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  #76  
Old 11-10-2014, 09:19 AM
John MS John MS is offline
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Originally Posted by jmsent View Post
The 3 major sound sources for the vast majority of car audio listeners are: MP3's at 128k or lower, terrestrial radio (am & fm), and satellite radio (Sirius or XM). The sound quality of your car system will be heavily influenced by the source quality, and none of these 3 is anything better than mediocre. Satellite radio in particular is incredibly bad. It's just amazing to me how many people judge the HK using horrible recordings played on highly compressed formats . If you don't think that the HK system sounds at least pretty good on a well recorded CD, then I have no idea what your point of reference is. The old axiom of garbage in = garbage out applies here. If you're not willing to seek out really good source material all the time, I see no point in throwing tons of money at "improving" your audio system. Most contemporary rock recordings are downright terrible, even on CD. "Better" aftermarket components are also no guarantee of better sound. It's like trying to design your own home speaker system instead of buying something designed and manufactured by experts. If you're really good, you might succeed. But very few people know what they are doing.

This is excellent advice. A high-end audio system can't restore sounds that have been lost at the source. Satellite radio is great for the variety and access it provides and it delivers decent quality sound for talk programs like NPR. However the quality of music transmitted is middling to downright poor. And when gigo music is combined with the interior acoustics of an automobile, road noise and engine noise it's hard to understand the benefit of a pricier sound system. The best advice would be for someone considering an enhanced sound system to try it in a demo car while driving down the road using ones own music, satellite, etc.. Not dealer supplied demo music on a cd.
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  #77  
Old 11-10-2014, 09:24 AM
Benko99 Benko99 is offline
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As an audiophile I just want to add that low bit rate sources can certainly limit the sound, but for any bit rate source there are players which make the source sound better and other players which make the sound worse. POint being that it is not as simple as it may sound.
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  #78  
Old 11-10-2014, 10:55 AM
bnguyen1983 bnguyen1983 is offline
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Originally Posted by jfox335i View Post
I recently picked up a 2014 335i with the stock sound system. The HK is obviously better, but the stock is better than I thought it would be. The biggest loss is in the bass. Songs with heavy bass and louder volumes, the sound loss is significant. Otherwise, the stock system does an ok job. That said, I may go AM and upgrade it to a sound that I want. I should be able to do that for only a bit more than what HK would have cost. I still feel vehicles of this caliber should come with better stock/premium options.

My advice; If you listen to bassy songs at high volumes and you don't want to bother with the hassle of AM, get the HK. If you don't listen to music with a lot of bass, or you're not going to listen at a high volume, or you are willing to go AM for what you want, then just stick with stock. That's the best advice I can give on this topic.
Yeah I definitely feel like HK should come stock with these cars. I ordered my car with the normal sound system. It was good enough when I was test driving my car and the HK just didn't blow me away when I heard it. All I am going to do when I get my car is install my old sub amp and my sub in there and it should be more than enough.
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  #79  
Old 11-10-2014, 12:48 PM
Alpine300ZHP Alpine300ZHP is offline
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Harman Kardon worth the upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
There is a clarity and separation in the HK system that is absent in the stock US system. I didn't order it in my car for budgetary reasons but I wish I had.

I agree, but having had both standard and HK in two different cars at the same time I can say the difference was not great. Noticeable, but not as much as with older HK systems. BMW has de-contented the quality of the HK system IMHO. The HK is barely worth the money, because the difference over standard system is pretty minimal. The B+O is on another level completely and so is its price. Id like to see something better than HK and lower quality than B+O for about 1500 bucks (something like the HK that came standard in the early build E90 335). That would be the sweet spot in my book.
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  #80  
Old 11-10-2014, 01:29 PM
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After two months with it I think it's well worth the money. Excellent sounding setup.
Could do a bit more for the price aftermarket (if you install it). But if that's not your thing it's a good value.
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  #81  
Old 11-10-2014, 02:03 PM
Rich949 Rich949 is offline
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I have a 2014 335i with the base sound system. I bought a JL PowerWedge (400watts RMS) with a JL 300 watt mono amp. Everyone who's been in my car say it sounds great, not just the base, but the mids and highs as well. I noticed that playing songs from the iPhone sound much better than CDs. It's most likely due to my eq setting on my phone (which is on hip-hop).
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  #82  
Old 11-10-2014, 02:05 PM
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If you like music, yes. if you listen to sports/talk radio, no. N4S
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  #83  
Old 11-10-2014, 02:33 PM
Alpine300ZHP Alpine300ZHP is offline
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Originally Posted by Rich949 View Post
I have a 2014 335i with the base sound system. I bought a JL PowerWedge (400watts RMS) with a JL 300 watt mono amp. Everyone who's been in my car say it sounds great, not just the base, but the mids and highs as well. I noticed that playing songs from the iPhone sound much better than CDs. It's most likely due to my eq setting on my phone (which is on hip-hop).

