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Disappointed with Harmon Kardon sound

Dave_Drums

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Just traded my 2016 Escalade Platinum on a 2020 Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel. I knew I’d be giving up some creature comforts like massaging seats, electric cooler in center console, rear seat media, ride quality to a certain degree, etc. I DID NOT expect to take a massive step back in sound quality from the Bose in the Escalade to the 19 speaker Harmon Kardon system. This came with my limited but if I bought a different trim level and paid for it I would be pissed. I run a recording studio and record label on the side so I know sound, how to tweak, etc.

new to the forum and it’s my first post so don’t grill me since I’m learning to search here but anyone else feel the same? It sounds the same, maybe worse, than the 2019 Big shorn I rented with the 8.4” screen two years ago when I started thinking about getting a Ram. That rental set the bar...
 

bill-e

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So while I'm not an audiophile and I find the sound adequate, I have to agree that I was expecting something more from all the hype. Having said that, even with all the complaints here about the 12" Uconnect I'm really enjoying it, especially the ability to have custom Pandora radio stations.

And by the way, not to pour salt on the wounds ;) but you did pay for it in the ~ $3000 Limited Level 1 equipment group.
 
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Dave_Drums

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So while I'm not an audiophile and I find the sound adequate, I have to agree that I was expecting something more from all the hype. Having said that, even with all the complaints here about the 21" Uconnect I'm really enjoying it, especially the ability to have custom Pandora radio stations.

And by the way, not to pour salt on the wounds ;) but you did pay for it in the ~ $3000 Limited Level 1 equipment group.
True, I actually got everything on mine so it was in the Level 1 or the Black Appearance group. And I think you described it right, adequate. Was hoping it would be on par with the Bose but guess it’s destined for a good ole JL Audio enhancement
 

RJS

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Look for member "sonnie" he has several posts and seems quite knowledgeable about upgrading the HK system.
 

bill-e

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I had the 9 speaker Alpine system with 8,4 radio in my last RAM and it was good but the HK is better to my ears.
 

SpeedyV

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Just traded my 2016 Escalade Platinum on a 2020 Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel. I knew I’d be giving up some creature comforts like massaging seats, electric cooler in center console, rear seat media, ride quality to a certain degree, etc. I DID NOT expect to take a massive step back in sound quality from the Bose in the Escalade to the 19 speaker Harmon Kardon system. This came with my limited but if I bought a different trim level and paid for it I would be pissed. I run a recording studio and record label on the side so I know sound, how to tweak, etc.

new to the forum and it’s my first post so don’t grill me since I’m learning to search here but anyone else feel the same? It sounds the same, maybe worse, than the 2019 Big shorn I rented with the 8.4” screen two years ago when I started thinking about getting a Ram. That rental set the bar...
I wouldn’t think this should be the case on a 2020, unless it was manufactured quite a while back, but there was an amplifier enhancement TSB for the early H/K systems (like my 2019) that really woke it up.

Also, I’ve never had a vehicle with a “high end” factory system but nothing more than a 3-band EQ to tune it...and which requires such bizarre settings (-5, -2, 2 in my case) to achieve a pseudo-normal sound profile.

Aa others have written, there’s been a lot of good insight shared on these forums about aftermarket speaker selection and tuning.
 

HeliPilot

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Seems there is still quite a bit of inconsistency from the HK system/amps. My HK is way better than any bose system I had in my GM products. Maybe its because I daily drive trucks almost exclusively (Redeye Challenger being an exception, which also has the HK) Pickup trucks acoustics are entirely different than acoustics found in SUV's. The HK in my Limited is the best sounding factory truck I've ever owned, and is actually better than the HK in my Challenger. Bass in the car is too overwhelming.
 

Dave_Drums

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I wouldn’t think this should be the case on a 2020, unless it was manufactured quite a while back, but there was an amplifier enhancement TSB for the early H/K systems (like my 2019) that really woke it up.

Also, I’ve never had a vehicle with a “high end” factory system but nothing more than a 3-band EQ to tune it...and which requires such bizarre settings (-5, -2, 2 in my case) to achieve a pseudo-normal sound profile.

