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Hi everyone,

I am new to this board and this is my first post. I am waiting for my MDX Touring to come in and I have a couple of questions for all you guys.

First of all I have read the posts about poor audio performance in the MDX. Is the sound simply bad, or just not up to snuff for a Luxury vehicle?

Second, does the speaker upgrades mentioned with the Bose stereo make the sound good, or is it still bad, but just better?

Lastly, does anyone regret thier descision to buy the MDX over ones like the X5, that it sounds like has a great stereo. Is the over all quality and enjoyment of the MDX high?

Thank you for any advise you can give me.

Kevin Klug
Colorado Springs, CO
Meisa Beige Touring due April 24th
 

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Kevin....

Welcome to the site!

First of all, despite my decision to upgrade the speakers, I have absolutely no regrets about purchasing this AWESOME vehicle. Once you get your 'X and spend time listening to the audio system, you'll know what to do. I've read plenty of posts that mentioned how folks absolutely LOVE the BOSE system and can't imagine why anyone would have an issue with it's sound performance.

I found my decision to go with the Infinity speakers made the sound 100% better, but, everyone's "ear" is different.
 

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Kevin--
Welcome to the forum! I've had my touring MDX for three weeks now, and the sound is not fantastic, but it's by no means bad. No one who's ridden with me has complained. It's certainly listenable, I just wished it was better. And now it is. Following the advice and the pictures found on this site, I upgraded my front & rear speakers yesterday. I haven't done much driving yet with the new speakers, just sitting in my garage listening, but the sound is much improved -- the highs are crisper, and the overall sound is less muddy, and it only cost about $170.

I've never been in the X5 -- I thought it was too expensive for its size, and too common here in SoCal -- but judging from the sound on my wife's 528i, the BMW probably has a superior stereo. But I wouldn't buy a car based just on the stereo. I love my MDX for everything else it has, and I don't regret buying it at all. If you find the sound really bothers you, you can always take the money you're saving not buying the X5 and put it towards a more serious upgrade (new amps, new speakers, new sub, etc.) :)

Hope this helps!

Jon
 

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welcome!!! first off the audio system is "not that bad" but for a vehicle considered as a "Luxury SUV" its under par... it is one of those factors that i decided to purchase a base premium instead of a touring co'z i know i will upgrade my system. as for the bm x5, yup it has a better audio system but still you can't match a aftermarket system install. in terms which is better...i would say the MDX is better than the x5. check out the 2002 Consumer reports and check the reliability of the x5 it was rated poorly...

again, welcome to the family....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks

Thanks for the advice.

That is all prety much what I figured, but I wanted to make sure everyone was happy with the overall quality of the MDX and that the simple speaker upgrades would make the stereo sound at least good. I have been very impressed with what I have read about the MDX, and the test drive I did, but a test drive is no real comparison.

Thanks again,

Kevin Klug
 

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For a little bit more...

Acura could have/should have done MUCH better.

I don't know why you can get some pretty decent speakers on even low end Fords & VWs but Acura takes the crap that Bose throws at 'em...

Granted, the $170 per vehicle that the Infinity speakers would cost will not boost anything into "rivals Carnegie Hall" territory, but it is SAD that Bose Corp is taking a healthy chunk of the upcharge for the Touring Pkg, and giving VERY little additional perfromance compared to the "standard" audio...
 

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One of the reasons I bought the Base model instead of the Touring was because I didn't think the Bose system sounded a bit better than the base system (Bose always seems [to me] to be about hype, not substance!). If anything, it sounded less realistic on music that I know well, since I recorded it (live). No, the base system won't blast you out of the car or shatter your windows, nor will it impress the boom-boom-boomers -- but it sounds quite accurate at normal levels with well-recorded material. Wanna crank up the bass and treble? That's not accuracy. Leave the bass and treble controls at their center detents, and it sounds like music.
 

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frostyra said:
One of the reasons I bought the Base model instead of the Touring was because I didn't think the Bose system sounded a bit better than the base system (Bose always seems [to me] to be about hype, not substance!). If anything, it sounded less realistic on music that I know well, since I recorded it (live). ...
BINGO!

I don't know what has happened to Bose "the company" and Bose "the marketing MACHINE" or even Dr. Amar Bose "the now fabulously wealthy professor", but SOMEWHERE those three parts seem to have taken different paths...

There are MANY examples of Bose products that sound OK, but NONE represent anything that is even remotely like a "good value". Given the ENORMOUS success of many of Bose "the company" /products, you'd think that they might actually deliver SOMETHING for the extra cash -- in the case of the MDX (and most other vehicles) it just ain't so.
 

