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Old 04-29-2006, 03:58 PM   #1
krystle
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Need opinions on the overall quality of BMW stereo systems!

Hi everyone! I'm currently doing a little research on BMW, specifically the stereos, and am having a hard time finding much.

My questions are: are the stereos good? Do they live up to the quality you would expect with a car as fantastic as a BMW? What problems, in your opinion, are prevalent? Also, does BMW produce them in-house or is production outsourced to another manufacturer?

It seems everywhere I look, I see consumers giving tips on getting the old stuff out and putting new stuff in. Any info you could offer on this would be greatly appreciated! thanks tons....Krystle
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Old 04-29-2006, 03:59 PM   #2
rodo
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The HK system in my car sounds amazing IMO
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Old 04-29-2006, 04:13 PM   #3
///MAC
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yea mine sound good, they are clean and crisp!!!

they are good for what you get.
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Old 04-29-2006, 04:44 PM   #4
vadim321go
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95 e36 325i, garbage system. there are absolutely no base. speakers are old and weak. but i dont really expect anything amazing from a 11 year old car
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Old 04-29-2006, 05:06 PM   #5
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Hi Krystle, welcome to the forum.

Premium sound is absolutely horrid. The e36 Premium package stereo has horrible imaging, it lacks bass, and the high's are tinny. The e46 Premium package is even more disappointing. It's underpowered, and distorts easily. While it is leaps and bounds better than the regular stereo system, it is a far cry from a $2000 stock upgrade. Within the first two weeks of owning the e46 with HK Premium sound, the car has already been torn apart for a stereo upgrade... that's the only thing that will be upgraded on the car. Not looking for booming bass, but just something that sounds half-decent. Note that the e46 premium sound does come with two small 6x9 subwoofer speakers in the rear deck too... but they are quite ineffective. The stock speakers blow easily too.

The stereo imaging and design is produced in-house by BMW, but the components are outsourced from Harmon Kardon.

Unlike other cars that have amazing in-car stereos like the Acura TL that are actually outsourced to another manufacturer to come up with speaker placement, stereo design, etc. Acura's stereos are completely designed from the ground-up by Bose... and are quite frankly, one of the best sounding stock stereo's I've ever heard.
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Old 04-29-2006, 05:59 PM   #6
krystle
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Justin--Thanks for the welcome and the advice! I really appreciate it--I'm a business major working on a paper and was/am having a really hard time due to my lack of knowledge on this stuff.
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Old 04-29-2006, 06:51 PM   #7
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um... HK sound systems sound pretty good, I don't know what you expect then from a stock system, but to me they sound amazing. Ive never heard any aftermarket sound systems, but HK sounds good to me...
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Old 04-29-2006, 08:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krystle
Justin--Thanks for the welcome and the advice! I really appreciate it--I'm a business major working on a paper and was/am having a really hard time due to my lack of knowledge on this stuff.
No problem.. if you have any questions to help get your research paper completed, feel free to ask.

Since this is for a research paper, I should probably elaborate a bit to keep things more clear. BMW has many vehicles lined up in their stable, from the entry level 3-series to the high-end Z8. The stereo options in these vehicles change accordingly. Since your paper touches more upon the BMW brand, it would help if your source materials range beyond the 3 and 5 series cars. (which are the two cars you usually find people upgrading their stereo's for.)

BMW usually offers two sound options for most of their vehicles. The "basic" sound option which is usually 6 speakers, and produced in house. Up to the Premium or "Hi-Fi" option which contains more speakers depending on the vehicle. It can range anywhere from 10 speakers, to 13-14 speakers in the case of the 7-series luxury vehicles.

In the case of higher end BMW vehicles (such as the 7-series or the Z4 roadster), the sound options are outsourced to Harmon Kardon's Lexicon divison. However, they retain the Harmon Kardon brand name instead of Lexicon, simply because it is better known and sounds more 'prestige' to audiophiles. (it comes down to branding, and image... the HK name looks better.)

The higher end BMW vehicles contain 7-channel audio, and truly are a pleasure to listen to. They contain a centre-speaker located on the dashboard for centre-fill, and subwoofers integrated into the chassis of the vehicle. All the digital sound processing is handled by separate components, and all terminals are gold plated. This is known as the Logic-7 system.

The Premium sound in the BMW Z4 was the first vehicle to ever be awarded with THX certification in March 2006, a very presigious designation. For a vehicle to be THX certified, it has to abide to very strict standards. This is known as the Carver system. It has 10 channel audio, 2 subwoofers, 2 woofers, and 6 midrange/high speakers, with a total output of 430watts. A true THX system goes through minimal digital sound processing, it is designed to sound as "natural" and "real" as possible. It is designed to sound like the original recording. Whereas, Hi-Fi (high fidelity) stereos utilize a load of post-audio processing to help 'improve' bad sounding audio/recordings to sound more natural.

