Unnacceptable sound fidelity with BMW Bluetooth
I bought a 2012 R1200RT about a month ago with the BMW radio plus Sirius. Salesman convinced me I needed Bluetooth BMW Communications system ($400+) but, since the communications system would not fit in my helmet, they also convinced me to buy the Schuberth C3 ($700). Unfortunately, the sound quality from the Bluetooth system is abysmal. I am not an audiophile nut. It sounds like a radio station that won't tune in properly; not static, exactly, more like a distorted signal. Sound through the dash speakers is fine, so I'm confident the fault is with the Bluetooth. I can't listen to either FM or Sirius via Bluetooth because of the terrible distortion. Two visits to the dealer only resulted in them telling me "That's the way they all sound"; they could not improve the sound fidelity in the service department and they would not take a return on either the helmet or the BMW Communications system.
I am looking into wired options at this point. But with more than $1100 already into a sound system that produces terrible sound quality, I am going to be very careful.
BMW Communications fidelity good with other BT Source
I paired my Schuberth C3/BMW Communications system with my iPhone (after a considerable amount of "fiddling") and found that the audio quality was very good. Tunes were crisp and clear without static or garbling. Bass was moderate to good. None of the terrible garbling of sound existed that I have found when the BMW Communications system in my helmet is paired via Bluetooth to the BMW stereo in my 2012 R1200RT, mentioned in my first post.
I conclude that the fault is in the BMW radio in the motorcycle. However, I have not tried this on the road, only in my garage (there is snow on the roads). I will let you know if the good audio from iPhone to BMW Communications system is not available when on the road when I can take a ride.
Unacceptable sound fidelity with BMW Bluetooth - work around
After studying input on several blogs, I found reference to ways to hard wire an audio out from the R1200RT radio. (go to BMWLT and follow "Four-Pole line out...." [[url]http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53007&page=2&pp=50][/url] and "New RT owner with query..." [[url]http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59878&highlight=owner+query][/url]). Special thanks to write-ups by IPilot and HPChallenged.
There are three plugs near the head of the forks on my 2012 R1200RT. The 4-5 pin plug is attached to and provides power to the NAV IV. The two-pin plug provides voice directions from the NAV IV to the BMW radio, I believe. The remaining plug is for rear speakers.
I purchased plug 83 30 0 413 584 from maxbmw.com ($17.76 + $12.28 shipping), a stereo (3-pin) female jack, flexible plastic shielding, and some wire from Radioshack (see attached picture), soldered them together to make a roughly 2' long cable (pins 1 & 3 are left and right [or vice versa] and pin 4 is ground). The cable was routed from the four-pin plug (actually only 3 pins) near the head to the cockpit.
Turned Speakers ON, turned on LINE, and adjusted Fade to favor rear speakers. I obtained wonderful, distortion-free stereo sound from the ear buds for all audio inputs (FM, Sirius, iPhone). At least in the garage. When the snow melts, I will let you know if this set up does not work on the road.
My only regret now is that I spent $400+ for the BMW Communications system and $700 for the Schuberth helmet (to accommodate the BMW Communications system).
Comms System, radio, Nav IV, and phone pairing
Purchased a new 2012 1200RT in Dec 2011. Not sure the dealer even knew how to pair the equipment. They said it was simple and since it was my personal phone I would need to perform the pairings myself. Okay, if it's so simple why not do it now, but it was almost Christmas and I was in a generous mood, no problem.
I brought it home and paired all systems without a hitch. The bike's radio paired with the BMW Comms System, NAV IV paired to BMW Comms System, and the iPhone paired to the NAV IV. All was working as expected and with good clarity and fidelity.
Then, in the last month, I started hearing rumbling and static coming through the bluetooth connection from the radio. Thinking a reset of all pairings would not hurt, I deleted the pairings and attempted to reestablish connections. After performing the procedure repeatedly and unsuccessfully, the radio and helmet finely paired. What was that all about? Anyway it's paired, but the static across bluetooth connection remains.
I'm thinking BMW will make it right and I can live with lower fidelity until I get the dealer, so, I tried to re-pair the NAV IV and iPhone with the Comms System. Neither would pair, no matter how I tried it. No success in pairing to this day. Yes, it's fully charged and I followed the pairing instruction verbatim, many times.
I finally called the parts department and they were very accommodating and told me they had one in stock and will replace mine if they determine it to be faulty. Just call before I drive the 3 hours to make sure they still have the part. What else would you expect, right? So I'm patched to the service manager to arrange for what should be a 10-20 minute process of trying to pair the devices.
Thats when I get the bad news. Service Manager tells me BMW has published a bulletin stating the dealer would not get paid for a replacement of the Comms System until BMW can determine it to be faulty. Okay, but if the service department says it's bad, they'll replace it and deal with BMW later. Nope, not happening. What followed was a lot of grumbling from the service manager about how BMW was inconveniencing the customer. Plus, his one and only expert that knows how to pair these devices is out working on another project. Apparently its a bad day, so I decide to call back another day. Overworked, stressed, burned out? Maybe all of the above, but, you would think that since I dropped $25K with this dealership, he wouldn't try to prove his point to BMW at my expense. Heck, it's a $400 item and I just ordered over $1000 worth of stuff from the parts department while on the phone with them. I won't keep you in suspense, THAT"S CANCELLED!
Called back today and here is the wonderful plan as explained to me. Bring the bike in on his next available service date, which is about a month from now, and let them troubleshoot the system. If the dealer thinks the comms system is faulty, they will take the Comms System out of my helmet and send me home. After the Comms System is sent to BMW, we wait for the dealers resolution with BMW.
At some later date, I will need to return for a replacement. Sure that's reasonable, I don't need the comms system and it's only a 6 hour round trip to the dealer. Not! I'm always looking for an excuse to ride, but riding for this aggravation with no resolution in sight is not my definition of fun. I offered to leave the helmet with him and he could eventually replace the item and ship it to me, but that was not accepted... he wants to make sure it works with my bike. Yea, just like he did when I drove off with the new bike in December... Come on Man!!! Are you kidding me!!!
Okay, so enough of the rant. Sometimes equipment breaks, that's understandable, and I don't fault BMW for this, but I am regretting my decision to buy another BMW. Especially, with the pricey wiz bang radio package that requires an additional purchase of a very expensive helmet and bluetooth comms system.
With the expense of these bikes I would expect the service to be above par.
If anyone has any ideas, I'm certainly open to suggestions.