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      11-23-2012, 01:10 AM   #1
Dgrohl
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Sound system quality

Hi folks...

I picked up my new 328i xdrive this week and loving it!!

I've owned three bmw's before and the sound quality of all of their sound systems were awesome. They all had the standard systems installed.

Thinking BMW wouldn't really go a step down, I didn't go with the Harmon Kardon upgrade.

I do have the premium package though.

What I've found is - the sound quality is SH*T!!! It sounds tinny and majorly unbalanced. I've fiddled with the tone settings and no matter what I do, it sounds horrible.

Anyone else having this problem!?
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      11-23-2012, 11:16 AM   #2
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Has it had time to break in? It will take a good 20 hours or so of playing before it really loosens up enough to start tweaking the settings, particularly the bigger drivers.

I have the HK, so can't speak directly, but I'd say let it break in some first, and it may come into its own.
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      11-23-2012, 11:42 AM   #3
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Interesting...i've never heard of the speakers in a car needing breaking in but it makes sense. Thank-you.
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      11-23-2012, 01:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgrohl View Post
Interesting...i've never heard of the speakers in a car needing breaking in but it makes sense. Thank-you.
All speakers, including car speakers and those earbuds, need to be broken-in, in order to loosen up the diaphragm and to take the speakers to their full potential. There are also many rigorous methods of breaking-in, from using white and pink noise to playing different types of music. The point is to excite the speakers using all available frequencies.

Some speakers take more than other to break-in. Those $20 desktop speakers will probably make nil difference when broken in whereas other hi-fi speakers can take upwards of 200 hours to properly break-in and there is significant audible and detectable difference after break-in.

For our HK and BMW car speakers, just play the music you want and they'll start to sound better (i.e. crisp, deep, etc)
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      11-23-2012, 02:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kppanic View Post
All speakers, including car speakers and those earbuds, need to be broken-in, in order to loosen up the diaphragm and to take the speakers to their full potential. There are also many rigorous methods of breaking-in, from using white and pink noise to playing different types of music. The point is to excite the speakers using all available frequencies.

Some speakers take more than other to break-in. Those $20 desktop speakers will probably make nil difference when broken in whereas other hi-fi speakers can take upwards of 200 hours to properly break-in and there is significant audible and detectable difference after break-in.

For our HK and BMW car speakers, just play the music you want and they'll start to sound better (i.e. crisp, deep, etc)
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      11-23-2012, 03:00 PM   #6
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hmmm I like how stock system sounds... i guess to each it's own
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      11-24-2012, 11:23 AM   #7
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That's just it...all three of my previous BMW's had stock systems in them. They sounded FANTASTIC. Actually, my 328 Touring I just traded in had the best stereo I've heard. So clear...amazing bass response. All standard equipment.

My current Z4, standard speakers/stereo...amazing sound quality.

In the new F30...the sound is so muddy.

----------

Update:

So I've had the car for 3 days now and the sound is either getting better with speaker wear-in or I'm just getting used to the crappy sound. lol.

I took it back to the dealer and tested the audio in another F30. There was definitely a difference and I'm glad to say the dealer also heard the difference. There is something definitely wrong with my stereo.

Someone in the service department said there was a software update for the system so I have to go back in to get it updated. Thing is, I can understand why a software update could potentially modify the sound but if this is a new software update to fix old issues, then ALL F30's should have crappy sound like mine.

One positive thing that happened though was they gave me an $80 y-cable for free....but I heard I was supposed to get that free anyways. :|
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      11-26-2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgrohl View Post
Hi folks...

I picked up my new 328i xdrive this week and loving it!!

I've owned three bmw's before and the sound quality of all of their sound systems were awesome. They all had the standard systems installed.

Thinking BMW wouldn't really go a step down, I didn't go with the Harmon Kardon upgrade.

I do have the premium package though.

What I've found is - the sound quality is SH*T!!! It sounds tinny and majorly unbalanced. I've fiddled with the tone settings and no matter what I do, it sounds horrible.

Anyone else having this problem!?
Hey Dgrohl,
I think I got my 2013 328i xDrive Modern the same day. I struggled with this. I had upgraded sound in my 2009 f90 (328i) that came w/ Premium package. I loved it. Best ever. This time in order to get Logic 7HK would cost me $5100 to purchase premium and exec package. I found this outrageous cuz I didn't want anything but sound. Btw. US lets you buy upgraded sound on its own which pisses me off. I don't know why they treat us like assholes here (how do they justify $550 vs $800 for paint, but I digress).

I listened to both half a dozen times and decided that the diff wasn't worth paying for. I regret that now in my delivered vehicle. I love it otherwise. The fit and finish inside is superb and I love all the dashboard and drive experience/ECO stuff. But everytime I blast my iPod i'm dissappointed.

I'll try the software update route but I doubt that will work. Any further suggestions?
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      11-27-2012, 04:01 PM   #9
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hey Redbull....

I'll let you know how the software update goes...

