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      05-15-2019, 03:54 PM   #1
tcollier91
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Harman Kardon worth it for $1675?

I am considering ordering JUST the navigation system for $1700 rather than the premium package. I live in FL so the heated front seats and steering wheel are lost to me. I live in a condo so the garage door opener is also long on me.

If I could add the HK system for just the $875 I would, but it also requires the premium package. SO...is the HK system really worth $1675??? Or would my money be better spent on port installed m performance bits...
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      05-15-2019, 06:13 PM   #2
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Short answer, no. Even with the HK system you'll wind up wanting to upgrade the speakers. One benefit is that if you decide to get component speaker replacement, you'll already be wired for it so it's a quick (relatively) swap. Not sure if that's worth $1675. The under seat subs you get with HK are sufficient IMO. I'm not sure if they're the same in the stock Hi-Fi system - I'll let someone else with more expertise chime in.

All in all, you can save your money and put it towards performance bits AND stereo upgrade.
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      05-16-2019, 09:26 AM   #3
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IMO its amazing. One of the few/only options i got and so happy with it. I didnt get navigation or any drive assistance or digital cluster as i thought those were not needed.

to me the sound system upgrade its a must!!!! way better than going aftermarket systems (less headache and doubts and NO graspy sounds). sounds is perfect and destroys all other sound systems in Mercedes, Audi, and even other BMW models with the same system. Our car has an amazing incubator for acoustics.

DO IT!!!

Also live in Florida
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      05-16-2019, 09:46 AM   #4
tcollier91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdag001 View Post
IMO its amazing. One of the few/only options i got and so happy with it. I didnt get navigation or any drive assistance or digital cluster as i thought those were not needed.

to me the sound system upgrade its a must!!!! way better than going aftermarket systems (less headache and doubts and NO graspy sounds). sounds is perfect and destroys all other sound systems in Mercedes, Audi, and even other BMW models with the same system. Our car has an amazing incubator for acoustics.

DO IT!!!

Also live in Florida
I don't believe you can option the HK audio unless you have the premium package/navigation? What part of FL, I'm in Jax Beach.
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      05-16-2019, 10:01 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tcollier91 View Post
I don't believe you can option the HK audio unless you have the premium package/navigation? What part of FL, I'm in Jax Beach.
Interesting... I guess that is new... I got mine in 2015 and literally the only option i have is the sound system lol

im in Miami FL
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      05-16-2019, 10:15 AM   #6
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Regardless of what anyone says here, the best advise would be to tell you to get in a bmw with it and find out for yourself. 2 post in and you already have one saying yes, one saying no. Test drive a bmw with it and in a similar configuration (subs under seat, tweeters in triangle of the door, etc). Mess with the audio adjustments (treble, base, fade, etc.) and see how you like it. Take it for a test drive as well with windows up, windows down, loud, soft, everything. You don't buy a vehicle without a test drive most of the time, same thing with options. You don't typically buy them unless you have seen it in person, or have had something similar to it in the past.

In my experience, I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 series HK audio. However, the HK in my new Z4 isn't quite as good and I'm a little disappointed. It's not because of the audio quality, it's because of the low end thump. The 2er has the subs under the seat so you feel the bass. In the Z4, the subs are behind the seat on that back wall and you don't feel them a lot (even with the top and windows up).
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      05-16-2019, 02:34 PM   #7
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Also, check the Audio threads on the forum to get some more insight.

So far I've disconnected the center speaker on the HK (improve stereo imaging), replaced the rear speakers with JL coaxials for a smoother top end. Next up will be replacing the front speakers with something that has more substance in the mid bass. Personally there's tons of low end from the subs but feels like the 300-600hz range is a little muted so hoping to recover some of that from the upgrade.

Granted, these are opinions of myself and others. I didn't end up paying the additional $1675 for the upgrade myself -- the car was already optioned with it when i bought it second hand so i didn't feel weird swapping out a 'premium' system. If you end up specifically ordering it, and still swapping it, then it feels like a bad investment.

If you don't ever plan on going down the custom route, FOR SURE get the HK because the regular Hi-Fi stereo is hot trash.

Take a listen for yourself and see which camp you align more with.


Some bathroom reading: Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Live w the Harmon Kardon System

Last edited by GSingh; 05-16-2019 at 02:39 PM..
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      05-16-2019, 02:50 PM   #8
tcollier91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSingh View Post
Also, check the Audio threads on the forum to get some more insight.

So far I've disconnected the center speaker on the HK (improve stereo imaging), replaced the rear speakers with JL coaxials for a smoother top end. Next up will be replacing the front speakers with something that has more substance in the mid bass. Personally there's tons of low end from the subs but feels like the 300-600hz range is a little muted so hoping to recover some of that from the upgrade.

Granted, these are opinions of myself and others. I didn't end up paying the additional $1675 for the upgrade myself -- the car was already optioned with it when i bought it second hand so i didn't feel weird swapping out a 'premium' system. If you end up specifically ordering it, and still swapping it, then it feels like a bad investment.

