who were initially unimpressed with the system but then had better opinions once they played with the EQ.

esquilax 01-07-2013 04:21 PM

If I may...what do you have your EQ at? What type of music do you listen to?

jdong 01-07-2013 04:25 PM

I'll take a picture of my EQ settings when I get my car back tomorrow. Roughly speaking, I adjust mine by first turning the bass up 2 or 3 notches. Then, turn down some of the middle-low range and turn up some of the middle-high to high range until the vocals/trebles don't get drowned out by bass.

I primarily listen to a mix of those top-100 radio stations and hip hop, both of which lend very nicely to having good clean non-rattling bass response.

chasfh 01-07-2013 08:37 PM

I am getting the HK, and I have a ****-ton of music that takes up most of my iPod at 128 bit. I was thinking of re-ripping some of my more audiophile type CDs at 320 bit. Does anyone notice the difference between the two bit rates on the HK?

jlukja 01-07-2013 09:16 PM

I have the base system and I notice the difference between 128 bit and 192 bit. I would imagine the HK would show that difference even more.

DavidM1975 01-07-2013 09:18 PM

I ordered the HK on my 335i too and honestly I can't wait to just get in the car and put in a favorite CD or two... before I even start playing with the iPhone or iPod!

jdong 01-07-2013 09:33 PM

Depends on the codec. I think with MP3 you can probably tell the difference but with a good AAC rip, 128 already sounds excellent. 256 is marginally better if you are listening in a quiet home theater setup but if you are driving, I don't think the difference matters nearly as much. Don't forget that storage space is at a bit of a premium too.

DavidM1975 01-07-2013 09:39 PM

I'm not an audiophile and I won't keep 50 CD's in the car (or nowhere near to it) - I have about 12,000 songs on my iPhone right now and the iPhone will be my main source of audio in the car. As BJ pointed out in one of the previous threads here for car audio you have all sorts of additional noises (road noise, etc.) that come into play so noticing the difference between the 128kbps and anything higher is way more difficult than with a good home setup. Having said that there will certainly be a few albums I will always keep on a CD and I will most definitely start my 335i driving with those :)

Tirpitz 01-07-2013 11:16 PM

These things are always a matter of your listening preferences and what you have trained yourself to hear. I've got an X1 with the stock stereo and most of my listening has been to high bit rate MP3s on a USB stick. If I put on my audiophile hat I can hear the tell-tale signs of compressed music such as smeared and hissy sounding cymbals. But for everyday listening and just enjoying the music and the drive it is decent enough sounding.

My personal feeling is that with any music system you should always opt for the highest resolution source material. The exception is where you need to trade off resolution for storage space. I recognize that as an audiophile I'm not representative of the general car buying public. But I think it is a shame that a company like BMW is willing to sell you an upgraded stereo are near or above $1K and then restricts their D/A capabilities to lossy audio formats, the only exception being WAV which they have to support to play CDs. Come on, support at least Apple Lossless if not FLAC at 16 bits. If they support 24 bit playback even better.

Once I get around to doing some comparisons if I find the difference between MP3 playback and what I can get out of my iPhone with Apple Lossless to be too broad I'll have to look at buying an iPod Classic to keep in the car just to be able to play the most possible music at full 16 bit resolution.

gweeta 01-08-2013 05:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tirpitz (Post 7297635)
But I think it is a shame that a company like BMW is willing to sell you an upgraded stereo are near or above $1K and then restricts their D/A capabilities to lossy audio formats, the only exception being WAV which they have to support to play CDs. Come on, support at least Apple Lossless if not FLAC at 16 bits. If they support 24 bit playback even better.

+1. Really wish the system supported a lossless format besides WAV.

RobertaZ 01-08-2013 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gweeta (Post 7297821)
+1. Really wish the system supported a lossless format besides WAV.

Agreed! I'd love the Bimmers to support FLAC, but if you get a 64GB flash drive, you can store 80-90 CDs in WAV format on it. I have a couple of those with me in the car at all times and never have to listen to awfully compressed satellite radio nor MP3s.

R

gweeta 01-08-2013 07:48 AM

I guess I'm just lazy. I have a huge collection on my music server all ripped in FLAC, and I don't want to spend the time converting it to WAV. But you're right. WAV is a decent solution if you want uncompressed music in your car.

For now, I'll just settle for the alternate library I have ripped at 256 VBR.

Edit: I meant it's a viable solution if you want lossless music. I realize FLAC is compressed.

Jamesonsviggen 01-08-2013 07:51 AM

Intergal Audio will have a nice option for a F30 specific upgrade. I will have everything installed in less than a month as my car was used for measurements a couple of months ago.

chasfh 01-08-2013 08:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tirpitz (Post 7297635)
These things are always a matter of your listening preferences and what you have trained yourself to hear. I've got an X1 with the stock stereo and most of my listening has been to high bit rate MP3s on a USB stick. If I put on my audiophile hat I can hear the tell-tale signs of compressed music such as smeared and hissy sounding cymbals. But for everyday listening and just enjoying the music and the drive it is decent enough sounding.

My personal feeling is that with any music system you should always opt for the highest resolution source material. The exception is where you need to trade off resolution for storage space. I recognize that as an audiophile I'm not representative of the general car buying public. But I think it is a shame that a company like BMW is willing to sell you an upgraded stereo are near or above $1K and then restricts their D/A capabilities to lossy audio formats, the only exception being WAV which they have to support to play CDs. Come on, support at least Apple Lossless if not FLAC at 16 bits. If they support 24 bit playback even better.

Once I get around to doing some comparisons if I find the difference between MP3 playback and what I can get out of my iPhone with Apple Lossless to be too broad I'll have to look at buying an iPod Classic to keep in the car just to be able to play the most possible music at full 16 bit resolution.