So in a nutshell, BMW has a wide range of vehicles ranging from the basic to the ultra luxurious, and the stereos in these vehicles improves accordingly as well. That's a part of BMW marketing, you get more if you pay more. The higher end cars do indeed have amazing audio systems, while the lower end ones leaves some to be desired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rodo
um... HK sound systems sound pretty good, I don't know what you expect then from a stock system, but to me they sound amazing. Ive never heard any aftermarket sound systems, but HK sounds good to me...
For $2000 to upgrade to a 'Premium' sound system, I expect it to sound like $2000 worth of upgrades... a lot of money on audiophile equipment. Instead you get DSP, with a few extra speakers/subs tossed in the mix.. and that's it. As an example, if you ever jump into a Toyota with 10-Speaker Premium Sound (designed by Fujitsu), such as a mid-90's Camry, it will blow the 3-series premium sound of the water. There really is no comparison, the imaging and time alignment was designed meticiously first by the Fujitsu engineers, the speakers even angle for imaging---the design of interior panels came afterwards by Toyota. And it was only a $400 upgrade.
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Old 04-29-2006, 11:57 PM   #9
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holy i wish i ran into ppl like you when i was doin papers!
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Old 04-30-2006, 01:14 AM   #10
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$500--Amen! he's like an encyclopedia!

Justin--soooo....uummm..do you just want to finish this paper for me?? haha Seriously though, thanks so much for all the help. Is the upgrade on the 3 and 5 series $2000? For some reason I was thinking it was $675 to upgrade. For $2000 it better sound like Zeppelin is playing a concert in my back seat.
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Old 04-30-2006, 05:07 PM   #11
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its not, it comes as a part of the premium package, which if I remember correctly is more than 2000
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Old 04-30-2006, 08:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by $500bimmer
holy i wish i ran into ppl like you when i was doin papers!
really, where is the help for me when I have papers to do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by krystle
$500--Amen! he's like an encyclopedia!

Justin--soooo....uummm..do you just want to finish this paper for me?? haha Seriously though, thanks so much for all the help. Is the upgrade on the 3 and 5 series $2000? For some reason I was thinking it was $675 to upgrade. For $2000 it better sound like Zeppelin is playing a concert in my back seat.
I think you'll be fine with your paper , but if you want to post it up when you're done and get our input to help proof it, feel free to copy and paste it here. The upgrade package is actually less expensive in the newer 3-series and 5-series, it is $1200 USD for the Harmon/Kardon Logic7 stereo (much better than the older Premium sound options.) However, it's an additional $795 for the 6-disc MP3/CD Changer located in the trunk. Works out to around $2000.

If you want to get really fancy, you can add anther $595 for Sirius sattelite radio. Optionally, you can add $75 to have your car pre-wired for Sattelite radio, if you wish to add it at a later time instead.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rodo
its not, it comes as a part of the premium package, which if I remember correctly is more than 2000
Premium Sound can be ordered separately, or you can have it included in the Premium Package for $4200 which also includes Homelink, Auto-Diming mirror w/ compass, lumbar support, Premium sound, and higher quality leather.. (I think it's Dakota leather.), it does not include the CD-changer, or Sattelite radio though.
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Old 04-30-2006, 08:58 PM   #13
krystle
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I'm way too chicken to subject my paper to the wolves that are lurking somewhere in the shadows of this site! Not a person of low standards, I'm just hoping for a C on this one given the late start.
I appreciate the last bit of info, but I think I am going to conveniently leave it out since the paper is about BMW outsourcing their audio systems to another company to cut consumer costs and improve quality. In case the police ever call, I have seriously plagiarized absolutely every ounce of information you (and the others on the site) have given me!
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Old 04-30-2006, 11:20 PM   #14
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OK,here is some 411 for you on this,no they are not staged right,they off axis by 20% and the doors speakers are in the right place,and what I mean is to far from the kick panel,and for RTA it is sooo bad man,they score a 10 on a RTA metre and is bad and this out of a score of 40....
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Old 05-01-2006, 12:24 AM   #15
$500bimmer
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i was planning on putting something like 5 1/4 in the lower half of the door kinda pointed up towards the shifter? i have placed some there to test sounded good...but that was out of an enclosure.....paul you think it is worth it?? sorry for not opening this into a new post.....
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