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      06-17-2020, 12:56 PM   #1
435_n55
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Harman Kardon Sound System Upgrade

Iím looking to upgrade my sound system to a Harmon Kardon system. I currently have the factory Hi-Fi system. If I do get a system. Will it be plug and play or will I need to get the amp as well? Please send help!
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      06-17-2020, 01:08 PM   #2
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The main advantage to H-K over Hi-Fi is that H-K has a better EQ. However, it's still not all that good. The best upgrade is to an amp that has better EQ, like the Audiotec Fischer Match Up 7 BMW. There are plenty of threads about that. As for speakers, the doors are fine, the best choice for underseats if you don't have a trunk sub is the SWS Earthquake, 2 ohms, which the Match Up 7 BMW amp has sufficient power to drive.
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      06-17-2020, 01:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
The main advantage to H-K over Hi-Fi is that H-K has a better EQ. However, it's still not all that good. The best upgrade is to an amp that has better EQ, like the Audiotec Fischer Match Up 7 BMW. There are plenty of threads about that. As for speakers, the doors are fine, the best choice for underseats if you don't have a trunk sub is the SWS Earthquake, 2 ohms, which the Match Up 7 BMW amp has sufficient power to drive.
Hi i am also the one which wanted to upgrade my system from HIFI to HK.

Isnt it HK system have more speakers?

And since i want FACTORY like, i want to buy original HK amp or B&O amp and get it coded into the system, get a full upgrade speakers set.

Do you have any advice ? what i really needed to buy to achieve?

i had been thinking to buy a full bavsound speakers upgrade set for HK system,
a HK/B&O amp, is it simply a plug and play and get it code to make it work?

Any wires i need to add or any more components?

Thanks!!
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      06-17-2020, 05:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max80 View Post
Hi i am also the one which wanted to upgrade my system from HIFI to HK.

Isnt it HK system have more speakers?

And since i want FACTORY like, i want to buy original HK amp or B&O amp and get it coded into the system, get a full upgrade speakers set.

Do you have any advice ? what i really needed to buy to achieve?

i had been thinking to buy a full bavsound speakers upgrade set for HK system,
a HK/B&O amp, is it simply a plug and play and get it code to make it work?

Any wires i need to add or any more components?

Thanks!!
Match UP 7BMW is still factory like replacement for HIFI amp. If you purchase any PnP speakers for BMW, you wouldn't be able to tell a difference from cosmetic perspective. HK amp is more difficult to install and worse than UP 7BMW amp in terms of SQ. If I have a choice, I would choose factory HIFI system and do the upgrade myself rather than getting HK system.

There are few threads on HIFI system upgrade you can reference that depends on your budget.
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      06-17-2020, 05:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max80 View Post
Do you have any advice ? !
Follow the advice of those who've done Match Up installs.
https://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh...1547243&page=7

I understand wanting to have the interface with iDrive, but the H-K just doesn't improve on the Hi-Fi enough to be worthwhile. The Match Up does.
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      06-17-2020, 06:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
The main advantage to H-K over Hi-Fi is that H-K has a better EQ. However, it's still not all that good. The best upgrade is to an amp that has better EQ, like the Audiotec Fischer Match Up 7 BMW. There are plenty of threads about that. As for speakers, the doors are fine, the best choice for underseats if you don't have a trunk sub is the SWS Earthquake, 2 ohms, which the Match Up 7 BMW amp has sufficient power to drive.
Below is a section from a recent post that I wrote with details about the Earthquake Underseat Subwoofers that Billfitz mentioned. Hope this helps!

—————-
EARTHQUAKE PART NUMBERS/ PRICING
The best price that I found on the Earthquakes was on Walmart online for $109 each, but the same reseller is now selling them on Amazon for $109 also. Make sure to get the 2-ohm model, SWS-8Xi.

You will also need a pair of spacer rings. There are two kinds based on wiring connection.

1) Earthquake sells them for ~$22/pair. (Part# R8SWS) They have spring loaded posts in the stock location that make it easy to connect your own speaker wiring. I used these along with 14 gauge twisted speaker wire.

https://www.amazon.com/Earthquake-So.../dp/B00G2MKGOU

Shielded wire would have been even better. I wanted to upgrade from the car's speaker wire which was probably 16g or 18g, because I was putting more power to the underseat subs. The newtis website was helpful in understanding how to remove interior panels which was easier than I expected. Just only do one side of the car a time so you have the other side to refer to to put things back together.

2) Technicpnp sells spacer rings that have OEM wiring connectors on them in the OEM wiring location. This makes it simple to reuse the stock car wiring to the underseat subs. They are $65/pair but well worth it.

https://technicpnp.com/product/sws-8...er-connectors/

EARTHQUAKE UNDERSEAT INSTALLATION

This cheap plastic trim tool kit was helpful.
https://www.harborfreight.com/Trim-A...-Pc-64126.html

This metal tool was helpful
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hyper-Toug...4008/443274151

Watch this video starting at 14:16 to see how to physically install the Earthquakes



Tips: it helps to use the electric motor control to slide the seat forward and back to access the four hold down bolts. I trimmed the edges of my factory carpeting back with scissors so it didn't interfere with the subs.
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      06-18-2020, 02:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
Follow the advice of those who've done Match Up installs.
https://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh...1547243&page=7

I understand wanting to have the interface with iDrive, but the H-K just doesn't improve on the Hi-Fi enough to be worthwhile. The Match Up does.
Yes i really want the interface which matching with IDrive so its more factory like. I understand Match UP seems the best i can get from HIFI based.

