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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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  #1  
Old 06-06-2011, 12:53 PM
brettnyc brettnyc is offline
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Premium Sound System

Just ordered a 2012 x5 sport. Wanted to get some feedback on the optional premium sound system. Is it worth the added cost?
Thanks,
Brett
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2011, 01:19 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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The important question is "How bad is the base sound system?" It was pretty dreadful in 2011. There have been unconfirmed reports that the base system has been upgraded for 2012. The only way to know for sure is to test drive 2012's with both the base system and the Premium Sound.
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  #3  
Old 06-06-2011, 02:23 PM
marauder73 marauder73 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
The important question is "How bad is the base sound system?" It was pretty dreadful in 2011. There have been unconfirmed reports that the base system has been upgraded for 2012. The only way to know for sure is to test drive 2012's with both the base system and the Premium Sound.
Confirmed! The 2012 Base system now has 10 speakers, including 2 subs under front seats. 200w 7 channel amp. Sounds 100% better than 2011 and earlier base systems. Go listen to a Base system first before you shell out the bucks for the new Premium upgrade. The new system is very nice, but not worth the extra $. If money is no object, sure, why not.
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  #4  
Old 06-06-2011, 04:05 PM
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ahimanic ahimanic is offline
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The base system in my 2012 35i Premium is pretty decent, the bass is fairly strong although a bit boomy and not that tight. It only has treble and bass control and no equalizer. As such, when you crank up those 2 tones to get more punch out of the system the mid range and vocal will suffer. Basically you'll play with the tone controls until you find the best compromise for your music. There is a USB port in the glove box where you can import many CD's into the stereo (no changer) but the codes will always be compressed.

It's noticeably better than the 2011 35d base system I heard at the dealer, better than the 2008 535i base I had but not as good my brother's 2008 premium Logic 7 in his 335i.

I would say it is good enough for most people unless you are discerning with auto sound. I'm a bit of an audiophile with home systems and the 2012 base is decent enough for me where I don't regret my decision everytime I listen to it. If the choice was 35d base vs premium then I'd have gone for the premium.

I've came to term with that fact that no matter how good the auto system is it will never come close to a good home system in sound stage, imaging and details. Also, it's a lease for me. If I purchased the car for long term I think I'd go for the premium sound.

I did listen to a 2011 35i with premium sound at the dealer. The extra few hundred Watts and the equalizer do make a notable difference compared to my base system although it wasn't night and day. It didn't make me jump out of my seat and say "Wow, I have to get this."

Hope the above points of reference help but it's still my ears not yours. Everyone has a different degree of demand for their music and tolerance for imperfection.
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  #5  
Old 06-06-2011, 04:27 PM
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eldorado01 eldorado01 is offline
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The base system on a 2011 sounded like garbage to me. I ordered Premium.
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  #6  
Old 06-06-2011, 08:24 PM
brettnyc brettnyc is offline
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Thanks for all your input. i heard the base system in a 2012 and it sounded very nice. But i ultimately went for the premium since it didn't make a large difference in the payment. It also included 1 year of satellite radio. But i have still never actually heard a premium system.
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2011, 09:03 PM
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ahimanic ahimanic is offline
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If you like the 2012 base then I'm sure you'll like the premium even more. Come back and let us know how the 2 compare for you.
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  #8  
Old 06-06-2011, 10:12 PM
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Stussy109 Stussy109 is offline
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sounds like sheet until you tweak the equalizer in the C shape as was shown in a previous threade, then it sounds pretty good.
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2011, 03:06 AM
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eldorado01 eldorado01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stussy109 View Post
sounds like sheet until you tweak the equalizer in the C shape as was shown in a previous threade, then it sounds pretty good.
Could you post a link to the previous link, please?
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  #10  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:29 AM
joseph_c_chan joseph_c_chan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marauder73 View Post
Confirmed! The 2012 Base system now has 10 speakers, including 2 subs under front seats. 200w 7 channel amp. Sounds 100% better than 2011 and earlier base systems. Go listen to a Base system first before you shell out the bucks for the new Premium upgrade. The new system is very nice, but not worth the extra $. If money is no object, sure, why not.
I could've sworn the 2011 35i Base had the same audio specs (i.e., 10 high fidelity speakers, two subs, 200w 7 channel amp)?? Am I wrong?
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  #11  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:24 AM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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We really need someone with a sound pressure meter (or whatever the proper term is) to determine the proper EQ settings for flat response. I doubt it is as simple as a "C" shape. Ideally there would be two profiles: 1 with the sunroof shade fully closed, the other with the glass exposed. I bet the freq response curve is radically different.

