How I improved the B&O sound quality for free

21 antimatter

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Thank you for sharing your engineering expertise!!! The world needs more of this sort of thing.

 
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Hook88

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I am absolutely a supreme novice with stereos but I listened to the B&O system when test driving convertibles and I thought it sounded pretty nice. The bass didn’t seem overpowering in it but I guess that’s because a convertible isn't sealed off like a coupe.

I had a 2017 Mustang convertible with the Shaker system. It had no bass at all! I added a JL Audio powered 10” sub and the system sounds pretty decent. I feel I have to work that sub a little harder than I would like, but overall I was pleased.

I listened to both the B&O and my system back to back with similar settings and the same songs and thought the B&O was a little better.

To put that JL sub I owned in perspective. I had originally purchased it for a 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport. I had the base radio in it which had lots of speakers but little bass. That JL sub was overpowering even turned down.

So same sub, but two cars with very different sound isolation. It just makes me wonder if they tested the B&O sub in a convertible instead of a coupe which is why maybe it’s overbearing.
 

Gregs24

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I am absolutely a supreme novice with stereos but I listened to the B&O system when test driving convertibles and I thought it sounded pretty nice. The bass didn’t seem overpowering in it but I guess that’s because a convertible isn't sealed off like a coupe.

I had a 2017 Mustang convertible with the Shaker system. It had no bass at all! I added a JL Audio powered 10” sub and the system sounds pretty decent. I feel I have to work that sub a little harder than I would like, but overall I was pleased.

I listened to both the B&O and my system back to back with similar settings and the same songs and thought the B&O was a little better.

To put that JL sub I owned in perspective. I had originally purchased it for a 2013 Lexus GS 350 F Sport. I had the base radio in it which had lots of speakers but little bass. That JL sub was overpowering even turned down.

So same sub, but two cars with very different sound isolation. It just makes me wonder if they tested the B&O sub in a convertible instead of a coupe which is why maybe it’s overbearing.
It's the quality of the sub not the signal strength. No matter what you do with the OEM sub it is junk, you only have to look at it !
 

GR1MxREAPER

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Did you ever get to do any testing on your neighbor’s car using the surround mode? I guess I am just confused because by switching that mode it solves 2/3 of the problems it seems.. the center speaker is off or at 10% it’s normal power and the bass seems lighter because all the speakers are “playing together” better lol. Plus using this setting you don’t have to start Macgyvering your wiring lol.. I’m not cutting wires in my 50,000 car haha. I had a 2018 with the shaker and it had no bass and the rest of the system was below average. My 2019 with B&O is outstanding compared to that and a huge upgrade to my buddies Bose in his loaded 2020 Camaro. I know sound is different from person to person but I do believe the surround sound mode makes this system 100% better. Hopefully you get a chance to give it a shot and do a little testing. I do like the poly fil in the sun though as I’ve done that in my house system.
 

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Did you ever get to do any testing on your neighbor’s car using the surround mode? I guess I am just confused because by switching that mode it solves 2/3 of the problems it seems.. the center speaker is off or at 10% it’s normal power and the bass seems lighter because all the speakers are “playing together” better lol. Plus using this setting you don’t have to start Macgyvering your wiring lol.. I’m not cutting wires in my 50,000 car haha. I had a 2018 with the shaker and it had no bass and the rest of the system was below average. My 2019 with B&O is outstanding compared to that and a huge upgrade to my buddies Bose in his loaded 2020 Camaro. I know sound is different from person to person but I do believe the surround sound mode makes this system 100% better. Hopefully you get a chance to give it a shot and do a little testing. I do like the poly fil in the sun though as I’ve done that in my house system.
I am with you as well on using the surround mode with the settings GTP recommended. I have a 2021 Mach 1 and wished there was a way use forscan instead of physically removing the center channel. At some point I will probably extract the pin just to compare.
 


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I find it a bit odd that you guys are saying the B&O sound system has too much bass output. I didn't set up an RTA in my car but I actually have the bass cranked up a bit past center and I still don't feel it. Maybe I was expecting more and maybe it's because I play bass in a rock band through an 800- watt amp and a classic SVT stack (8x10's). Yeah I like bass!

But seriously I'm starting to wonder if some of the parts were left out of my audio system in order to get my car built and delivered. It seems like the sub isn't even working.
 

Gregs24

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I find it a bit odd that you guys are saying the B&O sound system has too much bass output. I didn't set up an RTA in my car but I actually have the bass cranked up a bit past center and I still don't feel it. Maybe I was expecting more and maybe it's because I play bass in a rock band through an 800- watt amp and a classic SVT stack (8x10's). Yeah I like bass!

