BimmerFest BMW Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I cross-posted this in the Soundwerks forum, but I thought it would be good to post here as well.

I picked up my new Z4 M Coupe with the Premium Package thinking that the sound system would be "pretty good." Unfortunately the 10 speakers mounted in the car make more of a cacophony than a harmonious sound. The main culprit seems to be the bass which is spitty and thumpy with no real control or substantial impact. :thumbdwn:

I'm thinking that the crossover is probably set too high and am wondering if there's a way for me to rectify the problem.

I’ve been listening to mostly rock and blues but the bass response isn’t really working in either genre.

I guess I could replace the drivers, but I'm not totally thrilled about ripping apart a stereo system in a brand new car.

Thanks,

conorb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
793 Posts
I'd give it a couple of weeks before you throw any money at this problem. Audio components often need a break-in period before they sound their best. Bass is very often loose and ill-defined during the break-in period for speakers. Just speaking from the perspective of an audiophile here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Try playing with the DSP. I find I need to set to to Concert mode for high volume listening, and Jazz mode for low volume listening(when I have a passenger!).
It sounds great in the convertible version. Maybe the coupe is causing out of phase sound reflections that don't exit in the convertible? I would have expected BMW to recalibrate the system for the coupe, though.
 

·
Learning to drive...
Joined
·
631 Posts
bill92 said:
I would have expected BMW to recalibrate the system for the coupe, though.
Good joke :angel:

Florian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
cantona7 said:
I'd give it a couple of weeks before you throw any money at this problem. Audio components often need a break-in period before they sound their best. Bass is very often loose and ill-defined during the break-in period for speakers. Just speaking from the perspective of an audiophile here.
I'll try and keep that in mind. My own perspective is from an audiophile slant as well; I guess my out-of-the-box impression was slightly disappointing.

conorb
 

·
****
Joined
·
44 Posts
conorb said:
I'll try and keep that in mind. My own perspective is from an audiophile slant as well; I guess my out-of-the-box impression was slightly disappointing.

conorb
I'm thinking it would be similar to a high end set of home speakers. My home speakers took about 10 months to develope the full range especially the bass.

Initially they were really muddy on the bass and bright on the treble but now the are perfect, like what I expected after hearing them in a sound room.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
If it helps, my six year old system still sounds like crap.:rofl:

Don't hold your breath. Just look up the nearest a/d/s installer and get it over with!

ben
 

·
Z4 Mvangelist
Joined
·
4,252 Posts
cantona7 said:
I'd give it a couple of weeks before you throw any money at this problem. Audio components often need a break-in period before they sound their best. Bass is very often loose and ill-defined during the break-in period for speakers. Just speaking from the perspective of an audiophile here.
-Interesting, I didn't know that.

BMW sound systems suck, we know this. It's hardly news. To fix this, drive a gear down! :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
sidewalkman said:
I'm thinking it would be similar to a high end set of home speakers. My home speakers took about 10 months to develope the full range especially the bass.

Initially they were really muddy on the bass and bright on the treble but now the are perfect, like what I expected after hearing them in a sound room.
Measured data, time and time again, points to the speaker "break-in" effect being a fallacy. Your brain broke-in, not your speakers. The same is true for electronics and cables - they don't really break-in. (Yes, some audiophiles actually think cables break-in.) And don't confuse burn-in with break-in. :)

If the Z4 system is anything like the stock Z3 systems (?) the drivers are cheaply made, the amps are weak, and the electronic crossover is of poor quality. On the Z3 I got a very small win by just replacing the drivers, but if sound quality mattered to you the amps, crossovers and drivers had to go. The situation with my wife's X3 seems similar.

I have no idea why BMW makes the decisions it does, but decent amps and drivers weigh more than the junky stuff, and would draw more amps from the electrical system. Since good audio performance, both electrically and mechanically, is a solved problem, you've got to assume there are economic or engineering reasons why BMW sound systems are so terrible. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Palantirion said:
-Interesting, I didn't know that.

BMW sound systems suck, we know this. It's hardly news. To fix this, drive a gear down! :thumbup:
Don't get me wrong the car sounds great with the sound system completely turned off - like the Batmobile in Batman Begins - but I was hoping that the actual sound system was worth the extra money. :)

conorb
 

·
Color blind photographer
Joined
·
1,730 Posts
IMR said:
Measured data, time and time again, points to the speaker "break-in" effect being a fallacy. Your brain broke-in, not your speakers. The same is true for electronics and cables - they don't really break-in. (Yes, some audiophiles actually think cables break-in.) And don't confuse burn-in with break-in. :)

If the Z4 system is anything like the stock Z3 systems (?) the drivers are cheaply made, the amps are weak, and the electronic crossover is of poor quality. On the Z3 I got a very small win by just replacing the drivers, but if sound quality mattered to you the amps, crossovers and drivers had to go. The situation with my wife's X3 seems similar.

