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      11-21-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
RocGuy
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Is there anything wrong with the regular headlights or regular stereo?

Do you think I NEED the Xenon headlights or the Harman Kardon sound system? Are the regular options for these sufficient? Are you glad you got these things or glad you did not?

I'm not an audiophile so I'm leaning towards not upgrading the stereo. And I'm really not sure about the Xenons. I think I could live without them? But I also wonder about how they would help in resale value down the road.


Thanks for helping me figure out what I need when I order my car next week!
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      11-21-2012, 10:18 AM   #2
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I would say in regards to the lights; Xenon's are nice but the problem is you can't buy them as a stand alone option. If you wanted to upgrade, it would be expensive (but cheaper than buying the package).

I am uber impressed with the stock radio. It has a lot more bass and quality than my 2011 128i did. HK adds a center speaker on the dash (I believe) and better audio drivers... Is it worth the extra $695? I would see if you can compare the two. Everyone's ears are different.
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      11-21-2012, 10:41 AM   #3
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Get the lights and stick with stock radio...
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      11-21-2012, 10:43 AM   #4
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Chose the lighting package because we regularly drive rural 2 lane roads at night. Lots of deer and other wild animals out and about here after dusk. Had not bothered to upgrade the lighting package on last car, and regretted that decision. The difference is substantial, and the peace of mind from the significantly improved illumination for night driving is worth paying extra $$. Worth the price? For me - yes. If you drive mostly city/urban miles it becomes a more difficult option to justify.
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      11-21-2012, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Bottle View Post
Get the lights and stick with stock radio...
+1
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      11-21-2012, 11:12 AM   #6
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Base stereo (at least on US models) is really quite good.
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      11-21-2012, 01:21 PM   #7
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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
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      11-21-2012, 01:54 PM   #8
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Doing lots of audio stuff, including mixing and synths, my initial thoughts is that Harman Kardon is low-end - it's more of a branding company than original equipment. I also don't like thumping bass, and that system comes with one woofer (they call them subwoofers, but there's nothing sub about them) under each seat.
Yet, I went for the HK option, because it does have better dome tweeters. Is it worth the price difference? Nope. But the work to get a decent stereo system installed is rather high, and it wouldn't interface with the iDrive.

As for the lighting package, I went with it because of the door handle lights and auto-dimming. I don't like Xeon lights. I prefer warm color temperatures over cold, so I don't lose my night vision, nor cause others to lose theirs. I know, I probably belong to a minority here.
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      11-21-2012, 01:59 PM   #9
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Agree with most everyone here...xenons (light pkg) and standard radio. Btw, the adaptive high beams are great.
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      11-21-2012, 05:18 PM   #10
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I think it all depends on how much you listen to audio while driving, and of course, it, as others have said, is very subjective. The HK adds two tweets in the back, and the dash center speaker. Plus, the amp goes from 180W to 340W and all the drivers are upgraded.

We got the HK upgrade in the X1 because the wife listens to music all the time, and she LOVES it over the stock radio in my 135i. I've got the stock radio in 135i because I don't listen to music while driving.

However, for the Xenons, I, personally think they are a MUST have item. I will not buy another vehicle without them.

Here is a thread discussing the audio:

http://e84.xbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=740874
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      11-21-2012, 05:22 PM   #11
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I listened to both the base stereo and the HK one, and I went with the upgrade. The reason is that the HK one has a pretty decent Surround Sound. The base version has no DSP processing. It's kind of primitive in that respect. The HK version also sounds fuller because of better bass and better tweeters. Back in the old days, I would have gone for the base stereo and just do an aftermarket upgrade. But nowadays, the stereo head unit is so integrated into the whole IDrive thing that a replacement head unit would just ruin a lot of the functionalities. The stereo is something you use on a daily basis- so no sense skimping on that.

I didn't get the lighting package because we live in a well-lit urban area. Also- I've never been in a car (any car), and felt that I needed more light.
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      11-21-2012, 05:33 PM   #12
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Having had previous vehicles with xenon and without there is little difference between them if and only if you up-rate the standard ones with Phillips X-tremeVision lamps or an equivalent
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      11-21-2012, 06:57 PM   #13
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Xenons are a must. That said, I had to order the premium pack to get the lighting pack. Lame! I bet it will be stand alone in the next model year.
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      11-21-2012, 09:44 PM   #14
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I have both xenons and halogen lights before, and at one time, I had two type of lights on two different cars. And IMO, xenons look nicer, but it is not necessary.

