440-watt 9-speaker harman/kardon premium audio system sound quality - Page 2 - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

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Old 01-14-2010, 10:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Somerset Max
Even if SOA wants to "cheap out" on equipment in order to be able to show a lower list price, they should realize that there are some of us who would pay more for better equipment.
I'm not sure that anyone would be willing to pay 66656 USD for 3.6 (UK Subaru list price 33995 GBP for 3.6, exchange 1 USD = 0.51 GBP)
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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SOA--if you expect to retain me as a customer, you need to stop "cheaping out" on equipment, or at least you should have better equipment available as an extra-cost option. [/B]
If you have no problems spending extra, there are tons of aftermarket stereos out there..... Most likely they will be better and cheaper. Problem resolved.
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:58 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by stompbox


If you have no problems spending extra, there are tons of aftermarket stereos out there..... Most likely they will be better and cheaper. Problem resolved.
It would only be resolved if I was willing to allow someone in one of these aftermarket installation shops to tinker with a new car. After a couple of negative experiences, I am no longer interested in this approach.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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After spending quite a bit of time last night messing around with the sound, I think I have to agree with ardvark11 in that the system is likely working correctly....but the quality is lacking, particularly in the back, unless the volume is turned way up. The sub in the back is clearly tied in with the front speakers (or at least receives a higher % of the signal if split with the rear). If you turn the fade to F9, crank the volume and sit in the back seats, the sub is clearly working. However, turn the fade to R9 and the rear speaker quality is horrendous, especially since the sub isn't doing it's thing. Best sound quality for rear passengers seemed to be when fade is set to R1 or R2. Generally, I'm not too concerned with the sound quality in the backseat, but this whole episode came about when our teenagers riding in the back asked to have the volume turned up for a song they liked while the wife and I were talking in the front. I turned the fade control to push more sound to the back and the complaints started immediately and I could hear why.

Anyway, I'm going to cancel my appointment at the dealer and try to work with what I have. I think for SOA, this is one of their "money-makers" on this vehicle......purchase a good system in bulk for $250, market it as Premium and charge $800-$1000 for it. I'm no audiophile, but can appreciate a nice sounding system that doesn't need the volume cranked up to produce a full sound.

All in all, though, still really pleased with the vehicle and think this forum is very informative and enjoyable to read. Thanks.
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:03 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I have the H-K system, but no Nav, in my 3.6R Limited.

Is it just my imagination, or does the H-K system WITH Nav give you a lot of additional user controls and options? I seem to recall seeing a post from someone who had the H-K system with Nav, who talked about graphic EQ settings, etc., which are not available with the H-K system - no Nav.

This made me wonder if the features are actually in the electronics, but just not accessible without the Nav screen user interface. This also made me wonder if there were any "secret button push combinations" to give access to hidden features (just like some TV's have secret codes to access the technician service screens)....

It will be real annoying to find out that the H-K electronics has a lot of capability that can't be accessed, due to lack of buttons.....
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Old 01-14-2010, 12:11 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by JarekMW

I'm not sure that anyone would be willing to pay 66656 USD for 3.6 (UK Subaru list price 33995 GBP for 3.6, exchange 1 USD = 0.51 GBP)
Trust me--that price would not be the selling price for an Outback Limited in the US if it was equipped with the McIntosh audio system. You are utilizing currency exchange rates (and possibly other market factors) in order to come up with that price, and apparently you are assuming that the vehicle would be imported from the UK. I am talking about an Outback produced in Indiana, so British Pound Sterling to US Dollar currency exchange rates would be a very strange issue to try to introduce into the discussion.

The McIntosh audio system is made in the US (in Binghamton, NY) and the price difference for my '02 3.0 VDC was about $2,000 higher than the LL Bean model that year. The LL Bean was the only other model in 2002 that was available with the 3.0 engine, so that is the most appropriate comparison.

The differences between my model and the LL Bean included the McIntosh audio system, the VDC system, and the VTD drive system. Other than that, they carried the same equipment. If SOA was able to produce a car with the addition of the McIntosh audio system, the VDC system, and the VTD system for ~$2,000 extra cost in 2002, they should be able to do it for...maybe $3,000 extra cost in today's market. Even if they don't want to include this as standard equipment on the Limited model, it would be nice if it was at least available as an option.
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Old 01-14-2010, 02:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Is it just my imagination, or does the H-K system WITH Nav give you a lot of additional user controls and options? I seem to recall seeing a post from someone who had the H-K system with Nav, who talked about graphic EQ settings, etc., which are not available with the H-K system - no Nav.
(I'm copying a post I made from another related topic as it seems to apply here as well. I believe the NAV H-K stereo system does indeed as some additional - albeit more confusing - settings and controls for sound which is why I had the below questions.) BTW I'm totally happy with my new Outback but the sound system is indeed like no other I've had before - not that I'm a huge audiofile or anything.)


