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#218151 - 2014-08-03 00:24 Meridian vs...
Registered: 2004-01-20
Posts: 701
Chris G Offline
Paranoid android
Chris G Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2004-01-20
Posts: 701
Loc: Newbury, UK
I've been out on a listening spree today taking in the likes of Audi/Bose, Audi/B&O, Lexus, Jaguar/B&W and Land Rover/Meridian. Here are my notes from the day.

In all cases, I started off by ensuring that all tone controls were set to their default mid position. My test music was a CD of tracks including London Grammar, Katy B, James Blake, Daft Punk and several others covering music from the bass heavy electronic to acoustic vocal.

I should note that my hearing appears to be hypersensitive to 2-4kHz since taking some medication recently. However, it isn't very noticeable in the home environment, but the highly reflective and small car environment seems to amplify the effect.

Audi A5 2014 B&O.
Good extension 30/35Hz maybe, fairly taut bass, a little hump at 50Hz, a touch boomy around 80Hz, decent imaging, soft treble and nice midrange. A little forward in the upper mids. DSP set to driver sounded best for imaging and most natural in general. Some door panel vibration under heavy bass at high volumes (approaching 30). Seemed a little edgy in the upper mids at higher volumes although that might be my ears. Bass/treble control only available which can't correct for boom. Not sure if there is a sub or not.

Audi A6 Avant 2014 Bose
No driver position DSP so chose 'front' presentation. Similar bass to B&O although roll off higher at 40Hz maybe. Similar 50Hz hump and a little boomy also. Mids at 1-3kHz more pronounced. Want to reduce volume more than B&O. Good treble but not quite as refined. Rather than being soft, it sounded roll off at the top and more pronounced lower down (10kHz maybe). Not as refined overall.

The offerings from Audi are average, like going to Richer Sounds and buying low end hifi. I wasn't impressed.

Lexus GS450h 2011
Standard 10spk audio
I was hoping to hear the Mark Levison offering but the car only had the standard Lexus 10 speaker system. I was pleasantly surprised. Strong bass, deep and taut, excellent authority. Extension easily into the mid 30s but it was actually too strong compared to the rest of the audio spectrum. It wasn't boomy, just louder than it should have been. Sitting stationary, -2 notches on bass sounded more natural. Upper mids a little pronounced but ok for me. Soft refined treble. No rattle from doors or panels during heavy bass tracks although interestingly, the rear-view mirror was vibrating heavily, moving the mirror image visibly and making a rattling noise. An easy fix probably. To my surprise, the standard system has a centre speaker making the imaging pretty good. On the road it sounded bass heavy at the mid position, reducing bass to -1 helped, -2 was too weak. It sounded a little incoherent though; there wasn't a gel between the sub/bass, midrange and treble, like there was a hole between the sub/bass and the rest of the spectrum. Very pleasant to listen to and the car was so quiet on the road. I was seriously impressed.

I then listened to an IS300h Mark Levinson premium surround. Overall it sounded quite similar to the GS standard system but the imaging was terrible (sounded like a phase issue) and the upper mids were hurting my ears. I preferred the GS standard although I'm going to see another GS450h with the ML system to see what its like.

Freelander 2 2014 Meridian 825w
I checked out the Meridian setting, DPL2 and DTS Neo and the M setting was obviously the best. Bass was deep and taut. Extension to the mid 30s. No boom or humps. Mids beautiful. Upper mids a touch forward compared to what I'm used to with the 5Ks at home. Treble soft and delicate and good level of detail. Not as lush as the 5Ks though. The image was central until lower vocal registers when it shifted to the speaker door a touch. I also heard way to much from the surround speakers so I experimented with adjusting the fader and settled on 3 forward. This worked wonders for vocals creating a much more stable image in front of me but did rob the system of power overall for more bass heavy tracks. Some door panel vibration at really high volumes. Not sure I'd buy one as didn't sound as close to home as I'd hoped, although I think a lot of that was to do with the Freelander cabin, it's pretty big and sounded a little echoey.

Jaguar XF 2010 B&W
Out of DSP modes stereo, 3 ch and DPL2, 3 ch mode produced the most natural sound and the best image. With the tone controls centered, bass rolled off at ~40Hz, hump at 50-60Hz. Adjusting sub to max helped extension to mid 30s. Mids very good. Treble soft and delicate. Some upper mid forwardness, not as prominent as the B&O. Cabin muuuuuch nicer than freelander, no echo. Goes way louder than any of the others before it sounded strained. No rattles anywhere. Best results were bass -2 sub +8. Bass now down to 30Hz but perhaps a little hump at 100Hz. No combination could produce even bass. Pl2 mode just awful.

