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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I’ve recently changed from a 2016 F56 Cooper with the Media XL pack to a 2016 F56 Cooper S. When ordering, I was advised that the main differences between the two set ups was the XL has a bigger screen of course as well as a hard drive., there was no difference to sound quality as the speakers were the same. I took their word for it.

I have to say I was very impressed with the XL sound quality to the extent I put all my favourite albums onto the hard disc and looked forward to driving just to listen to my tunes properly. The sound is definitely one of the better I have experience, a full rich sound. One oif things that impressed me most was that the sound was like this at most volumes, even when really low.

Unfortunately, the new car with the Visual Boost set up sounds completely different – a thin tinny sound, with no depth and far from a pleasure to listen to – it sounds almost as poor as the standard set up I had in my R56. There is bass, but, but almost no mid-range and tinny high’s. I took a photo of the sound settings from the XL set up and used them again in the Visual Boost on the day I collected the car, so no variance there.

The music is the same, albeit from a Mini USB stick rather than from the hard disc. The sound is identical when listening to the radio, so I don’t think it is the difference between a hard disc and stick.

The question I have is… is this normal, i.e. Does the XL system have different speakers / amp set up to the Visual Boost, or does it sound like my car has issues? I’m really disappointed and wish I had gone for the XL system again, even though I rarely use sat nav.
 

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Does one car have the standard speakers and the other have the Harman Kardon speakers (upgrade)? If so, there is your answer.
 

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To my knowledge from reading the forums is that the speakers are the same for both XL and Visual Boost so a little surprised you said the XL system sounds better...

Have you played around with the Bass/Treble settings for use with USB (I think they are separate for different sources)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
To my knowledge from reading the forums is that the speakers are the same for both XL and Visual Boost so a little surprised you said the XL system sounds better...

Have you played around with the Bass/Treble settings for use with USB (I think they are separate for different sources)?
That was my understanding too.

The thing is, it isn't just better, they are leagues apart - the difference between enjoying the music and not.

I checked all the sound settings, both for the radio and CD (Bass / treble etc). Not sure if there are any other's that I have missed?

As I drove the XL equipped car for a couple of thousand miles, I pretty much listened to the whole play list, making comparing the different sound easier.

I'm really concerned about this, the XL sounded brilliant:(
 

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I think u need to adjust the bass treble when the usb is selected and being used for it to adjust for that media if I recall. Perhaps worth checking.

Sent from my LG-H815 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think u need to adjust the bass treble when the usb is selected and being used for it to adjust for that media if I recall. Perhaps worth checking.

Sent from my LG-H815 using Tapatalk
Thanks, I have already tried that on the USB and radio.

To get the perfect sound from the XL set up I have the bass and treble settings 3 notches beyond the mid point on the scale. The same setting with Visual Boost results in barely any bass, thin mid range and loads of 'tiss tiss' treble. Very strange.
 

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Their was a conversation suggesting they need a bed in period so don't be discouraged yet see how they are after a few weeks
 

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Never heard of bedding in a sound system, well new to me!

I have a Cooper with XL Media and find it ok but nowhere as good as the HK system on my old R55....
 

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Loudspeakers have membranes that vibrate thus producing soundwaves. When new, they are stiffer requiring more "juice" to produce sound. In time, they loosen up. Just like new shoes, the leather needs to loosen up a bit :)

Although, in this case, the visual boost sound system is, in fact, bad. The worst I had in a car in many years. They should at least put some tweeters to improve soundstage... So disappointed.
 

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Loudspeakers have membranes that vibrate thus producing soundwaves. When new, they are stiffer requiring more "juice" to produce sound. In time, they loosen up. Just like new shoes, the leather needs to loosen up a bit :)

Although, in this case, the visual boost sound system is, in fact, bad. The worst I had in a car in many years. They should at least put some tweeters to improve soundstage... So disappointed.
Thanks for that, you learn something everyday :)
 

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For it to sound so differently must be 1 of 2 things, either you have a faulty head unit / amp / speaker or the difference between the 2 head units goes further than just the head units. Could be different amps, speakers even speaker mountings can play a big difference.

I agree that speakers need a bedding in period but the difference shouldn't be completely noticeable to this degree as described above.

I would go to the car yard and directly compare your system to others in the yard with the same set up and see if its similar, if so then its not faulty, it would be the later with the use of different componentary other than the head unit.
 

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Fyi, I swaped my f56 by an f54 (more on that later :) ), and with the same package the sound is much better! The f56 has a real poor sound, indeed, if you don't upgrade it.

As a side note, during my 2 years with the f56 i drove several dealer replacement vehicles (mainly bmws 1 or 3) and the sound was also poor on most of them(!).
 

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Well XL or Visual Boost have four midrange speakers (4") and two under seat subs (6.5") so should sound the same. The only other difference I can think of is the S has active sound. This is a false engine noise pumped through the speakers (and I'll bet like 50% of all car features it is to make the car more "sporty"). So is it really bad with engine off or only when the engine is running?
 

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My only question to you is, if you enjoy music that much, why didn't you spec H/K?

Visual Boost plus H/K is £800(ish) with XL Media being £1800, therefore still a saving over the Media XL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
For it to sound so differently must be 1 of 2 things, either you have a faulty head unit / amp / speaker or the difference between the 2 head units goes further than just the head units. Could be different amps, speakers even speaker mountings can play a big difference.

I agree that speakers need a bedding in period but the difference shouldn't be completely noticeable to this degree as described above.

I would go to the car yard and directly compare your system to others in the yard with the same set up and see if its similar, if so then its not faulty, it would be the later with the use of different componentary other than the head unit.
I agree, although the speakers will improve in time, it is unlikely there will be a huge leap in sound quality.

The dealership visit is a great idea, I will make efforts to visit shortly and compare like for like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well XL or Visual Boost have four midrange speakers (4") and two under seat subs (6.5") so should sound the same. The only other difference I can think of is the S has active sound. This is a false engine noise pumped through the speakers (and I'll bet like 50% of all car features it is to make the car more "sporty"). So is it really bad with engine off or only when the engine is running?
That's how I understood the systems, in that the speakers are the same.

There is an improvement in the sound quality when the car is stood still (with the engine running), only to the degree that you can sense more bass. When on the move, you can detect a little bass (with that setting cranked up), but it dominated by loads of treble. There isn't the full sound I was used too, no matter what volume the head unit was set to.

I thought the false engine sound was through a separate speaker in the rear of the car?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My only question to you is, if you enjoy music that much, why didn't you spec H/K?

Visual Boost plus H/K is £800(ish) with XL Media being £1800, therefore still a saving over the Media XL.
That is a good question. When I test drove the Mini F56 Cooper, I was very impressed with the sound quality on offer and decided not to upgrade to the HK set up.

When changing car, I was advised the Visual Boost had the same sound quality as the XL system and I believed that as I was happy before hand, I wouldn't need to upgrade. Had I known, I would have optioned the HK system, or gone back to the XL:(
 

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Sounds to me as if the bass units under the seats might not be workin/p!ugged in?
 

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That is a good question. When I test drove the Mini F56 Cooper, I was very impressed with the sound quality on offer and decided not to upgrade to the HK set up.

When changing car, I was advised the Visual Boost had the same sound quality as the XL system and I believed that as I was happy before hand, I wouldn't need to upgrade. Had I known, I would have optioned the HK system, or gone back to the XL:(
The seller is not able to do its job...they give you the car they have to test without any explanations about what is inside and why it is inside...:(
 
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