If you don't ever plan on going down the custom route, FOR SURE get the HK because the regular Hi-Fi stereo is hot trash.

Take a listen for yourself and see which camp you align more with.


Some bathroom reading: Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Live w the Harmon Kardon System
Thanks, this is what I needed to know. I don't plan on going down the custom route. I still feel like even the regular hi-fi has to be a huge improvement over my mazda 3 though, right?
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      05-16-2019, 04:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcollier91 View Post
Thanks, this is what I needed to know. I don't plan on going down the custom route. I still feel like even the regular hi-fi has to be a huge improvement over my mazda 3 though, right?
I can't say forsure since I haven't heard the Mazda 3 system. From my personal experience, for the first few weeks of ownership, I preferred my 2010 jetta's system over the stock HK. Once I did the center speaker disconnect, and rear replacement, it got a little better. The jetta just has way better midbass that I had gotten used to over the years and I missed it completely stepping into the 2er.

The regular hifi system is just a 4 speaker setup as far as I can remember, please correct me if I'm wrong, and the speakers themselves don't have much going for them either. I would hazard a guess and say that your Mazda 3 would at least be on par.
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      05-16-2019, 06:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcollier91 View Post
Thanks, this is what I needed to know. I don't plan on going down the custom route. I still feel like even the regular hi-fi has to be a huge improvement over my mazda 3 though, right?
I have a 2015 Mazda 3 and a 2015 M235i. The HK in the M235i is better, but from what I remember from my test drives, the "normal" audio in the 2 series (at least as it existed in 2015) is not as good as the Mazda 3, IMO. And my Mazda 3 doesn't even have the Bose audio.

But, you really should listen to them both. Sucks that you now have to get the Premium package to get HK. I have HK, but not the premium package and am still happy with that decision. Not sure what I would do if I had to pony up an extra $800.

DBinOC
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      05-16-2019, 10:05 PM   #11
tcollier91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBinOC View Post
I have a 2015 Mazda 3 and a 2015 M235i. The HK in the M235i is better, but from what I remember from my test drives, the "normal" audio in the 2 series (at least as it existed in 2015) is not as good as the Mazda 3, IMO. And my Mazda 3 doesn't even have the Bose audio.

But, you really should listen to them both. Sucks that you now have to get the Premium package to get HK. I have HK, but not the premium package and am still happy with that decision. Not sure what I would do if I had to pony up an extra $800.

DBinOC
Wow, good to know. My 2013 sounded OK I guess, nothing I was blown away with. Now the speakers rattle horribly and it generally sounds like shit. I don't really crank the system much either, it just aged really poorly. Guess I'm back into debating that premium package...
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      05-19-2019, 08:55 AM   #12
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HK vrs Standard

We have two M235is. One with the HK and one without. I think the standard stereo sounds better than the HK system. Not sure if you upgraded the speakers that I would feel the same? IMO, save the money for performance or appearance.
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      06-08-2019, 07:33 PM   #13
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I have a 2013 Mazda3 hatchback with stock sound, and it sounds much better than the used 2016 M235i non-HK sound I just bought. I was amazed how poor the audio in the BMW was, but not why I got the car.
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      06-08-2019, 07:43 PM   #14
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My wife has a Mazda3 grand touring hatchback with the Bose and it blows my HK system out of the water. So much so that I bought the bavsound ghost subs which helped a little, and then recently bought their new amp. Finally it's pretty comparable. Combined cost of roughly an extra $1400 on top of the extra $875 for HK. When I bought my car it was offered as an individual add on item. I deleted the moon roof to justify getting the audio.

I live just north of Panama City beach out of Fort Rucker Alabama if you want to check it out and see for yourself sometime. I'm down in Panama City quite often.

Also, I do now have two stock underseat HK woofers and the HK amp sitting in a closet I'll part with for very cheap. Not sure if its compatible with the stock wiring set up but it might be worth looking into. You could go with the stock set up and then buy the bavsound state 1 speaker upgrade and throw in the HK amp and subs and have something much better than stock for about $500 or so
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      06-12-2019, 10:49 AM   #15
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I was dissapointed with the HK and so I upgraded all the HK speakers with bavsound and I also replaced the HK amp with a Bimmertech. Now I feel like the system is a little better than the HK in my prior E90s, which was way better than the HK in the 2er. My advice is listen yourself if you can, but if not save your $ and upgrade the stock system. The Dr. Strangelove thread in this forum is invaluable.
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      07-11-2019, 12:34 AM   #16
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If you replace the amp in your car, you best keep it. I was told from my BMW service center that they will refuse to upgrade the software on the car with the amp missing. They detected mine was missing last time it went in for service.

I bought the bavsound amp upgrade, def worth it. Next time i go in for service, i'll likley put it back in.
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