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X3 F25 (2011 - current)
The latest X3 brings some added style and some new features to the BMW SUV family. Talk about the new F25 now!

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  #1  
Old 09-17-2013, 09:07 PM
Masterx5 Masterx5 is offline
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subjective topic .....premium sound question

Read couple of older post about how premium is so-so compared to HK/B&O etc. I do feel that the premium sound is just OK and the sound from Audi Q5 (that I test drove 9 months ago) with B&O system got imprinted in my ears as that was the best that I had heard....so clear and crisp base. Makes me wonder why was F25 not fitted with at least HK?
Do we know which company made this premium sound?
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2013, 09:06 PM
Bmwlvr60 Bmwlvr60 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterx5 View Post
Read couple of older post about how premium is so-so compared to HK/B&O etc. I do feel that the premium sound is just OK and the sound from Audi Q5 (that I test drove 9 months ago) with B&O system got imprinted in my ears as that was the best that I had heard....so clear and crisp base. Makes me wonder why was F25 not fitted with at least HK?
Do we know which company made this premium sound?
Premium Sound is H-K system.

3 tiers of sound:

Standard< H-K; also known as Premium Sound < B&O is top sound system.
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  #3  
Old 09-24-2013, 05:52 AM
Snowman73 Snowman73 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmwlvr60 View Post
Premium Sound is H-K system.

3 tiers of sound:

Standard< H-K; also known as Premium Sound < B&O is top sound system.
I have the Euro version of the Professional sound system which is B&O but ours comes with DIRAC sound technology and its way better than anything I have heard in an Audi. I am told (as it is stated on other threads) that the professional sound in the US without DIRAC is not as impressive.
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2013, 06:55 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Originally Posted by Snowman73 View Post
I have the Euro version of the Professional sound system which is B&O but ours comes with DIRAC sound technology and its way better than anything I have heard in an Audi. I am told (as it is stated on other threads) that the professional sound in the US without DIRAC is not as impressive.
Hmmm, I think the B&O in this Audi sounds a bit better than your's.

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  #5  
Old 09-24-2013, 05:42 PM
RRZ RRZ is offline
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I have the US premium sound on the X3 and it does not impress. I can't even imagine how much the regular one must suck.
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  #6  
Old 09-24-2013, 06:42 PM
Bmwlvr60 Bmwlvr60 is offline
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Originally Posted by RRZ View Post
I have the US premium sound on the X3 and it does not impress. I can't even imagine how much the regular one must suck.
If you listen to XM Sirius it sucks, not if you listen to copied high quality CD's to the hard drive.
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  #7  
Old 09-24-2013, 09:15 PM
Masterx5 Masterx5 is offline
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There is certainly something amiss in this premium sound - I am not an audiophile but it lacks that crisp audio quality. Cd are definitely better.
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  #8  
Old 09-25-2013, 07:14 AM
RRZ RRZ is offline
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I think the problem is in the speakers. It's my understanding that they use very low end paper speakers that just don't deliver great sound. I haven't considered putting third party speakers in, but if BMW had offered a really nice sounding option, I would have paid the extra $2k more for it. As it was, I don't really mind that I spent the $875 for the "premium" sound system, because if it sounded any worse I would be pulling my hair out during my long commute....but it seems like $875 is overpriced for the quality of the upgrade.

My Lexus GX-470 has a Mark Levinson system in it and a used replacement amp alone cost me $800...I think the initial option price on that system was $3.5k.
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2013, 07:17 AM
Masterx5 Masterx5 is offline
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I am driving a rental 2013 328xi. It has regular sound and it seems to be better than my 2011 x3 premium sound. Seems to have a crisp and tight bass. I am confused. Anyone on this?
Should I ask the dealer to look at it or will I be laughed at ***128512;
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  #10  
Old 09-25-2013, 07:33 AM
RhoXS RhoXS is offline
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Originally Posted by RRZ View Post
I have the US premium sound on the X3 and it does not impress. I can't even imagine how much the regular one must suck.
My thoughts exactly.

I have a 2011 CPO. The bozo that originally ordered my car spent a lot of money for the worthless premium sound system (IMO) yet did not order a rear view camera.
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2013, 07:50 AM
Bmwlvr60 Bmwlvr60 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRZ View Post
I think the problem is in the speakers. It's my understanding that they use very low end paper speakers that just don't deliver great sound. I haven't considered putting third party speakers in, but if BMW had offered a really nice sounding option, I would have paid the extra $2k more for it. As it was, I don't really mind that I spent the $875 for the "premium" sound system, because if it sounded any worse I would be pulling my hair out during my long commute....but it seems like $875 is overpriced for the quality of the upgrade.