Do tell. Where are the equalizer settings on the iPhone. This is the first I have heard of this feature.
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  #84  
Old 11-10-2014, 02:35 PM
Rich949 Rich949 is offline
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Sounds like you're joking, but it's under settings - music - eq
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  #85  
Old 11-10-2014, 02:36 PM
Alpine300ZHP Alpine300ZHP is offline
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Originally Posted by Rich949 View Post
Sounds like you're joking, but it's under settings - music - eq

Sadly I was not joking, but I googled it and found it. Will try it when I get back in the car and see if I like the hip hop setting.
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  #86  
Old 11-10-2014, 02:39 PM
Rich949 Rich949 is offline
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I've noticed that there is a lot more bass with the hip hop setting on my phone vs playing the same song from a cd in the car. My 400 watt sub doesn't produce earth shattering bass, but it's enough to make a difference in the car. While playing cd's, it doesn't even sound like my car has a sub.
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  #87  
Old 11-10-2014, 04:17 PM
Alpine300ZHP Alpine300ZHP is offline
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Harman Kardon worth the upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich949 View Post
I've noticed that there is a lot more bass with the hip hop setting on my phone vs playing the same song from a cd in the car. My 400 watt sub doesn't produce earth shattering bass, but it's enough to make a difference in the car. While playing cd's, it doesn't even sound like my car has a sub.

I tried it. You are right. I like it. I have played with a few different settings. It really does sound best using setting that matches the category of music you are listening to.
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Last edited by Alpine300ZHP; 11-10-2014 at 04:42 PM.
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  #88  
Old 11-12-2014, 07:12 PM
Tirpitz Tirpitz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
There is a clarity and separation in the HK system that is absent in the stock US system. I didn't order it in my car for budgetary reasons but I wish I had.
I listen to music in the car supplied either as high bit rate MP3 on a USB stick or 16 bit resolution Apple Lossless on an iPod Touch.

I came into my 3GT from an X1 with the stock stereo. The X1 setup was above average for a stock manufacturer setup. I had a loaner 3 with base stereo and I thought the X1 stereo sounded better.

My 3GT has the HK system and as the above comment points out it has a much greater sense of clarity compared to the base system. If you enjoy listening into the mix you'll appreciate the HK. The weakness of the HK is the "hole" in the bass performance. On some recordings you get plenty of bass, and others are pretty anemic. I have adjusted the EQ as per the suggestions you can find else where on this site and that does help. But I'm thinking if your enjoyment of music requires bass that shakes your entrails you probably will wonder why you spent $1K on the HK.

If BMW and HK would fix that lack of mid-bass it would greatly improve the setup. However for me it was well worth the money to go with the HK.
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  #89  
Old 11-13-2014, 05:24 AM
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Gary J Gary J is offline
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Originally Posted by Tirpitz View Post
he weakness of the HK is the "hole" in the bass performance. On some recordings you get plenty of bass, and others are pretty anemic.
Now there's a new one. HK must like some songs better than others!
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  #90  
Old 11-13-2014, 06:07 AM
Daceptak0n Daceptak0n is offline
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Worth it. Miss it from my Infiniti...
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  #91  
Old 11-13-2014, 08:44 AM
Y2bangali Y2bangali is offline
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Originally Posted by Daceptak0n View Post
Worth it. Miss it from my Infiniti...
Doesn't Infiniti use BOSE?

As a lease, HK is worth it for me and sounds very good other than the bass. Wish it was stronger for certain songs but I still like it.

If I was to finance then for that $900 I'll have a way better system set up including at least 4 new speakers, 1 sub, 2 Amps, etc.
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  #92  
Old 11-13-2014, 08:56 AM
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What's the alternative? Ripping out what is in there and putting in 3rd party equipment and spending way more? Or staying with the very average stock system. So for me, it's obvious that tif you want better (however that is defined), you get it.
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  #93  
Old 11-13-2014, 09:01 AM
pflau pflau is offline
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Let's be clear the base system in the US is different from the base system in other regions. The base system in the US is what is typically called the HF system elsewhere as it is the middle grade system between the base and the HK.
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  #94  
Old 11-13-2014, 10:37 AM
Daceptak0n Daceptak0n is offline
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Originally Posted by Y2bangali View Post
Doesn't Infiniti use BOSE?.
Nope, my 2012 and my wife's 2013 both had HK...at least I think it did lol. I might be thinking about the GL450 we have lol...

Last edited by Daceptak0n; 11-13-2014 at 10:38 AM.
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  #95  
Old 11-13-2014, 11:37 AM
bnguyen1983 bnguyen1983 is offline
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Originally Posted by Y2bangali View Post
Doesn't Infiniti use BOSE?

As a lease, HK is worth it for me and sounds very good other than the bass. Wish it was stronger for certain songs but I still like it.

If I was to finance then for that $900 I'll have a way better system set up including at least 4 new speakers, 1 sub, 2 Amps, etc.
I thought Infiniti has BOSE too.

