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      08-27-2011, 06:01 AM   #1
Aussie_in_London
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harman/kardon worth it or not?

Time is ticking away and closer our built date approaches, and as always you review back over all options and choices before the door closes to make changes.

We have opted for the sat nav and usb interface but with the stock standard speaker set up............Now its been some number of years I have been into the whole uprated sound systems in my cars instead focusing on performance, enjoy my music but usual on a quality home system and my ipod (matched with bose headphones). Now for the 1M, well the plan is to be a bit of a keeper for some number of years, no plans of tracking (as I have already a purpose built track day toy) other than some ring time, now then after that beat around the bush.....is the upgrade really worth it in the long term (not getting at resale as I buy a car for me here and now) or go down my original plan of replacing the oem base speakers with a quality after market speaker?

Everyone's feedback will be appreciated, pros and cons etc
I then can run it pass the wifey as she placed the order and can make the changes....

Thanks.

Last edited by Aussie_in_London; 08-27-2011 at 06:36 AM..
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      08-27-2011, 06:36 AM   #2
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I have the hifi pro, a friend the harman kardon. Definitely worth the bucks. I would take it if could order again.
By the way. What format are you using on the ipod/iphone? MP3?
If so, try the apple loss less format. Big improvement in sound, also in the car. Files are big, but I have throw away all my MP3 and changed to loss less.
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      08-27-2011, 06:42 AM   #3
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thanks mate

yeah all mp3 format on ipod, will give the other format a go ......
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      08-27-2011, 06:42 AM   #4
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If you venture out of the 1M section and have a look at the rest of the forum you'll find a section dedicated to ICE, lots of quality info.
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      08-27-2011, 06:48 AM   #5
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for the cost the HK is certainly worth it
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      08-27-2011, 06:48 AM   #6
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HK sound is a must. Convenience package is not. If your car is going to be a keeper, I'd advise purchasing it without navi. This is the first thing that gets dated very quickly. Just look at all the advancements over just the last three years. It's night and day. Also, I've always felt the monitor location on the dash is very obstructive and looks very much like an afterthought in the design. Look online for images of the interior without it and you may agree.
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      08-27-2011, 07:24 AM   #7
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I think the HK was worth the money. I have never heard a standard 1er sound system, but when I bought my 3er the car a i test drove had a std radio and it was average, but not great. So, I ordered HK in my 3er as well. Obvisously they are different systems in the 1M, but the sound of my 1M HK is much better than my 325 HK.

If I had a complaint is that the adjustments are too much detail for me. There are settings for bass, treble, fade, etc. But then also another screen (at least w/the iDrive) where you can go in and set each frequency response to your liking. I don't know enough to use it! I would have liked some pre-set profiles (Rock, POP, talk, classical, etc) to make it easier for the novice.

Lots of aftermarket stuff I am sure is better than OEM HK option, but that is a whole other thread I am sure!
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      08-27-2011, 07:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
HK sound is a must. Convenience package is not. If your car is going to be a keeper, I'd advise purchasing it without navi. This is the first thing that gets dated very quickly. Just look at all the advancements over just the last three years. It's night and day. Also, I've always felt the monitor location on the dash is very obstructive and looks very much like an afterthought in the design. Look online for images of the interior without it and you may agree.
I struggled with getting the Navi option. I totally agree in a few yrs time the Navi will be obsolete. My main consideration for gettting the screen (other than comfort access) was something I read on threads here of people getting their 1M for the first time and that was the user interface and options of the car is designed around iDrive and it was a little frustrating trying to use some of the features in the 2 or 3 lines the standard radio screen gives you.

Just my additional $0.02.
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      08-27-2011, 08:36 AM   #9
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The HK system is good vs a similar priced aftermarket system. Although having said that, it doesnt compete in terms of possible quality if you want something really nice, but its only car audio and I dont think its worth going aftermarket really IMO. But stock sound systems are actually crappy so I would say definitely go for the HK.

Navi was a no brainer for me, I love electronics and it becoming obsolete doesnt bother me, will still be ahead of whats in most cars and still very usable in years to come.

I guess it will become obsolete once 1 series gets windscreen display standard, which will probably be after TomToms get windscreen projectors and when your car probably has about 100,000 miles, I dont think that far ahead.
I think what we are being offered is all good and not worth worrying about being superseded as its not avoidable with electronics.
It should still be a very good interface regardless.
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Last edited by ItsHectic; 08-27-2011 at 08:42 AM..
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      08-27-2011, 08:39 AM   #10
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If you are spending the money on the gadgets why not spend a little more for the tunes? I like the sound of the hk.
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      08-27-2011, 08:57 AM   #11
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thanks for all your opinions guys...........
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      08-27-2011, 09:23 AM   #12
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I too would be interested in the quality of the 1M oem system, as not all manufacturer stock systems are equal. The only upgraded system I've ever owned was Bose in a 2005 G35, which was decent.
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      08-27-2011, 09:33 AM   #13
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I disagree about the stock hifi. I wanted the hk, but it only came bundled in the $4900 executive package option which i wasn't interested in. At all. So I got the hifi, and I personally think it sounds great with my ipod. It's definitely not "crap". No way. If you can get the hk as a standalone option, go for it. But there's wrong with the hifi at all.
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      08-27-2011, 09:36 AM   #14
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stand alone option here in the UK, just works out a bit cheaper if you have opted sat nav but is not a requirement to do so
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      08-27-2011, 09:53 AM   #15
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I have to say that as a bit of an audiophile, I went ahead and optioned the HK system in my 135i. The cost increase over the cost of the car is actually pretty minimal, and it's worth it. While it's not a great system, it's probably as good as you're going to find in the relatively crap listening environment of a car. Yes, BMW has the even better system in the M3 and other high end cars (and you can order it individual on the 3'er in general) it's probably overkill for 99% of most people's listening pleasure.