But seriously I'm starting to wonder if some of the parts were left out of my audio system in order to get my car built and delivered. It seems like the sub isn't even working.
It is a combination of a bass heavy signal and an appalling quality 10" sub. Replacing the sub made a huge difference to me. However there is always the caution that some people just want a lot of mono frequency boom boom sub. I want tuneful, tightly controlled lower frequencies, definitely not boom boom boom.

Simple enough to listen in the boot to hear if the sub is working.
 

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It is a combination of a bass heavy signal and an appalling quality 10" sub. Replacing the sub made a huge difference to me. However there is always the caution that some people just want a lot of mono frequency boom boom sub. I want tuneful, tightly controlled lower frequencies, definitely not boom boom boom.

Simple enough to listen in the boot to hear if the sub is working.
Yeah I'm going to confirm that the sub. is actually working before I do anything else. I've only had the trunk open once.

It's hard to believe you can get much bass out of a single 10" speaker. Then again a car is a pretty small space to fill. I like tight punchy bass too. Not sloppy mud. That's why my bass stage rig uses 8x10's. I tried 4x10's and an 18 (bi-amped of course) in the past but my new setup is much better. The 10s in my new rig are Neos and they're warm and punchy even with a full range signal from the amp, coming from a 5-string bass. It is possible to get more than mud out a 10" speaker but the amp and the speaker(s) have to work together.
 

Some Random Guy

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TLDR takeaways:
  1. The factory set the level of the B&O subwoofer way too high by at least 12dB.
  2. The tonal balance can be adjusted close to flat with somewhat extreme settings of the 3 tone controls.
  3. Imaging is better with the balance 1 click shy of centered on the passenger seat centerline. (For when there is no passenger, and assuming center channel speaker is OFF.)

After much testing and experimenting, I improved the sound of the B&O system just by adjusting the controls.

Here is the final result:
MicPassHeadRestFullRangeMid#4Treble#6SubMinBal0_SeatUpWindowsUpTrunkClosed.png


Even after setting the subwoofer tone control to minimum, and the midrange control up by 4 clicks and the treble up by +5 or +6, the subwoofer level is still too hot by around 6dB.

Here are the settings (the balance is set for driver with no passenger):
20200508_152051.jpg


20200508_152624.jpg


The OmniMic was placed into passenger headrest:
20200508_152859.jpg



I will post supporting data that lead me to this alignment next.
Thank you for doing the work on this. It dramatically improved my listening experience. I had only gone about halfway on the adjustments and was still having horrible bass noise that made some songs unbearable when the mid wasn’t matching it. I thought I was going to need to take it to a shop, but this thread gave me the confidence to min/max it.
 

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Flat Frequency Response

I auditioned the B&O system at a dealer before getting my car. I considered ordering and wanted to know if it was worth the extra $900. At first I concluded that it wasn’t. And my opinion was unchanged until now. The bass was way bloated and I couldn’t seem to turn it down enough. The sound quality was rough, and there was not a good stereo image.

It’s as if some Ford project manager swooped in just before sign-off and exclaimed, “Where’s the bass?! We gotta crank up the bass or no one will like it!” Well, I don’t like artificially bloated bass. Here is the custom target curve for my high-end home system. There is about 2dB gradual emphasis from high to low frequency.

2020-05-08 17_18_29-Dirac Live Calibration Tool (DiracPreset1(EllenTargetTo1300Hz)).png


Regardless I found a nearly fully loaded car and it came with the B&O system. Oh well, I thought, at least it will have a CD player, and subwoofer wiring harness in case I want to replace it. I already knew about snipping the center speaker wire on my 2016 Mustang.

Some of you may have read my thread “Join me in fixing the center speaker issue”. The overall conclusion of that thread (and as confirmed by many others) is that the sound is simply better with NO center speaker playing. And so we have snipped the green wire (positive lead) going to the speaker, near the amp connector.

Which green wire do I snip? I have a 2019 with B&O system

IMG_1825.JPG
 

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GTP

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Ten second mod to improve the sound. Much, much easier than removing speaker panel risking breakage and scratches.
I look at it this way. I know I won't ever want the center speaker playing again, and even a high-end driver put in there won't improve the front stage image.

Furthermore, if I sold the car, I'm actually doing the next owner a favor by not having the center play.
 

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Just removed center speaker from my 2021 Mach1. Sounds much nicer. I slightly lifted the top center of the gauge bezel then removed the top speaker cover. I used a plastic pry tool. Then removed speaker and unplugged it and put it all back. 20 mins.
 
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