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I had the chance to take another test drive yesterday and spend some more time with the infotainment system and upgraded HK stereo. I was mainly trying to get a better feel for the overall sound quality of the system - clarity, bass, car filling sound, etc. I was really hoping to like the system but left fairly disappointed in what I heard with it. It's probably on my top 3 or 4 criteria in a car purchase as I really enjoy listening to high quality music during my boring commutes each day. HK systems in other car brands can sound really good but this one left me feeling down about that aspect of the car.

For those of you with the car and who really care about a great sounding system, what are your thougths? Have you found ways to tweak things to get a much better result (not mods or replacing the system).?
 

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I feel the same. The HK system is not bad but its definitely not high end thats worth this type of car. Unfortunately the best you can do with this system is to upgrade the speakers. The infotainment itself is so intertwined with the car that tweaking it or replacing it is almost impossible. I say almost because companies like Crutchfield and the sorts have not had a chance to take a good look at it yet. Maybe and if sales go up there might be other solutions on it but for now its better to get the base speakers and upgrade later. I don't know if there is a solution for the Amp.
But you are correct in that the sound just doesn't fill the car. These little things can add so much to the value of the car and attract so many different layers of buyers.
 

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I feel the same. The HK system is not bad but its definitely not high end thats worth this type of car. Unfortunately the best you can do with this system is to upgrade the speakers. The infotainment itself is so intertwined with the car that tweaking it or replacing it is almost impossible. I say almost because companies like Crutchfield and the sorts have not had a chance to take a good look at it yet. Maybe and if sales go up there might be other solutions on it but for now its better to get the base speakers and upgrade later. I don't know if there is a solution for the Amp.
But you are correct in that the sound just doesn't fill the car. These little things can add so much to the value of the car and attract so many different layers of buyers.
That bad huh? I'll have to listen to a comparison when I visit the dealer. I just hate tearing the car apart to replace everything down the road. I wonder if by chance there is a pre-amp output on the stock radio.
 

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Coming from a Range Rover with the Meridian system in my previous vehicle, which had an incredible sounding system, so I have to agree with this. In fact I have an upcoming service appointment scheduled with the dealer to address the poor sound quality and lack of bass from the subwoofer. I expect I'll need to end up replacing speakers or something, but I'm holding off until I've had it back at the dealer a couple times first.

the HK system is tolerable, but it does not at all impress me even a little bit, it is genuinely the worst part of the Stelvio in my opinion, and was nearly bad enough to stop me from buying the car (until I drove it and realized the performance and handling were so good it was worth the middling sound system).
 

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@SailAway, my sentiment from my limited experience with the Stelvio’s sound system is aligned with yours! Please keep us posted as to how receptive the dealership is in your concern, and the outcome. It’s certainly on my buying criteria short list, after driving dynamics.
 

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Thanks for your opinions. I was hoping the answers would be different but wasn't shocked at the feedback so far. I'm trying to make a final decision on pulling the trigger on the Stelvio but the things that are keeping it from being a no brainer are the stereo, some of the better safety systems on other luxury brands, and a good heads up display (which have come a long way in the last couple years). I was actually surprised at how good and robust the HUD's are that I've seen recently. I found them to be genuinely beneficial to the driving experience and definitely enhancing safety in keeping your eyes straight ahead at all times. The confirmation of the weak stereo puts me more on the fence than I want to be. I really like the driving dynamics and the steering more than any car I've ever had over the years. I'm coming from a '15 GTI which has been a blast to drive every day that I've owned it. I don't have any of those systems on the GTI and would pick up a few new systems but not all of the most current ones on the Stelvio. The other cars I'm looking are are definitely sport oriented but just don't come close to the Alfa steering, suspension, and overall engagement. I hate the tradeoffs that I have to come to decide I have to live without.

The stereo is in my top 3 priorities so that one was a bigger disappointment than some of the other tech not being there. I'm starting to agonize about the inability to make a final decision!!!!
 

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Music buffs! Listen up!!!!!!!!!!!

I got a lot more of the HK upgraded stereo by adjusting the fader.... increasing the sound to the rear speakers vs the front which seemed like they might be distorting at hi-volume levels.

AND increasing the treble and bass to a 8-9 level on a scale of 1-10.

I listen to reggae, vintage hip-hop, and electronic dance music - namely music with HEAVY BASS SOUND. (via Sirius) My system ROCKS now, and I love it!
 

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Music buffs! Listen up!!!!!!!!!!!

I got a lot more of the HK upgraded stereo by adjusting the fader.... increasing the sound to the rear speakers vs the front which seemed like they might be distorting at hi-volume levels.

AND increasing the treble and bass to a 8-9 level on a scale of 1-10.

I listen to reggae, vintage hip-hop, and electronic dance music - namely music with HEAVY BASS SOUND. (via Sirius) My system ROCKS now, and I love it!