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Bose Blose

The Bose "premium" sound system is an all-too-audible exception to the superb engineering and craftmanship of the MDX. Does it sound "bad" on an absolute basis? No. But there ain't nothin' "premium" about the sound being pumped through the speakers. The "base" sound system from Harmon-Kardon on my '99 Discovery was unquestionably better, though I love the convenience of the 6 CD in-dash changer on the MDX.

First, a point of reference: I have a truly high-end system at home, with no tone controls whatsoever, so my ears are accustomed to listening to music "flat" -- no boost in the bass or treble. And for the most part, that's how I listened to music in my Discovery, as well.

However, with the Bose system, the treble sounds rolled off unless I keep it cranked to the maximum setting all the time, and the quality of the bass (which I keep pretty close to the center setting) is flabby, ill-defined and boomy. The Bose subwoofer is just plain terrible.

In the car, I like to adjust the fader so that I have a sense of being in the center of the soundfield. It was a snap in my Discovery, but seemingly impossible in the MDX. Either the sound is in front of me, or behind me--when I do manage to float it in the center, the sound sounds pretty lifeless.

Perhaps switching the speakers as I've read about here will help.
 

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I've been following car audio for about 17 years now, about half my life. Sound quality is so important to me that when I was a poor college student, my sound systems always cost more than my cars (between $3-5k). When I got a new 99 Eddie Bauer Explorer I said, "hey, this is okay. I don't need to do anything." When we got my wife's RX300 with the standard Lexus sound system, I was fairly impressed with the definition, and could tell by the directly cross-firing, forward corner mounted tweeters that they knew what they were doing. Then the MDX Bose system. Driving home on that first day of ownership was a real drag. I knew something was wrong and found the culprits as soon as I pulled the tweeter pods and speaker grills. The factory service manual I received shortly thereafter confirmed my guess that the front component speakers weren't even directed with a crossover, just a little capacitor hot-glued to the tweeter, and the rear paper cone speakers don't even have tweeters. I don't suggest you go my route of bypassing the amps to install after-market amps to power premium drivers and crossovers unless you are a real sound nut, in which case, you'd already know what to do.

My suggestion for Bose or soon to be Bose owners:
Upgrade only the speakers. With serious speakers. I just don't see too many of the generic Infinity's (which everyone seems to talk about on these boards, but not autosound boards) in sound quality competitions, or even in car audio journal write-ups.

Low-end: Soundstream 6 1/2 compononet speakers in 2 ohm (Bose amps in this vehicle is tuned for 2 ohm operation), about $250, yes this is low end.

High-end: MB Quart mid-level, Boston Acoustic Pros top-model, and Polk Audio premium. Retail prices are $400-550/ pair for these, but nobody complains about the cost after they hear them installed. These are standard 4 ohm models, so you'll need to crank it to near max to hear it as you would at about 1/2 volume in the OEM configuration. MB Quarts have a slightly better sound reputation than BA, but their dimensions are better suited to Euro vehicles, and the BA seems to fit Japanese cars better. I have no experience with Polks, but they come in about 3rd place over the last couple of decades (in my opinion).

If you don't plan to ever amp-up, I would go with the Soundstream 2 0hms as they are both lower priced and sound better than the premium speakers, if the amps are not replaced. They are hard to find and the company actually ceased production for a while because they were bought out late in 2001. They have relocated and are back in business, check their website to contact a local dealer and to familiarize yourself with their 2 ohm line-up before you go shopping in person or on the net. I have a few pairs of these and they sound very good, but the materials are not as of high quality as in the models costing twice as much, naturally.

If you think there is even a small chance that you would be willing to add an amp under the front driver's seat, and have the factory amps delicately and tediously bypassed, you can enjoy the premium speakers for now and upgrade the amp later for a completely refined system.

In either case, you will at least have the benefit of a real passive crossover controlling frequencies to the front component drivers and true component rear speakers.

For fear of revealing my obsession, I don't ever discuss my sound system with friends and family that I drive with, unless I am asked about it first. People who don't know about Bose systems just assume this is the way it should sound in an Acura. Friends that have Acura Bose systems (TL and RSX-S) have questions for me, "Isn't this a Bose stereo like the one in my car? How come it sounds more clear," or something similar. No to brag, but this is how I have confidence that the changes are actually noticeable to the average person, who have no particular reason to be drawn to the audio system.

Conclusion: if you going to go through the hassle of upgrading the speakers, go all the way and get something good (not Infinity, my humble o.). If the bucks are too much, hunt down the 2 ohm Soundstreams. If you don't know what you are doing, pick the speakers yourself and have an installer do the work for you.
 
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