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Disappointed In The Harmon Kardon "Premium" Sound System?

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Disappointed In The Harmon Kardon "Premium" Sound System?

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Old 10-11-2018, 04:13 PM
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Disappointed In The Harmon Kardon "Premium" Sound System?

I'd like start by saying I recently traded in my 2016 Camaro 2SS for a new "fully loaded" 2018 Mini Cooper S Clubman. While it doesn't touch the raw HP of the SS, I find that the Clubman is just as fun, if not more fun to drive in the city. And spunky enough on the highway too. Believe it or not, it also has more room in the front seats too. AND, you can actually have legs and still sit in the back seat of the Clubman! Very happy with my choice and purchase.

Now for the background to my rant. One thing I did like better in the SS was the premium Bose sound system. Similar in speaker sizes and quantity to the Clubman, there were 9 smallish speakers throughout the cabin. The doors each had one 4 inch ported woofer (I think that's the size) for bass. While these wouldn't make you "feel" the bass per se, you could definitely hear it. Even very low frequencies. Admittedly, it was a little less Bass than what I would have preferred. But with super crisp and powerful highs, mids, and low frequencies, it more than made up for this small perceived deficiency.


When I picked up the Clubman a couple weeks ago, as I drove off the lot listening to my favorite tunes, I began to noticed the following:

1. High's are nice, Midrange is just okay and Bass...... WHAT BASS?!?!?! Even with the bass turned up to 75% over default, with the exception of a few very specific low frequencies, it's almost non existent in the Clubman. And really,you have to listen to hiphop to get anything meaningful out of them.
2. 50% HK volume = 20% volume in just about every vehicle I've ever owned. Not a major issue just slightly disappointed underwhelming when you turn on a radio and it has half the power you were expecting for a given volume.
3. Why is there not a sophisticated EQ. One would think that a premium sound system would have more than just Treble and Bass adjustments.

My questions and curiosities are:
1. Does anyone feel the same disdain I feel for the HK system? I've read similar posts for other minis but wasn't entirely sure if the HK system in the clubman was the same in other mini models.
2. Is there a tech sheet for the F54 with the HK sound system? If I'm going to fix this problem, I'll need to know what wires are what and where to find them. Something similar to Directechs.com would be great if someone could share. Or, if you know where to find one. Also, where the factory locations for amps, components etc.
3. Does our car have noise canceling? Also, are exhaust tones pumped into the sound system? If so, where can I get a clean signal to tap into for an aftermarket system?
4. Most importantly, if you feel the same way I do, what did you do to fix the problem? If your HK system was added to, what choice of amps, subs, just bass or did you replace other speakers? Where did you put the sub, etc..

I feel like I just need a little extra bass and low midrange to fix it the way I want it. I've been looking at this - https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20611H...ker-11HS8.html This 8" seems like it might do the trick but I need to know what to tap into to get a clean signal. Also, not sure the 120hz max crossover is going to cut it the low midrange problem. But atleast I would be more on track to fix the problem.

Again, not bashing the car, just the sound system. Thoughts are appreciated!
 
  #2  
Old 10-11-2018, 04:33 PM
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HK sucks. I tolerated it in the 2011 Countryman, it is a bit better. It is also oddly not so bad in the 2016 4 dr/ht we have. But in my 2014 F56 it was awful.

Bought a harness and a JL Audio amp from technicpnp.com . Only issue I had was the guy didn't know MINI as well as BMW at that point and gave me a very short power cable thinking the battery was in the trunk. Also replaced all the speakers with Bavsound speakers. Based on your perceptions, probably only need to do the underseat woofer/subs. But knowing what I know now I'd just do the amp first and see how it sounds with the OEM HK speakers.

If you do all that you don't need the Crutchfield item you linked, or at least I don't. <g>

Simplest way to remove fake sounds is the Bimmercode app and a OBDii dongle with android or ios device - under $50 and you can code all sorts of extra stuff in your car.

Music now thumps and you can actually feel the bass.
 