I have no idea why BMW makes the decisions it does, but decent amps and drivers weigh more than the junky stuff, and would draw more amps from the electrical system. Since good audio performance, both electrically and mechanically, is a solved problem, you've got to assume there are economic or engineering reasons why BMW sound systems are so terrible. :D
Ah, the measured data school. If it can't be measured it ain't so. Nature gave us ears that in many ways are far more sensitive than a lot of measuring equipment. This subsriber to the non-measured school agrees that some time for the speakers/system to break in can't hurt before deciding on making changes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
beauport said:
Nature gave us ears that in many ways are far more sensitive than a lot of measuring equipment.
I'm sorry, but this is pure folklore and it isn't true. Unless you're talking about measuring equipment from 1930. :)

But let's assume your assertion is true for a moment. Are you saying that frequency response differences due to break-in, that would certainly be much less than 1db of variance (or otherwise they'd be commonly measured, even by Consumers Reports), are going to be audible in the environment of a Z4M? Really?

If Conorb wants audibly better sound major surgery is likely required.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,073 Posts
Start by replacing the "bass" (I use that term loosely) drivers in the kick panels only. This will be the easiest and cheapest route. Leave the mids and tweeters and xovers and amp for now. Go for high end drivers like Boston or JL, etc. I'd say replace the drivers in the sub, but that is generally more complex and even more expensive. You are blazing the trail for others.

I did this backon my 97 Z3 2.8 and it was worth the time and effort. In my M coupe, I removed everything but the head unit.

Do you have the THX system or the standard M system?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
JonM said:
Start by replacing the "bass" (I use that term loosely) drivers in the kick panels only. This will be the easiest and cheapest route. Leave the mids and tweeters and xovers and amp for now. Go for high end drivers like Boston or JL, etc. I'd say replace the drivers in the sub, but that is generally more complex and even more expensive. You are blazing the trail for others.

I did this backon my 97 Z3 2.8 and it was worth the time and effort. In my M coupe, I removed everything but the head unit.

Do you have the THX system or the standard M system?
Thanks for the pointers. I have the Premium Package with the "upgraded" sound system. To quote the BMW USA website the system consists of "THX™ Certified Premium audio system with upgraded audio power, Carver technology and 10 audiophile-quality speakers including 2 subwoofers."

Hmm, I never have liked the Carver stuff too much, but then again what does "Carver Technology" mean anyway? Reminds me of my old days with MB Quart, JL Audio, and Precision Power stuff. With the right Audio Control crossover you could really tune your system to meet your needs.

I'm going to put some SRV in and then maybe some Muddy Waters Real Folk Blues and listen for a bit. The large acoustic bass of Willy Dixon will be a good test.

conorb
 

·
Old Timer
Joined
·
751 Posts
wow, someone bought a coupe for the sounds system? Isn't that system preinstalled right in front and right behind you?
 

·
Old Timer
Joined
·
751 Posts
BTW, don't let the name dropping fool you. The only good sounding system is a system that is properly TUNED. You can install the best of everything on the market but if its not tuned properly, it will still sound like ****.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
458 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
JT///M3 said:
wow, someone bought a coupe for the sounds system? Isn't that system preinstalled right in front and right behind you?
No, I didn't buy the M Coupe for the sound system, far from it. My expectation was that by ponying up the extra $$$ for the premium system was that it wouldn't suck too bad. Unfortunately I can't really say that my initial out-of-the-box experience has met my expectations.

JT///M3 said:
BTW, don't let the name dropping fool you. The only good sounding system is a system that is properly TUNED. You can install the best of everything on the market but if its not tuned properly, it will still sound like ****.
How true. That's what I loved about my old Audio Control gear. You could control/map/tune the sound system to achieve the desired response in the car.

My original question asked if there was some way to adjust the crossover(s) in the car to achieve some of these tuning goals.

It appears from the responses received some far that the problem might be more systemic than that and require real work and real money. Since I just bought a new car real money is something I'm a little short of at the moment.

conorb
 

·
Old Timer
Joined
·
751 Posts
I wasn't trying to give you a hard time. Just a good rubbing ;). What are fellow M Coupers here for? Just info? lol. I say enjoy your car and live with some of the quirks (like all of us Z3 M Coupers do) of the car and fix the sound system later. It will require that you pretty much dump the whole system and go aftermarket. There is probably no reason to have 10 speakers in such a small car. I'd go 2 or 3 way up front, 2 way rear, and 2 small subs built into a custom enclosure in the back. 2 small JL W0 6 subs are more than plenty bass in a coupe. Not sure why the factory can't get it right on the sound system. Lexus does a damn good job on theirs, even their "stock" lexus premium. The Levinson systems are barely better. Again, just name...
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top