Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > The Best of Bimmerfest! > Car Navigation, Audio & Electronics sponsored by BimmerTech

Car Navigation, Audio & Electronics sponsored by BimmerTech
BMW navigation, audio upgrades, XM Radio, Sirius, Bluetooth, and Radar Detector discussions here!

Sponsored by BimmerTech

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-02-2013, 08:21 PM
V1NC3 V1NC3 is offline
Registered User
Location: United States
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 335i
How much of a difference is Harman Kardon compared with a normal sound system?

My BMW dealership has a 335i sport line coming in in a few days and it has everything I want except Harman Kardon surround sound. How much of a sound difference is there really between Harman Kardon and the default one? I'm thinking if I should purchase this one or build my own (but I have to wait 2 months). I've been used to a regular 6 speaker mid-size sedan.

I also saw something saying that surround sound is worst for your hearing. Can I get some clarification on that?

Last edited by V1NC3; 01-02-2013 at 08:24 PM.
Reply With Quote
Ads by Google
  #2  
Old 01-04-2013, 09:04 AM
Dave 330i's Avatar
Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
The King of Common Sense
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 134
Send a message via Skype™ to Dave 330i
Mein Auto:
Quote:
Originally Posted by V1NC3 View Post
My BMW dealership has a 335i sport line coming in in a few days and it has everything I want except Harman Kardon surround sound. How much of a sound difference is there really between Harman Kardon and the default one? I'm thinking if I should purchase this one or build my own (but I have to wait 2 months). I've been used to a regular 6 speaker mid-size sedan.

I also saw something saying that surround sound is worst for your hearing. Can I get some clarification on that?
I have the HK option on my 2001 330i. There is an off/on button to activate the surround sound. Even for me, not a audiofile fanatic, there is a noticeable difference. I prefer HK with the surround sound on. Sorry I threw a wrench in the gearbox.
__________________
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein

Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction", Sam Walton.

Last edited by Dave 330i; 01-04-2013 at 09:10 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-07-2013, 08:36 PM
taibanl taibanl is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Syracuse
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 253
Mein Auto: 335d (e90)
Four 875 the HK is a good option from a value standpoint, however you can do better with aftermarket options
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-12-2013, 11:56 AM
Zaheed Zaheed is offline
Registered User
Location: South Africa
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: Soon in a F30 320i
Quote:
Originally Posted by V1NC3 View Post
My BMW dealership has a 335i sport line coming in in a few days and it has everything I want except Harman Kardon surround sound. How much of a sound difference is there really between Harman Kardon and the default one? I'm thinking if I should purchase this one or build my own (but I have to wait 2 months). I've been used to a regular 6 speaker mid-size sedan.

I also saw something saying that surround sound is worst for your hearing. Can I get some clarification on that?
If you buying a 335i the standard sound system is not the same as the lower models. It's actually has the HiFi Loudspeaker system which is an optional item on models 328 and 320 with a more powerful amp with 9 speakers. HK will be better but this is definitely a step up on the standards sound.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-17-2013, 02:05 PM
ixsomerset ixsomerset is offline
Registered User
Location: California
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 68
Mein Auto: E93 (in transit)
I used to work for Dolby - and know a bit about audio - and I'm in exactly the same dilemma as you. I'm buying a 328i convertible - so not quite identical, but close. Today I just went in and compared the stock and HK stereos.

- the stock stereo is very decent indeed (compared to stock Honda)
- the HK goes louder and is slightly crisper/clearer
- however I have to say the bass was still not as impressive as the 240W system with subwoofer that came stock in my current Honda Civic Si. I don't think you're getting anything beyond midrange units and tweeters based on the HK spec.

My own verdict is that I am going to go with the stock stereo.

SURROUND

I can also speak to "surround sound" with authority on the topic - worked on that (as a marketer) at Dolby Laboratores. Almost 99.999% of music you buy / download / stream from services like Spotify is in stereo, period. There are some very few exceptions of genuine multichannel (multichannel=5.1 or more channels) and to play this back you need a special head unit seen only rarely in I believe Acuras that plays 5.1 channel audio DVDs (rarer than vinyl). So what you will get is "matrix surround" - the chip simulates putting things to the back and front based on guesswork - but don't be deluded that this is "how the musician intended", simply a computer simulation.