This is a nice little overview. I have 130GB of music, 1,425 albums from 484 different artists, plus podcasts and OTR. Most of what I have is at 128 ripped ten or more years ago, mostly using Windows Media Player. A few other albums, I have obtained at bit rates varying from 160 to 320. Much of the 256+ bit music I have gotten, I have peeled back to 128 VBR through iTunes to make room.

Bit rate doesn't really matter to me for a lot of my stuff because it is loud distorted rock music, or music originally recorded in the studio on hissy tape, so any minute difference between 128 and 256+ would probably be lost on me in a moving car sound room, anyway.

However, I do have some audiophile-worthy stuff, like RHCP and Beatles remasters, that I keep in 320. I was thinking of re-ripping some of the other stuff I originally did in 128, like the old Pink Floyd or Zappa or White Stripes or Eminem or Adele, in order to maximize the benefit of those specific albums that benefit more from a higher bit rate. I just wanted to ask whether others here hear enough of a difference between 128 and 320 for me to make that effort, because I will probably have to dump some other stuff to make room for it.

Taeksoo 01-08-2013 09:06 AM

Has anyone tried the bluetooth streaming? I'm no expert so don't flame me... I've read bluetooth can transmit up to like 2mbs which is lot bigger then Flac files need. I'm sure there are compression using bluetooth but imagine it'd be better then mp3.
I got stock system and been using my Android to stream music using Poweramp. Again, I'm no expert but I do notice difference between mp3 songs and Flac songs (~600-800bms). I'm sure it's not as great but it does sound little fuller.
Since this is what I chose to do for myself for easiness and quality, just qurious to hear what others think and see if there is any other better way. Aux is good too but I rather not have wires. Either stored in the car or wireless. Learned car can't play Flac

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Bimmer App

gweeta 01-08-2013 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chasfh (Post 7298200)
I just wanted to ask whether others here hear enough of a difference between 128 and 320 for me to make that effort, because I will probably have to dump some other stuff to make room for it.

As someone else pointed out, it's not just bitrate that matters. The codec is also important. That said, I think there is very noticeable difference between MP3s at 128 and 256 (let alone 320), even in a car.

gweeta 01-08-2013 09:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Taeksoo (Post 7298248)
Has anyone tried the bluetooth streaming? I'm no expert so don't flame me... I've read bluetooth can transmit up to like 2mbs which is lot bigger then Flac files need. I'm sure there are compression using bluetooth but imagine it'd be better then mp3.
Sent from my SCH-I535 using Bimmer App

I don't know the technical answer. That is, I don't know whether/how files are compressed when sent over Bluetooth. However, I think wired sounds better, although for the convenience, I use Bluetooth in my Jetta all the time.

jfox335i 01-08-2013 10:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdong (Post 7296866)
Sound perception is subjective, and everyone will have a different opinion on it.

Personally, I have Spotify and the HK sound system, and I think it sounds great. Honestly I don't notice a big difference in audio quality between the High and Extreme options, so I just keep it on High for faster buffering and reduced data usage.

I like the HK better than the base sound system, mainly because its bass is a lot thumpier without being distorted. The Logic7 Surround effect is also really nice, and highlights instrumentation that otherwise is hard to notice.

It is worthwhile to play with the equalizer settings though on the HK -- doing so can dramatically change the personality of the sound system. From the other threads floating around, it seems like there's quite some people who were initially unimpressed with the system but then had better opinions once they played with the EQ.

I find the system sounds much cleaner with the L7 surround turned off. I thought the L7 sounded artificial, it's personal preference, I found the right EQ settings and fade to the rear, and system sounds good.

cchrisv 01-08-2013 10:47 AM

Dangit I just scrolled through this entire thread expecting an intresting response from BJ, I'm disapointed.

chris328 01-08-2013 10:52 AM

Achy breaky heart

tturedraider 01-08-2013 11:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquilax (Post 7296532)
Who here has the HK sounds system and uses Spotify premium on it? If you put it on extreme quality in settings, it streams music at 320kbps. Do you guys think it sounds better on the HK system?

Discuss


just fyi - If you're interested in some information from Harman Kardon on the system itself Google "Harman Kardon Logic 7". I'm not an audiophile, but I found it interesting.

dzaborn 01-08-2013 12:59 PM

Has anyone ripped CD's directly to the HD using the CD drive? Do we have any idea what format the output file is, what encoder is used, and at what bitrate is used? Are the rip/encode settings available to chose via iDrive? I don't think I've heard of anyone that has used/tried this but am interested in the ease and quailty.

I also have a question about mp3's playing via the car. Many albums now have songs that run together (as one song), with no silence in between. One recent album example is Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto. I wanted to know how the car handles this when playing an mp3 album? Do you hear a tiny gap from one song to the next with mp3 playback as opposed to the seamless transition you get when playing the CD? Is that unavoidable? I also am curious how playback is in this instance if you rip the CD to the HD using the CD drive.

chasfh 01-08-2013 01:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jdong (Post 7297537)
Depends on the codec. I think with MP3 you can probably tell the difference but with a good AAC rip, 128 already sounds excellent. 256 is marginally better if you are listening in a quiet home theater setup but if you are driving, I don't think the difference matters nearly as much. Don't forget that storage space is at a bit of a premium too.

By "good AAC rip", are you talking about ripping a CD in iTunes to 128 VBR? Or do you mean something else?

jdong 01-08-2013 02:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chasfh (Post 7298850)
By "good AAC rip", are you talking about ripping a CD in iTunes to 128 VBR? Or do you mean something else?

Yeah, that's a decent AAC encoder -- I've heard that Nero's AAC encoder is superior, though it's been a while since I've kept up with the status of codecs.


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