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      11-21-2012, 01:21 PM   #7
edx1
Private First Class
11

 
Drives: X1 xDrive35i
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Wasatch front


Posts: 192
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I didn't know the Harman Kardon radio had a center channel, but if it does that would actually push me away from it personally. I'm an audiophile and videophile and listen to all types of music from classical to electronica but what you're paying for is mainly a no hassle, slightly better yet mediocre system. You can pssibly do better for the price elsewhere depending on what you're looking for. If you do plan on watching to DVD's in the car it might be worth it, but I think that market is small and mostly a fad.

Center channel audio is actually a step in the wrong direction for most audio listening. The exception is if you're listening to 5.1 channel mastered audio which I doubt less than 1% of X1 owners even own. Some Satellite radio stations do broadcast 5.1 but the selection is very limited and the bitrate is pretty lousy anyway.

The biggest pro for audio listening really depends on how many people will be in the car. 2 channel audio listening always has one and only one sweet spot. Adding more speakers though can help balance things out but it becomes a huge hack and mess. The ideal situation in a car is 2 speakers for each person and no sound leaking from one persons speakers to another part of the car (ie: what a pair of headphones for each person would do). 11 speakers can help balance sound out though and would be a plus if you want a good listening environment for multiple people. If it's just you then more speakers can be bad, but this might be more information than you're interested in, so lets jump back a step and just cover the first thought of audio aspects most car buyers thing about, speakers and head units.

There's a thread in the 3 series forum that lists speakers that are quick swaps and you're talking less than $200 to upgrade to some pretty decent speakers all around. I don't have my X1 yet and haven't seen specs posted on the speakers so I haven't been able to see what speakers they're using to offer a suggestion on upgrade routes.

Also, audio is so personal that some people might even pick the stock radio over the Harman. For example I can hear higher frequency than most people my age (I take care of my ears, avoid loud concerts or take ear plugs, use ear protection when using any gas or power equipment, and have lucky genes) and I prefer a very flat response from 22khz down to 60hz speakers (I use RBH reference in my home that are very flat, only a hint of treble biast which I'm fine with) and personally despise Bose (My father prefers them) that have a mid range biast. Many people over 40 can't hear above 18khz and don't have trained ears that can tell audio direction as low as 50hz. I also prefer sealed musical subs to single frequency ported high DB thumping subs which are popular in cars but offers less musical qualities. When I go to CES every year I always walk through the car audio floor to see what's new but in general, car audio is based on names and marketing first and quality and technology second. It really doesn't take much to upgrade car audio to 99% of the quality you can ever reach because of background noise, even if you're talking about a 7 series or other luxury cars that have special emphasis on acoustics and real sound panel treatments to reduce background noise.

Cars just aren't ideal for listening so depending on your disposable income there's a variety of paths that may suite your wants better. If you have money to spend and like the center channel for dvd video and won't be interested in getting into a more pure form of audio listening then the Harman Kardon stereo might be a good choice for you. If you want to tinker in the higher end audio world then I'd first need to know what you want to achieve before I could really offer a choice path for you.

PS. I went with Xenon lights not for the Xenon but for the adaptive feature. Having headlights that can turn a little makes a huge difference to me and offers a significant safety level in neighborhoods that require you to turn a lot and may have kids around. I wish BMW had the merc feature that detects people near the road and actually moves the closest headlight to focus on them and brights the person to help you see that they're there.

Last edited by edx1; 11-21-2012 at 01:26 PM. Reason: Added PS