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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 2018, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Aftermarket Pioneer with Harman Kardon system and sat nav...

Hi all,

I have an 05 Cooper S with the Harman Kardon system fitted, I find the standard single cd head unit lacking in the audio department. I have a Pioneer X5900bt from my old car (v70r) which I would like to fit, am I right in thinking that all I need is one of those special H/K leads plugged into the back of the stereo to allow it to work with the amp/speakers? Also will this affect the usage of the sat nav, specifically will it still speak via the stereo - I rarely have it on to tell me directions but have a need for it very occasionally and would like it to work 100% if at all possible.

Cheers 👍

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 2018, 04:20 PM
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My 2005 car - nothing to explain the HK system and some of the quite sophisticated modes it has came with it. Don't know if you are in the same boat. I'm not a car audio buff by a long chalk but I've had a lot of cars and find it is one of the best standard systems I've had. And even at 13 years old.

So if you aren't aware of how it works, what it does, have a gander at this.
The MINI Harman Kardon Stereo System
It is an explanation of the Gen 1 HK by a US sound engineer.

It opens with "Because there has been some controversy and apparent misunderstanding of the nature of the upgrade H/K audio system offered by MINI on the 2003-2006 models........". I found it very useful.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 2018, 06:26 PM
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I've got the Boost with HK adaptation and I personally think it's awesome

MOD, 2004 R50, BRG, Pepper Pack, Pano Roof, chrome interior and exterior enhancements, air con, Mini boost CD.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 2018, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe it's me then, it just seems to lack any punch and character. I've tried changing the different modes and adjusting the bass and treble but the sound coming out of it seems bland? The bass and treble functions in particular seem to act like very blunt instruments when I tweak them either up or down. I would like to have the Bluetooth function I had with the Pioneer as I have a Note 4 phone with a 128gb card nearly full of flac music files that I just used to stream and put on random (3000 plus tracks can last a while!)

Would I be better served getting one of those bluetooth boxes off ebay? I have had a Grom unit in the past in a Subaru Forester and whilst good they are out of my price range at the moment. I do prefer streaming my music via Bluetooth and have no problem with loosing the 6 Cd changer in the boot...
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 2018, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NigelK View Post
My 2005 car - nothing to explain the HK system and some of the quite sophisticated modes it has came with it. Don't know if you are in the same boat. I'm not a car audio buff by a long chalk but I've had a lot of cars and find it is one of the best standard systems I've had. And even at 13 years old.

So if you aren't aware of how it works, what it does, have a gander at this.
The MINI Harman Kardon Stereo System
It is an explanation of the Gen 1 HK by a US sound engineer.

It opens with "Because there has been some controversy and apparent misunderstanding of the nature of the upgrade H/K audio system offered by MINI on the 2003-2006 models........". I found it very useful.
NigelK I have just had a read of the link you posted, interesting read. Wasn't aware of any of those settings, whilst some of them just sound too flat and bassless, I have settled on the "electronic" setting with the bass on the centre setting, the treble on one notch down which sounds slightly kinder on my ears and less tinny. I'll have a play with the driver on and off settings the next time I'm out on a drive to see what difference it makes, at least to my ears! Amazing what happens when you read the instructions eh?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 2018, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mmmmcheese View Post
NigelK I have just had a read of the link you posted, interesting read. Wasn't aware of any of those settings, whilst some of them just sound too flat and bassless, I have settled on the "electronic" setting with the bass on the centre setting, the treble on one notch down which sounds slightly kinder on my ears and less tinny. I'll have a play with the driver on and off settings the next time I'm out on a drive to see what difference it makes, at least to my ears! Amazing what happens when you read the instructions eh?
Ha! Well, pleased it has helped. His description of how it all works is way beyond me but he seems to be pretty on it. And seems to think the HK is pretty good. I hadn't a clue till I'd read that either. I run mine mostly in Festival mode.

I got the eBay 'in the back instead of the 6 CD changer' unit but only the one that does AUX, USB, SD Card. It is now 39.50, here:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Car-Stereo...3D222343737556
Works fine.

There is one that does the same but adds Bluetooth A2DP & Hands free, for 54.50, here:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Car-Stere...8AAOSwymxVPx15

So this one will let you play the music on your Note 4 phone. The GUI, display isn't too clever, not like the completely integrated effort on my Vovlo C30 which tells you the inside leg measurement of the artist, but hey, they work.