My Lexus GX-470 has a Mark Levinson system in it and a used replacement amp alone cost me $800...I think the initial option price on that system was $3.5k.


Now I understand why you don't like the H-K sound system. The Lexus ML system is one of the best from the factory car sound systems on the market- and it's not a $875 upgrade; it's much more. You should have your local after market installer redo your system.

Everything's relative. Those coming from B&O sound systems may be disappointed also- this is a $3700 or so upgrade. My Acura RL Bose 5.1 surround with DVD-A is certainly better than the X3 H-K- but only marginally better.
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Last edited by Bmwlvr60; 09-26-2013 at 08:12 AM.
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  #12  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:16 AM
dudley07726 dudley07726 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmwlvr60 View Post
Now I understand why you don't like the H-K sound system. .
The HK system in my 2013 MB E350 Cab is so much better than the one in my 2013 X3.
It's fantastic. I do not have the upgraded sound sytem in my X3. The one that came in the MB is the Logic 7 system. From my readings, it seems that it's better than the upgraded system in the BMW as well.

http://mercedes.harmankardon.com/en/...nvertible.aspx
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  #13  
Old 09-25-2013, 01:44 PM
Masterx5 Masterx5 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bmwlvr60 View Post
Now I understand why you don't like the H-K sound system. The Lexus ML system is one of the best from the factory car sound systems on the market- and it's not a $875 upgrade; it's much more. You should have your local after market installer redo your system.

Everything's irelative. Those coming from B&O sound systems may be disappointed also- this is a $3700 or so upgrade. My Acura RL Bose 5.1 surround with DVD-A is certainly better than the X3 H-K- but only marginally better.
I came off 2013 RDX and it had premium sound for DVD-a. It never impressed me though. I find X3 to have a tiny bit better.
So we all realize how subjective this is
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  #14  
Old 09-25-2013, 01:49 PM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dudley07726 View Post
The HK system in my 2013 MB E350 Cab is so much better than the one in my 2013 X3.
It's fantastic. I do not have the upgraded sound sytem in my X3. The one that came in the MB is the Logic 7 system. From my readings, it seems that it's better than the upgraded system in the BMW as well.

http://mercedes.harmankardon.com/en/...nvertible.aspx
Just to be fair, the E class is one step above the X3. If you compare the E-class' premium sound to the 5 series', I think the 5 series is a bit better.
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  #15  
Old 09-25-2013, 01:50 PM
dudley07726 dudley07726 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bmwlvr60 View Post
Now I understand why you don't like the H-K sound system. The Lexus ML system is one of the best from the factory car sound systems on the market- and it's not a $875 upgrade; it's much more. You should have your local after market installer redo your system.

Everything's irelative. Those coming from B&O sound systems may be disappointed also- this is a $3700 or so upgrade. My Acura RL Bose 5.1 surround with DVD-A is certainly better than the X3 H-K- but only marginally better.
I had the ML in my 2006 Lexus SC 430. I thought it was ok and nothing special. The speakers were paper cones and many people on the Lexus forums complained about them. The head unit was fantastic terms of build quality. Beautifully machined like a Rolex.
The HK unit in my 2013 MB E350 Cab is much better than my Lexus ML in terms of sound quality. Plus it plays DVD-A's in stereo and true 5.1 (if the source should be in that format).
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  #16  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:23 PM
Bmwlvr60 Bmwlvr60 is offline
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Originally Posted by dudley07726 View Post
I had the ML in my 2006 Lexus SC 430. I thought it was ok and nothing special. The speakers were paper cones and many people on the Lexus forums complained about them. The head unit was fantastic terms of build quality. Beautifully machined like a Rolex.
The HK unit in my 2013 MB E350 Cab is much better than my Lexus ML in terms of sound quality. Plus it plays DVD-A's in stereo and true 5.1 (if the source should be in that format).
Okay, but you're not driving around in the best handling SUV on the market. The MB E350 is a couch on wheels. The X3 out handles and performs it.

The 5 Series which it truly competes with in class, perform and handles circles around it. I took the E out for several test drives and wasn't even marginally impressed by its performance. I will say that it's attractive and I do feel the quality of materials used in the E is nice. But, we're in a BMW forum and folks here care more about the fun to drive factor than I want to sit in my Lazy Boy lounge chair.

Oh, but we were talking about sound systems. If one is a true audible one would either buy the X3 with a standard stereo and upgrade it through an outside custom installer.