And isn't the HK system come with more speakers? does the increase number of speakers help also?
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      06-18-2020, 05:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max80 View Post
Yes i really want the interface which matching with IDrive so its more factory like. I understand Match UP seems the best i can get from HIFI based.

And isn't the HK system come with more speakers? does the increase number of speakers help also?
More speakers doesn't mean better for stereo system. In fact some people delete the rear speakers and center speaker. Most system will just sum the L/R signal / 2 and output the signal as center channel. Match DSP using Real Center algorithm is more complex DSP where the most right or left sound is not added to the center channel. This will not collapse your soundstage when playing stereo music. I also don't see a point having HK EQ settings. It's very crude for adjustment unlike Match DSP Amp where you can tune the EQ per speakers + you can set any parameters for freq, level and Q factor. I also reserve the first band and last band for shelf filter to adjust to Harman house curve.
I have both system HK in my F10 and Match UP 7BMW in X3. Although my X3 have 2 channels less, the imaging is much better than F10 HK system.
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      06-18-2020, 07:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max80 View Post
i had been thinking to buy a full bavsound speakers upgrade set for HK system,
a HK/B&O amp, is it simply a plug and play and get it code to make it work?
The HK system is very different from hifi and certainly not a PnP upgrade. You need to retrofit the MOST and the harnesses including additional wirings.

The B&O (as well as B&W and RR Bespoke) is even a bigger challenge and not sure if somebody already did it. The first obvious reason is these amps have more channels, thus need identification of the correct channels and additional wiring (e.g. tweeters powered by dedicated channels). Still, even the very best oem amp will not provide you with possibilities the aftermarket DSP/amps have...

Considering the cost, effort, risks and result, retrofitting the MOST amp does not make much sense to me and you make your life much easier with aftermarket solutions. Some brands are now offering all components required for upgrade, including cables and harnesses. If you think you need tweeking the sound after the DSP calibration, you can often buy remotes to your amp (depending on the brand, that allows you to comfortably adjust L/R, fader, EQ or even switch the DSP profiles).

Before you hit the Bavsound trigger, I suggest considering all the options of PnP speakers available on the market (there are many).
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      06-19-2020, 06:20 AM   #10
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Please consider the Audiotec Fischer Match Up 7 BMW. The base speakers aren't horrible - it's the stock amp that stinks.

In February, I bought a new to me '18 F34. The dealer moved my Match amp from my F30 to my F34. The difference in sound quality reminded me of why I bought it.

PS - once I set the audio parameters with my laptop (this was very easy), I haven't had to adjust anything from iDrive. And I'm using the 'stock' parameters for the Gran Turismo.
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      06-20-2020, 10:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
The main advantage to H-K over Hi-Fi is that H-K has a better EQ.
If I am not mistaken, the HiFi just takes 4 balanced analog channels from HU and outputs 7 high-level channels of 205W in total (5x25W + 2x40W) to 9 speakers. The HK takes the MOST fiber digital signal to class D amplifier and outputs 9 high-level channels of 600W in total (7x50W + 2x125W) to 16 speakers. Indeed, there are more significant advantages of HK, as the surround decoding, user EQ, and dynamic outputs equalization.

Absolutely agree, that with available PnP upgrades from Audison/Match/Focal the retrofitting of HK does not make sense. Still curious of what makes you simplify these two very different systems down to the better EQ?
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      06-20-2020, 11:47 AM   #12
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The added power of the HK doesn't necessarily translate to a better result. It takes ten times the power to sound twice as loud. There's also the matter of speaker impedance. I don't know about the HK midbasses, but the woofers are 8 ohms, so compared to the 4 ohm woofers of the Hi-Fi it takes twice as much power to get the same output. Adding more speakers doesn't necessarily make for better sound either. It can make it worse.

EQ allows one to tailor the response to the acoustics of the car and the preferences of the listener. The seven bands of EQ in the HK is better than the zero bands of EQ in the Hi-Fi, but it's still half the minimum number of bands that are required to do the job well. The Match Up DSP has 30 bands of EQ, which is as much as you'll find in the best recording studio gear.
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      06-20-2020, 01:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
The added power of the HK doesn't necessarily translate to a better result.
Okay, understand your comment now. In real life, the HK amp/dsp is way more capable than the HiFi one.

