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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 2018 Ti Lusso with the HK system. Has anyone gottten it to sound better than a tin can? I’m amazed how terrrible it sounds to a non audiophile like me. There is almost no bass even with the setting turned to +9. I’ve tried various settings for mid, treble, bass etc but this is just horrible.

I also have a 2014 BMW 328i with the base audio, and it sounds wonderful compared to the Giulia. My 2011 3 series that I traded in for the Giulia was also phenomenonal with the base system.

I just wish my Giulia would also sound as great as she drives and looks. I actually can’t imagine that the Alfa engineers would have designed such a poor system and acoustics, so perhaps something is broken in my car? Maybe the subwoofer is missing or not hooked up?

Has anyone felt this poor sound quality in their 2018 Giulia wit the HK system?
 

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I have a 2018 Ti Lusso with the HK system. Has anyone gottten it to sound better than a tin can? I’m amazed how terrrible it sounds to a non audiophile like me. There is almost no bass even with the setting turned to +9. I’ve tried various settings for mid, treble, bass etc but this is just horrible.

I also have a 2014 BMW 328i with the base audio, and it sounds wonderful compared to the Giulia. My 2011 3 series that I traded in for the Giulia was also phenomenonal with the base system.

I just wish my Giulia would also sound as great as she drives and looks. I actually can’t imagine that the Alfa engineers would have designed such a poor system and acoustics, so perhaps something is broken in my car? Maybe the subwoofer is missing or not hooked up?

Has anyone felt this poor sound quality in their 2018 Giulia wit the HK system?
My settings are +9, +4, +4 (bass, mid, treble). Agree the sound isn't great, but it is decent. Definitely could use some lower range. I have surround off.
 

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you will not get more bass if you tune the setting to +9.
in the beginning I hated it, now I like it!...
below are my settings:
0, +1, +3 (bass, mid, treble), surround ON
 

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Man that is strange, ive actually turned my bass to -1 and think it sounds great. I actually think the system has a lot of bass, so much so my rearview mirror vibrates quite often!
If a hip-hop or electronic song is on the bass sounds great, but most the time in my car it is extremely tame even at +9. I may play with my settings since I really haven't changed them since day 1. (to be fair that was just 30 days ago).
 

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Is it the same H&K system in the Q.V.? I haven’t touch it since I got it think all are on 0 no problem I love music. Must admit I’ve been listening more to the exhaust notes these days. Maybe that has influenced me?
 

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2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sport Ti AWD
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I had Beats systems in my two cars preceding the Giulia and assess it as having a boomier, more in-your-face sound than the Giulia's H-K, which I consider tight and clean. How long have you had your car? Some here report the H-K system's sound improving as it "breaks in". My settings are flat.
 
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Thanks for the info folks. The car is about 3 months and 2500 miles. I have a feeling there is something just not connected right as the sound is extremely hollow. Tried all sorts of combinations of settings. Next I’ll try moving the balance to the rear to see if that helps.
 

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Do you have surround on?
 

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'17 Ti Sport Q4 w/ Active Shocks & LSD
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Something IS wrong

Thanks for the info folks. The car is about 3 months and 2500 miles. I have a feeling there is something just not connected right as the sound is extremely hollow. Tried all sorts of combinations of settings. Next I’ll try moving the balance to the rear to see if that helps.

I’ve heard enough (no pun intended) about poor H-K performance with wild variations, so I took my iPad Spectrum Analyzer (onyx3) and pink noise generator, using the (mediocre, but pretty flat) iPad Air 2 mic to see what’s what with the Giulia H-K.

To get flat pink noise readings on the Octave RTA Mode (1/6th octave, 16k fft, slow) with the mic located (up facing, down facing, rear facing and front facing, averaged, since the built-in mic is a directional tube) over the center of the console hatch, about 3 inches in front of the headrests (centerline for the car, fore-to-aft about where my ears are) my settings were: -3 bass, 0 midrange, +2 treble. Surround off. F-R 1 click to the rear, +3 on speed sensitive volume. For testing, my volume was indicated a +25.

I still only give the H-K a “fair” rating, where the Bose in my Wife’s Mazda CX-5 would be “good to very good” and Volvo XC90 Bowers-Wilkins as “excellent”.

The extreme difference in your settings indicate something is actually wrong with your instance.

I also want to mention that the Infotainment Upgrade (last September) and a 40-50 hour burn-in was required to get to where the system is for me today.

Common issues seem to be: 1) poor vibration isolation, causing buzz and rattle, particularly with EDM, E Power Biggs Organ or Trap... anything boomy. 2) What the **** were they thinking with this Surround Sound stuff — sounds a bit interesting until you listen to how it can mangle your source. Try Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon to hear total Surround confusion.. 3) How can jazz, classical and opera sound so good and rock, rap and house sound frequently like crap. 4) source matters. I agree that FLAC on USB has more punch than Satellite and Radio. Getting line levels right should be a NO BRAINER. C’mon H-K, you’ve got your name on this system, put some engineering into it to justify our spend. and 5) driver quality is entry level. Strange sized subwoofer to boot.

Again, if my system is anywhere near the “norm” your settings are way off of this baseline, and you should make a warranty claim. Any dealership with another Giulia on the lot can A-B test without much trouble.


