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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 07-07-2004, 02:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Is the Harmon Kardon sound system in the 3-series worth the upgrade from the standard 10-speaker hi-fi sound system??
Of how much difference is there in terms of bass and sound clarity?
excuse the noobie Question

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Old 07-07-2004, 02:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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nothing is a noob question, you just don't know. So don't worry about that. I have heard the 10 speaker system but never the harmon kardon. But all I can say is you will NOT be displeased. It is pretty much perfect so I'm assuming the Harmon Kardon system has to be ridiculous. How much more is the option, I would spring for it. I don't know if that helped you at all haha but I'm just saying the stock speakers are top notch.
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Old 07-07-2004, 05:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Ohrid@Jul 7 2004, 02:40 AM
Is the Harmon Kardon sound system in the 3-series worth the upgrade from the standard 10-speaker hi-fi sound system??
Of how much difference is there in terms of bass and sound clarity?
excuse the noobie Question

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It depends on who you ask. An audiophile will tell you HK sucks. I tend to like it. I wish it had slighly more base, but it's still pretty good and I can turn it up as loud as I like with no distortion so for me it's
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Old 07-07-2004, 07:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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ok heres basically what you need to decide...

are you going to upgrade your audio? if so do not get the HK.

if you are gonna leave the audio as is, the HK is a very good stand alone factory system.

my car came with the HK so i have the HK with some upgraded audio components
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Old 07-07-2004, 08:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If you are considering spending the cash then visit an audio dealer and see what he could do for the price of the HK system....
.... I think it's a bit pricey and you'd do better getting a system separately.
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Old 07-07-2004, 08:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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yeh, i appreciate ur comments guys, but nah i don't plan to upgrade at all.
how the car comes, thats the way it stays foreva basiclally.
i love my bass though, and was just curious if it was a good step forward, compared to the stock speakers.
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Old 07-07-2004, 09:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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that was the thing i had to add.

bass on the HK was pretty decent...but as an audio fanatic, i like my bass...so i ripped out the HK sub and replaced with aftermarket subs.

btw you will need to address the HK rear deck rattle (if you are going for HK)...the DIY fix is on my cardomain site.
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Old 07-07-2004, 11:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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A true Audio Fanatic is not totally obsessed with the Bass frequencies. They tend to look for clarity and lack of distortion, clearness of all frequencies. The HK system sounds great to me. The Bass is adequate, if you like to bump huge hip hop and rap and annoy other people on the streets, it will suffice but may not be exactly the thunder you are looking for. If you like to listen to rock, jazz, metal, R & B, even hip hop and rap, at levels that are loud enough to deafen you, but not piss off everyone elase for a square mile, you will be very happy.
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Old 07-07-2004, 11:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have the Harmon-Kardon and it's the best factory system i've ever had by FAR. My only grip is that the BMW buisness CD player isn't very powerful. It skips easily and won't play some CDs where as a good aftermarket indash will almost never skip. With the H-K system I can drive on the freeway at 80 MPH with all the windows down and the moonroof open and still have the music at blaring volume and perfect clarity. That's all I want from a system these days.
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Old 07-07-2004, 04:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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My HK compares quite well with the VW Monsoon system I had in my '00 GTI. I assume that every HK comes with speed-compensated volume - that's pretty nice in itself. Sound is excellent. And I'm an old submarine sonarman, so have some calibration.

Would add, perfect fidelity in a noisy car - any car - is a feckless pursuit; good enough is good enough and after that, it's a money sink.
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Old 07-07-2004, 08:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have an 02 325ci w/ HK and it seems no matter what BMW system you have the speakers blow easily or the door panels develop rattles. If you like the factory look of your BMW Business CD then it is still probably worth the upgrade- but for those saying how awesome it is- sorry I dont see it- the systems in Lexus & Infinity blow this one away...
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Old 07-08-2004, 01:06 AM   #12 (permalink)
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one more quick question....wat does the HK system comprise of? because i don't think my dealer mentioned anything about a subwoofer at all. He told me that, just the original speakers in the 330i will be replaced with HK brand instead, thats it. No extra amplifier or subwoofer or any changes to the CD-deck. Maybe different regions around the world, have different set-ups. I am from Oz btw, but that may seem like an unfair proposition.
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Old 07-13-2004, 08:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Very well could be differences in the HK system in different countries. In the US the systems has more/better speakers, more amplification, and a poor excuse of a subwoofer- that by the way develops annoying rattles. Again, if you are not wanting to modify the car and risk voiding your warranty, I would still go for the upgrade, but BMW has a lot to learn about audio systems...
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Old 07-13-2004, 11:03 PM   #14 (permalink)
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i believe stock is 10 speakers and HK is 12
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Old 07-13-2004, 11:21 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The HK in my car only has 10 speakers, however in the rear deck there are 2 two way 6x9's which count as 4 speakers not just 2. I am pretty happy with the HK in my car but I couldn't resist adding subs, since I took them out of my last vehicle, I didn't want them just gathering dust.
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