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      05-18-2018, 10:25 AM   #1
Paul Blart
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Who makes BMWs standard speakers in the F30?

When I picked up my 2015 335i m sport, the BMW genius told me Harmon Kardon makes all of their speakers and the the premium speaker package just had more speakers with more “juice”

Is this accurate?

Edit: From a business standpoint, this would make sense, one vendor typically equals better prices due to volume.
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      05-18-2018, 11:09 AM   #2
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I think the speakers are Philips. I don't think there's any difference between the Hi-Fi and HK system speakers, just that the HK has more of them. HK makes the Hi-Fi head unit and amp as well. The main difference between the two is the added power and EQ of the HK system. The stock speakers are actually pretty good. I see all sorts of claims of how much better after market speakers are but no real data to support it. Not long ago one speaker manufacturer offered a new product for user testing. I looked into it and the deal was you'd get a discounted price, but only as a rebate if you favorably reviewed them. I countered with an offer to subject them to a full spectrum of professional tests, comparing them to the stock speakers, as I am a professional acoustical engineer. I was not going to pay for them, nor would I guarantee a positive review, I'd let the chips fall where they may. I can't say if they were concerned that the speakers literally wouldn't measure up to the claims made for them, but they didn't take me up on the offer.
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      05-18-2018, 11:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
I think the speakers are Philips. I don't think there's any difference between the Hi-Fi and HK system speakers, just that the HK has more of them. HK makes the Hi-Fi head unit and amp as well. The main difference between the two is the added power and EQ of the HK system. The stock speakers are actually pretty good. I see all sorts of claims of how much better after market speakers are but no real data to support it. Not long ago one speaker manufacturer offered a new product for user testing. I looked into it and the deal was you'd get a discounted price, but only as a rebate if you favorably reviewed them. I countered with an offer to subject them to a full spectrum of professional tests, comparing them to the stock speakers, as I am a professional acoustical engineer. I was not going to pay for them, nor would I guarantee a positive review, I'd let the chips fall where they may. I can't say if they were concerned that the speakers literally wouldn't measure up to the claims made for them, but they didn't take me up on the offer.
For the average guy without the specialized equipment you no doubt have, any suggestions on how to compare speakers? I am running the HK system but will be replacing with the brand new Alpha One speakers from Bimmertech this weekend.

For me, the difference between HK and upgrades HAS been significantly different in other cars, but of course purely subjective opinion. Going from the HK setup to upgrade kit in my X5 was mind blowing.. its a cathedral to music now with the change. (granted, there are 1,000 variables effecting the state of the HK speakers by the time I got them including, time, abuse, break in and who knows what)

I don't have your skills and no doubt tools, but any suggestions on how to review to a better degree than "they just sound better"?
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      05-18-2018, 03:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW DIY Guy View Post
For the average guy without the specialized equipment you no doubt have, any suggestions on how to compare speakers?
What it used to take $5k or more to do you can do now for the price of a USB mic that plugs into a laptop. For instance:
https://www.parts-express.com/minids...phone--230-332
You can get a mic as part of a complete testing software package for $350,

https://www.parts-express.com/dayton...undle--390-800

but you can also use it with free testing software like Room EQ Wizard, which has extensive support.
https://www.roomeqwizard.com/
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      05-18-2018, 03:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
What it used to take $5k or more to do you can do now for the price of a USB mic that plugs into a laptop. For instance:
https://www.parts-express.com/minids...phone--230-332
You can get a mic as part of a complete testing software package for $350,

https://www.parts-express.com/dayton...undle--390-800

but you can also use it with free testing software like Room EQ Wizard, which has extensive support.
https://www.roomeqwizard.com/
Really appreciate that.. any pointers if I don't have those tools on hand for this weekend?
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      05-18-2018, 04:02 PM   #6
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Don't trust your ears alone. Engineers don't. Here's why:
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      05-18-2018, 07:56 PM   #7
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I really like the “basic” speaker system. I mostly listen to news, podcasts, and music peppered in between- so I don’t need anything too crazy. I’m just curious as to who makes the speakers.

