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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 12-06-2012, 06:11 AM
dmesserly dmesserly is offline
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Opinions: Standard system or Harman Kardon

I don't want the Sirius satellite but want the H/K system. Not sure if you can order a car this way.

If not, what are opinions on sound quality between the standard U.S. system and H/K.

Thanks,
Dave
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2012, 06:51 AM
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3ismagic# 3ismagic# is offline
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Ask yourself this question: How much did your home stereo speakers cost? If it is less than what the HK costs then you shouldn't get it.
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2012, 06:57 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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I'm in a car. I've got fan noise, engine noise, tire noise, and I'm likely running MP3 files if I'm playing music.

Given all that, I went with the ('09) normal system and I think it's fine. Note that speaker decontenting in '10 made a noticeably bad change. I've not driven a current model to see if it came back, but if there's a level between "base" and HK, I'd take it.
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  #4  
Old 12-06-2012, 07:16 AM
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Technic Technic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmesserly View Post
I don't want the Sirius satellite but want the H/K system. Not sure if you can order a car this way.

If not, what are opinions on sound quality between the standard U.S. system and H/K.

Thanks,
Dave
Get H/K, close thread.
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2012, 07:34 AM
gpburdell gpburdell is offline
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Best thing to do is put some of your own preferred music on a USB stick and go play it in cars with both systems. What a bunch of complete strangers have to say isn't particularly applicable; different "ears", different music preferences, etc.

This is what I did when shopping; I was shopping 2009/10 CPOs and tried out the base system against the Logic7 upgraded system. For my preferences the upgraded stereo was a hands down winner and made my "must have" list; you'll need to make your own evaluation to decide if it's worth the additional cost.
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  #6  
Old 12-06-2012, 08:17 AM
Squidget Squidget is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmesserly View Post
I don't want the Sirius satellite but want the H/K system. Not sure if you can order a car this way.

If not, what are opinions on sound quality between the standard U.S. system and H/K.

Thanks,
Dave

In absolute terms, H/K is obviously, immediately, better. Beyond a doubt.

But it is worth the cost? I agree that no on the forums could answer that for you, and best bet is to take a USB stick to a dealer.
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  #7  
Old 12-06-2012, 09:38 AM
ctuna ctuna is online now
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If music is important to you

Go sample it with some of your music both loud and soft .
Be sure to avoid the 2010 and early 2011 model years with the base system.(for the US its not Hi Fi)
I like to call the Hi Fi system the I can almost live with this system.
It falls apart if you turn it up.
The Highs are Harsh , it has a hole in the midrange and not much bass.
One guy described it as having the perfect mudrange speakers.
If you don't want to modify get the L7 . If you want to put 1 to 2 k into and aftermarket
system you can put together something that sounds better and the Hi Fi is cheaper and easier to add
stuff to . I don't think you have to have Sirius Radio with the car at least you didn't use to and it was
kind of unusual.

Its important to realize there are three systems world wide avoid the base system in US 2010 and 2011.
This is the ampless tweeterless base system that has been used world wide for some years

BMW stereo types
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=352586
http://www.e90post.com/forums/attach...2&d=1266451970
http://www.e90post.com/forums/attach...2&d=1260829447
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=343673
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=138949
http://www.e90post.com/forums/attach...2&d=1260829447
http://www.e90post.com/forums/attach...1&d=1209780605
http://www.e90post.com/forums/attach...1&d=1209780865
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...QNFyu70IsyKRlg
http://www.musicarnw.com/page-2/
http://www.e90post.com/forums/attach...4&d=1278871872

Last edited by ctuna; 12-06-2012 at 09:48 AM.
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  #8  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:34 AM
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Thunder Dump Thunder Dump is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooks527 View Post
I'm in a car. I've got fan noise, engine noise, tire noise, and I'm likely running MP3 files if I'm playing music.