I'd say the only times you'll ever really notice the HK is not a blindingly good stereo are either (a) when really cranking the bass to get a night-club feel to the music or (b) when trying to listen to softer parts of Mozart's Requiem as played by the London Philharmonic. Good luck with either, and these are both pretty extreme. In the first instance, the HK tends to run out of steam (small subwoofers) but seems to pretty well resist distortion, and in the latter... well... if you can hear that over the exhaust then you're spending way too much time listening to music instead of driving your car

Having said that, the stock system is not good. It distorts easily even at moderate volume levels. There's no real definition to the high frequencies, and the lows are really muddy.

Of course, all of this depends a lot on the source as well. 128kbit MP3 is going to sound like crap on the best stereo system... while lossless or well mastered CD's on a good system are going to sound phenomenal. Of course, a lot of modern CD's are badly mastered and sounds pretty bad no matter the system they're on... but that's a rant for another day
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      08-27-2011, 10:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinister Crayon View Post

Having said that, the stock system is not good. It distorts easily even at moderate volume levels. There's no real definition to the high frequencies, and the lows are really muddy.
This is not true at all. Also, the highs and lows are fine IMO. Compared to a 5k system, then yeah, probably.
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      08-27-2011, 10:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bklounge View Post
I disagree about the stock hifi. I wanted the hk, but it only came bundled in the $4900 executive package option which i wasn't interested in. At all. So I got the hifi, and I personally think it sounds great with my ipod. It's definitely not "crap". No way. If you can get the hk as a standalone option, go for it. But there's wrong with the hifi at all.
Thanks for the opinion as I am struggling with the same decision and have not heard the stock radio. Seems to me that I could get a good after market system for less than half of the $4900 executive package cost.
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      08-27-2011, 10:22 AM   #18
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Isn't the current stock 1 series radio (aka hifi) different from the previous MY stock radio (aka base). This could make a difference when comparing the HK to a previous experience with a stock 1 series system.

Last edited by mikewills; 08-27-2011 at 10:39 AM..
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      08-27-2011, 11:07 AM   #19
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Simple: if it's your daily driver and you like music, HK is a must. If it's not your daily driver then you'll look forward to the other music coming out of the exhaust.
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      08-27-2011, 11:21 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by violinfather View Post
Thanks for the opinion as I am struggling with the same decision and have not heard the stock radio. Seems to me that I could get a good after market system for less than half of the $4900 executive package cost.
This was my exact rationale as well. Now that I have the hifi, I don't think I'll touch it. Might get a small amp for the subs in the future, but we'll see.
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      08-27-2011, 11:35 AM   #21
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The HK system is amazing. I'm glad I have it.
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      08-27-2011, 11:38 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FS993 View Post
Simple: if it's your daily driver and you like music, HK is a must(If you do not want to mess with aftermarket). If it's not your daily driver then you'll look forward to the other music coming out of the exhaust.
Fixed that for you. If you actually care about car audio, even the HK setup may be disappointing or not enough for your needs. For the price bump of the HK system, you can put something together that would outshine the HK system. But again, that's if you want to mess with going the aftermarket route.

For me, I'm a bit torn. I know I’ll find any “stock” audio system subpar. Even the upgraded ones. Comparing what I put together in my car (very modest SQ system) to the Mark Levinson supposed awesomeness in a Lexus confirmed that auto manufactures still have a ways to go in true “audiophile” sound. You can only do so much with mass production.

But past experiences with tie-everything-into-the-Nav-system and aftermarket upgrades have been rather irritating. Because everything is so integrated nowadays, it makes it hard to find a good point to insert the upgrades without being too disruptive to OEM fit and functionality. I really wish auto makers would just do a simple thing and add clean audio outs without ANY processing from the headunit and let the owner decide how they’d like to upgrade. I’d even pay a premium for that “option”. That would be a true audiophile option.

I’ve opted out of the HK system in the hopes that I can make simple upgrades (speakers plus digital amp - to keep the weight down of course, lol) to get the sound I want. May just leave subwoofers alone because of the hassle, unless some shallow ones can be mounted, but I’m done with the whole custom enclosure thing. I think I can live without deep bass in a car. But we’ll see, it all depends on what the stock system does from the headunit/NAV.
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Last edited by sergeremi; 08-27-2011 at 01:35 PM..
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