BMW F30 Audio Upgrade Review

Having picked up my new BMW with the Harmon Kardon upgrade, I was really expecting the sound to be satisfying, unfortunately I was disappointed and immediately started to adjust the sound with the equalizer settings, raising or lowering the different bands… none which really seem to help.

There was two things that stood out – the surround set-up of the Harmon Kardon adds the centre speaker and creates a very spacial sound, whilst initially sounding OK it looses the stereo of the music, and thus loosing the separation of instruments. The second is that the midbass or the warmth of male vocals was missing…. Which we later identified with the filtering from the HK Amp.

So in my quest to improve the sound I spent quite a few hours searching for a Car-Audio dealer that a) was reputable and b) understood the car set-up. In fact when you search for BMW audio F30 upgrade “Audiofile-incar returns the top of the page.

Anyway after a quick call speaking to Gary, who owns Audiodfile I decided to visit the shop to get a feel for the place. That visit was a 2 hour drive, but in just a few minutes of getting there I felt re-assured and would be in good hands.

The initial upgrade, which was a system3 plus, although good, uncovered a couple of issues, a strange clipping noise and slightly muddled bass, which in praise to Audiofile-incar, were very receptive with my feedback, and was keen to understanding the issue and get to the root cause.

Suffice to say leaving the car with Gary and team to address these issues, and picking up the vehicle a few days later, the transformation in sound was nothing short of huge. As my car came with the Harmon Kardon upgrade it meant Auiofile-incar could take advantage of the optical feed. The net result was an Audison Bit 10(d) optical feed from the head unit, digital feed to the JL Audio Amps and usual speaker cable to the focal speakers.

So how did it sound… well as mentioned the change was nothing short of huge. The sound is controlled, instruments are separate and you feel in the centre of the performance. Bass, which is important to me, is really tunefull, not a distorted thump, but really clean, tones are clear and when you need a track to hit you over the head with a heavy track, its all there…. And theres no shortage of power. Wack the volume and it only gets better… and if I was to describe the difference in one sentence… “I’m now enjoying music tracks in full, no longer skipping to find that one tune that acoustically sounded OK”. Now my challenge is having to keep the volume down when the missus is in the car.

Dominick Ash

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