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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-13-2005, 04:57 PM
billy mo billy mo is offline
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5 Series HK vs. 3 Series HK

Can anyone tell me why my buddies HK Sound System in their 2000 and 2003 540i sound so much better than my 2003 330i HK System? The difference is extremely noticable. Mine seems to have too much mid that I can't seem to eq right.
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2005, 05:04 PM
philippek philippek is offline
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Even the non-DSP E39 sounds better than my HK, IMO
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2005, 05:48 PM
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Matthew330Ci Matthew330Ci is offline
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the hk in the e46 is utter, pure, complete CRAP
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  #4  
Old 02-13-2005, 05:52 PM
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FenPhen FenPhen is offline
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Lately, I've wondered what it would be like if you had someone who liked their 3's HK system and someone that hates their 3's HK system sat in each others' cars with familiar source material and just did an A/B compare. I suspect there are good and bad batches of HK systems.

I've spent some time in my father's 2003 non-DSP E39, and I definitely think my sound system is better (especially the bass response, since the HK has subwoofers).

In my car, I tweaked the treble between center and max, and the bass one notch below center.
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  #5  
Old 02-13-2005, 06:29 PM
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BahnBaum BahnBaum is offline
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I'm happy with my HK. But I'm no trunk-thumping, vehicle-vibrating, public-pulsing, kinda audio guy.

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  #6  
Old 02-13-2005, 06:50 PM
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This doesn't answer the question specifically, but I can definitely say that my wife's X5, which has 5-series level trim/option, that her base level stereo is far better than the e46 base stereo. Makes sense, I guess, based on the price of the cars...
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  #7  
Old 02-13-2005, 06:55 PM
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I had the Nav/DSP sound system in my X5, and I think it's unbelievably better than the HK in my 330... When I first listened to the HK, it honestly felt like I had cotton stuffed in my ears. That's the best way I can describe it.
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2005, 11:40 PM
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mkh mkh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FenPhen
Lately, I've wondered what it would be like if you had someone who liked their 3's HK system and someone that hates their 3's HK system sat in each others' cars with familiar source material and just did an A/B compare. I suspect there are good and bad batches of HK systems.
There are no good and bad batches but each individual has his own definition. Tell me what do you mean by good or bad? Even if sitting in your car and you think it sounds very good, I can say it's crap. What if I say I like the bass to be heard 3 blocks away and the highs has to be ear-spiltting. (Have you ever gone to a car audio exhibit show? You should know what I mean.) If your system doesn't deliver that kind of sound, then it's crap. When you sit in my car and I show you how I interpret my definition of "good", then you might disagree and say mine is awful. So who is right and who is wrong?

Last edited by mkh; 02-14-2005 at 12:07 AM.
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  #9  
Old 02-14-2005, 12:42 AM
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FenPhen FenPhen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkh
There are no good and bad batches but each individual has his own definition. Tell me what do you mean by good or bad?
I simply meant good and bad batches of a mass-produced system. For example, my 330i ZHP has not been cursed with the stalling/rough-idle problem (good).

But yes, people's ears are different as they age, but some things you can quantify with frequency response measurement, and some qualitative things you can quantify with A/B comparison tests.

In this case, find a Person A that likes their E46 sedan HK system and a Person B that doesn't like their E46 sedan HK system (or use coupe owners instead):
  • Have Person A pick a CD Source A he thinks best exhibits the good qualities of his Car A's HK system. Have Person B pick a CD Source B he thinks best exhibits the bad qualities of his Car B's HK system.
  • Have Person A familiarize himself with Sources A and B in Car A, using whatever bass/treble/DSP settings he likes, and have Person B do the same with Sources A and B in Car B.
  • See what they think about the new Source they're listening to in their own car.
  • Swap cars.
  • Have each Person play both Sources, see what they think.
  • Then let each adjust the bass/treble/DSP settings to what they prefer. See what they think.
You'll know whether it's a difference of perception or if it's a difference in quality between cars.

Hypothesis to disprove: Person A finds Sources A and B to sound appealing in both Cars, and Person B finds Sources A and B unappealing in both Cars.
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  #10  
Old 02-14-2005, 01:06 AM
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Bob Clevenger Bob Clevenger is offline
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Well, I'm in the group with BahnBaum. I don't like either bass or treble to dominate the music (unless the original music was recorded that way). I don't want to have it so loud that it entertains (or annoys) people a block away.
I have found that every time I get a new car I discover new nouances in my music. I detect lyrics that I never heard before on the same CD. Seems to me that each new system is getting better than the last. Of course many will say: "It's got no [fill in the blank] at all. It SUCKS!." That is their perogative.
I want my music to sound as close to the original performance as I can, excepting for volume -- the Grateful Dead's "wall of sound" would just be TOO loud in a car -- and I happen to run the HK system in my 325xiT dead flat -- everything at centre --- and it sounds just fine to me. It might not to you, but as Bob Dylan once said: "You are right from your side and I am right from mine..."
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  #11  
Old 02-13-2005, 08:30 PM
tsbrown tsbrown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philippek
Even the non-DSP E39 sounds better than my HK, IMO


I definitely noticed a difference from my old E39 non-DSP to the E46 with HK. I had to crank up the treble and cut back on the bass on the HK to make it sound reasonable...it sounded so muffled before. Then I transplanted the amp and 10" sub from the E39 and it sounds about on par with the old system. The HK subs just aren't enough...I guess the Germans only like very tight bass, nothing too overpowering . One thing I do notice is that I hear some more background detail in the music from the HK system over the E39 non-DSP....some of my old CDs sound almost new again.
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2005, 08:41 PM
jetstream23 jetstream23 is offline
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Just because everyone else is telling......+1 Bass, +2 Treble.

Is it possible that the HK has been improved somewhat in each new year? I hear far fewer complaints about the 2005's than the previous years and as I mentioned, I think the HK in my '05 330i is pretty good.
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  #13  
Old 02-13-2005, 09:20 PM
tsbrown tsbrown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetstream23
Just because everyone else is telling......+1 Bass, +2 Treble.

Is it possible that the HK has been improved somewhat in each new year? I hear far fewer complaints about the 2005's than the previous years and as I mentioned, I think the HK in my '05 330i is pretty good.
Doubt it...there are just fewer '05s out vs prior years. Mine is '05 from Aug 2004 build, set at -1 Bass, +5 Treble (or whatever is 1 off the max). What sounds good to one person, may not to another. If yours sounds good to you, isn't that what's important? Mine doesn't sound bad to me, just not like the Mark Levinson system in my in-laws' Toyota, er, Lesux LS430 (and I don't use the "spacial-enhance" feature).
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Last edited by tsbrown; 02-13-2005 at 09:24 PM.
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  #14  
Old 02-13-2005, 09:23 PM
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JAWJr JAWJr is offline
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I'll join in- I think my HK is pretty decent. I still think there's still something missing though, but can't put my finger on it. For the record, I've always had the treble maxed out and the bass max - 2. That's the only setting that's sounded decent for me

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  #15  
Old 02-13-2005, 09:28 PM
allaboutme allaboutme is offline
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There's just not much to do to overcome the shortfalls of the HK system. The use of paper cones, head amp, and the trunk amp just don't cut it. Has anyone even seen how small the amplifier is in the back?

Hmms.. Yeah.. I wish the system sounded like a Mark Levinson.. After all, Mark Levinson is part of the Harmon Kardon Specialty group... But the system is fine for the car.

Last edited by allaboutme; 02-13-2005 at 09:33 PM.
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