Or, buy an X5 and get the B&O upgraded system.
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Last edited by Bmwlvr60; 09-26-2013 at 08:15 AM.
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  #17  
Old 09-26-2013, 06:29 AM
RRZ RRZ is offline
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I think the reason I "sense" that the premium hi fi in the 2013 X3 is crappy is that it sounds like it's missing the lower half of the sound spectrum. I'm not talking subwoofer lows, but rather whatever a bass driver or woofer might put out. So although the sound generally is crisp and clear, it sounds similar to what you might expect out of small portable speakers you might attach to your ipod or your desktop computer.

It doesn't sound bad, it just sounds incomplete. And although you can turn up the bass and lower frequencies via the equalizer, the incomplete portion of the bass spectrum just gets louder, emphasizing the fact that your channeling all those nice watts through small speakers.

I'm curious what someone with testing equipment finds when they analyze the sound in an X3.

It's really too bad they didn't use speakers that could provide a more balanced sound in the lower spectrum, given that an SUV has lots of room under seats or in the rear portion of the car ....I can't imagine it was a space issue, but rather a design issue.
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  #18  
Old 09-26-2013, 06:33 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dudley07726 View Post
I had the ML in my 2006 Lexus SC 430. I thought it was ok and nothing special. The speakers were paper cones and many people on the Lexus forums complained about them. The head unit was fantastic terms of build quality. Beautifully machined like a Rolex.
The HK unit in my 2013 MB E350 Cab is much better than my Lexus ML in terms of sound quality. Plus it plays DVD-A's in stereo and true 5.1 (if the source should be in that format).
I do not believe the Lexus SC430 had the ML referece series, which is only found in the LX and the LS models.
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  #19  
Old 09-26-2013, 07:02 AM
dudley07726 dudley07726 is offline
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Originally Posted by The X Men View Post
I do not believe the Lexus SC430 had the ML referece series, which is only found in the LX and the LS models.
Well it was definitely a ML system. That's for sure. And what ever speakers they used in the SC 430, many have complained (on the Lexus forums) about their quality.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:12 AM
dudley07726 dudley07726 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bmwlvr60 View Post
Okay, but you're not driving around in the best handling SUV on the market. The MB E350 is a couch on wheels. The X3 out handles and performs it.

The 5 Series which it truly competes with in class, perform and handles circles around it. I took the E put for several test drives and wasn't even marginally impressed by its performance. I will say that it's attractive and I do feel the quality of materials used in the E is nice. But, we're in BMW forum and folks here care more about the fun to drive factor than I want to sit in my Lazy Boy lounge chair.

Oh, but we were talking about sound systems. If one is a true audible one would either buy the X3 with a standard stereo and upgrade it through an outside custom installer.

Or, buy an X5 and get the B&O upgraded system.
Don't get offended. I'm not anti BMW. I love my 2012 X3. Yes, it's a great and fun driving SUV. I just see from this forum that many are disappointed in the quality of the stereo whether it is the regular version (like mine) or the premium version. I think some were implying that it might be because it's a Harmon Kardon as opposed to a B&O. I was just pointing out that the HK in my MB was fantastic. What I was saying had nothing to do with how it drives when compared to my MB. I do not even know why you would bring that up. The one real niggle that I have with the BMW is its lousy NAV.
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  #21  
Old 09-26-2013, 07:54 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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Originally Posted by dudley07726 View Post
Well it was definitely a ML system. That's for sure. And what ever speakers they used in the SC 430, many have complained (on the Lexus forums) about their quality.
This is the ML reference system that is offer in the LS and the LX, it sounds much better than the rest of the ML system in the Lexus lineup.

http://www.marklevinson.com/Info/Story/49
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  #22  
Old 09-26-2013, 08:26 AM
Bmwlvr60 Bmwlvr60 is offline
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Originally Posted by dudley07726 View Post
Don't get offended. I'm not anti BMW. I love my 2012 X3. Yes, it's a great and fun driving SUV. I just see from this forum that many are disappointed in the quality of the stereo whether it is the regular version (like mine) or the premium version. I think some were implying that it might be because it's a Harmon Kardon as opposed to a B&O. I was just pointing out that the HK in my MB was fantastic. What I was saying had nothing to do with how it drives when compared to my MB. I do not even know why you would bring that up. The one real niggle that I have with the BMW is its lousy NAV.
Agree about the mediocre NAV. The Germans should use whoever Acura uses in it's MDX and RL models. Totally intuitive and fantastic on the fly system.

I will say that when I took the JD Power survey after purchasing my X3 I blasted BMW for their inferior NAV. I know that many others have done the same. I also know that the 2014 NAV in many Bimmers is better than the 2013. Hopefully the NAV keeps improving. Reliability and NAV are really my only 2 major complaints about the BMW brand.

