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Had the chance to listen to the standard sound system and the Meridian system one after the other today. And I’m not impressed with the Meridian system. The Meridian system is only marginal better sounding and in my opinion not worth the extra money. So no sound system upgrade for me.
 

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Not an option in that sense in the UK. Buy the GT-Line and you don’t get it, buy the GT-Line S and you get it. The UK, typically, only get a body colour choice. You pick your trim and you get what that includes. Same with my Lexus and Mazda cars although Lexus does, of course, allow for different colour of leather trim and wood finishes.
 

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Had the chance to listen to the standard sound system and the Meridian system one after the other today. And I’m not impressed with the Meridian system. The Meridian system is only marginal better sounding and in my opinion not worth the extra money. So no sound system upgrade for me.
Chris; What was your source for listening?
 

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Someone take this one along for a listen. Warning: Don't do a test drive while listening as you WILL exceed the speed limit. Better sit this one out...
 

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If it's anything like the Harmon/Kardon (AKA Samsung) system in my Optima then you'll need to go into the settings and change some stuff around for it to sound better.

Even so, I've never heard an in car system that actually sounds good. If you're listening over bluetooth then there is absolutely no point in getting the superior sound system option at all, as in-car systems connect using the SBC codec rather than AAC or AptX.
 

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If it's anything like the Harmon/Kardon (AKA Samsung) system in my Optima then you'll need to go into the settings and change some stuff around for it to sound better.

Even so, I've never heard an in car system that actually sounds good. If you're listening over bluetooth then there is absolutely no point in getting the superior sound system option at all, as in-car systems connect using the SBC codec rather than AAC or AptX.
Are we sure that would go for all in car sound systems?
 

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Are we sure that would go for all in car sound systems?
Vehicles are one of the worst environments sonically (stereo imaging is particularly poor when you're stuck in a box) and manufacturers cheap out on them constantly despite the flashy marketing; the brands like "Harmon Kardon", "AKG" and "Bose" are just that; brands. They use generic speaker cones, but more of them, and shove in a more powerful amp. They use the age old trick of using a V profile to boost bass and treble that many people perceive as "quality". I've yet to experiance a car, from a Kia Cee'd to a Range Rover to an F10 M5, that doesn't skew from the default car sound profile: shrill tweeters and almost exclusively woofy bass.

With regards to bluetooth codecs:- SBC is mandatory, AAC is optional, LDAC is Sony proprietary and AptX is Qualcomm proprietary. So, okay, saying every car uses SBC is hyperbole, but just because a car can use AAC doesn't mean the AAC is any good, especially from Android phones where the quality of the AAC can sometimes be worse than SBC (looking at you, Huawei).

Maybe I just have unrealistically high standards; I'm the sort of guy that has a headphone collection.
 

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Wouldn’t the quality be better if you plugged in via cable, rather than using Bluetooth? I can tell the difference when using my headphones via a Bluetooth amp (FIIO X5) and when plugged in directly to the source (iPhone). I’ve also used MP3 player with FLAC files in my Stinger, both Bluetooth and via USB cable and the USB connection sounds better.

With cars being what they are, we just have to enjoy the sound we get from the systems. I’m sure just like home systems, it will cost a lot to get the space right, plus the equipment to get it there. We just tweak to what we like and enjoy what we can get out of the in car system.
 

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Naturally you'll get better sound out of a cable than Bluetooth (and OP said he used a cabled connection with lossless Apple music), but that doesn't change the fact that 99% of the time in car entertainment upgrades aren't worth it. You'll get a subwoofer and some tweeters that bump the speaker count from 6 to 9 (or 10 if you have a dash centre speaker) and not much else, because all an upgrade does is add more of the same speaker with a bigger amp.

This is a Kia, not a McLaren.
 

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One would hope that when you have a Bowers and Wilkins system in your car, they are actually using the speakers they develop. Most systems are really about the amp and DSP, not so much the speakers. I used to change out my speakers and add in an Amp and DSP in the old days but as much as I cycle through cars, I stopped doing that and just go for the higher end system as they sound better than then base system. Typically, I go test driving, get a great offer and trade on the spot, don’t have time to get the system out and the dealer wants to charge me for taking it out or change the deal.

I checked out some Volvo’s with the B&W system, while nice sounding when it being driven, on the road, the road noise tends to be high for that vehicle. The Bang and Olufsen system in the Audi is ok and depending on the source, it might sound shrilly or muddy. I have to admit I don’t plug in much in that car, I just use the Bluetooth. I’ll plug in when I want to listen to music with a better quality sound. I think the DSP manages the Bluetooth sound fairly well so, I’m good.
 

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Right there with you bud! At least the one in my 2019, the 2018 wasn’t great, I think maybe it wasn’t activated correctly. My buddy had the same issue with his and after taking it and mentioning this, when he got it back it could play at full volume. We could max our system volume out and it wouldn’t be as loud as the 2019 at 20. I’m guessing there might be a setting that they have for when the car is test driven and one once it is sold, that never got activated.
 

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Everyone is going to have varying opinions but I would rather have a better sound system than a lesser one myself. I know car systems will never satisfy an audiophile, and will never be "the best" but I still want it to sound "best it can" when I take a long drive or even a short drive. I always have music on. Now since my last 3 cars had CarPlay, I never use Bluetooth myself anymore - only wired CarPlay .. but everyone is unique and will have wide variety of opinions about how good the Meridian 14-speaker system is or isn't. Either way I have to believe it is still better than the standard 6-speaker. Just my opinion though.
 

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Everyone is going to have varying opinions but I would rather have a better sound system than a lesser one myself. I know car systems will never satisfy an audiophile, and will never be "the best" but I still want it to sound "best it can" when I take a long drive or even a short drive. I always have music on. Now since my last 3 cars had CarPlay, I never use Bluetooth myself anymore - only wired CarPlay .. but everyone is unique and will have wide variety of opinions about how good the Meridian 14-speaker system is or isn't. Either way I have to believe it is still better than the standard 6-speaker. Just my opinion though.
I would agree with your thoughts. I've got a so called "premium" Sony system in my 2016 Edge and it suffers from a muddy base and not very distinct highs. I considered replacing the speakers but I thought I would upgrade the small "center" dash speaker with a quality unit and was surprised with the improvement. I also explored the possibilities of using the tonal adjustments available and while not a "world class system" it will do. The B & O system in the Mach-E that I test drove had a pretty nice sound to it when I drove it and I did no system adjustments. I just inserted my USB in and drove on, rock'in down the highway!
 

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Had the chance to listen to the standard sound system and the Meridian system one after the other today. And I’m not impressed with the Meridian system. The Meridian system is only marginal better sounding and in my opinion not worth the extra money. So no sound system upgrade for me.
Very interesting. Can you please elaborate? Would you say the Meridian system is not as good as a premium system should be or maybe the standard system is unusally good?
 

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Had the chance to listen to the standard sound system and the Meridian system one after the other today. And I’m not impressed with the Meridian system. The Meridian system is only marginal better sounding and in my opinion not worth the extra money. So no sound system upgrade for me.
This is really helpful feedback. I might have fallen for all those reviewers who were saying that the Meridian 14 speaker system was great.
 
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