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Old 10-12-2018, 07:00 AM
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Thanks Moocher! Out of curiosity, which JL amp did you get? I’m thinking I would need to get the 8 channel amp if I wanted to keep the factory subs. But not sure I want to spend that much money Just in an amp. I’ll check around though.
 
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:26 AM
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600/6 - 6 channel amp and you lose the center channel in the dash. No loss on that IMO. 2 fronts, 2 rears, 2 under seat woofers. You can go with a lesser cost amp, I just read a lot of reviews of people who went that route and then upgraded to the JL.

I had a Bose system when they first got into car stereo as an after market unit in my 3 series BMW. It was great. Also had one in a Nissan Murano, it was also very good even if the car wasn't.
 
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Old 10-12-2018, 02:52 PM
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I think it sounds much better then the Gen 2 MINI HK systems of 9/2009+. And way better then the Hifi of 2007-9/2009.
 
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:12 PM
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I do not know too me the HK System Sounds pretty good listing to Frank Zappa,s Apostrophe or Joe,s Garage The Bose System in my last Mercedes sounded not as good as the HK in the Mini.
 
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Old 10-22-2018, 07:04 AM
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How did you wire up the amp? Did you basically get an amp wiring kit and get the power from the battery? If you have photos that would be great.
 
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Old 10-22-2018, 08:19 AM
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Weird, my F56 with the HK system has a ton of bass, even to the point where I had to turn it down (couple notches from the max setting) in the EQ. It has way better bass than other cars I've had with their factory subs.
 
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:10 PM
Michael Hayes
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I have the Harmon Kardon system in my 2018 Clubman. Sounds good to me. I've been a musician for 50 years.
 
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:32 PM
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Does anyone know if you can use the technicpnp ASD harness and add an amp harnesses together? I tried sending a message to technicpnp but haven’t recieved a reply. I’d so, does anyone know where each Harness is installed? Not sure if they go behind the headunit or in the rear at the amp. Or heck, a phone number to technicpnp would be awesome too.

thanks!
 
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Old 10-23-2018, 01:05 PM
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ASD and amp harness go to different parts of system. Should both be usable.
 
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Old 10-23-2018, 07:22 PM
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Thanks, I ended up just diving in and figured it out. Added a sub and deleted engine sounds thru the speakers. Sounds much cleaner and the sub adds a good bit of bass. Very happy now!
 
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Old 10-30-2018, 04:03 AM
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Our previous mini had the HK system and the first few months it didn’t sound that great either. After that though it came to life. Oddly as that sounds, it was like the speakers need to be broken in. After the first few months the bass got deeper. We went from disappointment to pleasantly surprised.
 
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Old 11-19-2018, 04:23 PM
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My ears are not what they used to be, but I too was disappointed with the HK sound. Then one day I was listening to an album (ask your parents what an album is if you don't know. :-) ) from a thumb drive when I dropped my car off at the dealer for annual service. They gave me an F54 loaner that also had HK. I inserted the thumb drive, it immediately started playing where I left off in my car (I don't know how the exact spot on the thumb drive was transferred between cars), and I immediately thought, "Holy crap, why does that sound so much better than it does in my car with the same system?" After scratching my head, I went into the settings and saw that the base and treble were both turned up in the loaner. When I got my car back, I turned them up, and played with the other setting, and now I like the HK system much better then I initially did.
 
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:42 PM
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Maybe because the Clubman is bigger but on my 2 Door F56 the HK sound system sounds F AWESOME! Best sound system I have had in a car to be honest.
 
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:29 PM
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As a former high-end audiophile and life-long music buff, I must say that I find the HK system in my current Clubman S All4 to be quite good. Not sure what you're looking for in terms of sound, but I'd put it on par with most OEM systems in this price category.
 
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Old 12-27-2018, 06:49 PM
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Well, part of the problem is I listen to music mostly over Apple Car Play via Bluetooth from my music library that resides on my IPhone X. Unfortunately, it looks like my Clubman plays the sound from Apple CarPlay via Bluetooth (not an issue over USB) at a much lower volume than XM or a normal radio. Since I almost exclusively use Apple CarPlay over Bluetooth, I didn’t realize there was a difference when the car was new. Now I’ve had it for a few months and have realized this is just a BMW thing exclusive to Apple CarPlay via Bluetooth. While adding the sub did help the Apple CarPlay problem, I’d agree with you, listening to just about anything else, the HK system is slightly above avg. but as far as “premium” sound systems go I wouldn’t say it’s better than the Bose system I had in my previous GM vehicle.
 