My order of preference:

1. Jaguar XF B&W
1. Lexus GS450h Standard
3. Land Rover Freelander Meridian 825w
4. Audi A5 B&O
5. Audi A6 Bose

The Jag and Lexus (more so) were both surprises and although they were different, I couldn't decide which I thought was best. The Jag/B&W's strengths was solid imaging and highly commendable overall sound quality, especially at high volumes. It's weakness was uneven bass response and I had to choose either extension with a 100Hz hump or a more even response but settle for 40Hz extension. The Lexus/Standard's strengths was nice even bass response, excellent imaging and a very easy listen overall but its weakness was a perceived lack of cohesion on the road.

I wasn't expecting them to beat M. I suspect that M in an Evoque would win hands down, though. I still have one more car to audition which is the GS450h with ML installed.


Chris
Living Rm: 568.2 | 2xDSP3100
  AV Room: G61R | 4xD5K | D5KC | USC15 - iNuke6K | 2xEarthquake MQB-1 | JVC HD350 & React3 2.35:1
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#218160 - 2014-08-03 04:55 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Chris G]
Registered: 2009-03-05
Posts: 421
Akimo Offline
Paranoid android
Akimo Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2009-03-05
Posts: 421
Loc: San Jose, California, USA
Thanks. A fun read.

I can't comment on any of the others, but we've had two cars with Bose audio systems, and your comment about "Want to reduce volume . . ." really comes home.

Both systems are grating at mid-volumes. I'm always finding myself toggling between loud enough to hear what's going on, and quiet enough to not hurt.

Both have super harsh mid-ranges, and worse trebles.

It strikes me that the factory stereo in my cheap Toyota pickup is easier to listen to than the Bose systems in our Acura and Porsche. There's something screwy with that.


Living room: 818v3, Audio Research VS 110, Maggie 1.6, REL sub
A/V room: 861v8, DSP7200SE L/R/C, 4x DSP320 surrounds, ID41 + Roon, UHD722, Prime+PS
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#218183 - 2014-08-03 16:34 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Akimo]
Registered: 2010-08-24
Posts: 598
Rolski Offline
Paranoid android
Rolski Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2010-08-24
Posts: 598
Loc: Cologne, DE & Cheltenham, UK.
Also an interesting read for those of us in the Automotive industry....
As people seem to make their car purchase decisions on the quality of the InCarEntertainment, I think I'll take 99.995% of my working day off in future ! wink


Meridian : 861v8 + ID41 + UHD722 + 218 + 251, 2*SE-update DSP8.2K's, SE-update DSP7200HC. Roon + i7 NUC.
TAG McLaren : DVD32R-PSM192, T32R+DAB, 100x5R:10. B&W : 4*SCMS. Logitech : Squeezebox Touches & Duets.
Sim2 HT380 DLP, Panasonic TX-P60ZT60E, SKY HD+, SlingBox HD Pro, Lumagen Radiance Pro, Oppo BDP-103EU.
Edited by Rolski; 2014-08-03 16:35. Edit Reason: Legibility.
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#218199 - 2014-08-03 18:37 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Rolski]
Registered: 2004-01-20
Posts: 701
Chris G Offline
Paranoid android
Chris G Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2004-01-20
Posts: 701
Loc: Newbury, UK
In the past, I've bought cars that I liked the look of or the way it performed or for certain features like heated seats/nav/bluetooth. My current car met all criteria but I forgot to check the audio system and it has such a bad stock system. I've also tried aftermarket DIY and professional solutions but they aren't great either. Nor does it seem sensible to spend 3k on an aftermarket installation that I'll never see a penny of at resale time.

I'm not sure what your point is but I guess we all have our priorities.


Chris
Living Rm: 568.2 | 2xDSP3100
  AV Room: G61R | 4xD5K | D5KC | USC15 - iNuke6K | 2xEarthquake MQB-1 | JVC HD350 & React3 2.35:1
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#218211 - 2014-08-03 22:55 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Chris G]
Registered: 2010-08-24
Posts: 598
Rolski Offline
Paranoid android
Rolski Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2010-08-24
Posts: 598
Loc: Cologne, DE & Cheltenham, UK.
No worries, my point is meant as tongue-in-cheek (and as food for thought for some) : I'm one of the people that's involved in the (sometimes) billions of $$$$'s that it can cost to develop new cars, and we spend most of our working day on balancing safety / performance / economy / emissions / noise & vibration / handling / interior space & usability / durability / serviceability / etc. etc. etc, while also trying to fulfil the myriad new legislative actions that may or may not come to pass, and attempting to keep costs down... but all people really want is a decent "stereo"... Smiley face... grin


