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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 11-06-2011, 12:37 AM
ManUTD_36 ManUTD_36 is offline
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Is F10 standard sound system decent

I am not planning on ordering a premium sound package for my 535i, but haven't had experience with both to be able to make an educated choice. I would rather not spend money for the premium sound, but do not want to regret my decision later if the standard is sub-par. What do you all think?
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2011, 04:03 AM
jones99 jones99 is offline
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I have owned six BMWs and have always ordered them with the premium sound - except for my wife's current ride, a 2009 X5. I'm not at all impressed with the standard stereo in that vehicle. I will never pass on the premium sound again. Of course, this just my opinion. It it is probably a good idea to go to your local dealer and listen to cars on the lot that have the basic sound package.
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2011, 04:30 AM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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Depends what you are used to. All cars sound systems have been getting better over past ten years.

Compared with my E46 3 series Premium Harmon Kardon system, the base 5 sound system is competitive. However compared with my 2009 Lexus Mark Levinson system the base was not adequate so I went with Premium.
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  #4  
Old 11-06-2011, 06:55 AM
St_louis_Scott St_louis_Scott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManUTD_36 View Post
I am not planning on ordering a premium sound package for my 535i, but haven't had experience with both to be able to make an educated choice. I would rather not spend money for the premium sound, but do not want to regret my decision later if the standard is sub-par. What do you all think?
The standard is far from sub par. My salesman actually talked me out of the upgrade. This is highly subjective though. If your standards are very high it's probably worth the added cost because you get satellite radio(worth it regardless). If you are just a casual listener the standard set up is really excellent.
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2011, 07:51 AM
mkossler mkossler is offline
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I think "decent" describes the standard sound package very well. Having had both in 2011 F10's, I can say that I was satisfied with the standard package. Not blown away, but satisfied - and I'm pretty picky. I'll admit that I really, really like the premium sound, but I'm an audiophile that goes to the trouble of ripping lossless formats.

It's easy enough to listen to both - I'd recommend that you bring a CD or USB to the local dealership that has music you already know well, and play in both packages. This would highlight the delta in sound quality, more than it would demonstrate "real-life" (windows cracked in traffic with kids screaming) conditions.
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2011, 07:57 AM
fplanner2000 fplanner2000 is offline
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I would get the premium sound. This is my 3rd BMW and all have had what was "premium" at the time. I have not regretted my decision at all. If you plan on listening to any music while driving, why would you settle for inferior sound? The only reason would be if you really can't tell the difference doing an A-B at the dealer's with a CD you know. In that case, don't waste the money. My bet is that you WILL hear a pretty big difference. My premium sound also has a graphic equalizer - not sure if the standard has this or not.
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  #7  
Old 11-06-2011, 06:04 PM
PeterC4 PeterC4 is offline
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I have a 328xi coupe with premium sound (Logic 7) and it is excellent. I think its well worth it. It is one of those things that makes the long drive so enjoyable. I would get it, I ordered it on my incoming 535xi.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2011, 10:26 PM
ManUTD_36 ManUTD_36 is offline
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Does the standard system allow one to download music to a built in hard drive or is it only available with premium. Also, how is the Sirius channels' quality. Is Sirius worth the money? My wife had Sirius trial in one of our prevous cars but never extended beyond the trial preiod which was only few weeks, so i don't really remember much.
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  #9  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:09 PM
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nesterk nesterk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManUTD_36 View Post
I am not planning on ordering a premium sound package for my 535i, but haven't had experience with both to be able to make an educated choice. I would rather not spend money for the premium sound, but do not want to regret my decision later if the standard is sub-par. What do you all think?
I would say that "premium" sound is quite average, at best. I don't think it matches the rest of the car (and the car price tag too..). So I would not even consider standard sound.
But that's subjective...
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:34 PM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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^I think that this is true only because Jaguar and Audi went nuts with Bowers and Wilkins and Bang and Olufsen. Putting a 4-6k sound system in a luxury car constitutes high-end, so by comparison the BMW Premium Audio is average.

In practice I finBethesda premium setup to be quite good, and the stock system, while unimpressive is adequate.
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  #11  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:50 PM
bavariancraving bavariancraving is offline
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I have the stock system, and while it doesn't blow me away, it is perfectly adequate for most uses. It starts to fail at extremes, such as if you blast Beethoven or hard rock from the speakers. As mentioned by others, it really depends on what you're used to, and how much that extra 15-20% quality is worth to you. If you're leasing, the price difference for the better system is minimal, so would probably be more worth it to you.