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Old 12-27-2018, 07:17 PM
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After owning my Clubman for several months now, I would tend to agree with you except for music played via Apple car play over Bluetooth.. Initially, I thought it just sounded bad because 100% of my music at that point was played over Bluetooth (not an issue if using USB) via Apple Carplay from my iPhone X. Once I tried Sirius/XM or just normal radio, it didn’t sound all that bad. After doing some research, it’s just a BMW thing. There are several posts out there about it. Either way though, it sounds much better with the small sub and sounds absolutely great when listening to Sirius/XM or the local radio stations. With out the sub though, I won’t say it’ is better then the premium Bose system in my previous ride, but it’s better than a basic sound system for sure.
 
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:40 AM
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Bluetooth will always sound worst than a wired connection. Bluetooth compresses the audio and is lossy.
 
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Old 01-04-2019, 08:17 AM
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True, but i play Music via bluetooth just about everywhere including the last 6 vehicles I’ve owned and it sounds pretty darn good... All except for the Mini. It sounds especially crappy in the mini. The volume is cut in half and the bass is almost non existent. Anyway, thanks for the input folks. I appreciate it.
 
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:58 AM
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Hi Joshua, do you have any photos of your subs you fitted?

As standard HK systems in the F56/F55/F54 mini, the under seat speakers are not subs, they are actually mid bass drivers, which work with the small 4” mids in the doors and the tweeters and in the dash. Many mistake them for subs, they do play “bass” but not as a subwoofer would do.

I have a 2015 F54 with HK and installed a stand alone system which totally blows away HK away!

Installed is:

Hybrid Audio L3 mids snd 1” Pro tweeters in the A pillars
Gladen 8” Midbass under the seats
15” JL Audio sub in a a custon fibreglass ported sub box
Alpine PDX F6 4 channel amp for front speakers
Alpine M12 mono amp for sub
Controlling it all, is a Audison Bit One processor
Music player - Fiiio X7 high res digital player.

The HK system is a ***** to tap into so fitting a stand alone system was the best option.




 

Last edited by BazV; 01-13-2019 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 02-09-2019, 03:53 PM
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I have a 2017 Clubman, and I like the quality of sound I get from the OEM speakers, however I am wanting to achieve more bass. I'm no audio expert, what are some methods to achieving more bass without breaking the bank? Do I need a different amp? I don't necessarily break the bank. Any links and tips would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by goclubman View Post
I have a 2017 Clubman, and I like the quality of sound I get from the OEM speakers, however I am wanting to achieve more bass. I'm no audio expert, what are some methods to achieving more bass without breaking the bank? Do I need a different amp? I don't necessarily break the bank. Any links and tips would be greatly appreciated.
https://technicpnp.com/product/hifi-...ub-harnessloc/ and then buy a powered subwoofer. Probably the fastest easiest and cheapest way to add bass to your car. That is assuming you have the HK set up.
 
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Minnie.the.Moocher View Post
https://technicpnp.com/product/hifi-...ub-harnessloc/ and then buy a powered subwoofer. Probably the fastest easiest and cheapest way to add bass to your car. That is assuming you have the HK set up.
Hmm. I have the stock/base audio system. Does your kit in the link still work?
 
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:53 PM
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I don't think so. You can take a look at under seat upgraded woofers from Bavsound. Probably help. They will take them back if you don't like them within a certain time frame.

A few other people with base stereos have done upgrades on 3rd gen cars, you should search around here for the threads. You can still do the powered sub, it is just a different wiring operation which I am not familiar with in these cars. Probably no big deal for an experienced installer. Post up your location and maybe someone has a recommendation for you. If you are in Portland Or area I have a good guy to recommend.
 
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