You can definitely find a sweet spot but the front speakers shouldn't do that in a premium car. From experience POLK makes some awesome front door speakers and i think that's the route i will go. Will probably get the basic sound system and upgrade in a week or so. That being said i need to hear the difference you experienced to decide.

I think the HK stereo is not too bad. I am disappointed there is no CD/DVD player. But it's when I hooked up my MP3 player that the system really came to life.
The HK system is NOT bad its just not worthy of this type of car.
 

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The HK sound system is average. I was an audiophile in my youth and still listen to very expensive home equipment.


I have increased the bass to +4 and the treble to +3, and the sound is good on the Sirius BPM channel (SiriusXM compresses the dynamic range on every channel so satellite sound will never be stellar). HK sound quality is just okay.on Sirius channels like Deep Tracks and Classic Vinyl (60's to 70's era rock).


If you really value music quality, the HK system is not for you. I listen to a fair amount of Bloomberg radio on Sirius, so the HK system is fine for me.
 

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I too was a bit confused by the lack of a CD player, but similarly added an old iPhone as an MP3 player, and all is good. I do have the HK upgrade and dialed it in, and the base and symbols on “Basic Miles” sound pretty darn good for a vehicle system.

But just to get things straight, this is my 4th Alfa, and when downshifting before a curve, I never think, “I gotta have more cowbell!”
 

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Music buffs! Listen up!!!!!!!!!!!

I got a lot more of the HK upgraded stereo by adjusting the fader.... increasing the sound to the rear speakers vs the front which seemed like they might be distorting at hi-volume levels.

AND increasing the treble and bass to a 8-9 level on a scale of 1-10.

I listen to reggae, vintage hip-hop, and electronic dance music - namely music with HEAVY BASS SOUND. (via Sirius) My system ROCKS now, and I love it!
hate to break it to you, but this was the first thing I did, and the system still really sucks compared to what I had from the factory in my range rover. You can adjust the settings to get adequate sound from it, but it's just that adequate. It can't ever reach premium sound quality. If you want to compare, go to a land rover dealer, get in any vehicle with a Meridian system (their premium audio line), and adjust the audio settings like this. On second thought, never mind, don't do that, you are happy right now and I don't want you to be disappointed in your Stelvio.
 

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Thanks for your opinions. I was hoping the answers would be different but wasn't shocked at the feedback so far. I'm trying to make a final decision on pulling the trigger on the Stelvio but the things that are keeping it from being a no brainer are the stereo, some of the better safety systems on other luxury brands, and a good heads up display (which have come a long way in the last couple years). I was actually surprised at how good and robust the HUD's are that I've seen recently. I found them to be genuinely beneficial to the driving experience and definitely enhancing safety in keeping your eyes straight ahead at all times. The confirmation of the weak stereo puts me more on the fence than I want to be. I really like the driving dynamics and the steering more than any car I've ever had over the years. I'm coming from a '15 GTI which has been a blast to drive every day that I've owned it. I don't have any of those systems on the GTI and would pick up a few new systems but not all of the most current ones on the Stelvio. The other cars I'm looking are are definitely sport oriented but just don't come close to the Alfa steering, suspension, and overall engagement. I hate the tradeoffs that I have to come to decide I have to live without.

The stereo is in my top 3 priorities so that one was a bigger disappointment than some of the other tech not being there. I'm starting to agonize about the inability to make a final decision!!!!
MartinC - regarding your comments on HUD / safety tech. My daily driver (BMW - 3 series), has a HUD (1st vehicle I’ve had to offer this feature), its great, but I wear polarized sunglasses, making it very faint to read during the day. Its nice to see things like - my speed, set cruise control speed, navigation directions, who’s calling me, what preset I’m selecting. Whenever I am in my wife’s car, I miss it initially, but its not the end of the world. As for the additional safety tech - her vehicle has the active cruise control, and collision avoidance. Sometimes these systems are ANNOYING - breaking suddenly for various reasons, uneven throttle response when resuming back to desired speed (because the vehicle in front of me changed lanes). I haven’t had enough seat time with he Stelvio to speak to its multi function display, but I do recall it being sizable, and allowing the driver to easily cycle though different display options.

I personally, would take a fun to drive vehicle over a vehicle with numerious gadgets. I’m not certain what you are cross shopping, and I’m just sharing my experience, as I was initially excited for the features in my wife’s vehicle, but could certainly do without some of them...

Just sharing my thoughts (no solutions, especially regarding the stereo); rightfully so we all have different priorities in a vehicle. Good luck in your quest.
 

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MartinC - regarding your comments on HUD / safety tech. My daily driver (BMW - 3 series), has a HUD (1st vehicle I’ve had to offer this feature), its great, but I wear polarized sunglasses, making it very faint to read during the day. Its nice to see things like - my speed, set cruise control speed, navigation directions, who’s calling me, what preset I’m selecting. Whenever I am in my wife’s car, I miss it initially, but its not the end of the world. As for the additional safety tech - her vehicle has the active cruise control, and collision avoidance. Sometimes these systems are ANNOYING - breaking suddenly for various reasons, uneven throttle response when resuming back to desired speed (because the vehicle in front of me changed lanes). I haven’t had enough seat time with he Stelvio to speak to its multi function display, but I do recall it being sizable, and allowing the driver to easily cycle though different display options.