Grom do do units for the MINI but wow they are so expensive.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2018, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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So after a few days or so of driving and fiddling I've come to the conclusion that in fact the HK setup can indeed push out some decent sounds. I think I'm going to remove the 6 disc changer and sell it, using the funds to purchase one of those Bluetooth boxes that plugs in the back of the standard head unit and see how that works with my phone via Bluetooth. Whilst I don't doubt an aftermarket head unit would perform as good if not better, that is approx 150+ I don't have at the moment. I think the Bluetooth box setup will give good enough sound quality playing flac files over the road and wind noise 😊
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 3rd, 2018, 11:11 PM
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So after a few days or so of driving and fiddling I've come to the conclusion that in fact the HK setup can indeed push out some decent sounds.
Good. It breaks my heart to see people ripping out the HK ....... when usually they haven't a clue what a great system it can be ..... when you actually understand how to use it and the settings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mmmmcheese View Post
I think I'm going to remove the 6 disc changer and sell it, using the funds to purchase one of those Bluetooth boxes that plugs in the back of the standard head unit and see how that works with my phone via Bluetooth. Whilst I don't doubt an aftermarket head unit would perform as good if not better, that is approx 150+ I don't have at the moment. I think the Bluetooth box setup will give good enough sound quality playing flac files over the road and wind noise 😊
That's what I've done. I play music off USB sticks. Sounds fine. And they don't jump like CDs. MINI R53 suspension and horizontal CD are not too compatible!! They never jumped with the 6 CD changer - playing vertically.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2018, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Good. It breaks my heart to see people ripping out the HK ....... when usually they haven't a clue what a great system it can be ..... when you actually understand how to use it and the settings.


That's what I've done. I play music off USB sticks. Sounds fine. And they don't jump like CDs. MINI R53 suspension and horizontal CD are not too compatible!! They never jumped with the 6 CD changer - playing vertically.
Now I actually have some understanding of how it works thanks to your link it does seem to be a decent system,

I must be trying too hard I've managed to get both to jump that was with runflats and 170 bhp which probably didn't help, got some nice Contisport 3's on now my god the difference is massive, no more skating round under power off bumps and ruts in the road...
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 4th, 2018, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
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Now I actually have some understanding of how it works thanks to your link it does seem to be a decent system,

I must be trying too hard I've managed to get both to jump that was with runflats and 170 bhp which probably didn't help, got some nice Contisport 3's on now my god the difference is massive, no more skating round under power off bumps and ruts in the road...
Indeed probably the RFs making them jump. The standard SS+ springs and dampers give a pretty harsh ride. Especially near 100kish when the dampers are getting tired.
One of the first things I did with mine was ditch perfectly decent RFs (two were almost new Pirelli PZeros and the guy had just paid 130 EACH for them, yikes!!!) and put proper tyres on. As you say huge difference.

The other things I did fairly sharpish were:

1) Got it properly aligned on a Hunter system (which KwikFit have but it's hit and miss if they can use it)

2) Changed the lower arm rear bushes for the Powerflex polyurethane ones - PFF5-101. Again my OE rubber ones were OK, not an MOT failure or that worn. It is counter-intuitive, but in addition to greatly improving steering feel, accuracy, turn-in, they eliminate most of the crashing on the bigger holes. Recieved wisdom is "poly = harshness". Which I was expecting. To my amazement they had the opposite effect.

Another HK saved!! Well for the moment anyway. I really like mine. Once and if you get an aftermarket exhaust and decent cold air intake (CAI), so you get a lot of SC whine, it does get less important.

This Youtube vid is an R53 with an Orranje Stealth CAI fitted, same as the one on mine. You'll see my point. "It's all about the whine".
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeYg-iG2Y2g

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 6th, 2018, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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I too had Pirelli PZero runflats fitted, I'm trying to sell them on ebay to BMW drivers as they have a good 5 to 6mm tread left on them. Also discovered I had I runflat and one standard front tyre!

Yes that supercharger whine is fab, love it in mine as standard, I've got a list as long as my arm of mods to do including the smaller pulley, intercooler and suchlike, I need to sort a few issues out first like a leaky rocker gasket and possibly a sticking chain tensioner before I do anything daft though. Never had a car with this level of modding scene before, there's so much stuff!
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 23rd, 2018, 02:22 AM
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Well I'm not a fan of the Harman Kardon system or anything they make. I used to build competition stereo systems way back in the day so this system doesn't sound adequate to me at all but I'm willing to experiment and I appreciate the info provided in this thread and I will see what I can adjust.

You cannot simply replace the head unit in the car if it's equipped with the HK system as the speakers are 2 ohm load, which is not standard in the industry and will overdrive the amp in any Pioneer head unit. Even if that wasn't the issue the speakers in the door have no external crossover , it is built into the amp, so if you want an aftermarket and superior head unit then you will not only be replacing the speakers but you will be running all new wires.

I have a brand new Pioneer head unit that I was going to install quickly for all the extra features and upgrade everything else after I return from the trip I'm making in the car in three weeks until I realized it was not possible. My long term plan is to remove the back seat and build a real system with 3-4 amps and a pair of real subs. I have all the equipment except new speakers for the doors.

I'm always willing to learn......if someone is willing to teach!!!
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