I'm not a sound geek, though, so take this with a grain of salt.
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  #12  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:55 PM
PaceBMW of Mamaroneck PaceBMW of Mamaroneck is offline
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the stock system is of pretty high quality imo, but usually not up to snuff with a worthwhile aftermarket system. the highs are clear without being tinny, and the lows hit pretty hard. obviously a step down from the high performance sound system bmw offers but definitely adequate
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  #13  
Old 11-07-2011, 02:02 PM
Emilner Emilner is offline
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Originally Posted by nesterk View Post
I would say that "premium" sound is quite average, at best. I don't think it matches the rest of the car (and the car price tag too..). So I would not even consider standard sound.
But that's subjective...
I would not consider the premium sound to be average. Yes there are better systems that you can spend an arm and a leg on, but they are not worth such ridiculous premiums.

I find the premium audio to be one of the best I have heard in a car, it could use some bass but all in all I am impressed.
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  #14  
Old 11-07-2011, 02:02 PM
ManUTD_36 ManUTD_36 is offline
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I listened to both back to back and didn't feel much difference. Either premium is not that good or the standard is pretty good, but the quality was close. Or may be it's just me.

So, if i decide to pass on the premium should i still order Sirius? Thoughts, yes/no, why?

By the way i am purchasing, not leasing

Last edited by ManUTD_36; 11-07-2011 at 02:04 PM.
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  #15  
Old 11-07-2011, 03:05 PM
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TJPark01 TJPark01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManUTD_36 View Post
I listened to both back to back and didn't feel much difference. Either premium is not that good or the standard is pretty good, but the quality was close. Or may be it's just me.

So, if i decide to pass on the premium should i still order Sirius? Thoughts, yes/no, why?

By the way i am purchasing, not leasing
The standard is pretty good for a stock stereo. Yes there is a difference, no it's not huge. Previous BMW models had $hit stereos forcing you to get logic 7 or what ever stereo upgrade, just to be able to listen to it. Only you can determine if it's worth $950. I think Nappa leather is a better use of a grand, but it's s personal preference thing.
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  #16  
Old 11-07-2011, 03:15 PM
DavidZ DavidZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManUTD_36 View Post
I listened to both back to back and didn't feel much difference. Either premium is not that good or the standard is pretty good, but the quality was close. Or may be it's just me.

So, if i decide to pass on the premium should i still order Sirius? Thoughts, yes/no, why?

By the way i am purchasing, not leasing
+1. I listened to both as well and the premium system, for me, wasn't worth it. For the most part I play my iPod and for me the sound quality is just fine. I did not order Sirius.
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  #17  
Old 11-08-2011, 10:17 AM
jsclarke jsclarke is offline
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Originally Posted by ManUTD_36 View Post
I listened to both back to back and didn't feel much difference. Either premium is not that good or the standard is pretty good, but the quality was close. Or may be it's just me.

So, if i decide to pass on the premium should i still order Sirius? Thoughts, yes/no, why?

By the way i am purchasing, not leasing
I bought XM the first week it was available in Southern California, and remained a fan... up until... Sirius took over. It was installed in my last two cars anyway, and I found the audio quality poor- much worse than USB, iPod/iPhone, or HD FM. Perhaps on par or a little worse than standard FM. But what I found worse still is the programming. "All Tom Petty" radio, or "All Grateful Dead" channels such that they can just set a shuffle at a big directory of files, then broadcast at 32 kbps to make room for Howard Stern all the time and hundreds of channels.

Siriously- if you like music- I wouldn't recommend it. Plus we already get traffic info for free. John
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  #18  
Old 11-08-2011, 03:36 PM
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autojack autojack is offline
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This is a very subjective question, which depends on your music tastes, needs, habits etc. Outside of your car, at home, at work, walking, or riding a bike, is music a part of your life? Do you have a nice stereo or home theatre system that you enjoy several times a week, for music as well as sports and movies? Do you hear live music a few times a month? Do you primarily listen to CDs, SACDs, music DVD's, LPs, or do you listen to compressed music on ipods, iphones and similar devices? This is one reason why this is a very personally subjective choice.

The F10 Premium Sound system was, and still is, my number one option for my F10.
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  #19  
Old 11-08-2011, 06:53 PM
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nesterk nesterk is offline
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Originally Posted by autojack View Post
This is a very subjective question, which depends on your music tastes, needs, habits etc. Outside of your car, at home, at work, walking, or riding a bike, is music a part of your life? Do you have a nice stereo or home theatre system that you enjoy several times a week, for music as well as sports and movies? Do you hear live music a few times a month? Do you primarily listen to CDs, SACDs, music DVD's, LPs, or do you listen to compressed music on ipods, iphones and similar devices? This is one reason why this is a very personally subjective choice.