I personally, would take a fun to drive vehicle over a vehicle with numerious gadgets. I’m not certain what you are cross shopping, and I’m just sharing my experience, as I was initially excited for the features in my wife’s vehicle, but could certainly do without some of them...

Just sharing my thoughts (no solutions, especially regarding the stereo); rightfully so we all have different priorities in a vehicle. Good luck in your quest.
Excellent perspective. I appreciate you sharing your experience with some of the advanced tech features and their pros and cons. Not being able to see the HUD with sunglasses would be very annoying as I wear them 80% of the time while driving. The stereo feedback is a huge bummer but I guess I need to decide whether I can live without the most connected and engaging driving experience out there for the money or a top quality music experience on a daily basis. Sadly this shouldn't have to be a trade-off but it will be in my case.
 

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Excellent perspective. I appreciate you sharing your experience with some of the advanced tech features and their pros and cons. Not being able to see the HUD with sunglasses would be very annoying as I wear them 80% of the time while driving. The stereo feedback is a huge bummer but I guess I need to decide whether I can live without the most connected and engaging driving experience out there for the money or a top quality music experience on a daily basis. Sadly this shouldn't have to be a trade-off but it will be in my case.
HaHa, my dilemma..yes music/stereo is very important to my driving experience as well, one of my favorite things to do is drive and listen to music, so to me they go hand in hand :smile
The Stelvio I test drove did not have the HK system so I did not get to listen but honestly I can tell by the price point it will not be what I want. My current car has something similar and although the sound is clean its just not loud enough nor has enough bass IMO for what I like to listen to (a variety of music but mostly HQ live audio recordings so I need a "concert filling" sound, I like to hear each instrument) so I was hoping for a stereo upgrade in my next vehicle. I've previously had Bose and bang/Ollfsen which were more to my liking. I think they are just keeping the stereo system upgrades and other things mid range to make the car more "affordable" to those with lighter budgets and at the same time not have too many options on things like stereo. Most people probably don't care as much as we do so its understandable.

But yes, trade off's :sad No car (at least for me) is going to be perfect and have every little thing unless I want to increase my budget significantly (but there would probably still be trade offs in that scenario as well) Sigh....
 

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HaHa, my dilemma..yes music/stereo is very important to my driving experience as well, one of my favorite things to do is drive and listen to music, so to me they go hand in hand :smile
The Stelvio I test drove did not have the HK system so I did not get to listen but honestly I can tell by the price point it will not be what I want. My current car has something similar and although the sound is clean its just not loud enough nor has enough bass IMO for what I like to listen to (a variety of music but mostly HQ live audio recordings so I need a "concert filling" sound, I like to hear each instrument) so I was hoping for a stereo upgrade in my next vehicle. I've previously had Bose and bang/Ollfsen which were more to my liking. I think they are just keeping the stereo system upgrades and other things mid range to make the car more "affordable" to those with lighter budgets and at the same time not have too many options on things like stereo. Most people probably don't care as much as we do so its understandable.

But yes, trade off's :sad No car (at least for me) is going to be perfect and have every little thing unless I want to increase my budget significantly (but there would probably still be trade offs in that scenario as well) Sigh....
My sentiments exactly .... also strange enough i have found Car Bose speakers to be much more space filling than Home Audio Bose speakers. When you step down from that kind of quality acoustics you really notice it .....
 

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We're coming from a Ford C-Max. It'll probably sound pretty awesome to us lol! Guess perspective plays at least a small part.
 

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We're coming from a Ford C-Max. It'll probably sound pretty awesome to us lol! Guess perspective plays at least a small part.
you're absolutely right. I weighed the pros/cons of the Stelvio, with the only major Con being the stereo. My perspective is coming from a Range Rover, so virtually everything on the market sounds poor by comparison, however the HK system in the Stelvio is probably better than 2/3 of the systems on the market, so as long as you're coming from one of those vehicles it'll sound great relatively. In the end I decided the sound quality was good enough to live with, because the driving characteristics are so amazing that it was worth it. Ironically enough, I find that when I'm driving it hard I tend to turn the stereo down anyway so that I can hear the primary sound system (the engine/exhaust) better!
 

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So everyone that is using the HK system would be using the old radio hardware. Other than an upgrade that allow Apple/ Android to be added, I wonder if there is any other changes/ possible improvements in the new system.
 

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So everyone that is using the HK system would be using the old radio hardware. Other than an upgrade that allow Apple/ Android to be added, I wonder if there is any other changes/ possible improvements in the new system.
I've wondered about that myself, but doubt there was anything substantial changed. You'd think there would be, or that the opportunity would be taken to do so, but Alfa hasn't struck me as being up on the infotainment side. Just feel it isn't too important to them. Only my opinion of course.
 
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