Billfitz how do you know it’s Phillips? Thanks!
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      05-18-2018, 09:01 PM   #8
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Here's an article on Harmon Kardon Logic 7 Surround Sound System for F30.
There is no mention of Phillips being a supplier but others are mentioned.

https://news.harman.com/releases/top...d-sound-system

The speakers are better quality with Harman Kardon than with base HiFi as verified by GlennNY who is an audio engineeer as well. I have HK system in my 2014 F30 and it is hands down superior not only the sound quality but also the volume of the sound with the 600 watt amp. At 1/4 volume it blows out your ears with modified EQ settings which base HiFi system does not have. I listen to my music from the hard drive built in which is fast and can hold up to 20K mp3 songs so I don't have to use my iphone or any other external device.

Last edited by tympj; 05-18-2018 at 09:08 PM.
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      05-18-2018, 10:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Blart View Post
Billfitz how do you know it’s Phillips?
By the label on the magnet that says 'Philips'. I had to look at a picture of them to refresh my memory.
If you search 'BMW speaker brand' you don't find anything, but if you google 'BMW Philips speakers' there's plenty of links and pictures.
They're by no means cheap drivers. One might get that impression from the small magnets, but said magnets are neodymium, which are 1/8 the size and weight of equivalent ceramic magnets but cost twice as much.
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      05-19-2018, 09:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
By the label on the magnet that says 'Philips'. I had to look at a picture of them to refresh my memory.
If you search 'BMW speaker brand' you don't find anything, but if you google 'BMW Philips speakers' there's plenty of links and pictures.
They're by no means cheap drivers. One might get that impression from the small magnets, but said magnets are neodymium, which are 1/8 the size and weight of equivalent ceramic magnets but cost twice as much.
That is solid evidence, thank you!
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      05-19-2018, 07:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
By the label on the magnet that says 'Philips'. I had to look at a picture of them to refresh my memory.
If you search 'BMW speaker brand' you don't find anything, but if you google 'BMW Philips speakers' there's plenty of links and pictures.
They're by no means cheap drivers. One might get that impression from the small magnets, but said magnets are neodymium, which are 1/8 the size and weight of equivalent ceramic magnets but cost twice as much.
None of the HK speakers have Philips marked on them, you're thinking about older systems. On the F3X platforms the speakers are made by one of two manufacturers, Harman Becker (Harman) and D&M PSS. The Harman Kardon units have HBAS (Harman Becker Automotive Systems) on their stickers. Worth noting that the words Harman Kardon are not synonymous with quality in the audio industry. Harman Becker is a subsidiary of Harman, a subsidiary of Samsung (since their recent purchase). Becker however used to be quality in car audio, Harman Kardon used to produce decent home theatre equipment. Neither do this now.

The base and HiFi speakers are made by D&M Premium Sound Solutions: https://www.premiumsoundsolutions.com/ they're OEM manufacturers for a LOT of car audio systems. They make crap systems, they make great systems, it's all determined by the customer's requirements and budget.

It's also worth noting that you absolutely cannot rate the speakers in a car based on the manufacturer. Nor can you rate the manufacturer based on the speaker. The drive units will have been made to a budget and that is what determines the quality. Both manufacturers above would be capable of designing top end drive units if they needed to. I suspect the only reason the HK system uses Harman units is for licensing/copyright.
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      06-18-2018, 10:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daftasabrush View Post
I suspect the only reason the HK system uses Harman units is for licensing/copyright.
This is akin to saying "I suspect the only reason BMW uses BMW engines is for licensing/copyright." Preposterous.

Harmon Kardon makes speakers... Of course they're going to use their speakers in their branded systems! BTW... They're also using their in-house Logic signal processing too.
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      06-19-2018, 12:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennQNYC View Post
This is akin to saying "I suspect the only reason BMW uses BMW engines is for licensing/copyright." Preposterous.

