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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > AUDIO/VIDEO + BLUETOOTH + Electronics/Alarm/Software > Why does music from Aux cable sound so bad?



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      01-07-2013, 01:33 PM   #23
thecadman99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CombatNinja View Post
Make sure that your device has no EQ active.
+1
If your in-car EQ is set to bland, and your phone has eq, surround, 3d...etc turned on, there will be a lot of difference.
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      01-07-2013, 01:40 PM   #24
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Observations on Aux

I had the Hi Fi system which was pretty marginal and playing anything
through the Aux was tinny and baseless(from HTC). The radio and cd were much better . When I upgraded the rest of the system the aux didn't sound so bad but there is still some degradation. The guys on the audio board always comment that this is a low quality input some say you can improve it by removing a Capacitor that is on the Input line. Also if you consider the amp in a phone which may not be of a very High Quality
added to the low quality Input you arrive at the garbage in garbage heard
situation.
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      01-07-2013, 06:18 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmember343 View Post
I hooked up my iphone 5 to the auxillary port and the music sounds so bland. When I play the same song from a CD, it sounds a lot crisper. Any reason to why this is?
It's normal. Your mp3 files are at best 128 kbs while the CD files are over 900 that is one of the reasons. Secondly, even with a good quality cable, there is still signal loss, compared to the CD where there is none. So look for good quality mp3 files, 128 or 320 kbs and use a short gold plated cable. EQ on iphone should be neutral. On the car stereo bass should not be max and treble on 70-80 %. Hope this helps.
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      01-07-2013, 08:06 PM   #26
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Don't think anyone has mentioned the Aux volume setting on your head unit. If it's set at max, as mine was, it will sound horrible. I turned it down to mid point and set my iPad volume to max volume. Sounds great now.
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      01-09-2013, 08:49 PM   #27
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When will bmw come out with an iphone 5 y-cable. That would negate this issue tremendously
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      01-09-2013, 10:00 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonitm View Post
It's normal. Your mp3 files are at best 128 kbs while the CD files are over 900 that is one of the reasons. Secondly, even with a good quality cable, there is still signal loss, compared to the CD where there is none. So look for good quality mp3 files, 128 or 320 kbs and use a short gold plated cable. EQ on iphone should be neutral. On the car stereo bass should not be max and treble on 70-80 %. Hope this helps.
If you're actually playing 128kb CBR MP3s, that's certainly going to be a major source of quality degradation compared to a CD, but it's pretty unlikely to be the case these days. If you bought the songs from iTunes or ripped them using iTunes, you're talking about higher bitrate AAC, which is going to sound much much better. If you're pirating music, there's no way you're getting less than high quality VBR or 320kbps CBR MP3s, which will sound grate. Unless you're using gnutella or something, but then, come on. If you're using modern music streaming services like Rdio or pandora, if you've got the quality set to high, you're talking about 192kbps AAC, which will sound great.

The cable won't make much difference, as long as you're not using some 15 year old, internally fraying POS. The gold plating won't make a difference in sound quality unless the connection has been sitting there plugged in for months or years, either: gold has far worse conductivity than copper, and only slightly better than aluminum. The point of gold is to prevent corrosion, it's highly non-reactive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M0.92 View Post
Don't think anyone has mentioned the Aux volume setting on your head unit. If it's set at max, as mine was, it will sound horrible. I turned it down to mid point and set my iPad volume to max volume. Sounds great now.
You're right but then simultaneously wrong. Almost no device is designed to be cranked all the way up without distortion - you always over-design your output power stage so that, in the case of a file that's encoded slightly softer, you can still recover what you think is a normal volume. For properly mastered music, the top few percent of volume range on a device will be overdriving the output and distorting things.

In fact, this is the exact reason the input volume control exists on the headunit. Obviously, you could just turn up the main volume a little. But if you have a quiet MP3 player or other device, the idea is that you set the input volume appropriately to get the same volume when you switch back and forth to radio or CD.

Suffice it to say, cranking the input volume all the way up is usually bad, cranking the main volume all the way up is usually bad, and cranking the iPhone/iPod volume all the way up is always bad (leave it one or two notches down, and just turn the input or main up a tiny bit to compensate). That said, the output of at least the iPhone 5 is better than it used to be. If you don't have a keen ear, you MIGHT not notice the distortion on the top notch. But if you wait for the song to get loud, it's there and you'll notice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wrose100 View Post
When will bmw come out with an iphone 5 y-cable. That would negate this issue tremendously
it's actually pretty irrelevant. The lightning to 30pin cable plus the current Y cable is exactly what a lightning Y cable will be, just all integrated and wildly more expensive from BMW. As it stands, the 30 pin adapter not only bypasses the internal output amplifier of the phone, but also the DAC - it includes its own in the 30pin housing. So the adapter DAC feeds a built-in preamp which then sends a line out to the Y cable and head unit.

All in all, the most likely source of a noticeable quality difference between the CD and Y cable/aux in is in the analog input stage of the aux in path itself. Seems they may have simply done a better job in the headunit of signal conditioning from the CD player DAC. Or perhaps the DAC they used on the CD player is better than that in the iPhone and in my case lightning adapter.

All that said, I definitely notice a subtle difference between the CD deck and the same song played from my iPhone via Rdio through the adapter and Y cable and aux in.

