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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I drove I Polestar 2 yesterday with the Plus Pack, which has the HK upgrade. The bass was barely audible, so now I'm worried about the quality on the i4. I chose the HK upgrade for my i4 M50, but I have a feeling I will need to go with an after market upgrade anyway.

Should I just remove the HK upgrade from my pre-order? Or will it be easier to upgrade from HK to aftermarket vs starting with the standard sound system?

I'm ok with sacrificing some trunk space for the subwoofer if needed, if the aftermarket doesn't fit underneath like the HK does.
 

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I would stick with the Harman Kardon audio. There are too many speakers to replace, and I wouldn’t want anyone taking apart dashes, door panels, and roof pillars on a new vehicle. Hopefully Bavsound will come out with a plug-and-play subwoofer which will replace the HK unit in the trunk.
 

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I drove I Polestar 2 yesterday with the Plus Pack, which has the HK upgrade. The bass was barely audible, so now I'm worried about the quality on the i4. I chose the HK upgrade for my i4 M50, but I have a feeling I will need to go with an after market upgrade anyway.

Should I just remove the HK upgrade from my pre-order? Or will it be easier to upgrade from HK to aftermarket vs starting with the standard sound system?

I'm ok with sacrificing some trunk space for the subwoofer if needed, if the aftermarket doesn't fit underneath like the HK does.
You can get the HiFi system and add an aftermarket amp/DSP with the $875 saved over the HK system. This will give you better clarity and loudness out of the OEM speakers, but bass still be limited to the small OEM woofers of the front doors. These are mid-bass woofers, not subwoofers.

You can get the HK system and do the same thing, add an aftermarket amp/DSP and get better clarity and loudness out of the OEM speakers and mid-bass woofers. However, the trunk sub can get louder and deeper with extra power and tune ability of the DSP. The thing is that BMW says that the 8” woofer in the sub enclosure is a “sub”, when technically it always been a mid-bass woofer that go lower than a regular woofer but not as low as a proper sub. This will be confirmed by setting your OEM “sub” to reproduce frequencies below 40hz with your DSP and then noticing how this woofer complains about it when it tries to go deep in a song.

So the best upgrade for the HK is adding an aftermarket amp/DSP to all speakers, and replacing the OEM “sub” with a real sub like the SWS-8Xi. That will go deeper than 30hz, and as loud as you want. Or much cheaper upgrade is to add an aftermarket mono amp of 150Wrms to the SWS-8Xi in the OEM enclosure and nothing else. The SWS-8Xi/mounting bracket is the direct replacement of the OEM woofer, no need to modify the OEM enclosure to fit.

And no, the OEM amp cannot power an SWS-8Xi directly, as it is not stable at anything below 6ohms. The SWS-8XI is 2ohms.
 

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2020 330i xDrive Portimao Blue
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In my 330 it’s possible to put the B&W settings into the system using Bimmercode; I wonder if that’s possible with the i4 (may very well be). I find the HK in my 330 is really excellent, even though I’ve historically been an aftermarket guy.
 
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It all depends a bit on your ears, for starters, and also on your budget.
I have ordered now the HK system. I heard HK in the 2016 4-series, I also heard HK in the 3-series. I used to have an Audi A4 with the "better" sound system, but now I'm driving an A5 with a magnificent B&O system. Never had such a good sound in the car.
I do know that, for my next car (after the i4, in about 4-5 years), I will not order the factory options. I will stick to the basic sound system, and then go to a specialized company that janks everything out and makes it perfect, with new speakers, amps, damping material, whatever, all for approx. €1500 including working hours.
 

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It all depends a bit on your ears, for starters, and also on your budget.
I have ordered now the HK system. I heard HK in the 2016 4-series, I also heard HK in the 3-series. I used to have an Audi A4 with the "better" sound system, but now I'm driving an A5 with a magnificent B&O system. Never had such a good sound in the car.
I do know that, for my next car (after the i4, in about 4-5 years), I will not order the factory options. I will stick to the basic sound system, and then go to a specialized company whop janks everything out and makes it perfect, all for approx. €1500 including working hours.
I think with how much quieter electric cars can be, we may get to the point where this gets more valuable, again. For my 330, it’s not quiet enough to benefit from really high-end components like I’ve put into other cars, since the HK is “good enough” that it gets close to what the environment can offer. Let’s face it, we’ll never get to a LEDE (live-end, dead-end) kind of listening environment in a vehicle because it operates in the context of wind, tires, and moving components all of which make noise. That noise impacts the reproduction of sound from the in-vehicle system.