Also my last bimmer E90, had HK, and I wasn't impressed, and my Merc C class, at the same time as well, so I could do A-B test, had a better sound system in her.

So for my latest X1, I did not order either of them. IMO, both options have zero resale value.
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      11-21-2012, 11:05 PM   #15
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of all the upgrades, Xenon lights may be the most important. It will change night driving-make it safer and easier and more fun.
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      11-22-2012, 12:03 AM   #16
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The price BMW is currently charging for HK in X1 wasn't bad, they charged $2k for a non-branded stereo upgrade in my E92 M3, I wasn't impressed for that price! Adaptive xenon was a much better upgrade than that stereo!!!
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      11-22-2012, 06:01 AM   #17
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stock radio is good enough
xenon lights =

1. depends if you live in the city or out in a farm/woodsy area where deers and animals are more to just show up out of nowhere...

* i didn't get the xenon lights.. i live in the city but do drive to our little farm and... i guess i am used to not having them before that it didn't really matter... just my opinion.

on the other hand: XENON LIGHTS.. yes, it illuminates more and perhaps benefits "US" so we see better... however, have ya'll thought about the in coming cars... Those lights are so bright that the in coming cars (drivers) can get "blinded even for just a sec. which can in return pose a risk for collision... not for your part but for the other car.
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      11-22-2012, 07:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syle View Post
on the other hand: XENON LIGHTS.. yes, it illuminates more and perhaps benefits "US" so we see better... however, have ya'll thought about the in coming cars... Those lights are so bright that the in coming cars (drivers) can get "blinded even for just a sec. which can in return pose a risk for collision... not for your part but for the other car.
I actually think about this! As someone that's driven a small car for 10 years (mostly a Mini, currently a Fiat) I'm constantly blinded by SUV/Truck headlights. Not a fan. Lol

But I do live 20 miles outside of the city here and do a fair amount of driving on some country roads getting in and out of town. So based on what most people have said I'm leaning towards getting the light package.

Still torn about the radio. Most are saying no. But I DO listen to music constantly while in the car. And I'm in the car a lot. 15,000 miles in my current car that I got in March...
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      11-22-2012, 10:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syle View Post
on the other hand: XENON LIGHTS.. yes, it illuminates more and perhaps benefits "US" so we see better... however, have ya'll thought about the in coming cars... Those lights are so bright that the in coming cars (drivers) can get "blinded even for just a sec. which can in return pose a risk for collision... not for your part but for the other car.
I think it has more to do with the height and alignment of any headlamp, I find myself blinded by halogen headlights that are improperly aimed all the time, especially on high trucks/SUVs. A correctly aimed xenon won't dazzle others and in my experience illuminates better, I think it's worth it esp with adaptive
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      11-22-2012, 10:22 AM   #20
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Test drive the audio

I use Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' on CD as my standard - I took the CD to the dealer and sat in an X1 with the generic audio - and I was satisfied (am not an audiophile). Suggest you try the same thing with a mix of music of your choice.
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      11-22-2012, 10:33 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocGuy View Post
I actually think about this! As someone that's driven a small car for 10 years (mostly a Mini, currently a Fiat) I'm constantly blinded by SUV/Truck headlights. Not a fan. Lol

But I do live 20 miles outside of the city here and do a fair amount of driving on some country roads getting in and out of town. So based on what most people have said I'm leaning towards getting the light package.

Still torn about the radio. Most are saying no. But I DO listen to music constantly while in the car. And I'm in the car a lot. 15,000 miles in my current car that I got in March...
Don't worry about blinding other drivers. These xenon lights are properly engineered with auto-leveling and an asymmetric pattern that illuminates the edge of the road more than the center. These lights usually get blamed by mistake when people are blinded by improperly installed after-market HID lamps in reflector housings, or after-market blue tinted bulbs that are running a very high wattage.
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      11-22-2012, 11:11 AM   #22
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Remember it's not JUST xenon's.. that's trivial as you can add HID's to any car for about $55 for a quality kit. Putting them into your stock housings (e.g., the base X1's) is unethical though and you'll piss everyone off.

It's the housings which include projectors and adaptive headlights that really make it worth it. Hell the fact that they aim themselves is worth it! Aiming headlights is an unbelievable PITA. Also there is no amount of retrofitting you can do here; aftermarket projectors are unavailable, and even if they were, would not self level or turn.

The base stereo is sufficient and I would not upgrade it.
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