I'll have to dig more.
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      01-09-2013, 10:03 PM   #29
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I know exactly what you are talking about with the CD's sounding better. I've recently just been making mp3 cd's cause the sound is much better. I noticed the sound not being so great on my 4th gen ipod touch, like horrible compared to actually having the oem connection. My samsung galaxy s sounds way better than the ipod touch. For some reason I think its just the apple products that dont do well with aux cause they want you to buy oem option.
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      01-09-2013, 10:40 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M0.92
Don't think anyone has mentioned the Aux volume setting on your head unit. If it's set at max, as mine was, it will sound horrible. I turned it down to mid point and set my iPad volume to max volume. Sounds great now.
This for sure... Make sure to set the level at the midpoint. I had lots of distortion in turning that up. Also you need to use a line out aux instead of the headphone jack. If you do these 2 things then your music will sound as good as the format/bitrate ripped. Doing this and playing ALAC files will equal CD quality. Really anything better than 128k MP3 will be good.
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      01-09-2013, 11:02 PM   #31
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My AUX cord makes my ipod sound AMAZING, Logic 7 audio FOR THE F#CKING WIN!

Just gotta turn the ipod to 100% volume.
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      01-09-2013, 11:16 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmember343 View Post
I hooked up my iphone 5 to the auxillary port and the music sounds so bland. When I play the same song from a CD, it sounds a lot crisper. Any reason to why this is?

I have a Galaxy (which is a wayyy better phone, but we'll save that for another thread) and I use Pandora all day long.

I use a nice Belkin Aux Cable and it's perfect. The sound is great. CD is a little and I mean a little bit louder...but it's perfect.

Have you tried playing Pandora or you only playing MP3's?
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      01-10-2013, 08:43 AM   #33
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I get a slightly worse sound when using the aux plug versus cd/hard drive. Part of it is 60hz noise from charging(was much worse in my Mazda). The other thing is background hiss caused by the output on the iPhone not being a true line balanced output. The best I can do is turn eq off on the iPhone, max out the volume, and turn the aux volume setting in idrive down until the hiss is manageable. I feel there is still a slight dullness to the sound, but it's the same for any car that I've used an analog input to connect to an iPod.
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      01-10-2013, 09:49 AM   #34
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BMW so outdated!... All Lux Jap cars or even Hyundais are coming with bluetooth wireless sync...
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      01-10-2013, 10:29 AM   #35
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what about getting the direct ipod/iphone connection installed in the glove box or the arm rest aftermarket which would delete the CD player functionality but if the ipod/iphone sounds a lot crisper and better than who needs the CD function anymore?

Has anyone had it hardwired by an aftermarket place??? i know bmw charges about $800 all said and done pus your phone is trapped in the glove box.
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      01-10-2013, 11:47 AM   #36
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I had issues too until I started using a Y-cable.
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      01-10-2013, 11:59 AM   #37
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I just find it easier to use a flash drive with an endless play list. I can leave it hooked up and not worry about the plug/unplug scenario..
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      01-10-2013, 03:09 PM   #38
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For now I'm sticking with the old nano left in the car and a remote. The remote won't wake it up, but after that its fine. I'd much rather have it integrated, but there is no inexpensive way to do it.
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      01-10-2013, 09:04 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newmember343 View Post
I hooked up my iphone 5 to the auxillary port and the music sounds so bland. When I play the same song from a CD, it sounds a lot crisper. Any reason to why this is?
1. Set Equalizer to "Electronic" setting.
2. Make sure the iphone volume is around 75-80%.
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      01-12-2013, 11:44 PM   #40
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I have run in to a similar problem, regarding the quality of my music. I use a Monster Auxiliary cable and it just does not seem to sound right.. Any suggestions?
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      01-13-2013, 12:29 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopkins58 View Post
I have run in to a similar problem, regarding the quality of my music. I use a Monster Auxiliary cable and it just does not seem to sound right.. Any suggestions?
only thing to do is try to lower the volume on your source to get as close to line out (2vrms) as possible, to avoid clipping. Otherwise, play with the EQ.

i wish you could eq aux and radio separately.
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      01-15-2013, 08:29 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tofu- View Post
only thing to do is try to lower the volume on your source to get as close to line out (2vrms) as possible, to avoid clipping. Otherwise, play with the EQ.

i wish you could eq aux and radio separately.
Thank you! I'll try out these suggestions and report back my findings.
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      05-07-2013, 12:15 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M0.92 View Post
Don't think anyone has mentioned the Aux volume setting on your head unit. If it's set at max, as mine was, it will sound horrible. I turned it down to mid point and set my iPad volume to max volume. Sounds great now.
This is what did it for me. I had crackling and distortion and thought I had the worst E92 ever built. Dropped the volume down to 2 and immediately the sound was crisp and clear. Originally I thought my Belkin CarAudio bluetooth device was crapping out, but after plugging it into my home stereo and found no distortion at all, it was clearly the car. Luckily not a hardware problem!!

Thank you very much!

PS - Why on earth would BMW ship cars with the volume turned to max?!
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      05-09-2013, 01:09 AM   #44
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Because you don't have one of these

http://www.amazon.com/Cosmos-iPhone-...words=dock+aux

The sound quality is alot better from the dock connector than the headphone jack on an ipod.
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