It might just be me getting used to the crappy sound or maybe the speakers are actually breaking-in...it's not so bad...I think... ???? lol

Wish I had my old 328 wagon to compare...the stock sound in that thing was AMAZING.

Anyways...I've looked into the stereo problem ahead of the update tomorrow. There's a company that does BMW specific speaker replacements that are supposed to be much better. No clue if it really is though...and no clue how much that'll cost either. But it is an option!
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      11-28-2012, 03:55 PM   #10
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For one, do not judge the quality of your sound system with your ipod connected. Chances are your ipod has low quality MP3 or aac. Then theres the issue of amplifying the audio from a crappy ipod headphone jack to a BMW sound system. First test the system with a music CD - > one that has been bought or cloned from an original bought music CD. Do not burn an audio CD unless you are burning lossless music files like FLAC. You can also use the USB port on the car to run your music files.
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      12-03-2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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**Update:

1) as suspected, the dealer didn't find sh*t. THey said everything was running at optimal. I took the service guy and played him music from my ipod. He said it sounded fine. He must have been DEAF b/c it sounded like SH*T. Then he goes to get a loaner car (320i)...I tell him the sound in there is gonna be even worse. GO FIGURE, he listens and says..."it sounds worse in here".

he ended up telling me I was basically up sh*ts creek because they tried everything they could to find out if there was a problem and couldn't come up with anything wrong.

I was tired of arguing so I decided to take the car back and talk to my sales guy and after sales guy again at a later time.

2) While driving I couldn't believe how bad and unbalanced the sound was. Keep in mind, I was using my ipod and BMW Y-cable. At one point while driving home, I was reaching inside the arm rest storage area to grab something. I must have jostled the Y-cable and BOOOOOOM!!!! Normal, SOUND!! I literally pulled over into a plaza and started fiddling around.

Turns out the AUX jack was acting up...every time I would rotate the male connector of the Y-Cable, the sound would cut in and out. The sound would go from SHITTY to "normal".

Took out the AUX male connector and put it back in. Doing this must have made something tighter because the AUX jack isn't acting up anymore.

So... to sum up:
- the mechanics and other guys at service are clearly DEAF or didn't even bother to check it out for real. Even the after-sales guy was siding with me saying something wasn't right.
- 48 hours in the shop. They couldn't figure it out.
- Turns out the aux jack was f-ed up.
- Sound is much better now. But in my humble opinion, this stereo in the F30 still sounds like crap in comparison to my previously owned 328xiT, Z4 and X5. Such a disappointment in an otherwise great car.

-------------

I mostly listen to prog-house, jazz and rock. Jazz and rock = no problems. The prog-house with booming base is where the trouble is. I've been fiddling around with the EQ in the car and have come up with the following solution...(to my ears at least)

iPod - EQ set at Dance mode. I know ppl say to have the EQ setting at "none" for in-car use but I find that using this is better than not. It just gives a more balanced sound in my opinion.

Then in the EQ settings in the car:
Treble - 3 notches above mid
Bass - 1 notch above mid
Balance - middle
Fade: Rear biased (about 3/4 to the rear)...I find this makes the sound more equal through out the car and reduces the massive and flabby bass. I've never, EVER had to do this. If it's in the middle, it just sounds like a wall of sound coming from the front of the car (probably due to the front console speaker) and nothing from the back.
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      12-03-2012, 07:02 PM   #12
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Crazy that your dealer could not get it fixed in the first place.......at least you have it working now
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      12-04-2012, 09:22 PM   #13
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I just did a mini review on a 328i loaner I got without the HK system vs my car with the HK.. Here's the thread

http://www.f30post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=776443
"Harman Kardon vs Standard Stereo:
Is the difference between the two systems worth the extra $$, YES !! They're both very good but the HK system is much better.The standard system sounds tiny compared to the HK system, the bass sounds like one of the woofers is missing. The tweeters were decent but hurt the ears when the volume went up. I wasn't expecting such a big difference, but yea, it's worth the extra money !! The other MAJOR issue is the fact that you can't change the exact frequencies, and are stuck to the general, "Bass" and "Treble", this makes a huge difference on it's own."

Also, I definitely agree that the service department finds excuses for everything. I went in with some rattling and exhaust issues.. They kept the car for 4 days and did f* all. All the ended up doing was the software upgrade. Which doesn't affect the sound system one bit !
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      12-04-2012, 10:51 PM   #14
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OP, get yourself a can of electrical contact cleaner and spray on the mini jack. Then insert (wet) and move around several times. Repeat process 2-3 times. Your minijack contact problems should disappear. BMW uses crap quality jacks to save $1 on your $40K+ car. Same issue on my E90 and at least 4 other E9x cars I've fixed for people.