As previously stated, I like the H-K sound system when I'm listening to high quality CD's or CD's I've copied onto the X3's hard drive. I still am wondering if people here are using inferior source materials: XM/Sirius, iPod, iPhone, internet recordings, poor quality CD recordings- Garbage in begets garbage out.
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Last edited by Bmwlvr60; 09-26-2013 at 08:27 AM.
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  #23  
Old 09-26-2013, 08:50 AM
dudley07726 dudley07726 is offline
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Originally Posted by Bmwlvr60 View Post
Agree about the mediocre NAV. The Germans should use whoever Acura uses in it's MDX and RL models. Totally intuitive and fantastic on the fly system.

I will say that when I took the JD Power survey after purchasing my X3 I blasted BMW for their inferior NAV. I know that many others have done the same. I also know that the 2014 NAV in many Bimmers is better than the 2013. Hopefully the NAV keeps improving. Reliability and NAV are really my only 2 major complaints about the BMW brand.

As previously stated, I like the H-K sound system when I'm listening to high quality CD's or CD's I've copied onto the X3's hard drive. I still am wondering if people here are using inferior source materials: XM/Sirius, iPod, iPhone, internet recordings, poor quality CD recordings- Garbage in begets garbage out.
I am hesitant to bring it up again (I don't want to get you too excited) but I am extremely happy with the NAV in my 2013 MB E350 Cab. Fantastic. I am especially impressed by the voice control. In the Lexus or my BMW, you sort of need to know and memorize the vocabulary. In the MB, once you hit the voice control button, the screen lists terms you may use without having to memorize it's vocabulary. The map shows a few exits in advance, splits when needed and has never positioned me the incorrect place like the BMW has. The cars knows it's exact position right from the start up as opposed to the BMW whereby it could have me driving on an incorrect street or even a lake for the first couple of minutes until it locks in with the satellite. The MB, Lexus, or even the Honda NAV always locked it with the satellite from the moment it turns on.
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  #24  
Old 09-26-2013, 02:07 PM
Snowman73 Snowman73 is offline
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Originally Posted by The X Men View Post
Hmmm, I think the B&O in this Audi sounds a bit better than your's.

Maybe so and then again maybe not. Its all down to opinion really and I do laugh when I read all of your comments. Not one of you have heard the Euro version with DIRAC - it is a completely different system as they point the speakers in different directions. You can only go on what you have heard.

At the end of the day - its my opinion although I will say this. I did have the top of the range Harmon Kardon in my 330d (2003) and that system was superb (its been mentioned on other threads). My DIRAC Professional system is better and has a couple of hundred more watts - very bassy and if you turn it up loud - no distortion.

But hey - what do I know - oh yes - forgot to say - I am principal oboist of Peterborough symphony orchestra - been a musician for 30 years

BTW over here we pay $1300 on top of standard so that must be down to hardware.
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  #25  
Old 09-26-2013, 03:03 PM
MetaX MetaX is offline
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Originally Posted by dudley07726 View Post
I am hesitant to bring it up again (I don't want to get you too excited) but I am extremely happy with the NAV in my 2013 MB E350 Cab. Fantastic. I am especially impressed by the voice control. In the Lexus or my BMW, you sort of need to know and memorize the vocabulary. In the MB, once you hit the voice control button, the screen lists terms you may use without having to memorize it's vocabulary. The map shows a few exits in advance, splits when needed and has never positioned me the incorrect place like the BMW has. The cars knows it's exact position right from the start up as opposed to the BMW whereby it could have me driving on an incorrect street or even a lake for the first couple of minutes until it locks in with the satellite. The MB, Lexus, or even the Honda NAV always locked it with the satellite from the moment it turns on.
It sounds like MB's nav is very much like Audi's latest MMI nav. I always choke back a sob of envy whenever I drive my girlfriend's '12 A6 because MMI is superior in so many ways (SiriusXM traffic vs. FM, tree-based music library navigation vs. search-based, exit info including restaurants + services--to name a few).

Not really related, but I was (guiltily somewhat pleasantly) surprised that the latest 3-series loaner I drove was still using the same generation of nav as my '12 X3. I thought that the latest model years had a newer version?

...and getting back on topic, I guess I'm one of those people that are totally satisfied with the sound quality of the Premium system. Its not the best I've heard but it definitely is better than I had expected by a large margin. That said, I'm still waiting on BSW to produce an upgrade kit for the F25 (why did they bother to list the F25 X3 on their site when they have a blank product page?)...
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