Any audiophiles out there with the gear and the time?

Sent from my HTC Inspire using BimmerApp
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  #12  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:29 AM
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chiefneil chiefneil is offline
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I just ordered a 2012 35i Premium with the premium sound (it's currently in production status). I didn't bother to compare versus the standard audio. On a test drive it sounded fine but not outstanding - the EQ was all over the place from someone else's tweaks, so I just set everything to neutral for the test drive. I'm sure with a bit of tweaking it'll sound much better, although I do have an ingrained distrust of equalizers, being somewhat of an audiophile at home like ahimanic.

Once I've had it for a few weeks I'll try to come back here with a review.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:31 AM
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chiefneil chiefneil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
We really need someone with a sound pressure meter (or whatever the proper term is) to determine the proper EQ settings for flat response. I doubt it is as simple as a "C" shape. Ideally there would be two profiles: 1 with the sunroof shade fully closed, the other with the glass exposed. I bet the freq response curve is radically different.

Any audiophiles out there with the gear and the time?

Sent from my HTC Inspire using BimmerApp
Hmm, I do have a radio shack SPL meter I use for setting up delay and volume for my surround sound at home. I've used it twice in the last 14 years

I'm not sure how to go about using it to set EQ in the way you're describing. Is it a more sophisticated meter that would be needed?
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  #14  
Old 06-07-2011, 04:12 PM
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eldorado01 eldorado01 is offline
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As little as I know, and I'm sure I'll be quacked if I'm wrong, a sound pressure meter is used to verify that all speakers in a system are playing at the same level, 85dB to comply with Dolby requirements, not to help set up an equalizer.

My X5 2012 35i premium with premium sound is presently riding north on 95 on Billy Bob's truck and should be here by Friday. So it would be nice to know if there are any known equalizer settings that can optimize the sound from it.

I wonder if the color of the upholstery makes a difference. Also, the size of the butt sitting on the subwoofer...
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  #15  
Old 06-07-2011, 04:36 PM
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ahimanic ahimanic is offline
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LOL, yes. Equalizer would be sacrilegious for a respectable home system. Or even messing with tone control for that matter. But with car audio, we take what we can get to make the horrible listening space and positions the best we can.

It would be impossible to tune the stereo to optimize for the listening space, at least not with this system. Our ears are going to be our best tool - tweak the equalizer settings until it sounds good to you with the music you're listening to. Lots of people set the high frequencies high up in the scale, the mid frequencies kind of flat close to neutral, and the low frequencies high up in the scale similar to the high frequency settings. So if you look at the knobs in a horizontal line they form the shape of a "V", "U" or a blend of the two. If you flip that vertically then it looks like the "C" that people are talking about.

The ideal car audio system would be using headphones instead of speakers so you can eliminate the space problem, but that ain't gona end up well!
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  #16  
Old 06-08-2011, 07:48 AM
Surfrider Surfrider is offline
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If you had a CD with a bunch of test tones at various frequencies, you could use the SPL meter to make sure there are not significant dips at different frequencies and use the EQ to boost / supress where needed. Generally speaking though, an SPL meter will just tell you how "loud" the output of the source material is.
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  #17  
Old 06-08-2011, 09:15 AM
335i 335i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfrider View Post
If you had a CD with a bunch of test tones at various frequencies, you could use the SPL meter to make sure there are not significant dips at different frequencies and use the EQ to boost / supress where needed. Generally speaking though, an SPL meter will just tell you how "loud" the output of the source material is.
This sounds like a weekend project for me - I think I have a test CD around somewhere..
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  #18  
Old 06-08-2011, 02:54 PM
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Jim E. Jim E. is offline
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This sounds like a weekend project for me - I think I have a test CD around somewhere..
I've posted this before in another thread.

http://www.rivesaudio.com/software/softframes.html
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  #19  
Old 06-10-2011, 06:54 AM
o_steve o_steve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eldorado01 View Post
Could you post a link to the previous link, please?
I am convinced that the speakers have a "break in" period as i seem to remember my last X5 with premium sound improving over time.