Harmon Kardon makes speakers... Of course they're going to use their speakers in their branded systems! BTW... They're also using their in-house Logic signal processing too.
Actually... Harman doesn't make speakers. They've never been a speaker manufacturer. Amplifiers and sound processors (electronics) is their thing.

Having just completely gutted my OEM Harman-Kardon Premium Hi Fi system... I can assure you that Harman Kardon does not make the speakers... they are made by Philips.

http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho....php?t=1506949

The Logic-7 amp is made by Harman/Becker. The DSP tuning is done by Harman.

The speakers in a premium system are identical to the speakers in a basic system... they just add a few more for the premium system.
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      06-19-2018, 01:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
By the label on the magnet that says 'Philips'
Anyone who tells you the BMW HK Speakers have Phillips on the magnet of the F series is flat out lying. No other way to put it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daftasabrush View Post
None of the HK speakers have Philips marked on them, you're thinking about older systems. On the F3X platforms the speakers are made by one of two manufacturers, Harman Becker (Harman) and D&M PSS. The Harman Kardon units have HBAS (Harman Becker Automotive Systems) on their stickers. Worth noting that the words Harman Kardon are not synonymous with quality in the audio industry. Harman Becker is a subsidiary of Harman, a subsidiary of Samsung (since their recent purchase). Becker however used to be quality in car audio, Harman Kardon used to produce decent home theatre equipment. Neither do this now.
Yes, living in the past or another reality.
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      06-19-2018, 02:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glennQNYC View Post
Harmon Kardon makes speakers... Of course they're going to use their speakers in their branded systems!
Phillips does not produce speakers in France either, which tweeter shows on label.

Also of note, 3 different part numbers for the rear door midrange speakers depending on Standard, Hi-Fi or HK. HK not in sequence as the other 2 are. BMW would not use different part numbers if same speakers.
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      06-19-2018, 08:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyDee View Post
Actually... Harman doesn't make speakers. They've never been a speaker manufacturer.
That depends on how you view it. For instance, JBL and Infiniti make drivers, and both are Harman companies. Does that mean Harman makes them? What about Revel, or Mark Levinson, also Harman companies. Also, there are many JBL and Infiniti drivers which are identical save for the nameplate, so which are they, JBL or Infiniti? The answer could be neither. The way the driver industry works is that drivers could be sourced from a number of factories in different countries. The number of companies that make drivers keeps growing smaller, with more and more well known names not making drivers at all, but sourcing them. In the case of a large conglomerate like Harmon they'll most likely be sourced from another Harmon subsidiary, but not always, especially when you toss another entity into the mix, like BMW. If BMW gets a better deal from Philips, or any other driver manufacturer, that's where their business will probably go. I would be surprised if BMW didn't get drivers from multiple sources for the same application.

This isn't new by any means. Any musician who's ever seen the inside of a Fender speaker has seen the 'Fender Special Design' sticker on the drivers. Going back to the 1950's Leo Fender always sourced his drivers, and always from whoever gave him the best price. The only thing different about Fender Special Design drivers from off the shelf was the sticker.
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      06-23-2018, 04:10 AM   #17
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Harman has been making speakers with their sister brands (Infinity & JBL to mention a few) since many years.

Some speakers they buy from OEM suppliers (SB, Philips and many others), but development are in-house.

//Chris


Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyDee View Post
Actually... Harman doesn't make speakers. They've never been a speaker manufacturer. Amplifiers and sound processors (electronics) is their thing.

Having just completely gutted my OEM Harman-Kardon Premium Hi Fi system... I can assure you that Harman Kardon does not make the speakers... they are made by Philips.

http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho....php?t=1506949

The Logic-7 amp is made by Harman/Becker. The DSP tuning is done by Harman.

The speakers in a premium system are identical to the speakers in a basic system... they just add a few more for the premium system.
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