Based on consumer research and listening tests, the biggest improvement in perceived sound quality from technology comes not from surround (which can score the same or worse than stereo for many consumers as it is unfamiliar) but *dynamic equalization*. Switch this on and everything sounds much crisper and clearer (it goes to 11). This is where we saw scores really jump big time.

Dynamic equalization is like graphic equalization, only intelligent. It "smooths" audio to an optimal equalization curve. If at any moment there's enough bass at say 300 Hz to match the optimum it lays off (while a dumb graphic equalizer will still boost), same for other frequencies. If there's too little at say 10KHz it subtly boosts this until matches the optimum equalization curve.

The bad news is that dynamic equalization is not yet offered by Dolby for car stereos. There are a number of equivalents offered by Dolby's peers (Beats), but IMHO (and others) Dolby's is superior - or at least was 6 months ago.

The good news this Dolby dynamic equalization technology (Dolby Home Theater v4 and Dolby Advanced Audio) is starting to appear in devices such as smartphones and tablets, so you can pipe it in via your AUX IN. These Dolby "post processing" technologies also matrix upmix - but remember there's only a stereo in jack in most cars, and even with the USB you're not going to get 5.1 from your Android device to your car stereo, so any upmixing beyond stereo can only done by the car stereo itself.

One might also mention that iPhones already have some basic tuning and optimization - but we're not talking dynamic equalization.
__________________
328i convertible | Deep Sea Blue | Black / Dark Walnut

Last edited by ixsomerset; 01-17-2013 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Verdict added.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-23-2013, 12:25 PM
Nygel's Avatar
Nygel Nygel is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Baytown. TX
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 708
Mein Auto: BMW 750Li
Quote:
Originally Posted by ixsomerset View Post
I used to work for Dolby - and know a bit about audio - and I'm in exactly the same dilemma as you. I'm buying a 328i convertible - so not quite identical, but close. Today I just went in and compared the stock and HK stereos.

- the stock stereo is very decent indeed (compared to stock Honda)
- the HK goes louder and is slightly crisper/clearer
- however I have to say the bass was still not as impressive as the 240W system with subwoofer that came stock in my current Honda Civic Si. I don't think you're getting anything beyond midrange units and tweeters based on the HK spec.

My own verdict is that I am going to go with the stock stereo.

SURROUND

I can also speak to "surround sound" with authority on the topic - worked on that (as a marketer) at Dolby Laboratores. Almost 99.999% of music you buy / download / stream from services like Spotify is in stereo, period. There are some very few exceptions of genuine multichannel (multichannel=5.1 or more channels) and to play this back you need a special head unit seen only rarely in I believe Acuras that plays 5.1 channel audio DVDs (rarer than vinyl). So what you will get is "matrix surround" - the chip simulates putting things to the back and front based on guesswork - but don't be deluded that this is "how the musician intended", simply a computer simulation.

Based on consumer research and listening tests, the biggest improvement in perceived sound quality from technology comes not from surround (which can score the same or worse than stereo for many consumers as it is unfamiliar) but *dynamic equalization*. Switch this on and everything sounds much crisper and clearer (it goes to 11). This is where we saw scores really jump big time.

Dynamic equalization is like graphic equalization, only intelligent. It "smooths" audio to an optimal equalization curve. If at any moment there's enough bass at say 300 Hz to match the optimum it lays off (while a dumb graphic equalizer will still boost), same for other frequencies. If there's too little at say 10KHz it subtly boosts this until matches the optimum equalization curve.

The bad news is that dynamic equalization is not yet offered by Dolby for car stereos. There are a number of equivalents offered by Dolby's peers (Beats), but IMHO (and others) Dolby's is superior - or at least was 6 months ago.

The good news this Dolby dynamic equalization technology (Dolby Home Theater v4 and Dolby Advanced Audio) is starting to appear in devices such as smartphones and tablets, so you can pipe it in via your AUX IN. These Dolby "post processing" technologies also matrix upmix - but remember there's only a stereo in jack in most cars, and even with the USB you're not going to get 5.1 from your Android device to your car stereo, so any upmixing beyond stereo can only done by the car stereo itself.