I have an amp and two 12ins from my old car that I am just gonna transfer over. That with the stock system should be enough.
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  #96  
Old 11-13-2014, 01:37 PM
Kafkaesque328 Kafkaesque328 is offline
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Originally Posted by jlukja View Post
You have an F30 with the base system?

I have to disagree. Although not what I would call audio nirvana, the base system is very good. Definitely not a POS. Much better than the system that came in my TSX (which I upgraded) or the systems I've heard in my friends vehicles. I have not heard the HK system in the F30 nor have I heard the systems that came in the E90.
I agree. I spent over a decade as a recording artist, did a few records on Interscope and have spent countless hours mixing, in the studio, etc. I'm not an audiophile but I have trained ears. I now produce concerts and special events. I know what I'm listening to when I'm listening to it and if you want to talk frequency response throughout the range, headroom, etc. we can. These threads trashing the base system are amusing to me. The HK is probably better. You would hope it is for $800. For a stock factory car stereo, the base system in the 3 is very good, to my ears. The midrange definition and response around 800 Hz as well as the definition and punch around 80 Hz isn't great, but all in it's good for a base system. But this is a car forum where guys complain about the 335i being 'too slow', where people can't 'live without' the driver's assistant package and where anything less than an $800 stereo upgrade is garbage, so you know.. par for the course.
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  #97  
Old 12-31-2016, 09:17 PM
daBKLYNdoorman daBKLYNdoorman is offline
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Just picked up a new 2017 X3 with the HK system.
Previous 3-series had the stock HiFi system.

Stock HiFi sounded pretty great for stock.
My only complaints on the HiFi system were:
1) at loud volumes the sound started becoming broken
2) didn't have an equalizer it would greatly benefit from (especially in the 5khz range)
3) subwoofer was strong but very artificial and not tuned

Now have the HK system.
My thoughts:
1) the volume quality gets better the louder it gets
2) make sure in the equalizer you increase the 5khz level (greatly benefits acoustics in music)
3) for fader, instead of 50/50 front/back change it to 45/55 front/back
4) my expectations were just marginally achieved
5) for the price BMW is asking, it is worth it (especially when compared to some other options) but if it was any more expensive it wouldn't be
6) this is not a "must-have" option, get it only if you can fit it in your price range (you won't be disappointed but won't be getting a steal)
7) most youtube recordings of the HK system in action are playing top-notch quality audio which you will rarely play on your system
8) if you only listen to any kind of radio, do not get it as it will make no difference
9) get it only if you import high quality (320kbps) music from external source to get the value for your money you expected

To sum it up: it is not a Bang & Olufsen system (sound is clear in every way) nor is it the HiFi system (sound tries to be great and achieves just enough for it to be classified as great) with a pricier price tag. It is exactly in between.

Someone on another thread said the HK system doesn't have any bass - they are wrong.
Plenty of bass. Floor shakes. Whoever said there is none is a fool.

The problem all of us have is that we have been spoiled by the stock HiFi system.
The first time we heard it we were amazed by how good the stock sound is.
Then after time naturally we started expecting more.
Our expectations eventually achieved Bang & Olufsen level.
We got the HK system with B&O expectations.
A bit saddened to see our HK system isn't actually a B&O system.
We realized reality.

If anyone tells you HK system is the best option or a must have option, then they are fools.
If anyone tells you not the get the HK system as it is c***, then they are fools too.
Take a coin yourself and flip it. Yes, this is the best way to decide whether to get this option or not.

If you are stuck between the Dynamic Handling Package or the HK sound system, get the later.
If you are stuck between the Xenon Lighting Package or the HK sound system, get the former.
If you can get all 3, then get all 3 of them.

If you spend $2k on the full LED lighting package, then you are a fool with too much money.

Last edited by daBKLYNdoorman; 12-31-2016 at 09:37 PM.
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  #98  
Old 01-01-2017, 05:41 AM
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Gary J Gary J is offline
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Originally Posted by daBKLYNdoorman View Post
2) make sure in the equalizer you increase the 5khz level (greatly benefits acoustics in music)
3) for fader, instead of 50/50 front/back change it to 45/55 front/back
4) my expectations were just marginally achieved
Because you distorted the signal. Leave the eualizer and fader alone for the intended already calibrated sound.
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  #99  
Old 01-02-2017, 11:02 PM
bek01 bek01 is offline
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Had a 2013 328X with standard system and regretted it from day one. No dynamic range, no power, and poor clarity. When car was not moving and with no ambient noise it sounded better, actually ok. Have a 2016 328X with HK and the improvement is very noticeable under all conditions. If you enjoy listening to music as something other than background noise, if you listen for vocals, instruments, details, the HK is definitely worth the cost.


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  #100  
Old 04-14-2017, 08:54 PM
mighty328D mighty328D is offline
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My buddy has a 428xi with the stock system which I didn't think sounded very rich. When I played the song 1 from creed in his then in my 328D with the HK the difference was amazing. Very rich and powerful. Kinda pissed off my buddy
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