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Old 04-27-2017, 03:46 PM   #1
willferland24
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How does the Harman Kardon audio system sound?

Looking at 330Ci's and they all have the Harman Kardon audio systems in them. I know they are better than stock, but how well do they sound? I'm assuming they don't have much bass.
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Old 04-27-2017, 03:51 PM   #2
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They probably sound awesome for mid 2000's standards, but for today's they're not that great, but obviously better than the other stock option
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:19 PM   #3
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They're much better, compared to stock, so's the bass... unless you're a legit audiophile (the ones that truly can tell just by hearing).

On the plus side, the HK amp is better than the stock one, so a modest upgrade (say, to BSW's speakers) is rather easy and cheaper.
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:22 PM   #4
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They're much better, compared to stock, so's the bass... unless you're a legit audiophile (the ones that truly can tell just by hearing).

On the plus side, the HK amp is better than the stock one, so a modest upgrade (say, to BSW's speakers) is rather easy and cheaper.
+1

If the stock system sounds like what the HK system does with the amp off, then it sounds terrible, as least by comparison.

I'm not an audiophile, though, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I think it sounds great.


The radio reception on the other hand.......
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:59 PM   #5
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It depends upon what's playing.

Just sayin'....


Truth of the matter is, this is a silly question, at least as framed. Go listen. If you like it, great. If not plan on getting something else.

I know when I 86'd the Business CD and installed the Dynavin N6, the sound noticeably improved. I have the BavSound speakers coming at this moment. I expect an improvement with those as well.

So, how does the HK set-up sound? I don't know. I ran a 1:03.02 at my last autocross. Was that a good time?
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:09 PM   #6
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even brand new the HK system in the E46 was slightly above mediocre back in the day for the price point the E46 was.
consider the paper cone speakers are shot now over time, if you're any kind of audiophile you'll want to do some upgrades.
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:47 PM   #7
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The speaker button in the center console acts as a "spatializer" which essentially mimics a center channel. Just for this button, the HK system becomes much much more worth a retrofit. The sound stage is 10x better as it actually sounds like there is a center channel. The 6x9's are alright and could use at least a 10'' sub for better lows. The head unit is trash at this point and only really just there for looks. And finally, the mid basses and tweeters could use replacements.

I have a whole set of BSW's,1 3/4'' tweeters up front and a JL 10'' sub. You need to make some sacrifices if you really want to make the speakers sound decent, and that sacrifice is a head unit. Anything but stock these days are much better. Especially if it has a real equalizer.
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Old 04-27-2017, 05:49 PM   #8
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+1

If the stock system sounds like what the HK system does with the amp off, then it sounds terrible, as least by comparison.
It sounds slightly better than with the amp off... it's something like: HK w/o amp < stock < HK w/amp.
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I know when I 86'd the Business CD and installed the Dynavin N6, the sound noticeably improved. I have the BavSound speakers coming at this moment. I expect an improvement with those as well.
And we expect a full review soon
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even brand new the HK system in the E46 was slightly above mediocre back in the day for the price point the E46 was.
Truer words... my old 1999 Sebring's 6-speaker sound system sounded richer than my brand new 2003 325's 10-speaker one, and considering the Sebring cost almost 50% less, well...
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:27 PM   #9
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Sounds better than the stock non HK sound system for comparison....
But compared to other cars, or more modern car sound system, its lacking, everything.
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:35 PM   #10
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HK is really not that good. And with the age of the speakers, the high end is almost completely gone. Not particularly powerful, either.

One of these days I will replace the speakers, because now it is just embarrassing
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:46 PM   #11
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Drove plenty of brand new E46s back then with H/K and honestly, they suck! terrible mids and no bass whatsoever. Nowadays, it's even worst! Nothing to brag about.
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Old 04-27-2017, 07:16 PM   #12
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Hmm, so what would you say is the best sound upgrade for it? I'm not a bass head, but I like more bass. I wouldn't say I'm used to newer sound systems, but my 2012 Jeep Wrangler has pretty nice factory sub woofers in it.


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Old 04-27-2017, 08:10 PM   #13
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The speaker button in the center console acts as a "spatializer" which essentially mimics a center channel. Just for this button, the HK system becomes much much more worth a retrofit. The sound stage is 10x better as it actually sounds like there is a center channel.
^This. The imaging (is that the audiophile word?) is vastly improved when the speaker button is pressed.

Maybe I haven't heard what you folks would consider a GOOD audio system, but I'm fully satisfied with my H/K setup. Everything comes through clearly and cleanly in the driver's seat, and although it doesn't have filling-rattling bass, the lows hit hard and clean, from what I can tell. YMMV.
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:58 PM   #14
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^This. The imaging (is that the audiophile word?) is vastly improved when the speaker button is pressed.

Maybe I haven't heard what you folks would consider a GOOD audio system, but I'm fully satisfied with my H/K setup. Everything comes through clearly and cleanly in the driver's seat, and although it doesn't have filling-rattling bass, the lows hit hard and clean, from what I can tell. YMMV.
Same, I'm quite impressed by the HK system compared to a lot of other vehicles I've heard.

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Old 04-27-2017, 10:00 PM   #15
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HK system sounds fine in a convertible with top down, but inadequate in a closed up sedan.
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:19 PM   #16
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The HK system in my E36 sounds better IMO, but I have a different head unit than stock in it. The E46 is the stock stereo.

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Old 04-27-2017, 10:40 PM   #17
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The bass is decent enough for stock HK. The problem is the rear deck rattle when you turn it up, and then at a certain point if you turn it up too high, the sound kind of dies and sounds like someone is beat-boxing in your ear.

The mids-and high are kinda trash at this age lol
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:01 PM   #18
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After someone comes up with the definitive answer to this question maybe they can tell us what the best color for an E46 is.
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:06 AM   #19
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After someone comes up with the definitive answer to this question maybe they can tell us what the best color for an E46 is.
Titanium silver. That's why there are like a million of them around right?
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:39 AM   #20
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Titanium silver. That's why there are like a million of them around right?
Titanium silver woop woop. Also I see your in chicago too! lets see whose silver is more silver shall we
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