Btw, the HK mids and tweeters are apparently 4 ohm, the same goes for previous gen B&O and current gen B&W.
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      06-20-2020, 02:11 PM   #14
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I'm not saying that the HK amp isn't better than the Hi-Fi, but if you're going to the trouble of changing the amp at all then you might as well get the one that works the best. And then there's the matter of price, $999 for the Match Up, $1299 for the HK in the US.
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      06-20-2020, 03:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J555 View Post
The HK system is very different from hifi and certainly not a PnP upgrade. You need to retrofit the MOST and the harnesses including additional wirings.

The B&O (as well as B&W and RR Bespoke) is even a bigger challenge and not sure if somebody already did it. The first obvious reason is these amps have more channels, thus need identification of the correct channels and additional wiring (e.g. tweeters powered by dedicated channels). Still, even the very best oem amp will not provide you with possibilities the aftermarket DSP/amps have...

Considering the cost, effort, risks and result, retrofitting the MOST amp does not make much sense to me and you make your life much easier with aftermarket solutions. Some brands are now offering all components required for upgrade, including cables and harnesses. If you think you need tweeking the sound after the DSP calibration, you can often buy remotes to your amp (depending on the brand, that allows you to comfortably adjust L/R, fader, EQ or even switch the DSP profiles).

Before you hit the Bavsound trigger, I suggest considering all the options of PnP speakers available on the market (there are many).
OK seems MATCH UP was the one to go anyway..

Maybe i should just upgrade my HIFI system not a retrofit HK.

So what speakers you guys recommend? And about subwoofer upgrade which one you guys suggest?

Thankyou so much
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      06-20-2020, 03:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max80 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by J555 View Post
The HK system is very different from hifi and certainly not a PnP upgrade. You need to retrofit the MOST and the harnesses including additional wirings.

The B&O (as well as B&W and RR Bespoke) is even a bigger challenge and not sure if somebody already did it. The first obvious reason is these amps have more channels, thus need identification of the correct channels and additional wiring (e.g. tweeters powered by dedicated channels). Still, even the very best oem amp will not provide you with possibilities the aftermarket DSP/amps have...

Considering the cost, effort, risks and result, retrofitting the MOST amp does not make much sense to me and you make your life much easier with aftermarket solutions. Some brands are now offering all components required for upgrade, including cables and harnesses. If you think you need tweeking the sound after the DSP calibration, you can often buy remotes to your amp (depending on the brand, that allows you to comfortably adjust L/R, fader, EQ or even switch the DSP profiles).

Before you hit the Bavsound trigger, I suggest considering all the options of PnP speakers available on the market (there are many).
OK seems MATCH UP was the one to go anyway..

Maybe i should just upgrade my HIFI system not a retrofit HK.

So what speakers you guys recommend? And about subwoofer upgrade which one you guys suggest?

Thankyou so much
Earthquake underseat subs. All the information is in the posts above

Install the MatchUp amp and Earthquakes. Then decide if you need any other speaker upgrades
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      06-20-2020, 03:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnung View Post
Earthquake underseat subs. All the information is in the posts above

Install the MatchUp amp and Earthquakes. Then decide if you need any other speaker upgrades
I am looking at the Alpha one complete kit too. What do you think?

Best Regards
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      06-20-2020, 11:15 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max80 View Post
OK seems MATCH UP was the one to go anyway..

Maybe i should just upgrade my HIFI system not a retrofit HK.

So what speakers you guys recommend? And about subwoofer upgrade which one you guys suggest?

Thankyou so much
Depends on your budget and configuration u want. If you want deep bass, u need to install trunk sub. With Alpha One kits, you still need to install trunk sub for deep bass. I have their Underseat sub for HK and the mid bass is pretty punchy. I don’t expect deep bass for HK system due to roll off in DSP around 40hz.
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      06-20-2020, 11:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max80 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnung View Post
Earthquake underseat subs. All the information is in the posts above

Install the MatchUp amp and Earthquakes. Then decide if you need any other speaker upgrades
I am looking at the Alpha one complete kit too. What do you think?

Best Regards
I've got the H/K system and I upgraded my underseat subs to the Earthquakes. I used a secondary amplifier to power just the Earthquakes.

With the Hifi system, the MatchUp amp would provide the same power to the Earthquakes so no secondary amplifier would be needed.

The Earthquakes were the missing link to the H/K system. They really completed the sound. My family and friends thought that I had replaced all of my speakers, instead of just the subs. That's why I'm suggesting that you do the MatchUp amplifier and Earthquakes first. They are the foundation. Then see how your system sounds. You may find, like I did, that the other speakers don't need expensive replacement.

Good luck!
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      06-24-2020, 11:14 AM   #20
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Do you have the link for the Match Up amp and Earthquakes sub? I can't seem to find it.
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      06-24-2020, 03:58 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 435_n55 View Post
Do you have the link for the Match Up amp and Earthquakes sub? I can't seem to find it.
Best price that I've seen:
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Earthquak...ofer/132566928

This is list price so you may find it lower if you shop but beware scam artists.
https://www.crutchfield.com/S-TJYK51...H-UP-7BMW.html

If you wish to use the car's existing underseat sub wiring and connectors you will need these spacers
https://technicpnp.com/product/sws-8...er-connectors/
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