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Hi all- I’m shopping for a new XC40 and need advice please on how much better the Harmon Kardon stereo is vs the stock stereo. I ask because I’ve found a car that has everything I want except the HK. I’m not a super finicky audiophile, but I have Sirius or the fm radio on pretty much 100% of the time while I’m driving and would hate to have it sound like crap. Thanks for your help!
 

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I listened to both .... the base system is horrible so you will have to get the HK. But even that system is not all that great. The best one is the Bowers & Wilkins but its only offered in the XC60 and 90.

The HK system is ok but IMO its overpriced for what it offers. A little tinkering can get it close to where you want sound wise but then the volume falls a bit short.
 

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I listened to both .... the base system is horrible so you will have to get the HK. But even that system is not all that great. The best one is the Bowers & Wilkins but its only offered in the XC60 and 90.

The HK system is ok but IMO its overpriced for what it offers. A little tinkering can get it close to where you want sound wise but then the volume falls a bit short.

I second this.


WV
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I listened to both .... the base system is horrible so you will have to get the HK. But even that system is not all that great. The best one is the Bowers & Wilkins but its only offered in the XC60 and 90.

The HK system is ok but IMO its overpriced for what it offers. A little tinkering can get it close to where you want sound wise but then the volume falls a bit short.
Many thanks. I did listen to the B&W in the XC60. That gem will certainly spoil one from ever liking any lesser system!
 

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Unfortunately the XC40 is too new for aftermarket parts in audio selection, but given that the HK is run on a 600 watt system, it should be fairly easy to upgrade a couple of the speakers cheaply, later on.
When I test drove it I moved the fader around and the back speakers faintly came to life only when the setting was rear biased on 8 or 9. When the speaker fader was completely set on the back, it was a little strange, as though the sound was muffled. The base is clearly lagging and the front speakers seem to be tuned more for treble. I just couldn't get a good balance between the front and back speakers.
 

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I listened to both .... the base system is horrible so you will have to get the HK. But even that system is not all that great. The best one is the Bowers & Wilkins but its only offered in the XC60 and 90.

The HK system is ok but IMO its overpriced for what it offers. A little tinkering can get it close to where you want sound wise but then the volume falls a bit short.
I agree about the B & W. I think the HK is garbage.
 

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I test drove both the T4 and the T5 and this time I really played with the equalizer/fader/treble and bass on the HK system. I managed to get it to its optimum sound levels that I prefer and it really wasn't as bad as the first time I listened to it. It did come in short though when i drove with the windows down.

But I will say this, the HK system in the XC40 blows away the HK system in the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. If you want to feel ripped off go upgrade the Stelvio sound system. The wife has a leased Stelvio and she thinks its fine but I hate it for an $800 upgrade that is worse than a base system in a Kia.
 

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I agree the HK system is a must if you want your music to sound good (although Sirius never does.. poor bandwidth leads to high compression and horrible sound). Especially because there aren’t speakers in the doors and everything comes from right in front of you, even the HK system feels a little empty in the XC40 until you get used to it. I understand the HK system has an extra subwoofer in addition to the “air” subwoofer in the dash and I think that helps a lot.
 

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Poor me. I have the base system in my XC40 and although I thought I was an audiofile, I guess not because I happen to like the way it performs. I agree with the previous comment that Sirius has such low bandwidth and high compression and should not be used as a point of reference.
 

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Poor me. I have the base system in my XC40 and although I thought I was an audiofile, I guess not because I happen to like the way it performs. I agree with the previous comment that Sirius has such low bandwidth and high compression and should not be used as a point of reference.
sooner or later aftermarket stuff wil become available and you will be poking us with abandonment on spending too much on the HK upgrade.
 

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The HK is a bit of a disappointment even after playing around with the settings, but after having driven a loaner XC60 with a regular radio, it was clear that doing the $800 upgrade was the right decision.

Plugging into Apple play produces the best sound quality. The Bluetooth was better in my Toyota Corolla.
 

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I find it amazing how some low end cars have a better sound system than upgraded sound system on a luxury car. it just gives me a feeling of being ripped off.

I will say this though, when i listened to the HK system on the XC40 vs the XC60, the bigger brother was hands down horrible. If you compare the systems in both cars the sound in the XC60 is sooooo muffled.
 

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I don’t know what people are listening to but the Harmon Kardon is very good. Especially when listening to music from phone or streaming services. Sirius is pretty good. I don’t know how much more you’d realistically want out of it. You’re in a car, not your home.
 
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