I find the precision of the HK in the 330 to be surprisingly good. The Bowers & Wilkins compensation can make it even better. But they aren’t going to come close to my B&W 801s at home… ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think I'll see how the HK sounds when I get it (demo car at my dealership didn't have it), but anticipate I'll need to upgrade it. Would pay 2 or 3k for a sweet system.

Was looking at taycan options out of boredom a while ago and they have like a 4.8k upgrade o_O
 

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I think I'll see how the HK sounds when I get it (demo car at my dealership didn't have it), but anticipate I'll need to upgrade it. Would pay 2 or 3k for a sweet system.

Was looking at taycan options out of boredom a while ago and they have like a 4.8k upgrade o_O
The real upgrade is in the enclosures for the speakers. I haven’t looked at what BMW is doing today, but the key is isolating and making sure the speakers push into the cabin instead of radiating into the body behind the panels. Of course, my focus in sound is precision and clarity with full frequency range (again recognizing that the highest frequencies are likely impacted by the environment), while I recognize there are those with very different priorities…!
 
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I think I'll see how the HK sounds when I get it (demo car at my dealership didn't have it), but anticipate I'll need to upgrade it. Would pay 2 or 3k for a sweet system.

Was looking at taycan options out of boredom a while ago and they have like a 4.8k upgrade o_O
Honestly in my personal opinion the HK is good, but not great, though I think the price is worth it.
In my other car I have B&O 1400W system, and the difference is not comparable,
But after I couple of days I get used.
Anyway the handling and acceleration are really compensating the sound quality.

Conclusion is that compared to standard I’m happy I have chosen the HK.
 

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B&O tends to make so-so-performing speakers with pretty boxes and ripoff prices. They might do a good job if they really want to, but I've never seen or heard them do it. HK, which is also JBL, Revel, and Infinity, makes everything from garbage to the absolute best (JBL M2, Revel Salon 2). Here and there, they have an excellent value (especially in Revel and JBL). How good the HK system is really dependent on how much BMW wanted to spend for HK to do a good job.

And Samsung now owns HK.
 

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B&O tends to make so-so-performing speakers with pretty boxes and ripoff prices. They might do a good job if they really want to, but I've never seen or heard them do it. HK, which is also JBL, Revel, and Infinity, makes everything from garbage to the absolute best (JBL M2, Revel Salon 2). Here and there, they have an excellent value (especially in Revel and JBL). How good the HK system is really dependent on how much BMW wanted to spend for HK to do a good job.

And Samsung now owns HK.
I fully agree with you.
But compared to the HK in the i4, the B&O in my Ford Edge sounds way better.
But compared to my B&W 8 series with NAD amplifier at home also the B&O gets …
The best in cars I owned was Infinity speakers with Precision Power amps, Alpine unit and RCF subs.
 

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You turned the bass up?

My HK system came with a curve that looks like a ski jump.
Yup. Once I tweaked the bass it sounded awesome. Prior to the HK, the best sound I had experienced was the Meridian system in the I-Pace. The HK in the i4 is, IMO, comparable. I wasn’t expecting that, so it’s a pleasant surprise.
 

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You have nothing to worry about. I am an Audiophile, and have Linn full Tri-Aktiv HiFi at home to compare to. My current 4 series has Harmon Kardon and it’s awesome. Turn up the wick and the bass will vibrate the seats without being boomy.
As works of art and historical reference, Linn is interesting. I'd like to see some quality, recent measurements of Linn speakers. Even the old ones I've dug up aren't so hot. Looks like their amps, preamps, and dacs are a mix from great to awful, with even their best products an order of magnitude OR TWO more expensive than superior competition.
 

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I fully agree with you.
But compared to the HK in the i4, the B&O in my Ford Edge sounds way better.
But compared to my B&W 8 series with NAD amplifier at home also the B&O gets …
The best in cars I owned was Infinity speakers with Precision Power amps, Alpine unit and RCF subs.
Just curious how you define the best sound.
 
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