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Discussion Starter #1
I loved the HK system since I drove a 2008 C-Class with the system and I really dug the HK system currently in the BMW 3-Series.

I believe the CLA has a 14-speaker 600 watt HK system which seems very similar to what's in the BMW 3-series right now (which is a $800 standalone option).

I was wondering if anyone here could give me a quick review of it. Is there standard audio level adjustments available? Does it have equalizer settings that allow you to adjust the frequency and tones by any chance?
 

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I'm mostly meh about the HK system. The only settings I could find are for treble and bass along with fader/balance and surround on/off. If you turn the bass up, it doesn't take too much volume before you end up with various resonating parts in the door panels. The old Bose I had in my Infiniti FX had better bass but the HK system has slightly better imaging.

My verdict is if you're at all critical about sound, you might be disappointed. This is a nice upgrade on the standard system but not what I'd consider a great system. Probably on the low to middle of the pack as far as premium stock audio systems go.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm mostly meh about the HK system. The only settings I could find are for treble and bass along with fader/balance and surround on/off. If you turn the bass up, it doesn't take too much volume before you end up with various resonating parts in the door panels. The old Bose I had in my Infiniti FX had better bass but the HK system has slightly better imaging.

My verdict is if you're at all critical about sound, you might be disappointed. This is a nice upgrade on the standard system but not what I'd consider a great system. Probably on the low to middle of the pack as far as premium stock audio systems go.
NOOO! That can't be true!

Well, are there any other stock systems that you would say is better?
 

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Just to clarify by stock I mean factory installed. Right now, I'd have to say the Bang & Olufsen in the Audi A4 is one of the best I've heard, at least in this class. I can't wait to hear the Burmester in the upcoming C-class.

Also I think hearing something in the door panels resonate from the bass really killed it for me. It only happens on a few songs at high volume. Otherwise, it's not a bad system, a little bit bright for my tastes. It's just nothing special.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Oh, but what car under $50-$60k is not going to rattle a little bit on the doors to a booming low frequency song is played loud?

That's something that's hard to avoid, no matter what the system is.

I definitely love the B&O system. The B&O in the Audi A5 is one of the best I've heard, right on par with the Mark Levinson system in the Lexus IS. Both are better than the Bose system in my Infiniti G37 which always sounds like it was made specifically to rattle my doors like crazy.

The only problem is, the Audi A4 and A5 are getting old and long in the tooth now. Those cars can definitely scrape a $42k price tag quicker than the CLA could.

I guess I'm really asking is, are there any new cars around $35k or less that have a factory premium sound better than the CLA's HK system? The Lexicon system in the Hyundai Genesis sedan ($38k) is pretty amazing as well when I tested it but I don't remember if I ever tried to max out the bass or try to listen to any rattling.
 

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You're right, I'm comparing to more expensive vehicles (my FX was $45k 10 years ago and my CLA was optioned up to $40650). Compared to $30k cars, it's one of the better ones, but Audi will have Bang & Olufsen on the upcoming A3 so there's some new competition for the CLA.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
You're right, I'm comparing to more expensive vehicles (my FX was $45k 10 years ago and my CLA was optioned up to $40650). Compared to $30k cars, it's one of the better ones, but Audi will have Bang & Olufsen on the upcoming A3 so there's some new competition for the CLA.
Indeed! Thanks for the feedback.

When it comes to opinions on cars, I try to be careful with responses. I really enjoy getting into a person's frame of reference because it really helps in trying to make the best sense out of it.
 

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You can see the kinds of cars I'm used to from my signature. That said, I've upgraded a number of car systems over the years.

The HK is the best systems I've ever had. I love it and enjoy it every drive. On a scale of 1 to 10 , 10 being a complete audiophile, I'd say I'm a seven. Know enough about what makes great sound, appreciate it, but can tolerate some imperfection.

Best way to figure this out is do what I do. Bring 3 or 4 pieces of music you like and know well on CD's, DVD's, USB's to the dealer and play it on the system in question. It's really the only way to compare and get your own impression.
 

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premium sound systems <$35k

You're right, I'm comparing to more expensive vehicles (my FX was $45k 10 years ago and my CLA was optioned up to $40650). Compared to $30k cars, it's one of the better ones, but Audi will have Bang & Olufsen on the upcoming A3 so there's some new competition for the CLA.
Believe it or not, my partner's new 2014 Ford Focus Titanium hatchback with the Sony 350 watt 10 speaker system is probably better than any other auto system I, a non-audiophile, have ever heard! The sub-woofer is awesome, and the door panels don't rattle. I sure hope my ordered CLA HK system beats it!
 

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It sounded great to me on my test drive. I like to hear the engine's exhaust note, so I didn't have the stereo cranked. But at moderate volumes, the current system pumps out Alternative Rock at just the right frequency (Kenneth) to complement the the revvv of the 2.0 liter turbo!
 
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