Love the car, but I tolerate the tunes,
 

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Thanks for the info folks. The car is about 3 months and 2500 miles. I have a feeling there is something just not connected right as the sound is extremely hollow. Tried all sorts of combinations of settings. Next I’ll try moving the balance to the rear to see if that helps.
Something must be wrong. The HK doesn't create a concert hall, but neither is it hollow sounding. It sounds as good or better than my Volvo's High-Performance Sound upgrade (not Bowers-Wikinson). If there was any hint of hollowness in mine it was with surround turned on, but frankly it sounded more artificial than hollow. I turned surround off and prefer the sound that way.

I suggest you put some songs on a thumb drive and compare your sound back to back with another HK-equipped car at the dealer. Same song, same volume; car 1, car 2.
 

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2019 Rosso Competizione Stelvio Ti Sport Nero Edizione
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I was disappointed in the quality of the HK system when I first got my car. It wasn't terrible. I just expected it to be better with the HK name. I can confirm that it did improve over time as it broke in. I have gone from being disappointed in the system, to now enjoying it.
After constantly messing with the adjustments, I have settled on these settings.
First, turn off surround sound. That is the single most important adjustment.
Bass +2, Treble +4, Mid 0
Turn the balance one click towards the passenger side, and the fade one click towards the rear seats.
Put on Ezio Bosso, Sixth Breath.
Turn the volume up to at least 24!
Find a winding country road.
 

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I personally think the sound is high on clarity, you can really differentiate between the instruments and hear the vocals clearly. I like it set at +6, 0, +7. Bass, Mid, Treble.
 

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Ive seen phenomenal reproduction of audio to near knockoff Mp3 quality sound. All of it depending upon the audio file format being played. Anything I have off Apple Music sounds pretty decent but my own saved songs have a variety of results. An extremely high sampled AAC 320Kbps sounds phenomenal with crisp non buzzy lows and clear highs and mids.

Do the same with something in 128 and I have to go all the way to 32 to even feel a thump.
Its very subjective so I am guessing there is no post processing in this. Still, too chilled out in the car and enjoying being able to reach Automan levels of lane changing to pay too much attention to how good music sounds.
 

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So glad I found this post because I was thinking the same thing. It probably doesn't help that I was coming from an Audi B&O system which I think is hands down the best sounding car audio especially with the driver centric features and customizable surround.

Being a musician for several years, I found I had to turn up the treble and move the fade back 2/3 for a fuller sound and to help reduce the driver side door rattling you get from excessive bass in those speakers (which tells me the crossover to the sub isn't set right). I ended up here 0,-1,+6 (bass, mid, treble), F/R Fade -2 (back), Surround On and Speed Sensitivity set to +3. Tried various kinds of music (Rock, Alternative, EDM) both from my phone and radio and this seems to be a good compromise between them all. HD Radio especially sounds nice but have to turn up Bass a bit.
 

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It should be needless to say that audio settings depend on the song being played, both it’s nature and the quality of the recording, yet here we are...

Anyway, to the OP, there is something wrong with your car system as described, and you should take it in to the dealer for repair.

Sure there’s a range of opinions, as we’ve seen, regarding how the system sounds, but if you’re not getting any bass out of a system with a subwoofer when bass is set to 9, you’re hoping against odds by posting here, and just need to get the thing into the shop.
 

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Just my 2 cents here, but I'm pretty happy with the base non - hk system.

Bass, mid, treble: +4, 0, +2
Balance / Fade : +1R, +1F (slightly hard of hearing in right ear)
No surround, I dislike modifiers of all types. I prefer to hear the recordings as they were recorded.

The source of your music makes all the difference in the world. Radio and XM stick no matter how nice of a system you have. Bluetooth, and Android Auto (Plex, and Spotify) sound much better. Streaming FLAC through Plex sounds wonderful to me.

It could use a 10" sub though. I may build a fiberglass sub box in the trunk on the driver's side, there's a ton of empty space in there. It would help balance the front / rear weight distribution in my Q4.
 

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Just my 2 cents here, but I'm pretty happy with the base non - hk system.

Bass, mid, treble: +4, 0, +2
Balance / Fade : +1R, +1F (slightly hard of hearing in right ear)
No surround, I dislike modifiers of all types. I prefer to hear the recordings as they were recorded.

The source of your music makes all the difference in the world. Radio and XM stick no matter how nice of a system you have. Bluetooth, and Android Auto (Plex, and Spotify) sound much better. Streaming FLAC through Plex sounds wonderful to me.

It could use a 10" sub though. I may build a fiberglass sub box in the trunk on the driver's side, there's a ton of empty space in there. It would help balance the front / rear weight distribution in my Q4.
Wrong thread.
 
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Have been an audiophile forever, whilst the HK sound is not the best there is, its still pretty good when its adjusted properly. However it certainly doesn't sound like a system with as much wattage/controlled grunt as is advertised (I'm talking about controlled power not volume which is plentiful). As suggested above (mtb.ck), cut the bass a little and boost the treble to 2 or 3, and fade it a little towards the back seat (thanks for your analysis). Boosting the bass will only make it boomy and the bass will SEEM worse. This is of course with an ipod through a usb. Unfortunately there is a drop in quality if you connect your phone via Bluetooth and a further degradation on FM, then the worst is digital radio on those stations not generating with enough bandwidth.
 
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