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2016 Ford Edge Ti
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok folks we have spoken at length about this Meridian 14 speaker system before the software update now it's time to discuss how it sounds now that it has been updated. Those of you that have had the upgrade what do you notice the most? Do you hear / notice any differences in the rest of the sound spectrum in mid & highs? What about the ability to create the right "sound stage" balance? What else do you notice as a result of this upgrade if anything? On a % basis if you believe there is a improvement over what you had pre-upgrade what would that be? Perhaps the most important question is are you now happy / satisfied with this system?
 

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2022 Kia EV6 First Edition Steel Gray Matte
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I don't think that it's that type of upgrade, @Chip.

I think that the upgrade was designed to remove some of the "whir" that comes from electrical interference at certain speeds and frequencies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't think that it's that type of upgrade, @Chip.

I think that the upgrade was designed to remove some of the "whir" that comes from electrical interference at certain speeds and frequencies.
While no two sets of ears hear any single sound exactly the same way. I am seeing this sort of reply after the SA494 update. "Wow! My Meridian sound system is much improved after the service update (SA494). The vocal are much clearer (they were muffled before). I can hear the different instruments in the song, and the bass is much improved. I don't have to push up the bass, treble etc settings to get the sound I want. They are all in the center now and the sound is much better - what I'd expected from a premium sound system. Makes my driving experience much more enjoyable! Highly recommend having your dealer do this update if you are having issues with your sound system."
 

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While no two sets of ears hear any single sound exactly the same way. I am seeing this sort of reply after the SA494 update. "Wow! My Meridian sound system is much improved after the service update (SA494). The vocal are much clearer (they were muffled before). I can hear the different instruments in the song, and the bass is much improved. I don't have to push up the bass, treble etc settings to get the sound I want. They are all in the center now and the sound is much better - what I'd expected from a premium sound system. Makes my driving experience much more enjoyable! Highly recommend having your dealer do this update if you are having issues with your sound system."
Confirmation bias is a powerful thing. Complicating matters DEEPLY is that the system sounds completely different depending on the combination of volume, music type, source type, vehicle speed, ambient noise, EQ settings, and premium audio settings. Sometimes it sounds great to me, then I crack a window or change the track.
 

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Confirmation bias is a powerful thing. Complicating matters DEEPLY is that the system sounds completely different depending on the combination of volume, music type, source type, vehicle speed, ambient noise, EQ settings, and premium audio settings. Sometimes it sounds great to me, then I crack a window or change the track.
I would 100% agree with this!
 

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2022 Kia EV6 Wind AWD
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I got mine done today and my first thought was that there wasn't too much difference listening to SXM. Later in the day I was listening to an HD radio station and I was surprised that the sound was more refined, with better bass and overall sound. I had listened to the same station for a while driving to the dealer this morning, so the should quality was fairly fresh in my mind. I actually got decent sound and bass at 28 volume. I guess time will tell if the change is really noticeable across all media. I have a longer than normal drive on Wednesday, so it'll give me more time to listen.
 

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I got mine done today and my first thought was that there wasn't too much difference listening to SXM. Later in the day I was listening to an HD radio station and I was surprised that the sound was more refined, with better bass and overall sound. I had listened to the same station for a while driving to the dealer this morning, so the should quality was fairly fresh in my mind. I actually got decent sound and bass at 28 volume. I guess time will tell if the change is really noticeable across all media. I have a longer than normal drive on Wednesday, so it'll give me more time to listen.
All things being equal sxm is possibly the worst source to use to evaluate a sound system. Heavily over compressed. HD radio, while digital as well is probably not as compressed though this will depend on how many sub channels the station in question wash trying to squeeze into their allotted bandwidth.
 

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I've had the SA494 TSB performed and while it helps a very little it is still very lackluster when using bluetooth audio or USB for me. SXM actually sounds the best of all sources... sadly. EQ right now is -3 treble, -3 mid, 9 bass and on phone EQ the sub-bass has a slight bump to get it to sound remotely decent at <40 volume. Car is in for service now (unrelated, cabin noise) and mentioned it again because the rental Hyundai Venue with the base system (with wireless carplay too...) sounds better with flat EQ at pretty much all volumes.
 

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Update completed.

I find some small / moderate differences but it’s not dramatic. It is probably the difference between leaving this as is vs updating some of the speakers / subwoofer. I think it’s good enough for now
 

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I think someone else had commented on this elsewhere in this forum, but I noticed that the actual volume output varies depending on source, regardless of what volume level (on the head unit) you have it set to. In my case it turns out that for example, the volume level for SXM when the knob is set to 40 is quite a bit louder than that of my AirPlay audio when the knob is set to 40. IOW the dB output when the volume knob is set to 40 when on SXM is not the same as that when the knob is set to 40 on AirPlay (or some other audio source). I'm thinking that maybe as an experiment I should try raising the volume floor (e.g., amplify) of my MP3 audio files (in iTunes) to see if that helps a bit.
 