Aa others have written, there’s been a lot of good insight shared on these forums about aftermarket speaker selection and tuning.
I’ll have to look at that TSB but think I’ll be dumping some cash into an upgrade. And all that tech with the most simple 3 band EQ... SMH
 

Dave_Drums

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Seems there is still quite a bit of inconsistency from the HK system/amps. My HK is way better than any bose system I had in my GM products. Maybe its because I daily drive trucks almost exclusively (Redeye Challenger being an exception, which also has the HK) Pickup trucks acoustics are entirely different than acoustics found in SUV's. The HK in my Limited is the best sounding factory truck I've ever owned, and is actually better than the HK in my Challenger. Bass in the car is too overwhelming.
Wet good point on acoustics. I feel like there’s a ton of mid bass that’s in between the frequencies and then the highs either scream or dull too much. Can’t find an even balance
 

Buz

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I felt the same way and did a ton of research on this 19 speaker HK system.
Here's how to get the best sound from it. It actually sounds pretty good when you do this.
You have to do four things.
-Center the fade/balance
-Enable Surround Sound
-Set the EQ as follows: Bass -6, Mid -2, Treble +2 to +4 (depending on your preference for highs)
-Plug music source into a USB (bluetooth compresses sound)

Once you do this it sounds pretty damn good when you get the volume above 25. I can sometimes hit the volume at 35 (almost max) and it's really nice and clean.

This is the best (cleanest) you're going to get it to sound without modifications.
Hope this helps.
 
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river rat

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I seldom turn mine past 14, guess my ears are used to listening to the v10 in my other car.
 

2020Ramses

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I love my HK system. I sell Volvos that have $4,000 Bowers & Wilkins systems and they HK in my Ram blows them out of the water it's not even close. I do wish they gave the EcoDiesel the same sound dampening / cancellation feature the gas had.

Wait a minute I just had a thought, If you guys are running the Hemi with the sound dampening / cancellation feature the "negative" sound comes from the speakers. Maybe doing that on top of the music is having an effect on your overall sound?
 

drkidwell1524

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I only have the 9 speaker Apline w12" display but maybe try this. In the Audio settings, Turn OFF the surround sound option. This makes a world of difference when adjusting the Equilizer.


Just traded my 2016 Escalade Platinum on a 2020 Ram 1500 Limited EcoDiesel. I knew I’d be giving up some creature comforts like massaging seats, electric cooler in center console, rear seat media, ride quality to a certain degree, etc. I DID NOT expect to take a massive step back in sound quality from the Bose in the Escalade to the 19 speaker Harmon Kardon system. This came with my limited but if I bought a different trim level and paid for it I would be pissed. I run a recording studio and record label on the side so I know sound, how to tweak, etc.

new to the forum and it’s my first post so don’t grill me since I’m learning to search here but anyone else feel the same? It sounds the same, maybe worse, than the 2019 Big shorn I rented with the 8.4” screen two years ago when I started thinking about getting a Ram. That rental set the bar...
 

Ramtrx

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Chrysler/ram stereos suck. Every ram I’ve had i install my own speakers and amps. Beyond subpar, it’s sad.
 

Burnzie

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Personally I like mine, almost as good as the Beats System in the wife's Charger.
 

iLikeTurtles

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The TSB made a world of difference for mine when i picked it up, but only listened to the before for magbe 15 or 20 minutes.
 

Buz

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As stated earlier, I have found the absolute sweet spot for the HK system in our trucks is when the volume is in the 20-25 neighborhood and you do the following:
-Center the fade/balance
-Enable Surround Sound
-Set the EQ roughly as follows: Bass -6, Mid -2, Treble +2 to +4 (depending on your preference for highs)
-Plug music source into a USB (bluetooth compresses sound)

It really is a decent system at these settings unless the actual recording you're playing sucks.
 

SpeedyV

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As stated earlier, I have found the absolute sweet spot for the HK system in our trucks is when the volume is in the 20-25 neighborhood and you do the following:
-Center the fade/balance
-Enable Surround Sound
-Set the EQ roughly as follows: Bass -6, Mid -2, Treble +2 to +4 (depending on your preference for highs)
-Plug music source into a USB (bluetooth compresses sound)

It really is a decent system at these settings unless the actual recording you're playing sucks.
That volume level can be a little hard to sustain (for my ears, not the truck) :)
 

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