The F10 Premium Sound system was, and still is, my number one option for my F10.
iPhone, feeding uncompressed audio via AppleTV optical port to Audio-GD (this is custom-made chinese brand, solid like brick, sounds as close to Hi-End as possible - considering the price) DAC, then headphone amplifier, then Sennheiser headphones. Price (not including apple source) - 1300 USD.
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  #20  
Old 01-08-2012, 11:57 AM
Charrison Charrison is offline
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Here are some QUOTES from a edmunds review on the F10 premium audio. I think the system is terrible and every time I hear it I would like my $1800 back.

"never crossing into exceptional territory"
"the system also lacked sufficient dynamics"
"didn't have the visceral impact that gives recorded music a lifelike quality"
"couldn't muster butt-shaking low bass -- but did induce a bit of annoying panel rattle on some of the deepest notes"
"adds an artificial quality to the sound"

and finally to end the article they conclude as follows:

"the Premium hi-fi system in our long-term 528i simply doesn't measure up"

Ok well, let me explain what this really means since I have a f10 premium system and I listen to it everyday.

1. the system is great as far as imaging and channel isolation, the problems are not in processing or d to a conversion, the problems are with the transducers/speakers.

2. the system cannot be corrected by any equalizer settings, it can be slightly improved, but never fixed.

3. without the tone and eq adjustments, the system is muddy, boomy, and actually rattles plastic parts...which might be great if the bass was tight, but it's muddy. So when the plastic is rattling, the music sounds like it's coming out of a sub designed in 1984.

4. on all sat radio music, and many ipod tunes, due to the already somewhat course nature of those compressed formats, the edginess of the f10 premium tweeter system causes anything above 15hz to be difficult to listen to. The tweeters have a metallic and gravel reproductive quality to them, not smooth or silky.

5. and last but not least!! but totally unrelated to sound quality is the rediculous right hand placement of the steering wheel volume control. the volume control ALWAYS belongs on the left...as it always has been, but some bean counter decided they should save the money by not building opposite steering wheels for left and right driver seating positions.

6. and completely unrelated to audio is the rediculous and loud windshield wiper system that plows all the water from the windshield into a 6 inch space, right in the drivers line of sight that doesnt ever get wiped. Geo prizms had a better wiper system.

other than these items this is a fantastic car....but my extreme assumptions, which are not assumptions but are Facts, stand. the f10 audio system has significant problems and is not something that a German engineer should be proud of.
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  #21  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:20 PM
tadtaggert tadtaggert is offline
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..., the problems are with the transducers/speakers.
Kef Ci line fixes it nicely.
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  #22  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:23 PM
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Of course, my iPod playing uncompressed wav files ripped from CDs is superior to all of the other inputs. Staying with the original Q, the comparison is whether the difference between the premium sound system is worth it, as compared to the stock F10 sound system.

If you instead want to do a critical comparison between the F10 premium sound system and what is available in the marketplace (OEM or after-market), then many agree this is not even BMW's best model rendition of premium sound. It is far from the best mobile sound system available today. Although most have not heard it yet, some indicate the new 2013 650 coupe' B&0 sound system to be far superior.

Second, as compared with fine home audio systems, the F10 premium sound is a joke - it has muddy undefined bass, impossibly inaccurate mids and HFs, little dynamic range, and yes I agree - the speaker drivers actually do vibrate and rattle if pushed a bit on strong music passages. The combination of compressed music source playback (from ipods, the F10s HD, or Pandora streaming music) and the F10's inherent sound characteristics can even be maddening at moderate-to-realistic sound volumes.

But it is still a worthwhile option because it is better than the stock sound system.
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  #23  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:25 PM
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Kef Ci line fixes it nicely.
Could you please share with us the specific KEF speaker replacements?

Thanks
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  #24  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:31 PM
tadtaggert tadtaggert is offline
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Originally Posted by autojack View Post
But it is still a worthwhile option because it is better than the stock sound system.
Yes, the premium is considerably better than the stock, and for just a little more investment if you replace a number of the drivers/speakers (in place without custom enclosures) then you can get to a point where even the audiophiles will say it's almost good.

Cars are inherently one of the worst places to recreate sound.
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  #25  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:34 PM
tadtaggert tadtaggert is offline
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Could you please share with us the specific KEF speaker replacements?

Thanks
I'll get it from the people that did it for me, I spent about $1,200 including installation. They did not replace all drivers, and quoted me significantly higher to drastically improve bass. What I got is good enough for me, and sounds like a completely different (better) system.
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