Given all that, I went with the ('09) normal system and I think it's fine. Note that speaker decontenting in '10 made a noticeably bad change. I've not driven a current model to see if it came back, but if there's a level between "base" and HK, I'd take it.
This. Perfectly happy with mine, although as George pointed out, the '09 base system was still a 10-speaker system.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2012, 11:28 AM
CALLAWAY845 CALLAWAY845 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmesserly View Post
I don't want the Sirius satellite but want the H/K system. Not sure if you can order a car this way.

If not, what are opinions on sound quality between the standard U.S. system and H/K.

Thanks,
Dave
I would get the best system possible. In time, you will be glad you did. You may not want satellite radio, but I was blown away with how good Hi-Def radio is. Obviously, it is dependant on content provided in your given market, but I was once certainly adding Sirius to my '09, then I acquainted myself with Hi-Def...I am no longer going to add
Sirius.
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2012, 11:58 AM
alpinweiss alpinweiss is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmesserly View Post
I don't want the Sirius satellite but want the H/K system. Not sure if you can order a car this way.

If not, what are opinions on sound quality between the standard U.S. system and H/K.

Thanks,
Dave
That is how I ordered my car, Harman Kardon without Sirius. I think the HK is definitely worthwhile; I would order it again. If you are a music lover (any type), it is the best upgrade you can buy for around $900. You can certainly get a better system, but it will be substantially more expensive.

I also ordered the HK audio on my older E46, and the system has aged well.

I did not order the Sirius on my E90. IMO, the quality of the signal is not as good as many conventional broadcast FM stations.

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  #11  
Old 12-06-2012, 12:01 PM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
Get H/K, close thread.
+1 - 1) it's a very good system, 2) you're spending $45k+ and it's an $875 option.

I'm not a huge audiophile. I listen to regular FM radio most of the time. I hear elements of the music from my Logic7/HK system that I didn't hear in my pre-BMW cars. They are nice sounds. I like that.
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Last edited by tturedraider; 12-06-2012 at 12:05 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-06-2012, 12:03 PM
gpburdell gpburdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALLAWAY845 View Post
I was blown away with how good Hi-Def radio is.
Yes, my BMW is my first exposure to HD FM radio and it's impressive.

Unfortunately it still includes all the inane and annoying commercials, so it's a bit of a love/hate thing where I'll listen to HD radio some then fed up and switch back to Sirius for their less frequent / less annoying commercials...

Although it's by no means perfect, with Sirius I do appreciate not having to futz with finding new radio stations when on weekend daytrips or overnights.
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  #13  
Old 12-06-2012, 07:03 PM
GeoBau GeoBau is offline
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My friend just took delivery of his M3 without the HK system, and I took delivery of my 335i vert with it. After driving around in both for quite a while, I can say with great conviction that I would get it again. There are two things he envies: That I can do the Optimus Prime maneuver, and the sound system.

Oddly enough, it's not when I listen to music that I've noticed it really shines -- it's when something simple like talk radio is on. I can maintain a lower volume level and make out every word, whereas in the M we need to crank it up a few extra notches. The clarity gap is quite evident in those situations. If I were in your shoes, I'd be sure to drive around with both systems and listen to a variety of offerings. It's not all about the thump

G
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  #14  
Old 12-07-2012, 06:19 AM
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Verts4Ever Verts4Ever is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technic View Post
Get H/K, close thread.
+1 again.

OP, just go to your dealer and ask to hear the difference yourself. It's very obvious and worth the money if you're even partly an audiophile.
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  #15  
Old 12-07-2012, 06:22 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooks527 View Post
I'm in a car. I've got fan noise, engine noise, tire noise, and I'm likely running MP3 files if I'm playing music.

