In Reply to: HK audio posted by Faris on October 06, 1999 at 12:35:21:
My 2 cents on the HK vs. aftermarket question:
I've been living with the HK stereo (Y2K 328i) for almost a week now. No, it's not as good as a reasonable aftermarket system. But you get what you pay for. A reasonable aftermarket system that sounds better would probably cost you more than the HK upgrade MSRP cost.
My previous car had a reasonable but not great aftermarket system in it. Infinity Kappa 6x9's in the back. Infinity 4" OEM drop-ins in the front. Nakamichi head-unit - tape deck + 30 watts/channel for the fronts. Proton amp for the rears. The system was installed circa 1987.
It sounded better than the HK. Cleaner highs and bass. Somewhat better imaging. It was also more expensive. The speakers were probably $300 just for the parts. The amp was a couple hundred. The head unit was close to $500. Then you add in installation.
My guess is that a comparable system today with a CD player (no tape deck) and a good but not over the top head unit would run about $800-$1000 plus installation.
BMW charges you $675 for HK upgrade plus $200 to swap the tape deck for the CD player. That's $900 total.
So you know, I think you get what you pay for.
A lot of it depends on what you want in a stereo system. If you want reasonably clean treble, good mids, and ok bass with decent imaging, the HK will be fine. If you want heart-pounding bass or very clean midrange and treble, then you might want to think about going the aftermarket route.
Or you might want to go the intermediate route and use the BMW head unit with aftermarket amps and speakers. The cost there will depend on whether you want to go the separates route or
with a few pairs of N-way speakers. I suspect you'll still wind up with something that will cost more than the HK upgrade cost.
It's up to you. I might go the aftermarket route one day if I keep the car long enough and feel like I have some money lying around to spare.
Or I might not.
And by the way, having the stereo controls on the steering wheel rocks!
: Has BMW always used HK audio components?
: I think MB uses BOSE, how does it compare to that?