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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, was wondering what the main difference was with B&W and HK, particularly in sound quality. I know that the B&W shakes the seats for the “4D” effect, but I don’t think this actually improves the sound quality. Is it true that the extra speakers+wattage of B&W is just for the 4D effect? Or is the sound actually noticeably better than HK? Hoping anyone who’s tried both can answer. Not really an audiophile nor use lossless audio, so not sure how beneficial the upgrade to B&W would be for me. Thanks!
edit: Is it also true the B&W does noise-cancellation and HK doesn’t? Couldn’t find anything online but one user mentioned it here on the forums.
 

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From everything that I have read and seen in YouTube videos, HK will be good for most people, but B&W is in a league of its own.
Check the original post in this thread for a user who has no experienced both
 

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I've tried the HK (and had it in previous BMWs), and currently have the B&W in my iX. In-car audio quality is essentially dependent on 3 factors - the audio source, sound isolation in the car, and the system itself. You have control over the audio source - and a higher bitrate, lower compression, higher quality audio source will improve the sound of virtually any system, a given. The sound isolation in the iX is superb - better than my X5 with acoustic glass. The quietest car I've driven. So the major variable that is not modifiable is the system. The HK in the iX is very good, and I would say superior to other HK systems in previous BMWs (and actually better than the B&O in my Audi). For someone who routinely listens to streaming audio, compressed files, or second or third level recordings, it's a fine system. The iX allows you to wring out the best of the HK.

For someone who listens to original recordings, uncompressed audio from fixed media, or who simply wants the best audio in a car (which in the iX actually is practical because of the isolation), the B&W provides that. At a cost. Whether that "extra" is worth it very much depends on your own expectations, listening experience, and the type of music you routinely listen to. Sound "quality" can be somewhat subjective (too many Zeppelin concerts on the front row and you won't need a system that reproduces accurate highs), but generally quality is perceived as the ability to reproduce music as it was recorded in the studio or on the stage, the day it was recorded, without any enhancement, modification or loss of frequency, high or low. The B&W system does that, better than any system I've experienced. It rivals studio listening, or a high quality in-home system. It's not a TAD Reference One system in a car (and nothing is), but you could be pardoned for thinking it's close....:)
 

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I originally ordered the B&W but was forced to downgrade to H&K due to delivery problem. Previous cars have all had the highest possible level of audio (I confess to be "audiophilic") and I can honestly say the H&K is at least level with, but mostly above anything I´ve listened to before in a car.
There´s only one problem with H&K and that´s the sad fact that the testvehicle I drove a year ago had B&W.... When all gimmicks such as 4D shakers was turned off it was simply that much better...
Compared to the amount I´ve spent in homeaudio the B&W is a super bargain and turns the law of diminishing return upside down.
Had I kept fingers off the B&W I´d been perfectly happy with H&K.
 
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