http://www.amazon.com/CRC-Electrical.../dp/B003NTQCA2

BTW, the stock system is disappointing even with clean minijack contacts. I sure hope you are satisfied. I had an F30 loaner for 3 days and couldn't wait to get back into my E90 HK car. My inbound F30 will come with HK and I sure hope it sounds every bit as good as the E90 version. If not, I may scream (and find something else to drive).
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      12-05-2012, 01:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayman519 View Post
For one, do not judge the quality of your sound system with your ipod connected. Chances are your ipod has low quality MP3 or aac. Then theres the issue of amplifying the audio from a crappy ipod headphone jack to a BMW sound system. First test the system with a music CD - > one that has been bought or cloned from an original bought music CD. Do not burn an audio CD unless you are burning lossless music files like FLAC. You can also use the USB port on the car to run your music files.
I'm using the same ipod setup as I used in the old car and their is a difference. The sound was phenomenal with regular ipod setup in premium sound system in last car. I will try out a music cd though.
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      12-05-2012, 02:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayman519 View Post
For one, do not judge the quality of your sound system with your ipod connected. Chances are your ipod has low quality MP3 or aac. Then theres the issue of amplifying the audio from a crappy ipod headphone jack to a BMW sound system. First test the system with a music CD - > one that has been bought or cloned from an original bought music CD. Do not burn an audio CD unless you are burning lossless music files like FLAC. You can also use the USB port on the car to run your music files.
Common misconception. Purchased AAC music at 256kbps is excellent. The acoustics of the car cabin are going to produce greater challenges than the music source. There is also nothing wrong with an iPhone or iPod headphone socket or the dock/lightening connector. Both have been tested to produce very good results.

If you were going to mate your iPod with a $30k audiophile system then I'd agree with you.
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      12-05-2012, 11:53 PM   #17
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wow...this thread is causing some debate huh?

My final word on this after having the car back for a week and driving it around...

The sound is not bad. But, it really does suck donkey balls in comparison to the last generation stereos installed in BMW's.

Yes, some ppl will be happy with the stock system. Some ppl will say it's not that bad.

I'm a former professional musician...so maybe I'm super picky. But when you crank the volume knob...the bass shouldn't be flabby. A change in one song...you shouldn't have to alter your tone settings drastically.

Point is...I'm still disappointed. BMW SUPER pissed me off on this one. It's a small thing to most...but to me, it's HUGE. Is it big enough for me to never buy a BMW again? Probably not. hahahaha

FTR - I wasn't looking for audiophile sound...you're never gonna get that in a car. Not without spending serious $$. But again, this sound system is worse than the last generation.

BMW, BMW CANADA - If you're listening...reading...taking notes...SOUND SHOULD NOT BE THIS BAD IN AN OVER $50,000 CAR.

Have a nice day.
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      12-06-2012, 11:57 PM   #18
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ill agree it does suck compared to my E90 which also had base line sound system
the sound is so flat no matter how i adjust it
had sub woofers stock in the E90 and the F30 doesnt have them...pretty disappointed at BMW for this
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      12-07-2012, 12:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1lyfe View Post
ill agree it does suck compared to my E90 which also had base line sound system
the sound is so flat no matter how i adjust it
had sub woofers stock in the E90 and the F30 doesnt have them...pretty disappointed at BMW for this
Aren't there 2 subs under the seats in the non HK Canadian sound system as part of the 9 speaker package?
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      12-07-2012, 01:03 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPACEMANRICK
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1lyfe View Post
ill agree it does suck compared to my E90 which also had base line sound system
the sound is so flat no matter how i adjust it
had sub woofers stock in the E90 and the F30 doesnt have them...pretty disappointed at BMW for this
Aren't there 2 subs under the seats in the non HK Canadian sound system as part of the 9 speaker package?
I don't even have 9 speakers
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      12-07-2012, 10:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgrohl View Post
wow...this thread is causing some debate huh?

My final word on this after having the car back for a week and driving it around...

The sound is not bad. But, it really does suck donkey balls in comparison to the last generation stereos installed in BMW's.

Yes, some ppl will be happy with the stock system. Some ppl will say it's not that bad.

I'm a former professional musician...so maybe I'm super picky. But when you crank the volume knob...the bass shouldn't be flabby. A change in one song...you shouldn't have to alter your tone settings drastically.

Point is...I'm still disappointed. BMW SUPER pissed me off on this one. It's a small thing to most...but to me, it's HUGE. Is it big enough for me to never buy a BMW again? Probably not. hahahaha

FTR - I wasn't looking for audiophile sound...you're never gonna get that in a car. Not without spending serious $$. But again, this sound system is worse than the last generation.

BMW, BMW CANADA - If you're listening...reading...taking notes...SOUND SHOULD NOT BE THIS BAD IN AN OVER $50,000 CAR.

Have a nice day.
I'm with you Dgrohl. I'm one of those who notices and cares about this. And there is a difference.What pisses me off is that in US you can get HK upgrade as standalone option in US. Here you have to get Prem and Exec package to get it.
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      12-11-2012, 02:04 PM   #22
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1lyfe - you should have 9 speakers.

2 - tweeters
2 - front door mounted speakers
2 - subs (under your seats)
2 - rear speakers
1 - centre console speaker
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