Given all that, I went with the ('09) normal system and I think it's fine. Note that speaker decontenting in '10 made a noticeably bad change. I've not driven a current model to see if it came back, but if there's a level between "base" and HK, I'd take it.
Starting in 2011 BMW recontented (is that a word?) the stock stereo. I have a 2011 and it sounds fine although I'd prefer the HK system.
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  #16  
Old 12-07-2012, 06:45 AM
The X Men The X Men is offline
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If you like music, the stock system is average, not not great. Like others have said, if I am paying $45K for a car, I want great performance, great music, great lighting.............................
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  #17  
Old 12-07-2012, 06:47 AM
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55 55 is offline
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If you are even a part time audiophile than you don't have a choice: you must get a better system, or you will regret later. The little bit of money spent on it will be quickly forgotten, but a mediocre audio system would remind you every day about your mistake.
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  #18  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:22 AM
dmesserly dmesserly is offline
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Its not the money. I want the H/K. The problem is I don't want the Sat radio and I can't get H/K without Sat radio. I don't like the fin antenna and I don't want to pay for it after the first year if I won't use it.

But I do care about sound so i guess I'll get the package and live with it.

Thanks
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2012, 01:21 PM
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55 55 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmesserly View Post
Its not the money. I want the H/K. The problem is I don't want the Sat radio and I can't get H/K without Sat radio. I don't like the fin antenna and I don't want to pay for it after the first year if I won't use it.

But I do care about sound so i guess I'll get the package and live with it.

Thanks
I don't understand. Even if you have the Sat. radio, it doesn't mean you have pay for subscription, it will be dead then.
I have it, but chose not to subscribe anymore.
The shark fin it there anyway on all models.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:35 PM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmesserly View Post
Its not the money. I want the H/K. The problem is I don't want the Sat radio and I can't get H/K without Sat radio. I don't like the fin antenna and I don't want to pay for it after the first year if I won't use it.

But I do care about sound so i guess I'll get the package and live with it.

Thanks
As said above the shark fin is on all F30's. It contains the more than just the satellite radio antenna. Probably the radio and BMW Assist antenna's and maybe more. It's pretty iconic to modern BMW's.
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2012, 03:04 PM
dmesserly dmesserly is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
As said above the shark fin is on all F30's. It contains the more than just the satellite radio antenna. Probably the radio and BMW Assist antenna's and maybe more. It's pretty iconic to modern BMW's.

I didn't realize that all cars have the fin. So no real question. I'll get the H/K and try out sat radio for a year. Probably will let it lapse after.

Thanks
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  #22  
Old 12-07-2012, 06:42 PM
80MGB 80MGB is offline
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If you haven't had satellite radio before, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. I found myself listening to it a lot, just for the variety of music since I basically don't listen to radio at home. YMMV

I have a Bose equivalent $ upgrade on my A7, which doesn't come near the H/K on our E93 335i.
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  #23  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:29 PM
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Chop362 Chop362 is offline
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Boot the heated seats get the HK or one of the many wasteful options at least the music is rather soothing on long trips.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:29 PM
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MP3_E46 MP3_E46 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3ismagic# View Post
Ask yourself this question: How much did your home stereo speakers cost? If it is less than what the HK costs then you shouldn't get it.
My home stereo speakers cost more than the BMW HK and I would not pay extra for it new. Great if you can find used for little premium. IMO ~$1K to upgrade an already decent system is nuts in a non luxury car - yeah for a Bentley or Aston but not an entry level BMW.

The weak link of my main Home Theater audio is actually a HK Amp that has Logic 7 - never use that feature. It does sound absolutely great but I am looking to replace it one day just to polish the setup (there is no real need to but no one tell my wife. I fancy one of the new amps that can self calibrate but don't expect to notice any difference - hope to be surprised)

It's amazing to visit homes of people that have leather seats and a rockin' audio systems in their car.. only to find they have Rooms To Go/ Macy's furniture and a $300 all-in-one audio system hooked up to their cable box (often via analog cables when I brave peeking a look)
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  #25  
Old 12-08-2012, 04:30 AM
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Majikthese42 Majikthese42 is offline
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"If music is important to you"

Both my wife and #1 daughter are musicians (no, they both have day jobs, too!).

Several cars and years ago, I added an upmarket and aftermarket system to my wife's car. Her review of the sound was, in effect, "meh".

Since then I haven't bothered with car stereo upgrades. If they can't tell the difference, I sure can't. That said, my BMW's standard radio head has been replaced several times plus there have been several software upgrades under warranty. It's hard to imagine that HK's QC could be any worse.
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