I found this post with these setting to be very useful for the EQ:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?p=5603686
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  #20  
Old 06-11-2011, 10:30 PM
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the kidd the kidd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quackbury View Post
We really need someone with a sound pressure meter (or whatever the proper term is) to determine the proper EQ settings for flat response. I doubt it is as simple as a "C" shape. Ideally there would be two profiles: 1 with the sunroof shade fully closed, the other with the glass exposed. I bet the freq response curve is radically different.

Any audiophiles out there with the gear and the time?

Sent from my HTC Inspire using BimmerApp
i have the premium sound in my 2011, and most of the settings are cranked up with surround on. Not really in that C shape that everyone describes. I am constantly trying to find the "best" settings. I usually do this with the windows closed and keep the settings the same when the windows are open. The settings that I am mostly adjusting are the two bass settings (1st and 2nd line) depending on music genre. It would be great if there was a preferred setting, similar to when plasma TV's first came out. You could go to plasmatvsettings.com and get the best setting for your set. Too bad there wasn't a bmwpremiumsoundeq.com
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  #21  
Old 07-01-2011, 03:16 PM
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eldorado01 eldorado01 is offline
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I got the Rives audio CD with test tones today. I'm going back out tomorrow morning with the Radio Shack SPL and try again to calibrate my X5 sound system.
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  #22  
Old 07-01-2011, 06:27 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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Originally Posted by eldorado01 View Post
I got the Rives audio CD with test tones today. I'm going back out tomorrow morning with the Radio Shack SPL and try again to calibrate my X5 sound system.
Outstanding! Looking forward to the results.
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  #23  
Old 07-02-2011, 08:59 AM
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eldorado01 eldorado01 is offline
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Here's what I found and the results are surprising.

I set the bass and treble to 0 or the midline and turned the surround off.
I followed the instructions on the CD and set the Radio Shack SPL meter to 80dB, placed the Rives CD on the player and went to the tracks specifically calibrated for the meter. I played the 1 KHz tone and turned the volume up until it went steady to 80 dB. Then I calibrated all the other bands as close to a flat 80 dB as I could. Here's what I got:

100 Hz : -10 (all the way left)
200 Hz: -10
500Hz : -9
1 KHz: +2
2 KHz: -3
5KHz: -10
10 KHz: +9

No C, V, or any other curve shape to be seen.

Then I played the track that I consider my personal best test: Hotel California Live from the Hell Freezes Over CD. It has a nice guitar solo to start, booming clean bass and the shrilling vocals of Don Henley. Now the guitar is clean, the bass is solid without that muddy shakiness of before and the vocals don't come out hollow. It's not perfect, but a very significant improvement. My speakers are fairly new, about 400 miles of use, so I will retest after a few weeks to recalibrate if necessary. And the same track from the iPod is now almost indistinguishable from the CD. I can play the music louder that before without distortion bothering me.

I'm surprised with the results, but my ears are happier.
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  #24  
Old 07-02-2011, 10:28 AM
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eldorado01 eldorado01 is offline
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And then I went for the road test. I left the equalizer settings the same, but ended up cranking up the treble to +5 and the bass to +2. That did the trick for my ears. I now just think the speakers have to losen up a little bit, but it's no longer painful to listen to them. The iPod really improved now, and Sirius went from muffled and booming to acceptable.

I don't think the premium name is truly fair on this system, but they should call it better than OK.
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  #25  
Old 07-02-2011, 05:05 PM
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chiefneil chiefneil is offline
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Thanks for posting your results. I've been fiddling with the equalizer and treble/bass control for a while now and haven't gotten it to a good spot. I'll give your settings a shot and see how it sounds.
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