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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 F10 Technical Topics Navigation, iDrive, Audio, Video, Bluetooth, Phone, Coding Aux vs USB vs bluetooth
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      12-31-2013, 07:46 PM   #1
combatbmw
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Aux vs USB vs bluetooth

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Is it me or is Aux the best sound quality?

I noticed a big difference when music is playing from aux vs blue tooth or even USB.

Problem with aux is no idrive control.

Any work around?
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      01-06-2014, 07:37 PM   #2
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Not technically possible, aux is analogue v digital signal over the other two, albeit compressed over the Bluetooth. Not doubting you prefer aux though.

How's it sounding better? Can you elaborate?
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      01-07-2014, 03:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Not technically possible, aux is analogue v digital signal over the other two, albeit compressed over the Bluetooth. Not doubting you prefer aux though.

How's it sounding better? Can you elaborate?
Try it, AUX sound is louder then bluetooth and usb.
You dont have to turn the dial up as much to hear.

with pandora and usb I litterally have to max it out for it to be really loud.

Aux half way is just as loud, and all the way up is beyond loud.
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      01-07-2014, 04:23 PM   #4
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Louder it may well be, louder does not equal better sound quality!
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      01-13-2014, 05:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B33M3R
Louder it may well be, louder does not equal better sound quality!
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      01-13-2014, 08:17 PM   #6
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Sound quality depends on a lot of different things, and the source actually plays the most important factor. And from our local F10 gatherings, we have the same conclusion that AUX sounded best, provided that you have a great audio source.....

Put it simply, for CIC systems, the best quality is limited at CD quality, or WMA Lossless at 44.1K/16bit. NBT systems are limited at FLAC 96K/24bit which are HiDef(have not tried 192K/24bit yet....) Both systems MAYBE able to play DVD-Audio, which are higher quality than CD.

However, that's only one part of the equation. If you rip CD into the hard-drive, it will get compressed, most likely to MP3. If you import, the music most likely will just get copied onto the hard-drive.

Most of these compressed music will have to go thru decoding, and internal DAC and this is where it matters a lot! The quality of the DAC of the CIC/NBT units are just not comparable to real HQ DAC units like Astell and Kren AK100 or AK120s. With music stored on AK120, and played via AUX, you will get way better resolution of the sound, provided that you have really high quality music sources (192k/24bit) to take advantage of that. Playing the music via AUX bypassed all those DAC in the BMW audio system, and thus bypassing any audio inefficiencies introduced by the onboard digital system......
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      01-14-2014, 08:30 AM   #7
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Is that the case with B&O or KH as well?
(Source 320kbit/s? Or less?
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      01-17-2014, 02:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlai View Post
Sound quality depends on a lot of different things, and the source actually plays the most important factor. And from our local F10 gatherings, we have the same conclusion that AUX sounded best, provided that you have a great audio source.....

Put it simply, for CIC systems, the best quality is limited at CD quality, or WMA Lossless at 44.1K/16bit. NBT systems are limited at FLAC 96K/24bit which are HiDef(have not tried 192K/24bit yet....) Both systems MAYBE able to play DVD-Audio, which are higher quality than CD.

However, that's only one part of the equation. If you rip CD into the hard-drive, it will get compressed, most likely to MP3. If you import, the music most likely will just get copied onto the hard-drive.

Most of these compressed music will have to go thru decoding, and internal DAC and this is where it matters a lot! The quality of the DAC of the CIC/NBT units are just not comparable to real HQ DAC units like Astell and Kren AK100 or AK120s. With music stored on AK120, and played via AUX, you will get way better resolution of the sound, provided that you have really high quality music sources (192k/24bit) to take advantage of that. Playing the music via AUX bypassed all those DAC in the BMW audio system, and thus bypassing any audio inefficiencies introduced by the onboard digital system......
The OP considers his Aux in sound quality to be better than his USB or bluetooth connection as to him it is 'louder'. The AUX in is going to be affected greatly by whatever is plugged into it, the volume it is set to and the EQ settings of the device attached are all going to have an effect.

When played back to back with either of the other two inputs it most certainly could mean 'aux half way is just as loud'

I accept that there are going to be better DAC's available than within the BMW audio systems but I think you're kidding yourself if you think you're going to achieve better sound quality via that route.

Also, I seem to recall the AUX in has both capacitors and resistors inline to reduce static and voltages which could damage the idrive. These are also reported to knock out frequencies at both ends of the spectrum.
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      01-20-2014, 10:38 PM   #9
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The aux input may sound louder, and even "better," if the device you have plugged into it has EQ settings that are superior to those set in the car. For instance, on my phone, I have the EQ customized. On the 550, I've yet to even play with EQ. Many phones these days may even apply certain EQ settings as soon as they detect headphones (line-in).

I would play with the EQ on the car stereo after you plug in your digital source (USB). I would imagine that USB will absolutely sound the best in the end after some customization via EQ... it's digital vs. the analog source from your aux socket. Bluetooth, while "ok" will never be as good as the other two, I believe, simply because the audio needs to be greatly compressed.
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      01-21-2014, 09:53 PM   #10
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I encourage you to do the following experiment:

1) Find a good copy of Hotel California, and also a piece of orchestra performance in 192k/24bit flac.
2) Put one in a USB, and one in a AK120.
3) With eq flat on both device, do a back-back comparison.
4) Adjust eq on the car to try and "optimize" the sound.

We did this on 20 F10s (both CIC and NBT,hifi loudspeaker professionals= with CIC only able to play WMA lossless at 44.1/16bit), my E93M3 (HK sound), and my F06 Dirac. In blind testing by all the respective owners, every single one agreed that AK120 resulted in more clarity than the USB direct to NBT and CIC.

We had a stereo shop owner and technician join us at the blind testing as well, and he had the same conclusion.

All I can say is, start with a very high quality source, and then you can really tell that the DAC plays a very important role. However, if you are just using CD source, or ANY compressed music formats, don't bother.

PS. Louder does not mean better.....
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