Meridian : 861v8 + ID41 + UHD722 + 218 + 251, 2*SE-update DSP8.2K's, SE-update DSP7200HC. Roon + i7 NUC.
TAG McLaren : DVD32R-PSM192, T32R+DAB, 100x5R:10. B&W : 4*SCMS. Logitech : Squeezebox Touches & Duets.
Sim2 HT380 DLP, Panasonic TX-P60ZT60E, SKY HD+, SlingBox HD Pro, Lumagen Radiance Pro, Oppo BDP-103EU.
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#218212 - 2014-08-03 22:58 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Rolski]
Registered: 2004-01-20
Posts: 701
Chris G Offline
Paranoid android
Chris G Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2004-01-20
Posts: 701
Loc: Newbury, UK
That made me smile smile


Chris
Living Rm: 568.2 | 2xDSP3100
  AV Room: G61R | 4xD5K | D5KC | USC15 - iNuke6K | 2xEarthquake MQB-1 | JVC HD350 & React3 2.35:1
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#218262 - 2014-08-04 21:07 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Rolski]
Registered: 2007-11-03
Posts: 502
Dollar2 Offline
Paranoid android
Dollar2 Offline
Paranoid android

Registered: 2007-11-03
Posts: 502
Loc: Durham, CT, USA
Originally Posted By: Rolski
<snip>... but all people really want is a decent "stereo"... Smiley face... grin


Guilty as charged. smile


Regards,
Bill

Sys 1: AC200, (2) DSP3200s, (4) P320is
Sys 2: 861v8+ID41, 218, (2) DSP8KSEs, DSP7200VCSE, (2) DSP5200s, Marantz UD9004, (2) JL Audio F113s,
Sys 3: 861v4+ID40, (2) DSP5200s, DSP5200HC
Sys 4: Prime HPA+PS, Focal Utopia
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#218265 - 2014-08-04 22:34 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Dollar2]
Registered: 2006-11-08
Posts: 3,994
dpstjp Offline
Vogon Civil Servant
dpstjp Offline
Vogon Civil Servant

Registered: 2006-11-08
Posts: 3,994
Loc: London, England
Not guilty.

My moke has no stereo (or heater, for that matter).

Mere fripperies, I tell you... grin


Sooloos, Roon, G series (with LPS upgrade), 800 series (with LPS upgrade), HD621, AC200, Prime and PS, DSPs old and new.

Purdeys, Moke, Leica, 'Blad. Only the best.
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#218266 - 2014-08-04 22:36 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: dpstjp]
Registered: 2001-01-08
Posts: 4,122
Ronnie Offline
Vogon Civil Servant
Ronnie Offline
Vogon Civil Servant

Registered: 2001-01-08
Posts: 4,122
Loc: UK
Yes... and you walked Uphill to get to School... both ways wink


-
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#218267 - 2014-08-04 22:52 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Ronnie]
Registered: 2011-08-22
Posts: 1,571
Not'arf Offline
Working on the ultimate question
Not'arf Offline
Working on the ultimate question

Registered: 2011-08-22
Posts: 1,571
Loc: Abruzzo, Italy
The stereo would come a long way down my list of desirable features in a car.


Audio: MC200, G61R SL, HD621, DSP5500, 5500HC, DSP3100. Subs: 2 x REL Gibraltar 2.
Video: JVC X70, Black Diamond Zero Edge screen 129"(2.35).

Meridian owner since 1998
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#218273 - 2014-08-05 00:57 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Not'arf]
Registered: 2011-02-02
Posts: 2,236
Hector Offline
Senior Shouting Officer
Hector Offline
Senior Shouting Officer

Registered: 2011-02-02
Posts: 2,236
Loc: Midlands, UK
+1
Mine has reputedly the worst system ever provided, but would only be a distraction if I turned it on.
Driving quickly is a totally separate experience. Forget the Stig unless you are really talented.
Hector


AV: Thorens TD160B, SME, ShureV15MK2, 500, 598, 861v4, DSP7200.1LR, DSP3300HC Samsung UE55, SkyHD.
DINING: MS600, AC200, DSP5200SLLR.
STUDY 504, SB Touch, 2x MD600, C15, 808.6, 5200SE, Mac & PC, Explorer v1, Prime+PS Grado GS1000i
HORIZONTAL: M80, MS200, Red Rose Spirit + Sonus Faber Toys
A capella to Zydeco
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#218277 - 2014-08-05 01:12 Re: Meridian vs... [Re: Hector]
Registered: 2001-08-11
Posts: 1,712
MalcolmW Offline
Knows where his towel is
MalcolmW Offline
Knows where his towel is

Registered: 2001-08-11
Posts: 1,712
Loc: Hampshire/Wiltshire Borders, U...
This whole thing about car hi-fi and electronic systems is getting to the point where some people forget that IT'S A CAR.

On the USA Range Rover owners' site there are a lot of people slagging off JLR for not having touch screen displays with the speed and functionality of Apple iPads!

When Apple make a system that can drive over "impossible" landscapes and doesn't drain the battery after a firmware update I will be more impressed.


Malcolm
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