View Full Version : Speaker upgrade

06-15-2006, 03:57 PM
I'm neither an audiophile, nor do I aspire to rattle windows as I drive down the street. However, the HK system in my '05 e46 330i doesn't sound as good as the OEM Bose system I had in my '96 Audi A4.

After surfing many of the many threads on various sites, I'm thinking of just replacing the speakers. Has anyone local done this? I'm leaning toward ordering a package of speakers from www.bavariansoundworks.com (http://www.bavariansoundworks.com).

06-15-2006, 06:04 PM
I'd go w/ Alpine all around... top quality aftermarket, IMHO
Just got the Alpine CDA-9857 head uint which has the advantage of directly connecting to my IPOD w/ head unit interface (meaning I don't have to diddle w/ the IPOD). But, as Steve would say, "ask a hundred people, you'll get a hundred opinions"... - Happy hunting

06-15-2006, 06:18 PM
You state your dissatisfaction with the E46 system but provide no substantiation. What don't you like about it; or, what did you like about the Audi system? Is the HK system severely colored or is the Bose system severely colored, but colored favorably to your ears? I remember--a long time ago--when Bose was the hot ticket--sounded "great, fabulous, etc., but I thought that, while sounding "exciting", it didn't sound musical, or even very true to the recording, yet it did sound "exciting". What are your musical tastes? What are your musical experiences? What are your listening experiences? (Some people think that a live Carnegie Hall performance sounds just horrible, some spendthousands of dollars in equipment in order to listen to AM talk radio). Figure out what you like or dislike about the HK sound vs. the plusses and minusses of the Audi/Bose sound. Maybe all that's needed is a tweak of the tone control. It's real easy to drop $2-3K into someone else's idea of audio Nirvana but you might wind up still totally dissatisfied--it might even sound worse than the original HK system

06-15-2006, 08:03 PM
Shame Magnepan doesn't make car speakers. I agree with Dwight I have never heard a Bose system either in car or in a home( ither music orhome theater) that sounded true to the recording. What type of music do you like? How loud do you listen to your music? Big difference if you listen to small chamber orchestras as opposed to hip hop. Although a good speaker should do both forms of music justice. Also what is your source for music in your car CDs, MP3s or your IPOD. MP3s and your IPOD lose a lot of detail, transparency etc in the download.

My idiot brother has Bose speakers in his home theater. They dont do music very well, gunshots or explosions. Bullets or planes flying over your head with his Bose system just cant compare to my home theater with Rotel, JPW, and Rel. My brother has Yamaha, Bose and Sony.

I have never heard of the Bavarian whatever. You really need to bring the music you like and listen to the speakers. But realize they will sound different in your. There used to a shop that did tech sessions on car audio run by a Jeff Fields or ing in Rockville. His shop was relaible and knew what they were talking about.

Personally I have given up car audio. Shirley Horn just doesn't sound right in the car. Maybe Milbert tube amps! Or using the Linn system from a AM might work. And with two collies talking all I listen to know is NOAA weather radio for herding trials.

Listen and let your ears decide! Not all speakers sound the same and neither do electronics. And remember vinyl sounds the best.

Dave Apker

06-16-2006, 09:27 AM
I listen to a pretty broad range of music, but I’d roughly break it down as: 40% classical (from solo instruments to opera and everything in between), 20% classic rock (Elvis, Beatles, Paul Simon, etc.), 20% talk/news, and 20% a complete hodgepodge (heavy metal, R&B, Tupac). I’m a bit schizophrenic when it comes to genres – if I like something, I collect albums by the composer/artist/group vs. “best of” compilations, but I stop short of having multiple recordings of the same thing (i.e., Tosca sung by Callas vs. Tosca by Freni). I attend more classical performances and musicals then rock concerts, but if a group I like is playing – I’m there. Source wise, I listen to CDs and Sirrius – I’m one of the few who haven’t gone iPod yet.

I don’t know enough of the terminology to describe my issues w/ the HK setup, but here goes: Solo instrumentals (Bach cello/violin suites, Chopin piano) sound muddy – high notes aren’t especially crisp, mid range doesn’t distinguish itself and the bass doesn’t seem to have enough substance. I have similar issues when listening to acoustic recordings of popular/rock music. Regular rock and roll sounds OK for the most part, except for the lack of bass. Depending on what’s on, tweaking the tone controls sometimes works. Does this make any sense?

I’m not trying to reproduce what I hear live or at home in the car, but maybe I was just accustomed to the sound of my Bose/A4 – I owned that thing for 9 years. I don’t have a particular affinity for Bose (I think they’re great for some applications, but I have a decade old collection of Rotel and Adcom components played through B&W speakers at home), and I really don’t think shelling out a few grand on a new system makes sense. I just figured spending around $500 or so for better speakers would help. Who knows? In 7 more years, maybe I’ll be used to the way this thing sounds.

06-17-2006, 09:26 AM
I have a suggestion before upgrading and if you have the time make sure all your speakers are connected properely. Not sure how the connectors from the amp to speakers are set up on new cars but you want to make sure all the + are connected correctly and all -'s are connected correctly. No crossing + w/-. It can make a difference.

Since you have B&W in your home system try Boston Acoustics. Stop by Myer Emco or Tweeter. However I think the only real solution is tube amps.

Dave Apker and the collies who have very good selective hearing

06-26-2006, 05:36 PM
I don’t have a particular affinity for Bose (I think they’re great for some applications, but I have a decade old collection of Rotel and Adcom components played through B&W speakers at home), and I really don’t think shelling out a few grand on a new system makes sense.

FWIW, I have B&W's in my home as well - 603s and a CC7 up front, Mordaunt Short Ti15s on the rear wall for surround and a Mirage bi-directional sub (all running through Denon), and have similar listening tastes. While I haven't done anything to my 540's speakers yet, in my previous car, I had MB Quarts installed and they were similar in sound, tonality, and reproduction (very good) to my B&W home set-up. Not the same level, but in the same tonal "family." I agree that speakers are highly subjective but if you find a line that is similar in sound (I do *not* think Bostons and B&Ws sound alike, but that is my opinion - Bostons are very "sharp" and, to my ear, tinny), I think that is your best bet. MBs are probably in your price range unless you go reference (then again, reference B&Ws go for $10,000+). Good luck - let us know what you decide to do.


06-28-2006, 11:14 PM
I don't have any specific recommendations, but your idea sounds perfectly reasonable.

Speakers are, without question, the most important element of any sound system. They are equivalent to the tires on a car and can make or break the experience. Assuming fitment isn't a big problem and the impedence of the new speakers is similar to the old, I say give it a try!