I too agree that AM sounds a lot worse than FM or XM with the same bass levels and needing to turn bass way down as well for AM. Actually I'm also still trying to find the optimum surround and EQ levels for XM and FM in the few weeks I've had my new 2.5I OB. I have the NAV version with H-K premium stereo (which I'm not sure if different from the non-NAV version?) and it's setting options seem pretty complex especially with the lack of useful instructions as others have posted. For example, the EQ with the NAV version has both Q level and Gain which are not explained very well in the manual. I'm assuming that the -2 bass that the other poster mentioned is the same as the gain level but not 100% sure? (There are 4 separate EQ levels with the NAV and usually the leftmost bar is the bass I imagine that goes to 200K?) I've been setting mine to 160K bass, gain=1 or 2 and Q=.5 which sounds all right but a bit bassy at times depending on the type of music.

Also, I'm not sure what the differences are on the "Surround" features - you can choose between Bypass (assuming that is basic stereo), Music, Movie, Matrix, and DPL-I and DPL-II. "Music" seems to sound the best but then there is also a "Panorama" On and OFF setting - does anyone know what that does? Interested in hearing what others with the NAV H-K version think is the optimum settings for XM/FM music audio? Would be nice if there is a good manual published or available for download directly from Harmon-Kardan somewhere that accurately explains all these settings in the version that they make for Subaru.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:36 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Very interesting, Illinois_OB10fan, about the equalizer controls for your H-K system-with-Nav (which don't seem to be available for the non-Nav H-K).

One side comment is that your post implies that your system offers surround-sound modes, including Dolby PL I and II.

In these modes, I'd expect very little output from the rear speakers, since they would just be receiving the matrixed surround signal (which is typically a fainter, time-delayed signal, and is frequency-limited as well). With no actual center-channel speaker, most of the sound would be coming from the fronts, and in this situation it also makes sense for the sub-woofer to be only using the front signal.

But there is presumably also a regular stereo mode in which the front and rear speakers should basically be receiving the same L and R signals.

My Volvo C70 supports Pro Logic II (it actually has a center channel speaker on the dash), and in fact the rear speakers in this case are just providing the "surround effects". It also offers a "3+2" stereo mode in which rear speakers receive the same signals as the fronts, and a derived center channel is fed to the center dash speakers. The manual for this car suggests that the Pro Logic setting is not very good for rear-seat passengers, as they just tend to hear "effects".

Anyone who is getting very little sound from the rear speakers, even with the fader favoring the rear, may want to make sure that they are not in some form of surround sound mode.

(For better or worse, my non-Nav H-K system doesn't seem to have any surround-sound modes. The sound from the rears is maybe not quite as good as from the fronts, but not drastically so. I keep the fader setting at R1.)
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Old 01-14-2010, 06:59 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bobaru
I have the H-K system, but no Nav, in my 3.6R Limited.

Is it just my imagination, or does the H-K system WITH Nav give you a lot of additional user controls and options? I seem to recall seeing a post from someone who had the H-K system with Nav, who talked about graphic EQ settings, etc., which are not available with the H-K system - no Nav.

I Have 2.5i Navi. Yes the HK sound system has a graphic equalizer that is controlled through the touch screen. Like most owners, I am still trying to figure out the best sound setup. A manual that explains the basic settings of each part of the equalizer would have been nice...not being a complete audiophile, I am having to mess with it quite a bit.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bobaru
One side comment is that your post implies that your system offers surround-sound modes, including Dolby PL I and II.

In these modes, I'd expect very little output from the rear speakers, since they would just be receiving the matrixed surround signal (which is typically a fainter, time-delayed signal, and is frequency-limited as well). With no actual center-channel speaker, most of the sound would be coming from the fronts, and in this situation it also makes sense for the sub-woofer to be only using the front signal.

But there is presumably also a regular stereo mode in which the front and rear speakers should basically be receiving the same L and R signals.
Thanks for this very helpful info! Yes on the NAV touchscreen HK settings, there is a "Bypass" setting which I think is basic stereo without the surround/matrix. I was noticing like others that the rear sound was pretty crummy compared to front, so I think I just need to select Bypass if I want better sound from rear. Perhaps some others who have posted about the bad rear sound also have the NAV version and need to select this "Bypass" as well. Absolutely no where in the special Navigation system manual (where the stereo information is included) does it mention what the Bypass does. I completely agree the manual especially for the NAV HK version should have explained this in much greater detail. I've checked online and at HK's website and there does not seem to be much specific information about this particular factory system. I think it is still a very good sounding system once you optimize the settings, just that there should be better information on how to set it.
(Still trying to figure out what "Panorama Yes/No really does and also the neutral,R1, R2 etc settings under surround/music option.)
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