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Ok folks we have spoken at length about this Meridian 14 speaker system before the software update now it's time to discuss how it sounds now that it has been updated. Those of you that have had the upgrade what do you notice the most? Do you hear/notice any differences in the rest of the sound spectrum in mid & highs? What about the ability to create the right "sound stage" balance? What else do you notice as a result of this upgrade if anything? On a % basis if you believe there is an improvement over what you had pre-upgrade what would that be? Perhaps the most important question is are you now happy/satisfied with this system?
Over the course of the last hour I have read a lot of posts about the Meridian 14 speaker sound system, and its lackluster performance, and how the TSB SA494 update was supposed to correct this....but it just showed how everyone is still not happy with the sound of this audio system. Now what I would love to know is why in the world did Kia decide to put this non-performing Meridian audio system in the Kia EV6, BUT put a 10-speaker HARMON KARDON in the Kia Soul EV ? !

I am a fan of the Harmon Kardon audio system as I had this system in my 2015 Hyundai Sonata w/ the Tech Package, and I will tell you now I was in LOVE with this audio system. You definitely heard me coming up the street, and you could literally feel the bass in the seat! The only reason I got rid of it is that I have bad knees and the car, for me, is still too low to the ground. It was difficult to get out of the car at times.
 

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I'm not convinced the TSB was ever meant to improve the sound quality. The verbage from the TSB makes it seem like the point is to address something related to the noise cancelling part of the amp/DSP--which sure you could make an argument that noise cancellation is a function related to the quality of the sound, but at best it would be an improvement to the noise floor--not the EQ curve which I feel is most folks' disappointment with the system.

Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if the TSB was actually more about addressing echo over Bluetooth calls.
 

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I think someone else had commented on this elsewhere in this forum, but I noticed that the actual volume output varies depending on source, regardless of what volume level (on the head unit) you have it set to.
Look a bit closer when you change sources, and I bet you'll find that the volume setting is actually changing. Like, you were listening to FM at volume 30, then when you switch to XM, the volume silently changes to 40. The car has source-specific volume settings, and there is no checkbox for "use the same volume for every source." I find it completely maddening. If I turn it down to 30 listening to talk radio, that almost necessarily means I'm not in the same loud-and-fast mood I was in last time I listened to BPM at 60.

I'm not convinced the TSB was ever meant to improve the sound quality.
I'm quite convinced it was not, and has nothing to do with sound quality at all. Literally the only things suggesting it did were speculation and hope. It sounds absolutely no different to me post-update.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Folks I don't know it is related to the 494 TSB or not, but I am starting to see updated cars having amp / speaker failure after this update. It's too early to say one way or another, but something to keep an eye on to see if there is any relationship that is proven between the two.
 

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Look a bit closer when you change sources, and I bet you'll find that the volume setting is actually changing. Like, you were listening to FM at volume 30, then when you switch to XM, the volume silently changes to 40. The car has source-specific volume settings, and there is no checkbox for "use the same volume for every source." I find it completely maddening. If I turn it down to 30 listening to talk radio, that almost necessarily means I'm not in the same loud-and-fast mood I was in last time I listened to BPM at 60.
Not trying to say that you didn't observe that behavior in your EV6, but FWIW I tried it on mine--tuned to SXM to verify/set baseline volume level to 30, then tuned to FM and verify/set volume to 30, waited a few seconds, then tuned back to SXM and checked its volume--it is still at 30 and yet according to my ears the dB output on SXM seems to sound a bit louder compared to the FM channel I was tuned into just a moment ago.

Anyways my point was that for any fixed volume knob value (e.g., 30), the dB output does not seem to be level across all sources. It would be nice if there was an option to normalize volume output across all sources; kinda frustrating that setting the volume to 40 on SXM returns a relatively louder output compared to that of CarPlay when its volume is set to the same exact knob value.
 

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Not trying to say that you didn't observe that behavior in your EV6, but FWIW I tried it on mine--tuned to SXM to verify/set baseline volume level to 30, then tuned to FM and verify/set volume to 30, waited a few seconds, then tuned back to SXM and checked its volume--it is still at 30 and yet according to my ears the dB output on SXM seems to sound a bit louder compared to the FM channel I was tuned into just a moment ago.
Oh, it's definitely interesting that you observe some additional variability above and beyond what I'm talking about!

On the other hand, if they think you want a different volume for every source anyway, why bother normalizing the scale across sources?
 
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