One might also mention that iPhones already have some basic tuning and optimization - but we're not talking dynamic equalization.
recorded audio, is recorded in mono, for stero sound you get two tracks laid down that are idential except for a 1db increase on the Left. Thats how you get stero on cd's or even the FM transmission. If it were true stereo then if you only have one speaker on one channel then the only audio you will get is the audio thats "pan" to that side. Digital audio are being laid on top of analog cd's now due to the fact that some customers have digiatal playback devices which can take advantage of this but if you don't have the correct speaker placement then you are back to a regular analog playback.
Hope this helps
Nygel
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-24-2013, 10:11 PM
ixsomerset ixsomerset is offline
Registered User
Location: California
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 68
Mein Auto: E93 (in transit)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nygel View Post
recorded audio, is recorded in mono, for stereo sound you get two tracks laid down that are identical except for a 1db increase on the Left. That's how you get stero on cd's or even the FM transmission. If it were true stereo then if you only have one speaker on one channel then the only audio you will get is the audio thats "pan" to that side. Digital audio are being laid on top of analog cd's now due to the fact that some customers have digiatal playback devices which can take advantage of this but if you don't have the correct speaker placement then you are back to a regular analog playback.
Hope this helps
Nygel
Interesting, but that's not my understanding for digital music (perhaps it's true for radio). The stereo on a CD is multiplexed into a common data channel that's separated out int left and right stereo channels at playback, Source:

http://www.dilettantesdictionary.org...ial%20monaural

Streaming music services like Pandora and MOG use HE AAC v1 and v2 (= High Efficiency Advanced Audio Codec) so they can work at much lower bitrates than uncompressed CDs. iTunes downloads use AAC. (There's not much point using HE AAC unless you need to get under 128 kbps). In AAC and HE AAC v1 left and right channels use separate data streams. HE AAC v1 gives you good stereo quality down to about 48kbps.

The more recent HE AAC v2 achieves further compression by turning the left and right spacial information into metadata, so you have one single data channel (mono, if you will) and then metadata that tells the decoder how to spatially separate the data into left and right channels. This is called "parametric stereo". HE AAC v2 is only starting to get adopted. You can get very very good stereo audio quality down to about 32kbps with v2. If you play a track in HE AAC v2 through a phone or with only a HE AAC v1 compatible player you'll just get mono. Apple, Samsung and other handset makers have now adopted HE AAC v2 compatible decoders.

Source:
http://mp3.about.com/od/glossary/g/H...Aac-Format.htm
__________________
328i convertible | Deep Sea Blue | Black / Dark Walnut
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-17-2013, 02:28 PM
ixsomerset ixsomerset is offline
Registered User
Location: California
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 68
Mein Auto: E93 (in transit)
Quote:
Originally Posted by V1NC3 View Post
I also saw something saying that surround sound is worst for your hearing. Can I get some clarification on that?
I have never heard this. The perception of surround occurs by the distortion caused by the shape of your ear - the brain can identify sounds coming from behind by the "distortion" created by the sound flowing around the back of your ear.
__________________
328i convertible | Deep Sea Blue | Black / Dark Walnut
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-17-2013, 05:38 PM
ixsomerset ixsomerset is offline
Registered User
Location: California
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 68
Mein Auto: E93 (in transit)
I stand corrected that there are "woofers"... but no "subwoofer". Bass was OK, but not great (even with the HK you'd want an aftermarket subwoofer if this is something you care about):

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/arc.../t-600337.html
__________________
328i convertible | Deep Sea Blue | Black / Dark Walnut
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-09-2013, 04:43 PM
mofunk mofunk is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Virginia
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 199
Mein Auto: 2004 325ci
I test drove a couple 3 series. and I noticed the best sound was with HK in a vert. Basically you get more music and less outside noise.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > The Best of Bimmerfest! > Car Navigation, Audio & Electronics sponsored by BimmerTech
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2011 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms